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3. ALCEDO-ORTANEZ V CA (inadmissibility of recorded telephone conversations)

G.R. No. 110662 | August 4, 1994 | J. Padilla

Facts:

Private respondent Rafael Ortanez filed with the Quezon City RTC a complaint for annulment of
marriage with damages against petitioner Teresita Salcedo-Ortanez, on grounds of lack of
marriage license and/or psychological incapacity of the petitioner.

Among the exhibits offered by private respondent were three (3) cassette tapes of alleged
telephone conversations between petitioner and unidentified persons.

Teresita submitted her Objection/Comment to Rafael’s oral offer of evidence. However, the trial
court admitted all of private respondent’s offered evidence and later on denied her motion for
reconsideration, prompting petitioner to file a petition for certiorari with the CA to assail the
admission in evidence of the aforementioned cassette tapes.

These tape recordings were made and obtained when private respondent allowed his friends
from the military to wire tap his home telephone.

CA denied the petition because (1) Tape recordings are not inadmissible per se. They and any
other variant thereof can be admitted in evidence for certain purposes, depending on how they
are presented and offered and on how the trial judge utilizes them in the interest of truth and
fairness and the even handed administration of justice; and (2) A petition for certiorari is
notoriously inappropriate to rectify a supposed error in admitting evidence adduced during trial.
The ruling on admissibility is interlocutory; neither does it impinge on jurisdiction. If it is
erroneous, the ruling should be questioned in the appeal from the judgment on the merits and
not through the special civil action of certiorari. The error, assuming gratuitously that it exists,
cannot be anymore than an error of law, properly correctible by appeal and not by certiorari.

Petitioner then filed the present petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.

Issue:

W/N the recordings of the telephone conversations are admissible in evidence

W/N the remedy of certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court was properly availed of by the
petitioner in the Court of Appeals

Held:

1. No. Rep. Act No. 4200 entitled “An Act to Prohibit and Penalize Wire Tapping and Other Related
Violations of the Privacy of Communication, and for other purposes” expressly makes such tape
recordings inadmissible in evidence thus:

Sec. 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, not being authorized by all the parties to any private
communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other device or
arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record such communication or spoken word by
using a device commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or detectaphone or walkie-talkie
or tape-recorder, or however otherwise described. . . .

Sec. 4. Any communication or spoken word, or the existence, contents, substance, purport, or
meaning of the same or any part thereof, or any information therein contained, obtained or
secured by any person in violation of the preceding sections of this Act shall not be admissible in
evidence in any judicial, quasi-judicial, legislative or administrative hearing or investigation.

Absent a clear showing that both parties to the telephone conversations allowed the recording of
the same, the inadmissibility of the subject tapes is mandatory under Rep. Act No. 4200.

2. Yes and no. The extraordinary writ of certiorari is generally not available to challenge an
interlocutory order of a trial court. The proper remedy in such cases is an ordinary appeal from
an adverse judgment, incorporating in said appeal the grounds for assailing the interlocutory
order.

