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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 123997 January 20, 1999
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
SANDIGANBAYAN and BRIG. GEN. PEDRO R. BALBANERO, respondents.

BELLOSILLO, J.:
This case emphasizes with great force the awesome responsibility of counsel to
represent a client's cause with due diligence and zeal which necessarily excludes
improvident and unreasonable requests for postponement of hearings that only serve to
impede the speedy and inexpensive administration of justice.
The Republic of the Philippines, in this special civil action for certiorari, mandamus and
prohibition, assails the Order of the Sandiganbayan, First Division, dated 19 October
1995, in "Republic of the Philippines v. Brig. Gen Balbanero," Civil Case No. 0053,
denying petitioner's oral motion for postponement of the 19 and 20 October 1995
hearings and requiring it instead to submit a written offer of evidence, as well as the
Resolution of 3 January 1996 denying reconsideration thereof. Petitioner therefore
prays that it be allowed to present documentary and testimonial evidence in a formal
trial and that public respondent be prevented from conducting further proceedings
pursuant to its questioned Orders.
Civil Case No. 0053 is an action for forfeiture under RA No. 1379 1 instituted on 14
October 1988 by the Republic of the Philippines against retired Brig. Gen. Pedro R.
Balbanero alleging that the latter acquired funds, real properties and other assets
amounting to P10.5 million manifestly out of proportion to his total salary and
emoluments as an Army Officer and as income from business and other legitimately
acquired properties.
On 22 March 1989 private respondent filed his answer with counterclaim to which the
Republic filed a reply with motion to dismiss counterclaim. After the submission by
private respondent of documentary evidence and in view of the manifestation of Solicitor
Felipe Magat, Colonel Ernesto Punzalan and Captain Samuel Padilla of the AFP AntiGraft Board representing the Government that P8.4 million of the alleged over P10
million unexplained wealth had been clarified, the Sandiganbayan in its Order dated 19

February 1990 required private respondent to prove the legal source of the remaining
"P1.3 million." The parties were required to meet to resolve the matter before trial. On
the basis of a "Complete Report" dated 2 August 1990 submitted by Capt. Padilla, the
amount of respondent's wealth deemed to be still unexplained dwindled to P165,043.00.
Thus the OSG in behalf of petitioner asked that a decision be rendered forfeiting the
amount in its favor.
To prove the legal source of the remaining P165,043.00, private respondent submitted a
document titled "Real Estate Mortgage Loan" purporting to show that the amount was
the purchase price he received for real estate sold to Ms. Iluminada S. Salvador et al.
when he failed to pay his mortgage indebtedness. In his Manifestation and Motion dated
7 December 1990 private respondent moved that the complaint against him be
dismissed on the ground that he had explained to the government's satisfaction the
legal source of all his alleged unexplained wealth.
In its answer to the foregoing Manifestation and Motion the Presidential Commission on
Good Government (PCGG) denied that private respondent had satisfactorily explained
the legitimate source of his wealth and added that the "Complete Report" submitted by
the AFP Anti-Graft Board was without its approval, hence, did not bind the Republic.
On 28 June 1991, without resolving private respondent's Manifestation and Motion of 7
December 1990, public respondent Sandiganbayan allowed the Republic to present oral
and documentary evidence to support its complaint for forfeiture.
On 7 June 1994 private respondent moved that petitioner be bound by the Solicitor
General's previous admission that only P165,043.00 had not been satisfactorily
explained, hence, the remaining issue to be resolved by the Sandiganbayan should be
limited to the amount. But Sandiganbayan denied the motion. Hence, on 3 May 1995
private respondent elevated the matter to this Court by way of a petition for certiorari,
prohibition and mandamus in "Pedro R. Balbanero v. the Hon. Sandiganbayan and the
Republic of the Philippines," docketed as G.R. No. 119633.
In view of the pendency of his petition, private respondent moved that the hearings on
18, 19 and 20 October 1995 be canceled and that no further schedule be set. Public
respondent denied the cancellation unless a restraining order was issued by this Court
in G.R. No. 119633, citing petitioner's readiness to present on the scheduled hearings
Major Samuel Padilla (earlier referred to as Captain Padilla) who purportedly conducted
the audit examination of the accounts of private respondent.
Upon urgent motion dated 5 October 1995 the Sandiganbayan granted private
respondent's request for cancellation of the 18 October 1995 hearing on the allegation
that his counsel was scheduled to attend an election case before the RTC of Gapan,
Nueva Ecija, but stressing that the cancellation was without prejudice to the settings on
19 and 20 October 1995. 2

Jaso . Petitioner moved that this Order be reconsidered and that it be allowed to present evidence in a formal trial. Solicitor Rodolfo Reodica had been appearing until suddenly at the hearing on May 10. .. Miranda had been designated in their stead. . now docketed as G. because of this (sic) reassignments relying on the postponement to be granted by this Court. no witness had appeared allegedly upon advice of Associate Solicitor Tagapan precisely. . In view hereof. . de la Cruz and Solicitor Karl B. . while the petitioner Republic appeared through Associate Solicitor Rodolfo Tagapan together with Atty. . .On 19 October 1995 Associate Solicitor Rodolfo Tagapan. . while Atty. the petitioner's earlier repeated failure to proceed . since the latter two were in the United Arab Emirates attending to the case of convicted Filipina overseas contract worker Sarah Balabagan. 119633. Associate Solicitor Tagapan asked that the hearing be reset. . . However. therefore. notwithstanding the pendency of a petition for certiorari.R. . . 1995. . but that Solicitor Miranda was . . from this case and in his stead Solicitor Karl B. The setting for tomorrow is necessarily cancelled under the circumstances. and was. and Assistant Solicitor General Cesario del Rosario manifested during the hearing that they had been relieved from the case and that ASG Romeo C. . . . in Abu Dhabi on official mission. Associate Solicitor. The petition for postponement was granted . . said petition . prohibition and mandamus already filed by the respondent to dispute a prior denial of his motion to dismiss by reason of . . . This case had been pending not only for a very long time but despite many false starts from the petitioner. the Court is faced with the situation as above stated. . 1995 Associate Solicitor Tagapan appeared and had expressed his unreadiness to proceed at that time. . to which the Sandiganbayan reacted adversely with its now assailed Order of 19 October 1995 which we quote hereunder for a better appreciation of the factual milieu — When this case was called for hearing . No. informed this Court that this was his first appearance . . Tagapan informed the Court that he would be ready to present Major Samuel Padilla on October 18. Miranda had been designated . . respondent appeared . Additionally. . Jr. 1995 . Associate Solicitor Tagapan informed the Court that he had been relieved . Today. 19 and 20. Cresencio Jaso of the PCGG. While indeed the Court has reacted negatively to the difficult situations created by the assignment of young Solicitors such as Solicitor Reodica now Solicitor Tagapan on short notice. The motion was denied by public respondent in its assailed Resolution of 3 January 1996 thus — . . the petitioner is given ten (10) days from today within which to formally offer whatever evidence exist (sic) on record with the respondent being given a like period to comment thereon and to state his disposition on this matter with respect to the presentation of his own evidence. the Court can not accept a rotation of young and inexperienced Solicitors who are uninformed of the details of this case by reason of their assignment on short notice as reasons for postponing this case on top of their informal complaints of lack of cooperation from or coordination with the PCGG much less can the Court accept the last minute substitutions of Solicitors with others who are not in this country. not ready to be of assistance. On September 22. . over the objection of the respondent.

