U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Forensic DNA Evidence and the Death Penalty in the Philippines

NCJ Number
Forensic Science International: Genetics Volume: 2 Issue: 4 Dated: September 2008 Pages: 329-332
M.C.A. De Ungria; M. S. Sagum; G. C. Calacal; F. C. Delfin; K. A. Tabbada; M.R.M. Dalet; T. O. Te; J. I. Diokno; M.S.I. Diokno; C. A. Asplen
Date Published
September 2008
4 pages
This paper reports the results of the first postconviction DNA test using 16 short tandem repeat (STR) DNA markers in a mandatory capital case (People V. Reynaldo de Villa, involving “criminal paternity“) since the Philippines reinstated the death penalty in 1994 after being the first Asian country to abolish it in 1987.
The testing found that DNA profiles in 16 autonomic STR DNA markers of the convicted appellant and the child victim showed 6 mismatches, which supported de Villa’s testimony that he was not the father of his niece’s child. Still, the petition for habeas corpus and motion for a new trial was denied with finality by the Philippines Supreme Court for “lack of merit.” The complete case records, including the DNA test results, were sent to the agency that recommends clemency to the President of the Philippines; and in 2005, the President pardoned de Villa. In June 2006, due to the increasing amount of information available on the problems of the criminal justice system and the implementation of the death penalty in the Philippines, the President signed Republic Act 9346, which once again abolished the death penalty in the Philippines. In 2007, the Supreme Court approved En Banc the new rules on DNA evidence, which included a section on postconviction DNA testing. In the same year, the Supreme Court remanded a criminal paternity case to the trial court for the presentation of DNA evidence in order to evaluate the paternity of a child conceived because of an alleged rape. This study shows the significant role of DNA technology in spurring change within the Philippine criminal justice system, so as to ensure that relevant objective scientific evidence is presented at trial or at postconviction proceedings when it is not available at the time of the trial. 1 table and 11 references