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[G.R. No. 132577. August 17, 1999]!

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PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs. HUBERT JEFFREY P. WEBB, respondent.!
D E C I S I O N!
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:!

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Challenged in this petition for review on certiorari is the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. SP No. 45399 entitled Hubert Jeffrey P. Webb v. Hon. Amelita Tolentino, in her capacity as
Presiding Judge of Branch 274 of the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque, People of the Philippines
and Lauro Vizconde which set aside the order of respondent judge therein denying herein
respondent Hubert Jeffrey P. Webbs request to take the depositions of five (5) citizens and
residents of the United States before the proper consular officer of the Philippines in Washington
D.C. and California, as the case may be.!

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The factual and procedural antecedents are matters of record or are otherwise uncontroverted.!
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Respondent Hubert Jeffrey P. Webb is one of the accused in Criminal Case No. 95-404 for Rape
with Homicide entitled People of the Philippines v. Hubert Jeffrey P. Webb, et al. presently pending
before Branch 274 of the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque, presided by Judge Amelita G.
Tolentino.!

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During the course of the proceedings in the trial court, respondent filed on May 2, 1997, a Motion
To Take Testimony By Oral Deposition[1] praying that he be allowed to take the testimonies of the
following:!

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1.] Steven Bucher!
Acting Chief, Records Services Branch!
U.S. Department of Justice!
Immigration and Naturalization Service!
425 Eye Street, N.W.!
Washington D.C. 20536!
U.S.A.!

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2.] Debora Farmer!
Records Operations, Office of Records!
U.S. Department of Justice!
Immigration and Naturalization Service!
Washington D.C.!
U.S.A.!

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3.] Jaci Alston!
Department of Motor Vehicles!
Sacramento, California!
U.S.A.!

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4.] Ami Smalley!
Department of Motor Vehicles!
Sacramento, California!
U.S.A.!

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5.] John Pavlisin!
210 South Glasell, City of Orange!
California, 92666!
U.S.A.!

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before the general consul, consul, vice-consul or consular agent of the Philippines in lieu of
presenting them as witnesses in court alleging that the said persons are all residents of the United
States and may not therefore be compelled by subpoena to testify since the court had no
jurisdiction over them.!

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Respondent further alleged that the taking of the oral depositions of the aforementioned individuals
whose testimonies are allegedly material and indispensable to establish his innocence of the crime
charged is sanctioned by Section 4, Rule 24 of the Revised Rules of Court which provides that:!

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SEC. 4. Use of depositions. At the trial or upon the hearing of a motion or an interlocutory
proceeding, any part or all of a deposition, so far as admissible under the rules of evidence, may
be used against any party who was present or represented at the taking of the deposition or who
had due notice thereof, in accordance with any one of the following provisions:!

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(a) Any deposition may be used by any party for the purpose of contradicting or impeaching the
testimony of the deponent as a witness;!

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(b) The deposition of a party or of any one who at the time of taking the deposition was an officer,
director, or managing agent of a public or private corporation, partnership, or association which is a
party may be used by an adverse party for any purpose;!

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(c) The deposition of a witness whether or not a party, may be used by any party for any purpose if
the court finds: (1) that the witness is dead; (2) that the witness is out of the province and a greater
distance than fifty (50) kilometers from the place of trial or hearing, or is out of the Philippines,
unless it appears that his absence was procured by the party offering the deposition; or (3) that the
witness is unable to attend or testify because of age, sickness, infirmity, or imprisonment; or (4)
that the party offering the deposition has been unable to procure the attendance of the witness by
subpoena or (5) upon application and notice, that such exceptional circumstances exist as to make
it desirable in the interest of justice and with due regard to the importance of presenting the
testimony of witnesses orally in open court, to allow the deposition to be used;!

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(d) If only part of a deposition is offered in evidence by a party, the adverse party may require him
to introduce all of it which is relevant to the part introduced and any party may introduce any other
parts. (italics supplied).!

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The prosecution thereafter filed an opposition to the said motion averring that: 1.] Rule 24, Section
4 of the Rules of Court, contrary to the representation of respondent-accused, has no application in
criminal cases; 2.] Rule 119, Section 4 of the Rules of Court on Criminal Procedure, being a mode
of discovery, only provides for conditional examination of witnesses for the accused before trial not
during trial; 3.] Rule 119, Section 5 of the Rules of Court on Criminal Procedure does not sanction
the conditional examination of witnesses for the accused/defense outside Philippine jurisdiction.[2]!

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In an Order dated June 11, 1997, the trial court denied the motion of respondent on the ground that
the same is not allowed by Section 4, Rule 24 and Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 119 of the Revised
Rules of Court.[3]!

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A motion for reconsideration[4] thereto on the grounds that: 1.] The 1997 Rules of Court expressly
allows the taking of depositions, and 2.] Section 11 of Rule 23 of the 1997 Rules of Court expressly
allows the taking of depositions in foreign countries before a consul general, consul, vice-consul or
consular agent of the Republic of the Philippines, was likewise denied by the trial court in an order
dated July 25, 1997.[5]!

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Dissatisfied, respondent elevated his cause to the Court of Appeals by way of a petition for
certiorari[6] naming as respondents therein the Presiding Judge Amelita G. Tolentino, the People
and private complainant Lauro Vizconde. In the petition, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 45399,
respondent Webb argued that: 1.] The taking of depositions pending action is applicable to criminal

proceedings; 2.] Depositions by oral testimony in a foreign country can be taken before a consular
officer of the Philippine Embassy in the United States; and, 3.] He has the right to completely and
fully present evidence to support his defense and the denial of such right will violate his
constitutional right to due process.!

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Commenting[7] on the petition, the People contended that the questioned orders of the Presiding
Judge are well within the sphere of her judicial discretion and do not constitute grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction and that if at all, they may be considered
merely as errors of judgment which may be corrected by appeal in due time because: a.] The
motion failed to comply with the requirements of Section 4, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court; b.] The
conditional examination must be conducted before an inferior court; and c.] The examination of the
witnesses must be done in open court.!

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In his Comment,[8] private respondent Lauro Vizconde sought the dismissal of the petition
contending that:!

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1.] The public respondent did not commit grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioner [now
herein respondent] Webbs motion to take testimony by oral deposition dated 29 April 1997 as well
as petitioners motion for reconsideration dated 23 June 1997 for not being sanctioned by the Rules
of Court.!

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a.] The public respondent correctly held that Rule 23, Section 1 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil
Procedure finds no application in criminal actions such as the case at bar.!

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b.] The public respondent correctly ruled that Rule 119, Section 4 of the Rules of Criminal
Procedure only provides for conditional examination of witnesses before trial but not during trial.!

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c.] The public respondent correctly ruled that Rule 119 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure does
not sanction the conditional examination of witnesses for the accused/defense outside of Philippine
jurisdiction.!

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2.] The public respondent did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioner
Webbs motion to take testimony by oral deposition considering that the proposed deposition tends
only to further establish the admissibility of documentary exhibits already admitted in evidence by
the public respondent.!

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On February 6, 1998, the Fourth Division[9] of the Court of Appeals rendered judgment,[10] the
dispositive portion of which reads:!

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WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The orders of respondent judge dated 11 June 1997
(Annex A of the Petition) and 25 July 1997 (Annex B of the Petition) are hereby ANNULLED and
SET ASIDE. It is hereby ordered that the deposition of the following witnesses be TAKEN before
the proper consular officer of the Republic of the Philippines in Washington D.C. and California, as
the case may be:!

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(a) Mr. Steven Bucher;!
(b) Ms. Deborah Farmer;!
(c) Mr. Jaci Alston;!
(d) Ms. Ami Smalley; and!
(e) Mr. John Pavlisin.!

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SO ORDERED.!
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From the foregoing, the People forthwith elevated its cause to this Court by way of the instant
petition dispensing with the filing of a motion for reconsideration for the following reasons: 1.] The
rule that the petitioner should first file a motion for reconsideration applies to the special civil action

It was created not to hinder and delay but to facilitate and promote the administration of justice.! ! III! ! IN RULING THAT RESPONDENT WAS DEPRIVED OF DUE PROCESS OF LAW BY THE TRIAL COURT. filed a Reply. The purpose of such a procedure is not to restrict the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter. gives the most perfect opportunity for the powers of the court to transmute themselves into concrete acts of justice between the parties before it. and. Its proper aim is to facilitate the application of justice to the rival claims of the contending parties. It is that one which. Thus.! ! In urging this Tribunal to exercise its power of review over the assailed decision of the Appellate Court. It may be said in passing that the most salient objection which can be urged against procedure today is that it so restricts the exercise of the courts powers by technicalities that part of its authority effective for justice between the parties is many times an inconsiderable portion of the whole. The petitioner. The purpose of procedure is not to thwart justice. The respondent has filed his Comment[15] which We treat as an Answer. 2.! ! II! ! IN RULING THAT THE DEPOSITION MAY BE TAKEN BEFORE A CONSULAR OFFICER OF THE PHILIPPINES WHERE THE PROSPECTIVE WITNESSES RESIDE OR ARE OFFICIALLY STATIONED.[14]! ! What are challenged before this Court are interlocutory orders and not a final judgment.] The questions being raised before the Court are the same as those which were squarely raised before the Court of Appeals.of certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure and there is no similar requirement in taking an appeal from a final judgment or order[11] such as the present appeal by certiorari.[16] The petition is ripe for decision.] The issues being raised here are purely legal. inter alia. [13] 5. the Appellate Courts Fourth Division reasoned.] The nature of this case requires a speedy and prompt disposition of the issues involved. Rule 45 in requiring a petition for review on certiorari which indicates that when a motion for new trial or reconsideration. 3. as the Supreme Court has ruled in Manila Railroad Co. but to give it effective facility in righteous action.] There is an urgent need to resolve the issues considering that the trial of the accused in the criminal case is about to end. petitioner asserts that the Court of Appeals committed serious and reversible error! ! I! ! IN RULING THAT RULE 23 OF THE 1997 RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE IS APPLICABLE TO CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS. thus:! ! Settled is the rule that the whole purpose and object of procedure is to make the powers of the court fully and completely available for justice. vs.] Section 4.[12] 4. if any. Attorney General and reiterated in subsequent cases:! ! x x x The most perfect procedure that can be devised is that which give the opportunity for the most complete and perfect exercise of the powers of the court within the limitations set by natural justice. in other words. in turn.! ! which can be reduced to the primordial issue of whether or not the trial judge gravely abused her discretion in denying the motion to take testimony by oral depositions in the United States which would be used in the criminal case before her Court. It does not constitute the thing itself which the courts are always striving to secure the .! ! In setting aside the order of the trial judge. 6. was filed implies that petitioner need not file a motion for reconsideration.