Plainly stated.The "MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION" dated 7 December 1995 of the Plaintiff is Denied. to lawyers of the Office of the Solicitor General who are not even in the country at the time of the setting neither responds to the problem nor demonstrates appropriate concern for the case. Private respondent's Comment and petitioner's Reply thereto were noted on 8 July 1996 and 4 February 1998. the practice has demonstrated an apparent low regard of Solicitors and Assistant Solicitors General for many "PCGG cases. more than anything. is not cured by transferring a long standing case to probably experienced lawyers who are not available and on short notice. The point of this Court's impatience on the transferring of cases to inexperienced lawyers on short notice is that cases are unduly delayed and. in fact. actually "dumping" of certain cases such as these to a succession of young inexperienced lawyers on short notice. On 17 April 1996 we required respondents to file their respective comments on the petition without granting the TRO sought by petitioner. prejudiced by the inexperienced. prohibition and mandamus. Hence. Counsel contends that the reasons given for the requested resettings of the 19 and 20 October 1995 hearings were meritorious grounds which were not intended to delay the case nor violate private respondent's right to a speedy trial. This. The OSG further contends that public respondent should not have taken against the Republic the fact that Major Samuel Padilla was indisposed on the day of the hearing as it was a circumstance beyond its control while the re-assignment of the case to Solicitor Miranda and Atty. with or without the offer. this special civil action for certiorari. however. Jaso was effected only in response to public respondent's plaintive about the assignment of the case to young and untrained solicitors. perhaps. The petitioner is given fifteen (15) days to submit its written offer of evidence after which the case of the plaintiff will be deemed submitted. the issue before us is whether public respondent Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion in denying the Republic's oral motion for postponement of the 19 and 20 October 1995 hearings and in requiring it to just formally offer its evidence within fifteen (15) days from notice. . which has suffered long and innumerable postponements attributable to plaintiff." Assigning this case. The QSG contends that the Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion when it deprived the Republic of its right to present evidence in a full-blown hearing amounting to a violation of its right to due process. On 6 July 1998 we considered this case submitted for decision without public respondent's comment when it failed to file the required pleading for more than two (2) years from the time it was first required to do so and despite our Resolution of 4 February 1998 reiterating our Resolution of 17 April 1996. It is true that this Court expressed its impatience and disapproval over the practice of the Office of the Solicitor General of passing on. respectively.

2 of which provides that "[a]ll motions shall be in writing except motions for continuance made in the presence of the adverse party. on 13 October 1995 when public respondent Sandiganbayan canceled the 18 October hearing. Solicitor Tagapan appeared only to manifest that he had just been relieved from the case and that other solicitors were assigned to take over but unfortunately they were not then available. Petitioner failed to show such patent and grave abuse of discretion on the part of public respondent in denying its oral motion for postponement. it has not been shown that some other urgent circumstance prompted the re-assignment to justify the OSG's non-compliance with the requisites of motions in general set out in Rule 15 7 of the Rules of Court 8 Sec. 6 However. worse. 5 In addition. or those made in the course of a hearing or trial. Records show that the 18. Furthermore.It is well-settled that motions for continuance or deferment of hearings are granted only upon meritorious grounds 3 and that the grant or denial thereof is addressed to the sound discretion of the court 4 the exercise of which will not be disturbed except on a showing of a patent and grave abuse of discretion. thus avoiding inconvenience to the adverse party." A motion for postponement should not be filed at the last hour 9 and that judges are cautioned against granting improvident postponements. an opportunity to study the case. it cautioned the parties that such cancellation was without prejudice to the settings on 19 and 20 October 1995. it is proper for the court to deny postponement. on 19 October 1995. apparently expecting that public respondent would just benevolently grant its precipitate oral motion for postponement. or on 10 May 1995. public respondent's factual conclusion to which this Court is bound in a certiorari proceeding is that no witness appeared allegedly upon advice of Associate Solicitor Tagapan relying on the postponement to be granted by public respondent precisely because of the reassignment of solicitors. But a careful reading of the questioned Order of 19 October 1995 shows that public respondent objected not so much on the assignment of the case to young and inexperienced solicitors but that such re-assignment was done on short notice and very close to the date of scheduled hearings. 11 What exacerbates the case for the OSG is the fact that it appeared in the 19 October 1995 hearing without its promised witness. to solicitors who were not even present. 10 Thus when the reason adduced in support of a motion for postponement was not unavoidable or could have been foreseen but was presented only on the day of the trial although there was no apparent reason why it could not have been presented earlier. who appeared for the first time vice Solicitor Reodica. The excuse given by the OSG completely failed to justify why the reassignment had to be done so near to the scheduled hearing of 19 October 1995 and. The OSG explains that the re-assignment was effected in response to public respondent's complaint about the assignment of many PCGG cases to young and inexperienced solicitors. 19 and 20 October hearings were scheduled some five (5) months earlier. While the OSG now claims that Major Padilla was "indisposed" for which reason he was not presented. 12 . for several reasons among which was to give Associate Solicitor Tagapan of the OSG.

