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G.R. No.

217694, January 27, 2016


The MeTC treated the comment/opposition as Po's answer to the
FAIRLAND KNITCRAFT complaint. Considering, however, that the case fell under the
CORPORATION, Petitioner, v. ARTURO LOO PO, Respondent. Rules of Summary Procedure, the same was deemed filed out of
time. Hence, the motion was denied.11
DECISION
The Ruling of the Metropolitan Trial Court

MENDOZA, J.:
In its March 21, 2013 Decision, the MeTC dismissed the
complaint for lack of merit due to Fairland's failure to prove its
This is a petition for review on certiorari1 seeking to reverse and claim by preponderance of evidence. The MeTC explained that
set aside the October 31, 2014 Decision2and the March 6, 2015 although the complaint sufficiently alleged a cause of action,
Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals (CA), in CA-G.R. SP No. Fairland failed to prove that it was entitled to the possession of
134701 which affirmed the September 16, 2013 Decision4 of the the subject property. There was no evidence presented to
Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 67 (RTC) in SCA Case support its claim against Po either.
No. 3831. The RTC decision, in turn, sustained the March 21,
2013 Decision5 of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 72, Pasig Aggrieved, Fairland seasonably filed its appeal before the RTC
City (MeTC), which dismissed the unlawful detainer case filed by under Rule 40 of the Rules of Court. Being an appealed case, the
petitioner Fairland Knitcraft Corporation (Fairland) against RTC required the parties to submit their respective memoranda.
respondent Arturo Loo Po (Po) for failure to prove its case by
preponderance of evidence. In its memorandum,12 Fairland argued that an unlawful detainer
case was a special civil action governed by summary procedure.
The Antecedents In cases where a defendant failed to file his answer, there was no
need for a declaration of default. Fairland claimed that the Rules
In a complaint6 for unlawful detainer, docketed as Civil Case No. stated that in such cases, judgment should be based on the
19429, filed before the MeTC, Fairland alleged that it was the "facts alleged in the complaint,"13 and that there was no
owner of Condominium Unit No. 205 in Cedar Mansion II on Ma. requirement that judgment must be based on facts proved by
Escriba Street, Pasig City. The said unit was leased by Fairland to preponderance of evidence. Considering that the presentation of
Po by verbal agreement, with a rental fee of P20,000.00 a month, evidence was not required when a defendant in an ejectment
to be paid by Po at the beginning of each month. From March case failed to appear in a preliminary conference, the same
2011, Po had continuously failed to pay rent. For said reason, should be applied when no answer had been filed.
Fairland opted not to renew the lease agreement anymore.
Fairland continued that the failure to file an answer in an
On January 30, 2012, Fairland sent a formal letter7 to Po ejectment case was tantamount to an admission by the
demanding that he pay the amount of P220,000.00, representing defendant of all the ultimate facts alleged in the complaint. There
the rental arrears, and that he vacate the leased premises within was no more need for evidence in such a situation as every
fifteen (15) days from the receipt of the letter. Despite receipt of allegation of ultimate facts in the complaint was deemed
the demand letter and the lapse of the said 15-day period to established by the defendant's acquiescence.
comply, Po neither tendered payment for the unpaid rent nor
vacated the premises. Thus, on December 12, 2012, Fairland was On July 18, 2013, Po filed his memorandum14 and countered that
constrained to file the complaint for unlawful detainer before the there was no merit in Fairland's insistence that evidence was
MeTC. Po had until January 7, 2013 to file his answer but he unnecessary when no answer had been filed. The facts stated in
failed to do so. Hence, on February 6, 2013, Fairland filed a the complaint did not warrant a rendition of judgment in the
motion to render judgment.8 plaintiffs favor. The court had the discretion to rule on the
pleadings based on its evaluation of the allegation of facts.
In its February 21, 2013 Order,9 the MeTC considered the case
submitted for decision. Further, all the statements in the complaint were mere
allegations which were not substantiated by any competent
On March 1, 2013, Po's counsel filed his Entry of Appearance evidence. Po asserted that there was no proof presented to show
with Motion for Leave of Court to file Comment/Opposition to that the subject property was indeed owned by Fairland; that
Motion to Render Judgment.10 In the attached there was no lease contract between the parties; that he never
Comment/Opposition, Po denied the allegations against him and received the demand letter, dated January 30, 2012; and that the
commented that there was no supporting document that would amount stated in the prayer of the complaint did not coincide
show that Fairland owned the property; that there was no lease with the amount of unpaid rent. Po also reiterated that the case
contract between them; that there were no documents attached involved an issue of ownership over the condominium unit he
to the complaint which would show that previous demands had was occupying.
been made and received by him; that the alleged unpaid rental
was P220,000.00, but the amount of damages being prayed for The Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
was P440,000.00; that the issue in the case was one of ownership;
and that it was the RTC which had jurisdiction over the case. On September 16, 2013, the RTC affirmed the MeTC ruling and
agreed that Fairland failed to establish its case by preponderance
of evidence. There was nothing on record that would establish In his Comment,20 Po countered that the present petition raised
Fairland's right over the property subject of the complaint. a question of fact. Although couched in different words, the
Though it had been consistently ruled that the only issue for issues raised here were substantially the same as the issues
resolution in an ejectment case was the physical or material raised before the CA. There was no legal basis in Fairland's
possession of the property involved, independent of any claim of assertion that evidence was dispensed with when no answer to
ownership by any of the party-litigants, the court may go beyond the complaint had been filed. Such argument would undermine
the question of physical possession provisionally. The RTC the inherent authority of the courts to resolve legal issues based
concluded that even assuming that Po was not the lawful owner, on the facts of the case and on the rules on evidence. Contrary to
his actual physical possession of the subject property created the Fairland's position, the court decided the case on the basis of the
presumption that he was entitled to its possession thereof. complaint which was found wanting in preponderance of
evidence.
Fairland filed a motion for reconsideration15 attaching its
condominium certificate of title16 over the subject property, but it In its Reply,21 Fairland posited that the petition did not raise
was denied by the RTC in its Order,17 dated February 24, 2014. mere questions of fact but one of law as what was being sought
for review was the erroneous dismissal of the ejectment case for
Undaunted, Fairland filed a petition for review18 under Rule 42 of lack of preponderance of evidence. Since no answer was filed
the Rules of Court before the CA. and the complaint sufficiently alleged a cause of action for
unlawful detainer, it became the duty of the MeTC to decide the
The Ruling of the Court of Appeals case in its favor.

