Rule on DNA Evidence (A.M. No. 06-11-5-SC; full text)

(The use of DNA in cases gained popularity in recent years. It is used not only in criminal cases, but also in paternity disputes. This month, the Supreme Court issued the Rule on DNA Evidence, through A.M. No. 06-11-5-SC, 2 October 2007. The full text of the Rule on DNA Evidence is reproduced below.)

RULE ON DNA EVIDENCE

SECTION 1. Scope.  This Rule shall apply whenever DNA evidence, as defined in Section 3 hereof, is offered, used, or proposed to be offered or used as evidence in all criminal and civil actions as well as special proceedings.

SEC. 2. Application of other Rules on Evidence. — In all matters not specifically covered by this Rule, the Rules of Court and other pertinent provisions of law on evidence shall apply.

SEC. 3. Definition of Terms.  For purposes of this Rule, the following terms shall be defined as follows:

(a) Biological sample means any organic material originating from a person body, even if found in inanimate objects, that is susceptible to DNA testing. This includes blood, saliva and other body fluids, tissues, hairs and bones;

(b) DNA means deoxyribonucleic acid, which is the chain of molecules found in every nucleated cell of the body. The totality of an individual DNA is unique for the individual, except identical twins;

(c) “DNA evidence” constitutes the totality of the DNA profiles, results and other genetic information directly generated from DNA testing of biological samples;

(d) DNA profile means genetic information derived from DNA testing of a biological sample obtained from a person, which biological sample is clearly identifiable as originating from that person;

(e) DNA testing means verified and credible scientific methods which include the extraction of DNA from biological samples, the generation of DNA profiles and the comparison of the information obtained from the DNA testing of biological samples for the purpose of determining, with reasonable certainty, whether or not the DNA obtained from two or more distinct biological samples originates from the same person (direct identification) or if the biological samples originate from related persons (kinship analysis); and

(f) Probability of Parentage means the numerical estimate for the likelihood of parentage of a putative parent compared with the probability of a random match of two unrelated individuals in a given population.

SEC. 4. Application for DNA Testing Order. The appropriate court may, at any time, either motu proprio or on application of any person who has a legal interest in the matter in litigation, order a DNA testing. Such order shall issue after due hearing and notice to the parties upon a showing of the following:

(a) A biological sample exists that is relevant to the case;
(b) The biological sample: (i) was not previously subjected to the type of DNA testing now requested; or (ii) was previously subjected to DNA testing, but the results may require confirmation for good reasons;
(c) The DNA testing uses a scientifically valid technique;
(d) The DNA testing has the scientific potential to produce new information that is relevant to the proper resolution of the case; and
(e) The existence of other factors, if any, which the court may consider as potentially affecting the accuracy or integrity of the DNA testing.

This Rule shall not preclude a DNA testing, without need of a prior court order, at the behest of any party, including law enforcement agencies, before a suit or proceeding is commenced.

SEC. 5. DNA Testing Order. — If the court finds that the requirements in Section 4 hereof have been complied with, the court shall —

(a) Order, where appropriate, that biological samples be taken from any person or crime scene evidence;
(b) Impose reasonable conditions on DNA testing designed to protect the integrity of the biological sample, the testing process and the reliability of the test results, including the condition that the DNA test results shall be simultaneously disclosed to parties involved in the case; and
(c) If the biological sample taken is of such an amount that prevents the conduct of confirmatory testing by the other or the adverse party and where additional biological samples of the same kind can no longer be obtained, issue an order requiring all parties to the case or proceedings to witness the DNA testing to be conducted.

An order granting the DNA testing shall be immediately executory and shall not be appealable. Any petition for certiorari initiated therefrom shall not, in any way, stay the implementation thereof, unless a higher court issues an injunctive order. The grant of a DNA testing application shall not be construed as an automatic admission into evidence of any component of the DNA evidence that may be obtained as a result thereof.

SEC. 6. Post-conviction DNA Testing. — Post-conviction DNA testing may be available, without need of prior court order, to the prosecution or any person convicted by final and executory judgment provided that (a) a biological sample exists, (b) such sample is relevant to the case, and (c) the testing would probably result in the reversal or modification of the judgment of conviction.

