Rules on DNA Evidence  apply  whenever DNA evidence is offered, used, or proposed to be offered or used as evidence in all criminal and...

Rules on DNA Evidence apply whenever DNA evidence is offered, used, or proposed to be offered or used as evidence in all criminal and civil actions as well as special proceedings (Sec. 1).  

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is the chain of molecules found in every nucleated cell of the body (Sec. 3, Rule on DNA Evidence).  It is the fundamental building block of a person’s entire genetic make-up, which is found in all human cells and is the same in every cell of the same person (People v. Umanito, G.R. No. 172607, Oct. 26, 2007).  

DNA evidence constitutes the totality of the DNA profiles, results and other genetic information directly generated from DNA testing of biological samples (Sec. 3).  

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) (Sec. 3).  

The scientific basis of this test comes from the fact that our differences as individuals are due to the differences in the composition of our genes. These genes comprise a chemical substance, the deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA [The Court Systems Journal (1999)]. 

With prior court order 
(1) The appropriate court may, at any time, either 
     (i) motu proprio or 
     (ii) on application of any person who has a legal interest in the matter in litigation, order a DNA testing. 
(2) 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 toDNA 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 of integrity of the DNA testing. (Sec. 4)

Without prior court order
DNA testing may be conducted absent a prior court order. The Rules on DNA Evidence does 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. 4).

An order granting the DNA testing is 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 (Sec. 5).  

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. 5).                                          

Factors in assessing the probative value of DNA evidence 
(1) Chain of custody 
     (a) How the biological samples were collected 
     (b) How they were handled 
     (c) Possibility of contamination 
(2) DNA testing methodology
     (a) Procedure followed in analyzing the samples
     (b) Advantages and disadvantages of the procedure scientifically standards in conducting the tests 
(3) Forensic DNA laboratory valid
     (a) Accreditation by any reputable standardssetting institution 
     (b) Qualification of the analyst who conducted the tests
     (c) If not accredited, relevant experience of the laboratory in forensic work and its credibility (4) Reliability of the testing result (Sec. 7)

Vallejo Standard In assessing the probative value of DNA evidence, courts should consider the following: 
(a) How the samples were collected 
(b) How they were handled 
(c) The possibility of contamination of the samples 
(d) The procedure followed in analyzing the samples, whether the proper standards and procedures were followed
(e) Qualification of the analyst who conducted the tests

If a DNA test was conducted, the following are possible results that it may yield:
1. The samples are similar, and could have originated from the same source (Rule of Inclusion). In such a case, the analyst proceeds to determine the statistical significance of the similarity. 
2. The samples are different hence it must have originated from different sources (Rule of Exclusion). This conclusion is absolute and requires no further analysis; 
3. The test is inconclusive. This might occur due to degradation, contamination, failure of some aspect of protocol, or some other reasons. Analysis might be repeated to obtain a more conclusive result (People v. Vallejo, G.R. No. 144656, May 9, 2002).  

Factors that determine the reliability of the DNA Testing Methodology
(1) Falsifiability of the principles or methods used 
(2) Subject to peer review and publication of the principles or methods 
(3) General acceptance of the principles or methods by the scientific community 
(4) Existence and maintenance of standards and controls to ensure the correctness of data generated 
(5) Existence of an appropriate reference population database 
(6) General degree of confidence attributed to mathematical calculations used in comparing DNA profiles  
(7) Significance and limitation of statistical calculations used in comparing DNA profiles 

In evaluating DNA testing results, courts should consider the following:
1. The evaluation of the weight of matching DNA evidence or the relevance of mismatching DNA evidence; 
2. The results of the DNA testing in the light of the totality of the other evidence presented in the case; and 
3. DNA results that exclude the putative parent from paternity shall be conclusive proof of non-paternity (Sec. 9).  

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.  

Requisites for the applicability of the Post-conviction DNA testing:
1. Existing biological sample;  
2. Such sample is relevant to the case; and  
3. The testing would probably result in the reversal or modification of the judgment of conviction (Sec. 6).  

Remedy if Results Favorable to the Convict 
Convict or the prosecution may file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the court of origin, CA or SC or any member of said courts.

General Rule: If the court, after due hearing, finds the petition meritorious, it shall reverse or modify the judgment of conviction and order the release of the convict.
Exception: If continued detention is justified for a lawful cause. (Sec. 10)
DISCLAIMER: The author is not lawyer nor an authority on this topic. It is a product of humble research and study of law. The information provided is not a legal advice and it should not be used  as a substitute for a competent legal advice from a licensed lawyer.

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