to just formally offer its evidence within fifteen (15) days from notice. JJ.1âwphi1. .The rule that a party asking for postponement has absolutely no right to assume that its motion would be granted. 1990.. p. . 2 Petition.nêt Footnotes 1 An Act Declaring Forfeiture in Favor of the State Any Property Found to have been Unlawfully Acquired by any Public Officer or Employee and Providing for the Proceedings therefor. precisely by reason of the unorganized state of evidence of the petitioner at the time so that all of the proceedings thereafter had been precisely to clarify and organize whatever evidence the parties might have thereon. Quisumbing and Buena. indifference to and neglect of duty in assuming that public respondent would grant its oral motion for postponement. No. Puno. instead. especially on less than three (3) days' notice. 20. and must be in court prepared on the day of the hearing 13 applies with greater force in this case where the OSG had in fact more reason not to presume a grant of its motion for postponement considering that Major (formerly Captain) Samuel Padilla had already been previously warned by public respondent thus — Capt. Petitioner is not guilty of abuse of discretion. coming to court unprepared and without a witness. 459. is AFFIRMED. Padilla resulting to his failure to appear in Court today. much less grave. concur. nor can it be charged by petitioner with denial of due process. 3 Padua v. Ericta. Hence public respondent was well within its authority to deny the Republic's oral motion for postponement of the hearings set on 19 and 20 October 1995 and require it. L-38570. Samuel Padilla is given five (5) days from receipt hereof to show why he should not be held disciplinarily accountable for his failure to appear . presumptiousness. The questioned Order of public respondent Sandiganbayan dated 19 October 1995 denying the oral motion of petitioner Republic of the Philippines for the postponement of the 19 and 20 October 1995 hearings as well as the Resolution dated 3 January 1996 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration. . p. the instant petition for certiorari. Rollo. 15 WHEREFORE. 14 Under the circumstances. prohibition and mandamus is DENIED. 19. It is a cause of great wonder to the Court what urgent meeting could have befallen Capt. it cannot rightly be said that the OSG was not guilty of inexcusable carelessness. when he knew as a matter of fact that this case wherein he appears to be the principal government witness has been pending since 1988 and that his testimony was suspended as far back as February 15. 161 SCRA 458. 24 May 1988. SO ORDERED. Mendoza.

SANTIAGO. The Lawphil Project . Inc. 689. Patriarca. 31 May 1961. 7 August 1991. TANTOCO. Belstar Transportation. G. 5 See Order dated 10 May 1995. Hon. Rollo. 23 May 1961. 2 SCRA 68. L-48324. v. BIENVENIDO R. No. JR. 356. 200 SCRA 350. 692. 257. A. petitioner. p. Gumayan. 1991 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES (PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT). Board of Transportation. 4 May 1968. 59. Tan. 22 January 1996. L-21743.. SANDIGANBAYAN. 10 Hernandez v. 9 Cañete v. No. 7 As now amended by the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. vs. Rollo. Rollo. Court of Tax Appeals.M. No. 1. 8 Agravante v. 213. p. 12 September 1974. RTJ-93-1064. Philippine Milling Co. 59 SCRA 110.Arellano Law Foundation Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. No. 92 Phil. 12 Order dated 19 October 1995. Inc. G. 6 See Note 2. Judge. 14 Order dated 19 May 1994. Court of First Instance of Zamboanga de Sur. . 14 March 1990. 181 SCRA 209. 81768.R.. p. 90478 November 21. 13 Republic v. No. No. L-47663. 252 SCRA 64. p. Remorosa. 183 SCRA 113. 11 Hap Hong Hardware Co. citing Sarreal v. De Guzman. 15 See Auyong Hian v. 119. L-16778. 37.4 People v. No. 23 SCRA 543. No.R. L-28782. 2 SCRA 580. 22 January 1990. L-16780.R. No. No. respondents. and DOMINADOR R. v. 119633.

1988. Sr. Also denied was the PCGG's motion to strike out impertinent pleading dated February 9. The case was commenced on July 21. 1988. Tantoco.:p Private respondents Bienvenido R. 0008 of the Sandiganbayan. Bienvenido R. jointly filed a "MOTION TO STRIKE OUT SOME PORTIONS OF THE COMPLAINT AND FOR BILL OF PARTICULARS OF OTHER PORTIONS" dated Nov. "queer. Tantoco and Santiago reiterated their motion for bill of particulars. 1 The PCGG filed an opposition thereto. 1988. Santiago for and in his own behalf and as counsel for respondent Tantoco. 1987. Tantoco. Jr. 8 As this expanded complaint. The complaint which initiated the action was denominated one "for reconveyance. 1988. Ramon Diaz. who verified the complaint) who approved or authorized the inclusion of Messrs. accounting. J. Marcos. Aquino. Tantoco. holding them to be without legal and factual basis. for bill of particulars. the PCGG filed an Expanded Complaint. 1988. Jr. 1988. and Maria Lourdes Tantoco-Pineda-are defendants in Civil Case No. and Dominador R. a reply to the opposition. and for leave to file interrogatories." and was avowedly filed pursuant to Executive Order No. The Sandiganbayan declared inter alia the complaint to be "sufficiently definite and clear enough. Jr. Santiago as defendants in the . Imelda R. 1988 to strike out said motion and interrogatories as being impertinent. in compliance with the Order of January 29. which clearly portray the supposed involvement and/or alleged participation of defendants-movants in the transactions described in detail in said .. . 1987 by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) in behalf of the Republic of the Philippines. gave the PCGG forty-five (45) days to expand its complaint to make more specific certain allegations. and Santiago. 14 of President Corazon C." 5 Basically. Hon. and Dominador R. 9 Afterwards. instead of filing their answer. 3 By order dated January 29. 3. the Sandiganbayan. 4 Tantoco and Santiago then presented a "motion for leave to file interrogatories under Rule 25 of the Rules of Court" dated February 1. by Resolution dated July 4. impertinent and irrelevant under any guise. Bienvenido R. 1988. restitution and damages. and "Interrogatories under Rule 25." there are adequate allegations . case?" 6 The PCGG responded by filing a motion dated February 9. 10 the Sandiganbayan denied the motion to strike out. reversion. Gliceria R." 7 On March 18. Santiago — together with Ferdinand E." or "procedurally bizarre as the purpose thereof lacks merit as it is improper. After having been served with summons. Jr. . NARVASA. Marcos. in order to expedite proceedings and accommodate the defendants." "weird.Dominador R. 2 and the movants. Tantoco. through a Manifestation dated April 11. Tantoco. they sought an answer to the question: "Who were the Commissioners of the PCGG (aside from its Chairman.