specifically Section 4.litigants.[18] Section 5. Rule 119 of the Rules of Court is thus clearly inapplicable in the instant case since the same relates to the examination of witnesses under Section 4 thereof and not Section 1 of Rule 23. we find no reason for public respondent to disallow the taking of the same in the manner provided for under Section 1 of Rule 23 under the circumstances of the case. it is a means to an end. the taking of the deposition of petitioners US-based witnesses should be still allowed considering that the civil action has been impliedly instituted in the criminal action for rape with homicide. It is designed as the means best adapted to obtain that thing. a reading of the rules on criminal procedure. Rule 119 vis--vis Section 1. 95-404 in the court below under Rule 23 of the Rules of . further. Petitioner. processes and other means to carry out the jurisdiction conferred and [to] adopt any suitable process or mode of proceeding which includes the application of the rule on depositions pending action under Rule 23 in the case pending before her. which include four (4) officials of the United States government. Indeed. the Rules of Court is to be viewed and construed as a whole. Section 4. based on a very shaky technical ground. for exclusivity. who are residing abroad. Section 1 of the Rules of Court. When it loses the character of the one and takes on the other [. Depositions obtained during trial in a foreign state or country may be taken before a consular officer of the Republic of the Philippines where the deponent resides or is officially stationed. provided the same is not contrary to the specific rules provided therein. Rule 119 refers to the conditional examination of witnesses for the accused before trial. Rule 23 would reveal no inconsistency so as to exclude the application of the latter rule in criminal proceedings.! ! x x x x x x x x x! ! Even granting arguendo that Rule 23 is to be exclusively applied to civil actions. While petitioner had invoked Rule 23. while Section 1. To disallow petitioner to avail of the specific remedies provided under the Rules would deny him the opportunity to adequately defend himself against the criminal charge of rape with homicide now pending before the public respondent and. [it] loses sight of the object of procedure which is to facilitate the application of justice to the rival claims of contending parties. this Court finds that the public respondent gravely abused her discretion in denying the motion to take the deposition of the witnesses for petitioner. she exercised full authority to employ all auxillary writs. Since public respondent has jurisdiction over the civil case to recover damages.[17]! ! In the light of the foregoing judicial precedent. it was. Rule 23 refers to the taking of deposition witnesses during trial. it does not prevent its application to the other proceedings. as petitioner had claimed. is tantamount to depriving him of his constitutional right to due process. In other words.! ! Second. which is found under the general classification of Civil Procedure. and if the Supreme Court had compartmentalized the same into four divisions. the deposition of the petitioners witnesses.! ! The denial of petitioners right to present his witnesses.! ! To be sure. It is the means by which the powers of the court are made effective in just judgments. Consistent with the procedure provided [for] under Rule 23.] the administration of justice becomes incomplete and unsatisfactory and lays itself open to grave criticism. will be taken before a consular officer of the Philippines where these witnesses reside or are officially stationed. as the case may be. however. is not without any remedy and he correctly sought to secure the testimonies of his witnesses through the process of taking their depositions pending the trial of Criminal Case No. for the purpose of organization and expediency and not. x x x! ! x x x x x x x x x! ! While the taking of depositions pending trial is not expressly provided [for] under the Rules on Criminal Procedure. This Court recognizes the impossibility of enforcing the right of petitioner to secure the attendance of the proposed witnesses through compulsory process considering that they are beyond the jurisdiction of Philippine Courts.

Particularly where the issue of the guilt or innocence of petitioner is bound to hinge heavily upon the testimonies of his US-based witnesses.! ! In the final analysis. and 9. 2. the acts of respondent judge and declare that she indeed committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the questioned Orders. rules on criminal practice particularly on the defense of alibi. this Court rules that the denial of the deposition-taking amounts to the denial of the constitutional right to present his evidence and for the production of evidence in his behalf.Court. To rule that petitioner cannot take the testimony of these witnesses by deposition is to put [a] premium on technicality at the expense of the constitutional rights of the accused. in keeping with its nature as a mode of discovery.[19]! ! Furthermore.is made of the deposition. or under a general law or court rule on the subject. Finally. 8.] Prevent delay.] Give greater assistance to the parties in ascertaining the truth and in checking and preventing perjury.] Provide an effective means of detecting and exposing false. should be taken before and not during trial. but in pursuance of a commission to take testimony issued by a court. To reiterate. 5. [22] As can be gleaned from the foregoing. convenient and inexpensive way.word for word account . 1 of Rule 23 of the Rules of Court is not applicable to criminal proceedings. taken in writing. a deposition is -! ! "The testimony of a witness taken upon oral question or written interrogatories. not in open court.states that when a person intends to rely on such a defense.[20] but it is definitely within this courts inherent power to scrutinize. a denial of the same would be prejudicial to petitioneraccused since he would be denied an opportunity to completely present his evidence. lest he may be so hampered that the ends of justice may eventually be defeated or appear to be defeated.] Make available in a simple. even if respondents contention is correct. as it does in the case at bench. 4. In any event. Testimony of [a] witness. which this court is not inclined to do. it is not the function of this Court to second-guess the trial court on its ruling on the admissibility of the pieces of documentary evidence as well as the latters witnesses. The deposition is conducted under oath outside of the court room. and reduced to writing and duly authenticated.] Safeguard against surprise. fraudulent claims and defenses.! ! We disagree. A pretrial discovery device by which one party (through his or her attorney) asks oral questions of the other party or of a witness for the other party. the prosecution would have the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses for accused Hubert Webb (petitioner herein) since they will be given the opportunity to cross-examine the deponents as in accordance with Sections 3 to 18 of Rule 132. facts which otherwise could not be proved except with great difficulty. which strikes at the very core of the due process guarantee of the Constitution.[23]! ! . no prejudice would be suffered in the taking of the depositions of petitioners USbased witness[es]. which normally is done through a civil case. The person who is deposed is called the deponent. but also to allow him a certain latitude in the presentation of his evidence.]Expedite litigation.] Educate the parties in advance of trial as to the real value of their claims and defenses thereby encouraging settlements. 7. it behooves upon public respondent not only to guarantee that accused is given a reasonable opportunity to present his evidence. 6. On the other hand. before some judicial officer in answer to questions or interrogatories x x x. a deposition. In fact. it cannot be denied that the case at bar includes the recovery of the civil liability of the accused. and intended to be used in preparation and upon the trial of a civil or criminal prosecution.[21]! ! and the purposes of taking depositions are to: 1. usually in one of the lawyers offices. The denial is not justified by the flimsy reason that Sec.! ! As defined.] Simplify and narrow the issues. which is respondents main defense in the criminal proceedings against him in the court below . under oath or affirmation. A transcript . 3.] Expedite and facilitate both preparation and trial. that person must move for the taking of the deposition of his witnesses within the time provided for filing a pre-trial motion.

were already introduced and admitted into evidence as Defense Exhibits 66-J. respectively. 1995 with another of the said deputies signing both documents. Exhibits 218-G as with Exhibits 34-A. Department of Justice with blanks to be filled up.] application for Non-Commercial Drivers License. 42-P. 1995.S. stating that the documents annexed thereto were issued by the U.It needs to be stressed that the only reason of respondent for seeking the deposition of the foreign witnesses is to foreclose any objection and/or rejection of.[33] The only difference in the three exhibits. particularly as Exhibits 34-A.S. while Exhibits 42-I and 42-N are both dated September 21. Christian.] Computer-generated thumb-print. Exhibits 42-H and 42-M were signed by Authenticating Officer Annie R. 1995[42] whereas Exhibit 207-B as with Exhibits 39-E. Department of State Certification issued by Joan C. 50. This issue has.] Documentary records based on still another Clets Database Response. likewise discloses that its contents are the same as Exhibits 42-I[32] and 42-N.S. as the case may be. 50 and 50-F.[37] The only differences in these documents are that Exhibit 218-F is dated October 13. 42-D. long been rendered moot and academic by the admission of the aforementioned documentary exhibits by the trial court in its order dated July 10. Department of Justice as shown by seal embossed thereon. Specifically. b. for and in the name of Madeleine K. 66-I and 66L. 39-E. Jr. INS. the admissibility of Defense Exhibits 218 and 219. the records show that respondents: a. a comparison of Exhibit 218-A which is a U.[30]! ! A comparison of Exhibit 218-B[31] with the other documentary exhibits offered by respondent. et al. v. however.. Albright whereas. 35-F. 35-F. Director of the State of Californias Department of Motor Vehicles. [t]hat respondent judge reversed this erroneous ruling and already admitted these 132 pieces of evidence after finding that the defects in (their) admissibility have been cured though the introduction of additional evidence during the trial on the merits. Assistant Commissioner. and e.[34]! ! Still comparing respondents Exhibit 218-F. among others. 1998. 66-K.S.[35] which is likewise a standard issue U. d.S. Department of Justice Certification Form. 42-D and 42-F were printed out on August 31. and 52-F were printed out on October 26. with other documents previously introduced as evidence reveals that it is the same as Exhibits 39-D[36] and 42-C. 66-H.[38]! ! Still further scrutinizing and comparing respondents Exhibit 218-G[39] which was also introduced and admitted into evidence as Defense Exhibit 207-B[40] shows that the document has been earlier introduced and admitted into evidence by the trial court an astounding seven (7) times. 1997 and signed by one of the U. Madeleine K.[43]! ! In fact.[27] with other exhibits previously offered as evidence reveals that they are of the same nature as Exhibits 42-H[28] and 42-M. A careful examination of Exhibits 218 and 219 readily shows that these are of the same species of documents which have been previously introduced and admitted into evidence by the trial court in its order dated July 18. Hampton. a circumspect scrutiny of the record discloses that the evidence to be obtained through the deposition-taking would be superfluous or corroborative at best. Maddux for and in behalf of former Secretary of State Warren Christopher. which are actually standard issue certification forms issued by the U.] Documentary records based on Clets Database Response.[26]! ! Indeed. 1997 which We noted in Webb. is that Exhibit 218-B is dated February 5. Albright. c. et al.[25] wherein We pointed out. Hampton for and in behalf of the incumbent Secretary of State.[29] The only difference in the documents lies in the fact that Exhibit 218-A was signed by Joan C.[24]! ! In fact. 1995 and signed by Cecil G.[44]! ! .] The Certification issued by one Frank Zolin.[41] The only difference in these documents is that they were printed on different dates. People of the Philippines. Assistant Authenticating Officer of the said agency. Farmer while Exhibits "-39-D and 42-C are both dated August 31. 1995 and is signed by Debora A. Attorney Generals several Deputy Assistant Attorneys for Administration for and in her behalf. Officer of Records.

But this power should be exercised with caution. In this regard. the remedy is a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. it is not a remedy for mere errors of judgment. a party can not feign denial of due process where he had the opportunity to present his side. 6. the trial court was but exercising its judgment on what it perceived to be a superfluous exercise on the belief that the introduction thereof will not reasonably add to the persuasiveness of the evidence already on record. however. respondent had more than ample opportunity to adduce evidence in his defense. and (b) there is no appeal.[49] Discretion has to be exercised in a reasonable manner and in consonance with the spirit of the law. while a litigation is not a game of technicalities. and it must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act all in contemplation of law.It need not be overemphasized that the foregoing factual circumstances only serves to underscore the immutable fact that the depositions proposed to be taken from the five U.[51]! ! To question the jurisdiction of the lower court or the agency exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions. which are correctible by an appeal or a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.[48] The deposition taking can not be based nor can it be denied on flimsy reasons. Power of the court to stop further evidence. board or officer exercising judicial functions has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess or jurisdiction. There is no indication in this case that in denying the motion of respondent-accused. (emphasis and italics supplied. based witnesses would be merely corroborative or cumulative in nature and in denying respondents motion to take them.! ! . it bears stressing that under Section 6. or to act at all in contemplation of law. Indeed. that no grave abuse of discretion may be attributed to a court simply because of its alleged misappreciation of facts and evidence. as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and hostility. A writ of certiorari may not be used to correct a lower tribunal's evaluation of the evidence and factual findings. and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. There must be a capricious. Grave abuse of discretion defies exact definition. in other words where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility. or. arbitrary. nor any plain.! ! It has been held. the trial judge acted in a biased. but generally refers to capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. In other words. arbitrary and whimsical exercise of power for it to prosper. it is a truism that every case must be prosecuted in accordance with the prescribed procedure to insure an orderly and speedy administration of justice. speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law for the purpose of annulling or modifying the proceeding. The abuse of discretion must be patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law. The petitioner in such cases must clearly show that the public respondent acted without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.S. to wit: (a) the tribunal.[50]! ! Certiorari as a special civil action can be availed of only if there is concurrence of the essential requisites. Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Court:! ! SEC. . the State is entitled to due process as much as the accused.)! ! Needless to state. capricious or oppressive manner. Grave abuse of discretion x x x implies such capricious. the trial court can not be faulted with lack of caution in denying respondents motion considering that under the prevailing facts of the case.[46] Furthermore.[47]! ! The use of discovery procedures is directed to the sound discretion of the trial judge. Certainly.[45] It must be borne in mind in this regard that due process is not a monopoly of the defense.The court may stop the introduction of further testimony upon any particular point when the evidence upon it is already so full that more witnesses to the same point cannot be reasonably expected to be additionally persuasive.

