Disqualification By Reason Of Mental Incapacity Or Immaturity
The following can not be witnesses:
1. Those whose mental conditions, at the time of their production for
examination, is such that they are incapable of intelligently
making known their perception to others.
2. Children whose mental maturity is such as to render them incapable
of perceiving the facts respecting which they are examined and
relating to them truthfully.
People vs. Salomon (1993)
A mental retarded is not for this reason alone disqualified from
being a witness.
Child Witness Rule (Sec.6, AM 00-4-07-SC)
Every child is presumed qualified to be a witness. However, the court
shall conduct a competency examination of a child, motu propio or on
motion of a party, when it finds that substantial doubt exists
regarding the ability of the child to perceive, remember, communicate,
distinguish truth from falsehood, or appreciate the duty to tell the
truth in court.
People vs. Mendoza (1996)
Requisites of competency of a child as witness:
1. Capacity of observation
2. Capacity of recollection
3. Capacity of communication
The qualifications and disqualifications of witnesses are determined as
of the time the said witnesses are produced for examination in court
or at the taking of their depositions.
With respect to children of tender years, their competence at the time
of the occurrence to be testified to should be taken into account,
especially if such event took place long before their production as
Unsound Mind - any mental aberration, whether organic or functional,
or induced by drugs or hypnosis.
Unsoundness of mind does not per se render a witness incompetent, one
may be medically insane but in law capable of giving competent
Lunatic or a person affected with insanity is admissible as a witness
if he has sufficient understanding to apprehend the obligation of an
oath and is capable of giving a correct account of the matters which
he has seen or heard with respect to the questions at issue.
If the witness is a lawful inmate of an asylum for the insane, he
will not be presumed to be competent and before he can testify his
competency should be made to appear by the party offering him. This
is because the insanity is presumed to continue as a mental state, if
it has once existed, until the contrary is shown.
Idiots are incompetent witnesses. They may be classed as insane
persons. An Idiot being one who has no understanding of his nativity,
the law presumes that he will never attain any.
However, it is not prudent to admit the interpretation of a teacher
if he cannot understand properly the signs given by the deaf-mute
who was not even his student.
Drunkenness does not per se disqualify a witness from testifying. The
point of inquiry is the moment of examination.
A witness is not rendered incompetent by the fact that he was under
the influence of a drug at the time of the occurrence as to which he
testifies, or at the time of giving his testimony.
Deaf-mutes are competent witnesses when:
1. They can understand and appreciate the sanctity of an oath
2. Can comprehend facts they are going to testify to and
3. Can communicate their ideas through a qualified interpreter.
In the case of a child witness, the court in determining his
competency must consider his capacity:
1. At the time the fact to be testified to occurred such that he
could received correct impressions thereof
2. To comprehend the obligation of an oath and
3. To relate those facts truly at the time he is offered as a witness.
The court should take into account his capacity for observation,
recollection and communication.
A child who witnessed the crime when he was 11 years old and testified
thereto when he was already 15, is a competent witness.
The intelligence of the child is the test of his competency and not
The court, not the judge as an individual, is to be satisfied of the
competency of the child.