Complaint. 1989. is it plaintiff's position or theory of the case that Tourist Duty Free Shops. Marcos? On the other hand. (the same). the motion for production and inspection of documents prayed for examination and copying of— 1) the "official records and other evidence" on the basis of which the verification of the Amended Complaint asserted that the allegations thereof are "true and correct. and Santiago for being ill-gotten? 3. 13 On July 25." and "the other matters sought for particularization are evidentiary in nature which should be ventilated in the pre-trial or trial proper . In connection with . . Jr. . . Jr. and Santiago . as well as. paragraph 15(c) . Inc. including all the assets of said corporation. and all other parties were required to submit pre-trial briefs on or before that date. as— 1.. the PCGG submitted its PRE-TRIAL.. an "Amended Interrogatories to Plaintiff"' 17 as well as a Motion for Production and Inspection of Documents. 1989. were committed by said defendants as part. 1989. . (absent) any special or extraordinary circumstances . the PCGG presented a "Reply to Answer with Motion to Dismiss Compulsory Counterclaim " 12 The case was set for pre-trial on July 31. Jr." It also opined that "(s)ervice of interrogatories before joinder of issue and without leave of court is premature . what specific property or properties does the plaintiff claim it has the right to recover from defendants Tantoco." Tantoco and Santiago then filed an Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim under date of July 18. 1989 Tantoco and Santiago filed with the Sandiganbayan a pleading denominated "Interrogatories to Plaintiff. for instance. of the alleged plan to conceal assets of defendants Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos? 7. . In connection with the allegations ." 16 and on August 2. what specific act or acts . . In connection with the allegations . . . which would justify . 18 The amended interrogatories chiefly sought factual details relative to specific averments of PCGG's amended complaint. or in furtherance. in paragraph 1 .. were committed by defendants Tantoco. In connection with . what specific act or acts of the defendants Tantoco. in paragraph 10 (a) . . paragraph 13 . . . 1988. and Santiago. 1989. . of the alleged systematic plan of said defendant Marcos to accumulate ill-gotten wealth?" 5. . 15 On July 27. Jr. 14 The pre-trial was however reset to September 11. the other stockholders of record of the same corporation are mere "dummies" of said defendants Ferdinand and /or Imelda R." . 11 In response. and Santiago in "concert with" defendant Ferdinand Marcos and in furtherance or pursuit. through such questions. . are beneficially owned by either or both defendants Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos and that the defendants Tantoco.

. (extract) through their aborted Motion for Bill of Particulars. 1989 an opposition to the Amended Interrogatories. . . . legislative. (in) plaintiff's Pre-Trial Brief. (should) answer the interrogatories. the PCGG filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Resolution of August 25. Executive Order No. the order for "their production and inspection on September 14 and 15. which defendants . 1. are purposeless and unnecessary. respectively." 2) the interrogatories delve into "factual matters which had already been decreed . 1989). viz." and 3) "the minutes of the meeting of the PCGG which chronicles the discussion (if any) and the decision (of the Chairman and members) to file the complaint" in the case at bar. (b) No member or staff of the Commission shall be required to testify or produce evidence in any judicial." or "who in the PCGG. or administrative proceeding concerning matters within its official cognizance. as part of the proof of the Complaint upon trial .. sought to . ." 3) the interrogatories "are frivolous" since they inquire about "matters of fact . It argued that 1) since the documents subject thereof would be marked as exhibits during the pre-trial on September 11." 3) the documents are "privileged in character" since they are intended to be used against the PCGG and/or its Commissioners in violation of Section 4. 1989 (allowing production and inspection of documents)." ." 2) movants already know of the existence and contents of the document which "are clearly described . The opposition alleged that — 1) the interrogatories "are not specific and do not name the person to whom they are propounded . On September 1.2) the documents listed in PCGG's Pre-Trial Brief as those "intended to be presented and . 1989 anyway. the Sandiganbayan admitted the Amended Interrogatories and granted the motion for production and inspection of documents (production being scheduled on September 14 and 15.. . It also filed on September 4. . 1989 (admitting the Amended Interrogatories). By Resolutions dated August 21. 1989. . 1989. .: (a) No civil action shall lie against the Commission or any member thereof for anything done or omitted in the discharge of the task contemplated by this Order. 1989 and August 25. in particular. marked as exhibits for the plaintiff. 19 which the Sandiganbayan treated as a motion for reconsideration of the Resolution of August 21. .

and 3) that the interrogatories would make PCGG Commissioners and officers witnesses. and the second. 1989. should be nullified because rendered with grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction. 1989. 1.4) the interrogatories "are really in the nature of a deposition. the first." Tantoco and Santiago filed a reply and opposition on September 18. and b) as regards the order granting the motion for production of documents: 1) that movants had not shown any good cause therefor. it claims — a) as regards the order allowing the amended interrogatories to the plaintiff PCGG: 1) that said interrogatories are not specific and do not name the particular individuals to whom they are propounded. The PCGG contends that said orders. 2) that the interrogatories deal with factual matters which the Sandiganbayan (in denying the movants' motion for bill of particulars) had already declared to be part of the PCGG's proof upon trial. 14 and related issuances. this petition for certiorari. scrutinized and even offered objections thereto and made comments thereon. which is prematurely filed and irregularly utilized . After hearing. and 3) that the other documents sought to be produced are either — (a) privileged in character or confidential in nature and their use is proscribed by the immunity provisions of Executive Order No. (since) the order of trial calls for plaintiff to first present its evidence. denying reconsideration (of the Resolution allowing production of documents). both dated September 29. 1989. 20 Hence. in contravention of Executive Order No. More particularly. or . 2) that some documents sought to be produced and inspected had already been presented in Court and marked preliminarily as PCGG's exhibits. being addressed only to the PCGG. the Sandiganbayan promulgated two (2) Resolutions on September 29. . and the movants had viewed. reiterating by implication the permission to serve the amended interrogatories on the plaintiff (PCGG).

directing the Sandiganbayan to desist from enforcing its questioned resolutions of September 29. or mere products of the movants' suspicion and fear. purposes and operation of the modes of discovery. definitely and finally.. 1989. the Solicitor General withdrew "as counsel for plaintiff . and it appearing that the parties have fully ventilated their respective positions. 24 Subsequently. coupled with pre-trial procedure.R. Jr. to that extent there is faultiness in the approximation of objective justice.(b) non-existent. . conformably with Presidential Decree No. No. with the reservation. the ascertainment of all the material and relevant facts from the pleadings and from the evidence adduced by the parties. a few words about these remedies is not at all inappropriate. Mario E. the Court now proceeds to decide the case. the provisions of Executive Order No. to the extent that adjudication is made on the basis of incomplete facts. Involved in the present proceedings are two of the modes of discovery provided in the Rules of Court: interrogatories to parties . 21 After the issues were delineated and argued at no little length by the parties. it appears to the Court that among far too many lawyers (and not a few judges). if not a regrettable unfamiliarity and even outright ignorance about the nature. PCGG Commissioner Maximo A. after that determination of the facts has been completed. by the application of the law thereto to the end that the controversy may be settled authoritatively. 0008. as well as the decisional law of 'Orbos v. It is thus the ." 25 The facts not being in dispute. September 12. however. 478. . 26 and production and inspection of documents and things. Mario Jalandoni and such other attorneys as it may later authorize. as everyone knows. for obviously. there is. et al. effectively shorten the period of litigation and speed up adjudication. This essential function is accomplished by first. 1989 in Civil Case No." 23 This. could. Alampay. 92561. Ongkiko. at least a strong yet unreasoned and unreasonable disinclination to resort to them — which is a great pity for the intelligent and adequate use of the deposition-discovery mechanism.. This Court issued a temporary restraining order on October 27. Civil Service Commission. 1991. It is for this reason that a substantial part of the adjective law in this jurisdiction is occupied with assuring that all the facts are indeed presented to the Court. 292. Maceren advised the Court that the cases from which the Solicitor General had withdrawn would henceforth be under his (Maceren's) charge "and/or any of the following private attorneys: Eliseo B.' (G. 28 Hence. as the experience of other jurisdictions convincingly demonstrates. Court if called for by circumstances in the interest of the Government or if he is so required by the Court. and second. 27 Now. The resolution of controversies is. the raison d'etre of courts. 1990) 22 to submit his comment/observation on incidents/matters pending with this . the Court allowed by Resolution dated January 21.

