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Republic of the Philippines an amount equivalent to twenty-five percent (25%) thereof as

SUPREME COURT attorney's fees and litigation expenses.
Manila
In its answer dated December 1, 1987, Dasmariñas Garments,
SECOND DIVISION Inc. (hereafter, simply Dasmariñas) specifically denied any
liability to the plaintiff (hereafter simply APL), and set up
compulsory counterclaims against it.

G.R. No. 108229 August 24, 1993 The case was in due course scheduled for trial on April 27,
1988. On that date APL presented its first witness whose
DASMARIÑAS GARMENTS, INC., petitioner, testimony was completed on November 12, 1988. The case was
vs. reset to May 3, 1989 for reception of the testimony of two (2)
HON. RUBEN T. REYES, Judge, Regional Trial Court, more witnesses in APL's behalf.
Manila, Branch 50, and AMERICAN PRESIDENT
LINES, LTD., respondents. At the hearing of May 3, 1989, instead of presenting its
witnesses, APL filed a motion praying that it intended to take
Sobreviñas, Diaz, Haudini & Bodegon Law Offices for the depositions of H. Lee and Yeong Fang Yeh in Taipei, Taiwan
petitioner. and prayed that for this purpose, a "commission or letters
rogatory be issued addressed to the consul, vice-consul or
Tan, Manzano & Velez Law Offices for private respondent. consular agent of the Republic of the Philippines in Taipei . . . "
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," there being in lieu
RESOLUTION thereof an office set up by the President "presently occupied by
Director Joaquin Roces which is the Asia Exchange Center,
NARVASA, C.J.: Inc.," it was necessary — and it therefore prayed — "that
commission or letters rogatory be issued addressed to Director
Sometime in September, 1987, in the Regional Trial Court of Joaquin Roces, Executive Director, Asian Executive Exchange
Manila, the American President Lines, Ltd. sued Dasmariñas Center, Inc., Room 901, 112 Chunghsiao, E. Road, Section 1,
Garments, Inc. to recover the sum of US $53,228.45 as well as Taipe, Republic of China, to hear and take the oral deposition of
the aforenamed persons . . . ."

The motion was opposed by Dasmariñas. It contended that (a) written interrogatories) is hereby GRANTED.
the motion was "fatally defective in that it does not seek . . . that The Asian Exchange Center, Inc. thru Director
a foreign court examine a person within its jurisdiction;" (b) Joaquin R. Roces is hereby COMMISSIONED to
issuance of letters rogatory was unnecessary because the take down the deposition. Compliance with the
witnesses "can be examined before the Philippine Court;" and Rules on the taking of testimony by deposition
(c) the Rules of Court "expressly require that the testimony of a upon written interrogatories under Sections 25-
witness must be taken orally in open court and not by 29 of Rule 24, Rules of Court is enjoined.
deposition."
Let this Order be coursed through the
Extensive argument on the matter thereafter followed, through Department of Foreign Affairs, Manila, pursuant
various pleadings filed by the parties, in the course of which to Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 4
APL submitted to the Trial Court (a) the letter received by its dated April 6, 1987.
counsel from Director Joaquin R. Roces of the Asian Exchange
Center, Inc., dated November 20, 1989, advising that "this The Court opined that "the Asian Exchange Center, Inc. being
Office can only take deposition upon previous authority from the authorized Philippine representative in Taiwan, may take
the Department of Foreign Affairs," this being "in consonance the testimonies of plaintiff's witnesses residing there by
with the Supreme Court Administrative Order requiring courts deposition, but only upon written interrogatories so as to give
or judicial bodies to course their requests through the defendant the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses by
Department of Foreign Affairs;" and (b) a letter sent by "fax" to serving cross-examination."
the same counsel by a law firm in Taipei, Lin & Associates
Maritime Law Office, transmitting information inter alia of the Dasmariñas sought reconsideration by motion filed June 25,
mode by which, under the "ROC Civil Procedure Code," "a copy 1991 on the following grounds: (1) authority of the Asian
or an abridged copy" of documents on file with a Taiwan Court Exchange Center, Inc. (AECI) to take depositions has not been
may be obtained. established, it not being one of those so authorized by the Rules
of Court to take depositions in a foreign state; (2) AECI's
By Order dated March 15, 1991, the Trial Court resolved the articles of incorporation show that it is not vested with any such
incident in favor of APL, disposing as follows: authority; (3) to permit deposition-taking by commission
without the authority of the foreign state in which deposition is
ACCORDINGLY, the motion to take testimonies taken constitutes infringement of judicial sovereignty; and (4)
of plaintiff's Taiwanese witnesses, Kenneth H. depositions by written interrogatories have inherent limitations
Lee and Yeong Fah Yeh, by deposition (upon and are not suitable to matters dependent on the credibility of

witnesses; oral testimony in open court remains the "most Appellate Court's Decision of September 23, 1992 and
satisfactory method of investigation of facts'" and "'affords the Resolution dated December 11, 1992. Once again, it will fail.
greatest protection to the rights and liberties of citizens."
Dasmariñas ascribes to the Court of Appeals the following
By Order dated July 5, 1991, the motion for reconsideration was errors, to wit:
denied because "filed out of time" and being a mere rehash of
arguments already passed upon. In the same Order, APL was 1) "in holding that a party could, during the trial
directed "to take the necessary steps to implement the order of the case, present its evidence by taking the
authorizing the . . . (deposition-taking) of its witnesses not later deposition of its witnesses in a foreign
than the end of this month, otherwise the Court will consider jurisdiction before a private entity not
inaction or lack of interest as waiver to adduce additional authorized by law to take depositions in lieu of
evidence by deposition." their oral examination in open Court considering
that:
Dasmariñas instituted a special civil action of certiorari in the
Court of Appeals to nullify the orders of the Trial Court just a) the taking of deposition is a
described. Said Appellate Court restrained enforcement of the mode of pretrial discovery to be
orders of March 15, 1991 and July 5, 1991 "in order to maintain availed of before the action comes
the status quo and to prevent the infliction of irreparable to trial;
damage and injury upon the petitioner."
b) no urgent or compelling reason
After due proceedings, the Court of Appeals (Third Division) has been shown to justify the
rendered judgment on September 23, 1992 denying Dasmariñas departure from the accepted and
petition for certiorari and upholding the challenged orders of usual judicial proceedings of
the Trial Court. Once again, Dasmariñas sought reconsideration examining witnesses in open
of an adverse disposition, and once again, was rebuffed. Its court where their demeanor could
motion for reconsideration was denied in a Resolution of the be observed by the trial judge;"
Court of Appeals dated December 11, 1992.
2) "in disregarding the inherently unfair
Once again Dasmariñas has availed of the remedy of appeal. It situation in allowing private respondent, a
has come to this Court and prays for the reversal of the foreign entity suing in the Philippines, to present
its evidence by mere deposition of its witnesses

away from the 'penetrating scrutiny' of the trial Depositions are principally made available by law to the parties
Judge while petitioner is obligated to bring and as a means of informing themselves of all the relevant facts;
present its witnesses in open court subject to the they are not therefore generally meant to be a substitute for the
prying eyes and probing questions of the Judge;" actual testimony in open court of a party or witness. The
and deponent must as a rule be presented for oral examination in
open court at the trial or hearing. This is a requirement of the
3) "in sanctioning the deposition taking of . . . rules of evidence. Section 1, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court
(APL's) witnesses in Taipei, Taiwan, a foreign provides:
jurisdiction not recognized by the Philippines in
view of its 'one-China policy,' before the AECI, a Sec. 1. Examination to be done in open court. —
private entity not authorized by law to take The examination of witnesses presented in a trial
depositions." or hearing shall be done in open court, and
under oath or affirmation. Unless the witness is
Depositions are chiefly a mode of discovery. They are intended incapacitated to speak, or the question calls for a
as a means to compel disclosure of facts resting in the different mode of answer, the answers of the
knowledge of a party or other person which are relevant in witness shall be given orally.
some suit or proceeding in court. Depositions, and the other
modes of discovery (interrogatories to parties; requests for Indeed, any deposition offered to prove the facts therein set out
admission by adverse party; production or inspection of during a trial or hearing, in lieu of the actual oral testimony of
documents or things; physical and mental examination of the deponent in open court, may be opposed and excluded on
persons) are meant to enable a party to learn all the material the ground that it is hearsay; the party against whom it is
and relevant facts, not only known to him and his witnesses but offered has no opportunity to cross-examine the deponent at
also those known to the adverse party and the latter's own the time that his testimony is offered. It matters not that that
witnesses. In fine, the object of discovery is to make it possible opportunity for cross-examination was afforded during the
for all the parties to a case to learn all the material and relevant taking of the deposition; for normally, the opportunity for
facts, from whoever may have knowledge thereof, to the end cross-examination must be accorded a party at the time that the
that their pleadings or motions may not suffer from inadequacy testimonial evidence is actually presented against him during
of factual foundation, and all the relevant facts may be clearly the trial or hearing.
and completely laid before the Court, without omission or
suppression. However, depositions may be used without the deponent being
actually called to the witness stand by the proponent, under

evidence. attend to testify because of age. in the interest of justice and represented at the taking of the deposition or with due regard to the importance of presenting who had due notice thereof. Use of depositions. or managing agent of a public or The principle conceding admissibility to a deposition when the private corporation. Rule 24 of the deposition. unless it appears that his absence . as admissible under the rules of evidence.certain conditions and for certain limited purposes. or (5) upon application and notice. whether or not a Sec. infirmity. is consistent with another rule of for any purpose. and any party (b) The deposition of a party or of any one who may introduce any other parts. (c) The deposition of a witness. Testimony or deposition at a former party. Rule 132 of the Rules of Court. or witness deceased or unable to testify. These was procured by the party offering the exceptional situations are governed by Section 4. any part or all of a deposition. (a) Any deposition may be used by any party for (d) If only part of a deposition is offered in the purpose of contradicting or impeaching the evidence by a party. require him to introduce all of it which is relevant to the part introduced. or imprisonment. may be used by any party for any purpose proceeding. or (4) that the party Sec. — At the trial or upon offering the deposition has been unable to the hearing of a motion of an interlocutory procure the attendance of the witness by proceeding. given in a (2) that the witness if out of the province and at a former case or proceeding. or is out of the subject matter. or (3) that the witness is unable to Rules of Court. involving the same parties and the place of trial or hearing. may be given in evidence against Philippines. at the time of taking the deposition was an officer. out of the Philippines. — The testimony or deposition of a if the court finds: (1) that the witness is dead. found in Section 47. may that such exceptional circumstances exist as to be used against any party who was present or make it desirable. 47. or otherwise unable to which is a party may be used by an adverse party come to court to testify. sickness. partnership. the adverse party may testimony of deponent as a witness. director. any of the following provisions: to allow the deposition to be used. so far subpoena. or association deponent is dead. 4. judicial or greater distance than fifty (50) kilometers from administrative. in accordance with the testimony of witnesses orally in open court.

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

A commission issued by this Court on the No. . before TRIAL COURTS IN CITIES. citing commission to the "Asian Exchange Center." while letters interrogatories) . 4 issued by Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee on April 6. Rule 24 just Joaquin R. Inc. op. may be defined as "(a)n instrument sent in part hereof by attaching it hereto (or state other the name and by the authority of a judge or court to another. Department of Consular Standard Forms" appended to the Rules of Court. 200). __________ to said commission and made a on the other hand. pursuant to the suggestion of the Department of Foreign testimony of (here name the witness or Affairs — directing "ALL JUDGES OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL witnesses) in (here name the foreign country in COURTS. xxx xxx xxx It further appears that the commission is to be coursed through the Department of Foreign Affairs conformably with Circular 3. the Section Chief. upon cannot be executed) (emphasis supplied). p. which Affairs of the latter's Ministry of Foreign Affairs) (Annex B of requires the inclusion in a "petition for letters rogatory" of the Annex N of the petition for review on certiorari) — a prima following paragraph. . 653). ______ day of ______. . .415. citing Cyclopedic Law Dictionary. . Republic of the Philippines" issue a "Certificate indication in the Rules that letters rogatory may be applied for of Authentications" attesting to the identity and authority of and issued only after a commission has been "returned Notaries Public and other public officers of the Republic of unexecuted" as is apparent from Form 21 of the "Judicial China. AND MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS" "to course all was returned unexecuted by requests for the taking of deposition of witnesses residing __________________ on the ground that abroad through the Department of Foreign Affairs" to enable it ____________. all of which more fully and "the Philippine Foreign Service establishments to act on the appears from the certificate of said ." It appears that said Center may. thru Director Cyclopedic Law Dictionary." Noteworthy in this connection is the Foreign Affairs. viz. Taiwan (eg. interrogatories filed in a cause pending before the former. quoted states that a commission is addressed to "officers .. Section 12. . 19__. . a witness who is within the jurisdiction of the judge or court to In the case at bar.: facie showing not rebutted by petitioner. cit. facts to show commission is inadequate or requesting the latter to cause to be examined. MUNICIPAL which the testimony is to be taken).. Lee and Yeong Fah Yeh. Letters rogatory. METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURTS. by deposition (upon written designated . either by name or descriptive title. . to take the 1987. Kenneth H. the Regional Trial Court has issued a whom such letters are addressed" (Feria. "upon rogatory are addressed to some "appropriate judicial authority request and authority of the Ministry (now Department) of in the foreign state. MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS _________________ (name of officer). Roces" "to take the testimonies of . p. . J..

4 Rule 24. C.R. whenever necessary or eyes and probing questions of the Judge. It precisely falls within one of the exceptions Dasmariñas also contends that the "taking of deposition is a where the law permits such a situation. supra. Indeed. moreover. account rendered illegal nor is the deposition thereby taken. i." but the procedure is not on that be fully accorded to the adverse party. . no prohibition against the applicable provisions of the Rules of Court and the existence of taking of depositions after pre-trial. the law authorizes any of the exceptions for its admissibility — e. etc." This is allowed convenient. or judgment (East Asiatic Co. imprisonment.. Depositions may be taken at any time deponent in open court and without being "subject to the prying after the institution of any action. . that the witness is even during the process of execution of a final and executory unable to attend to testify because of age.. the use of mode of pretrial discovery to be availed of before the action deposition in lieu of the actual appearance and testimony of the comes to trial. v. it is "inherently unfair" to allow APL.I. sickness.g. infirmity. "in the Dasmariñas further claims that the taking of deposition under interest of justice.'" This is inconsequential." this. or is out of perpetuate their testimony for use in the event of further the Philippines.e. "that the the taking of depositions of witnesses before or after an appeal witness if out of the province and at a greater distance than fifty is taken from the judgment of a Regional Trial Court "to (50) kilometers from the place of trial or hearing." authority of the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and in virtue of a commission duly issued by the Philippine Court in Of course the deposition-taking in the case at bar is a which the action is pending. with "departure from the accepted and usual judicial proceedings of the provisions of the Philippine Rules of Court pursuant to examining witnesses in open court where their demeanor could which opportunity for cross-examination of the deponent will be observed by the trial judge. Rules of Court)." that commission on various grounds. inadmissible. to present its evidence by mere deposition of its The first is that the deposition-taking will take place in "a witnesses away from the 'penetrating scrutiny' of the trial Judge foreign jurisdiction not recognized by the Philippines in view of while petitioner is obligated to bring and present its witnesses its 'one-China policy.matter in a judicious and expeditious manner. What matters is in open court subject to the prying eyes and probing questions that the deposition is taken before a Philippine official acting by of the Judge. 544). "a foreign entity suing in the Philippines." Not so.." and to avoid delay in the deposition-taking. and in accordance. There is no rule that limits deposition-taking only provided the deposition is taken in accordance with the to the period of pre-trial or before it. emphasis supplied) . or ." (Sec. 40 SCRA 521. and by the party offering the deposition. unless it appears that his absence was procured proceedings in the said court" (Rule 134. the circumstances is a "departure from the accepted and usual judicial proceedings of examining witnesses in open court Petitioner would however prevent the carrying out of the where the demeanor could be observed by the trial judge.

Maceren. Regalado." The statement implies that SO ORDERED. of course. or opting to conduct said cross-examination merely by serving cross-interrogatories. 1991) of the Order of March 15. JJ. was filed by Dasmariñas on June 25. are to be sure within the within which reconsideration thereof should be sought. 1991 The Regional Trial Court saw fit to permit the taking of the sought to be reconsidered. examination. in stenographically. i. Denial of the motion on such a depositions of the witnesses in question only by written ground is incorrect. The imposition of such a limitation. 1991. and the respect of which there is no provision of law fixing the time determination of the cause thereof. In the first place. which. 95 because. 1991 — denying Dasmariñas motion for reconsideration of the earlier order dated March 15. the adverse party is still accorded full right to cross-examine the deponents by the law.— is first satisfactorily established (See Lopez v.e. is not true. One other word. Court's discretion. More importantly. Nocon and Puno.. The ostensible reason given by the Trial Court for the condition — that the deposition be taken "only PREMISES CONSIDERED. 1991 which was however questioning the witnesses verbally with the questions and not acted on or granted by the Court. as the record discloses. (Dasmariñas) the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses by serving cross-interrogatories. Costs against petitioner. opportunity to cross-examine will not be accorded the defendant if the depositions were to be taken upon oral Padilla. In its Order of July 5. the answers and observations of the parties being recorded order sought to be reconsidered is an interlocutory order. twenty-five (25) days after notice (on May 20.. 754). the Trial Court reached this conclusion . by going to Taipei and actually reconsideration. concur. For even if the depositions were to be taken on oral examination in Taipei. either by proceeding to Taipei and there conducting the cross-examination orally. the Court Resolved to DISMISS the upon written interrogatories" — is "so as to give defendant petition for review on certiorari. ending on June 25. it appears that there was a interrogatories. removing the proponent's option to take them motion for extension of time to file a motion for by oral examination. 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. the motion for reconsideration Phil." Evidently.

396447. Branch 27 in Civil Manila Case No. the accused of his fundamental right to be confronted with the Bataan. by means of false manifestations and recognizes the prosecution's right to preserve testimonial fraudulent representations which they made to said Li Luen evidence and prove its case despite the unavailability of its Ping to the effect that they have chattels such as machinery. petitioners seek to nullify and set aside FIRST MORTGAGE when in truth and in fact the accused well the February 19.010. confederating together and helping one another. 2012 Petitioners Harry Go. Information4 dated September 24. Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.892.. TONNY NGO. amount of $464. DECISION Philippines.: unlawfully and feloniously defraud Highdone Company Ltd. 2008 knew that the same had been previously encumbered. Jerry Ngo and Jane Go were charged before the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Manila HARRY L. LTD. Represented by Li Luen Ping. 2008 Decision1 and November 28.R.90 or its peso equivalent at P20. 2006 Order3 issued SUPREME COURT by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila. Cambodia. give license to prosecutorial spare parts. No. 06-114844 and upheld the grant of the prosecution’s motion to take the testimony of a witness by oral depositions in THIRD DIVISION Laos. GO. Respondents. Tonny Ngo. JERRY NGO AND JANE for Other Deceits under Article 318 of the Revised Penal Code GO. 2003. equipment and raw materials installed and fixed in indifference or unseemly involvement in a prosecution witness' the premises of BGB Industrial Textile Mills Factory located in absence from trial. ET AL.. witness. SP No. in the City of Manila. reads: COMPANY.266. the said accused. To rule otherwise would effectively deprive the Bataan Export Processing Zone (BEPZ) in Mariveles. later amended5 on THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and HIGHDONE September 14. G.50 more or less in favor of ML Resources and In this Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Highdone Company Ltd. Representing that the said deed is a Revised Rules of Court. "That sometime in August 1996. The vs. J. It cannot. Republic of the Philippines 99383. in the following manner. mortgaged and foreclosed by CHINA BANK CORPORATION as . conspiring. which reversed the September 12. however. (RPC) docketed as Criminal Case No. PERLAS-BERNABE. 2004. Petitioners. executed a Deed of Mortgage for a consideration of the witnesses against him.R. to wit: The procedure for taking depositions in criminal cases all said accused. did then and there willfully. 185527 July 18.

892. Hence. in any case.. Upon denial by the RTC of their motion for reconsideration The prosecution's complaining witness. this petition alleging that – Petitioners sought its reconsideration which the MeTC denied. Decision which held that no grave abuse of discretion can be imputed upon the MeTC for allowing the deposition-taking of On October 13. trial dates were On February 19. he could not make the long travel to the and make timely objections during the taking of the oral Philippines by reason of ill health. reconsideration. 2006. CAMBODIA. traveled from his home elevated the case to the CA. country back to the Philippines in order to attend the hearing held on September 9.11 The RTC held that THE TAKING OF THE DEPOSITION OF THE Section 17. 2005. Upon arraignment. Notwithstanding petitioners' Opposition. upon every opportunity to cross-examine the complaining witness doctor's advice. 2004.early as September 1994 thereby causing damage and prejudice specific provision in the Rules of Court with respect to the to said HIGHDONE COMPANY LTD." rights of the accused to meet the witness against him face to face. civil cases cannot apply suppletorily to the case since there is a . in the said amount of taking of depositions of prosecution witnesses in criminal cases. Cambodia and that.12 the prosecution businessman from Laos. However. 2008. THAT THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURT INFRINGED THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF THE On September 12. 2008.50 more or which is primarily intended to safeguard the constitutional less.90 or its peso equivalent at P20. $464.THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT FINDING Certiorari10 before the RTC. Li Luen Ping.9 prompting petitioners to file a Petition for I.7 the MeTC granted8 the motion after the prosecution complied with the On November 28. procedure expressly disallows the taking of depositions in alleging that he was being treated for lung infection at the criminal cases and that. the private prosecutor filed with the the complaining witness Li Luen Ping because no rule of MeTC a Motion to Take Oral Deposition6 of Li Luen Ping. the CA denied petitioners' motion for directive to submit a Medical Certificate of Li Luen Ping. Rule 23 on the taking of depositions of witnesses in COMPLAINING WITNESS IN LAOS.266. 2006. the RTC granted the petition and PETITIONERS TO A PUBLIC TRIAL IN ALLOWING declared the MeTC Orders null and void. Cambodia. petitioners would still have Cambodia Charity Hospital in Laos. deposition either through counsel or through the consular officer who would be taking the deposition of the witness.010. the CA promulgated the assailed subsequently postponed due to his unavailability. a frail old through an Order dated March 5. petitioners pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Rule 23 to 28 of the Rules of Court provide THE TRADITIONAL DEFINITION OF GRAVE ABUSE for the different modes of discovery that may be resorted to by a OF DISCRETION. or before any where the Constitution secures to the accused his right to a public trial and to meet the witnessess against him face to face. which took effect on GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION. II. there is no doubt as to the SUSTAINING THE JUDICIAL LEGISLATION availability of conditional examination of witnesses – both for COMMITTED BY THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL the benefit of the defense. THE LAW OR JURISPRUDENCE criminal proceedings. notary The examination of witnesses must be done orally before a public or person authorized to administer oaths at any time or judge in open court. de Manguerra v. Rule 119 of the SIMILARLY COMES WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. the taking of depositions in civil cases. Court's ruling in the case of Vda. as well as the prosecution. OVERLOOKING THE party to an action. 13 and 15.14 It is not without exceptions." (Underscoring We rule in favor of petitioners. before any judge.THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN NOT investigating facts" as it enables the judge to test the witness' FINDING THAT THE DEPOSITION TAKING OF THE credibility through his manner and deportment while COMPLAINING WITNESS IN LAOS. Philippine consular official. 2000. The COURT IN APPLYING THE RULES ON DEPOSITION. CAMBODIA IS testifying. supplied)16 The Procedure for Testimonial Examination of an Unavailable The procedure under Rule 23 to 28 of the Rules of Court allows Prosecution Witness is Covered Under Section 15. In CONSTITUTION.THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN Even in criminal proceedings.13 This is true especially in criminal cases place within the Philippines. December 1. either upon oral examination or written interrogatories. allow the conditional examination of both the defense and prosecution witnesses. of direct court testimony. TAKING IN CIVIL CASES TO CRIMINAL CASES. Sections 12. however. These rules are adopted either to perpetuate ESTABLISHED RULE THAT VIOLATION OF THE the testimonies of witnesses or as modes of discovery. . Risos15 explicitly states that – IV.THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN LIMITING "x x x As exceptions. III. commissioned officer or person The requirement is the "safest and most satisfactory method of authorized to administer oaths in a foreign state or country. Rule 119. as the Rules AN INFRINGEMENT OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL of Court recognizes the conditional examination of witnesses RIGHT OF THE PETITIONERS TO CONFRONT THE and the use of their depositions as testimonial evidence in lieu SAID WITNESS FACE TO FACE.