LTD. 108229! August 24. not errors of procedure or mistakes in the findings or conclusions of the lower court. of their own personal knowledge.! ! ! ! R E S O L U T I O N! ! NARVASA.In fine.45 as well as an amount equivalent to twenty-five percent (25%) thereof as attorney's fees and litigation expenses.[52]! ! Whether or not the respondent-accused has been given ample opportunity to prove his innocence and whether or not a further prolongation of proceedings would be dilatory is addressed. Manzano & Velez Law Offices for private respondent. If there has been no grave abuse of discretion. Neither is it shown in this petition that they know. the American President Lines. only after conviction may this Court examine such matters further.J. No. Judge. in the first instance.:! ! Sometime in September. Manila.! ! Sobreviñas. Regional Trial Court.! ! ! Republic of the Philippines! SUPREME COURT! Manila! ! SECOND DIVISION! ! ! ! G. 45399 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. certiorari will issue only to correct errors of jurisdiction. REYES. It is pointed out that the defense has already presented at least fifty-seven (57) witnesses and four hundred sixty-four (464) documentary exhibits. any alleged errors committed in the exercise of its discretion will amount to nothing more than errors of judgment which are reviewable by timely appeal and not by special civil action for certiorari. Branch 50. 1987. The Regional Trial Court of Paraaque City is ordered to proceed posthaste in the trial of the main case and to render judgment therein accordingly. in the Regional Trial Court of Manila. There is no showing or allegation that the American public officers and the bicycle store owner can identify respondent Hubert Webb as the very person mentioned in the public and private documents.. SP No. As long as a court acts within its jurisdiction.! ! Tan.! ! WHEREFORE. Ltd.R. 1998 in CA-G. respondents.. petitioner. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated February 6. in view of all the foregoing.! HON. Haudini & Bodegon Law Offices for petitioner. Diaz. sued Dasmariñas Garments.228. to recover the sum of US $53.R. a person whom they can identify as the respondent-accused who was actually present in the United States and not in the Philippines on the specified dates. to the sound discretion of the trial judge.! . the petition is hereby GRANTED. RUBEN T. INC. and AMERICAN PRESIDENT LINES. many of them of the exact nature as those to be produced or testified to by the proposed foreign deponents. ! vs. C. We sustain the proposition that the trial judge commits no grave abuse of discretion if she decides that the evidence on the matter sought to be proved in the United States could not possibly add anything substantial to the defense evidence involved. Under the circumstances. Inc.! ! SO ORDERED. 1993! ! DASMARIÑAS GARMENTS.

Lin & Associates Maritime Law Office. but only upon written interrogatories so as to give defendant the opportunity to crossexamine the witnesses by serving cross-examination."! ! The motion was opposed by Dasmariñas. 1991."! ! . Roces of the Asian Exchange Center.! ! Let this Order be coursed through the Department of Foreign Affairs. disposing as follows:! ! ACCORDINGLY. 1989.! In its answer dated December 1.! ! By Order dated March 15." this being "in consonance with the Supreme Court Administrative Order requiring courts or judicial bodies to course their requests through the Department of Foreign Affairs. Inc. Taipe.. Compliance with the Rules on the taking of testimony by deposition upon written interrogatories under Sections 25-29 of Rule 24. by deposition (upon written interrogatories) is hereby GRANTED. Republic of China. being the authorized Philippine representative in Taiwan. . 1989. APL filed a motion praying that it intended to take the depositions of H. Lee and Yeong Fang Yeh in Taipei. through various pleadings filed by the parties. pursuant to Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. Inc. . 1988. 1987." it was necessary — and it therefore prayed — "that commission or letters rogatory be issued addressed to Director Joaquin Roces.! ! The case was in due course scheduled for trial on April 27. Manila. The case was reset to May 3. simply Dasmariñas) specifically denied any liability to the plaintiff (hereafter simply APL). a "commission or letters rogatory be issued addressed to the consul. and set up compulsory counterclaims against it.. that a foreign court examine a person within its jurisdiction. " Five (5) days later APL filed an amended motion stating that since the Philippine Government has no consulate office in Taiwan in view of its "one China policy.! ! At the hearing of May 3. the motion to take testimonies of plaintiff's Taiwanese witnesses. Dasmariñas Garments. vice-consul or consular agent of the Republic of the Philippines in Taipei . the Trial Court resolved the incident in favor of APL. Road. 1987. may take the testimonies of plaintiff's witnesses residing there by deposition. The Asian Exchange Center. (hereafter. Kenneth H. Asian Executive Exchange Center. . transmitting information inter alia of the mode by which."! ! Extensive argument on the matter thereafter followed. dated November 20. 112 Chunghsiao. E. . under the "ROC Civil Procedure Code. to hear and take the oral deposition of the aforenamed persons .! ! The Court opined that "the Asian Exchange Center. thru Director Joaquin R. Executive Director. instead of presenting its witnesses. 1989 for reception of the testimony of two (2) more witnesses in APL's behalf. It contended that (a) the motion was "fatally defective in that it does not seek ." there being in lieu thereof an office set up by the President "presently occupied by Director Joaquin Roces which is the Asia Exchange Center. Inc. 1988. Taiwan and prayed that for this purpose. Rules of Court is enjoined." "a copy or an abridged copy" of documents on file with a Taiwan Court may be obtained. Lee and Yeong Fah Yeh. ." (b) issuance of letters rogatory was unnecessary because the witnesses "can be examined before the Philippine Court. Roces is hereby COMMISSIONED to take down the deposition. Room 901. Section 1. advising that "this Office can only take deposition upon previous authority from the Department of Foreign Affairs. On that date APL presented its first witness whose testimony was completed on November 12. .." and (b) a letter sent by "fax" to the same counsel by a law firm in Taipei." and ! (c) the Rules of Court "expressly require that the testimony of a witness must be taken orally in open court and not by deposition. 4 dated April 6. Inc. . Inc. Inc. in the course of which APL submitted to the Trial Court (a) the letter received by its counsel from Director Joaquin R.

the Court of Appeals (Third Division) rendered judgment on September 23. to present its evidence by mere deposition of its witnesses away from the 'penetrating scrutiny' of the trial Judge while petitioner is obligated to bring and present its witnesses in open court subject to the prying eyes and probing questions of the Judge."! ! 2)! "in disregarding the inherently unfair situation in allowing private respondent. (deposition-taking) of its witnesses not later than the end of this month. present its evidence by taking the deposition of its witnesses in a foreign jurisdiction before a private entity not authorized by law to take depositions in lieu of their oral examination in open Court considering that:! ! a)! the taking of deposition is a mode of pretrial discovery to be availed of before the action comes to trial. It has come to this Court and prays for the reversal of the Appellate Court's Decision of September 23. it not being one of those so authorized by the Rules of Court to take depositions in a foreign state. Once again. was rebuffed. 1991 and July 5. (2) AECI's articles of incorporation show that it is not vested with any such authority.Dasmariñas sought reconsideration by motion filed June 25. 1991 "in order to maintain the status quo and to prevent the infliction of irreparable damage and injury upon the petitioner. and once again. Depositions. . a foreign jurisdiction not recognized by the Philippines in view of its 'one-China policy.! ! b)! no urgent or compelling reason has been shown to justify the departure from the accepted and usual judicial proceedings of examining witnesses in open court where their demeanor could be observed by the trial judge. 1991. oral testimony in open court remains the "most satisfactory method of investigation of facts'" and "'affords the greatest protection to the rights and liberties of citizens.' before the AECI. and the other modes of discovery (interrogatories to parties. (3) to permit deposition-taking by commission without the authority of the foreign state in which deposition is taken constitutes infringement of judicial sovereignty."! ! By Order dated July 5. They are intended as a means to compel disclosure of facts resting in the knowledge of a party or other person which are relevant in some suit or proceeding in court. to wit:! ! 1)! "in holding that a party could. Said Appellate Court restrained enforcement of the orders of March 15. during the trial of the case. . Its motion for reconsideration was denied in a Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated December 11. In the same Order. .! ! Dasmariñas ascribes to the Court of Appeals the following errors. . a foreign entity suing in the Philippines. (AECI) to take depositions has not been established. and (4) depositions by written interrogatories have inherent limitations and are not suitable to matters dependent on the credibility of witnesses."! ! After due proceedings. the motion for reconsideration was denied because "filed out of time" and being a mere rehash of arguments already passed upon. a private entity not authorized by law to take depositions. 1991 on the following grounds: (1) authority of the Asian Exchange Center. 1992 denying Dasmariñas petition for certiorari and upholding the challenged orders of the Trial Court. APL was directed "to take the necessary steps to implement the order authorizing the . 1992 and Resolution dated December 11. 1992. it will fail. Dasmariñas sought reconsideration of an adverse disposition. 1992."! ! Depositions are chiefly a mode of discovery."! ! Dasmariñas instituted a special civil action of certiorari in the Court of Appeals to nullify the orders of the Trial Court just described. Once again. Inc. Taiwan. otherwise the Court will consider inaction or lack of interest as waiver to adduce additional evidence by deposition.! ! Once again Dasmariñas has availed of the remedy of appeal." and! ! 3)! "in sanctioning the deposition taking of . (APL's) witnesses in Taipei. .