In the assailed Decision, dated October 31, 2014, the CA The Court's Ruling
dismissed the petition and ruled that an action for unlawful
detainer would not lie against Po. Notwithstanding the The petition is meritorious.
abbreviated proceeding it ordained and the limited pleadings it
allowed, the Rules on Summary Procedure did not relax the rules Complaint has a valid cause of action for Unlawful Detainer
on evidence. In order for an action for recovery of possession to
prosper, it was indispensable that he who brought the action Section 1 of Rule 70 of the Rules of Court lays down the
should prove not only his ownership but also the identity of the requirements for filing a complaint for unlawful detainer, to wit:
property claimed. The CA concluded, however, that Fairland Section 1. - Who may institute proceedings, and when. - Subject
failed to discharge such bounden duty. to the provision of the next succeeding section, a person
deprived of the possession of any land or building by force,
Fairland filed its motion for reconsideration, but it was denied by intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth, or a lessor, vendor,
the CA in its assailed Resolution, dated March 6, 2015. vendee, or other person against whom the possession of any
land or building is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or
Hence, this petition. termination of the right to hold possession, by virtue of any
contract, express or implied, or the legal representatives or
ARGUMENTS/DISCUSSIONS assigns of any such lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person, may,
at any time within one (l) year after such unlawful deprivation or
I withholding of possession, bring an action in the proper
Municipal Trial Court against the person or persons unlawfully
IN AN EJECTMENT CASE WHEREIN NO ANSWER WAS withholding or depriving of possession, or any person or persons
SEASONABLY FILED, IT IS AN ERROR OF LAW TO BASE claiming under them, for the restitution of such possession,
JUDGMENT ON PREPONDERANCE OF EVIDENCE together with damages and costs.
Stated differently, unlawful detainer is a summary action for the
II recovery of possession of real property. This action may be filed
by a lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person from whom the
HOLDING THAT EVIDENCE IN AN EJECTMENT CASE SHOULD possession of any land or building is unlawfully withheld after
HAVE BEEN ATTACHED TO THE COMPLAINT IS AN ERROR the expiration or termination of the right to hold possession by
OF LAW.19ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary virtue of any contract, express or implied. The possession of the
Fairland argues that in ejectment cases, presentation of evidence defendant was originally legal, as his possession was permitted
was undertaken through the submission of position papers but by the plaintiff on account of an express or implied contract
the same was dispensed with when the defendant failed to file between them. The defendant's possession, however, became
an answer or when either party failed to appear during the illegal when the plaintiff demanded that the defendant vacate
preliminary conference. In an ejectment case, the scope of the subject property due to the expiration or termination of the
inquiry should be limited to the sufficiency of the cause of action right to possess under the contract, and the defendant refused
stated in the complaint when no seasonable answer was filed. to heed such demand. A case for unlawful detainer must be
The attachment of documentary evidence to the Complaint was instituted one year from the unlawful withholding of
not a requirement and was even proscribed by law. possession.22
A complaint sufficiently alleges a cause of action for unlawful ownership over the subject property.
detainer if it recites the following: (1) initially, possession of the
property by the defendant was by contract with or by tolerance The Court agrees with Fairland's position.
of the plaintiff; (2) eventually, such possession became illegal
upon notice by the plaintiff to the defendant of the termination The summons, together with the complaint and its annexes, was
of the latter's right of possession; (3) thereafter, the defendant served upon Po on December 28, 2012. This presupposes that
remained in possession of the property, and deprived the the MeTC found no ground to dismiss the action for unlawful
plaintiff of the enjoyment thereof; and (4) within one (1) year detainer.25Nevertheless, Po failed to file his answer on time and
from the last demand on defendant to vacate the property, the the MeTC had the option to render judgment motu proprio or on
plaintiff instituted the complaint for ejectment.23 motion of the plaintiff. In relation thereto, Sections 5 and 6 of the
Rules on Summary Procedure provide:
There is no question that the complaint filed by Fairland Sec. 5. Answer. - Within ten (10) days from service of summons,
adequately alleged a cause of action for unlawful detainer. The the defendant shall file his answer to the complaint and serve a
pertinent portion of the said complaint reads: copy thereof on the plaintiff. Affirmative and negative defenses
xxx not pleaded therein shall be deemed waived, except for lack of
jurisdiction over the subject matter. Cross-claims and compulsory
3. Plaintiff is the owner of, and had been leasing to the counterclaims not asserted in the answer shall be considered
defendant, the premises mentioned above as the residence of barred. The answer to counterclaims or cross-claims shall be filed
the latter; and served within ten (10) days from service of the answer in
which they are pleaded.
4. There is no current written lease contract between plaintiff and
the defendant, but the latter agreed to pay the former the Sec. 6. Effect of failure to answer. - Should the defendant fail to
amount of Php2o,ooo.oo as rent at the beginning of each answer the complaint within the period above provided, the
month. Thus, the term of the lease agreement is renewable on a court, motu proprio or on motion of the plaintiff, shall render
month-to-month basis; judgment as may be warranted by the facts alleged in the
complaint and limited to what is prayed for therein. The court
5. Since March 2011, defendant has not been paying the may in its discretion reduce the amount of damages and
aforesaid rent despite plaintiffs repeated demands; attorney's fees claimed for being excessive or otherwise
unconscionable, without prejudice to the applicability of Section
6. Due to defendant's continuous failure to pay rent, plaintiff 4, Rule 18 of the Rules of Court, if there are two or more
reached a decision not to renew the lease agreement. It sent a defendants.
formal letter, x x x demanding defendant to pay the amount of
Php220,000.00, representing defendant's twelve month rental [Emphasis supplied]
arrears beginning January 2011, and to vacate the leased Section 6 is clear that in case the defendant failed to file his
premises, both within fifteen (15) days from receipt of said letter; answer, the court shall render judgment, either motu proprio or
upon plaintiffs motion, based solely on the facts alleged in the
7. Despite receipt of the aforesaid demand letter and lapse of the complaint and limited to what is prayed for. The failure of the
fifteen day period given to comply with plaintiffs demand, defendant to timely file his answer and to controvert the claim
defendant neither tendered payment for the unpaid rent nor against him constitutes his acquiescence to every allegation
vacated the leased premises. Worse, defendant has not been stated in the complaint. Logically, there is nothing to be done in
paying rent up to now; this situation26 except to render judgment as may be warranted
by the facts alleged in the complaint.27
x x x24ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
The above-cited portions of the complaint sufficiently alleged Similarly, under Section 7, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, which
that Fairland was the owner of the subject property being leased governs the rules for forcible entry and unlawful detainer, if the
to Po by virtue of an oral agreement. There was a demand by defendant fails to answer the complaint within the period
Fairland for Po to pay rent and vacate before the complaint for provided, the court has no authority to declare the defendant in
unlawful detainer was instituted. The complaint was seasonably default. Instead, the court, motu proprio or on motion of the