17 advanced age falls within the provision of Section 15 Rule 119 of the Rules of Court. Cambodia. Thus. said rule substantially provides But for purposes of taking the deposition in criminal cases. elsewhere and not before the very same court where the case is he may forthwith be conditionally examined before the court pending would not only deprive a detained accused of his right where the case is pending. to take the deposition of the prosecution witness has to leave the Philippines with no definite date of returning. we cannot is pending. that he should be conditionally examined before the court more particularly of a prosecution witness who would where the case is pending. Such examination. or at least before the judge. rather than by means of The pertinent provision reads thus: deposition. declared that – Since the conditional examination of a prosecution witness While we recognize the prosecution's right to preserve the must take place at no other place than the court where the case testimony of its witness in order to prove its case. or Certainly. the testimonial examination language of Section 15 Rule 119 must be interpreted to require should be made before the court. which is especially the same manner as an examination at the trial. 15.with no additional requirement except reasonable notice in The condition of the private complainant being sick and of writing to the other party. Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. de Manguerra19 where we further admitted in behalf of or against the accused. The giving of before the Philippine consular official in Laos. – When it or not.18 (Underscoring supplied) satisfactorily appears that a witness for the prosecution is too sick or infirm to appear at the trial as directed by the court. the RTC properly nullified the MeTC's orders disregard the rules which are designed mainly for the granting the motion to take the deposition of Li Luen Ping protection of the accused's constitutional rights. Examination of witness for the prosecution. this Court concludes that the forseeably be unavailable for trial. No where in the said rule permits the taking of deposition outside the Philippines whether the deponent is sick SEC. The conditional quote with approval the RTC's ratiocination in this wise: examination of a witness outside of the trial is only an . in the presence of to attend the proceedings but also deprive the trial judge of the the accused. the parties to present testimony at the hearing through live where the case is pending as required by the clear mandate of witnesses. The statement taken may be Court's ruling in Vda. This is the import of the shall be considered a waiver. However. Failure or intolerable when the witness' testimony is crucial to the refusal of the accused to attend the examination after notice prosecution's case against the accused. whose demeanor and credibility can be evaluated by Section 15. We testimony during trial is the general rule. the judge presiding at the hearing. or in his absence after reasonable notice to attend opportunity to observe the prosecution witness' deportment the examination has been served on him shall be conducted in and properly assess his credibility.

and special proceedings. the right rules. both civil and criminal as well Constitution provides as follows: as special proceedings. However.e. Vda. trial may proceed notwithstanding criminal..20 (Underscoring supplied) to a public trial and the right to confrontation of witnesses. (Underscoring cases. and as such. calls for a strict construction of the less than the Constitution secures to the accused. de Manguerra. the accused shall be presumed However. to be informed of the nature has been categorically ruled out by the Court in the same case of and cause of the accusation against him.exception. it is likewise true that criminal proceedings are supplied) primarily governed by the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. Rule 1 of the Rules of Court provides witnesses and the production of evidence in his behalf. and shall enjoy the right testimonial examination of an unavailable prosecution witness to be heard by himself and counsel. the deposition-taking before a Philippine consular official under Rule 23 should be deemed Section 14. Section 14(2).face confrontation in a public criminal trial in the The CA took a simplistic view on the use of depositions in presence of the presiding judge and the cross-examination of a criminal cases and overlooked fundamental considerations no witness in a foreign place outside the courtroom in the absence . civil or However. after arraignment." (Underscoring supplied) accorded the right to cross-examine the deponent witness and raise their objections during the deposition-taking in the same The Conditional Examination of a Prosecution Witness Cannot manner as in a regular court trial. There is a great deal of difference between the face-to. that the rules of civil procedure apply to all actions. it says that the the absence of the accused provided that he has been duly rules of civil procedure have suppletory application to criminal notified and his failure to appear is unjustifiable. the CA opined that petitioners would still be Rule 23 suppletorily or otherwise. to meet the witnesses face to face. In dismissing petitioners' apprehensions concerning the Considering that Rule 119 adequately and squarely covers the deprivation of their constitutional rights to a public trial and situation in the instant case. we find no cogent reason to apply confrontation. (1) x x x allowable also under the circumstances. Defeat the Rights of the Accused to Public Trial and Confrontation of Witnesses We disagree. Article III of the It is argued that since the Rules of Civil Procedure is made explicitly applicable in all cases. i. as follows: impartial and public trial. to have a speedy. the suggested suppletory application of Rule 23 in the innocent until the contrary is proved. and to have compulsory process to secure the attendance of It is true that Section 3. (2) In all criminal prosecutions. In effect.

which may confirm or detract from the weight of his Where testimonial statements are involved. Certainly. To be purpose: (1) to afford the accused an opportunity to test the sure. Certainly. and a certain subjective moral effect is produced expounded on the procedural intent of the confrontation upon the witness."25 according to an eminent authority. and give to the accused an opportunity of cross- the advantage of the witness before the judge. but for the purpose of cross examination in the right to be tried as far as facts provable by witnesses as which cannot be had except by the direct and personal putting meet him face to face at the trial who give their testimony in his of questions and obtaining immediate answers. we do not think the testimony. "demands confrontation.27 the US Supreme Court had testifying. not for the idle purpose of gazing upon the witness. or of being As the right of confrontation is intended "to secure the accused gazed upon by him. x x x"22 (Underscoring acknowledges any general reliability exception to the common- supplied)1âwphi1 law rule. Seneris24that the constitutional Court noted the uniqueness and significance of a witness requirement "insures that the witness will give his testimony testifying in open court. The right of confrontation. In the American incommunicable evidence of a witness' deportment while case of Crawford v. It commands. thus: under oath. manner and expression. Washington. These can only be observed by the judge if the "reliability"."26 it is properly viewed as a guarantee against the enables the judge as trier of facts "to obtain the elusive and use of unreliable testimony in criminal trials. none of the authorities discussed above witness testifies orally in court. on the other hand. it forces the witness to submit to cross-examination. thus deterring lying by the threat of perjury charge. It is only when the witness testifies orally that requirement. and it is this – it examination." There is also presence. appear and testify orally at a trial is to secure for the adverse and it enables the court to observe the demeanor of the witness party the opportunity of cross-examination. and confront witness face to face protection to the vagaries of the his deportment and physiognomy will reveal clues to his rules of evidence. and assess his credibility. the Clause's ultimate goal is to ensure reliability of testimony of witnesses by cross-examination. but it is a procedural rather than a substantive the judge to observe the deportment of witnesses. is held to apply Admitting statements deemed reliable by a judge is specifically to criminal proceedings and to have a twofold fundamentally at odds with the right of confrontation. but that . 21 the explained in People v. much less to amorphous notions of character. thus: the judge may have a true idea of his countenance. not that evidence be reliable.23 The Court guarantee.of a trial judge. In the aptly cited case of People v. a valuable "The main and essential purpose of requiring a witness to instrument in exposing falsehood and bringing out the truth. and (2) to allow evidence. the physical condition of the witness will Framers meant to leave the Sixth Amendment's right to reveal his capacity for accurate observation and memory. Estenzo. "The opponent".

When the matter was raised before this Court. the prosecution allowed its main witness to leave the as the factual settings are not similar. The Clause thus reflects a complaining witness against the accused." (Underscoring supplied) Finally. Li The CA found the frail and infirm condition of the prosecution Luen Ping's old age and fragile constitution should have been witness as sufficient and compelling reason to uphold the MeTC unmistakably apparent and yet the prosecution failed to act Orders granting the deposition-taking. the State itself must resort to deposition- . 2004. following the ruling in with zeal and foresight in having his deposition or testimony the case of People v. At that time. even after failing to secure Li Luen Ping's conditional subpoena to testify in court. where it is the prosecution that seeks to depose the crucible of cross-examination. but about how violating the constitutional rights of the accused to due process. presenting them as live witnesses. it should have been imperative use of which is within the trial court's sound discretion which for the prosecution to have moved for the preservation of Li needs only to be exercised in a reasonable manner and in Luen Ping's testimony at that first instance given the fact that consonance with the spirit of the law. Rule 119 of the witness' deposition is in the nature of a discovery procedure the Revised Rules of Court. reliability can best be determined. the prosecution would capitalize upon its taken. In fact.reliability be assessed in a particular manner: by testing in the In this case. It must be emphasized that while the prosecution on the limited ground that there was no necessity for the must provide the accused every opportunity to take the procedure as the matter sought to be proved by way of deposition of witnesses that are material to his defense in order deposition was considered merely corroborative of the evidence to avoid charges of violating the right of the accused to for the defense. Rule 119 cannot be ignored without point on which there could be little dissent). Webb28 that the taking of an unavailable taken before the MeTC pursuant to Section 15. the Court takes note that prosecution witness Li Luen The Webb Ruling is Not on All Fours with the Instant Case Ping had managed to attend the initial trial proceedings before the MeTC of Manila on September 9.1âwphi1 The accused in court's jurisdiction without availing of the court procedure the Webb case had sought to take the oral deposition of five intended to preserve the testimony of such witness. not only about the desirability of reliable evidence (a procedure under Section 15.29 the witness is a non-resident alien who can leave the Philippines anytime without any definite date of return. the stringent judgment. The trial court denied the motion examination before the MeTC prior to said witness' becoming of the accused but the CA differed and ordered the deposition sick and unavailable. alleging that they were all residents of the United States who could not be compelled by Still.30 compulsory process. But the ruling in the cited case is not instantly applicable herein Obviously. The loss of defense witnesses before a Philippine consular agent in lieu of its cause is attributable to no other party. we own failure by pleading for a liberal application of the rules on sustained the trial court's disallowance of the deposition-taking depositions.

31 Thus.taking sparingly if it is to guard against accusations of violating the right of the accused to meet the witnesses against him face to face. Great care must be observed in the taking and use of depositions of prosecution witnesses to the end that no conviction of an accused will rely on ex parte affidavits and deposition. WHEREFORE. This was certainly grave abuse of discretion. THIRD DIVISION Cambodia is REINSTATED. SO ORDERED. The assailed Decision dated February 19. the CA ignored the procedure under the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure for taking the deposition of an unavailable prosecution witness when it upheld the trial court's order allowing the deposition of prosecution witness Li Luen Ping to take place in a venue other than the court where the case is pending. the petition is hereby GRANTED. 2008 of the Court of Appeals are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. 2008 and the Resolution dated November 28. Accordingly. . the Decision of the Regional Trial Court which disallowed the deposition-taking in Laos.

amended on November 18. through a criminal RAUL RISOS. 1999. CEB-20359. respondents where they made it appear that Concepcion. NAZARIO. The case.B. Leah Abarquez. Concepcions of the Rules of Court. Risos. Earlier. Branch 19. Atty. upper gastro-intestinal bleeding. de Manguerras Presiding Judge of Present: (Concepcions) motion to take deposition. 1999. BONJE. The facts of the case. should first be resolved. who was a 2008 resident of Cebu City. respondents filed a Motion for DECISION Suspension of the Proceedings in Criminal Case No. Criminal Case No.[9] Decision[1] dated August 15. The CA decision set aside . which was an action for declaration of nullity of the mortgage. YNARES..CONCEPCION CUENCO VDA. CBU- 52248 on the ground of prejudicial question. MANGUERRA and THE 152643 the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Orders dated August 25. J. 1999. Chairperson. HON. and . SANTIAGO. with Estafa Through Falsification of Public Document before the RTC of Cebu City. Bonje. DE G. Concepcion. [8] On May 11. the owner of the mortgaged property known as the Gorordo Promulgated: property. 1999. JR. Hence. Susana Yongco. the RTC granted the aforesaid motion.[7] On November 24. No. RAMON C. the criminal case. and a deed of real estate mortgage allegedly committed by REYES.: Civil Case No. 2000[4] denying the motion for reconsideration of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City respondents Raul G. and was advised to stay in ------x Manila for further treatment.B. NACHURA. Gamaliel D. affixed her signature to the document. as culled from the records. assailing the Court of Appeals (CA) motion for reconsideration was denied on June 5. 2002.[5] arose from the falsification of Respondents. docketed as GAMALIEL D. which was subsequently LEAH ABARQUEZ and ATTY. AUSTRIA. SUSANA YONGCO. was unexpectedly confined at the Makati Medical Center due to x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------. JJ. and dated November 3. respondents were charged MARTINEZ. They argued that NACHURA. on September 10. 2000. follow: .versus . 1999. Petitioners. CHICO- information dated October 27.R. This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 2000. . 2000[3] granting Concepcion Cuenco Vda. CBU-52248. J. 2001 and its Resolution[2] dated March 12. Branch 19.[6] August 28. CODILLA. On November 4. while on vacation in Manila.

the dispositive portion of which reads: Hence. declaring that the examination of prosecution witnesses. which limited her freedom of mobility. the appellate court resolved the matter on its merit. 60266 and remains pending before the SO ORDERED. the instant petition raising the following issues: WHEREFORE.R.[10] On August 16. Rule 2000. 2001. judge or the court where the case is pending.[19] Decision[16] favorable to the respondents. the petition is GRANTED I. SP No. said the appellate court. The of Court of Makati City. 62551.[12] The respondents motion for latter provision. in issuing the assailed order. This notwithstanding. the CA added that the rationale of November 3 RTC orders in a special civil action the Rules in requiring the taking of deposition before the same for certiorari before the CA in CA-G. Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of directed that Concepcions deposition be taken before the Clerk Criminal Procedure and not Rule 23 of the Rules of Court. Concepcions deposition should have been taken before the should be brushed aside because of the urgency of the situation. 2000 and November 3.[15] court is the constitutional right of the accused to meet the witnesses face to face. the RTC granted the motion and case. only applies to civil reconsideration was denied by the trial court on November 3. condition and old age. is governed by Section 15. the May 11 and June 5 RTC orders.[17] appellate court to date. SP No. the counsel of Concepcion filed a At the outset. The case was docketed as CA-G. 2000. and not before the Clerk of Court of Makati City. an indispensable party. 2000 orders of the court a quo are hereby SET ASIDE. grave abuse of discretion.[13]After several of Cebu. The court ratiocinated that procedural technicalities 119. [11] He explained the need the respondents petition by not impleading the People of to perpetuate Concepcions testimony due to her weak physical the Philippines. thus. Concepcions deposition was finally taken on March 9. respondents assailed the August 25 and motion for reconsideration. Pursuant to the specific provision of Section 15. which is the RTC since Concepcion was already of advanced age. 2000. and the August 25. [18] 2001 at her residence. the CA rendered a the rules of criminal procedure. cases.[14] In its Resolution dated March 12. and any deposition that may have been . 2002 denying petitioners Aggrieved.R. This prompted Concepcion to institute a special civil taken on the authority of such void orders is action for certiorari before the CA seeking the nullification of similarly declared void. the RTC clearly committed taking. the CA observed that there was a defect in motion to take the latters deposition. The appellate court likewise concluded that Rule 23 could not be applied suppletorily because the situation was adequately addressed by a specific provision of On August 15. and motions for change of venue of the deposition. as in the present On August 25.

the facilitate and promote. this Court has repeatedly declared that the failure to of their obvious duty. When they lose the the Philippines as respondent in the CA case to enable the character of the one and become the other. 110 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. respondents failed to implead the were created. not to hinder and delay. They are designed as the means best public prosecutor. Parties may be Accordingly. Because of this. to file its Comment on the petition for certiorari. the CA disregarded the procedural flaw by allowing RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE APPLIES TO the petition to proceed.[22] It is basic that all witnesses shall give their testimonies at the trial of the case in the presence of the judge. their forms or contents. managed.[24] implead an indispensable party is not a ground for the dismissal of an action. [25] This is especially . Rule justice. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES IN A PETITION FOR CERTIORARI ARISING FROM Instructive is the Courts pronouncement in Commissioner A CRIMINAL CASE A QUO CONSTITUTES A Domingo v. justice. in the interest of substantial THE DEPOSITION OF PETITIONER. the Solicitor General to comment on the petition. the latter Court applies to the instant case. notwithstanding the non- joinder of the People of the Philippines as party-respondent. the remedy is to implead the non-party claimed to be indispensable. it behooved the petitioners adapted to obtain that thing. the CA cannot be faulted for deciding the case on added by order of the court. Also noteworthy is that. Their sole purpose is to facilitate the application of justice It is undisputed that in their petition to the rival claims of contending parties.[21] administration of justice is at fault and courts are correspondingly remiss in the performance However. own initiative at any stage of the action and/or such times as are just. WHETHER OR NOT RULE 23 OF THE 1997 In this case. If the petitioner/plaintiff refuses to implead an On the more important issue of whether Rule 23 of the Rules of indispensable party despite the order of the court.[20] There is nothing sacred about processes or pleadings. it II. As provided in Section 5. all criminal which courts are always striving to secure to actions are prosecuted under the direction and control of the litigants. but to People of the Philippines as a party thereto. may dismiss the complaint/petition for the petitioners/plaintiffs failure to comply. In other words. In such a case. Scheer[23] in this wise: WAIVABLE DEFECT IN THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI. on motion of the party or on its the merits despite the procedural defect. the administration of petition was obviously defective. (respondents herein) to implead the People of they are a means to an end. Therefore. They do not constitute the thing itself. Thus. the People was WHETHER OR NOT FAILURE TO IMPLEAD given the opportunity to refute the respondents arguments. They for certiorari before the CA. through the Office of the Solicitor General. we rule in the negative.

which took effect on December 1. [27] Lastly. and thus. Rules 23 to application of Rule 23 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. Instead of conditionally examining her outside the trial court. or case at bar. the procedure set forth in Rule 119 applies to the to appear at the trial as directed by the court. in the presence of reasonable notice. Thus. Such examination. ground which places her squarely within the coverage of the allow the conditional examination of both the defense and same provision. the Rules the accused. prosecution.true in criminal cases in order that the accused may be afforded of the accused to attend the examination after the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses pursuant to his notice shall be considered a waiver. As to the manner of examination. Examination of witness for the court for examination during the trial proper. so that he can attend the examined before the court where the case is examination. through question and answer. calls for the This rule. in issue is the examination of a the Philippines with no definite date of returning. or 2) if the witness has to leave In the case at bench. is not absolute. be conditionally examined: 1) if the witness is too sick or infirm to appear at the trial. In criminal proceedings. who. 28 of the Rules of Court provide for the different modes of discovery that may be resorted to by a party to an action. she would have been compelled to appear before the Section 15. or in his absence after reasonable mandate that it be conducted in the same manner as an notice to attend the examination has been served examination during trial. prosecution witness. that is. subject to his right to waive the same after pending. Section 15 of not been too sick at that time. When it satisfactorily appears that a witness for the prosecution is too sick or infirm Undoubtedly. It is also of returning. her motion would have been Rule 119 thus comes into play. shall be conducted in the same manner as an examination at the trial. on him. As exceptions. such questions as they deem material and necessary to support their position or to test the credibility of said witnesses. Rule 119 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure.[29] 13[30] and 15. he may forthwith be conditionally necessary that the accused be notified. this rule enables the judge to observe the witnesses Petitioners contend that Concepcions advanced age and health demeanor. The very reason offered by the petitioners to Sections 12. however. and it provides: denied.[31] Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of exempt Concepcion from the coverage of Rule 119 is at once the Criminal Procedure. rules are adopted either to perpetuate the testimonies of witnesses or as modes of discovery. was too when Concepcion moved that her deposition be taken. had she sick to travel and appear before the trial court.[28] condition exempt her from the application of Section 15. It is thus required that the conditional examination has to leave the Philippines with no definite date be made before the court where the case is pending. 2000. These The contention does not persuade. The constitutional right to confront the witnesses face to face. Failure or refusal . according to the petitioners. [26] It statement taken may be admitted in behalf of or also gives the parties and their counsel the chance to propound against the accused. Rule 119 specifically states that a witness may prosecution witnesses.

we cannot disregard rules not when he is kilometers away. contention. In effect. the RTC order was issued criminal cases. There is answered in the negative.[32] elsewhere. Rule 1 of the Rules of Court provides ratiocination in this wise: that the rules of civil procedure apply to all actions. Rule 119 of the cases.Therefore. civil or criminal. and now Section 13. or.At this point. may be taken before any judge. However. if the order be made by a court of superior To reiterate. More importantly. and special proceedings. a query may thus be posed: in conditions. we find no cogent not practicable. as when he is under detention. We agree with the CA and quote with approval its It is true that Section 3. a member of the Bar in good reason to apply Rule 23 suppletorily or otherwise. this 1. Such is the clear mandate of Section 15. The appellate court considered the only room for application. 2000) may be done only before the court rule. Contrary to petitioners prosecutions case. the court may not introduce exceptions or constitutional rights. We find no necessity to depart from. or. Considering that Rule 119 adequately and squarely Procedure. said the CA. this requirement ensures that the judge would be able to observe the witness deportment Rule 119 categorically states that the conditional to enable him to properly assess his credibility.Accordingly. The giving of testimony during trial is the . it says that the Unlike an examination of a defense witness rules of civil procedure have suppletory application to criminal which. the conditional examination of a prosecution jurisdiction. as in the present which are designed mainly for the protection of the accuseds case. pursuant to Section 5. standing so designated by the judge in the order. Rule 119 of Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure (December the Rules. Neither may it engraft into the law (or the Rules) granting Concepcions motion and in actually taking her qualifications not contemplated. there is no room for interpretation. it is likewise true that the criminal proceedings previous Rules. or to relax. As correctly held by the CA. if covers the situation in the instant case. if the deposition is made where the case is pending. Rule 119 of are primarily governed by the Revised Rules of Criminal the present Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. the examination of a witness before the court.[34] taking of deposition before the Clerk of Court of Makati City erroneous and contrary to the clear mandate of the Rules that Petitioners further insist that Rule 23 applies to the instant the same be made before the court where the case is case. before an inferior court to be witness for the purpose of taking his deposition should be made designated therein. where the case is for the prosecution under Section 15 of the pending. the accused may not be able to attend. This is examination of a prosecution witness shall be made before the especially true when the witness testimony is crucial to the court where the case is pending. were the above rules complied with? The CA and categorical. or at least before the judge. because the rules on civil procedure apply suppletorily to pending. with grave abuse of discretion.[33] When the words are clear deposition. there is nothing in the rule which may remotely be interpreted to mean that such requirement applies only to cases While we recognize the prosecutions right to preserve its where the witness is within the jurisdiction of said court and witness testimony to prove its case.