! ! However. for normally. and all the relevant facts may be clearly and completely laid before the Court. may be used against any party who was present or represented at the taking of the deposition or who had due notice thereof. in lieu of the actual oral testimony of the deponent in open court. they are not therefore generally meant to be a substitute for the actual testimony in open court of a party or witness.! ! (c)! The deposition of a witness.!Examination to be done in open court.! ! . the opportunity for cross-examination must be accorded a party at the time that the testimonial evidence is actually presented against him during the trial or hearing. 1. whether or not a party. the answers of the witness shall be given orally. that such exceptional circumstances exist as to make it desirable.!Use of depositions. in the interest of justice and with due regard to the importance of presenting the testimony of witnesses orally in open court. partnership. to allow the deposition to be used. from whoever may have knowledge thereof. production or inspection of documents or things. sickness. — At the trial or upon the hearing of a motion of an interlocutory proceeding. or (3) that the witness is unable to attend to testify because of age. without omission or suppression. physical and mental examination of persons) are meant to enable a party to learn all the material and relevant facts. under certain conditions and for certain limited purposes. any deposition offered to prove the facts therein set out during a trial or hearing. the object of discovery is to make it possible for all the parties to a case to learn all the material and relevant facts. In fine. or managing agent of a public or private corporation. Section 1. or (2) that the witness if out of the province and at a greater distance than fifty (50) kilometers from the place of trial or hearing. any part or all of a deposition. This is a requirement of the rules of evidence. or (4) that the party offering the deposition has been unable to procure the attendance of the witness by subpoena. the party against whom it is offered has no opportunity to cross-examine the deponent at the time that his testimony is offered. director. The deponent must as a rule be presented for oral examination in open court at the trial or hearing.requests for admission by adverse party. 4.! ! Depositions are principally made available by law to the parties as a means of informing themselves of all the relevant facts. may be used by any party for any purpose if the court finds: (1) that the witness is dead.! ! (b)! The deposition of a party or of any one who at the time of taking the deposition was an officer. or imprisonment. Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provides:! ! Sec. so far as admissible under the rules of evidence. It matters not that that opportunity for crossexamination was afforded during the taking of the deposition. or association which is a party may be used by an adverse party for any purpose.! ! Indeed. unless it appears that his absence was procured by the party offering the deposition. not only known to him and his witnesses but also those known to the adverse party and the latter's own witnesses. and under oath or affirmation. or is out of the Philippines. or the question calls for a different mode of answer. Unless the witness is incapacitated to speak. in accordance with any of the following provisions:! ! (a)! Any deposition may be used by any party for the purpose of contradicting or impeaching the testimony of deponent as a witness. Rule 24 of the Rules of Court. infirmity. — The examination of witnesses presented in a trial or hearing shall be done in open court.! ! Sec. may be opposed and excluded on the ground that it is hearsay. or (5) upon application and notice. depositions may be used without the deponent being actually called to the witness stand by the proponent. to the end that their pleadings or motions may not suffer from inadequacy of factual foundation. These exceptional situations are governed by Section 4.

consul. his deposition "shall be taken before any judge. . on the other hand. vice-consul. or consular agent of the Republic of the Philippines.(d)! If only part of a deposition is offered in evidence by a party. Rule 24. is consistent with another rule of evidence..! ! Sec. or impose conditions therefor." etc. The court intervenes in the process only if a party moves (1) to "enlarge or shorten the time" stated in the notice (id. citing Cyclopedic Law .! Commission or letters rogatory. consul. or (2) "upon notice and for good cause shown. 1 Rule 24). all that is required being that "reasonable notice" be given "in writing to every other party to the action . or oppress the deponent or party" (Sec 18. found in Section 47. a general description sufficient to identify him or the particular class or group to which he belongs. (Sec. if known. 15. Rules of Court). whether the deposition-taking is to be accomplished within the Philippines or outside. . involving the same parties and subject matter. out of the Philippines.. that "certain matters shall not be inquired into" or that the taking be "held with no one present except the parties to the action and their officers or counsel. If the party or witness is in the Philippines. p." and the defendant's answer has already been served (Sec. 10. a witness who is within the jurisdiction of the judge or court to whom such letters are addressed" (Feria. 11. 47. Officers may be designated in notices or commissions either by name or descriptive title and letters rogatory may be addressed "To the Appropriate Judicial Authority in (here name the country). consul general. vice-consul. and on such terms and with such directions as are just and appropriate. Letters rogatory. Rule 132 of the Rules of Court.! ! It is apparent then that the deposition of any person may be taken wherever he may be. vice-consul. may be given in evidence against the adverse party who had the opportunity to cross-examine him.. or consular agent. the adverse party may require him to introduce all of it which is relevant to the part introduced. 12. — The testimony or deposition of a witness deceased or unable to testify.! Testimony or deposition at a former proceeding. or do any other act by authority of such court or tribunal" (Feria. Rule 24). Rule 24 provides as follows:! ! Sec. (stating) the time and place for taking the deposition and the name and address of each person to be examined. the law does not authorize or contemplate any intervention by the court in the process. J. Section 12. requesting the latter to cause to be examined."! ! A commission may be defined as "(a)n instrument issued by a court of justice. consul general. If in a foreign state or country. Rule 24). . After answer. on application and notice. Rule 24).g. and any party may introduce any other parts. or (b) before such person or officer as may be appointed by commission or under letters rogatory" (Sec." to prevent the deposition-taking. the deposition "shall be taken: (a) on notice before a secretary or embassy or legation. may be defined as "(a)n instrument sent in the name and by the authority of a judge or court to another." then obviously it may be taken only "before such person or officer as may be appointed by commission or under letters rogatory. J. judicial or administrative.! ! The principle conceding admissibility to a deposition when the deponent is dead. or other competent tribunal. and if the name is not known. op. cit. in the Philippines or abroad.. e. consul general. or! (3) to terminate the process on motion and upon a showing that "it is being conducted in bad faith or in such manner as unreasonably to annoy. or otherwise unable to come to court to testify. 415.! ! Leave of court is not necessary where the deposition is to be taken before "a secretary or embassy or legation.! ! Where the deposition is to be taken in a foreign country where the Philippines has no "secretary or embassy or legation. to authorize a person to take depositions. Civil Procedure.. " (Sec. consul. or consular agent of the Republic of the Philippines. municipal or notary public" (Sec. upon interrogatories filed in a cause pending before the former. Rule 24). embarrass. citing Cyclopedic Law Dictionary. . — A commission or letters rogatory shall be issued only when necessary or convenient. . 200).). given in a former case or proceeding. p. 1969 ed. 16.

1987. . and in accordance. to take the testimony of (here name the witness or witnesses) in (here name the foreign country in which the testimony is to be taken). Lee and Yeong Fah Yeh.'" This is inconsequential. the Section Chief.! ! Petitioner would however prevent the carrying out of the commission on various grounds." and to avoid delay in the deposition-taking. which requires the inclusion in a "petition for letters rogatory" of the following paragraph. MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS AND MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS" "to course all requests for the taking of deposition of witnesses residing abroad through the Department of Foreign Affairs" to enable it and "the Philippine Foreign Service establishments to act on the matter in a judicious and expeditious manner. v. no prohibition against the taking of depositions after pre-trial. What matters is that the deposition is taken before a Philippine official acting by authority of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and in virtue of a commission duly issued by the Philippine Court in which the action is pending. with the provisions of the Philippine Rules of Court pursuant to which opportunity for cross-examination of the deponent will be fully accorded to the adverse party. C. and even during the process of execution of a final and executory judgment (East Asiatic Co.Dictionary." this. Roces" "to take the testimonies of . Rules of Court). Rule 24 just quoted states that a commission is addressed to "officers .! ! Dasmariñas also contends that the "taking of deposition is a mode of pretrial discovery to be availed of before the action comes to trial. Inc." Not so. . before _________________ (name of officer). . MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS IN CITIES. Kenneth H. "in the interest of justice. either by name or descriptive title. .! ! In the case at bar. . was returned unexecuted by __________________ on the ground that ____________. . Section 12. Depositions may be taken at any time after the institution of any action." It appears that said Center may. Indeed." Noteworthy in this connection is the indication in the Rules that letters rogatory may be applied for and issued only after a commission has been "returned unexecuted" as is apparent from Form 21 of the "Judicial Standard Forms" appended to the Rules of Court.:! ! xxx! ! xxx! xxx! 3. Taiwan (eg. 40 SCRA 521. viz. 19__. the law authorizes the taking of depositions of witnesses before or after an appeal is taken from the judgment of a Regional Trial Court "to perpetuate their testimony for use in the event of further proceedings in the said court" (Rule 134.. by deposition (upon written interrogatories) .! . Republic of the Philippines" issue a "Certificate of Authentications" attesting to the identity and authority of Notaries Public and other public officers of the Republic of China. "upon request and authority of the Ministry (now Department) of Foreign Affairs. 544). p. whenever necessary or convenient.! A commission issued by this Court on the ______ day of ______. . 4 issued by Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee on April 6." while letters rogatory are addressed to some "appropriate judicial authority in the foreign state.! ! The first is that the deposition-taking will take place in "a foreign jurisdiction not recognized by the Philippines in view of its 'one-China policy. There is no rule that limits depositiontaking only to the period of pre-trial or before it. 653). . pursuant to the suggestion of the Department of Foreign Affairs — directing "ALL JUDGES OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS. all of which more fully appears from the certificate of said __________ to said commission and made a part hereof by attaching it hereto (or state other facts to show commission is inadequate or cannot be executed) (emphasis supplied). Department of Consular Affairs of the latter's Ministry of Foreign Affairs) (Annex B of Annex N of the petition for review on certiorari) — a prima facie showing not rebutted by petitioner. .! ! It further appears that the commission is to be coursed through the Department of Foreign Affairs conformably with Circular No. designated ..R. METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURTS. the Regional Trial Court has issued a commission to the "Asian Exchange Center. moreover.I. thru Director Joaquin R.

the Trial Court reached this conclusion because.! Dasmariñas further claims that the taking of deposition under the circumstances is a "departure from the accepted and usual judicial proceedings of examining witnesses in open court where the demeanor could be observed by the trial judge." This is allowed provided the deposition is taken in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Rules of Court and the existence of any of the exceptions for its admissibility — e. that the witness is unable to attend to testify because of age. removing the proponent's option to take them by oral examination. by going to Taipei and actually questioning the witnesses verbally with the questions and answers and observations of the parties being recorded stenographically. are to be sure within the Court's discretion. infirmity.. 1991 which was however not acted on or granted by the Court." that it is "inherently unfair" to allow APL. "that the witness if out of the province and at a greater distance than fifty (50) kilometers from the place of trial or hearing. which." The statement implies that opportunity to cross-examine will not be accorded the defendant if the depositions were to be taken upon oral examination." but the procedure is not on that account rendered illegal nor is the deposition thereby taken. Maceren. It precisely falls within one of the exceptions where the law permits such a situation. the motion for reconsideration was filed by Dasmariñas on June 25. 4 Rule 24. 1991 sought to be reconsidered.! ! SO ORDERED. In its Order of July 5.! ! The Regional Trial Court saw fit to permit the taking of the depositions of the witnesses in question only by written interrogatories. supra.! ! One other word. 95 Phil. Costs against petitioner. 1991. 1991) of the Order of March 15.e." (Sec. "a foreign entity suing in the Philippines. 1991 — denying Dasmariñas motion for reconsideration of the earlier order dated March 15. Denial of the motion on such a ground is incorrect. emphasis supplied) — is first satisfactorily established (See Lopez v. is not true. the adverse party is still accorded full right to cross-examine the deponents by the law.e. as the record discloses. or . In the first place. etc.. the use of deposition in lieu of the actual appearance and testimony of the deponent in open court and without being "subject to the prying eyes and probing questions of the Judge. or imprisonment. in respect of which there is no provision of law fixing the time within which reconsideration thereof should be sought. For even if the depositions were to be taken on oral examination in Taipei. the order sought to be reconsidered is an interlocutory order. . 754). or is out of the Philippines.! ! ! ! SUPREME COURT! . i."! ! Of course the deposition-taking in the case at bar is a "departure from the accepted and usual judicial proceedings of examining witnesses in open court where their demeanor could be observed by the trial judge. the Court Resolved to DISMISS the petition for review on certiorari. unless it appears that his absence was procured by the party offering the deposition. ending on June 25. either by proceeding to Taipei and there conducting the cross-examination orally. of course. The ostensible reason given by the Trial Court for the condition — that the deposition be taken "only upon written interrogatories" — is "so as to give defendant (Dasmariñas) the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses by serving cross-interrogatories. inadmissible.. More importantly. it appears that there was a motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration.! ! PREMISES CONSIDERED. or opting to conduct said cross-examination merely by serving cross-interrogatories. i. sickness. The imposition of such a limitation. . to present its evidence by mere deposition of its witnesses away from the 'penetrating scrutiny' of the trial Judge while petitioner is obligated to bring and present its witnesses in open court subject to the prying eyes and probing questions of the Judge. twenty-five (25) days after notice (on May 20." Evidently. 1991 (allowing the taking of deposition by commission) — one of the reasons adduced by the Regional Trial Court for the denial was that the motion had been "filed out of time.g. and the determination of the cause thereof.