filed within the one-year period prescribed by law. With all the plaintiff, shall render judgment as may be warranted by the facts
elements present, there was clearly a cause of action in the alleged in the complaint and limited to what is prayed for.28
complaint for unlawful detainer.
This has been enunciated in the case of Don Tino Realty and
Under the Rules of Summary Procedure, the weight of evidence is Development Corporation v. Florentino,29citing Bayog v.
not considered when a judgment is rendered based on the Natino,30 where the Court held that there was no provision for an
complaint entry of default under the Rules of Summary Procedure if the
defendant failed to file his answer.
The question now is whether the MeTC correctly dismissed the
case for lack of preponderance of evidence. Fairland posits that In this case, Po failed to file his answer to the complaint despite
judgment should have been rendered in its favor on the basis of proper service of summons. He also failed to provide a sufficient
the complaint itself and not on its failure to adduce proof of justification to excuse his lapses. Thus, as no answer was filed,
judgment must be rendered by the court as may be warranted need supporting attachments to be considered as having
by the facts alleged in the complaint. sufficiently established its cause of action. Even the MeTC
conceded that the complaint of Fairland stated a valid cause of
Failure to attach annexes is not fatal if the complaint alleges a action for unlawful detainer.33 It must be stressed that inquiry
sufficient cause of action; evidence need not be attached to the into the attached documents in the complaint is for the
complaint sufficiency, not the veracity, of the material allegations in the
complaint.
The lower courts erroneously dismissed the complaint of Fairland
simply on the ground that it failed to establish by preponderance Third, considering that Po failed to file an answer within the
of evidence its ownership over the subject property. As can be prescribed period, he was deemed to have admitted all the
gleaned above, the rules do not compel the plaintiff to attach his allegations in the complaint including Fairland's claim of
evidence to the complaint because, at this inception stage, he ownership. To reiterate, the failure of the defendant to timely file
only has to file his complaint to establish his cause of action. his answer and controvert the claim against him constituted his
Here, the court was only tasked to determine whether the acquiescence to every allegation stated in the complaint.
complaint of Fairland alleged a sufficient cause of action and to
render judgment thereon. In the Entry of Appearance with Motion for Leave of Court to file
Comment/Opposition to Motion to Render Judgment, which was
Also, there was no need to attach proof of ownership in the belatedly filed and so was denied by the MeTC, Po merely denied
complaint because the allegations therein constituted a sufficient the allegations against him without even bothering to aver why
cause of action for unlawful detainer. Only when the allegations he claimed to have a superior right of possession of the subject
in the complaint are insufficient to form a cause of action shall property.34
the attachment become material in the determination thereof.
Even under Section 4 of the Rules of Summary Procedure,31 it is Fourth, it is only at the later stage of the summary procedure
not mandatory to attach annexes to the complaint. when the affidavits of witnesses and other evidence on factual
issues shall be presented before the court. Sections 8 and 9 of
In the case of Lazaro v. Brewmaster32 (Lazaro), where judgment the Rules on Summary Procedure state:
was rendered based on the complaint due to the failure of the Sec. 8. Record of preliminary conference. - Within five (5) days
defendant to file an answer under the Rules of Summary after the termination of the preliminary conference, the court
Procedure, it was written that: shall issue an order stating the matters taken up therein, x x x
x x x To determine whether the complaint states a cause of
action, all documents attached thereto may, in fact, be Sec. 9. Submission of affidavits and position papers. - Within ten
considered, particularly when referred to in the complaint. We (10) days from receipt of the order mentioned in the next
emphasize, however, that the inquiry is into the sufficiency, preceding section, the parties shall submit the affidavits of their
not the veracity of the material allegations in the complaint. witnesses and other evidence on the factual issues defined in
Thus, consideration of the annexed documents should only the order, together with their position papers setting forth the
be taken in the context of ascertaining the sufficiency of the law and the facts relied upon by them.
allegations in the complaint.
[Emphasis supplied]
[Emphasis supplied] Again, it is worth stressing that these provisions are exactly
In Lazaro, the assailed invalid invoices attached to the complaint Sections 9 and 10 under Rule 70 of the Rules of Court.
were not considered because the complaint already alleged a
sufficient cause of action for collection of sum of money. Those Accordingly, it is only at this part of the proceedings that the
assailed documents were not the bases of the plaintiffs action for parties will be required to present and offer their evidence before
sum of money, but were only attached to the complaint to the court to establish their causes and defenses. Before the
provide evidentiary details on the alleged transactions. issuance of the record of preliminary conference, the parties are
not yet required to present their respective evidence.
Similarly, in the case at bench, there was no need for
documentary attachments to prove Fairland's ownership over the These specific provisions under the Rules of Summary Procedure
subject property. First, the present action is an action for which are also reflected in Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, serve
unlawful detainer wherein only de facto or material possession is their purpose to immediately settle ejectment proceedings.
required to be alleged. Evidently, the attachment of any deed of "Forcible entry and unlawful detainer cases are summary
ownership to the complaint is not indispensable because an proceedings designed to provide for an expeditious means of
action for unlawful detainer does not entirely depend on protecting actual possession or the right to possession of the
ownership. property involved. It does not admit of a delay in the
determination thereof. It is a 'time procedure' designed to
Second, Fairland sufficiently alleged ownership and superior right remedy the situation.35 Thus, as a consequence of the
of possession over the subject property. These allegations were defendant's failure to file an answer, the court is simply tasked to
evidently manifest in the complaint as Fairland claimed to have render judgment as may be warranted by the facts alleged in the
orally agreed to lease the property to Po. The Court is of the view complaint and limited to what is prayed for therein.
that these allegations were clear and unequivocal and did not
As the complaint contains a valid cause of action, a judgment can
marked as Exhibits A, B, C, and so on in the case of the
already be rendered
complainant or the plaintiff, and as Exhibits 1, 2, 3, and so
on in the case of the respondent or the defendant.
In order to achieve an expeditious and inexpensive
determination of unlawful detainer cases, a remand of this case (b) Should a party or a witness desire to keep the original
to the lower courts is no longer necessary and the case can be document or object evidence in his possession, he may, after the
determined on its merits by the Court. same has been identified, marked as exhibit, and authenticated,
warrant in his judicial affidavit that the copy or reproduction
To recapitulate, as Po failed to file his answer on time, judgment attached to such affidavit is a faithful copy or reproduction of
shall be rendered based only on the complaint of Fairland that original. In addition, the party or witness shall bring the
without the need to consider the weight of evidence. As original document or object evidence for comparison during the
discussed above, the complaint of Fairland had a valid cause of preliminary conference with the attached copy, reproduction, or
action for unlawful detainer. pictures, failing which the latter shall not be admitted.