i. 29 Seventy-one years ago. (an adverse party) properly to prepare his responsive pleading or to prepare for trial. are not to be won by a rapier's thrust." a bill of particulars seeking a "more definite statement" may be ordered by the court on motion of a party. rather a contest in which each contending party fully and fairly lays before the court the facts in issue and then brushing aside as wholly trivial and indecisive all imperfections of form and technicalities of procedure. not only those known to them individually. hence. 30 this Court described the nature and object of litigation and in the process laid down the standards by which judicial contests are to be conducted in this jurisdiction. when proof is adduced on the issues of fact arising from the pleadings. that undertaking of laying the facts before the court is accomplished by the pleadings filed by the parties. entraps and destroys the other. more deeply schooled and skilled in the subtle art of movement and position. It is. concise and direct statement of the ultimate facts on which the party pleading relies for his claim or defense. when it deserts its proper office as an aid to justice and becomes its great hindrance and chief enemy. by clever and adroit manipulation of the technical rules of pleading and evidence. misrepresentation or distortion of the facts. unlike duels. the ultimate facts are alleged too generally or "not averred with sufficient definiteness or particularity to enable . . it is the purpose and policy of the law that the parties — before the trial if not indeed even before the pre-trial — should discover or inform themselves of all the facts relevant to the action. The truth is that "evidentiary matters" may be inquired into and learned by the parties before the trial. a plain.e. to present to the court all the material and relevant facts known to him. It said: A litigation is not a game of technicalities in which one. only in a very general way. Initially. It is the duty of each contending party to lay before the court the facts in issue-fully and fairly. and the Rules of Court make this ideal possible through the .. but that. if this requirement is not observed. nor preventing another party. The office of a bill of particulars is. the desideratum is that civil trials should not be carried on in the dark. limited to making more particular or definite the ultimate facts in a pleading It is not its office to supply evidentiary matters. suppressing or concealing nothing. Technicality. as the case may be. that there no suppression. The law says that every pleading "shall contain in a methodical and logical form. . and that no party be unaware of any fact material a relevant to the action.obligation of lawyers no less than of judges to see that this objective is attained. from also presenting all the facts within his knowledge. or surprised by any factual detail suddenly brought to his attention during the trial. asks that justice be done on the merits. but also those known to adversaries. only the barest outline of the facfual basis of a party's claims or defenses is limned in his pleadings.e. in Alonso v. There should be no vested right in technicalities. ." 31 Parenthetically. obscuration.. in other words. And the common perception is that said evidentiary details are made known to the parties and the court only during the trial. Indeed. however. Villamor. Lawsuits. omitting the statement of mere evidentiary facts. that is to say. i. Only "ultimate facts" are set forth in the pleadings. The message is plain. . deserves scant consideration from courts.

The principle is reflected in Section 2. . 33 To this end. accomplished one of the most necessary of modern procedure: it not only eliminates unessential issue from trials thereby shortening them considerably. . those relevant facts themselves. The evident purpose is. to enable parties. description. description. the field of inquiry that may be covered by depositions or interrogatories is as broad as when the interrogated party is called as a witness to testify orally at trial. The various modes or instruments of discovery are meant to serve (1) as a device. The experience in other jurisdictions has been that ample discovery before trial. and location of any books. documents. consistent with recognized privileges. whether relating to the claim or defense of any other party. to narrow and clarify the basic issues between the parties. condition and location of any books." What is chiefly contemplated is the discovery of every bit of information which may be useful in the preparation for trial. The objective is as much to give every party the fullest possible information of all the relevant facts before the trial as to obtain evidence for use upon said trial." 32 As just intimated. Hence. or other tangible things. the deposition-discovery procedure was designed to remedy the conceded inadequacy and cumbersomeness of the pre-trial functions of notice-giving. which is relevant to the subject of the pending action. No longer can the time-honored cry of "fishing expedition" serve to preclude a party from inquiring into the facts underlying his opponent's case. and the existence. custody. nature. nature. "the deposition-discovery rules are to be accorded a broad and liberal treatment.deposition-discovery mechanism set forth in Rules 24 to 29. Mutual knowledge of all the relevant facts gathered by both parties is essential to proper ." 2) as well as: (a) "the existence. to obtain the fullest possible knowledge of the issues and facts before trials and thus prevent that said trials are carried on in the dark. The inquiry extends to all facts which are relevant. but also requires parties to play the game with the cards on the table so that the possibility of fair settlement before trial is measurably increased. documents. Rule 24 (governing depositions) 34 which generally allows the examination of a deponent — 1) "regarding any matter. along with the pre-trial hearing under Rule 20. not privileged. such as the identity and location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts. whether they be ultimate or evidentiary. to repeat. custody. issue-formulation and fact revelation theretofore performed primarily by the pleadings. or other tangible things" and (b) "the identity and location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts. excepting only those matters which are privileged. under proper regulation. and (2) as a device for ascertaining the facts relative to those issues. condition.

either party may compel the other to disgorge whatever facts he has in his possession. such as dismissing the action or proceeding or part thereof. limitations inevitably arise when it can be shown that the examination is being conducted in bad faith or in such a manner as to annoy. and generally. or oppress the person subject to the inquiry. 39 And . . may be availed of without leave of court. the law imposes serious sanctions on the party who refuses to make discovery. . refusal to allow the disobedient party support or oppose designated claims or defenses. . embarass. . "As indicated by (the) Rules .litigation. taking the matters inquired into as established in accordance with the claim of the party seeking discovery. the reason being that at that time the issues are not yet joined and the disputed facts are not clear. To that end. of surprise. payment of the amount of reasonable expenses incurred in obtaining a court order to compel discovery. further limitations come into existence when the inquiry touches upon the irrelevant or encroaches upon the recognized domains of privilege. 38 Of course. or rendering judgment by default against the disobedient party. the liberty of a party to make discovery is well nigh unrestricted if the matters inquired into are otherwise relevant and not privileged. . that the issues in this case will now be resolved. 35 In line with this principle of according liberal treatment to the deposition-discovery mechanism. such modes of discovery as (a) depositions (whether by oral examination or written interrogatories) under Rule 24. there are limitations to discovery. without court intervention. The Rules of Court explicitly provide that leave of court is not necessary to avail of said modes of discovery after an answer to the complaint has been served. thus reducing the possibility. and the inquiry is made in good faith and within the bounds of the law. contempt of court. . in relation of course to the particular rules directly involved. and (c) requests for admissions under Rule 26. or (b) physical and mental examination of persons under Rule 28. striking out pleadings or parts thereof. (b) interrogatories to parties under Rule 25.. 37 On the other hand. 36 It is only when an answer has not yet been filed (but after jurisdiction has been obtained over the defendant or property subject of the action) that prior leave of court is needed to avail of these modes of discovery. . To ensure that availment of the modes of discovery is otherwise untrammeled and efficacious. staying further proceedings. or arrest of the party or agent of the party. leave of court is required as regards discovery by (a) production or inspection of documents or things in accordance with Rule 27. even when permitted to be undertaken without leave and without judicial intervention. . It is in light of these broad principles underlying the deposition-discovery mechanism. which may be granted upon due application and a showing of due cause." 40 In fine. The deposition-discovery procedure simply advances the stage at which the disclosure can be compelled from the time of trial to the period preceding it.