62551.R. and as such. WHEREFORE. the petition is hereby DENIED. in CA-G. 2002. The Court of Appeals Decision and Resolution dated August 25. . The conditional examination of a witness outside of the trial is only an exception. respectively. are AFFIRMED. calls for a strict construction of the rules. SO ORDERED. SP No. 2000 and March 12.general rule.

(10) separate orders and received from respondent CHERRY VALLEY several duck hatching eggs and ducklings which in On 19 July 1988.R. and. plus legal interest from date of filing of the complaint until full payment. and.245. COURT OF APPEALS and CHERRY was rejected by CHERRY VALLEY on 26 September 1985. represented by CHERRY VALLEYs invoices were actually (b) on 1 September 1982 up to 16 February 1983. [G. not all ducks and ducklings covered and corporation with principal office at Rothwell.245. vs. thus England. respondents.245. and twenty ALLIED AGRI-BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CO.: peso equivalent at the time of payment. corporation to be formed by ALLIED. percent (20%) of the total amount being claimed from assails in this petition the decision of the Court of Appeals petitioner as attorneys fees. a foreign company based in was never authorized by the board of petitioner ALLIED. 1998] ALLIED through its president wrote CHERRY VALLEY on 17 July 1985 inviting the latter to be a stockholder in a new ALLIED AGRI-BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CO. (b) the letter of Quintos to CHERRY VALLEY Limited (CHERRY VALLEY). England. (c) Development Co. December 4. filed against petitioner Allied Agri-Business any admission made in that letter could not bind ALLIED. (ALLIED) a complaint with the Regional the alleged amount of 51. (d) to the best of the alleging.12 or its BELLOSILLO. which affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting the motion for summary judgment filed by Cherry Valley Farms On 27 February 1986 ALLIED filed an answer [1] denying Limited based on the implied admissions of petitioner. (e) private respondent had no of less than six (6) months. to pay the costs of suit. which invitation however INC. (e) ALLIED's president Ricardo Quintos expressly acknowledged through a letter of 8 October 1985 the obligation DECISION of his corporation to CHERRY VALLEY. and. CHERRY VALLEY served on ALLIEDs value totaled 51.. or for a period ordered by the former.12 despite repeated demands as follows: . FIRST DIVISION evidenced by a letter of Solicitor Braithwaite of England in behalf of CHERRY VALLEY. petitioner ALLIED purchased in ten cause of action against petitioner. Inc. of petitioner. among others that: (a) CHERRY VALLEY is a foreign knowledge of ALLIED. No. VALLEY FARMS LIMITED. J. (c) ALLIED did not pay the total counsel a Request for Admission[2] dated 15 July 1988 worded purchase price of 51.. if any.12 did not represent the true and Trial Court of Makati City for collection of sum of money real obligation. (d) instead of paying its obligation. The complaint also prayed that ALLIED be made to pay the sum of 51. Lincoln. the material allegations of the complaint and contended that: (a) private respondent CHERRY VALLEY lacked the legal On 14 October 1986 respondent Cherry Valley Farms capacity to sue.12..245. 118438. INC.

1. That the chairman of the board of directors and president of It is further requested that said sworn admission be made
your corporation is Mr. Ricardo V. Quintos; within 10 days from receipt of this request.

2. That out of the 3,000,000 subscribed shares of stock, ALLIED filed its Comments/Objections[3] alleging that: (a)
1,496,000 shares is (sic) owned by Mr. Ricardo Quintos and the admissions requested were matters which the private
1,432,000 shares is(sic) also owned by his wife, Agnes dela respondent had the burden to prove through its own witness
Torre; during the trial and thus petitioner need not answer; and, (b)
the request for admission regarding the ownership set-up of
3. That for a period of six (6) months starting from 1 September petitioner corporation was immaterial and improper for not
1982, your corporation ordered and received from CHERRY having been pleaded in the complaint.
VALLEY duck eggs and ducklings with a total value of 51,245.12
as reflected on CHERRY VALLEY invoices issued to you; In its Reply[4] to Comments/Objections to Request for
Admission, CHERRY VALLEY maintained that there was no
4. That you received a letter dated 22 March 1985 from Mr. need on its part to produce a witness to testify on the matters
P.R.C. Braithwaite, solicitor of CHERRY VALLEY, demanding requested for admission, for these pertained to incidents
settlement of your unpaid account of 52,245.12 for the above- personal to and within the knowledge of petitioner
stated purchases; alone. Thereafter, on 2 August 1998, CHERRY VALLEY filed a
motion with the trial court to resolve the objections of ALLIED
5. That instead of paying your obligation to CHERRY VALLEY, to the request for admission.
Mr. Ricardo Quintos, in his capacity as president of your
corporation, sent a letter to CHERRY VALLEY dated 17 July On 11 August 1988 the trial court issued an
1985 proposing the setting up of a new corporation with Order[5] disregarding ALLIEDs Comments/Objections to
CHERRY VALLEY refusing acceptance of your proposal; Request for Admission in view of its non-compliance with Sec.
2, Rule 26, of the Rules of Court and directing ALLIED to
6. That you received a letter dated 26 September 1985 from Mr. answer the request for admission within ten (10) days from
J. Cross, Director and Secretary of CHERRY VALLEY refusing receipt of the order, otherwise, the matters contained in the
acceptance of your proposal; request would be deemed admitted. ALLIED moved to
reconsider the order; however, on 8 November 1988 the lower
7. That Mr. Ricardo Quintos in a letter dated 8 October 1985 court denied[6]ALLIEDs motion for reconsideration and
admitted your indebtedness in the sum of English Sterling directed the latter to answer the request for admission within a
Pounds 51,245.12. nonextendible period of five (5) days from receipt of the order.

ALLIED failed to submit a sworn answer to the request for requested were matters which CHERRY VALLEY had the
admission within the additional period of five (5) days granted burden to prove during the trial.
by the trial court. Hence, CHERRY VALLEY filed a motion for
summary judgment[7] alleging that there was already an implied The petition must fail. We cannot sustain the allegation
admission on the matters requested for admission pursuant to that respondent CHERRY VALLEY being an unlicensed foreign
Rule 26 of the Rules of Court. corporation lacked the legal capacity to institute the suit in the
trial court for the recovery of money claims from petitioner. In
On 23 October 1990, the trial court rendered fact, petitioner is estopped from challenging or questioning the
judgment[8] against petitioner: (a) Ordering defendant to personality of a corporation after having acknowledged the
pay plaintiff the sum of -51,245.12 or its peso equivalent at the same by entering into a contract with it.[10] The doctrine of lack
time of payment plus legal interest from the date of filing of this of capacity to sue or failure of a foreign corporation to acquire a
complaint until fully paid; and, (b) Ordering defendant to pay local license was never intended to favor domestic corporations
plaintiff ten percent (10%) of the total amount due from who enter into solitary transactions with unwary foreign firms
defendant by way of attorneys fees since no protracted trial was and then repudiate their obligations simply because the latter
held in this case, plus cost of suit. are not licensed to do business in this country.[11]

ALLIED appealed to the Court of Appeals. On 6 September Petitioner cannot also successfully argue that its failure to
1994 the Court of Appeals rendered a decision [9] affirming the answer the request for admission did not result in its admission
summary judgment rendered by the trial court with the of the matters stated in the request. Section 1 of Rule 26 of the
modification that ALLIED should pay the monetary award to Rules of Court provides:
CHERRY VALLEY in Philippine currency and that the award of
attorneys fees and costs of suit be deleted. SECTION 1. Request for admission. - At any time after issues
have been joined, a party may file and serve upon any other
Hence, the instant petition by ALLIED alleging that serious party a written request for the admission by the latter of the
errors were committed by the Court of Appeals in affirming the genuineness of any material and relevant document described
summary judgment of the trial court; that the complaint should in and exhibited with the request or of the truth of any material
have been instantly dismissed on the ground of lack of and relevant matter of fact set forth in the request. Copies of the
personality to sue on the part of respondent CHERRY VALLEY; documents shall be delivered with the request unless copies
that the summary judgment was tantamount to a denial of have already been furnished.
ALLIEDs right to due process for not requiring CHERRY
VALLEY to produce its own witness; and, that the admission

The purpose of the rule governing requests for admission disregarded the objections and directed petitioner after denying
of facts and genuineness of documents is to expedite trial and to its motion for reconsideration, to answer the request within five
relieve parties of the costs of proving facts which will not be (5) days from receipt of the directive; otherwise, the matters of
disputed on trial and the truth of which can be ascertained by which the admission was requested would be deemed
reasonable inquiry. Each of the matters of which an admission admitted. Petitioner failed to submit the required answer
is requested shall be deemed admitted unless within a period within the period. The matter set forth in the request were
designated in the request which shall not be less than fifteen therefore deemed admitted by petitioner, i.e., (a) that for a
(15) days after service thereof, or within such further time as period of six (6) months starting from 1 September 1982,
the court may allow on motion, the party to whom the request petitioner ordered and received from respondent CHERRY
is directed files and serves upon the party requesting the VALLEY duck eggs and ducklings amounting to 51,245.12; (b)
admission a sworn statement either denying specifically the that petitioner received a letter dated 22 March 1985 from
matters of which an admission is requested or setting forth in private respondents lawyer demanding payment of the amount
detail the reasons why he cannot truthfully either admit or deny of the purchases; (c) that instead of paying the obligation to
those matters.[12] Upon service of request for admission, the respondent CHERRY VALLEY, petitioners president Ricardo
party served may do any of the following acts: (a) he may admit Quintos sent a letter to the former proposing the establishment
each of the matters of which an admission is requested, in of a new corporation with CHERRY VALLEY as one of the
which case, he need not file an answer; (b) he may admit the stockholders; (d) that the proposal was refused by the Director
truth of the matters of which admission is requested by serving of CHERRY VALLEY; and, (e) that petitioners president
upon the party requesting a written admission of such matters Ricardo Quintos admitted the indebtedness of his corporation
within the period stated in the request, which must not be less to CHERRY VALLEY in the sum of English Sterling Pounds
than ten (10) days after service, or within such further time as 51,245.12.
the court may allow on motion and notice; (c) he may file a
sworn statement denying specifically the matter of which an The burden of affirmative action is on the party upon
admission is requested; or, (d) he may file a sworn statement whom notice is served to avoid the admission rather than upon
setting forth in detail the reasons why he cannot truthfully the party seeking the admission.[14] Hence, when petitioner
either admit or deny the matters of which an admission is failed to reply to a request to admit, it may not argue that the
requested.[13] adverse party has the burden of proving the facts sought to be
admitted. Petitioners silence is an admission of the facts stated
The records show that although petitioner filed with the in the request.[15]
trial court its comments and objections to the request for
admission served on it by private respondent, the trial court

This Court finds that the motion for summary judgment
filed by respondent CHERRY VALLEY on the ground that there
were no questions of fact in issue since the material allegations SYNOPSIS
of the complaint were not disputed was correctlygranted by the
trial court. It is a settled rule that summary judgment may be Webb, an accused in the crime of Rape with Homicide,
granted if the facts which stand admitted by reason of a partys filed a Motion to Take Testimony by Oral Deposition, to take
failure to deny statements contained in a request for admission the testimonies of some vital witnesses residing in the U.S.,
show that no material issue of fact exists. [16] By its failure to before the proper Philippine consular authorities. The trial
answer the other partys request for admission, petitioner has court denied the motion, but the Court of Appeals allowed the
admitted all the material facts necessary for judgment against same.
itself.[17]
The only reason why respondent was seeking the
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The decision of deposition of the foreign witnesses was to foreclose any
the Court of Appeals dated 6 September 1994 objection to the admissibility of two defense exhibits which had
which AFFIRMED the trial court in "ordering defendant to pay already been admitted. Further, the evidence sought to be
plaintiff the sum of 51,245.12 or its peso equivalent at the time obtained through the deposition-taking would be superfluous
of payment plus legal interest from the date of filing of this as there are exhibits of the same species previously introduced
complaint until fully paid;" and "ordering defendant to pay and admitted in evidence by the trial court. Hence, the same
plaintiff ten percent (10%) of the total amount due from would be merely corroborative or cumulative in nature and will
defendant by way of attorney's fees since no protacted trial was not reasonably add to the persuasiveness of the evidence
held in this case plus cost of suit," with the modification that already in hand. The use of discovery procedures is directed to
"Allied shall pay the monetary award of attorney's fees and the sound discretion of the trial judge. Here, the Court found no
costs of suit be deleted," is AFFIRMED. Costs against herein indication of grave abuse of discretion in the denial of the
petitioner Allied Agri-Business Development Co., Inc. motion.

SO ORDERED. SYLLABUS

1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; DEPOSITIONS;
ELUCIDATED.- As defined, a deposition is - The
testimony of a witness taken upon oral question or written
interrogatories, not in open court, but in pursuance of a

based witnesses would be merely room.] Expedite exercised with caution. and intended to be used in deposition of his witnesses within the time provided for preparation and upon the trial of a civil or criminal filing a pre-trial motion. 2. Power of the court to stop further detecting and exposing false.. 3.Considering the factual person who is deposed is called the deponent.] Expedite motion considering that under the prevailing facts of the and facilitate both preparation and trial. respondent had more than ample opportunity to from the foregoing. Certainly. . rules on criminal practice .states that when a person intends to rely on such a general law or court rule on the subject.] Educate the parties in the same point cannot be reasonably expected to be advance of trial as to the real value of their claims and additionally persuasive. The FURTHER EVIDENCE.particularly present his side. convenient and further testimony upon any particular point when the inexpensive way. it bears parties in ascertaining the truth and in checking and stressing that under Section 6. corroborative or cumulative in nature and in denying word for word account . 7.] Safeguard against surprise. In this regard. 5. The circumstances of the case. that person must move for the taking of the writing and duly authenticated. A pretrial discovery device by which one party (through his or her attorney) asks oral questions of 2. the depositions proposed to be deposition is conducted under oath outside of the court taken from the five U. and 9.commission to take testimony issued by a court. 6. before some judicial officer in answer to superfluous exercise on the belief that the introduction questions or interrogatories x x x.] Give greater assistance to the evidence already on record. But this power should be defenses thereby encouraging settlements. Indeed. and reduced to defense. the trial court was but Testimony of [a] witness. Needless to state. A transcript . ID. In fact. and the purposes of thereof will not reasonably add to the persuasiveness of the taking depositions are to: 1. ID. 8. should be taken before and not feign denial of due process where he had the opportunity to during trial.] Provide an effective means of Rules of Court: SEC. the trial court can litigation. usually in one of the lawyers offices. 6. which is respondents main defense that due process is not a monopoly of the defense. POWER OF THE COURT TO STOP the other party or of a witness for the other party.S. prosecution. in keeping with its nature adduce evidence in his defense. under oath or exercising its judgment on what it perceived to be a affirmation. a party can not as a mode of discovery. taken in writing. respondents motion to take them. It must be borne in mind in this regard on the defense of alibi. or under a . x x x The court may stop the introduction of defenses.] Simplify and narrow the issues.] Prevent not be faulted with lack of caution in denying respondents delay..is made of the deposition.. As can be gleaned case. Rule 113 of the Revised preventing perjury. facts which otherwise could not be proved evidence upon it is already so full that more witnesses to except with great difficulty. in the criminal proceedings against him in the court below the State is entitled to due process as much as the accused.] Make available in a simple. fraudulent claims and evidence. a deposition. 4.

We sustain the 3. ID. SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS. REMEDIAL LAW. DEPOSITION IN CASE AT BAR. only after conviction witnesses may be allowed in criminal cases before the may this Court examine such matters further. arbitrary. SPECIAL CIVIL proposition that the trial judge commits no grave abuse of ACTIONS. TAKING OF DEPOSITIONS OF innocence and whether or not a further prolongation of WITNESSES RESIDING ABROAD IN CRIMINAL proceedings would be dilatory is addressed. I take an . Grave CASE AT BAR.. those to be produced or testified to by the proposed foreign deponents. ID. GRAVE ABUSE OF discretion if she decides that the evidence on the matter DISCRETION. Discretion has to be exercised in 1. it is a truism that every case must be seven (57) witnesses and four hundred sixty-four (464) prosecuted in accordance with the prescribed procedure documentary exhibits. separate opinion: judge.The use of discovery procedures is directed to the sound discretion of the trial DAVIDE. JR. C. capricious or oppressive manner. the taking of the virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act all in depositions would have been unnecessary. or. while a litigation is not a game of out that the defense has already presented at least fifty- technicalities. Furthermore. NOT COMMITTED IN THE DENIAL sought to be proved in the United States could not possibly OF MOTION TO TAKE TESTIMONY BY ORAL add anything substantial to the defense evidence involved. There is no indication in this case that in denying NOT COMMITTED IN THE DENIAL OF MOTION the motion of respondent accused. the trial judge acted in a TO TAKE TESTIMONY BY ORAL DEPOSITION IN biased. in other words where the power is depositions of the testimony of its witnesses who are exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of residents of the United States of America. It is pointed Philippine courts must be squarely resolved. in the first CASES BEFORE THE PHILIPPINE COURTS MUST instance. and trial court did not commit grave abuse of discretion in whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of denying the application of the defense for the taking by jurisdiction. CERTIORARI. and it must be so patent and court had already admitted the exhibits on which the said gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a witnesses would have testified.. Since the trial passion or personal hostility..Whether the taking of the depositions of has been no grave abuse of discretion.. Whether or not the respondent- accused has been given ample opportunity to prove his 2. Under the circumstances. contemplation of law. a reasonable manner and in consonance with the spirit of CERTIORARI GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION.J. many of them of the exact nature as to insure an orderly and speedy administration of justice.. to the sound discretion of the trial judge. the law. The deposition taking can not be based nor can it be denied on flimsy reasons.. EVIDENCE. If there BE ALLOWED.I fully concur with the majority that the abuse of discretion x x x implies such capricious..

Section 7 of Rule 24 is trial. which is one mode of liberty of the accused. how allowed. may be done before the commencement of the compulsory process to secure the attendance of witnesses trial state. 1.. including criminal cases. Section 11 of Rule case at bar. (115 SCRA 843 judgment of a Regional Trial Court to perpetuate their [1982]). (REGALADO F. 634 [1993]). v. See also the instances allowed witnesses before or after an appeal is taken from the in Caos v. This deposition. RULE ON CIVIL PROCEDURE MUST criminal cases.. and 5 of Rule 119 of the Rules of Court which provides for 5440). ID. C. (225 SCRA 622. v. REMEDIAL LAW COMPENDIUM. 1995 ed.D. respectively. being to perpetuate deprivation of due process and to the accuseds right to testimony.R. the law authorizes the taking of depositions of applicable in criminal cases. then it is with more reason that it be (REGALADO F. and Cojuangco v.. allowed in a criminal case. which are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights arises. then.. too. And more importantly. Constitution). If. Court of however. 40 SCRA 521. is applicable in the Procedure may be applied suppletorily. (203 SCRA 619 [1991]). Indeed. Court of said court (Rule 134. we have Sections 4 judgment (East Asiatic Co.. whenever necessary for Persons before whom depositions may be taken in or convenient. that the rule on the matter under Rules on Civil Appeals.. There is no rule that limits depositions.. or anytime thereafter.affirmative stand on the issue. 428). ID. which provides for Depositions pending appeal applies to 3. as the need there for in his favor. an authority on process of execution of a final and executory criminal procedure asserts that in all matters not ..I. For one. Also. Inc. vol. Depositions may be taken at any 23 of the 1997 Rules on Civil Procedure which provides time after the institution of any action. Article III. the ruling in the resident of a foreign country. For one. a deposition is allowed for a perpetuating testimony available to the accused witness in a civil case. Rules of Court). (Sections 1 and 14(2). and even during the Appeals. Peralta.D. ID. 322). There are provisions of the Rule on Civil taking only to the period of pre-trial or before it. Then. According to Justice how to take the testimony of a defense witness who is Regalado the procedure in Section 7 is available in all unable to come to testify in open court because he is a actions. REMEDIAL LAW BE APPLIED ON HOW TO DO THE SAME. IntermediateAppellate Court. there is Section 7 of Rule 24 of the Rules of Court. its denial would amount to a vol. but before the promulgation of judgment. case of Dasmarinas Garments. no Procedure which have been made applicable in criminal prohibition against the taking of deposition after pre. Thus. Naguiat V.2. cases. deposition in criminal cases the Application for examination of witness for accused of a witness for the defense who is residing abroad must be before trial and Examination of defense witness. I respectfully submit. (164 testimony for use in the event of further proceedings in the SCRA 505 [1988]). Involved in a criminal case is not just the status or made. 1997 ed. as earlier mentioned.. These Sections refer to the conditional the property of the defendant. but the life or limb or the examination of defense witnesses. foreign countries. to wit: x x x.As to COMPENDIUM.

