Exploring Frontiers in Electronic Evidence: The Philippine Experience
This paper is the first formal empirical study on electronic evidence (EE) since the promulgation of Rules on Electronic Evidence (REE) by the Philippine Supreme Court in 2001. A basic qualitative research design was employed in the study. A total of 29 litigation lawyers and 13 trial judges from the Province of Cavite and the National Capital Region were the participants in the study. A qualitative survey questionnaire was used to gather data from the participants through Google Docs. Results showed that EE was more commonly presented in criminal cases, a few in civil cases, and none in quasi-judicial and administrative cases. Text messages were found to be the most frequently presented EE at trial. Results further revealed three major themes such as (1) admissibility of EE, (2) authentication of EE, and (3) suggestions on the implementation of REE. The vagueness of REE provisions on the admissibility of electronic evidence results in varying interpretations of judges, which ultimately affect their appreciation of the evidence presented at a trial. The present empirical study would indeed contribute to the scholarly discourse of electronic evidence showcasing the Philippine experience.