Consequently, there is no more need to present evidence to This is without prejudice to the introduction of secondary
establish the allegation of Fairland of its ownership and superior evidence in place of the original when allowed by existing rules.
right of possession over the subject property. Po's failure to file WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The October 31, 2014
an answer constitutes an admission of his illegal occupation due Decision and the March 6, 2015 Resolution of the Court of
to his non-payment of rentals, and of Fairland's rightful claim of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 134701 are
material possession. Thus, judgment must be rendered finding hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Respondent Arturo Loo Po
that Fairland has the right to eject Po from the subject property. is ORDERED TO VACATE Condominium Unit No. 205 located in
Cedar Mansion II on Ma. Escriba Street, Pasig City.
The Judicial Affidavit Rule
Respondent Po is further ORDERED TO PAY the rentals-in-
On a final note, the Court deems it proper to discuss the arrears, as well as the rentals accruing in the interim until he
relevance of the Judicial Affidavit Rule or A.M. No. 12-8-8-SC, vacates the property. The unpaid rentals shall incur a legal
where documentary or object evidence are required to be interest of six percent (6%) per annum from January 30, 2012,
attached. To begin with, the rule is not applicable because such when the demand to pay and to vacate was made, up to the
evidence are required to be attached to a judicial affidavit, not to finality of this decision. Thereafter, an interest of six percent (6%)
a complaint. Moreover, as the rule took effect only on January 1, per annum shall be imposed on the total amount due until full
2013, it cannot be required in this case because this was earlier payment is made.
filed on December 12, 2012.
SO ORDERED.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Granting that it can be applied retroactively, the rule being
essentially remedial, still it has no bearing on the ruling of this
Court.
G.R. No. 214054, August 05, 2015
In the Judicial Affidavit Rule, the attachments of documentary or
object evidence to the affidavits is required when there would be
NG MENG TAM, Petitioner, v. CHINA BANKING
a pre-trial or preliminary conference or the scheduled
CORPORATION, Respondent.
hearing. As stated earlier, where a defendant fails to file an
answer, the court shall render judgment, either motu proprio or
DECISION
upon plaintiffs motion, based solely on the facts alleged in the
complaint and limited to what is prayed for. Thus, where there is
no answer, there is no need for a pre-trial, preliminary VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
conference or hearing. Section 2 of the Judicial Affidavit Rule
reads: Before this Court is a direct recourse from the Regional Trial
Section 2. Submission of Judicial Affidavits and Exhibits in lieu of Court (RTC) via petition1 for review on the question of whether
direct testimonies. - (a) The parties shall file with the court and Section 52 of the Judicial Affidavit Rule (JAR) applies to hostile or
serve on the adverse party, personally or by licensed courier adverse witnesses. The petition seeks to annul and set aside the
service, not later than five days before pre-trial or preliminary May 28, 20143 and August 27, 20144 Orders of the RTC, Branch
conference or the scheduled hearing with respect to motions and 139, Makati City in Civil Case No. 08-1028.
incidents, the following:
This case stemmed from a collection suit filed by China Banking
(1) The judicial affidavits of their witnesses, which shall take Corporation (China Bank) against Ever Electrical Manufacturing
the place of such witnesses' direct testimonies; and Company Inc. (Ever), the heirs of Go Tong, Vicente Go, George
Go and petitioner Ng Meng Tam sometime in December
2008. China Bank alleged that it granted Ever a loan amounting
(2) The parties' documentary or object evidence, if any,
to P5,532,331.63. The loan was allegedly backed by two surety
which shall be attached to the judicial affidavits and
agreements executed by Vicente, George and petitioner in its
favor, each for P5,000,000.00, and dated December 9, 1993 and characterization of Yap’s answers to the interrogatories to parties
May 3, 1995, respectively. When Ever defaulted in its payment, as ambiguous and evasive is a declaration of what type of
China Bank sent demand letters collectively addressed to witness Yap is. It theorizes that the interrogatories to parties
George, Vicente and petitioner. The demands were answered by Yap serve as the judicial affidavit and there is no
unanswered. China Bank filed the complaint for collection need for Yap to be qualified as a hostile witness.
docketed as Civil Case No. 08-1028, which was raffled off to RTC
Branch 62, Makati City. In its May 28, 2014 Order, the RTC denied for lack of merit
petitioner’s motion to examine Yap without executing a judicial
In his Answer, petitioner alleged that the surety agreements were affidavit. The RTC in interpreting Section 5 of the JAR
null and void since these were executed before the loan was stated:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
granted in 2004. Petitioner posited that the surety agreements
were contracts of adhesion to be construed against the entity x x x The aforementioned provision, which allows the requesting
which drafted the same. Petitioner also alleged that he did not party to avail himself of the provisions of Rule 21 of the Rules of
receive any demand letter. Court finds applicability to: (a) a government employee or
official, or the requested witness, who is neither the witness of
In the course of the proceedings, petitioner moved that his the adverse party nor a hostile witness and (b) who unjustifiably
affirmative defenses be heard by the RTC on the ground that the declines to execute a judicial affidavitor refuses without just
suit is barred by the statute of limitations and laches.5 The cause to make the relevant books, documents, or other things
motion was denied by the court.6 On appeal, the Court of under his control available for copying, authentication, and
Appeals (CA) in its December 22, 2010 Decision7 ruled that a eventual production in court.
preliminary hearing was proper pursuant to Section 6,8 Rule 16 of
the Rules of Court due to the grounds cited by petitioner. There In the case at bar, witness George Yap is being utilized as an
being no appeal, the decision became final and executory on adverse witness for the [petitioner]. Moreover, there was no
August 28, 2011.9redarclaw showing that he unjustifiably declines to execute a judicial
affidavit. In fact, it was [China Bank]’s counsel who insisted that
On March 15, 2011, petitioner served interrogatories to said witness’ judicial affidavit be taken. Thus, Section 5 of the
parties10 pursuant to Sections 111 and 6,12 Rule 25 of the Rules of [JAR] which [petitioner] invoked to exempt him from the Rule
Court to China Bank and required Mr. George C. Yap, Account finds no application. Unless there is contrary ruling on the
Officer of the Account Management Group, to answer. matter by the Supreme Court, this court has no choice but to
implement the rule as written.
On June 22, 2011, George Yap executed his answers to
interrogatories to parties.13redarclaw On this note, this Court also finds no merit on the contention of
[China Bank] that the answer to the written interrogatories by
In the meantime, having failed mediation and judicial dispute witness George Yap already constitutes his judicial affidavit.
resolution, Civil Case No. 08-1028 was re-raffled off to RTC Inasmuch as the Court strictly implemented the [JAR] on the part
Branch 139, Makati City. of [petitioner], so shall it rule in the same manner on the part of
[China Bank]. As correctly pointed out by [petitioner], the said
Petitioner again moved for the hearing of his affirmative answer to interrogatories does not comply with Section 3 of the
defenses. Because he found Yap’s answers to the interrogatories [JAR] which provides for the contents of the judicial affidavit.16
to parties evasive and not responsive, petitioner applied for the
issuance of a subpoena duces tecum and ad testificandum against In essence, the RTC ruled that Section 5 did not apply to Yap
George Yap pursuant to Section 6,14 Rule 25 of the Revised Rules since he was an adverse witness and he did not unjustifiably
of Court. decline to execute a judicial affidavit. It
stated:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
On April 29, 2014, when the case was called for the presentation
of George Yap as a witness, China Bank objected citing Section 5 In view of the foregoing, the motion of the [petitioner] that
of the JAR. China Bank said that Yap cannot be compelled to witness George Yap be examined without executing a Judicial
testify in court because petitioner did not obtain and present Affidavit is hereby DENIED FOR LACK OF MERIT.17
George Yap’s judicial affidavit. The RTC required the parties to
submit their motions on the issue of whether the preparation of Petitioner moved for reconsideration but it was denied by the
a judicial affidavit by George Yap as an adverse or hostile witness RTC in its August 27, 2014 Order.18 The RTC reiterated its
is an exception to the judicial affidavit rule.15redarclaw position and stated:LawlibraryofCRAlaw