1989. 36-40.R. G. the dispositive portion of which reads:! ! IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. pp. Jr. petitioner. acts and performance of the management of the SMC under the PCGG-Board. examination/verification and/or photocopying of the SMC corporate records to inform him of the decisions. to examine the records of the San Miguel Corporation is granted within the confines of Sec. 88809:! ! On December 26. ! vs.R. No.Manila! ! EN BANC! ! ! ! G. It reads:! ! IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING.! THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION) AND EDUARDO COJUANGCO.:p! ! These petitions for certiorari assail the resolution of respondent Sandiganbayan dated May 9.! ! G. 88809! ! July 10. ! vs. No. respondents. 74 of the Corporation Code. likewise allowing respondent Cojuangco to examine the corporate records of San Miguel Corporation.! THE HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN (FIRST DIVISION) AND EDUARDO COJUANGCO. Jr. petitioner. to inspect the corporate records of United Coconut Planters Bank.! ! . JR. J. the petition filed by Petitioner Eduardo Cojuangco. (Rollo. 1989. No. No. (PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT). policies.. No. 1988. 1991! REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. 3640. 88809)! ! The facts that gave rise to the instant petitions are as follows:! ! In G. 88858)! ! and its resolution dated May 18. private respondent-stockholder requested the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) and its corporate secretary the production. the respondent UCPB and its corporate secretary shall respond to petitioner Eduardo Cojuangco's request for examination and copying of corporate records in a manner consistent with its duties to all its other registered stockholders as described in the Corporation Code and under specific laws governing banking institutions such as said respondent UCPB. allowing respondent Eduardo Cojuangco.. (PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION ON GOOD GOVERNMENT). JR. Mendoza for private respondent.. inspection. respondents. G.! ! R E S O L U T I O N! ! ! ! BIDIN.R.. 1991! REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES.R. 88858! ! July 10.! ! Estelito P. (Rollo.R. pp.

subject to review on certiorari exclusively by the Supreme Court. specifically provides in section 2 that "the Presidential Commission on Good Government shall file all such cases. No. Imelda. 1989 and July 20. private respondent as stockholder of record seeks authority to inspect and examine the corporate records of United Coconut Planters Bank. 88809 are substantially similar in G. 88858:! ! The facts set forth in G. the instant petitions for certiorari with prayer for the issuance of temporary restraining orders.! ! We find the petition devoid of merit.! ! xxx! ! xxx! xxx! .! ! Hence. all cases of the Commission regarding "the Funds.! ! The request of private respondent for the inspection/examination of SMC's corporate records was denied by the PCGG (Rollo.! ! 2)! ! the PCGG may validly refuse private respondent's right to inspection. 14 issued on May 7.R. among others. Subordinates. respectively. agents and nominees. Jr. 14. Nos. dummies. their Close Relatives. pp. 45-46. close and/or business associates. respondent Sandiganbayan rendered the assailed resolutions aforequoted. are lodged within the "exclusive and original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan" and all incidents arising from.! ! In G. or Nominees. subordinates. Business Associates. close relatives. 1989. 1986. Moneys. with the Sandiganbayan which shall have exclusive and original . Under Section 2 of the President's Executive Order No.! ! Thereafter. As regards the corporate records of URPB. such cases necessarily fall likewise under the Sandiganbayan's exclusive and original jurisdiction. 44. On June 13. Subsequently. the Court issued a temporary restraining order in G. GR No. No. Imelda Romualdez Marcos.! ! Nothing is more settled than this Court's pronouncement in PCGG v. which defines the jurisdiction over cases involving the ill-gotten wealth of former President Marcos.R. his wife. 88858)..R. . No. No.R. private respondent was informed by the SMC that all requests for the examination. 88809). whether civil or criminal. inspection and photocopying of its corporate records should be coursed through the PCGG. Executive Order No.R. private respondent was likewise advised to course his request through the PCGG (Rollo.! ! Petitioner argues. and! 3)! the petition filed by private respondent before the Sandiganbayan is barred by the doctrine of state immunity from suit. incidental to. the former (SMC) sought advice from the latter on the effect of such sequestration. Dummies. where We held that:! ! . 88858 except that in the latter case.Since the shares of private respondent in the SMC have been sequestered by the PCGG. . that:! ! 1)! respondent Sandiganbayan has no jurisdiction over the petition filed by respondent Eduardo Cojuangco. . Assets. p. . members of their immediate family. Subsequently. Agents. Mrs." civil or criminal. or related to. G. Peña (159 SCRA 556 [1988]). 88809 and 88858. and Properties Illegally Acquired or Misappropriated by Former President Ferdinand Marcos. private respondent filed two separate petitions for prohibition and mandamus before the Sandiganbayan seeking to enforce his stockholder's right to inspect the corporate records of SMC and the UCPB.

As already earlier stressed with no little insistence. 88809. 14. It is further argued that respondent's purpose in examining the corporate records of SMC and the UCPB is merely to satisfy his curiosity regarding the performance of said corporations (Rollo. p. stock transfer agent.! ! As regards the might of inspection. the Court finds nothing therein to indicate that the Corporation Code has been deemed amended. Yuson (164 SCRA 226 [1988]) and accompanying cases. citing EO Nos. however.jurisdiction thereof. "Necessarily. 16. trustee. GR No. 74 thereof. . 88858). as having been amended by. for a copy of excerpts from said records or minutes. Rollo. which is vested with exclusive and original jurisdiction. 1. that the Corporation Code has to give way to. Nevertheless. (See Republic v. stockholder or member of the corporation at reasonable hours on business days and he may demand. p. Jr. Executive Orders Nos. in writing. ostensibly based on the order of sequestration. (Emphasis supplied)! ! The above ruling was reiterated in Soriano v. 1 & 2). For one thing. 12. 17. . 14 and related issuances as well as the pronouncement laid down by this Court in Bataan Shipyard and Engineering Corporation v.! ! Neither may the doctrine of state immunity be properly invoked by petitioner in the case at bar. whether the same are ill-gotten or not (Rollo.. the pertinent portion of which reads:! ! Sec. We have examined the extent of Executive Orders Nos.! ! Does sequestration automatically deprive a stockholder of his right of inspection?! ! We rule in the negative. i. 2 and 14 on sequestration as well as the BASECO case relied upon by petitioner. may be challenged before the respondent court. . GR No. before the Sandiganbayan demanded no affirmative performance by the State in its political capacity which would otherwise call for the application of immunity from suit. Moreover. 74. frozen or provisionally taken over.! ! Petitioners argue. GR No. at his expense. and should be stated at the outset: the PCGG cannot exercise acts of dominion over property sequestered. 88809. p.. 88858). is the following:! ! One thing is certain. p. much less an implied modification of a stockholder's right to inspection as guaranteed by Sec. the petition filed by respondent Cojuangco. it follows that the propriety of petitioner's action in denying Cojuangco's right of inspection. what is clear in the case of BASECO. freezing or provisional takeover of property does . GR No. Jr. p.! ! All matters of sequestration being within the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. 184 SCRA 382 [1990] and cases cited therein). Sandiganbayan.e. the Sandiganbayan.! ! The right of a stockholder to inspect and/or examine the records of a corporation is explicitly provided in Section 74 of the Corporation Code. 13. 88809.! xxx! The records of all business transactions of the corporation and the minutes of any meeting shall be open to the inspection of any director. GR No.! ! xxx! xxx! ! Books to be kept. Rollo.. Presidential Commission on Good Government (150 SCRA 181 [1987]) on the effects of sequestration (Rollo. 2. it is the submission of petitioner that the request of respondent Cojuangco. for the examination of the corporate records of SMC and UCPB may be validly refused pending judicial determination of respondent's sequestered shares. 1. the act of sequestration. supra. There is mischief in this argument. those who wish to question or challenge the Commission's acts or orders in such cases must seek recourse in the same court.

does not make the PCGG the owner thereof. Roxas. No. In other words. Cojuangco. v. et al. 1991). however. or a quasi-ownership. as stockholder from inspecting the corporate records of the SMC and the UCPB at reasonable hours on business days..! ! Petitioner. v. In other words. . and 3) the demand is made in good faith or for a legitimate purpose. 1976 Rev. with much more reason it cannot restrain or prevent private respondent. in seeking to bar private respondent from exercising his statutory right of inspection. if not to gratify his curiosity regarding the performance of the SMC and the UCPB. the argument is devoid of merit. not an owner. GR No. We ruled that the PCGG cannot vote the sequestered shares of respondent Cojuangco. Thiele v. an incident of ownership of the corporate property.. Azcuna. (115 A.. (citing Fletcher Cyc.. 1 [1939].. et al. Ed. therefore.! ! Just recently. 74 of the Corporation Code. whether this ownership or interest be termed an equitable ownership. If the PCGG cannot vote the sequestered shares of private respondent.. and has to be proper and lawful in character and not inimical to the interest of the corporation. Vol. Jr.! ! The PCGG does not become. Private Corporations. the same may not be said in the case of private respondent. Secs. 2) the person demanding to examine and copy excerpts from the corporation's records and minutes has not improperly used any information secured through any previous examination of the records of such corporation. the inspection has to be germane to the petitioner's interest as a stockholder. there is therefore no reason why private respondent may not exercise his statutory right of inspection in accordance with Sec. ipso facto. 773 [1922]). this Court in the case of Gokongwei. lays emphasis on the argument that respondent's express purpose is to "supervise" PCGG's management. the owner of the shares just because the same have been sequestered. v. must be set up as a defense by the corporation if it is to merit judicial cognizance. . nor does it become the stockholder of record by virtue of such sequestration. frozen or provisionally taken over. This is because:! ! . Cities Service Co. Insular Lumber Co. GR No. in San Miguel Corporation (Cojuangco. 2218 & 2222)! ! While it may be true that the right of inspection granted by Sec. Securities and Exchange Commission (89 SCRA 336 [1979]) held that:! ! The stockholder's right of inspection of the corporation's books and records is based upon their ownership of the assets and property of the corporation. 1991. as when the stockholder is not acting in good faith and for a legitimate purpose (Gonzales v. 122 SCRA 489 [1983]). . the only express limitation being that the right of inspection should be exercised at reasonable hours on business days.! ! Explaining the rationale behind a stockholder's right to inspection. In relation to the property sequestered.not import or bring about a divestment of title over said property. 31st Supp. et al. This right is predicated upon the necessity of selfprotection. . As such. 93005. Jr. April 16...! ! Again. Jr. 91925. et al. the PCGG cannot unilaterally deny a stockholder from exercising his statutory right of inspection based on an unsupported and naked assertion that private respondent's motive is improper or merely for curiosity or on the ground that the stockholder is not in friendly terms with the corporation's officers. 2213. It is. April 16.. Records indicate that private respondent is the ostensible owner of a substantial number of shares and is a stockholder of record in SMC and UCPB. 74 of the Corporation Code is not absolute. 40 O. See also State ex rel. a beneficial ownership. the PCGG is a conservator.G. . and in the absence of evidence. 5. or when the demand is purely speculative or merely to satisfy curiosity (Grey v. The latter two limitations. It is generally held by majority of the courts that where the right is granted by statute to the stockholder. the specific .. it is given to him as such and must be exercised by him with respect to his interest as a stockholder and for some purpose germane thereto or in the interest of the corporation. The law grants respondent/stockholder such authority. PNB. Jr.. * Being a stockholder beyond doubt. the "impropriety of purpose such as will defeat enforcement must be set up (by) the corporation defensively if the Court is to take cognizance of it as a qualification.