This act grants discretion to the courts of appeal to review interlocutory orders in civil cases where the district judge states in the order that a controlling question of law is in doubt and that the immediate resolution of the issue will materially advance the ultimate termination of litigation. 2 However. Courts may also issue interlocutory orders where property is about to be sold or forfeited and a lawsuit has been filed seeking to stop the action. Generally. temporary. No. For example. § 1292). which makes that part of the case final. CARMINIA C. The court enters an interlocutory judgment. where the assailed interlocutory order is patently erroneous and the remedy of appeal would not afford adequate and expeditious relief. and an appeal from the trial court judgment follows. its decision on the matters contained in the order is final.C.A. interlocutory orders and appeals are available to protect important rights and to enhance judicial economy. MARYCRIS V. G. pending a decision on Alimony and Child Support. a court will enter an interlocutory Injunction.R. Interlocutory appeals are restricted by state and federal appellate courts because courts do not want piecemeal litigation. an interlocutory order may require one spouse to pay the other spouse a designated weekly sum for support. Judicial economy then dictates that the court resolve the issue rather than subject the parties to a trial that may be reversed on an appeal from a final judgment. if a case proceeds to trial after an interlocutory judgment is entered. To do otherwise would cause irreparable harm and would complicate legal title to the property if the person contesting the transfer ultimately prevailed. State appellate courts are governed by statutes and court rules of appellate procedure regarding the review of interlocutory orders. as follows: . hence. not final. BALDEVIA VS. Interlocutory actions are taken by courts when a Question of Law must be answered by an appellate court before a trial may proceed or to prevent irreparable harm from occurring to a person or property during the pendency of a lawsuit or proceeding. This prevents the spouse and children from being without income during the action. CALDERON REPRESENTED BY HER ATTORNEY-IN FACT. Interlocutory orders may be issued in a Divorce proceeding to prevent injury or irreparable harm during the pendency of the lawsuit. JOSE ANTONIO F. (THE LAWYER'S POST). the Court may allow certiorari as a mode of redress. courts are reluctant to make interlocutory orders unless the circumstances surrounding the case are serious and require timely action. preventing the transfer of property until it has made a final decision. An order granting or denying an application for preliminary injunction is interlocutory in nature and.  MA.When an appellate court reviews an interlocutory order. no appeal may be taken from an interlocutory order. the proper remedy is to file a Petition for Certiorari and/or Prohibition under Rule 65. This Court has laid down the distinction between interlocutory and final orders. ROXAS AND COURT OF APPEALS.S. Appellate courts have the discretion to review interlocutory orders. Therefore.  Interlocutory Provisional. 2013.Instead. not appealable. Interlocutory appeals are typically permitted when the trial judge certifies to the appellate court in an interlocutory order that an important question of law is in doubt and that it will substantially affect the final result of the case. The federal courts of appeal are governed by the Interlocutory Appeals Act (28 U. Appeals courts generally review only cases that have reached final judgment in the trial courts. though the courts value finality in most proceedings. interim. that which intervenes between the beginning and the end of a lawsuit or proceeding to either decide a particular point or matter that is not the final issue of the entire controversy or prevent irreparable harm during the pendency of the lawsuit. Thus. In this type of case. When a court administrator enters final judgment. this certifies that the trial court has ended its review of the case and jurisdiction shifts to the appellate court. Note:  Under Section 1 (c) of Rule 41 of the Rules of Court. January 09. An interlocutory order is one that does not dispose of the case completely but leaves something to be decided upon. 185595. the matters decided by the interlocutory judgment cannot be reviewed by the court again.

hold departure..” xxxx Conversely. from the moment the accrued amounts became due and demandable. leaving nothing more to be done by the Court in respect thereto.2 On March 4. child custody. Petitioner contends that the CA failed to recognize that the interlocutory aspect of the assailed orders pertains only to private respondent’s motion to reduce support which was granted. which is appealable. annulment of voidable marriage and legal separation. The Rules of Court provide for the provisional remedy of support pendente litewhich may be availed of at the commencement of the proper action or proceeding. this Court promulgated the Rule on Provisional Orders3 which shall govern the issuance of provisional orders during the pendency of cases for the declaration of nullity of marriage. as far as deciding the controversy or determining the rights and liabilities of the litigants is concerned.. The word interlocutory refers to something intervening between the commencement and the end of the suit which decides some point or matter but is not a final decision of the whole controversy. an order that does not finally dispose of the case. child support. is “interlocutory” e. . to use the established and more distinctive term. and to her own motion to increase support.4 An interlocutory order merely resolves incidental matters and leaves something more to be done to resolve the merits of the case. Nothing more remains to be done by the Court except to await the parties’ next move (which among others. or granting or denying applications for postponement. etc. as above pointed out. of res judicata or prescription. and does not end the Court’s task of adjudicating the parties’ contentions and determining their rights and liabilities as regards each other. “final and executory. or at any time prior to the judgment or final order. 2003.g. or authorizing amendment thereof. but obviously indicates that other things remain to be done by the Court. protection and administration of common property. visitation rights. 1998 Order and related orders were in the nature of final orders assailable by ordinary appeal considering that the orders referred to under Sections 1 and 4 of Rule 61 of the Rules of Court can apply only prospectively. or terminates a particular stage of the same action. which was denied. the orders under which the amounts were made payable by private respondent have ceased to be provisional and have become final. Unlike a “final” judgment or order. support and conjugal assets. These include orders for spousal support.5 Clearly.compliance by a party to its directive. the task of the Court is ended. Thus. It is also important to emphasize the temporary or provisional nature of the assailed orders. and are therefore interlocutory. were issued pending the rendition of the decision on the main action for declaration of nullity of marriage. or the taking of an appeal) and ultimately. on the basis of the evidence presented at the trial. In contrast. to cause the execution of the judgment once it becomes “final” or. Petitioner points out that the ruling on support in arrears which have remained unpaid. an adjudication on the merits which. They did not finally dispose of the case nor did they consist of a final adjudication of the merits of petitioner’s claims as to the ground of psychological incapacity and other incidents as child custody. a judgment or order is considered final if the order disposes of the action or proceeding completely.g. We disagree. or granting a motion for extension of time to file a pleading. declares categorically what the rights and obligations of the parties are and which party is in the right.1 [Emphasis supplied] The assailed orders relative to the incident of support pendente lite and support in arrears. an order denying a motion to dismiss under Rule 16 of the Rules. as what petitioner suggests. for instance. Once rendered. 3 x x x A “final” judgment or order is one that finally disposes of a case. or a judgment or order that dismisses an action on the ground. of course. as well as her prayer for reimbursement/payment under the May 19. e. may consist of the filing of a motion for new trial or reconsideration. or production or inspection of documents or things. an “interlocutory” order may not be questioned on appeal except only as part of an appeal that may eventually be taken from the final judgment rendered in the case. as the term suggests. whether an order or resolution is final or interlocutory is not dependent on compliance or non.