Petitioner contended that Section 5 does not apply to Yap It must be pointed out that the [petitioner] [was] the [one] who
because it specifically excludes adverse party witnesses and invoked the provisions of Section 5 of the [JAR] to compel the
hostile witnesses from its application. Petitioner insists that Yap attendance of witness George Yap and as such, it is their duty to
needed to be called to the stand so that he may be qualified as a show the applicability of the said provisions to the case at
hostile witness pursuant to the Rules of Court. bar. As stated in the challenged Order, Section 5 of the [JAR]
finds applicability to: (a) a government employee or official, or
China Bank, on the other hand, stated that petitioner’s the requested witness, who is neither the witness of the adverse
party nor a hostile witness and (b) who unjustifiably declines to
execute a judicial affidavit or refuses without just cause to make ON A POLICY LEVEL AND IN THE EVENT RTC BR. 139-MAKATI’S
the relevant books, documents, or other things under his control INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION OF SEC. 5 OF THE [JAR] IS
available for copying, authentication, and eventual production in CORRECT (I.E., THAT OPPOSING PARTY WHO INTENDS TO
court. In the case at bar, [petitioner] [does] not deny that witness PRESENT ADVERSE OR HOSTILE WITNESS MUST GET AND
George Yap is to be utilized as [his] adverse witness. On this SUBMIT THAT WITNESS’ JUDICIAL AFFIDAVIT NO MATTER
score alone, it is clear that the provisions invoked do not apply.19 WHAT) IT IS HUMBLY SUBMITTED, WITH THE UTMOST
INDULGENCE OF THE HONORABLE SUPREME COURT, THAT THE
The RTC stressed that Section 5 of the JAR required the SAME RULE BE IMPROVED OR AMENDED BY PROVIDING
requested witness’ refusal to be unjustifiable. It SANCTIONS IN THE EVENT THE ADVERSE OR HOSTILE WITNESS
stated:LawlibraryofCRAlaw REFUSES TO ANSWER OR EXECUTE JUDICIAL AFFIDAVIT AS
REQUIRED BY THE OPPOSING PARTY.21
x x x the [JAR] requires that the refusal must
be unjustifiable and without just cause. It must be pointed out We grant the petition.
that [China Bank]’s previous motions to quash the subpoena was
grounded on the claim that having already submitted to this THE JUDICIAL AFFIDAVIT RULE
court his sworn written interrogatories, his being compelled to APPLIES TO PENDING CASES
testify would be unreasonable, oppressive and pure harassment.
Thus, witness’ refusal to testify cannot be considered On September 4, 2012, the JAR was promulgated to address case
unjustifiable since he raised valid grounds.20 congestion and delays in courts. To this end, it seeks to reduce
the time needed to take witnesses’ testimonies.22 The JAR took
Hence, this petition. effect on January 1, 2013 and would also apply to pending cases
pursuant to Section 12 to wit:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
Petitioner contends that the RTC committed a grave error when
it interpreted Section 5 to include adverse party and hostile Sec. 12. Effectivity. – This rule shall take effect on January 1,
witnesses. Based on the wording of Section 5, adverse party and 2013 following its publication in two newspapers of general
hostile witnesses are clearly excluded. circulation not later than September 15, 2012. It shall also
apply to existing cases. (Emphasis supplied)
China Bank asserts that Yap neither refused unjustifiably nor
without just cause refused to a judicial affidavit. It cited the The Court En Banc gave public prosecutors in first and second
RTC’s August 27, 2014 Order where the court said that Yap had level courts one year of modified compliance.23 The JAR thus
answered the interrogatories and to compel him to testify in took full effect on January 1, 2014.
open court would be “unreasonable, oppressive and pure
harassment.” Moreover, it stated that based on the language Here, parties were presenting their evidence for the RTC’s
used by Section 2 of the JAR the filing of judicial affidavits is consideration when the JAR took effect. Therefore, pursuant to
mandatory. Section 12 the JAR applies to the present collection suit.