This failure to provide discovery procedure during PROCEDURE ANNOTATED. J. (PAMARAN. GRAVE investigation considering their exculpatory character. concurring opinion: original copy of the April28. negate its Section 6 of Rule 1 of the 1997 Rule of Civil Procedure use by a person under investigation when indispensable (formerly Sec. . that will surely promote rights more than authority. Finally. ante.. 1998 ed. the NBI.. supra. liberty and expressly provides that the rules shall be liberally property. to protect his constitutional right to life. 402). x x x We uphold the legal basis of the right of petitioners to demand from their prosecutor. we held: x x testimony. In the first Webb case. THE 1985 RULES IN CRIMINAL x. the PUNO. REMEDIAL LAW. Rule 24. x x x Upon assumption of office. 2. and deposition taking as to strengthen the constitutional right to due process of an accused. applies CRIMINAL CASES.. specifically touched on by Section 6 and the preceding 2. our present Chief ground of lack of necessity. accused. The only reason for the filing of Justice vowed to have a court that is pro-active. however. that is.I write this opinion to complement the witnesses under Sections 4 and 5. Rule I of the 1964 Rules of Court).I agree protection of due process which we rule to be operational that respondent Webbs Motion to Take Testimony by Oral even during the preliminary investigation to a potential Deposition was correctly denied by the trial court on the accused. It appears that said Exhibits 218 and 219 have our rules on criminal procedure on the matter of discovery already been admitted by the trial court... Rule 119. I am as the case may be. ID. SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS. this Court has taken under the same circumstances and for the same given an expensive interpretation of the right of an accused purpose. DISCOVERY PROCEDURES IN Sections of Rule 119. Preliminary investigation is not too early a construed in order to promote their objective of securing a stage to guard against any significant erosion of the just. a stance the motion is to foreclose any objection and/or rejection of. preliminary investigation does not. Thus. since the taking of depositions CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT OF ACCUSED TO DUE under Rule 24 and conditional examination of defense PROCESS. The right is rooted on the constitutional BY ORAL DEPOSITION IN CASE AT BAR. the preservation of a material witness to discovery procedure. are learned opinion of our Chief Justice. speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action constitutional right to due process of a potential and proceeding. EVIDENCE. NOT COMMITTED IN and hence. Rules of Court. 1995 sworn statement of Alfaro and the FBI Report during their preliminary 1. unquestionable materiality to the issue of their THE DENIAL OF MOTION TO TAKE TESTIMONY probable guilt. ABUSE OF DISCRETION. the admissibility of defense Exhibits sure such a stance will quicken moves to liberalize further 218 and 219. TO STRENGTHEN THE in a suppletory character.

1. People of the Philippines and Lauro Vizconde which set aside the order of respondent judge therein Washington D. 95-404 for Rape with Homicide entitled People of the Philippines v.S. J. presided by Judge Amelita G. respondent. Records Services Branch YNARES-SANTIAGO. Webb is one of the accused in Criminal Case No. SP No. WEBB.R. Amelita Tolentino. presently pending before Branch 274 of the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque. N. testimonies of the following: vs. 45399 Immigration and Naturalization Service entitled Hubert Jeffrey P. 1997. Respondent Hubert Jeffrey P.W. Department of Justice Challenged in this petition for review on certiorari is the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.: U. HUBERT JEFFREY P. Webb. Webb v. APPEARANCES OF COUNSEL denying herein respondent Hubert Jeffrey P. as the case may Ongkiko Kalaw Manhit & Acorda Law Office for private be. Hubert Jeffrey P.R. 20536 . Webbs request to take the depositions of five (5) citizens and residents of the The Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. No.] Steven Bucher DECISION Acting Chief. The factual and procedural antecedents are matters of record or are otherwise uncontroverted. August 17. Tolentino. FIRST DIVISION During the course of the proceedings in the trial court. Hon.C. 1999] respondent filed on May 2.C. petitioner. [G. a Motion To Take Testimony By Oral Deposition[1] praying that he be allowed to take the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. and California. in her capacity as Presiding Judge of Branch 274 of the Regional 425 Eye Street. et al. United States before the proper consular officer of the Philippines in Washington D. Trial Court of Paraaque. respondent. 132577.

4.S. of contradicting or impeaching the testimony of the deponent as a witness.] Ami Smalley may be used against any party who was present or represented at the taking of the deposition or who had due Department of Motor Vehicles notice thereof. California (a) Any deposition may be used by any party for the purpose U. Use of depositions. in accordance with any one of the following provisions: Sacramento. 4. Department of Justice before the general consul. 92666 Records Operations. U. City of Orange 2.S. California SEC.C. 5.] Debora Farmer California.A.A. so far as admissible under the rules of evidence.A.S. Respondent further alleged that the taking of the oral depositions of the aforementioned individuals whose 3. U.] John Pavlisin .U. Rule 24 of the Revised Rules of Court which provides that: Sacramento. consul. At the trial or upon the hearing of a U.S. Office of Records U.S.A. 210 South Glasell. vice-consul or consular agent of the Philippines in lieu of presenting them as witnesses in Immigration and Naturalization Service court alleging that the said persons are all residents of the United States and may not therefore be compelled by subpoena Washington D.S.] Jaci Alston testimonies are allegedly material and indispensable to establish his innocence of the crime charged is sanctioned by Department of Motor Vehicles Section 4. motion or an interlocutory proceeding.A. any part or all of a deposition. to testify since the court had no jurisdiction over them.

2. Dissatisfied. 1997. being a mode of taking the deposition was an officer.] Court.R. 45399. Rule 24 and Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 119 place of trial or hearing.(b) The deposition of a party or of any one who at the time of the Rules of Court on Criminal Procedure. partnership.[2] (c) The deposition of a witness whether or not a party. the trial court denied the the witness is dead. 3. and 2. the adverse party may require him to introduce all of it the People and private complainant Lauro Vizconde. Section 5 of the Rules of Court on Criminal Procedure does for any purpose. unless it of the Revised Rules of Court. [5] witnesses orally in open court. consul. respondent elevated his cause to the Court of Appeals by way of a petition for certiorari[6] naming as (d) If only part of a deposition is offered in evidence by a respondents therein the Presiding Judge Amelita G.] Rule association which is a party may be used by an adverse party 119.] Rule 119. or witnesses for the accused before trial not during trial. party. or (3) that the witness is unable to attend or A motion for reconsideration[4] thereto on the grounds testify because of age. director. was likewise due regard to the importance of presenting the testimony of denied by the trial court in an order dated July 25. may be used by any party for any purpose if the court finds: (1) that In an Order dated June 11.] The 1997 Rules of Court expressly allows the taking of (4) that the party offering the deposition has been unable to depositions. 1997. Section 4 of .[3] appears that his absence was procured by the party offering the deposition. In the which is relevant to the part introduced and any party may petition. to allow the deposition to be used. vice-consul or exist as to make it desirable in the interest of justice and with consular agent of the Republic of the Philippines. sickness. or managing discovery. Section 4 of the Rules of officer of the Philippine Embassy in the United States. respondent Webb introduce any other parts.] Section 11 of Rule 23 of the 1997 Rules of procure the attendance of the witness by subpoena or (5) upon Court expressly allows the taking of depositions in foreign application and notice. argued that: 1. that such exceptional circumstances countries before a consul general. 2. (2) that the witness is out of the province motion of respondent on the ground that the same is not and a greater distance than fifty (50) kilometers from the allowed by Section 4. or is out of the Philippines. or imprisonment.] The taking of depositions pending action is applicable to criminal proceedings. Tolentino.] Depositions by oral The prosecution thereafter filed an opposition to the said testimony in a foreign country can be taken before a consular motion averring that: 1. contrary to the representation of respondent-accused.] Rule 24. SP No. (italics supplied). only provides for conditional examination of agent of a public or private corporation. and. 3. He has the right to completely and fully present evidence to has no application in criminal cases. docketed as CA-G. or that: 1. not sanction the conditional examination of witnesses for the accused/defense outside Philippine jurisdiction. infirmity.

Section 4 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure only provides for conditional Commenting[7] on the petition. and California. Section 1 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil and 25 July 1997 (Annex B of the Petition) are hereby Procedure finds no application in criminal actions ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. Rule 119 of the Rules of Court. respondent] Webbs motion to take testimony by oral deposition dated 29 April 1997 as well as On February 6. the People contended that examination of witnesses before trial but not during the questioned orders of the Presiding Judge are well within the trial.] The motion failed to comply with the requirements witnesses for the accused/defense outside of of Section 4.support his defense and the denial of such right will violate his b.] The conditional Philippine jurisdiction. the petition is GRANTED.C.] The public respondent correctly ruled constitutional right to due process. 2. that Rule 119. the Fourth Division [9] of the Court of petitioners motion for reconsideration dated 23 Appeals rendered judgment.[10] the dispositive portion of which June 1997 for not being sanctioned by the Rules of reads: Court. deposition of the following witnesses be TAKEN before the proper consular officer of the Republic of the Philippines in Washington D. The orders of a. It is hereby ordered that the such as the case at bar. examination must be conducted before an inferior court.[8] private respondent Lauro Vizconde motion to take testimony by oral deposition sought the dismissal of the petition contending that: considering that the proposed deposition tends only to further establish the admissibility of 1.] The public respondent did not commit grave abuse documentary exhibits already admitted in of discretion in denying petitioner [now herein evidence by the public respondent. and c.] The public respondent did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioner Webbs In his Comment. 1998.] The public respondent correctly ruled and that if at all. sphere of her judicial discretion and do not constitute grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction c.] The examination of the witnesses must be done in open court.] The public respondent correctly held that respondent judge dated 11 June 1997 (Annex A of the Petition) Rule 23. b. WHEREFORE. they may be considered merely as errors of that Rule 119 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure judgment which may be corrected by appeal in due time does not sanction the conditional examination of because: a. as the case may be: .

I From the foregoing.[16] The petition is ripe for decision. 6.] IN RULING THAT RESPONDENT WAS DEPRIVED OF DUE The issues being raised here are purely legal. and the assailed decision of the Appellate Court. [12] 4. 2. Jaci Alston. error SO ORDERED. What are challenged before this Court are interlocutory orders and not a final judgment. The petitioner.] There is an PROCESS OF LAW BY THE TRIAL COURT. [13] 5. filed a Reply. new trial or reconsideration. if any. In urging this Tribunal to exercise its power of review over (d) Ms. (c) Mr. 3.] The rule that the petitioner should first file a motion for reconsideration applies to the special civil action II of certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure and there is no similar requirement in taking an appeal from a IN RULING THAT THE DEPOSITION MAY BE TAKEN final judgment or order[11] such as the present appeal BEFORE A CONSULAR OFFICER OF THE PHILIPPINES by certiorari. petitioner asserts that the Court of Appeals committed serious and reversible (e) Mr. Rule 45 in requiring a petition for WHERE THE PROSPECTIVE WITNESSES RESIDE OR ARE review on certiorari which indicates that when a motion for OFFICIALLY STATIONED. Steven Bucher.] The III questions being raised before the Court are the same as those which were squarely raised before the Court of Appeals. Ami Smalley. and. urgent need to resolve the issues considering that the trial of the accused in the criminal case is about to end. was filed implies that petitioner need not file a motion for reconsideration.] The which can be reduced to the primordial issue of whether or not nature of this case requires a speedy and prompt disposition of the trial judge gravely abused her discretion in denying the the issues involved.[14] motion to take testimony by oral depositions in the United . reasons: 1. Deborah Farmer.(a) Mr.] Section 4. the People forthwith elevated its cause IN RULING THAT RULE 23 OF THE 1997 RULES OF CIVIL to this Court by way of the instant petition dispensing with the PROCEDURE IS APPLICABLE TO CRIMINAL filing of a motion for reconsideration for the following PROCEEDINGS. Comment[15] which We treat as an Answer. The respondent has filed his (b) Ms. in turn. John Pavlisin.

which is found under the general which give the opportunity for the most complete and perfect classification of Civil Procedure. While petitioner had invoked Rule 23. obtain that thing. It is designed as the means best adapted to Court. it was. to give it effective facility in righteous action. Section 4. a reading of the rules on criminal procedure. as the Supreme Court In the light of the foregoing judicial precedent. thus: takes on the other [. vs. Rule 119 inconsiderable portion of the whole. provided the same is not natural justice. Attorney General and that the public respondent gravely abused her discretion in reiterated in subsequent cases: denying the motion to take the deposition of the witnesses for petitioner. It was created not to hinder and delay but to facilitate and promote the administration of justice. it does not prevent its exercise of the powers of the court within the limitations set by application to the other proceedings.[17] procedure is to make the powers of the court fully and completely available for justice.] the administration of justice becomes incomplete and unsatisfactory and lays itself open to grave Settled is the rule that the whole purpose and object of criticism.States which would be used in the criminal case before her secure the litigants. in other words. Rule 23 refers to the application of justice to the rival claims of the contending taking of deposition witnesses during trial. Thus. the Appellate in just judgments. It is the means by which the powers of the court are made effective In setting aside the order of the trial judge. while Section 1. against procedure today is that it so restricts the exercise of the specifically Section 4. Indeed. the most perfect opportunity for the powers of the court to Rules of Court is to be viewed and construed as a whole. this Court finds has ruled in Manila Railroad Co. It may be said in passing that the most salient objection which can be urged To be sure. it is a means to an end. x x x parties. as petitioner had claimed. The purpose of such a procedure is not to divisions. for exclusivity. Section 1 of x x x The most perfect procedure that can be devised is that the Rules of Court. Rule 119 vis--vis Section 1. inter alia. and if transmute themselves into concrete acts of justice between the the Supreme Court had compartmentalized the same into four parties before it. Rule 23 courts powers by technicalities that part of its authority would reveal no inconsistency so as to exclude the application effective for justice between the parties is many times an of the latter rule in criminal proceedings. It does not xxxxxxxxx constitute the thing itself which the courts are always striving to . In other words. The purpose of procedure refers to the conditional examination of witnesses for the is not to thwart justice. but organization and expediency and not. When it loses the character of the one and Courts Fourth Division reasoned. It is that one which. gives the contrary to the specific rules provided therein. for the purpose of restrict the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter. Its proper aim is to facilitate the accused before trial.

are residing abroad. however. we find to the examination of witnesses under Section 4 thereof and no reason for public respondent to disallow the taking of the not Section 1 of Rule 23.[18] Section 5. which strikes at the very core . is not without any remedy and he considering that the civil action has been impliedly instituted correctly sought to secure the testimonies of his witnesses in the criminal action for rape with homicide. she exercised full authority to employ all auxillary Rule 23 of the Rules of Court. no prejudice would be suffered in the taking of Second. based on a very shaky technical ground. pending before the public respondent and. which include four (4) officials of the United States avail of the specific remedies provided under the Rules would government. processes and other means to carry out the jurisdiction would have the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses for conferred and [to] adopt any suitable process or mode of accused Hubert Webb (petitioner herein) since they will be proceeding which includes the application of the rule on given the opportunity to cross-examine the deponents as in depositions pending action under Rule 23 in the case pending accordance with Sections 3 to 18 of Rule 132. Rule 119 of the Rules of Court is thus completely present his evidence. the deposition of the petitioners under the circumstances of the case. [it] loses sight of the object of procedure which is to facilitate the The denial of petitioners right to present his witnesses. Furthermore. Depositions obtained during trial in a foreign state or the depositions of petitioners US-based witness[es]. who application of justice to the rival claims of contending parties. This Court recognizes the impossibility of enforcing the right of petitioner to secure the attendance of the Even granting arguendo that Rule 23 is to be exclusively proposed witnesses through compulsory process considering applied to civil actions. is tantamount to depriving him of his constitutional right to xxxxxxxxx due process. To disallow petitioner to witnesses. the prosecution writs. a denial of the same would be prejudicial to of the Philippines where the deponent resides or is officially petitioner-accused since he would be denied an opportunity to stationed. On the country may be taken before a consular officer of the Republic other hand.[19] before her. Since public through the process of taking their depositions pending the respondent has jurisdiction over the civil case to recover trial of Criminal Case No. Consistent with the procedure same in the manner provided for under Section 1 of Rule 23 provided [for] under Rule 23. will be taken before a consular officer of the deny him the opportunity to adequately defend himself Philippines where these witnesses reside or are officially against the criminal charge of rape with homicide now stationed. Petitioner.While the taking of depositions pending trial is not expressly clearly inapplicable in the instant case since the same relates provided [for] under the Rules on Criminal Procedure. 95-404 in the court below under damages. In any event. as the case may be. the taking of the deposition of that they are beyond the jurisdiction of Philippine petitioners US-based witnesses should be still allowed Courts. further.

taken in writing. convenient and inexpensive way. A pretrial discovery device by which one party In the final analysis.] Simplify and narrow the issues. 7. Particularly where the issue of the guilt or and the purposes of taking depositions are to: 1. and intended to be used in issuing the questioned Orders. but in pursuance of a is definitely within this courts inherent power to scrutinize. To rule that petitioner of the deposition. which this court is not inclined to do.] Prevent delay. The person who is right to present his evidence and for the production of deposed is called the deponent. allow him a certain latitude in the presentation of his facts which otherwise could not be proved except with great evidence. or under a it does in the case at bench. cannot take the testimony of these witnesses by deposition is to under oath or affirmation. reasonable opportunity to present his evidence. but also to 3. [20] but it interrogatories.]Expedite litigation.] Give greater innocence of petitioner is bound to hinge heavily upon the assistance to the parties in ascertaining the truth and in testimonies of his US-based witnesses.] Expedite and facilitate both preparation and trial.of the due process guarantee of the Constitution. The deposition is conducted evidence in his behalf. a deposition is - it is not the function of this Court to second-guess the trial court on its ruling on the admissibility of the pieces of "The testimony of a witness taken upon oral question or written documentary evidence as well as the latters witnesses. A transcript .] Make available in a simple.word for word account .[21] constitutional rights of the accused. 4. as commission to take testimony issued by a court. As defined. it behooves upon public checking and preventing perjury. its nature as a mode of discovery. lest he may be so hampered that the ends of justice difficulty. 5. and 9. which normally is done through a civil case. this Court rules that the denial of the (through his or her attorney) asks oral questions of the other deposition-taking amounts to the denial of the constitutional party or of a witness for the other party. 6. 8. The denial is not justified by the flimsy under oath outside of the court room.] Educate the parties in advance of trial as to the may eventually be defeated or appear to be defeated. Finally. [22] As can be gleaned from the foregoing.] Provide an effective means respondent not only to guarantee that accused is given a of detecting and exposing false. before some judicial officer in put [a] premium on technicality at the expense of the answer to questions or interrogatories x x x. it cannot be denied settlements. real value of their claims and defenses thereby encouraging even if respondents contention is correct. the accused. 2.] Safeguard against that the case at bar includes the recovery of the civil liability of surprise. 1 of Rule 23 of the Rules of Court is not lawyers offices. the acts of respondent judge and general law or court rule on the subject. in keeping with We disagree. not in open court.is made applicable to criminal proceedings. preparation and upon the trial of a civil or criminal prosecution.Testimony of [a] witness. fraudulent claims and defenses. should be taken before and . and reduced to writing declare that she indeed committed grave abuse of discretion in and duly authenticated. usually in one of the reason that Sec. a deposition. To reiterate.

This issue M were signed by Authenticating Officer Annie R.[23] previously offered as evidence reveals that they are of the same nature as Exhibits 42-H[28] and 42-M. stating that the documents person must move for the taking of the deposition of his annexed thereto were issued by the U. Department of Justice Certification Form. Exhibits 42-H and 42- the admissibility of Defense Exhibits 218 and 219.S. is that Exhibit previously introduced and admitted into evidence by the trial 218-B is dated February 5. long been rendered moot and academic by the and in behalf of former Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Albright whereas. a circumspect scrutiny of the record discloses that documentary exhibits offered by respondent.[29] The only difference in It needs to be stressed that the only reason of respondent the documents lies in the fact that Exhibit 218-A was signed by for seeking the deposition of the foreign witnesses is to Joan C. which are actually examination of Exhibits 218 and 219 readily shows that these standard issue certification forms issued by the U. [t]hat respondent judge reversed this 42-N are both dated September 21.S. however. Hampton. In fact. court in its order dated July 18. Albright.[34] evidence after finding that the defects in (their) admissibility have been cured though the introduction of additional evidence Still comparing respondents Exhibit 218-F. A careful [33] The only difference in the three exhibits. which is respondents main defense in Department of State Certification issued by Joan C.not during trial. would be superfluous or corroborative at best. v. Department of Justice witnesses within the time provided for filing a pre-trial as shown by seal embossed thereon. the criminal proceedings against him in the court below . rules on criminal practice . 1998. admission of the aforementioned documentary exhibits by the [30] trial court in its order dated July 10. [25] wherein We pointed Administration for and in her behalf.[26] likewise a standard issue U.S. et al. are of the same species of documents which have been Department of Justice with blanks to be filled up. a comparison of Exhibit 218-A which is a U. People of the Philippines. Maddux for has. with other documents previously introduced as evidence reveals that it is the same as Exhibits .S. Attorney Generals several Deputy Assistant Attorneys for et al. 1997 and signed by one of the U. of State. for and in that when a person intends to rely on such a defense. likewise discloses the evidence to be obtained through the deposition-taking that its contents are the same as Exhibits 42-I [32] and 42-N. 1997 which We noted in Webb. that the name of Madeleine K. [35] which is during the trial on the merits. on the defense of alibi. among others. Hampton for and in behalf of the incumbent Secretary foreclose any objection and/or rejection of. Madeleine K.states Assistant Authenticating Officer of the said agency.particularly Indeed.S. as the case may be. while Exhibits 42-I and out. [27] with other exhibits motion. 1995 with another of the erroneous ruling and already admitted these 132 pieces of said deputies signing both documents.[24] A comparison of Exhibit 218-B[31] with the other In fact.

