dying declaration

Dying Declaration
The ante mortem statements made by a person after the mortal
wound has been inflicted under the belief that the death is
certain, stating the fact concerning the cause of and the
circumstances surrounding the attack.

When Applicable
It applies to any case where the death of the declarant is the
subject of the inquiry.

1. That the death is imminent and the declarant is conscious
   of such fact
2. That the declaration refers to the cause and the surrounding
   circumstances of such death
3. That the declaration refers to the facts which the victim
   is competent to testify to
4. That the declaration is offered in a case wherein the
   declarant’s death is subject of the inquiry (the victim
   necessarily must have died)
5. That the statement must be complete in itself.
   (People vs. De Joya, 203 SCRA 343).

Reason For Its Admission
1. Necessity – because the declarant’s death renders
   impossible his taking the witness stand
2. Trustworthiness – at the point of death, every motive for
   falsehood is silenced. The mind is induced by the most
   powerful consideration to speak the truth.

Determination Of Consciousness Of Impending Death:
1. Utterances
2. Circumstances – that at the time of the making of the
   declaration, the declarant did not expect to survive the
   injury from which he actually died
3. Actual character and seriousness of his wounds
4. By his conduct.

A dying declaration may be oral or written or made by signs
which could be interpreted and testified to by a witness

There must be settled, hopeless expectation that death is at
hand. It is sufficient that he believed himself in imminent
danger of death at the time of such declaration.

Dying declarations favorable to the accused are admissible.

Dying declarations may also be regarded as part of the res
gestae as they were made soon after the startling occurrence
without the opportunity for fabrication or concoction.

Dying declaration is NOT considered as a confidential
communication between the spouses.

A dying declaration may be attacked on the ground that any of
the requisites for its admissibility are not present and the
same may be impeached in the same manner as the testimony of
any of the witness on the stand.

Explain the concept of dying declaration as an exception to
the hearsay rule.
a. The declaration of a dying person,
b. Made under consciousness of an impending death,
c. May be received in any case wherein his death is the
   subject of inquiry,
d. As evidence of the cause and surrounding circumstances of
   such death.

Requisites of ante-mortem statement:
a. It must concern any case involved in and the circumstances
   surrounding the declarant's death
b. At the time of the declaration, the declarant must be
   conscious of impending death
c. The declarant must be competent as a witness
d. The declaration must be offered in any case wherein the
   death of the declarant is the subject of inquiry and
e. The declarant actually died, otherwise, the declaration may
   be admitted as part of the res gestae and not as a dying

(People vs. Tanaman, et al., G.R. No. 71768, July 28, 1987)
Victim need not state that he has lost all hope of recovery.
It is sufficient that circumstances are such as to inevitably
lead to the conclusion that at the time the declaration was
made, the declarant would not expect to survive the injury
from which he actually died. The degree and seriousness of
the wounds and the fact that death supervened thereafter
constitute substantial evidence of the victim's consciousness
of his impending death.

Dying declaration has weight even if declarant did not die
immediately after his declaration:

The fact that the declarant died four (4) hours after his
statement does not diminish the probative value of the dying
declaration since it is not indispensable that the a declarant
expires immediately thereafter.

It is the belief of impending death and not the rapid succession
of death that renders the dying declaration admissible.
(People v. Bautista, G.R. No. 111149, prom. September 5, 1997)

Mere gesture of dying victim inconclusive: The gesture of a
dying woman in pointing to a direction, when asked for the
identity of her assailant, is too vague to be given such
probative value in determining the culpability of the accused.

REASON: Unlike an oral or a written declaration, a simple
gesture of the hand unaccompanied by words, is open to various
interpretations by the witness who testifies To its existence.
Thus, the evidence comes to the court couched in the witness'
second hand perception and possibly, imbued with his personal
meanings and biases. This is what makes hearsay evidence
objectionable. The second hand evidence is placed before the
court without the benefit of cross-examination by the party
against whom it is brought, nor of any other means of
assessing the competence and credibility of the source.
(People vs. Ola, G.R. No. L-47147, July 3, 1987)