The petition is anchored on the following SECTION 5 OF THE JAR DOES NOT
arguments:LawlibraryofCRAlaw APPLY TO ADVERSE PARTY WITNESSES

I The JAR primarily affects the manner by which evidence is


presented in court. Section 2(a) of the JAR provides that judicial
RTC BR. 139-MAKATI COMMITTED AN ERROR OF LAW WHEN IT affidavits are mandatorily filed by parties to a case except in
INTERPRETED SEC. 5 OF THE [JAR] CONTRARY TO ITS small claims cases. These judicial affidavits take the place of
WORDINGS. direct testimony in court. It provides:LawlibraryofCRAlaw

II Sec. 2. Submission of Judicial Affidavits and Exhibits in lieu of


direct testimonies. – (a) The parties shall file with the court and
RTC BR. 139-MAKATI COMMITTED AN ERROR OF LAW WHEN IT serve on the adverse party, personally or by licensed courier
INTERPRETED SEC. 5 [OF THE JAR] CONTRARY TO ITS PRACTICAL service, not later than five days before pre-trial or preliminary
INTENTION AND COMMON SENSE. conference or the scheduled hearing with respect to motions and
incidents, the following:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
III
(1) The judicial affidavits of their witnesses, which shall take the
RTC BR. 139-MAKATI COMMITTED AN ERROR OF LAW WHEN IT place of such witnesses’ direct testimonies; and
EFFECTIVELY DISREGARDED THE RELEVANT RULES ON MODE OF
DISCOVERY WHICH GOVERN THE PRESENTATION OF ADVERSE (2) The parties’ documentary or object evidence, if any, which
WITNESSES. shall be attached to the judicial affidavits and marked as Exhibits
A, B, C, and so on in the case of the complainant or the plaintiff,
IV and as Exhibits 1, 2, 3, and so on in the case of the respondent or
the defendant. SEC. 12. Party may not impeach his own witness. – Except with
respect to witnesses referred to in paragraphs (d) and (e) of
xxxx Section 10, the party producing a witness is not allowed to
impeach his credibility.
Section 324 of the JAR enumerates the content of a judicial
affidavit. A witness may be considered as unwilling or hostile only if so
declared by the court upon adequate showing of his adverse
Under Section 10,25 parties are to be penalized if they do not interest, unjustified reluctance to testify, or his having misled the
conform to the provisions of the JAR. Parties are however party into calling him to the witness stand.
allowed to resort to the application of a subpoena pursuant to
Rule 21 of the Rules of Court in Section 5 of the JAR in certain The unwilling or hostile witness so declared, or the witness who
situations. Section 5 provides:LawlibraryofCRAlaw is an adverse party, may be impeached by the party presenting
him in all respects as if he had been called by the adverse party,
Sec. 5. Subpoena. – If the government employee or official, or the except by evidence of his bad character. He may also be
requested witness, who is neither the witness of the adverse impeached and cross-examined by the adverse party, but such
party nor a hostile witness, unjustifiably declines to execute a cross-examination must only be on the subject matter of his
judicial affidavit or refuses without just cause to make the examination-in-chief.
relevant books, documents, or other things under his control
available for copying, authentication, and eventual production in Before a party may be qualified under Section 12, Rule 132 of the
court, the requesting party may avail himself of the issuance of a Rules of Court, the party presenting the adverse party witness
subpoena ad testificandum or duces tecum under Rule 21 of the must comply with Section 6, Rule 25 of the Rules of Court which
Rules of Court. The rules governing the issuance of a subpoena provides:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
to the witness in this case shall be the same as when taking his
deposition except that the taking of a judicial affidavit shal1 be SEC. 6. Effect of failure to serve written interrogatories. – Unless
understood to be ex parte. thereafter allowed by the court for good cause shown and to
prevent a failure of justice, a party not served with written
While we agree with the RTC that Section 5 has no application to interrogatories may not be compelled by the adverse party to
Yap as he was presented as a hostile witness we cannot agree give testimony in open court, or to give a deposition pending
that there is need for a finding that witness unjustifiably refused appeal.
to execute a judicial affidavit.
In Afulugencia v. Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co.,27 this Court
Section 5 of the JAR contemplates a situation where there is a (a) stated that “in civil cases, the procedure of calling the adverse
government employee or official or (b) requested witness who party to the witness stand is not allowed, unless written
is not the (1) adverse party’s witness nor (2) a hostile witness. If interrogatories are first served upon the latter.”28 There
this person either (a) unjustifiably declines to execute a judicial petitioners Spouses Afulugencia sought the issuance of
affidavit or (b) refuses without just cause to make the relevant a subpoena duces tecum and ad testificandum to compel the
documents available to the other party and its presentation to officers of the bank to testify and bring documents pertaining to
court, Section 5 allows the requesting party to avail of issuance the extrajudicial foreclosure and sale of a certain parcel of
of subpoena ad testificandum or duces tecum under Rule 21 of land. Metrobank moved to quash the issuance of the subpoenas
the Rules of Court. Thus, adverse party witnesses and hostile on the ground of non-compliance with Section 6, Rule 25 of the
witnesses being excluded they are not covered by Section Rules of Court. In quashing the issuance of the subpoena, the
5. Expressio unius est exclusion alterius: the express mention of Court reminded litigants that the depositions are a mechanism
one person, thing, or consequence implies the exclusion of all by which fishing expeditions and delays may be avoided. Further
others.26redarclaw written interrogatories aid the court in limiting harassment and
to focus on what is essential to a case. The Court
Here, Yap is a requested witness who is the adverse party’s stated:LawlibraryofCRAlaw
witness. Regardless of whether he unjustifiably declines to
execute a judicial affidavit or refuses without just cause to One of the purposes of the above rule is to prevent fishing
present the documents, Section 5 cannot be made to apply to expeditions and needless delays; it is there to maintain order and
him for the reason that he is included in a group of individuals facilitate the conduct of trial. It will be presumed that a party
expressly exempt from the provision’s application. who does not serve written interrogatories on the adverse party
beforehand will most likely be unable to elicit facts useful to its
The situation created before us begs the question: if the case if it later opts to call the adverse party to the witness stand
requested witness is the adverse party’s witness or a hostile as its witness. Instead, the process could be treated as a fishing
witness, what procedure should be followed? expedition or an attempt at delaying the proceedings; it
produces no significant result that a prior written interrogatories
The JAR being silent on this point, we turn to the provisions might bring.
governing the rules on evidence covering hostile witnesses
specially Section 12, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court which Besides, since the calling party is deemed bound by the adverse
provides:LawlibraryofCRAlaw party’s testimony, compelling the adverse party to take the
witness stand may result in the calling party damaging its own
case. Otherwise stated, if a party cannot elicit facts or
information useful to its case through the facility of written
interrogatories or other mode of discovery, then the calling of
the adverse party to the witness stand could only serve to
weaken its own case as a result of the calling party’s being
bound by the adverse party’s testimony, which may only be
worthless and instead detrimental to the calling party’s cause.

Another reason for the rule is that by requiring prior written


interrogatories, the court may limit the inquiry to what is
relevant, and thus prevent the calling party from straying or
harassing the adverse party when it takes the latter to the stand.

Thus, the rule not only protects the adverse party from
unwarranted surprises or harassment; it likewise prevents the
calling party from conducting a fishing expedition or bungling its
own case. Using its own judgment and discretion, the court can
hold its own in resolving a dispute, and need not bear witness to
the parties perpetrating unfair court practices such as fishing for
evidence, badgering, or altogether ruining their own cases.
Ultimately, such unnecessary processes can only constitute a
waste of the court’s precious time, if not pointless
entertainment.29 (Citation omitted)

In this case, parties, with the approval of the Court, furnished and
answered interrogatories to parties pursuant to Rule 25 of the
Rules of Court. They therefore complied with Section 6 of Rule
25 of the Rules of Court. Before the present controversy arose,
the RTC had already issued subpoenas for Yap to testify and
produce documents. He was called to the witness stand when
China Bank interposed its objection for non-compliance with
Section 5 of the JAR. Having established that Yap, as an adverse
party witness, is not within Section 5 of the JAR’s scope, the rules
in presentation of adverse party witnesses as provided for under
the Rules of Court shall apply. In keeping with this Court’s
decision in Afulugencia,there is no reason for the RTC not to
proceed with the presentation of Yap as a witness.