(b) An order denying a petition for relief or any similar motion seeking relief from judgment. which was taken without the knowledge of the two.6 The subject orders on the matter of support pendente lite are but an incident to the main action for declaration of nullity of marriage. Lingan. The exchange of words was recorded on tape. lead to a fisticuffs. (f) An order of execution. the aggrieved party may file an appropriate special civil action under Rule 65. 4 Provisional remedies are writs and processes available during the pendency of the action which may be resorted to by a litigant to preserve and protect certain rights and interests therein pending rendition. FACTS: Two local media men. while the main case is pending. or of a particular matter therein when declared by these Rules to be appealable. a heated confrontation followed between victim Lingan and accused policeman Navarro who was then having drinks outside the headquarters. Navarro – admissibility of a recorded altercation between the accused and the deceased FELIPE NAVARRO. (c) An interlocutory order. petitioner’s appeal was correctly dismissed by the CA. resulted the victim to fell and died under treatment. People vs. mistake or duress. private respondent filed a motion to reduce support while petitioner filed her own motion to increase the same. No appeal may be taken from: (a) An order denying a motion for new trial or reconsideration. – An appeal may be taken from a judgment or final order that completely disposes of the case. Moreover. of a final judgment in the case. and (h) An order dismissing an action without prejudice. THE COURT OF APPEALS and the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES.7 A few years later. . In all the above instances where the judgment or final order is not appealable. and for purposes of the ultimate effects. Said provision reads: SECTION 1. (g) A judgment or final order for or against one or more of several parties or in separate claims. or any other ground vitiating consent. They are provisional because they constitute temporary measures availed of during the pendency of the action. private respondent’s obligation to give monthly support in the amount fixed by the RTC in the assailed orders may be enforced by the court itself. Petitioner’s theory that the assailed orders have ceased to be provisional due to the arrearages incurred by private respondent is therefore untenable. and they are ancillary because they are mere incidents in and are dependent upon the result of the main action.) The remedy against an interlocutory order not subject of an appeal is an appropriate special civil action under Rule 65 provided that the interlocutory order is rendered without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion. in Lucena City went to the police station to report alledged indecent show in one of the night establishment shows in the City. Enrique Lingan. Presented in evidence to confirm his testimony was a voice recording he had made of the heated discussion at the police station between the accused police officer Navarro and the deceased. Under Section 1. vs. (e) An order denying a motion to set aside a judgment by consent. At the station. as amended. This fact underscores the provisional character of the order granting support pendente lite. confession or compromise on the ground of fraud. Having chosen the wrong remedy in questioning the subject interlocutory orders of the RTC. During the trial. Jalbuena. and in addition sought spousal support and support in arrears. (Emphasis supplied. (d) An order disallowing or dismissing an appeal. the other media man . followed by a fist blow. The victim was hit with the handle of the accused's gun below the left eyebrow. appeal from interlocutory orders is not allowed. unless the court allows an appeal therefrom. testified. cross-claims and third-party complaints. Stanley Jalbuena. 5. counterclaims. as what transpired in the early stage of the proceedings when the court cited the private respondent in contempt of court and ordered him arrested for his refusal/failure to comply with the order granting support pendente lite. petitioner. Rule 41 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. specifically the frantic exclamations made by Navarro after the altercation that it was the victim who provoked the fight. Subject of appeal. respondents.