or simply to embarass or oppress it. The latter are without doubt proper subject of discovery." There is absolutely no reason why this proposition should not be applied by analogy to the interrogatories served on the PCGG.. a bill of particulars may elicit only ultimate facts. is utterly of no consequence. As the rule states. not so-called evidentiary facts. or that the inquiries are being made in bad faith. The first part of petitioner's submission is adequately confuted by Section 1." That the matters on which discovery is desired are the same matters subject of a prior motion for bill of particulars addressed to the PCGG's amended complaint — and denied for lack of merit — is beside the point. because discovery was being availed of before an answer had been served. . without naming any specific commissioner o officer thereof. by any officer thereof competent to testify in its behalf." 42 But there was no need for the private respondents to seek such leave to serve their "Amended Interrogatories to Plaintiff" (dated August 2. 1988 41 — that it was correct for them to seek leave to serve interrogatories. i. 45 But until such an objection is presented and sustained. . . It should initially be pointed out — as regards the private respondents "Motion for Leave to File Interrogatories" dated February 1. the interrogatories shall be answered "by any officer thereof competent to testify in its behalf. "after jurisdiction has been obtained over any defendant or over property subject of the action" but before answer. (private respondents) sought to be clarified through their aborted Motion . In such a situation. That the interrogatories are addressed only to the PCGG. Indeed.e. for Bill of Particulars" — are untenable and quickly disposed of. What the PCGG may properly do is to object to specific items of the interrogatories. and (b) are "fundamentally the same matters . and may not be invoked as a reason to refuse to answer. in relation to Section 1 of Rule 25 (dealing with interrogatories to parties) explicitly requires "leave of court. 1989 43) after they had filed their answer to the PCGG's complaint. 44 Neither may it be validly argued that the amended interrogatories lack specificity. Rule 25 which states that if the party served with interrogatories is a juridical entity such as "a public or private corporation or a partnership or association.The petitioner's objections to the interrogatories served on it in accordance with Rule 25 of the Rules of Court cannot be sustained." the same shall be "answered . or privilege. Section 1 of Rule 24 (treating of depositions). . The petitioner's first contention — that the interrogatories in question are defective because they (a) do not name the particular individuals to whom they are propounded. The interrogatories are made to relate to individual paragraphs of the PCGG's expanded complaint and inquire about details of the ultimate facts therein alleged. being addressed only to the PCGG. the obligation to answer subsists. as already pointed out above. 1. The merest glance at them disproves the argument. just as there was no need for the Sandiganbayan to act thereon. on the ground of lack of relevancy.

Rule 6 of the Rules. . the court shall order them to be brought in as defendants. Also unmeritorious is the objection that the interrogatories would make PCGG Commissioners and officers witnesses. call an adverse party or an officer. 14 and related issuances. is not ground for suppressing them either. (Executive) Order (No. this being deemed essential to proper litigation. No doubt. In the first place. 1). and interrogate him by leading questions and contradict and impeach him in all respects as if he had been called by the adverse party. 3.2. director. Rule 132 of the Rules of Court. there is nothing at all wrong in a party's making his adversary his witness . to wit: Sec. it is the precise purpose of discovery to ensure mutual knowledge of all the relevant facts on the part of all parties even before trial. 6. — When the presence of parties other than those to the original action is required for the granting of complete relief in the determination of a counterclaim or cross-claim. The disclosure of facto relevant to the action and which are not self-incriminatory or otherwise privileged is one thing. That the interrogatories deal with factual matters which will be part of the PCGG's proof upon trial.: Sec. a defendant who files a counterclaim against the plaintiff is allowed by the Rules to implead persons (therefore strangers to the action) as additional defendants on said counterclaim. and the witness thus called may be contradicted and impeached by or on behalf of the adverse party also. 47 Moreover. the matter of whether or not liability may arise from the facts disclosed in light of Executive Order No. The PCGG insinuates that the private respondents are engaged on a "fishing expedition. the latter proposition may properly be set up by way of defense in the action." apart from the fact that the information sought is immaterial since they are evidently meant to establish a claim against PCGG officers who are not parties to the action. . if jurisdiction over them can be obtained." The PCGG's assertion that it or its members are not amenable to any civil action "for anything done or omitted in the discharge of the task contemplated by . . is another. 14. — A party may .46 This is expressly allowed by Section 6. in contravention of Executive Order No. viz. or managing agent of a public or private corporation or of a partnership or association which is an adverse party. Direct examination of unwilling or hostile witnesses." is not a ground to refuse to answer the interrogatories. and may be cross-examined by the adverse party only upon the subject-matter of his examination in chief. Bringing new parties. It suffices to point out that "fishing expeditions" are precisely permitted through the modes of discovery. 1. As already pointed out. The apprehension has been expressed that the answers to the interrogatories may be utilized as foundation for a counterclaim against the PCGG or its members and officers. This may be done pursuant to Section 14. and the stage at which disclosure of evidence is made is advanced from the time of trial to the period preceding it. This is why either party may compel the other to disgorge whatever facts he has in his possession. The private respondents have made no secret that this is in fact their . They will be.