In sum, Section 5 of the JAR expressly excludes from its


application adverse party and hostile witnesses. For the
presentation of these types of witnesses, the provisions on the
Rules of Court under the Revised Rules of Evidence and all other
correlative rules including the modes of deposition and discovery
rules shall apply.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The May 28, 2014 and


August 27, 2014 Orders of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 139,
Makati City are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE.

No pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.cralawlawlibra
Fairland Knitcraft Corporation v. Arturo Loo Po
G.R. No. 217694 The above-cited portions of the complaint sufficiently alleged
January 27, 2016 that Fairland was the owner of the subject property being
Unlawful Detainer leased to Po by virtue of an oral agreement. There was a
demand by Fairland for Po to pay rent and vacate before the
Facts: complaint for unlawful detainer was instituted. The
 Fairland alleged it was the owner of a condominium unit in complaint was seasonably filed within the one-year period
Cedar Mansion II in Pasig City. The said unit was leased by prescribed by law. With all the elements present, there was
Fairland to Po by verbal agreement, with a rental fee of clearly a cause of action in the complaint for unlawful
P20,000 a month. detainer.
 Po continuously failed to pay rent. Thus, Fairland opted not
to renew the lease agreement anymore. 2. Yes. Under the Rules of Summary Procedure, the weight of
 Fairland sent a formal letter to Po demanding he pay evidence is not considered when a judgment is rendered
P220,000, representing the rental arrears, and that he vacate based on the complaint.
the leased premises within 15 days from receipt of the letter.
 Despite receipt and the lapse of the said 15-day period, Po Section 6 of the Rules on Summary Procedure provide:
neither tendered payment nor vacated the premises. Thus,
Fairland filed the complaint for unlawful detainer before Sec. 6. Effect of failure to answer. – Should the
the MeTC. defendant fail to answer the complaint within the
 Po failed to file an answer within the reglementary period above provided, the court, motu proprio or on
period (within 10 days from service of summons). Thus, motion of the plaintiff, shall render judgment as may
Fairland filed a motion to render judgment and the MeTC be warranted by the facts alleged in the complaint
considered the case submitted for decision. and limited to what is prayed for therein. x x x
 The MeTC dismissed the complaint for lack of merit due to
Fairland’s failure to prove its claim by preponderance of Section 6 is clear that in case the defendant failed to file his
evidence. answer, the court shall render judgment, either motu proprio
 Fairland appealed, claiming that an unlawful detainer case or upon plaintiff’s motion, based solely on the facts alleged in
was a special civil action governed by summary procedure. the complaint and limited to what is prayed for. The failure of
Thus, in cases where a defendant failed to file his answer, the defendant to timely file his answer and to controvert the
judgment should be based on the facts alleged in the claim against him constitutes his acquiescence to every
complaint, and there was no requirement that judgment allegation stated in the complaint.
must be based on facts proved by preponderance of
evidence. Similarly, under Section 7, Rule 70, if the defendant fails to
 The RTC and CA affirmed. Hence, this petition. answer the complaint within the period provided, the court
has no authority to declare the defendant in default. Instead,
Issues: the court, motu proprio or on motion of the plaintiff, shall
1. Whether or not Fairland’s complaint sufficiently alleges a cause render judgment as may be warranted by the facts alleged in
of action for unlawful detainer – Yes. the complaint and limited to what is prayed for.
2. Whether or not the MeTC correctly rendered judgment, upon
Po’s failure to file an answer on time, based solely on the
complaint without the need to consider the weight of evidence –
Yes.

