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Navarro v. CA, GR 121087 (1999)
Two local media men, Stanley Jalbuena, Enrique Lingan, in Lucena City went to the police station to report alledged indecent show in one of the night establishment shows in the City. At the station, a heated confrontation followed between victim Lingan and accused policeman Navarro who was then having drinks outside the headquarters, lead to a fisticuffs. The victim was hit with the handle of the accused's gun below the left eyebrow, followed by a fist blow, resulted the victim to fell and died under treatment. The exchange of words was recorded on tape, specifically the frantic exclamations made by Navarro after the altercation that it was the victim who provoked the fight. During the trial, Jalbuena, the other media man , testified. Presented in evidence to confirm his testimony was a voice recording he had made of the heated discussion at the police station between the accused police officer Navarro and the deceased, Lingan, which was taken without the knowledge of the two.
Whether or not the voice recording is admissible in evidence in view of RA 4200, which prohibits wire tapping.
Yes. The answer is affirmative, the tape is admissible in view of RA 4200, which prohibits wire tapping. Jalbuena's testimony is confirmed by the voice recording he had made.
The law provides:
SECTION 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, not being authorized by all the parties to any private communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other device or arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record such communication or spoken word by using a device commonly known as a dicta-phone or dictagraph or detectaphone or walkie- talkie or tape-recorder, or however otherwise described:
It shall also be unlawful for any person, be he a participant or not in the act or acts penalized in the next preceding sentence, to knowingly possess any tape record, wire record, disc record, or any other such record, or copies thereof, of any communication or spoken word secured either before or after the effective date of this Act in the manner prohibited by this law; or to replay the same for any other person or persons; or to communicate the contents thereof, either verbally or in writing, or to furnish transcriptions thereof, whether complete or partial, to any other person: Provided, That the use of such record or any copies thereof as evidence in any civil, criminal investigation or trial of offenses mentioned in section 3 hereof, shall not be covered by this prohibition.
SEC. 4. Any communication or spoken word, or the existence, contents, substance, purport, effect, or meaning of the same or any part thereof, or any information therein contained obtained or secured by any person in violation of the preceding sections of this Act shall not be admissible in evidence in any judicial, quasi- judicial, legislative or administrative hearing or investigation.
Thus, the law prohibits the overhearing, intercepting, or recording of private communications. Since the exchange between petitioner Navarro and Lingan was not private, its tape recording is not prohibited.
Nor is there any question that it was duly authenticated. A voice recording is authenticated by the testimony of a witness (1) that he personally recorded the conversation; (2) that the tape played in court was the one he recorded; and (3) that the voices on the tape are those of the persons such are claimed to belong. In the instant case, Jalbuena testified that he personally made the voice recording; that the tape played in court was the one he recorded; and that the speakers on the tape were petitioner Navarro and Lingan. A sufficient foundation was thus laid for the authentication of the tape presented by the prosecution.