“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. - Oscar Wilde

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rustan Ang vs. The Honorable Court of Appeals and Irish Sagud

G.R. No. 182835     April 20, 2010
Abad, J.     Second Division


Herein petitioner Rustan Ang (hereafter Rustan) allegedly sent through the Short Messaging Service (SMS) using his mobile phone, a pornographic picture to respondent Irish Sagud (hereafter Irish), who was his former girlfriend, whereby the face of the latter was attached to a completely naked body of another woman making it to appear that it was said Irish who is depicted in the said picture.

After she got the obscene picture, Irish got other text messages from Rustan. The latter threatened to spread the picture he sent through the internet. One of the messages he sent to Irish, written in text messaging shorthand, read: "Madali lang ikalat yun, my chatrum ang tarlac rayt pwede ring send sa lahat ng chatter."

Irish sought the help of the police. Under police supervision, Irish contacted Rustan through the cellphone numbers he used in sending the picture and his text messages. Irish asked Rustan to meet her, and he did. He came in a motorcycle. After parking it, he walked towards Irish but the waiting police officers intercepted and arrested him. They searched him and seized his Sony Ericsson P900 cellphone and several SIM cards.

The public prosecutor charged Rustan before the Regional Trial Court ( hereafter RTC) of Baler, Aurora, of violation of the Anti-Violence Against Women and Their Children Act or Republic Act No. 9262.

The RTC issued a Decision in favor of Irish, which was later affirmed by the Court of Appeals (hereafter CA).


Whether or not the RTC properly admitted in evidence the obscene picture presented in the case.


The Supreme Court (hereafter Court) denied the petition and affirmed the decision of the CA.

Rustan claimed that the obscene picture sent to Irish through a text message constitutes an electronic document. Thus, it should be authenticated by means of an electronic signature, as provided under Section 1, Rule 5 of the Rules on Electronic Evidence (A.M. 01-7-01-SC).

But, firstly, Rustan raised this objection to the admissibility of the obscene picture for the first time before the Court. The objection was too late since he should have objected to the admission of the picture on such ground at the time it was offered in evidence. He was deemed to have already waived such ground for objection.

Besides, the rules he cited do not apply to the present criminal action. The Rules on Electronic Evidence applies only to civil actions, quasi-judicial proceedings, and administrative proceedings.

In conclusion, this Court finds that the prosecution has proved each and every element of the crime charged beyond reasonable doubt.

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