.] The Certification issued by mind in this regard that due process is not a monopoly of the one Frank Zolin. the State is entitled to due process as much as Department of Motor Vehicles. the trial court can not be faulted with lack of caution in denying respondents motion considering that In fact. (emphasis and italics supplied.[47] It need not be overemphasized that the foregoing factual circumstances only serves to underscore the immutable fact The use of discovery procedures is directed to the sound that the depositions proposed to be taken from the five U. 42-P. But this power should be exercised with caution. discretion of the trial judge. 39-E.[43] Needless to state. 42-D. A. [38] thereof will not reasonably add to the persuasiveness of the evidence already on record. In this regard.) 1995[42] whereas Exhibit 207-B as with Exhibits 39-E. Christian. 50. to be a superfluous exercise on the belief that the introduction Assistant Commissioner. persuasive. 1995 and is signed nature and in denying respondents motion to take them. 1995.The court has been earlier introduced and admitted into evidence by the may stop the introduction of further testimony upon any trial court an astounding seven (7) times. and e. d. 35-F. respondent had more for Non-Commercial Drivers License. it is a truism that every case must be prosecuted 66-I and 66-L. 66-H.. Jr.[48] The deposition taking can not be . it bears stressing Still further scrutinizing and comparing respondents that under Section 6. 6. Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Court: Exhibit 218-G[39] which was also introduced and admitted into evidence as Defense Exhibit 207-B[40] shows that the document SEC. c. technicalities. Director of the State of Californias defense.] Documentary records than ample opportunity to adduce evidence in his defense. a party can not feign denial of due process where he thumb-print. 42-D and 42-F were printed out on August 31. Power of the court to stop further evidence. were already introduced and the accused.[46] Furthermore. INS. Officer of Records.] application under the prevailing facts of the case. [45] It must be borne in Clets Database Response. Exhibits 218-G as with Exhibits 34. 1995 and signed by Cecil G. b. 50 and 50-F.[37] The only differences in these documents based witnesses would be merely corroborative or cumulative in are that Exhibit 218-F is dated October 13.S.[44] in accordance with the prescribed procedure to insure an orderly and speedy administration of justice. 35-F. 66-K.] Documentary records based on still another had the opportunity to present his side. respectively. Farmer while Exhibits "-39-D and 42-C are both trial court was but exercising its judgment on what it perceived dated August 31. the by Debora A. the records show that respondents: a.] Computer-generated Certainly.[41] The only full that more witnesses to the same point cannot be difference in these documents is that they were printed on reasonably expected to be additionally different dates. and 52-F were printed out on October 26. based on Clets Database Response. Indeed. particularly as particular point when the evidence upon it is already so Exhibits 34-A. Specifically. while a litigation is not a game of admitted into evidence as Defense Exhibits 66-J.39-D[36] and 42-C.

board or officer exercising judicial functions has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of In fine. and It has been held. If there has been no grave abuse of discretion. Grave by law.[52] To question the jurisdiction of the lower court or the agency Whether or not the respondent-accused has been given exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions. speedy and adequate conclusions of the lower court. There is no indication in this case that in discretion must be patent and gross as to amount to an evasion denying the motion of respondent-accused. It jurisdiction.[51] action for certiorari. as where the abuse of discretion x x x implies such capricious. As long as a court acts within its remedy in the ordinary course of law for the purpose of jurisdiction. however. reason of passion and hostility. the remedy is a ample opportunity to prove his innocence and whether or not a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of further prolongation of proceedings would be dilatory is Court. it is not a remedy Certiorari as a special civil action can be availed of only if there for mere errors of judgment. tribunal. only abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of after conviction may this Court examine such matters further. discretion amounting to lack or in excess or jurisdiction. The petitioner in such cases must clearly show that the addressed. arbitrary. In other words. that no grave abuse of discretion it must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of may be attributed to a court simply because of its alleged positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined misappreciation of facts and evidence. the trial judge acted of positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined in a biased. and whimsical power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction.[50] not be used to correct a lower tribunal's evaluation of the evidence and factual findings. certiorari will issue only to correct errors of jurisdiction. and not errors of procedure or mistakes in the findings or (b) there is no appeal. to wit: (a) the or a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. [49] Discretion has but generally refers to capricious or whimsical exercise of to be exercised in a reasonable manner and in consonance with judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. in the first instance. arbitrary and whimsical exercise of power for it to which are reviewable by timely appeal and not by special civil prosper. nor any plain. There must be a discretion will amount to nothing more than errors of judgment capricious. in other words where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility. A writ of certiorari may or to act all in contemplation of law. Grave abuse of discretion defies exact definition. any alleged errors committed in the exercise of its annulling or modifying the proceeding. or to act at all in contemplation of law. or. capricious or oppressive manner.based nor can it be denied on flimsy reasons. is pointed out that the defense has already presented at least . The abuse of the spirit of the law. which are correctible by an appeal is concurrence of the essential requisites. to the sound discretion of the public respondent acted without jurisdiction or with grave trial judge.

in view of all the foregoing. of their own personal knowledge. 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. 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. WHEREFORE. . Neither is it shown in this petition that they know. many of them of the exact nature as those to be produced or testified to by the proposed foreign deponents. 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. 1998 in CA-G. SO ORDERED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals dated February 6. Under the circumstances. SP No.R.fifty-seven (57) witnesses and four hundred sixty-four (464) documentary exhibits. the petition is hereby GRANTED. 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. 45399 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

where it was G. foreclosure. J.R. Motion contained a notice of hearing written as follows: or to give a deposition pending appeal.: documents relative to their loan with Metrobank. EMMANUEL L. filed a SUPREME COURT Complaint6 for nullification of mortgage. SP Branch 7. 20411 (M). The Branch Clerk of Court Assailed in this Petition for Review on Certiorari2 are the April Regional Trial Court 15. 185145 February 5. SECOND DIVISION (Metrobank) and Emmanuel L. as well as those covering the extrajudicial foreclosure and sale of Section 6. Province of After the filing of the parties’ pleadings and with the conclusion Bulacan. ORTEGA. 2014 docketed as Civil Case No. Factual Antecedents Republic of the Philippines Petitioners. SPOUSES VICENTE AFULUGENCIA and LETICIA AFULUGENCIA. and Officio Sheriff of the Malolos RTC. certificate of sale and other documents. Regional Trial Court and Ex-Officio Sheriff. Malolos. Petitioners. No. Philippine laws. petitioners filed a Motion for Issuance of Subpoena Duces Tecum Ad Testificandum7 to require Metrobank’s DECISION officers8 to appear and testify as the petitioners’ initial witnesses during the August 31." The provision seeks to prevent fishing expeditions and needless delays. Bulacan "a party not served with written interrogatories may not be covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. auction Manila sale. of pre-trial. while Ortega is the Clerk of Court and Ex- METROPOLITAN BANK & TRUST CO. 336-M-2004 and assigned to Branch 7. 5 Greetings: . 2006 hearing for the presentation of their evidence-in-chief. Bulacan No. Respondents. Ortega (Ortega) before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos City. 2008 Resolution4 denying petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration. Metrobank is a domestic banking corporation existing under vs. spouses Vicente and Leticia Afulugencia. Clerk of Court.1 Rule 25 of the Rules of Court (Rules) provides that petitioners’ 200-square meter land in Meycauayan. Its goal is to NOTICE maintain order and facilitate the conduct of trial. 99535 which dismissed petitioners' Petition for Certiorari for lack of merit and its October 2. The compelled by the adverse party to give testimony in open court. against respondents Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. 2008 Decision3 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. and to bring the DEL CASTILLO.R. with damages.

the Motion must be denied. the defendant bank and its for the petitioners since they were not initially served with officers are adverse parties who cannot be summoned to testify written interrogatories. Metrobank insisted on the procedural defect of improper notice . they are individuals separate and Metrobank in full. the trial court issued an Order 13 denying (signed) petitioners’ Motion for Issuance of Subpoena Duces Tecum Ad Vicente C. that pursuant to Sections 1 and 611 of Rule 25 of the of its failure to comply with the requirements for a valid notice Rules. and for lack of merit. as materiality and relevance of the documents sought to be provided in Sections 1 and 6. Court immediately upon receipt hereof. 2006. since it will present the testimony of these officers Opposition. Angeles9 Testificandum. In view of the foregoing. In an Opposition16 to the Motion for Reconsideration. the time for the hearing renders the Motion ineffective and pro motion under consideration is a mere scrap of paper by reason forma. On October 19. that leave of court is not necessary for the taking of Metrobank’s officers’ Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration15 pleading for depositions. which they claim is tantamount to notice. and will settle the issue relative to the distinct from Metrobank. They just the same during the presentation of its own evidence. Rule 25 of the Revised Rules of produced in court. thus: Metrobank filed an Opposition10 arguing that for lack of a The motion lacks merit. proper notice of hearing. consideration is hereby DENIED. but instead favorable to defective notice was cured by the filing of Metrobank’s Metrobank. and thus do not prove whether petitioners have paid their obligations to comprise the adverse party.14 principle of liberality. stating that the lack of a proper notice of hearing was cured by the filing of Metrobank’s Opposition. that being a litigated motion. Metrobank’s officers – who are considered adverse of hearing as specified in Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 15 of the parties – may not be compelled to appear and testify in court Revised Rules of Court. that further argued that Metrobank’s officers – who are the subject the documents sought to be produced are relevant and will of the subpoena – are not party-defendants. the Rules do not prohibit a party from presenting the adverse party as its own witness. and that petitioners were merely fishing for Court.Please submit the foregoing motion for the consideration and Ruling of the Regional Trial Court approval of the Hon. that applying the SO ORDERED. the defect may be ignored. and that in the case. the motion under Petitioners submitted a Reply12 to Metrobank’s Opposition. evidence. Moreover. the defendant corporation being sued validity or invalidity of the foreclosure proceedings. the failure of petitioners to set a date and As pointed out by the defendant bank in its opposition. that for their case. that petitioners have not shown the unless written interrogatories are first served upon them. the issuance of a subpoena is leniency in the application of the Rules and claiming that the not unreasonable and oppressive.

Metrobank’s officers. respect to the taking of depositions.24 Rule 15 of the Rules. since their Motion sought to require Metrobank’s officers to appear and testify in court In another Order17 dated April 17. the requirement of notice petitioners’ Motion for Reconsideration. who could be represented by its officers as in this case. and 5. especially as it seeks to require the adverse SO ORDERED.22Rule 132 – do not prohibit a party from presenting the adverse party as its own Even if the motion is given consideration by relaxing Sections 4 witness. the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. In other The assailed orders dated October 19. For officers may be summoned to testify for petitioners unless these reasons. Bulacan.18 party. They likewise written interrogatories are first served upon them. It held that a proper notice of hearing. Ruling of the Court of Appeals addressed to the parties and specifying the date and time of the hearing. to appear and testify in court as petitioners’ witnesses. are AFFIRMED. discretion in issuing the assailed Orders. consistent with Sections 4 and 5. necessarily fall within the coverage of Sections 1 and 6. Costs against the very persons who represent the interest of the latter and petitioners. The trial court held. Finally. the trial court denied and not to obtain their depositions. was required. they are in effect Malolos City. petitioners claimed thus: that the Rules – particularly Section 10. the Motion need not be heard. It added that the same rigid Tecum Ad Testificandum is not a litigated motion. but aims for the issuance of a mere process. 2007. movants are officers of the defendant bank. as the persons sought to be subpoenaed by the plaintiffs. the CA issued the questioned Decision. the motion for reconsideration is The CA held that the trial court did not commit grave abuse of hereby denied. in Civil Case No. in that none of its seek relief. Court which require prior service of written interrogatories to which contained the following decretal portion: adverse parties before any material and relevant facts may be elicited from them more so if the party is a private corporation WHEREFORE. 2008. Rule 25 of the Revised Rules of Court. Branch 7. it insisted on liberality.20 They added that Rule and employees. 2006 and April 17.23 In view of the foregoing.of hearing. no such laxity could be accorded to Sections 1 and 6 of Rule 25 of the Revised Rules of On April 15. and the disposition of the case on its said that since a corporation may act only through its officers merits and not on mere technicalities. SO ORDERED. and hearing may be dispensed with. Rule 15 of the Rules of Court. arguing that the rule relative to motions and the Petitioners filed a Petition for Certiorari19 with the CA asserting requirement of a valid notice of hearing are mandatory and this time that their Motion for Issuance of Subpoena Duces must be strictly observed. petitioners’ Motion is a litigated motion. it does not treatment must be accorded to Rule 25. Finally. . they are to be considered as adverse parties in a 2121 of the Rules requires prior notice and hearing only with case against the corporation itself. 336-M-2004 issued by the RTC. 2007 words.

They insist that a motion which is subject would otherwise have been accessible to him. RULE 25. Bersamin. upon the facts through means available under the Rules. Thus. petitioners should not be allowed to later on burden Metrobank II with court hearings or other processes.28 which held that – the present Petition. . he should not thereafter be permitted to unduly burden the latter with courtroom appearances or other Praying that the assailed CA dispositions be set aside and that cumbersome processes. Adorio v. RULE 15. the hearing and notice Petitioners filed their Motion for Reconsideration. petitioners foreclosed ERRORS IN REQUIRING NOTICE AND HEARING (SECS. but one not a litigated motion. Hence.The CA held further that the trial court did not err in denying Issues petitioners’ Motion to secure a subpoena duces tecum/ad testificandum.26 which the requirements may be done away with. RULES OF COURT) FOR A MERE MOTION FOR SUBPOENA OF RESPONDENT BANK’S OFFICERS The CA declared that the justification for the rule laid down in WHEN SUCH REQUIREMENTS APPLY ONLY TO Section 6 is that by failing to seize the opportunity to inquire DEPOSITION UNDER SEC. AND 5. RULES OF COURT. ratiocinating that Rule 25 is quite clear in Petitioners now raise the following issues for resolution: providing that the consequence of a party’s failure to serve written interrogatories upon the opposing party is that the I latter may not be compelled by the former to testify in court or to render a deposition pending appeal. petitioners assert that the questioned Motion is directly compelled to avail of the discovery mechanics. 6. 4 their right to present the bank’s officers as their witnesses.27 deposition pending appeal. 2008 Resolution. it held: THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED (REVERSIBLE) x x x Where a party unjustifiedly refuses to elicit facts material ERROR IN HOLDING THAT THE PETITIONERS MUST and relevant to his case by addressing written interrogatories to FIRST SERVE WRITTEN INTERROGATORIES TO the adverse party to elicit those facts. since no relief is sought but just the process of subpoena.25 to notice and hearing under Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 15 is an application for relief other than a pleading. since it seeks not a relief. Hon. but the of negation by depriving him of evidentiary sources which issuance of process. By failing to serve THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE written interrogatories upon Metrobank. The sanction adopted by the Rules is the Court allow the issuance of the subpoena duces tecum/ad not one of compulsion in the sense that the party is being testificandum. The justification for this is that the party in need of said facts having foregone the opportunity to Petitioners’ Arguments inquire into the same from the other party through means available to him. the latter may not RESPONDENT BANK’S OFFICERS BEFORE THEY CAN BE thereafter be compelled to testify thereon in court or give a SUBPOENAED. They cite the case of CA denied in its assailed October 2.

This is not without significant lack of a proper notice of hearing renders it useless and a mere consequences that affect the interests of the adverse party. to be called to the stand are themselves adverse parties who may not be compelled to testify in the absence of prior written As a rule. Metrobank insists on the correctness of the CA require notice to other parties to the action. It adds that being its officers. they insist that these bank officers are mere employees of the bank who may be called to testify for them. they are not ordinary witnesses whose presence party to the witness stand is not allowed. 22. 6. The situation is different here. construed in their favor. In Adorio. Nonetheless. Petitioners likewise persist in the view that Metrobank’s officers The technical defect of lack of notice of hearing was thus cured – the subject of the Motion – do not comprise the adverse party by the filing of the Opposition. the petitioners’ principal evidence. This is embodied reason. which provides – Sec. it is quite clear that Metrobank was Motion suffered from. notified of the Motion for Issuance of Subpoena Duces Tecum Ad Testificandum. as scrap of paper. . Rule 25 of the Rules. adding that since petitioners failed up to this time to violation of due process results by such lack of notice since the pay the witnesses’ fees and kilometrage as required by the other parties would have ample opportunity to examine the Rules. Thus. in fact.32 covered by the rule. as Motion for the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum/ad officers of the adverse party Metrobank are being compelled to testificandum is a litigated motion. the procedure of calling the adverse interrogatories. whose testimony and documentary evidence tasked to bring with them documents which shall comprise the would affect it as the adverse party in the civil case.31 the issuance of a subpoena should be denied. the Respondents’ Arguments request for subpoena duces tecum was sought against bank officials who were not parties to the criminal case for violation Metrobank essentially argues in its Comment30 that the subject of Batas Pambansa Blg.Requests by a party for the issuance of subpoenas do not Finally. the case of Adorio cannot apply squarely to this case. in Section 6.1âwphi1 No Decision.29 Our Ruling Petitioners add that the Rules should have been liberally The Court denies the Petition. Effect of failure to serve written interrogatories. likewise. they are toward its officers. especially as it is directed testify as the calling party’s main witnesses. it filed a timely Opposition thereto. in civil cases. the persons sought will be shown below. and that Metrobank’s filing of its Opposition be considered to have cured whatever defect the On the procedural issue. unless written in court may be required by petitioners at any time and for any interrogatories are first served upon the latter. witnesses and documents subpoenaed once they are presented in court. contrary to petitioners’ submission.

it is there to maintain order entertainment. since the calling party is deemed bound by the adverse duly authorized agents34 – as their main witnesses.33 compelling the adverse party to take the they be allowed to gain access to Metrobank’s documentary witness stand may result in the calling party damaging its own evidence for the purpose of making it their own. it may not be allowed. and thus prevent the calling party from straying or written interrogatories. if not pointless expeditions and needless delays. be compelled to give interrogatories. for good cause Another reason for the rule is that by requiring prior written shown and to prevent a failure of justice. It is true that under the Rules. as fishing for evidence. a party may. worthless and instead detrimental to the calling party’s cause. a party not served with its own case. based on the principle that corporations act only through their officers and Besides. and need not bear party to give testimony in open court. the court may limit the inquiry to what is testimony in court by the adverse party who has not served relevant. the court written interrogatories may not be compelled by the adverse can hold its own in resolving a dispute. Petitioners fishing expedition or an attempt at delaying the proceedings. which may only be defense. This is improper. The burden of proof and evidence falls on interrogatories or other mode of discovery. and facilitate the conduct of trial. such unnecessary processes can only One of the purposes of the above rule is to prevent fishing constitute a waste of the court’s precious time. But what petitioners seek goes against harassing the adverse party when it takes the latter to the stand. they would want that Metrobank provide the very evidence with which to prosecute Thus. or altogether ruining their own cases. the very principles of justice and fair play. the process could be treated as a principal documentary evidence. it likewise prevents the allowed to do. or to give a deposition witness to the parties perpetrating unfair court practices such pending appeal. if a party cannot elicit facts or tantamount to building their whole case from the evidence of information useful to its case through the facility of written their opponent. It will be presumed that a party who does not serve written interrogatories on the adverse In the present case. Ultimately. to present Metrobank’s officers interrogatories might bring. petitioners seek to call Metrobank’s officers party beforehand will most likely be unable to elicit facts useful to the witness stand as their initial and main witnesses. This is case. badgering. – who are considered adverse parties as well. Otherwise stated. if petitioners cannot prove their the adverse party to the witness stand could only serve to claim using their own evidence. the rule not only protects the adverse party from and build their case from the start.Unless thereafter allowed by the court for good cause shown calling party from conducting a fishing expedition or bungling and to prevent a failure of justice. at the incipient phase of the presentation of produces no significant result that a prior written their evidence-in-chief at that. . This they may not be unwarranted surprises or harassment. then the calling of petitioners. Instead. nor may party’s testimony. and to to its case if it later opts to call the adverse party to the witness present documents in Metrobank’s possession as part of their stand as its witness. Using its own judgment and discretion. then the adverse party weaken its own case as a result of the calling party’s being Metrobank may not be pressured to hang itself from its own bound by the adverse party’s testimony. not on Metrobank.

. which are irrelevant and would not materially alter the conclusions arrived at. WHEREFORE. As one of their causes of action in their Complaint. Metrobank would be admitting that indeed. SP No. the Court finds it unnecessary to further address the other issues raised by the parties. in violation of the law.Finally. 2008 Decision and October 2. The assailed April 15. SO ORDERED.R. it did not furnish petitioners with these documents prior to the signing of the loan agreement. and while the loan was outstanding. 2008 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. the Court may not turn a blind eye to the possible consequences of such a move by petitioners. 99535 are AFFIRMED. any inferences generated from this would certainly not be useful for Metrobank. With the view taken of the case. One may be that by providing petitioners with these documents. If Metrobank were to willingly provide petitioners with these documents even before petitioners can present evidence to show that indeed they were never furnished the same. the Petition is DENIED. petitioners claim that they were not furnished with specific documents relative to their loan agreement with Metrobank at the time they obtained the loan and while it was outstanding.

DISINI. 3019). 174764-65 June 30.2004 charging Disini in the Sandiganbayan with corruption of public officials. 28002). Antecedents x-----------------------x The Office of the Ombudsman filed two informations dated G. DISINI. Herminio T. motion to quash). Nos. DECISION . subordinates and close associates. and with a violation of Section 4(a) of Republic Act SANDIGANBAYAN. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES.A. 2005 (denying his motion for reconsideration of the denial of his HERMINIO T. FIRST DIVISION. 2005 (denying his G. relation to Article 210 of the Revised Penal Code (Criminal Case vs.R. Respondents. No. 28002.2 alleging that the Sandiganbayan (First vs. 28001). 169823-24 September 11. 28001and Criminal Case No. Petitioner. No. Petitioner. SANDIGANBAYAN. Disini. 2013 motion to quash the informations)1 and August 10. J. AND THE 3019 (R. Nos. AND amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Republic of the Philippines The Case SUPREME COURT Manila Petitioner Herminio T. Practices Act (Criminal Case No. penalized under Article 212 in HERMINIO T. Division) thereby committed grave abuse of discretion THE HON. Respondents. BERSAMIN. Disini assails via petition for certiorari there solutions promulgated by the Sandiganbayan in Criminal FIRST DIVISION Case No. also known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. on January 17. FIRST DIVISION. their immediate family.R. both entitled People v.: The Sandiganbayan has exclusive original jurisdiction over the criminal action involving petitioner notwithstanding that he is a private individual considering that his criminal prosecution is intimately related to the recovery of ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.

did then and there. to Engineering and Construction Company of Asia.The accusatory portions of the informations read as follows: That during the period from 1974 to February 1986. with both shares of stock having then a book value of P100. Marcos. willfully. 28001 Court. the contracts to do the engineering and architectural design and to construct the Project. Marcos. all for and in consideration of accused Disini seeking and obtaining for Burns and Roe and Westinghouse Electrical Corporation (Westinghouse). accused HERMINIO T. and subcontracts. the contracts to do the engineering and architectural design and to construct. taking undue advantage of his position and committing the offense in relation to his office and in consideration of the aforesaid gifts and presents. and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Criminal Case No. unlawfully and feloniously offer. conspiring together and confederating with the then President of the Philippines Ferdinand E. DISINI. respectively. on the mechanical and electrical construction work on the Philippine Nuclear Power Plant Project("Project") of the National Power Corporation at Morong.00 per share of stock. consisting of accused DISINI’s ownership of two billion and five hundred (2. respectively. Marcos. the Project.3 .5 billion) shares of stock in Vulcan Industrial and Mining Corporation and four billion (4 billion)shares of stock in The Energy Corporation. did award or cause to be awarded to said Burns and Roe and Westinghouse. Philippines. in Manila. owned and controlled by said Ferdinand E. CONTRARY TO LAW. Bataan. which acts constitute the crime of corruption of public officials. promise and give gifts and presents to said Ferdinand E. Marcos. as in fact said Ferdinand E.

the said PROJECT. on January 17. conspiring together and architectural contract.8 Philippines. more or less.10 receive subcontracts for Power Contractors. Ferdinand E.000. owned by accused DISINI. 2005 through the second respectively.9 but the Sandiganbayan (First Division) the engineering and architectural design. in Manila. 2005. Marcos.000. Marcos. Bataan. and Engineering and Construction Company Issues of Asia (ECCO-Asia). denied his motion on August 10. and personal relation. 5 alleging that physicianof the Marcos family. did then and there. for securing and obtaining. Dollars on his motion for permission to travel abroad.4 the husband of Paciencia Escolin-Disini who was the first cousin of then First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos and family On August 2. and also from Westinghouse a plea of not guilty to both informations. Dollars($17. Disini filed a motion to quash. On September 16. owned and controlled by said Ferdinand E. Inc.S. the total amount of Seventeen Million U. Marcos.7 He then entered ($1.00).S. in connection with the The Prosecution opposed the motion to quash. and subsequently. 2005. commissions and gifts as material or pecuniary advantages. 2004.00).more or less. a foreign consultant. through the direct intervention of said Philippines. willfully. as accused Disini did secure and obtain.000. Marcos. for the PROJECT. that the informations did not conform to the prescribed form. 28002 kickbacks. unlawfully and criminally. Ferdinand E. As stated. secure and obtain. 2004. intimacy and free access. Division) promulgated its first assailed resolution denying the and application with the Government of the Republic of the motion to quash. being then the close personal friend and golfing partner of said Ferdinand E.000. for Burns and Roe the engineering and accused HERMINIO T. and within the jurisdiction of the Honorable Court. the Sandiganbayan (First both of which entities were then having business. as accused DISINI did That during the period 1974 to February 1986. and for Westinghouse the construction confederating with the then President of the Philippines.Criminal Case No. for arraignment to obtain the Sandiganbayan’s favorable action the total amount of One Million U.6 Philippine Nuclear Power Plant (PNPP)Project ("PROJECT") of the National Power Corporation (NPC) at Morong. Electric Corporation(WESTINGHOUSE). taking advantage of such close the criminal actions had been extinguished by prescription. which stated amounts and subcontracts constituted . Disini moved for the reconsideration of the resolution dated the contract for the said Burns and Roe and Westinghouse to do January 17. Disini voluntarily submitted himself request and receive from Burns and Roe. and construct. transaction. and being further CONTRARY TO LAW. request and assailed resolution. contract. DISINI. all for and in consideration of accused DISINI securing and obtaining.

