Evidentiary weight accorded to audited financial statements

The Supreme Court defined the evidentiary weight accorded to audited financial statements in Asian Alcohol Corporation v. National Labor Relations Commission (364 Phil. 912 (1999), thus:
The condition of business losses is normally shown by audited financial documents like yearly balance sheets and profit and loss statements as well as annual income tax returns. It is our [Supreme Court] ruling that financial statements must be prepared and signed by independent auditors. Unless duly audited, they can be assailed as self-serving documents. But it is not enough that only the financial statements for the year during which retrenchment was undertaken, are presented in evidence. For it may happen that while the company has indeed been losing, its losses may be on a downward trend, indicating that business is picking up and retrenchment, being a drastic move, should no longer be resorted to. Thus, the failure of the employer to show its income or loss for the immediately preceding year or to prove that it expected no abatement of such losses in the coming years, may bespeak the weakness of its cause. It is necessary that the employer also show that its losses increased through a period of time and that the condition of the company is not likely to improve in the near future. (Asian Alcohol Corporation v. NLRC, supra, at 927-928)