as distinguished from its proprietary rights or jus gestionis. Yet. the rules of discovery. the parties sued should not be free to file counterclaims in the same actions against the PCGG or its officers for gross neglect or ignorance. that while the parties it has impleaded as defendants may be required to "disgorge all the facts" within their knowledge and in their possession. .S. But it is axiomatic that in filing an action. the Court is unable to uphold the proposition that while the PCGG obviously feels itself at liberty to bring actions on the basis of its study and appreciation of the evidence in its possession. within certain limits. the PCGG may opt not to be bound by rule applicable to the parties it has sued. Otherwise. or that in the actions that it may bring. the act of bringing suit must entail a waiver of the exemption from giving evidence. The PCGG cannot claim a superior or preferred status to the State. ed. Philippine Political Law. be sued without its consent. 52 . 36-37. the right to set up whatever claims and other defenses he might have against the state. 48 The suggestion 49 that the State makes no implied waiver of immunity by filing suit except when in so doing it acts in. it may not itself be subject to a like compulsion. The latter automatically acquires. immune from suit in the sense that it cannot. it divests itself of its sovereign character and sheds its immunity from suit.g." has no application to a judicial proceeding it has itself initiated. The state as plaintiff may avail itself of the different forms of actions open to private litigants. citing U. vs. too. including the rights and duties under the rules of discovery. Ringgold. So. pp. 8 L. . is unacceptable. the state surrenders its privileged position and comes down to the level of the defendant. by bringing suit it brings itself within the operation and scope of all the rules governing civil actions. if not downright bad faith or malice in the commencement or initiation of such judicial proceedings. it attempts a distinction without support in principle or precedent. its proprietary or nongovernmental capacity.. of course. Withal. In short. as a rule. by taking the initiative in an action against the private parties. 50 The immunity of the State from suits does not deprive it of the right to sue private parties in its own courts. . or in matters concerning. e. 899)" 51 It can hardly be doubted that in exercising the right of eminent domain. the PCGG's postulation that none of its members may be "required to testify or produce evidence in any judicial . On the contrary — The consent of the State to be sued may be given expressly or impliedly. Tenth E. even while assuming to represent or act for the State. (Sinco. even in that area. the State exercises its jus imperii. Express consent may be manifested either through a general law or a special law. 150. As just suggested. the defense of immunity from suit cannot be set up by the State against an action for payment by the owner. proceeding concerning matters within its official cognizance. . Implied consent is given when the State itself commences litigation or when it enters into a contract.. descending to the level of an ordinary litigant. 8 Pet. the absurd would have to be conceded. it has been held that where private property has been taken in expropriation without just compensation being paid.intention. The State is.

Obviously. as will already have been noted from the preceding discussion. the basis of several of the material allegations of said complaint. The PCGG says that some of the documents are non-existent. The Court gives short shrift to the argument that some documents sought to be produced and inspected had already been presented in Court and marked preliminarily as PCGG's exhibits. 55 That is all. according to the verification of the amended complaint. It is matters such as these into which inquiry is precisely allowed by the rules of discovery. The Court finally finds that. the movants having in fact viewed. 1 has already been dealt with. The only other documents sought to be produced are needed in relation to the allegations of the counterclaim. purposes and operation of the modes of discovery earlier mentioned. 57 So. This it can allege in response to the corresponding question in the interrogatories. No serious objection can therefore be presented to the desire of the private respondents to have copies of those documents in order to study them some more or otherwise use them during the trial for any purpose allowed by law.The Court also finds itself unable to sustain the PCGG's other principal contention. to the end that the parties may adequately prepare for pre-trial and trial. contrary to the petitioner's theory. is simply the delivery directly to a party of a letter setting forth a list of least questions with the request that they be answered individually. scrutinized and even offered objections thereto and made comments thereon. there is good cause for the production and inspection of the documents subject of the motion dated August 3. . too. and it will incur no sanction for doing so unless it is subsequently established that the denial is false. constitutional or statutory." 56 The sanctions for refusing to make discovery have already been mentioned. The service of such a communication on the party has the effect of imposing on him the obligation of answering the questions "separately and fully in writing underoath. Their relevance is indisputable. The claim that use of the documents is proscribed by Executive Order No. Nothing could be farther from the truth. all that is entailed to activate or put in motion the process of discovery by interrogatories to parties under Rule 25 of the Rules of Court. 53 Some of the documents are." and serving "a copy of the answers on the party submitting the interrogatories within fifteen (15) days after service of the interrogatories . 1989. there is nothing secret or confidential about these documents. of the nullity of the Sandiganbayan's Order for the production and inspection of specified documents and things allegedly in its possession. Others. 54 there also appears to be a widely entertained idea that application of said modes is a complicated matter. Due no doubt to the deplorable unfamiliarity respecting the nature. . their disclosure may not be opposed. One last word. unduly expensive and dilatory. admittedly. discovery under Rule 26 is begun by nothing more complex than the service on a party of a letter or other written communication containing a request . For example. The PCGG is however at liberty to allege and prove that said documents fall within some other privilege. are to be used in evidence by the plaintiff.

Again. Regalado and Davide. WHEREFORE. The temporary restraining order issued on October 27. J. 1989 is hereby LIFTED AND SET ASIDE. Narvasa in his scholarly ponencia which.." failing in which "(e)ach of the matters of which admission is requested shall be deemed admitted.. J. C. . Jr. took no part. SO ORDERED. Gutierrez. 58 That is all. Bidin. Jr. Medialdea. makes for reading both pleasurable and instructive. concurring: I am delighted to concurr with Mr. Paras. Romero. without pronouncement as to costs. Melencio-Herrera... I also join Justice Cruz's concurrence. be admitted in writing.J. Separate Opinions CRUZ. Fernan.. Griño-Aquino.that specific facts therein set forth and/or particular documents copies of which are thereto appended. J. One function of the court not generally appreciated is to educate the reader on the intricacies and even the mustique of the law. JJ. Padilla. the petition is DENIED. concur. the receipt of such a communication by the party has the effect of imposing on him the obligation of serving the party requesting admission with "a sworn statement either denying specifically the matters of which an admission is requested or setting forth in detail the reasons why he cannot truthfully either admit or deny those matters. The opinion performs this function with impressive expertise and makes the modes of discovery less esoteric or inaccessible to many members of the bar. besides reaching a conclusion sustained by the applicable law and jurisprudence.. is nonetheless by no means as complicated as seems to be the lamentably extensive notion." 59 The taking of depositions in accordance with Rule 24 (either on oral examination or by written interrogatories) while somewhat less simple. Justice Andres R. Feliciano..

