Blog Lecture No. 40: Modus Operandi

With the allegations of a grand conspiracy to manipulate the impeachment proceedings, this lecture may be appropriate. But short.

What is the rule on past actions as evidence?

Section 34, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Evidence states:

Sec. 34 Similar acts as evidence. — Evidence that one did or did not do a certain thing at one time is not admissible to prove that he did or did not do the same or similar thing at another time; but it may be received to prove a specific intent or knowledge; identity, plan, system, scheme, habit, custom or usage, and the like.

So as a general rule past actions cannot be used to prove present actions.

That is logical. Just because you did (or did not do) something in the past does not necessarily mean you did (or did not do) something again.

Couple with additional evidence, however, of:

1. Specific intent or knowlege
2. Identity (signature trait as in serial crimes)
3. Plan (independent of the acts)
4. Scheme
5. Habit
6. Custom or usage
7. Similar matters

The past action may be admissible to prove present action because it just accentuates something being done (or not done) with a sense of regularity or habituality.

Any questions?


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