8249 THAT THEACCUSED MUST BE A PUBLIC OFFICER. THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY PERIOD. INFORMATIONS INCRIMINAL CASE NOS. THE RESPONDENT COURT ACTED WITH SUCH THE INFORMATIONSDESPITE THEIR UTTER GRAVEABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN IT FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THEPRESCRIBED EFFECTIVELY IGNORED. THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY AGAINST HIM. 28001 AND 28002. NOS. 1. STATUTORY RIGHTTO BE INFORMED OF THE NATURE AND CAUSE OF THEACCUSATION 1. BY MERELY ASSUMING THE PRESENCE OF NO. AND FORM. UNDER SECTION 4 OF R. THUS EFFECTIVELY DENYING DENIED PETITIONER’SCONSTITUTIONAL AND THEACCUSED HIS CONSTITUTIONAL AND STATUTORY RIGHT TOPRESCRIPTION. THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY JURISDICTION OVER THEOFFENSES CHARGED. Disini commenced this special civil action for COMMENCEMENT OF THEPRESCRIPTIVE certiorari.11 ERRED INDETERMINING THE APPLICABLE PRESCRIPTIVE PERIOD. PARAGRAPHS (A) AND (B) OFREPUBLIC ACT C. A. THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY The petition for certiorari has no merit. ERRED INDETERMINING THE . THE RESPONDENT COURT HAS NO 3.A. 8249 DO NOT APPLY SINCE GLARINGLYABSENT ELEMENTS IN THE OFFENSES THEINFORMATIONS WERE "FILED CHARGED TOUPHOLD THE ‘SUFFICIENCY’ OF THE PURSUANT TO E. THE RESPONDENTCOURT 2. DISREGARDED. D.2. ERRED WHEN ITRULED THAT SECTION 4. THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY DEMONSTRATED ITS PREJUDGMENT OVER THE ERRED WHEN ITASSUMED JURISDICTION SUBJECT CASES AND ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE WITHOUT HAVING MET THEREQUISITE OF ITSDISCRETION.O. Ruling 2.Undaunted. THE RESPONDENT COURT ACTED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OFDISCRETION IN REFUSING TO QUASH B. 14 AND 14-A". alleging that: PERIOD. ERRED INDETERMINING THE POINT OF INTERRUPTION OF THEPRESCRIPTIVE 1.

as conduits through which defendants public funds.13 The amended xxxx complaint in Civil Case No. active collaboration and To properly resolve this case. extortion. we are hereby transmitting to . Marcos. plunder of the nation’s wealth. Defendants Herminio T. et engaged in devices.12 which involved the civil action for association and influence with the latter defendant spouses in reconveyance. 1990. contract for the aforesaid nuclear plant. 175730 entitled Herminio Disini v. Jr. 1991. and damages order to prevent disclosure and recovery of ill-gotten assets. (Civil Case No. (d) secured special 4. Marcos. Marcos and the husband of the first Ferdinand E. Disini and Rodolfo Jacob. 28001 and Criminal Case No.R. accounting. Imelda R.Preliminary Considerations 13. 0013 alleged that Disini had acted in unlawful concert with his co-defendants in acquiring and (c) unlawfully utilizing the Herdis Group of Companies and accumulating ill-gotten wealth through them is appropriation of Asia Industries. Nos. Marcos and Imelda R. 92319– 92320) dated October 2.15 xxxx Through its letter dated April 8. restitution. and stratagems such as: al.16 the PCGG transmitted the records of Criminal Case No. and/or invested improper payments such as embezzlement. 0013 entitled Republic v. to wit: In line with the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of EduardoM. received. 14 as follows: unconscionably large commissions from foreign corporations like the Westinghouse Corporation. Marcos and the Court in G. and taking undue advantage of their Sandiganbayan. privileges and/or benefits from defendants defendant Ferdinand E. Vasquez for appropriate action. DISINI is a close associate of concessions. reversion. Defendant HERMINIO T. schemes. Disini. By reason of this awarded to Westinghouse Corporation which built an relationship xxx defendant Herminio Disini obtained staggering inoperable nuclear facility in the country for a scandalously commissions from the Westinghouse in exchange for securing exorbitant amount that included defendant’s staggering the nuclear power plant contract from the Philippine commissions – defendant Rodolfo Jacob executed for HGI the government. such as a contract cousin of Defendant Imelda R. 28002 to then Ombudsman Conrado M.1. Cojuangco. HerminioT. reference is made to the ruling of willing participation of defendants Ferdinand E. versus the PCGG (G.R. kept. Marcos. No. and other acts of corruption. by themselves and/or in unlawful concert.) filed by the Presidential Commission on Good Government(PCGG) against Disini and others. Inc.

Thus. x x x. x x x The Court holds that a just and fair administration of justice can be promoted if the PCGG would be prohibited from Ostensibly. who as an independent constitutional officer has x x x The PCGG and the Solicitor General finding a prima facie primary jurisdiction over cases of this nature. Jr. following its conduct of the preliminary investigation on the Moreover. it was on the basis of a reversed and set aside by the Court in Presidential Commission prima facie finding that the same were ill-gotten and/or were on Good Government v. were orders against petitioner’s properties. Presidential Commission on Good subject of this petition and the petition for intervention and Government (Cojuangco. (ii) some properties or assets of the respondents have been sequestered.19 (Bold alleging substantially the same illegal or criminal acts subject of emphasis supplied) the subsequent criminal complaints the Solicitor General filed with the PCGG for preliminary investigation. such as: (i) some parts or elements are also parts of the causes of action in the civil complaints[-]filed xxxx with the Sandiganbayan.your Office for appropriate action the records of the attached complaints with the "cold neutrality of an impartial judge. the respondents are also party defendants in the civil cases. PCGG cannot inspire belief that it could be impartial in the conduct of the preliminary investigation of the aforesaid Although the authority of the PCGG has been upheld by the complaints against petitioner and intervenors. the PCGG’s letter of transmittal was adverting to the conducting the preliminary investigation of the complaints ruling in Cojuangco. v. Jr.20 acquired in relation to the illegal disposition of coconut levy funds. x x x18 case in certain aspects. It appears that the resolutions of the Office of the Ombudsman. Desierto. (iii) some of the The Court finds that under the circumstances of the case. PCGG cannot conduct an impartial investigation in cases similar to that of the Cojuangco case. the Court finds that the PCGG cannot possibly with the Court requiring the Office of the Ombudsman to file conduct the preliminary investigation of said criminal the informations that became the subject of Disini’s motion to . It cannot Supreme Court. we are constrained to refer to you for proper possibly preside in the said preliminary investigation with an action the herein-attached case in view of the suspicion that the even hand.17 viz: that the records of the same should be forwarded to the Ombudsman.). when the PCGG issued the sequestration and freeze criminal complaints thus transmitted by the PCGG. to conduct such basis filed a civil complaint against petitioner and intervenors preliminary investigation and take appropriate action." as it criminal case which we believe is similar to the said Cojuangco has prejudged the matter.

permanent. and that both cases stemmed from the criminal complaints initially filed by the PCGG pursuant to its mandate under E.O. subordinates and close associates.1379. 28002. 8249. 14 and 14-A to investigate and file the appropriate . the Sandiganbayan was vested with No.quash in Criminal Case No. 2. 3019. otherwise known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Nos. and Chapter II.1. (2) the a. xxxx The Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) counters that the b. offenses charged were not of the nature contemplated by E. We hold that the Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over Criminal Sandiganbayan has exclusive and Case No.A. as amended. 2. 8249. civil or criminal cases to recover ill-gotten wealth not only of 28002.28001 and Criminal Case No. Other offenses or felonies whether simple or Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over the offenses charged complexed with other crimes committed by the public because Criminal Case No. Title VII.) Nos. acting or interim capacity.O. Nos. 28001 and Criminal Case No. nor involved sequestration cases.A.A. the Marcoses and their immediately family but also of their relatives.O. Book II of the Revised Penal Code. informations neither pertained to the recovery of ill-gotten Section 2. (3) the cases were where one or more of the accused are officials occupying filed by the Office of the Ombudsman instead of by the PCGG. at the time of the accomplice or accessory of a public officer. No. Violations of Republic Act No. 2. 2. original jurisdiction over the offenses charged Presidential Decree (P. Republic Act No. 1. 28002 officials and employees mentioned in subsection (a) of were filed within the purview of Section 4 (c) of R. this section in relation to their office. 8249. Under offenses charged in Criminal Case No. he should be commission of the offense: prosecuted in the regular courts instead of in the Sandiganbayan. 14 and 14-A.D. 1606 was the law that established the Sandiganbayan and defined its jurisdiction. No.) No. the following positions in the government whether in a and (4) being a private individual not charged as a co-principal. 28001 and Criminal Case No. 1. wealth. 28002. 7975 and R. 14 and 14-A because the allegations in the Practices Act.He contends that: (1) the informations did not allege original and exclusive jurisdiction over all cases involving: that the charges were being filed pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order (E. 28001 and Criminal Case Section 4 of R. No.A. No. The Disini challenges the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over the law was amended by R.

with the Office sequestration of all business enterprises and entities owned or of the Ombudsman taking over the investigation of Disini only controlled by them. including those employed in government-owned or charged from the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan.28001 provided in Batas Pambansa Blg. as amended. 28002 being intertwined with Civil Case No. relatives. No.O. 14 and 14-A. the directive to the through nominees. as prescribed in and architectural design. x x x x by former President Ferdinand E. 28002involved the same transaction. the PCGG had the authority to institute the criminal xxxx prosecutions against Disini pursuant to E. 0013 connection with Executive Order Nos. Jr. directly or after the Court issued in Cojuangco.0013. c.28001 and Criminal Case court. 14 and 14-A. metropolitan trial expressly aver in Criminal Case No. 2. as No. Given their sameness in subject matter. including the takeover or the criminal complaints in the Sandiganbayan. or military or PNP officers construction of the Philippine Nuclear Power Plant Project mentioned above. 1.1. authority. Ombudsman on the ground that the PCGG would not be an connections or relationship. (Bold emphasis supplied) Case No. by taking undue advantage of their public PCGG to refer the criminal cases to the Office of the office and/or using their powers. subordinates and close No. exclusive original jurisdiction thereof shall be (PNPPP). whether It is underscored that it was the PCGG that had initially filed located in the Philippines or abroad. during his administration. relatives. In case private individuals are charged as co-principals. subordinates and close associates. and Criminal Case No." expressly granted the authority of impartial office following its finding of a prima facie case being the PCGG to recover ill-gotten wealth covered President established against Disini to sustain the institution of Civil Case Marcos’ immediate family. and the informations in Criminal Case No. Marcos. specifically the contracts awarded through the intervention of Disini and In cases where none of the accused are occupying positions President Marcos in favor of Burns & Roe to do the engineering corresponding to salary grade ‘27’ or higher. 0013. and Westinghouse to do the the said Republic Act No. his immediate family. 129. to still vested in the proper regional trial court. Nos. accomplices or accessories with the public officers or That Disini was a private individual did not remove the offenses employees.21 With Criminal Case No. 1. 6758. which tasked the PCGG with assisting the public officers and employees in the proper courts which shall President in "the recovery of all ill-gotten wealth accumulated exercise exclusive jurisdiction over them.O. 28001 and Criminal issued in 1986. 2. pursuant to their respective jurisdiction as wealth was no longer necessary. Section 2 controlled corporations. . Civil and criminal cases filed pursuant to and in Also underscored is that the complaint in Civil Case No. influence. they shall be tried jointly with said of E. municipal trial court and municipal circuit trial court. 28002 that the charges involved the recovery of ill-gotten the case may be.

of the Compensation (g) Presidents. in Section 4 of R. directors or trustees. officials occupying the following positions in the government whether in a permanent. too. state universities or educational institutions or foundations. . members of the status.associates. assessors engineers and other city department Contrary to Disini’s argument. or managers and Position Classification Act of 1989(Republic Act No.A. and Chapter II. naval xxxx captains. city treasurers. acting or interim capacity. as amended. Position Classification Act of 1989. 824922 (c) Officials of the diplomatic service occupying applied only to the cases listed in Subsection 4aand Subsection the position of consul and higher. (a) Provincial governors. and all officers of higher rank. Title VII. 3019. where one or more of the accused are superintendent or higher. the full text of which follows: (d) Philippine army and air force colonels. positions of regional director and higher. a. engineers and as Grade‘27’ and up under the Compensation and other provincial department heads. the qualifying clause found heads. otherwise classified as Grade ‘27’ and higher. No. Violations of Republic Act No. of government-owned or -controlled 6758). otherwise (e) Officers of the Philippine National Police known as the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.A. vice-mayors. 8249. Book II of the director and those holding the rank of senior Revised Penal Code. specifically including: corporations. members of the sangguniang panlalawigan and (2) Members of Congress and officials thereof classified provincial treasurers. Section 2. No. Republic while occupying the position of provincial Act No. at the time (f) City and provincial prosecutors and their of the commission of the offense: assistants.1379. and officials and prosecutors in the Office of the Ombudsman and special (1) Officials of the executive branch occupying the prosecutor. without distinction as to their private or public (b) City mayors. sangguniang panlungsod. assessors. 4b of R. vice-governors.

the following must be considered. namely: (1) the period of prescription for the (5) All other national and local officials classified as offense charged. 2.23 felonies whether simple or complexed with other crimes committed by the public officials and employees The information in Criminal Case No. the Code with the" same penalties imposed upon the officer Sandiganbayan properly took cognizance of Criminal Case No.O. provisions of the Constitution. 1. public officials occupying positions classified PNPPP. suffer the penalty of prision mayor in its medium and minimum periods and a fine of not less than three times the value of the .(2) the time when the period of prescription Grade ‘27’and higher under the Compensation and starts to run.24 the ambit of the qualifying clause the persons covered by Subsection 4c would contravene the exclusive mandate of the The crime of corruption of public officials charged in Criminal PCGG to bring the civil and criminal cases pursuant to and in Case No. and despite the lack of any allegation of his the officer in consideration of the execution of an act that does being the co-principal. In view of this. and In resolving the issue of prescription. and the officer executes the act. Marcos. 14 and 14-A. without prejudice to the provisions of the Constitution. accomplice or accessory of a public not constitute a crime.signifying the plain legislative intent of limiting Westinghouse. promised and given gifts and presents to their office. 28001 is punished by Article 212 of the Revised Penal connection with E. Nos. he shall official in the commission of the offenses charged. (3) Members of the judiciary without prejudice to the 3.26 if the gift was accepted by private individual. respectively. b. that said gifts were in consideration of Disini obtaining for Burns & Roe and Westinghouse Electrical xxxx Corporation (Westinghouse) the contracts. which acts constituted the crime of corruption of the qualifying clause to such public officials. The offenses charged in the (4) Chairmen and members of Constitutional informations have not yet prescribed Commissions. (bold emphasis supplied) Ferdinand E."25 Under the second paragraph of Article 210 of the 28001 and Criminal Case No. 28001 alleged that Disini mentioned in subsection a of this section in relation to had offered. To include within public officials. Other offenses or interrupted. corrupted. and (3) the time when the prescriptive period is Position Classification Act of 1989. and that President Marcos did award or cause to be as Grade 27 or higher are mentioned only in Subsection 4a and awarded the respective contracts to Burns & Roe and Subsection 4b. to do the engineering and architectural design of and to construct the Unquestionably. 28002 despite Disini’s being a Revised Penal Code (direct bribery).

emphatically. the prescriptive period in People v. 3019.28 however. No. With "blameless ignorance" doctrine. viz: prescribe in 15 years. on the ground of prescription too. 1982. In other words. 195. . we held in a catena of cases. Conformably with Article 90 of the Revised Penal The prescription shall be interrupted when proceedings are Code. and the subsequent cases which Ombudsman Desierto Section 2. 3019. the institution of judicial proceedings for its investigation and prescription begins to run only from the discovery thereof. the prescriptive period was only 10 years.A. Prior to the amendment. Duque which became the authorities. if the proceedings are dismissed for reasons not constituting double jeopardy. as amended by Batas Pambansa Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans v. 332629 states: Finding Committee on Behest Loans v. 195. the courts would People v.A. because the longer period could not be given the prescriptive period. and shall begin to run again public officials charged against Disini is 15 years. As to offenses punishable by R. Section 2 of R. 28002. 130149). Generally. the offenses committed under R. 3019 shall enlightening. punishment. incorporated in Section 2 of Act the information alleging the period from 1974 to February1986 No. 3019. Disini was charged with a violation of Section 4(a) of R. and if the same be not Thus. discovery of the unlawful nature of the constitutive act or acts. Under this doctrine. decline to apply the statute of limitations where the plaintiff does not know or has no reasonable means of knowing the For crimes punishable by the Revised Penal Code.27 the period of prescription for this specie of corruption of instituted against the guilty person.e. No.A.gift. that the longer prescriptive period of day the crime is committed. No. As for Criminal Case No." does not prevent the running of March 16. i. that if the violation of the known at the time. Pacificador . No. Desierto 30 is also Blg. commission of the violation of the law.A.R. or their agents. That an aggrieved person "entitled 15years would not apply to crimes committed prior to the to an action has no knowledge of his right to sue or of the facts effectivity of Batas Pambansa Blg.. which was approved on out of which his right arises. the prescriptive period shall commence to run on the Pacificador. Prescription shall begin to run from the day of the dismissed. Desierto (G. No. "the statute of limitations runs as the time of the commission of the crime charged. the only upon discovery of the fact of the invasion of a right which applicable prescriptive period is 10 years in order to accord with will support a cause of action. Article 91 existence of a cause of action." It was in this accord that the thereof provides that prescription starts to run from the day on Court confronted the question on the running of the which the crime is discovered by the offended party. An exception to this rule is the retroactive effect for not being favorable to the accused. It became settled in People v. from the discovery thereof and the special law was not known at the time of its commission. 3326. cornerstone of our 1999 Decision in Presidential Ad Hoc Fact- No. By express provision The ruling on the issue of prescription in Presidential Ad Hoc of Section 11 of R.A.

conspiracy among the public officials involved and the Lim. which partook of a public years have elapsed.R. the PNPPP contracts. prescriptive period began to run from 1974. it is safe to conclude that the prescriptive period for only through the PCGG’s exhaustive investigation. (Citations omitted)31 investigation. of the loans. When the complaint was filed in 1997. to have known these crimes committed prior to the would have dared to assail the legality of the transactions." In yet another pronouncement. character. Before the investigation. 8293). which involved violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt beneficiaries of the favors illegally extended rendered it Practices Act(R.32 Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans. highly publicized and widely-known nature of the PNPPP. hence.A. in the 2001 Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans We note. 3019) and the Intellectual Property Code similarly well-nigh impossible for the State. 0013 against Disini. that "it was well-high impossible for the State.Corollary. 130817). that the criminal complaints were filed and their v. too. the In the more recent case of Securities and Exchange Commission unlawful acts or transactions in relation to it were discovered v. no person party. to have known of the commission of the crimes charged that the prescriptive period is interrupted by the institution of prior to the EDSA Revolution in 1986. no person would have dared to question the Ombudsman on April 8.35 the filing of the criminal complaints in contracts for the PNPP Project were awarded to Burns & Roe the Office of the Ombudsman effectively interrupted the and Westinghouse. commenced from the date the establishment of a prima facie case sufficient for the PCGG of its discovery in 1992 after the Committee made an exhaustive to institute Civil Case No. v. Sandiganbayan and Sanrio Company Limited v. the Court held that during the records transmitted by the PCGG to the Office of the Marcos regime. No. Jr. No. because of the alleged connivance and would be unreasonable to expect that the discovery of the conspiracy among involved public officials and the beneficiaries unlawful transactions was possible prior to 1986. it 1986EDSA Revolution. prescription has not yet set in.which are both special laws. the connivance and In Ingco v. Notwithstanding the proceedings for preliminary investigation against the accused. enjoyed the presumption of their execution having The rationale for this was succinctly discussed in the 1999 been regularly done in the course of official functions. only five discovery. No. Although the criminal cases were the running of the period of prescription. According to offshoot of the sequestration case to recover ill-gotten wealth Panaguiton:36 instead of behest loans like in Presidential Ad Hoc Fact-Finding Committee on Behest Loans v. and.33 In accordance with Article 91 of the Accordingly. the Court ruled that the . resulting in the crime which is the subject herein. Desierto. we are not persuaded to hold here that the Revised Penal Code34 and the ruling in Panaguiton. Interport Resources Corporation. the Court ruled party. Desierto (G. the time when the Department of Justice. the aggrieved Considering further that during the Marcos regime.A. 1991for the conduct the preliminary legality of these transactions. as the aggrieved (R.

cases. acts or omissions complained of as constituting the offense. 28001 (corruption of right to obtain vindication on account of delays that are not public officials) and Criminal Case No. the . it is the filing of the complaint or information in the complaint or information is sufficient if it states the name of the office of the public prosecutor for purposes of the preliminary accused. 3326 appears before" investigation and the complaint or information charges no offense may be punishment" in the old law. therefore. that irrespective of whether the offense charged is punishable by the Revised Penal Code or by a Section 6.3019) have sufficiently complied with the requirements of Section 6. the investigation that interrupts the period of prescription. Indeed. if hypothetically admitted. viz: The prevailing rule is. there would no longer sufficient to toll prescription.38 the trial and judgment stage. The informations were sufficient in form and substance The following disquisition in the Interport Resources case is instructive. 28002 (violation of under his control. to rule otherwise would deprive the injured party the The informations in Criminal Case No. any kind of investigative proceeding instituted against the guilty person The test does not require absolute certainty as to the presence which may ultimately lead to his prosecution should be of the elements of the offense. — A special law. another special law. and thus effectively interrupts the prescriptive period. is equivalent to the offenses charged. a motion to dismiss or to quash on the ground that Sec. the term "proceedings" should now be understood will establish the essential elements of the offense as defined in either executive or judicial in character: executive when it the law. properly sustained.37 Extrinsic matters or evidence aliunde are not involves the investigation phase and judicial when it refers to considered. thus: It is axiomatic that a complaint or information must state every single fact necessary to constitute the offense charged. the time of the filing of the preliminary investigation conducted by the DOJ in criminal criminal complaints in the Office of the Ombudsman. While it may be observed that the term "judicial proceedings" in otherwise. be any need for the Prosecution to proceed to trial.nature and purpose of the investigation conducted by the Consequently. 2 of Act No. Sufficiency of complaint or information. Rule110 of the Rules of Court. the time of the discovery of the Revised Securities Act. With this clarification. otherwise. the designation of the offense given by the statute. The fundamental test in determining up whereby the investigation of the charge for purposes of whether a motion to quash may be sustained based on this prosecution has become the exclusive function of the executive ground is whether the facts alleged. with the subsequent change in set. prescription did not yet set in because only five Securities and Exchange Commission on violations of the years elapsed from 1986. up to April 1991. branch. Section 4(a) of RA No.