14 Petition. 56-87. 9 Petition. p. Annex J. 13 Rollo.# Separate Opinions CRUZ. Annex L 15 Id. 9.. Annex I. 12 Id. .. Narvasa in his scholarly ponencia which. Annex H. p.. 11 Id. Annex N. 3 Id. makes for coding both pleasurable and instructive. 7. Annex F. Justice Andres R. 145. One function of the court not generally appreciated is to educate the reader on the intricacies and even the mustique of the law. 5 Id. Annex G. concurring: I am delighted to concurr with Mr. 9. p. pp. 7 Petition.. 10 Id. 6 Id.. J. 17 Petition.. Annex K. 2 Id. 4 Rollo. The opinion performs this function with impressive expertise and makes the modes of discovery less esoteric or inaccessible to many members of the bar. p. # Footnotes 1 Petition. pp.. Annex D. Annex M. Annex E.. 8 Rollo. 7. 16 Rollo. besides reaching a conclusion sustained by the applicable law and jurisprudence. 7..

supra. Rollo.. 24 Id.). 6). pp. p. v.B. 26 Governed by Rule 25. 5-6). 2. See. etc.. 1979 ed. 5-6. 317. 435.. p. 30 16 Phil.. 1910).).). 245-A. cited in Feria. p. 22 189 SCRA 459. Taylor. 20 Id. . 90478 (Republic v. 31 Section 1.. Hon. et al. Annex R. et al." . 315. 245. p. 1969 ed. 25 Id. 34 Sec. 29 Surprises. pp. 89425 (Republic. pp. et al. et al. 33 SEE Hickman v. Annexes A and B. it has been observed. are "most dangerous weapons" in a "judicial duel" (Moran. Rollo. 35A CJS Sec. 493. Civil Procedure. 220. et al. pp. Comments on the Rules of Court. 2. Sup. 1979 ed. U. 91 Law Ed. 2. 32 Moran.. 86926 (Cesar E... et al. points out-citing the recommendations of the committee of the American Judicature Society that drafted the Model Rules of Civil Procedure — that "The English and Canadian experience has been of more value than any other single procedural device..). Rules of Court.A Virata v. 74302 (Tourist Sandiganbayan. . et al. emphasis supplied. 19 Petition. 156. 21 Rollo. in bringing parties to a settlement who otherwise would have fought their way through to trial. p. 527. etc. for instance.. The Solicitor General also withdrew his appearance in other cases involving the PCGG. etc. Nos.R. 320. 27 Governed by Rule 27.18 Id. Actions could very well be ended by summary judgments (Rule 34) on the basis of the results of discovery. et al. to wit: G. Sandiganbayan .. ed. N. 5. 28 Moran (Comments on the Rules of Court. Rpts.. 93694 (Philippine Coconut Producers Federation. 328 et seq. PCGG. 2d. Vol. p. Vol.). Sandiganbayan. 51. 1963.. 23 Id. 455. 322 (July 26. Hon. Annex O. p. 785-786. Rule 25 ("Interrogatories to Parties") also allows inquiry as "to any matters that can be inquired into under section 2 of Rule 24 . 244. v. Rule 8.S.. Sandiganbayan. 11. Vol. 23 Am Jur. Ct. p. Comments on the Rules of Court. see footnote 28. pp.

141 (1922). p. G. 38 Rule 29. Taylor. Sec. as an agency possessed of primary administrative jurisdiction (particularly concerning sequestration) and exercising quasi-judicial functions. 43 Phil.. cit. 512. No. the facts and basic issues therein involved being quite distinct from those in the case at bar. cited in Feria. et al. cit. SEE 23 Am Jur 2d. citing Hickman v. 9 SCRA 925. 93 Phil. April 20. 44 SEE discussion at page 8.. Ysip. or that anyway. v. 42 Cf. where such objections as that the interrogatories transferred the onus probandi from plaintiffs to defendants.. 1. 97 Phil.. Uy Chao v. subject only to review by this Court. Maceren. where the PCGG instituted a civil action against Tantoco.). 16 and 18. the acts therein challenged being simply its extrajudicial orders of sequestration. Rule 25. 436. de la Rama Steamship Co.. and footnote 30 and related text. Asia Banking Corp. pp. 49 Phil. op. etc. 997.. 1. etc.35 Feria.. the facts may be proven by plaintiffs through their own evidence. 693. Inc. Nepomuceno. 484-487. that power being exclusively lodged in the Sandiganbayan. 436. In Nepomuceno. supra. was co-equal to a Regional Trial Court which therefore had no jurisdiction to review or otherwise restrain or interfere with its acts. Sec. Lopez. supra. 43 SEE footnote 17. 47 SEE Tan Chico v. supra. and in both said cases. 39 SEE Secs... Torres. and that since the power to seize property to conserve it pending the institution of suit for its recovery was sanctioned by the Freedom Constitution and the 1987 Constitution. 6 SCRA 69. 37 SEE Everett v. Villalon v.R.. 46 SEE Cason v. et al. 95 Phil. 40 Hickman v.. 754. Caluag. 1990 are not inconsistent with that in this proceeding. Rule 26. et al. that the take-over of the property in question by the PCGG fiscal agents was necessitated as much by the resistance and defiance of the holders thereof to the PCGG's authority as by the desire of the PCGG to preserve said property. etc. 150. . et al. Unlike the present case. Taylor. 30 SCRA 109-110. 41 SEE footnote 5. 78750. et al. 36 Sec. 1. This Court nullified those injunctive writs on the ground that the PCGG.. 45 Cf. Rule 24. San Pedro. op. or the latter were being made to prove the former's case. in the Sandiganbayan neither Peña nor Nepomuceno involved any suit filed by the PCGG. it was additionally ruled that there was prima facie basis for the challenged order of sequestration. Caguiat v. Jacinto v. Amparo. 48 It should be pointed out that the rulings in PCGG v. the Regional Trial Courts issued writs of preliminary injunction prohibiting enforcement and implementation of the sequestration orders. Rule 24. Peña 159 SCRA 556 (1988) and PCGG v. were overruled. the PCGG must be deemed immune from any suit which would render that authority inutile or ineffectual. supra. Concepcion. Cojuangco v. Sec. et al. p. supra. 98 Phil. 982 (unrep.

55 Sec.49 Of the Solicitor General in his Reply to Answer. p.. "When the Government of the Philippine Islands is plaintiff in an action instituted in any court of original jurisdiction. 2. supra. Philippine Political Law. 1991 ed. Rule 25. supra. 3083 (eff. Justice Isagani A. 40 SCRA 464. Pan Oriental Shipping Co. 206-208. March 16. Republic. Rule 26. 1.Arellano Law Foundation . Annex O. 56 Sec. pp 168-169.. 87 SCRA 294. 95 Phil. 1. 33. last paragraph. 1923) provides that. Cruz. cited with approval in Santiago vs.: Rollo. City of Cebu. 58 Sec. defendant shall have the right to assert therein. 905. Rules of Court. see also footnote 38 and related text. etc. 52 Ministerio vs. pp.. The Lawphil Project . 59 Sec. SEC. by way of set-off or counterclaim in a similar action between private parties. Act No. 57 SEE footnote 38 and related text. 54 At page 6." 51 Froilan vs. 2. 912. 53 Petition. 50 Mr. Rule 25. 5. Rule 25.