Cities Service Co. Santos & Fortunato Gupit. the Court Resolved to DISMISS the instant petition for lack of merit. 1971.R.! ! ! FIRST DIVISION! ! G. The temporary restraining orders issued are hereby LIFTED and SET ASIDE. Jr. which she and her friend suffered when the banca in which they were riding capsized during their trip back to town. was motivated by bad faith. supra. Mananzan asked for an extension of time to answer the request for admission. Surely. the case might have been finished long ago. Had she been less intransigent. HON. ! vs.. Mananzan as operator of a banca service for shooting the rapids at Pagsanjan Falls. Save for its unsubstantiated allegations. 124 NW 791. Monida & Yellowstone Stage Co. that the demand was for an illegitimate purpose or that the demand was impelled by speculation or idle curiosity. (Gokongwei.! ! ! ! GRIÑO-AQUINO.000 damages against the private respondent Jose P. State v.. 193." Seventeen (17) years after the petitioner Priscilla Susan Po filed a motion for summary judgment in the damage suit which she filed against the private respondent. respondents. COURT OF APPEALS.! ! IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. Linsangan & Associates for petitioner. No. not even a scintilla of evidence that respondent Cojuangco. has kept her complaint waiting in the wings to be called for pre-trial. the petitioner filed a motion for summary judgment on the ground that there exists no genuine or substantial controversy on any issue of fact raised in the complaint because .. petitioner could offer no proof. Securities and Exhange Commission..! ! The petitioner filed in 1971 a complaint for P35. petitioner served upon him a request for admission. petitioner failed to discharge the burden of proof to show that private respondent's action in seeking examination of the corporate records was moved by unlawful or illmotivated designs which could appropriately call for a judicial protection against the exercise of such right. her refusal to abide by the trial court's order and the Appellate Court's resolution denying her motion.)! ! In the case at bar.provisions take from the stockholder the burden of showing impropriety of purpose or motive. 1971.! ! On March 4. v. respondent's substantial shareholdings in the SMC and UCPB cannot be an object of mere curiosity. AND JOSE P. 110 Minn. Chavez and Benjamin C.! ! Antonio M. 1988! PRISCILLA SUSAN PO.! HON. petitioner. J.! ! On February 27. for respondents. L-34341! ! August 22. This Resolution is immediately executory. MANANZAN. 114 A 463.! ! SO ORDERED. arising from an accidental spill into the water. Jr. After Mananzan had answered the complaint. nay. Jr.:! ! This case demonstrates the adage that sometimes "haste makes waste. The petitioner opposed the motion for extension of time on account of alleged defects in the notice of hearing. JUDGE JULIAN LUSTRE. citing State v.! ! Panganiban.

(pp. by failure to answer her request for admission within the reglementary period (Sec. With the absolute denial of private respondent in his answer to the complaint. it is. The allegations of facts in the complaint remain to have been controverted by the answer of private respondent to the complaint. Petitioner's request constitutes an utter redundancy and a useless. A request for admission is not intended to merely reproduce or reiterate the allegations of the requesting party's pleading but should set forth relevant evidentiary matters of fact.)! ! Nothing daunted.R. Brief for Respondents. the petitioner appealed to this Court. Terry 260.)! ! After the trial court had denied her motion for reconsideration of its order. Rules of Court) is deemed to have admitted the facts set forth in the request. 91). This decision is immediately executory. East. 151. as correctly observed by the Court of Appeals.") which the Court of Appeals likewise denied on September 23. Respondent Judge did not commit any grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction nor has he unlawfully deprived petitioner of any right in concluding that petitioner's request for admission does not fall under Rule 26 and that therefore the same need not be answered by private respondent. The pertinent observations of the Court of Appeals are quoted hereunder:! ! ." (p. which have already been answered and denied by the defendant in his answer" hence. the judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed with costs against the petitioner. amounting to lack of jurisdiction. He filed an opposition to the petitioner's motion for summary judgment. respondent Judge correctly denied petitioner's Motion for Summary Judgment. 19-20. are nothing but a reiteration of a portion of the plaintiffs allegations in the complaint.. Rollo. "pointless. Julian Lustre.the defendant. 1971. 1971 for lack of merit. cited in 27 C.! ! A party should not be compelled to admit matters of fact already admitted by his pleading and concerning which there is no issue (Sherr vs.! . Unless it is shown that respondent Judge has committed a palpable grave abuse of discretion. Unless it serves that purpose. whose purpose is to establish said party's cause of action or defense. 2.! ! An examination of petitioner's complaint and her request for admission confirms Judge Lustre's finding (which the Court of Appeals upheld) that the "fact" set forth in the request for admission. 71 A2d 752. There being genuine issues between the parties. useless. et al. 10. and does not refer to a mere reiteration of what has been alleged in the complaint and unconditionally denied in the answer.! ! Mananzan answered the request for admission and sent a copy of his answer to the petitioner. the petitioner elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals on a petition for certiorari (CA-G. Hon. this Court will not issue the writs prayed for.! ! SO ORDERED. nor should he be required to make a second denial of those already denied in his answer to the complaint."! ! WHEREFORE. are the same factual allegations set forth in her complaint which the defendant either admitted or denied in his answer. respondent Judge Lustre denied the motion for summary judgment. As aptly stated by respondent Judge. pointless process which private respondent should not be subjected to and which the lower court should not countenance as the respondent Judge rightfully did. Rule 26. hence no motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration will be entertained.. observing that "the interrogatories . "Priscilla Susan Po vs.J. Rule 26 contemplates interrogatories that would clarify and tend to show light on the truth or falsity of the allegations of the complaint..S. p. Rollo.! ! On April 16. No. or documents described in and exhibited with the request. including the amount of damages claimed.. petitioner's subsequent request for admission of the same facts already denied does not serve the purpose of Rule 26 as a mode of discovery. 00220-R entitled. they "need not be answered again if asked in the form of interrogatories." and "a mere redundancy.

4 On September 21. 1996.2! ! The facts are as follows:! ! On April 8. and Elena Sy. because: 1) as already pointed out by this Court in the questioned Order said depositions will only delay the early termination of this case. 1994. President of Hyatt. and YU HE CHING. which remanded Civil Case No. 1994. LCDC filed a second amended complaint adding as defendant.:! ! Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari seeking the nullification of the Decision dated May 4. 1994 in fraud of LCDC. 1996.R.00 to Hyatt through Yu. alleging that LCDC paid the purchase price of P2. Petitioners. Hyatt and Yu prayed that all settings for depositions be disregarded and pre-trial be set instead. 2000 of the Court of Appeals’ (CA) then Seventh Division in CA-G.FIRST DIVISION! ! G. 57119.3 On April 12. No. docketed as Civil Case No. 3) after all. J.7! ! At the scheduled deposition of Elena Sy on September 17. Respondents.R. contending that the taking of depositions only delay the resolution of the case. and that Hyatt failed to develop the said property in a joint venture. LCDC filed an amended complaint impleading Princeton Development Corporation (Princeton) as additional defendant claiming that Hyatt sold the subject property to Princeton on March 30.10! ! . The RTC agreed and on the same day ordered all depositions cancelled and pre-trial to take place on November 14. 1996. 2001 which denied petitioners’ motion for reconsideration. 1994. Account Officer of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC).634. President of LCDC. 2) had this Court set this case for pre-trial conference and trial thereafter. 94-1429.. respondent Ley Construction and Development Corporation (LCDC) filed a complaint for specific performance and damages with the Regional Trial Court of Makati. despite LCDC’s payment of 40% of the pre-construction cost. CV No. what the parties would like to elicit from their deponents would probably be elicited at the pre-trial conference. and PRINCETON DEVELOPMENT CORP. 147143 ! March 10. Yu He Ching (Yu).6! ! On July 17. 4) no substantial rights of the parties would be prejudiced. this case would have been terminated by this time. the RTC ordered the deposition-taking to proceed.000. instead of deposition. 2006! HYATT INDUSTRIAL MANUFACTURING CORP.! ! D E C I S I O N! ! AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ.1 and the CA Resolution dated February 13. 94-1429 to the trial court and directed the latter to allow the depositiontaking without delay.. Finance Officer of Hyatt. if pre-trial conference is held. against petitioner Hyatt Industrial Manufacturing Corporation (Hyatt) claiming that Hyatt reneged in its obligation to transfer 40% of the pro indiviso share of a real property in Makati in favor of LCDC despite LCDC’s full payment of the purchase price of P2. ! vs.! LEY CONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT CORP.00.5! ! Responsive pleadings were filed and LCDC filed notices to take the depositions of Yu. portion of which reads:! ! This Court has to deny the motion.8! ! LCDC moved for reconsideration9 which the RTC denied in its October 14.. while Princeton filed notice to take the depositions of Manuel and Janet Ley.000. 1996 Order. Pacita Tan Go. Hyatt also filed notice to take deposition of Manuel Ley. Branch 62 (RTC).634.

1996. ruling among others that "after all.! ! At the scheduled pre-trial conference on November 14.! ! Meanwhile. Hyatt. 1996.R. 1996. which sought to annul the Orders of the RTC dated September 17. a petition for certiorari was filed with the Court of Appeals.! ! When plaintiff made it clear that it is not entering into the pre-trial conference. 1996. reiterated the order setting this case for pre-trial conference on November 14. to avoid delay. alleging that even if the petition is granted. 1996. 1996. Before this Court denied plaintiff’s motion to suspend. 1996 and October 14.! ! On the scheduled pre-trial conference on November 14. plaintiff’s complaint is dismissed. terminate the pre-trial conference and apply for deposition later on. seeking to annul the Order of this Court dated September 17. 1996. thus expediting early termination of this case. 1996. 1996 and October 14. the scheduled date of the pre-trial. 1996. plaintiff orally moved the Court to suspend pre-trial conference alleging pendency of a petition with the Court of Appeals and made it plain that it cannot proceed with the pre-trial because the issue on whether or not plaintiff may apply for depositions before the pre-trial conference is a prejudicial question. SP No. was docketed as CA-G. and. plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration.! ! SO ORDERED. this Court is compelled to dismiss plaintiff’s complaint. 1996. 1996. which motion for reconsideration was denied in an order dated October 14. Plaintiff refused.11 The petition. advising plaintiff that what it would like to obtain at the deposition may be obtained at the pre-trial conference.! ! WHEREFORE. defendants prayed that plaintiff be declared non-suited. pre-trial should proceed and that plaintiff could take deposition after the pre-trial conference.On November 14. furnishing this Court with a copy on the same date. 199414 and has not reached the pre-trial stage because of several depositions applied for by the parties. what the parties would like to elicit from these deponents would probably be elicited at the pre-trial conference". pre-trial proceeded at the RTC as scheduled13 and with the refusal of LCDC to enter into pre-trial. upon motion. this Court gave Plaintiff two (2) options: enter into a pre-trial conference. 4251212 and assigned to the then Twelfth Division of the CA. ordered the cancellation of the depositions. not to mention that the records of this case has reached two (2) volumes. x x x! ! x x x x! ! In the light of the foregoing circumstances. Yu and Princeton moved to declare LCDC non-suited which the RTC granted in its Order dated December 3. Plaintiff insisted on suspension of the pre-trial conference alleging that it is not ready to enter into pre-trial conference in view of the petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals. this Court noticing that this case was filed as early (as) April 4. Defendants objected. insisting that defendants are ready to enter into a pre-trial conference. manifesting their readiness to enter into a pre-trial conference. seeking to reconsider and set aside the order dated September 17. thus:! ! On September 17.! ! On September 24. LCDC filed an Urgent Motion to Suspend Proceedings Due to Pendency of Petition for Certiorari in the Court of Appeals. for failure of plaintiff to enter into pre-trial conference without any valid reason.15! ! . Defendants’ counterclaims are likewise dismissed. and.! ! This Court denied plaintiff’s motion to suspend proceedings and ordered plaintiff to enter into pretrial conference. Defendants insisted that pre-trial conference proceed as scheduled.

