Ultimate facts vs. Evidentiary facts

An Information (in a criminal action or a complaint in a civil action) only needs to state the ultimate facts constituting the offense (or the cause of action); the evidentiary and other details (i.e., the facts supporting the ultimate facts) can be provided during the trial.[1]

Ultimate facts is defined as “those facts which the expected evidence will support. The term does not refer to the details of probative matter or particulars of evidence by which these material elements are to be established.” It refers to the facts that the evidence will prove at the trial.[2]

Ultimate facts has also been defined as the principal, determinative, and constitutive facts on whose existence the cause of action rests;[3] they are also the essential and determining facts on which the court's conclusion rests and without which the judgment would lack support in essential particulars.[4]

Evidentiary facts, on the other hand, are the facts necessary to establish the ultimate facts; they are the premises that lead to the ultimate facts as conclusion.[5] They are facts supporting the existence of some other alleged and unproven fact.[6]In Bautista v. Court of Appeals,[7] the Court explained these two concepts in relation to a particular criminal case, as follows:
The distinction between the elements of the offense and the evidence of these elements is analogous or akin to the difference between ultimate facts and evidentiary facts in civil cases. Ultimate facts are the essential and substantial facts which either form the basis of the primary right and duty or which directly make up the wrongful acts or omissions of the defendant, while evidentiary facts are those which tend to prove or establish said ultimate facts. x x x.[8]
While it is fundamental that every element of the offense must be alleged in the Information, matters of evidence – as distinguished from the facts essential to the nature of the offense – do not need to be alleged. Whatever facts and circumstances must necessarily be alleged are to be determined based on the definition and the essential elements of the specific crimes.[9]

[1] People v. Romualdez, et al., 581 Phil. 462, 479-480 (2008).

[2] See Salita v. Magtolis, G.R. No. 106429, June 13, 1994, 233 SCRA 100, 105.

[3] See Philippine Bank of Communications v. Trazo, 531 Phil. 636, 653 (2006).

[4] See Brundage v. KL House Construction Company, 396 P.2d 731 (N.M. 1964).

[5] Tantuico, Jr. v. Republic, G.R. No. 89114, December 2, 1991, 204 SCRA 428, 437, citing Womack v. Industrial Comm., 168 Colo. 364, 451 P.2d 761, 764.

[6] Id., citing Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th Ed., p. 500.

[7] 413 Phil. 159 (2001). This case involved a violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22. The Court held that knowledge of insufficiency of funds is the ultimate fact, or element of the offense that needs to be proved, while dishonor of the check presented within ninety (90) days is merely the evidentiary fact of such knowledge.

[8] Id. at 175.

[9] Romualdez v. Sandiganbayan, 479 Phil. 265, 288-289 (2004).