and in order to be sufficient. that is. which he later decided to withdraw. its tape recording is not prohibited. Pintor was arrested by the time he received the money. although not exclusive to that enumerated therein. The phrase “device or arrangement” in Section 1. 5 ISSUES: 1. Atty. Atty. The exclamations made by Navarro after the scuffle that it was Lingan who provoked him showed that he had no intent to kill the latter. Pintor called again to discuss the terms. another lawyer. 6. Since the exchange between petitioner Navarro and Lingan was not private. The answer is affirmative. which must be accordingly proportionate in gravity. The provocation must be sufficient and must immediately precede the act. Lanconico's Contention: Pintor's Argument: Issue: W/N an extension telephone is covered by the term “device or arrangement” under RA 4200 Held: No. with an attached affidavit of Atty. Gaanan. The law prohibits the overhearing. Whether or not the voice recording is admissible in evidence in view of RA 4200. Pintor. the particular clauses and phrases of the statute should not be taken as detached and isolated expressions. His lawyer was Atty. Gaanan stating what he heard. which immediately preceded the acts of the accused. the tape is admissible in view of RA 4200. Pintor in turn charged the two with violation of the Anti -Wiretapping law for listening to the telephone conversation without his consent. 2. Gaanan heard the former enumerate the conditions which later served as the basis of a robbery/extortion case against him. A rule in statutory construction states that in order to determine the true intent of the legislature. 248 SCRA 590 [1995]). Atty. who called Lanconico initially to inform him about his client’s proposal to withdraw the complaint. which prohibits wire tapping. Pintor and Lanconico agreed that the former himself will receive an amount of money at a certain place. intercepting. 4200 Gaanan vs IAC GR L69809. The mitigating circumstance of lack of intention to commit so grave a wrong must also be considered. When Atty. annoying or irritating someone. Lanconico filed a case of robbery/extortion against Atty. October 16. . instruments the use of which would be tantamount to tapping the main line of a telephone. constituted sufficient provocation. Atty. or recording of private communications (Ramirez v Court of Appeals. which prohibits wire tapping. Jalbuena's testimony is confirmed by the voice recording he had made. Criminal Law Facts: Montebon filed a direct assault case against Leonardo Lanconico. 1986 Statutory Construction. Lanconico then requested Atty. Whether the mitigating circumstances of sufficient provocation or threat on the part of the offended party and lack of intention to commit so grave a wrong may be appreciated in favor of the accused. HELD: 1. it must be adequate to excite a person to commit the wrong. The remarks of Lingan. Ganaan vs IAC – Listening to conversation via telephone extension is not punishable under RA No. but the whole and every part thereof must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts. should be construed to comprehend instruments of the same or similar nature. to secretly listen to the conversation through a telephone extension. Provocation is said to be any unjust or improper conduct of the offended party capable of exciting. Pintor. 2.