R. as the filing of the petition was made in good faith in their belief that the court a quo erred in canceling the deposition scheduled for no apparent purpose. together with the other modes of discovery are devised by the rules as a means to attain the objective of having all the facts presented to the court.19 in CA-G. the CA’s then Twelfth Division. 1997. that the reversal of the said Orders would have practical effect only if the dismissal were also set aside and the complaint reinstated.24! ! Hyatt and Princeton filed their respective motions for reconsideration which the CA denied on February 13. the trial court also erred in dismissing the complaint as LCDC appeared during the pre-trial conference and notified it of the filing of a petition before the CA. Rule 23 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure which expressly sanctions depositions as a mode of discovery without leave of court after the answer has been served. finding the appeal meritorious. 133145 which this Court dismissed on August 29. 1996 AND OCTOBER 14.20 LCDC’s motion for reconsideration of the CA-G. SP.LCDC filed a motion for reconsideration16 which was denied however by the trial court in its Order dated April 21.21 LCDC then filed with this Court. the CA’s then Seventh Division issued in CA-G. COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION. 57119 the herein assailed decision. 1996 WHICH ARE NOT RAISED OR PENDING BEFORE IT. 1998. 2001. such is a legitimate justification to stall the pre-trial conference. premises considered.R. docketed as G. 42512) PENDING BEFORE ANOTHER DIVISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS. the fallo of which reads:! ! WHEREFORE. BUT IN ANOTHER CASE (CA-G. 2000. 1997.22! ! On May 4. AND WHICH CASE WAS DISMISSED BY THE SAID DIVISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS AND FINALLY BY THE HONORABLE SUPREME COURT IN G.25! ! Hyatt and Yu now come before the Court via a petition for review on certiorari. a petition for certiorari. CV No. 57119. 1996 and October 14.! ! SO ORDERED. 1996 Orders are manifestly pointless considering that the complaint itself had already been dismissed and subject of the appeal docketed as CA-G. 2000.R.23! ! The CA reasoned that: LCDC complied with Section 1. CV No. deposition-taking. CV No. and at the time of the trial.18! ! On July 24. TWELFTH DIVISION. No. the issues would already be confined to matters defined during pre-trial. SP No.R. IN HOLDING IN EFFECT INVALID THE ORDERS OF THE LOWER COURT DATED SEPTEMBER 17. the alleged intention of expediting the resolution of the case is not sufficient justification to recall the order to take deposition as records show that the delay was brought about by postponement interposed by both parties and other legal antecedents that are in no way imputable to LCDC alone. No.R. 57119 and assigned to the then Seventh Division of the CA.R. NO.R. ACTUALLY AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION. 42512 decision was denied on March 4. and that the dismissal of the complaint rendered the petition for certiorari devoid of any practical value. to unduly restrict the modes of discovery during trial would defeat the very purpose for which it is intended which is a pre-trial device. SEVENTH DIVISION.R.17 LCDC went to the CA on appeal which was docketed as CA-G. on the following grounds:! ! I! ! THE COURT OF APPEALS. SP No.! ! II! ! . 133145. this case is remanded to the court a quo for further hearing and directing the latter to allow the deposition taking without delay. 42512 denied LCDC’s petition for certiorari declaring that the granting of the petition and setting aside of the September 17.

CV No. 1996 which set the case for pre-trial. CV No. 2000 and the Resolution dated February 13. petitioners claim that: the validity of the RTC Order dated September 17. 1997 HOLDING RESPONDENT NONSUITED FOR FAILURE TO ENTER INTO PRE-TRIAL. LCDC contends that: the mere fact that a deponent will be called to the witness stand during trial is not a ground to deny LCDC the right to discovery and does not cause "unnecessary duplicity". a deposition is for the purpose of "discovering" evidence while trial is for the purpose of "presenting" evidence to the court. assigned to the then Twelfth Division.R. 57119 exceeded its authority and encroached on issues taken cognizance of by another Division. 1996.R.R. 2001 of the CA’s then Seventh Division in CA-G. and while the appeal of the final Order of the RTC dated December 3. Branch 62 in Civil Case No. 1996 denying LCDC’s motion for partial reconsideration are not involved in CA-G. it does not render the appeal improper as this Court in G. 133145 held that the subsequent appeal constitutes an appropriate remedy because it assails not only the Order dated December 3. in passing upon the validity of the Orders dated September 17. which dismissed the same on July 24.29! ! In its Comment. No. SP No. SEVENTH DIVISION. the trial court erred in not suspending the pre-trial . petitioners claim that: the CA’s then Seventh Division should have outrightly dismissed the appeal of LCDC as the same did not involve any error of fact or law but pertains to a matter of discretion which is properly a subject of certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court. CV No.R. it is only after LCDC has filed its complaint that it started looking for evidence to support its allegations thru modes of discovery and more than two years has already passed after the filing of the complaint yet LCDC still has no documentary evidence to present before the lower court to prove its allegations in the complaint. COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AND SERIOUS ERRORS OF LAW IN REVERSING THE LOWER COURT’S ORDER DATED DECEMBER 3. if petitioners’ concern was the delay in the disposition of the case. 94-1429 be sustained. SP No. 1996 also questioned the Orders dated September 17. simplify the issues and determine the necessity of amending the pleadings. petitioners have nothing to fear from discovery unless they have in their possession damaging evidence. 42512 is not a ground to cancel or suspend the scheduled pre-trial on November 14. the persons whose depositions were to be taken were listed as witnesses during the trial. the fact that LCDC has a pending petition for certiorari with the CA’s then Twelfth Division docketed as CA-G. 57119 be annulled and set aside and the validity of the Orders dated December 3.27! ! On the second issue.30! ! On the second issue. LCDC’s availment of the discovery procedure is causing the undue delay of the case.R. otherwise no deposition can ever be taken. 1996. 42512. not terminate them altogether.R. 133145 that the issue of whether LCDC has been denied its right to discovery is more appropriately addressed in the appeal before the then Seventh Division in CA-G. 1996 as there was no restraining order issued.R. 1996 and October 14. to take their depositions before the lower court and to present them as witnesses during the trial on the merits would result in unnecessary duplicity.R. 1997 and which dismissal was affirmed by this Court in G. 1996. 1996 and April 21.28! ! Petitioners then pray that the Decision dated May 4. 1996 AND APRIL 21.R. LCDC argues that the petitioners erred in claiming that the CA’s then Seventh Division overstepped its authority as this Court has ruled in G. No. 1996 and October 14. 42512.R. 1997 of the RTC of Makati. CV No. 133145. 57119 but were the subject of CA-G.THE COURT OF APPEALS. the CA’s then Seventh Division in CA-G. SP No. 57119 below rather than by the then Twelfth Division in the certiorari proceeding in CA-G. the remedy is to expedite the taking of the depositions.26! ! Anent the first issue. No. as well as its Order dated October 14. but also the two earlier orders. the parties should be allowed to utilize the discovery process prior to conducting pre-trial since every bit of relevant information unearthed through the discovery process will hasten settlement. conducting discovery thru deposition is not a condition sine qua non to the holding of a pretrial and the fact that LCDC wanted to take the deposition of certain persons is not a valid ground to suspend the holding of pre-trial and subsequently the trial on the merits.

the CA found it meritorious.! ! .32 Hyatt and Yu on the one hand and LCDC on the other filed their respective memoranda reiterating their positions. 1996. 42512 and this Court in G. that discovery proceedings need not take place before pre-trial conference. No. there was proper and legal ground for the trial court to declare LCDC non-suited. LCDC was not deprived due process as it was given all the opportunity to prepare for its case and to face its opponents before the court. LCDC is seeking to dictate its procedural strategies on the RTC and the opposing parties. 133145 already ruled upon the validity of the Orders dated September 17. 1996 and November 14.! ! Now to the merits. the Court required the parties to file their respective memoranda. 57119 erred in ruling upon the same.34! ! In said memorandum.R. thus the CA’s then Seventh Division in CA G.! ! Petitioners assert that the CA’s then Twelfth Division in CA-GR SP No. the RTC did not bar LCDC from presenting witnesses or discovering any evidence.31! ! On September 17. CV No. With the failure of petitioners to raise any ground against Princeton in any of its pleadings before this Court. there is no evidence to support LCDC’s claim that Hyatt surreptitiously transferred title to Princeton. 1996 and November 14. we shall treat Princeton’s inclusion as respondent in the present petition as mere inadvertence on the part of petitioners. LCDC admits to the probability of forum shopping as it filed a petition for certiorari with the then Twelfth Division of the CA and later an appeal with the then Seventh Division of the CA. vindicating LCDC’s insistence that the pre-trial be suspended. not only was LCDC’s petition for certiorari filed in good faith. 2002. the critical evidence that LCDC needs to obtain through discovery is evidence that is totally within the knowledge and possession of petitioners and defendant Princeton and is not available elsewhere. 2002. and (2) Whether the CA erred in remanding the case to the trial court and order the deposition-taking to proceed. Princeton filed a "Comment" which this Court considered as its Memorandum in the Resolution dated January 30. as all it did was to transfer the venue of the testimony and discovery to the courtroom and get on with the case which LCDC did not want to do.R. The issues that need to be resolved in this case may be simplified as follows: (1) Whether the CA’s then Seventh Division exceeded its authority in ruling upon the validity of the Orders dated September 17. 2001.conference pending the petition for certiorari before the then Twelfth Division of the CA since considerations of orderly administration of justice demanded that the trial court accord due deference to the CA. appearance at the pre-trial is not enough.! ! We answer both questions in the negative. the undue delay in the disposition of the case was not attributable to LCDC’s deposition-taking but to the flurry of pleadings filed by defendants below to block LCDC’s depositions and prevent it from gaining access to critical evidence. the trial court did not err in not granting LCDC’s motion to suspend proceedings due to the pendency of a petition for certiorari with the CA since there was no order from said court and there was no merit in the petition for certiorari as shown by the dismissal thereof by the then Twelfth Division.35! ! The Court is in a quandary why Hyatt and Yu included Princeton as respondent in the present petition when Princeton was their co-defendant below and the arguments they raised herein pertain only to LCDC. 1996. trial court judges are given discretion over the right of parties in the taking of depositions and may deny the same for good reasons in order to prevent abuse. Princeton averred that: it is not true that Princeton failed to comply with any discovery orders as all information requested of Princeton was duly furnished LCDC and there are no pending discovery orders insofar as Princeton is concerned.33! ! On January 2.