39 advantage of his position as President. Marcos caused to be awarded to Burns & Roe and not absolute certainty. The elements of corruption of public officials under Article 212 of the Revised Penal Code are: The sufficiency of the allegations in the information charging the violation of Section 4(a) of R. all of officials. 28001 alleging Marcos. promised and given by Disini. advantage of his position and in committing said act in relation willfully. unlawfully and feloniously offered. The Marcos received or accepted Disini’s offers. if hypothetically admitted. the contracts to Burns & Roe and Westinghouse by taking conspiring and confederating with then President Marcos. The information stated that: (1) Disini made an offer and promise. a public officer. in causing the award of the period from 1974 to February 1986 in Manila. in promises and gifts. 3019 is similarly 1. and No. was placed under circumstances that would make gifts and presents to President Marcos. essential elements of the crime. the approximate date of the circumstances that will make the public officer liable for commission of the offense. Roe and Westinghouse sufficed to place him under circumstances of being liable for direct bribery. That the offender makes offers or promises.name of the offended party. that would make him liable for direct or Westinghouse the respective contracts to do the engineering indirect bribery. The allegations in the information for corruption of public When the offense is committed by more than one person. and gave gifts to President The information in Criminal Case No. The elements of the offense under Section 4(a) of R. would establish the them shall be included in the complaint or information. by taking undue him liable for direct bribery. and (2) in consideration of the offers. even without alleging that President and architectural design of and to construct the PNPPP. promises and gifts felonious act consisted of causing the contracts for the PNPPP – an essential element in direct bribery – the allegation that to be awarded to Burns & Roe and Westinghouse by reason of President Marcos caused the award of the contracts to Burns & the gifts and promises offered by Disini to President Marcos. . who.A. No. 3019 are: 2. That the offers or promises are made or the gifts or 1. promised and gave to his office. Thus. President required the public officer to be placed under circumstances.A. committed the offense in relation to his office. and in consideration of the gifts and The second element of corruption of public officers simply presents offered. and the place where the offense was direct bribery or indirect bribery. President Marcos. corruption of public officers specifically put forth that Disini. or gives upheld. Philippines. gifts or presents to a public officer. That the offender has family or close personal relation presents are given to a public officer under with a public official. committed.

if hypothetically admitted.00 from Burns & Roe and $17. (2) Disini. the entities then having business. requested and received $1. taking advantage of such family and close personal relations. 2. and application with the Government in connection with the PNPPP. a public official. intervened to secure and obtain for Burns & Roe the engineering and architectural contract. application. The allegations in the information charging the violation of Section 4(a) of R. and for Westinghouse the construction of the PNPPP.000. 3019. having some business. 2005 by the Sandiganbayan (First material or pecuniary advantage from any person Division) in Criminal Case No. request.A. 2005 and August 10.000. would establish the elements of the offense. (3) President Marcos.000. AFFIRMS the resolutions promulgated on January indirectly requesting or receiving any present. transaction. request 28002. gift. being the husband of Paciencia Escolin-Disini. . the Court DISMISSES the petition for such family or close personal relation by directly or certiorari. 28001 and Criminal Case No. 3. No. transaction. or contract with the government. That he capitalizes or exploits or takes advantage of WHEREFORE.000. application. had close personal relations and intimacy with and free access to President Marcos. the first cousin of First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos. SO ORDERED.00 from Westinghouse. or contract with the government. considering that: (1) Disini. the public officer with whom Disini had family or close personal relations. That the public official with whom the offender has family or close personal relation has to intervene in the business transaction. 17. and DIRECTS petitioner to pay the costs of suit. and at the same time the family physician of the Marcoses.

HON. 20042 and July 13. cross-claim. third- party complaints or issues. may order a separate trial of any claim. EDILBERTO G. Metropolitan Manila Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank) hereby seeks to set aside and nullify the resolutions dated June 25. Respondents. vs. J. RODOLFO A. FIRST DIVISION 20053 issued in Civil Case No. JR. HON. FRANCISCO H. METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY.: The court. as successor-in-interest of ASIAN BANK CORPORATION. counterclaims. counterclaim. or of any separate issue or of any number of claims. cross-claims. and upheld its jurisdiction over the Republic’s claim against the petitioner as . 0004.1 But a separate trial may be denied if a party is thereby deprived of his right to be heard upon an issue dealt with and determined in the main trial. respectively. SANDOVAL. VILLARUZ. in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice. of the Second Division of SANDIGANBAYAN) and the REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES. No. 2013 the Republic of the Philippines (Republic).R. PONFERRADA (in their capacities as Chairman and Members. or third-party complaint. DECISION BERSAMIN. and HON. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Through this special civil action for certiorari. whereby the Sandiganbayan granted the motion for separate trial filed by G. 169677 February 18.Petitioner.

The Sandiganbayan granted the complained of as constituting illegal or unlawful accumulation motion. 2664234 and independent from its cause of action against the original TCT No. 0004. that it thus had a right to confront the . Quezon City. the Republic moved for the amendment Civil Case No. character of the properties as the ill-gotten wealth of the it moved to hold a separate trial against Asian Bank. and that the issue with respect to Asian Bank was registered in the names of Spouses Andres V. Asian Bank was also in possession of the properties by virtue of the writ of possession Asian Bank’s rejoinder to the Republic’s reply asserted that the issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Quezon City. Genito.6 It appears that Asian Bank claimed ownership of the of wealth which would. 0004. and contended that it would be deprived of On July 17. restitution.the successor-in-interest of Asian Bank Corporation (Asian Commenting on the motion. Genito. of any action on the motion until it was first given the opportunity to test and assail the testimonial and documentary Antecedents evidence the Republic had already presented against the original defendants.. reconveyance. Genito. 1987. Ferdinand the Republic had adduced before it was brought in as an E. the time of the issuance of the TCTs for the properties in its name that such properties were the subject of the complaint in On February 5. and whether Asian Bank had actual or constructive knowledge at Ludivina L. Imelda R. while the issue as to the original of the complaint in order to implead Asian Bank as an defendants was whether they had "committed the acts additional defendant.9 was obviously to recover allegedly ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses. justify forfeiture of two parcels of land as the registered owner by virtue of TCT No. Marcos. of action against Asian Bank was entirely distinct and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. their nominees. Jr.8 original defendants. accounting and damages without having been sufficiently apprised about the evidence in the Sandiganbayan against Andres V."10 Registry of Deeds of Quezon City. The action additional defendant. 2665885 of the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City defendants. Among the In its reply to Asian Bank’s comment. N-201384 issued in its name by the the judgement that may be rendered in favor of the Republic. 2001. Marcos and other defendants. the Republic maintained properties subject of the action were two parcels of commercial that a separate trial for Asian Bank was proper because its cause land located in Tandang Sora (Old Balara). 0004 was intimately related to the issue delving on the evidence against the original defendants in Civil Case No. Asian Bank sought the deferment Bank). as a consequence. the said properties or the satisfaction from said properties of N-201383 and TCT No. dummies and agents. the Republic brought a complaint for its day in court if a separate trial were to be held against it reversion. Jr.7 issue concerning its supposed actual or constructive knowledge of the properties being the subject of the complaint in Civil Case When the Republic was about to terminate its presentation of No.

there appears no basis reveal that defendant is not actually opposing the conduct of a for defendant bank’s apprehension that it would be deprived of separate trial insofar as the said bank is concerned. the issue of claim that its acquisition of the subject properties was tainted defendant bank’s acquisition of the properties in bad faith is with bad faith because of its actual or constructive knowledge merely incidental to the main action which is for reversion. we find no reason to deny the motion in show that it acquired the titles to the sequestered properties in light of plaintiff’s position that its claim as against Asian Bank is bad faith. entirely separate and distinct from its claims as against the original defendants. whether or not it is properties. accounting and damages. and that the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction to ultimately established that the properties are ill-gotten wealth decide Asian Bank’s ownership of the properties because the is of no actual significance to the incident pending Sandiganbayan. the action against the latter is anchored on the acquired the properties in bad faith. Consequently. In fact. This defendant bank is concerned is whether there is evidence to being the situation. Indeed. the Sandiganbayan issued the first assailed the fact that the properties it registered in its name are the resolution granting the Republic’s motion for separate trial. consideration since the action against defendant bank is could only determine the issue of whether or not the properties predicated not on the claim that it had knowledge of the ill- were illegally acquired by the original defendants. being a special court with limited jurisdiction. Thus. as shown by the allegations of the Second that the Court cannot grant a separate trial in this case because Amended Complaint where Asian Bank was impleaded as a it has no jurisdiction over the claim that defendant bank party defendant. To reiterate. 2004. the only issue insofar as plaintiff in the case before the Court grants a separate trial. Besides. that the said properties are subject of the present recovery suit reconveyance.11 gotten wealth character of the properties in question but rather on whether or not it had knowledge. restitution. It is at the time it acquired the certificates of title covering the said axiomatic that jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case is . What it its right to due process if its not given the opportunity to cross- seeks is the opportunity to confront the witnesses and whatever examine the witnesses presented prior to its inclusion as party documentary exhibits that may have been earlier presented by defendant in the case. plaintiff already giving its reasons as follows: admits that the evidence it had presented as against the original defendants would not apply to defendant bank for the reason xxxx that there is no allegation in the second amended complaint imputing responsibility or participation on the part of the said A cursory reading of the comment filed by defendant Asian bank insofar as the issue of accumulation of wealth by the Bank to plaintiff’s request for a separate trial would readily original defendants are concerned. of On June 25. albeit dealing with the same subject Neither are we inclined to sustain defendant’s bank argument matter. actual or constructive.evidence presented by the Republic as to the character of the properties in its name. subject of the instant recovery suit.

14 With respect to the second issue. and. (3) the Sandiganbayan had jurisdiction over the issue of Asian the determination of the character of the subject properties as Bank’s alleged bad faith in acquiring the properties.12 object to the admissibility of the evidence. 2005. Metrobank states that the holding of a that the issue of its alleged acquisition in bad faith of the subject separate trial would deny it due process. and acquired the subject properties in bad faith and with due notice of the pendency of the ill-gotten wealth case. In other words. Vestil. that such evidence would be hearsay unless Asian asserted therein (Russell v. b) Asian Bank Corporation Bank acquired the properties in bad faith.conferred by law and is determined by the allegations in the considering that the Republic had already presented such complaint and the character of the relief sought. Asian Bank Corporation is entitled as a deprived of its day in court if a separate trial was held against it. (2) the only issue as properties constitute ill-gotten wealth of the other defendants regards Asian Bank was whether there was evidence that Asian in the instant civil case. 313 SCRA 465). matter of right to contest whatever evidence was presented by . that because Asian Bank disputed the allegedly ill-gotten character of the Asian Bank moved for the reconsideration of the resolution. Metrobank commenced this special civil action allegedly illgotten nature of the properties. Jr. Saura v. but properties and denied any involvement in their allegedly the Sandiganbayan denied its motion through the second unlawful acquisition or any connivance with the original assailed resolution issued on July 13. Asian Bank should be given the opportunity to refute the Republic’s adverse evidence on the Hence. 304 SCRA 738..16 for certiorari as the successor-in-interest of Asian Bank and transferee of the properties. that Asian Bank (Metrobank) would be Such being the case. Metrobank submits thuswise: Issues 8. because Asian Bank properties is premised on Respondent Republic of the was entitled to contest the evidence of the Republic against the Philippines’ claim that the subject properties form part of the original defendants prior to Asian Bank’s inclusion as an ill-gotten wealth of the late President Marcos and his cronies. additional defendant.02 x x x the Honorable Sandiganbayan failed to consider that Respondent Republic of the Philippines’ claim for the recovery Metrobank contends that the Sandiganbayan committed grave of the subject properties from Asian Bank Corporation is abuse of discretion in ruling that: (1) the Republic was entitled anchored mainly on its allegations that: a) the subject to a separate trial against Asian Bank. Bank (Metrobank) was afforded the opportunity to test and to Saura. irrespective of evidence prior to its being impleaded as an additional whether the plaintiff is entitled to all or some of the claims defendant.13 defendants in their acquisition.15 "ill-gotten wealth" is equally important and relevant for Asian Bank Corporation as it is for the other defendants considering Anent the first issue.

that because the properties were situated in the associate. notwithstanding that the subject properties is intimately related to the issue on the main claim against the original defendants and the issue character and nature of the subject properties as ill-gotten against Asian Bank involved the same properties. whose land records had been destroyed by inclusion of Asian Bank was not warranted under the law. that there was also its allegation of being an innocent purchaser for valuable no allegation or proof that Asian Bank had been a business consideration. if decided for defendant. that had no notice of the allegedly ill-gotten nature of the properties. that although the Republic the Republic admitted that the evidence adduced against the conceded that neither Asian Bank nor Metrobank had any original defendants would not apply to Asian Bank because the participation whatsoever in the commission of the illegal or amended complaint in Civil Case No. it follows that the the issue ordered to be separately tried is so independent of the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction to pass judgment on the other issues that its trial will in no way involve the trial of the validity of Asian Bank’s ownership of the properties. that fire in 1998. . that unlawfully acquired such properties. the only issue relevant to Metrobank being responsibility to Asian Bank for the accumulation of wealth by whether it had knowledge that the properties had been in the original defendants. the Republic insists that the Rules of Court allowed the case. resulting in the rampant proliferation of fake land Asian Bank was a transferee in good faith and for valuable titles. resulting in the probable As to the third issue. Considering that the issue on separate trials if the issues or claims against several defendants Asian Bank Corporation’s alleged acquisition in bad faith of the were entirely distinct and separate. that the Sandiganbayan had no jurisdiction over ascertaining the validity of the mortgagor’s certificates of title.18 issues to be thereafter tried and where the determination of that issues will satisfactorily and with practical certainty dispose of In contrast. that the wealth of the other defendants in the instant civil case.03 It must be stressed that the discretion of the court to order that the issue on the accumulation of wealth by the original a separate trial of such issues should only be exercised where defendants did not at all concern Asian Bank. Asian Bank should have acted with extra caution in consideration. there is allegations in the case against Spouses Genito and the other absolutely no legal or factual basis for the holding of a separate original defendants pertained to the Republic’s claim that the trial against Asian Bank Corporation. 0004 did not impute any unlawful acts. that the heart of Quezon City. Metrobank posits that Asian Bank forfeiture of the listed properties should the Republic establish acquired the properties long after they had been acquired by the in the end that such original defendants had illegally or original defendants supposedly through unlawful means.Respondent Republic of the Philippines on these two (2) issues. nominee or agent of the Marcoses.17 properties listed in Annex A of the original complaint constituted ill-gotten wealth. dummy. or did not allege that Asian Bank had custodia legis at the time of its acquisition of them to determine participated in such accumulation of wealth. civil cases against innocent purchasers for value like Asian Bank specifically the character and nature of the subject properties. and that considering the admission of the Republic 8.

convenience or to avoid prejudice. laws encompassing the recovery of or of any separate issue or of any number of claims. separate issue or of any number of claims. cross-claim. but was correct in Rule 42. in furtherance of convenience or Separate Trials are Improper to avoid prejudice. 14 any claim. third- putting such properties in custodia legis and rendering them party complaints or issues should be held. No. while such properties remained in custodia legis and pending the final resolution of the suit. and No. made under dubious circumstances. No. being interrelated. a The petition for certiorari is partly meritorious. – The court. under the writs of sequestration issued by the Presidential counterclaim.20 avoid prejudice to any party. 1. Ruling The rule is almost identical with Rule 42(b) of the United States Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (Federal Rules). viz: The Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion in granting the Republic’s motion for separate trial. cross-claim. The court. or third-party claim. in furtherance of original jurisdiction over all cases involving the recovery of ill. and that the properties The text of the rule grants to the trial court the discretion to pertaining to Spouses Genito were among the properties placed determine if a separate trial of any claim. or third-party complaint. counterclaims. upholding its jurisdiction over the Republic’s claim against Asian Bank (Metrobank). or of any separate issue Commission on Good Government (PCGG). xxxx First and Second Issues: (b) Separate Trials. . provided that the beyond disposition except upon the prior approval of the exercise of such discretion is in furtherance of convenience or to Sandiganbayan. 2. which reads: The Republic posits that the Sandiganbayan had exclusive Section 2. Consolidation. may order a separate trial of gotten wealth pursuant to Executive Orders No. counterclaim. cross-claims. Separate trials. or third-party complaint. counterclaim. or when separate trials will be conducive to expedition and economy. crossclaim. 14-A issued in 1986. counterclaims. are jointly claim. or of any discussed and resolved. provision that governs separate trials in the United States Federal Courts (US Federal Courts). thereby effectively or of any number of claims. crossclaims.19 Rule 31 of the Rules of Court.and that the series of transactions involving the properties was The rule on separate trials in civil actions is found in Section 2. Separate Trials. cross- sequestered properties disposed of by the original defendants claims. may order a separate trial of any The first and second issues. third-party complaints or issues.

" (citing. Response of Carolina. Cohen..g.D.Y. Inc. 92-6158.. denied sub nom. 1 (2d may be warranted because our rule on separate trials has been Cir.. The moving party bears the The provision for separate trials in Rule 42 (b) is intended to burden of establishing that separate trials are necessary to further convenience. 469 of our own rules of procedure that have themselves originated U. Inc.21 There is no (b) is to "isolate issues to be resolved.N. and serve the prevent prejudice or confusion and serve the ends of ends of justice. Ismail v. 1993).2d 664. Buscemi v. Inc.). 243. Ct. Borden. The aim and purpose of the Rule is aptly summarized in C.N. to wit: or (3) expedite the proceedings and be economical. 1989).counterclaims. although not US District Court for the Southern District of New York on the mandatory.2d 270. It is the interest of efficient judicial justice. 1271 administration that is to be controlling rather than the wishes (S. 565. 537 Wright and A Miller’s Federal Practice and Procedure: F. Nos. 60 F. Navistar International Transport Machines Corp. Ed.R. the practices in the US Courts in the elucidation and application Cody.D. This is discussions and speed up remedial action.22 we find the following explanation made by the trials under Rule 42 (b) are appropriate.. 889 F. xxxx The US Federal Courts have applied Rule 42(b) by using several As explained recently by the Second Circuit in United v.. Leasco Response. 1976) xxx (separation of issues is not the usual course under Rule 42 (b)). See. 105 S.. 1990). April 6. prejudice). 1072. Supp. International Business In Bowers v. . 654. Amendment to the Constitution or as given by a statute of the United States. United States v. 1267. Alcan principles and parameters whose application in this jurisdiction Aluminum Corp. It should be resorted to only in . Supp. remain the exception rather than the rule. generally speaking. e.") Separate trials. 1989) (quoting.Y. avoid delay and prejudice. or issues.N. 251 (S. 278 (2d Cir. 83 L. to "(1) avoid prejudice. . 744 F. 706 F. always preserving the exercise of informed discretion when the court believes that the inviolate right of trial by jury as declared by the Seventh separation will achieve the purposes of the rule. 6160 1993 WL 100100. 2d 506 (1984) (separate from or been inspired by the practice and procedure in the trials are proper to further convenience or to avoid Federal Courts and the various US State Courts.Y. The piecemeal trial of separate issues in a single suit is not to be the usual course.2d 137 (5th Cir. Pepsico.D. however. third-party claims. 1973) (separate Corporation.S. 668 (5th Cir. cert. v. and to encourage settlement in the application of our own rule on separate trials. objectives of having separate trials. Katsaros v. 657 (S.D. the Court has randomly accepted v. Amoco Oil because... avoid lengthy and obstacle to adopting such principles and parameters as guides perhaps needless litigation . 736 F. the purpose of separate trials under Rule 42 patterned after the original version of Rule 42(b). of the parties. (2) provide for convenience. Inc.