Held: No. ISSUE: Whether there was lawful arrest. 4200 or others of similar nature. otherwise known as the Anti-Wiretapping Act. People vs Laguio (inadmissibility of evidence due to infirmity of an arrest) PEOPLE VS LAGUIO JR. on whether or not an extension telephone is included in the phrase "device or arrangement". The telephone extension in this case was not installed for that purpose. namely. the penal statute must be construed as not including an extension telephone. illegal possession of firearms and comelec gun ban) after his demurrer to evidence (inadmissibility of the evidence) was granted due to the illegal/unlawful arrest. 4200. 4200 as the use thereof cannot be considered as "tapping" the wire or cable of a telephone line. 1986 Facts: Complainant Atty. the particular clauses and phrases of the statute should not be taken as detached and isolated expressions. the warrantless arrest and the warrantless search.000 from him. search and seizure by the police operatives in this case despite the absence of a WOA and/or SW. dictagraph or the other devices enumerated in Section 1 of RA No. It just happened to be there for ordinary office use. but the whole and every part thereof must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of its parts. L-69809 October 16. The petition is GRANTED. HELD: There are actually two (2) acts involved in this case. in case of doubt as in the case at bar. ## Gaanan v IAC G. The law requires that there be first a lawful arrest before a . it is a general rule that penal statutes must be construed strictly in favour of the accused. 6 Hence. Tito Pintor and his client Manuel Montebonoffered to withdraw the complaint for direct assault they filed against Laconico after demanding P8. Pintor was subsequently arrested in an entrapment operation upon receipt of the money. There is no question that warrantless search may be conducted as an incident to a valid warrantless arrest. The lower courtfound both Gaanan and Laconico guilty of violating Section 1 of Republic Act No. search and seizure that was conducted by the police officers contending that he was arrested in flagrante delicto but the defense further presented that respondent did not do any overt act to make him be subject to a warrantless arrest under the exceptions in section 5 of rule 113. It is a rule in statutory construction that in order to determine the true intent of the legislature. dictagraph or the other devices enumerated in RA 4200 because its use cannot be deemed as “tapping” the wire or cable of a telephone line.Wiretapping Act (RA 4200). in order to be punishable must strictly be with the use of the enumerated devices in RA No. the penal statute must be construed as not including an extension telephone. This demand was heard by Atty. Since Atty. Thus. It just happened to be there for ordinary office use. The petitioner is hereby ACQUITTED of the crime of violation of Rep.R. in case of doubt such as in this case. penal statutes must be construed strictly in favor of the accused. complainant charged Gaanan and Laconico with violation of the Anti. Issue: Whether or not an extension telephone is among the prohibited devices in Section 1 of the Act. FACTS: Lawrence Wang was acquitted on 3 different cases filed against him (dangerous drugs act. 7. Second. Thus. The decision of the then Intermediate Appellate Court dated August 16. An extension telephone cannot be placed in the same category as a Dictaphone. The telephone extension in this case was not installed for that purpose. Furthermore. The Intermediate Appellate Court affirmed the decision of the trial court. such that its use to overhear a private conversation would constitute unlawful interception of communications between the two parties using a telephone line. an extension telephone is not in the same category as a dictaphone. 4200. Gaanan listened to the telephone conversation without complainant''s consent. 1984 is ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. No. Gaanan through a telephone extension as requested by Laconico so as to personally hear the proposed conditions for the settlement. Act No. The mere act of listening. Atty.

or is attempting to commit a crime. the process cannot be reversed. (b) arrest of a suspect where. The inevitable conclusion. is that the warrantless arrest was illegal. David Lee. if there are valid reasons to conduct lawful search and seizure which thereafter shows that the accused is currently committing a crime. the accused may be lawfully arrested in flagrante delicto without need for a warrant of arrest. there can be no valid warrantless arrest in flagrante delicto under paragraph (a) of Section 5. For a warrantless arrest of an accused caught in flagrante delicto under paragraph (a) of Section 5 to be valid. He was not committing any visible offense then. based on personal knowledge of the arresting officer. 7 search can be made. Section 5. as correctly made by the trial court. two requisites must concur: (1) the person to be arrested must execute an overt act indicating that he has just committed. is not sufficient to constitute probable cause that would justify an in flagrante delicto arrest. . (c) arrest of a prisoner who has escaped from custody serving final judgment or temporarily confined while his case is pending. The facts and circumstances surrounding the present case did not manifest any suspicious behavior on the part of private respondent Lawrence Wang that would reasonably invite the attention of the police. provides three (3) instances when warrantless arrest may be lawfully effected: (a) arrest of a suspect in flagrante delicto. He was merely walking from the Maria Orosa Apartment and was about to enter the parked BMW car when the police operatives arrested him. is actually committing. the warrantless search incidental to the illegal arrest is likewise unlawful. Therefore. there is probable cause that said suspect was the author of a crime which had just been committed. Ipso jure. and (2) such overt act is done in the presence or within the view of the arresting officer. It is settled that "reliable information" alone. which was later on found to be owned by his friend. absent any overt act indicative of a felonious enterprise in the presence and within the view of the arresting officers. frisked and searched his person and commanded him to open the compartment of the car. However.