The CA’s then Twelfth Division in CA-G. the dismissal of the Complaint rendered the Petition for Certiorari devoid of any practical value. 42512 and by this Court in G. 42512 and G. The division to [which] it has been assigned should be left free to resolve the same. the reversal of the assailed Orders would have practical effect only if the dismissal were also set aside and the Complaint reinstated.! ! On the second issue.A cursory reading of the decisions in CA-GR SP No. No. In other words. CV No. Verily. because it assails not only the Resolution but also the two Orders.39 It is allowed as a departure from the accepted and usual judicial proceedings of examining witnesses in open court where their demeanor could be observed by the trial judge. x x x. Indeed. CV No. 1996 and November 14. there was no more reason for the CA to resolve the Petition for Certiorari. absent any showing that taking it would prejudice any party. 1996.37! ! With the pronouncements of the CA in CA-G. the Petition is DENIED and the assailed Resolutions AFFIRMED.R. it should be stressed that the said Petition (CA-G. 57119 constitutes as the adequate remedy to resolve the validity of the RTC Orders dated September 17. 133145. of a subsequent appeal docketed as CA-G. Also other issues may be involved therein than the validity of the herein questioned orders.! ! We cannot pre-empt the decision that might be rendered in such appeal.! ! x x x x! ! In this case. the subsequent appeal constitutes an adequate remedy. 57119. it may not. On the other hand. 133145 that the subsequent appeal via CA-G. the Court finds that the CA was correct in remanding the case to the RTC and ordering the deposition-taking to proceed.R.R. consistent with the principle of promoting just. 1996 Resolution dismissing the Complaint. speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding. SP No.40 and provided it is taken in accordance . 42512) sought to set aside only the two interlocutory RTC Orders. it is the appropriate remedy. SP No. No. In this light. On the other hand.36! ! This Court in G.R. reveals otherwise.! ! Second. and the inquiry is made in good faith and within the bounds of law. 42512 was explicit in stating thus:! ! x x x Any decision of ours will not produce any practical legal effect.! ! A deposition should be allowed. granting the Petition for Certiorari and setting aside the two Orders are manifestly pointless. 133145 also clearly stated that:! ! x x x First. No. however. According to the petitioner. That assumes that the division handling the appeal will agree with Our decision. if we annul the questioned Orders. considering that the Complaint itself had already been dismissed. not the December 3. it is better that this Court speak with one voice. the Petition could not have assailed the Resolution.R. the dismissal of its Complaint by the trial [court] will have to be set aside in its pending appeal. the arguments of petitioners on this point clearly have no leg to stand on and must therefore fail.! ! Under the circumstances.! ! x x x x! ! WHEREFORE. which was issued after the filing of the former. SP No. the Petition for Certiorari was superseded by the filing.R. In fact. questioning the Resolution and the two Orders.R. before the Court of Appeals.38 It is accorded a broad and liberal treatment and the liberty of a party to make discovery is well-nigh unrestricted if the matters inquired into are otherwise relevant and not privileged.R.

is also without merit. embarrass. That the witness is unable to attend . No. at the instance of any party.! ! The RTC cites the delay in the case as reason for canceling the scheduled depositions. by deposition upon oral examination or written interrogatories. Rule 23. however. Rule 23 of the 1997 Rules of Court which provides as follows:! ! SECTION 1.! ! The case of Fortune Corp. 2004 which provided for the guidelines to be observed by trial court judges and clerks of court in the conduct of pre-trial and use of deposition-discovery measures. Under A. LCDC having complied with the rules then prevailing. may be taken.41 The rules on discovery should not be unduly restricted. and provided further that a circumstance for its admissibility exists (Section 4.e. or when the inquiry touches upon the irrelevant or encroaches upon the recognized domains of privilege. Court of Appeals46 which already settled the matter. containing among others a manifestation of the parties of their having availed or their intention to avail themselves of discovery procedures or referral to commissioners. the advantage of a liberal discovery procedure in ascertaining the truth and expediting the disposal of litigation would be defeated. otherwise. the trial court erred in canceling the previously scheduled depositions.. whether a party or not. 03-1-09-SC.--. The attendance of witnesses may be compelled by the use of a subpoena as provided in Rule 21. for the ends of justice are reached not only through the speedy disposal of cases but more importantly.44 such circumstances.43! ! Since the pertinent incidents of the case took place prior to the effectivity of said issuance. No. or in such a manner as to annoy. trial courts are directed to issue orders requiring parties to avail of interrogatories to parties under Rule 45 and request for admission of adverse party under Rule 26 or at their discretion make use of depositions under Rule 23 or other measures under Rule 27 and 28 within 5 days from the filing of the answer. explained that:! ! The availability of the proposed deponent to testify in court does not constitute "good cause" to justify the court’s order that his deposition shall not be taken. at least 3 days before the pre-trial.M. through a meticulous and comprehensive evaluation of the merits of the case. The deposition of a person confined in prison may be taken only by leave of court on such terms as the court prescribes.! ! While it is true that depositions may be disallowed by trial courts if the examination is conducted in bad faith. LCDC complied with the above quoted provision as it made its notice to take depositions after the answers of the defendants have been served. and without such leave if an answer has been submitted.45 Records also show that the delay of the case is not attributable to the depositions sought by LCDC but was caused by the many pleadings filed by all the parties including petitioners herein. Depositions shall be taken only in accordance with these Rules. the testimony of any person. 1. v.By leave of court after jurisdiction has been obtained over any defendant or over property which is the subject of the action. particularly Sec. 03-1-09-SC on July 13. Depositions pending action.! ! The argument that the taking of depositions would cause unnecessary duplicity as the intended deponents shall also be called as witnesses during trial. Rules of Court).M. such consideration however should not outweigh a thorough and comprehensive evaluation of cases. however are absent in the case at bar.! ! As correctly observed by the CA. with leave of court if summons have been served. or without such leave after an answer has been served. pre-trial briefs. While speedy disposition of cases is important.42! ! Indeed. (Emphasis supplied). the depositions sought by LCDC shall be evaluated based on the jurisprudence and rules then prevailing. i. The parties are likewise required to submit. when may be taken. the importance of discovery procedures is well recognized by the Court. It approved A.with the provisions of the Rules of Court. or oppress the person who is the subject of the inquiry.

47! ! Petitioner also argues that LCDC has no evidence to support its claims and that it was only after the filing of its Complaint that it started looking for evidence through the modes of discovery. Hence. 50! ! Deposition is chiefly a mode of discovery. 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. thus reducing the possibility.or testify is one of the grounds when the deposition of a witness may be used in court during the trial. Sandiganbayan48:! ! What is chiefly contemplated is the discovery of every bit of information which may be useful in the preparation for trial. 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. there is accorded the widest possible opportunity for knowledge by both parties of all the facts before the trial. advising LCDC that what it would like to obtain at the deposition may be obtained at the pre-trial conference. restrictions are imposed upon their use. those relevant facts themselves. By then. an Account Officer of RCBC. condition. To that end. and the existence. such as the identity and location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts. as a pre-trial device. gave LCDC two options: (a) enter into a pre-trial conference.! ! x x x [U]nder the concept adopted by the new Rules. it is well to reiterate the Court’s pronouncement in Republic v. the remainder of the testimony. custody. The utmost freedom is allowed in taking depositions. as the said deponents are not parties to the pre-trial conference.51! ! .! ! As also pointed out by the CA:! ! x x x To unduly restrict the modes of discovery during trial.! ! The information LCDC seeks to obtain through the depositions of Elena Sy. and location of any books. "the deposition-discovery rules are to be accorded a broad and liberal treatment. the deposition serves the double function of a method of discovery . nature. description. either party may compel the other to disgorge whatever facts he has in his possession. As a result. while the use at the trial is subject to circumscriptions looking toward the use of oral testimony wherever practicable.with use on trial not necessarily contemplated .! ! The right to take statements and the right to use them in court have been kept entirely distinct. Mutual knowledge of all the relevant facts gathered by both parties is essential to proper litigation. Such of this testimony as may be appropriate for use as a substitute for viva voce examination may be introduced at the trial. The trial court erred in forcing LCDC to choose only from these options and in dismissing its complaint upon LCDC’s refusal to choose either of the two. before dismissing LCDC’s complaint. having served its purpose in revealing the facts to the parties before trial. of surprise. drops out of the judicial picture. thus expediting early termination of the case. or other tangible things.! ! On this point. the primary function of which is to supplement the pleadings for the purpose of disclosing the real matters of dispute between the parties and affording an adequate factual basis during the preparation for trial.and a method of presenting testimony. and (b) terminate the pre-trial conference and apply for deposition later on. the Finance Officer of Hyatt and Pacita Tan Go. documents. Accordingly. the issues would have been confined only on matters defined during pre-trial. But the same reason cannot be successfully invoked to prohibit the taking of his deposition.49! ! It also does not escape this Court’s attention that the trial court. would defeat the very purpose for which it is intended. The importance of the modes of discovery cannot be gainsaid in this case in view of the nature of the controversy involved and the conflicting interest claimed by the parties. no limitations other than relevancy and privilege have been placed on the taking of depositions. may not be obtained at the pre-trial conference.

before the trial if not indeed even before the pre-trial . but also those known to their adversaries.should discover or inform themselves of all the facts relevant to the action. and (2) as a device for ascertaining the facts relative to those issues.Further.! ! WHEREFORE. under proper regulation. not only those known to them individually.53 (emphasis supplied)! ! In this case. the desideratum is that civil trials should not be carried on in the dark. accomplished one of the most necessary ends of modern procedure. to enable the parties. the petition is denied for lack of merit. and the Rules of Court make this ideal possible through the deposition. 54! ! Considering the foregoing. . the rules on discovery seek to make trial less a game of blind man’s bluff and more a fair contest with the basic issues and facts disclosed to the fullest practicable extent.! ! Costs against petitioner. Indeed. the Court finds that the CA was correct in remanding the case to the trial court and ordering the depositions to proceed. Sandiganbayan52 the Court explained that:! ! The truth is that "evidentiary matters" may be inquired into and learned by the parties before the trial. the deposition-discovery procedure was designed to remedy the conceded inadequacy and cumbersomeness of the pre-trial functions of notice-giving.! ! The various modes or instruments of discovery are meant to serve (1) as a device.discovery mechanism set forth in Rules 24 to 29. in other words. along with the pre-trial hearing under Rule 20. the information sought to be obtained through the depositions of Elena and Pacita are necessary to fully equip LCDC in determining what issues will be defined at the pre-trial. consistent with recognized privileges. The experience in other jurisdictions has been the ample discovery before trial. Indeed. LCDC will be forced to prosecute its case in the dark --. issue-formulation and fact revelation theretofore performed primarily by the pleadings. to obtain the fullest possible knowledge of the issues and facts before civil trials and thus prevent that said trials are carried on in the dark. to narrow and clarify the basic issues between the parties. to repeat. it is the purpose and policy of the law that the parties .! ! SO ORDERED. The evident purpose is. 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. Without such information before pre-trial.the very situation which the rules of discovery seek to prevent.! ! As just intimated. in Republic v. it not only eliminates unessential issues from trials thereby shortening them considerably.