In Miller v. R. avoid substantial prejudice to the parties. This is because a "single trial will generally lessen the Insurance Co. Supp. 707 F. 94 F.4 . MILLER & MARY KAY KANE. in Corrigan v. Apollo Computer." McDaniel v. Anheuser-Bush. and the burden is on the party seeking separate trials to prove that Tri-R Sys. 727 (D. 1566-67 (N. the two determining whether to order separate trials for separate primary factors to be considered in determining whether to defendants. 115 (E. Colo. American Bonding Company. 113.. Ill. at p. expense.. remained the exception. 791 F. separation is necessary. and inconvenience to the parties and the of Texas. Houston Division specified that separate trials courts.24 the US District Court issues in a case at only one time. Del. Willemijn issues. Hewlett- had the burden to establish the necessity for the separation of Packard Co. 565 F.D. University of Chicago. These are 1) whether separate trials would further order separate trials are efficient judicial administration and the convenience of the parties. Supp. The movant has the burden to show Rule 42 (b) provides that a court has discretion to order prejudice. 1993). 726. 42-37 to 42-38 & n. P. and emphasized that the moving party 42-03[1]." FED." Wetherill v.D. and it is only in exceptional instances where Courts order separate trials only when "clearly there are special and persuasive reasons for departing from this necessary. 2) whether separate trials would potential prejudice. the general practice is to try all the issues in a case at one time. Methodist Hospital. Moore’s Federal Practice at pp. 304 (5th Cir.25 the US Supreme Court has delimited the holding of separate trials to only the xxxx exceptional instances where there were special and persuasive reasons for departing from the general practice of trying all Still. V. Moore at p.42 (b).23 the US District Court for the Southern District delay. ARTHUR R. La. Thus. V. Separation of issues for separate trials is promote judicial economy. 2d 298. Inc. Moore’s Federal Practice P. and 3) whether separate trials would "not the usual course that should be followed. 1982). v. FEDERAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE 2388 (3d ed. practice that distinct causes of action asserted in the same case 1553. thusly: In actions at law. 42-43 (1994). Nationwide Mutual (1982)). Whether this Moore.In Divine Restoration Apostolic Church v. Laitram Corp. 1429. 1992).." 5 James William Moore. 1433 (D. 987 F. 2001). Friedman & Son. viz: Houdstermaatschaapij BV. CIV. or when separate trials will be conducive to x x x A Colorado District Court found three factors to weigh in expedition and economy. separate trials of claims "in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice.R. 1989). 9A CHARLES ALAN WRIGHT.D. 1983) (citing 5 James William may be made the subjects of separate trials. 42-48. stating: for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has cautioned against the unfettered granting of separate trials. Supp.

unreasonably hence. resolve the issue against Spouses Genito in a separate trial on the basis of the evidence adduced against the original Bearing in mind the foregoing principles and parameters defendants. as of right. the properties would be thereby adjudged as ill- defined by the relevant US case law. the motion to that effect should be allowed only to avoid shunting aside the dictum in Corrigan. or when separate trials of the cannot. ground that the issue against Asian Bank was distinct and separate from that against the original defendants. and give a fair trial will generally lessen the delay. the complicated. the general rule separate trials are granted only in exceptional cases. the separate trial would not be in furtherance of convenience. Even must apply. further convenience. In that x context. have a trial divided.1âwphi1 Should the Sandiganbayan justice. and inconvenience trial to all parties. supra. a lawsuit should not be tried piecemeal. and parties of the issues will avoid prejudice. under a statute permitting trials of separate issues. or where the issues are basically the same x x issue relevant to Asian Bank was not complicated. And. neither party has an absolute right to have a separate trial of an issue As we see it. the justification of the Sandiganbayan for involved. Thereby. that a "single prejudice. the issues in every case tried at one time. expense. Otherwise. promote justice. secondly. or when separate trials of the issues will give a fair trial to all parties. however. the cause of action against Asian x x x Separate trials of issues should be ordered where such Bank was necessarily connected with the cause of action against separation will avoid prejudice. we conclude that the gotten and liable to forfeiture in favor of the Republic without Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of its discretion in Metrobank being given the opportunity to rebut or explain its . To begin with. the Further. and give a fair trial to all parties. or when separate trials of the to limit the number of trials as far as possible. or when separate trials comprehensive trial covering all disputed matters. and issues will promote justice."27 Generally speaking. x x x. The trial of all issues together is especially allowing the separate trial did not constitute a special or appropriate in an action at law wherein the issues are not compelling reason like any of the exceptions. It is the policy of the law issues will further convenience. There should be one full and different issues raised in the same case. Corpus Juris Secundum26 makes clear that neither Sandiganbayan veered away from the general rule of having all party had an absolute right to have a separate trial of an issue. or Exceptions to the general rule are permitted only when there at least such a trial should be undertaken only with great are extraordinary grounds for conducting separate trials on caution and sparingly. further convenience.reasonably may be done in any particular instance rests largely ordering a separate trial as to Asian Bank (Metrobank) on the in the court’s discretion. to wit: to the parties and the courts. promote the original defendants.

defense of its registered ownership of the properties. 1606.side. Executive Orders No. for that is what our Constitution requires us to do. Hence. subordinates. 797531 and Republic Act No. and close associates. connections or relationships. and. Hence. The properties. directly or through nominees. 1 refers to cases of recovery and sequestration of ill-gotten wealth amassed by the Marcoses their relatives. would be meanwhile over the matter involving Metrobank declared liable to forfeiture in favor of the Republic. though already Sandiganbayan has exclusive original jurisdiction registered in the name of Asian Bank. influence. 14 and No. 14-A. was arbitrary. 2 states that the ill-gotten wealth includes assets and properties in the form of estates and real properties in the Philippines and abroad. outweigh any good or benefit that the Republic would seemingly stand to gain from the separation of trials. if proper grounds therefore. the grant by the The representation by the Republic in its comment to the Sandiganbayan of the Republic’s motion for separate trial. right during the conduct of the separate trial. issued that a separate trial would cause to Metrobank would far in 1986 by then President Corazon C. authority. 8249. Only a joint trial with the original No. causing Metrobank to suffer the deprivation of its properties without Presidential Decree No. not petition of Metrobank.30 as amended by Republic Act due process of law.32 vests the defendants could afford to Metrobank the equal and efficient Sandiganbayan with original exclusive jurisdiction over civil opportunity to confront and to contest all the evidence bearing and criminal cases instituted pursuant to and in connection on its ownership of the properties. the law and jurisprudence."28 unfairly dismisses the objective excess of jurisdiction on the part of the Sandiganbayan. No. and being even contrary to the documentary exhibits. 2. the disadvantages with Executive Orders No. Aquino. Executive Order No. Executive Order No. by taking undue advantage of their public office and/or by using their powers. 14-A pertain to the Sandiganbayan’s jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases . The outcome would surely be prejudicial towards We must safeguard Metrobank’s right to be heard in the Metrobank. that the latter "merely seeks to be being in furtherance of convenience or would not avoid afforded the opportunity to confront the witnesses and prejudice to a party." and that it will "still be granted said Constitution. No. 14 and No. a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or are presented therefor. 29 possibility of leaving the opportunity to confront the witnesses and documentary exhibits to be given to Metrobank in the Third Issue: separate trial as already too late. 1.

the Court PARTIALLY GRANTS the allegation in its amended complaint in Civil Case No. subject to Asian Bank for the illegal accumulation of wealth by the original review on certiorari exclusively by the Supreme Court. for that lodged within the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the reason.34 that "the Sandiganbayan has original and Civil Case No. nominee. 0004 granting the motion for separate trial of the jurisdiction over the claim against Asian Bank.relative to the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and their We cannot possibly sustain such a puerile stand. Peña itself cronies. 14. and (b). or has not averred that Asian Bank was a business associate. Asian Bank acted with bad faith for ignoring the sequestration of the properties as ill-gotten wealth has made the cause of Let the writ of certiorari issue: (a) ANNULLING AND action against Asian Bank incidental or necessarily connected SETTING ASIDE the Resolution dated June 25. 0004 as against Asian Bank Corporation/Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company. all cases of the Commission The amended complaint filed by the Republic to implead Asian regarding alleged illgotten properties of former President Bank prays for reversion. 0004 against Metropolitan Bank and Trust exclusive jurisdiction not only over principal causes of action Company in the same trial conducted against the original involving recovery of ill-gotten wealth. for the Court has Republic of the Philippines as to Metropolitan Bank and Trust ruled in Presidential Commission on Good Government v. the Republic would so forth. cronies." The Court made a similar pronouncement sustaining the The Court DECLARES that the Sandiganbayan has original jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan in Republic of the Philippines exclusive jurisdiction over the amended complaint in Civil Case (PCGG) v. Resolution dated July 13. the Sandiganbayan has original exclusive Civil Case No. reconstitution.33 Sandiganbayan. incidents arising from. the WHEREFORE. 0004. In other words. Sandiganbayan (First Division). whether civil or criminal. dummy. but also over all defendants in Civil Case No. subordinates. 2004 and the to the cause of action against the original defendants. by virtue of which the properties in question came under sequestration and are now. "and all incidents arising from. Company. or related to such cases necessarily fall likewise under the Although the Republic has not imputed any responsibility to Sandiganbayan’s exclusive and original jurisdiction. . incidental to. are recover ill-gotten wealth.35 to wit: No. incidental to. already dealt with the matter when it stated that under Section 2 of Executive Order No. reconveyance. or related to such cases. in custodia legis." defendants. or agent of the Marcoses. nominees and accounting and damages. Marcos and his relatives. DIRECTING the Sandiganbayan to hear Sandiganbayan. 2005 issued by the Sandiganbayan in Consequently. 0004 that petition for certiorari.

J. Petitioner. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION G. represented by the REGIONAL EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR. DECISION CARPIO.R. DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES. and THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF OLONGAPO CITY. HEIRS OF ENRIQUE ORIBELLO. vs. 2013 REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES.No pronouncements on costs of suit. 199501 March 6. JR.: . REGION III. Respondents. No. SO ORDERED.

sold misrepresentation were committed in the issuance of the sales the same property to Oribello. docketed as Civil Case No. the Director of Lands issued an Order for Republic of the Philippines' (peitioner) appeal of the Order of the issuance of a patent in favor of Oribello.5 claiming to be actual occupants of the property. Odillon Fernandez (Odillon). Matilde Apog (Apog) and Aliseo San Juan (San Juan). Odillon sold the DENR found substantial evidence that fraud and property to a certain Mrs. On even date. later on. the land remained forest land. Florentina Balcita who. when the contrary was true. Upon Valentin’s death. P-5004 dismissed petitioner's action for reversion and cancellation of were issued to Oribello. The Case On 20 February 1987. The case was thereafter consolidated with Civil Case No. The Court of Appeals denied petitioner On 27 March 1990. 12756 and OCT No. that Oribello was the actual occupant thereof. his son. instituted a complaint for reversion and cancellation of title before the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City. Jr. together with spouses After investigation. Oribello filed a Miscellaneous patent in favor of Oribello. 233-0-91. Oribello filed This petition for review1 assails the 29 April 2011 Decision2 and another Miscellaneous Sales Application on 6 April 1987. a .R. P-5004 in the name of Enrique Oribello. the Office of the Solicitor General.4 which Miscellaneous Sales Patent No. which denied the application since On 25 March 1992. continued to occupy the property. protested with the The Facts DENR the issuance of the sales patent and OCT in favor of Oribello. 90559. (Oribello ). the Regional Executive Director of the Ruperto and Matilde Apog. Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. Thus. The of the Miscellaneous Sales Application of Oribello. warranting a reversion suit. the subject property was declared open to disposition under the Public Land Act. 16 November 2011 Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals in CA- G. They sought the annulment of the sales patent. CV No. which was once classified (Laxa) committed fraud and misrepresentation in the approval as forest land by the Bureau of Forest Development. 225-0-92. by Fernandez (Valentin) in 1968 by virtue of a Residential Permit stating that there were no other claimants to the property and issued by the same government office. Olongapo City. the Regional Trial Court. Sometime in 1969. representing petitioner. Olongapo City. The present controversy involves a parcel of land situated in arguing that Oribello and Land Inspector Dominador Laxa Nagbaculao. They alleged property was originally occupied by a certain Valentin that Laxa submitted a false report to the Director of Lands. Branch 72. Kalaklan. Sales Application with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

presentation of evidence for the Republic of the Philippines as terminated.7 (Emphasis supplied) December 5. neither Atty. as previously pending since 1992. the trial During the trial. thus: On several occasions when these cases were set for trial. Atty. constraining the Court WHEREFORE.complaint for recovery of possession filed by Oribello against On the hearing of 4 April 1997.6 On July 25. all at 10:00 o’clock in the morning. copy of his offer to file his comment or opposition. representing Apog and San Juan. be set on October 24. The actuations of both lawyers result for the Republic of the Philippines be reset to February 14.m. Atty. scheduled. quoted as follows: In an Order dated 20 December 1996. Attorney Dumpit for the defendant Matilde Apog. the Court will be constrained to consider the deemed to have abandoned the case for the government.For petitioner’s failure to appear on the hearing of 12 September 1997. 21 to delay in the early termination of these cases which have been and 28. 1997.m. Leyco is given 10 days from receipt of a present evidence.. is advised that he bring his witnesses adopting the evidence already presented by the Republic of the on said dates to testify for the defendants Matilde Apog and Philippines. if there be any on any part of Enrique xxxx Oribello. 1997 at 10:00 a. let the continuation of the reception of evidence to postpone the hearing. therefore. is hereby required to manifest in writing on whether or not he is Atty. this Court issued an Order. Dumpit. Barcelo nor Atty. to make his offer of evidence within 30 Eliseo San Juan should the Solicitor General fail to appear and days from today. And in addition thereto on November 21. presented a witness on the stand. Let the reception of evidence. and if so. et al. WHEREFORE. the trial court warned xxxx petitioner on the possible effect of its non-appearance on the next scheduled hearing. 1997. 1997 also both at 10:00 a. xxxx The Solicitor General is warned that should his designated lawyer or any of his assistants fail to appear on the dates above. Pascua appeared. and SO ORDERED. Oscar Pascua. petitioner marked numerous documentary court issued an Order8 on even date holding as follows: evidence and presented several witnesses on various hearing dates. petitioner. as previously scheduled. To give way to the . the Republic of the Philippines is hereby stated.

Barcelo. Furnish Atty. Oribello’s heirs pointed out that from the The trial of the consolidated cases continued and the reception time petitioner received the Order in 1997. the trial court allowed the Solicitor General. the Order dated 29 June 2005 granting the Motion for Considering that the plaintiff’s counsel is already dead. Order applied exclusively to Civil Case No. 1997. DENR. and Atty.11 Attys. a copy of this Order.10 SO RESOLVED. 225-0- Upon receipt of proof from the Post Office by this Court which 92 (for reversion of property). these cases are dismissed without prejudice. Oscar Pascua. party-plaintiffs or any record showing the heirs or party in interest.9 September 1997 Order declaring petitioner to have abandoned the reversion case. continuation of the presentation of petitioner’s evidence in its III. there being no substitution of the above-entitled case is DISMISSED. 233-0-91 (for recovery of possession) and did not affect Civil Case No.filing of these pleadings. June 2005 Order. it did nothing to of evidence of the private parties proceeded. However. Angeles City. The Ruling of the Court of Appeals . making the Order final.12 Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals. Aggrieved. and declared instead: substitution of the deceased plaintiff (Oribello) and his counsel. the Executive Regional Director. Order dated 29 June 2005. Pascua has received a copy of the Order allowed to present its evidence. to wit: Finding merit in defendants’ Motion and Manifestation. question the same. the Motion to hold him in contempt will be deemed submitted for resolution. cancel the hearing scheduled for Petitioner moved for reconsideration. dated July 25. Oribello’s heirs filed a Manifestation and Motion. the Acting favorably on the motion. R. contending that the October 3. the trial court In its Resolution of 12 July 2006. bringing to the attention of the trial court the previous 12 SO ORDERED. 1997. the trial court recalled its 29 dismissed the consolidated cases without prejudice for non. and the Reconsideration filed by the Solicitor General is recalled and plaintiff is likewise dead already. Petitioner prayed that it be will show that Atty. in its Order of 21 February 2005. Dumpit and Leyco are both notified in open court of this Order.

The Court of Appeals disposed of the case as follows: and hence appealable. declaring it to have abandoned the case. Is the 12 September 1997 Order interlocutory? Moreover. (Emphasis in the original) 13 matter in its entirety or terminates a particular proceeding or action. The Court of 2. A final order is defined as "one which disposes of the subject SO ORDERED. leaving nothing else to be done but to enforce by The Court of Appeals denied the motion for reconsideration. The trial court. The consolidated cases. execution what has been determined by the court." the complaint on the ground of failure to prosecute which is. thus. is not appealable. As a consequence of petitioner’s inaction. court’s 12 September 1997 Order. There can be no private ownership over an Civil Case No. is appellate court stated that "while the general rule is that an interlocutory in nature. Interlocutory orders are not subject of appeal. 225-0-92 when it failed to question the trial unclassified public forest. the Court of Appeals ruled that petitioner is barred by laches and estoppel for failing to challenge the 12 September Petitioner contends that the 12 September 1997 Order of the 1997 Order after almost a decade from receipt thereof. the instant We agree with petitioner. cannot be subject of multiple appeals. maintaining that such Order is a dismissal of right can be barred by laches or estoppel. The appellate court agreed with respondents that petitioner has lost its right to participate in the proceedings of 3. WHEREFORE. The Ruling of the Court such order inevitably became final. . under the Rules. deeming it to have abandoned the case.18 1. said argue otherwise. an interlocutory order "does not dispose of the case completely but leaves something to be decided upon"17 by the Petitioner anchors the present petition on the following court.The Court of Appeals denied petitioner’s appeal. Its effects are merely provisional in character and grounds: substantial proceedings have to be further conducted by the court in order to finally resolve the issue or controversy. the foregoing premises considered. to petitioner.15 considered an adjudication on the merits. without any order of Appeals held "that the remedy of appeal is no longer available" severance.14 Respondents action to recover lands of public domain is imprescriptible. appeal is hereby DENIED for lack of merit."16 The Issues Conversely.

Resort to such action must be determined according to the procedural history of each case. the trial there was delay in this case. If acts do not manifest lack of interest to prosecute. petitioner has presented testimonial We note that prior to the issuance of the 12 September 1997 evidence on various hearing dates and marked numerous Order. it must be exercised with caution. delay must not only be lengthy but also does not equate to dismissal of the complaint for failure to unnecessary resulting in the trifling of court processes. contumacious or slothful as to provide substantial grounds for dismissal. equivalent to default or non-appearance in the case. as it the dismissal of the reversion complaint for failure to prosecute. then dismissal should not be resorted to. the situation at the time of the dismissal. In fact. there is no September 1997.Based on the records. irresponsible. 19 There prosecute. To be a sufficient terminated.20 proprio the complaint on the ground of plaintiff’s failure to prosecute. the trial court merely "deemed" petitioner to is no proof that petitioner intended to delay the proceedings in have abandoned the case without stating expressly and this case.. such delay is not the court would consider petitioner’s presentation of evidence as delay warranting dismissal of the complaint. much less abuse judicial processes. However. Had the trial court declared. Such adverse effect of its non-appearance on the next hearing date. Alcantara. that the While petitioner failed to appear on the hearing of 12 reversion suit was dismissed for failure to prosecute. the courts should consider lesser sanctions which would still amount to achieving the desired end.22 if a lesser sanction would achieve the same result. Unless a party’s conduct is so indifferent. Admittedly petitioner fails to attend the next scheduled hearing. and the diligence (or the lack thereof) of the plaintiff to proceed therein.21 As the Court held in Gomez v. unequivocally that the complaint for reversion was dismissed. i. Petitioner’s non-appearance on that date should simply be construed as a waiver of the right to present additional While it is within the trial court’s discretion to dismiss motu evidence. In the absence of a pattern or scheme to delay the disposition of the case or of a . Termination of presentation of a party’s evidence ground for dismissal. in no uncertain terms. 225-0-92. now did with respect to the trial court’s 29 June 2005 Order. the trial court already warned petitioner on the likely documents during the trial of Civil Case No.e. such failure does not constitute a ground for doubt that petitioner would have questioned such ruling.

to wit: issue in the actions. or the consolidation of issues within those To give way to the filing of said pleadings. the rule plaintiff in Civil Case No. the trial court. the above Order states that Oribello’s counsel was trial is conclusive as to the others. the trial court directed the service of such may order a joint hearing or trial of any or all the matters in order to the Solicitor General. Pascua. in its Order SECTION 1.. DENR Office in Angeles City.wanton failure to observe the mandatory requirement of the subsequent allegation that such case has already been rules on the part of the plaintiff.23 (Emphasis supplied) Are the consolidated cases subject to multiple appeals? Notably. (quasi- that Oribello himself continued to recognize the pendency of consolidation) the reversion suit (Civil Case No. Attys. In the context of legal procedure. it Consolidation is a procedural device to aid the court in deciding will be deemed a waiver on his part to do so.26 The Court explained. contrary to his . Dumpit fail to submit the said offer of evidence. in which case the judgment in the one In addition. Furnish a copy of used in three different senses: this order the Solicitor General. 1998. Consolidation. 225-0-92). Let the reception of evidence for the plaintiff Oribellos be set on March 20. 233-0-91. and it may make such orders concerning proceedings therein as xxxx may tend to avoid unnecessary costs or delay. Leyco how cases in its docket are to be tried so that the business of the announced that he is presenting evidence for and in behalf of court may be dispatched expeditiously and with economy while the defendants Oribello in Civil Case No. the term "consolidation" is Leyco and Dumpit are notified in open court. thus: February 20. continued to recognize petitioner’s personality in its proceedings. In fact.25To promote this end. it may order all the actions consolidated.m. 1998 at 9:00 a. Atty. as well as Atty.24(Emphasis supplied) (1) Where all except one of several actions are stayed until one is tried. Should Atty. courts dismissed. should decide to dispense with rather than wield their authority to dismiss. 225-0-92 and as providing justice to the parties. as in the case at bar. allows the consolidation and a single trial of several cases in the court’s docket. Rule 31 of the Rules of Court provides: the case for petitioner’s abandonment. — When actions involving a of 16 January 1998. This is not actually presenting evidence on the two consolidated cases. cancel the hearing on cases. even after its supposed "dismissal" of Section 1. well beyond the "dismissal" on 12 common question of law or fact are pending before the court. it September 1997. This means consolidation but is referred to as such.

and become a single action in of one action from the other is not necessary to appeal a which a single judgment is rendered. Fraud is a question questions of law and fact. have been set out originally in one complaint. This is illustrated judgment already rendered in one action. petitioner alleged that Oribello In the present case. lose Since each action does not lose its distinct character. While these two cases involve common This Court is not a trier of facts.28 each action retains its separate and offact. 225-0-92) was consolidated with the subject property. the Court GRANTS the petition IN PART and of the reversion case. or cause the parties to one action to be parties to In its petition. consolidation is merely for joint trial of the cases. complaint for recovery of possession filed by Oribello (Civil Case No. and was disposed of accordingly by the SETS ASIDE the assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court trial court. further proceedings in order to resolve this issue and involving different issues and seeking different remedies. accordingly dispose of the case based on the parties' evidence require the rendition and entry of separate judgments. The on record. These cases. severance their separate identity. petitioner contended that the subject property the other. (2) Where several actions are combined into one. together but each retains its separate character and requires the entry of a separate judgment. (actual severance is within the sound discretion of the court for consolidation)1âwphi1 convenience or to avoid prejudice. (consolidation for trial)27 remains unclassified public forest. this Court possession case determines which private party has the better will have to remand the reversion case to the trial court for right of possession over the subject property. 29 Whether there was fraud and misrepresentation in the distinct character. Further. 223-0-91). It is not mandatory under the Rules of Court that the court sever one case from the other (3) Where several actions are ordered to be tried cases before a party can appeal an adverse ruling on such case. There is no rule or by a situation where several actions are pending law prohibiting the appeal of a judgment or part of a judgment between the same parties stating claims which might in one case which is consolidated with other cases. the complaint for recovery of possession proceeded independently WHEREFORE. This type of Is the property unclassified public forest? consolidation does not merge the suits into a single action. the complaint for reversion filed by committed fraud and misrepresentation in acquiring the petitioner (Civil Case No. Notably. Thus. The reversion case is remanded to the trial court for . while the recovery of thorough evaluation of the parties' evidence. incapable of private appropriation. In its complaint. The reversion suit settles whether the subject issuance of the sales patent in favor of Oribello calls for a land will be reverted to the State. of Appeals.

The trial court is ordered to resolve the SO ORDERED.further proceedings. reversion case with utmost dispatch. .