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Parol Evidence Rule

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Parol Evidence Rule
Evidence of Written Agreements







Parol Evidence:
Any evidence aliunde, whether oral or written, which is intended or
tends to vary or contradict a complete and enforceable agreement
embodied in a document.

General Rule:
When the terms of an agreement have been reduced to writing, it is to
be considered as containing all the terms agreed upon and there can
be, between the parties and their successors in interest, no evidence
of such terms other than the contents of the written agreement.

Exception:
A Party may present evidence to modify, explain or add to the terms
of the written agreement if he puts in issue in his pleading any of
the following:
   a. An intrinsic ambiguity, mistake or imperfection in the written
      agreement
   b. The failure of the written agreement to express the true intent
      and agreement of the parties thereto
   c. The validity of the written agreement
   d. The existence of other terms agreed to by the parties or their
      successors in interest after the execution of the written
      agreement

      The term “agreement” includes wills.

The parol evidence rule is based upon the consideration that when
the parties have reduced their agreement on a particular matter
into writing, all their previous and contemporaneous agreements on
the matter are merged therein, hence evidence of a prior or
contemporaneous verbal agreement is generally not admissible to
vary, contradict, or defeat the operation of a valid document.

Formerly, even if there was a written agreement on a particular
subject matter, the parol evidence rule did not apply to or bar
evidence of a collateral agreement between the same parties on the
same or related subject matter, in the ff instances:
1. Where the collateral agreement is not inconsistent with the
   terms of the written contract
2. Where the collateral agreement has not been integrated in and is
   independent of the written contract as where it is suppletory to
   the original contract
3. Where the collateral agreement is subsequent to or novatory of
   the written contract
4. Where the collateral agreement constitutes a condition precedent
   which determines whether the written contract may become operative
   or effective, but this exception shall not apply to a condition
   subsequent not stated in the agreement

Parol evidence rule does not apply, and may not properly be invoked
by either party to the litigation against the other, where at least
one party to the suit is not a party or privy to the written
instrument in question and does not base a claim or assert a right
originating in the instrument or the relation established thereby.

PNB vs. Seeto 1952
The Parol Evidence Rule does not apply to collateral agreements.

Pioneer Savings vs. CA
The rule does not apply to exclude evidence of conditions subsequent
in a deed of sale where such conditions were not stated in the
agreement.

Woodhouse vs. Halili 1953
It also does not apply if the issue revolves around fraud and false
representation since they are incidental to the execution and not
to the integration.

Lechugas vs. CA 1986
It does not apply either when 3rd parties are involved.

Ortañez v. CA 1997
The exceptions to the Parol Evidence Rule must be squarely put
in issue.

1997 Bar Examination
Give the reasons underlying the adoption of the following rules of
evidence:
a) Dead Man Rule
b) Parol Evidence Rule
c) Best Evidence Rule
d) The rule against the admission of illegally obtained extrajudicial
    confession
e) The rule against the admission of an offer of compromise in civil
    cases

    Suggested Answer:
    b) Parol Evidence Rule
       It is designed to give certainty to a transaction which has
       been reduced to writing, because written evidence is much
       more certain and accurate than that which rests on fleeting
       memory only.

2001 Bar Examination
Pedro filed a complaint against Lucio for the recovery of a sum of
money based on a promissory note executed by Lucio. In his complaint,
Pedro alleged that although the promissory note says that it is
payable within 120 days, the truth is that the note is payable
immediately after 90 days but that if Pedro is willing, he may, upon
request of Lucio give the latter up to 120 days to pay the note.
During the hearing, Pedro testified that the truth is that the
agreement between him and Lucio is for the latter to pay immediately
after ninety day’s time. Also, since the original note was with Lucio
and the latter would not surrender to Pedro the original note which
Lucio kept in a place about one day’s trip from where he received the
notice to produce the note and in spite of such notice to produce the
same within six hours from receipt of such notice, Lucio failed to do
so. Pedro presented a copy of the note which was executed at the same
time as the original and with identical contents.

      a) Over the objection of Lucio, will Pedro be allowed to
         testify as to the true agreement or contents of the
         promissory note? Why? (2%)

      b) Over the objection of Lucio, can Pedro present a copy of the
         promissory note and have it admitted as valid evidence in his
         favor? Why? (3%)

      Suggested Answers:
      a) Yes, because Pedro has alleged in his complaint that the
         promissory note does not express the true intent and
         agreement of the parties. This is an exception to the parol
         evidence rule.

      b) Yes, the copy in the possession of Pedro is a duplicate
         original and with identical contents. [Sec. 4(b) of Rule 130.
         Moreover, the failure of Lucio to produce the original of
         the note is excusable because he was not given reasonable
         notice, as requirement under the Rules before secondary
         evidence may be presented.

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Bigwas

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