SEC. 7. Assessment of probative value of DNA evidence. — In assessing the probative value of the DNA evidence presented, the court shall consider the following:

(a) The chain of custody, including how the biological samples were collected, how they were handled, and the possibility of contamination of the samples;
(b) The DNA testing methodology, including the procedure followed in analyzing the samples, the advantages and disadvantages of the procedure, and compliance with the scientifically valid standards in conducting the tests;
(c) The forensic DNA laboratory, including accreditation by any reputable standards-setting institution and the qualification of the analyst who conducted the tests. If the laboratory is not accredited, the relevant experience of the laboratory in forensic casework and credibility shall be properly established; and
(d) The reliability of the testing result, as hereinafter provided.

The provisions of the Rules of Court concerning the appreciation of evidence shall apply suppletorily.

SEC. 8. Reliability of DNA Testing Methodology. — In evaluating whether the DNA testing methodology is reliable, the court shall consider the following:

(a) The falsifiability of the principles or methods used, that is, whether the theory or technique can be and has been tested;
(b) The subjection to peer review and publication of the principles or methods;
(c) The general acceptance of the principles or methods by the relevant scientific community;
(d) The existence and maintenance of standards and controls to ensure the correctness of data generated;
(e) The existence of an appropriate reference population database; and
(f) The general degree of confidence attributed to mathematical calculations used in comparing DNA profiles and the significance and limitation of statistical calculations used in comparing DNA profiles.

SEC. 9. Evaluation of DNA Testing Results. — In evaluating the results of DNA testing, the court shall consider the following:

(a) The evaluation of the weight of matching DNA evidence or the relevance of mismatching DNA evidence;
(b) The results of the DNA testing in the light of the totality of the other evidence presented in the case; and that
(c) DNA results that exclude the putative parent from paternity shall be conclusive proof of non-paternity. If the value of the Probability of Paternity is less than 99.9%, the results of the DNA testing shall be considered as corroborative evidence. If the value of the Probability of Paternity is 99.9% or higher, there shall be a disputable presumption of paternity.

SEC. 10. Post-conviction DNA Testing. Remedy if the Results Are Favorable to the Convict. — The convict or the prosecution may file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the court of origin if the results of the post-conviction DNA testing are favorable to the convict. In case the court, after due hearing, finds the petition to be meritorious, it shall reverse or modify the judgment of conviction and order the release of the convict, unless continued detention is justified for a lawful cause.

A similar petition may be filed either in the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, or with any member of said courts, which may conduct a hearing thereon or remand the petition to the court of origin and issue the appropriate orders.

SEC. 11. Confidentiality. — DNA profiles and all results or other information obtained from DNA testing shall be confidential. Except upon order of the court, a DNA profile and all results or other information obtained from DNA testing shall only be released to any of the following, under such terms and conditions as may be set forth by the court:

(a) Person from whom the sample was taken;
(b) Lawyers representing parties in the case or action where the DNA evidence is offered and presented or sought to be offered and presented;
(c) Lawyers of private complainants in a criminal action;
(d) Duly authorized law enforcement agencies; and
(e) Other persons as determined by the court.

Whoever discloses, utilizes or publishes in any form any information concerning a DNA profile without the proper court order shall be liable for indirect contempt of the court wherein such DNA evidence was offered, presented or sought to be offered and presented.

Where the person from whom the biological sample was taken files a written verified request to the court that allowed the DNA testing for the disclosure of the DNA profile of the person and all results or other information obtained from the DNA testing, the same may be disclosed to the persons named in the written verified request.

SEC. 12. Preservation of DNA Evidence. — The trial court shall preserve the DNA evidence in its totality, including all biological samples, DNA profiles and results or other genetic information obtained from DNA testing. For this purpose, the court may order the appropriate government agency to preserve the DNA evidence as follows:

(a) In criminal cases:

i. for not less than the period of time that any person is under trial for an offense; or,
ii. in case the accused is serving sentence, until such time as the accused has served his sentence;
and

(b) In all other cases, until such time as the decision in the case where the DNA evidence was introduced has become final and executory.

The court may allow the physical destruction of a biological sample before the expiration of the periods set forth above, provided that:

(a) A court order to that effect has been secured; or
(b) The person from whom the DNA sample was obtained has consented in writing to the disposal of the DNA evidence.

SEC. 13. Applicability to Pending Cases. — Except as provided in Sections 6 and 10 hereof, this Rule shall apply to cases pending at the time of its effectivity.

SEC. 14. Effectivity.—This Rule shall take effect on October 15, 2007, following publication in a newspaper of general circulation.

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