xxx
Held:
1. Yes. A complaint sufficiently alleges a cause of action for 3. Plaintiff is the owner of, and had been leasing to the defendant, the
unlawful detainer if it recites the following: (1) initially, premises mentioned above as the residence of the latter;
possession of the property by the defendant was by contract 4. There is no current written lease contract between plaintiff and the
with or by tolerance of the plaintiff; (2) eventually, such defendant, but the latter agreed to pay the former the amount of P20,000 as
possession became illegal upon notice by the plaintiff to the rent at the beginning of each month. Thus, the term of the lease agreement is
renewable on a month-to-month basis;
defendant of the termination of the latter’s right of possession;
(3) thereafter, the defendant remained in possession of the 5. Since March 2011, defendant has not been paying the aforesaid rent
despite plaintiff’s repeated demands;
property, and deprived the plaintiff of the enjoyment thereof;
and (4) within 1 year from the last demand on defendant to 6. Due to defendant’s continuous failure to pay rent, plaintiff reached a
vacate the property, the plaintiff instituted the complaint for decision not to renew the lease agreement. It sent a formal letter, x x x
demanding defendant to pay the amount of Php220,000.00, representing
ejectment. defendant’s twelve month rental arrears beginning January 2011, and to
vacate the leased premises, both within fifteen (15) days from receipt of said
letter;
There is no question that the complaint filed by Fairland
adequately alleged a cause of action for unlawful detainer.1 7. Despite receipt of the aforesaid demand letter and lapse of the fifteen day
period given to comply with plaintiff’s demand, defendant neither tendered
payment for the unpaid rent nor vacated the leased premises. Worse,
1
The pertinent portion of the complaint reads: defendant has not been paying rent up to now;
In this case, Po failed to file his answer to the complaint despite excludes hostile and adverse witnesses from its application; Yap
proper service of summons. He also failed to provide a sufficient needed to be called to the witness stand so he can qualified as a
justification to excuse his lapses. Thus, as no answer was filed, hostile witness. China Bank argues otherwise; Ng Meng Tam’s
judgment must be rendered by the court as may be characterisation of Yap’s answers as ambiguous and evasive is a
warranted by the facts alleged in the complaint. declaration of what kind of witness Yap is, and his answers to the
interrogatories constitute his judicial affidavit.
To recapitulate, as Po failed to file his answer on time, judgment
shall be rendered based only on the complaint of Fairland The RTC denied petitioner’s motion to examine Yap without a
without the need to consider the weight of evidence. judicial affidavit ruling that Section 5 of the JAR allowing a
Consequently, there is no more need to present evidence to requesting party to avail of the provisions of Rule 21 finds
establish the allegation of Fairland of its ownership and superior applicability when the witness is: (a) a government employee or
right of possession over the subject property. Po’s failure to file official, or the requested witness, who is neither the witness of
an answer constitutes an admission of his illegal occupation due the adverse party nor a hostile witness and (b) who unjustifiably
to his non-payment of rentals, and of Fairland’s rightful claim of declines to execute a judicial affidavit or refuses without just
material possession. Thus, judgment must be rendered finding cause to make the relevant books, documents, or other things
that Fairland has the right to eject Po from the subject property. under his control available for copying, authentication, and
eventual production in court. In this case, Yap is being utilised as
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision and a hostile witness, yet there was no showing that he unjustifiably
Resolution of the Court of Appeals are hereby REVERSED and declined to execute a judicial affidavit. China Bank’s counsel
SET ASIDE. Respondent Arturo Loo Po is ORDERED TO VACATE even insisted that his judicial affidavit be taken. Hence Section 5
Condominium Unit No. 205 located in Cedar Mansion II on Ma. does not apply. The RTC also denied China Bank’s averments
Escriba Street, Pasig City. that his answers to the interrogatories constitute his judicial
affidavit, as the same does not comply with Section 3 of the JAR.
Respondent Po is further ORDERED TO PAY the rentals-in- The RTC denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration., noting
arrears, as well as the rentals accruing in the interim until he that the refusal to execute a judicial affidavit must be
vacates the property. unjustifiable and without just cause. After he submitted his
answers to the interrogatories, Yap’s being compelled to testify is
GR no 214054 aug 5, 2015 abusive, oppressive and pure harassment.
Ng Meng Tam Vs. China Banking Corporation
Ng Meng Tam elevated his case to the Supreme Court on pure
Facts: question of law.
China Banking Corporation (respondent) filed a
collection case against Ever Electrical Manufacturing Company,
ISSUE:
the heirs of Go Tong, Vicente Go and Ng Meng Tam (petitioner)
for an unpaid loan backed by two sureties executed by Vicente
Go and the petitioner in its favour. Upon default by Ever and Whether or not Section 5 of the Judicial Affidavit Rule
despite demand for payment, petitioner refused to pay hence it applies to a hostile or adverse witness.
filed the collection suit (Civil Case No. 08-1028), raffled off to RTC Ruling:
Makati City Branch 62. After filing his Answer in which he denied
liability for the loan and the sureties were mere contracts of SECTION 5 OF THE JAR DOES NOTAPPLY TO ADVERSE
adhesion, Ng Meng Tam moved that his affirmative defences be PARTY WITNESSES. The JAR primarily affects the manner by
heard by the RTC, which the RTC denied. He appealed to the CA, which evidence is presented in court. Section 2(a) of the JAR
which ruled that a preliminary hearing is proper. This decision provides that judicial affidavits are mandatorily filed by parties to
became final and executory. Ng Meng Tam then served a case except in small claims cases. These judicial affidavits take
interrogatories to parties in accordance with Sections 1⁠1and 6⁠2, the place of direct testimony in court.While we agree with the
Rule 25 of the Rules of Court, to China Bank, requiring George RTC that Section 5 has no application to Yap as he was presented
Yap to file his answer, to which Yap complied on June 23, as a hostile witness we cannot agree that there is need for a
2011. When mediation and judicial dispute resolution failed, the finding that witness unjustifiably refused to execute a judicial
case was assigned to RTC Branch 139. Ng Meng Tam moved for affidavit.
the hearing of his affirmative defences. Because he found Yap’s
answer to the interrogatories evasive and unresponsive, he Section 5 of the JAR contemplates a situation where there is a (a)
applied for issuance of subpoena ducestecum and ad government employee or official or (b) requested witness who
testificandum pursuant to Section 6, Rule 25 of the Rules of is not the (1) adverse party’s witness nor (2) a hostile witness. If
Court. During the hearing for the presentation of Yap’s this person either (a) unjustifiably declines to execute a judicial
testimony on April 29, 2014, China Bank objected, averring that affidavit or (b) refuses without just cause to make the relevant
Yap cannot be compelled to testify as the petition did not obtain documents available to the other party and its presentation to
and present George Yap’s affidavit, citing Section 5 of the Judicial court, Section 5 allows the requesting party to avail of issuance
Affidavit Rule. Both parties were required by the RTC to present of subpoena ad testificandum or ducestecum under Rule 21 of
motions in support of their positions. Ng Meng Tam avers that the Rules of Court. Thus, adverse party witnesses and hostile
Section 5 of JAR does not apply to Yap because it specifically witnesses being excluded they are not covered by Section
5. Expressiouniusest exclusion alterius: the express mention of Thus, the rule not only protects the adverse party from
one person, thing, or consequence implies the exclusion of all unwarranted surprises or harassment; it likewise prevents the
others. calling party from conducting a fishing expedition or bungling its
Here, Yap is a requested witness who is the adverse party’s own case. Using its own judgment and discretion, the court can
witness. Regardless of whether he unjustifiably declines to hold its own in resolving a dispute, and need not bear witness to
execute a judicial affidavit or refuses without just cause to the parties perpetrating unfair court practices such as fishing for
present the documents, Section 5 cannot be made to apply to evidence, badgering, or altogether ruining their own cases.
him for the reason that he is included in a group of individuals Ultimately, such unnecessary processes can only constitute a
expressly exempt from the provision’s application. waste of the court’s precious time, if not pointless entertainment.

The situation created before us begs the question: if the In this case, parties, with the approval of the Court, furnished and
requested witness is the adverse party’s witness or a hostile answered interrogatories to parties pursuant to Rule 25 of the
witness, what procedure should be followed?The JAR being silent Rules of Court. They therefore complied with Section 6 of Rule
on this point, we turn to the provisions governing the rules on 25 of the Rules of Court. Before the present controversy arose,
evidence covering hostile witnesses specially Section 12, Rule the RTC had already issued subpoenas for Yap to testify and
132 of the Rules of Court. produce documents. He was called to the witness stand when
China Bank interposed its objection for non-compliance with
A witness may be considered as unwilling or hostile only if so Section 5 of the JAR. Having established that Yap, as an adverse
declared by the court upon adequate showing of his adverse party witness, is not within Section 5 of the JAR’s scope, the rules
interest, unjustified reluctance to testify, or his having misled the in presentation of adverse party witnesses as provided for under
party into calling him to the witness stand.The unwilling or the Rules of Court shall apply. In keeping with this Court’s
hostile witness so declared, or the witness who is an adverse decision in Afulugencia, there is no reason for the RTC not to
party, may be impeached by the party presenting him in all proceed with the presentation of Yap as a witness.
respects as if he had been called by the adverse party, except by In sum, Section 5 of the JAR expressly excludes from its
evidence of his bad character. He may also be impeached and application adverse party and hostile witnesses. For the
cross-examined by the adverse party, but such cross-examination presentation of these types of witnesses, the provisions on the
must only be on the subject matter of his examination-in-chief. Rules of Court under the Revised Rules of Evidence and all other
correlative rules including the modes of deposition and discovery
Before a party may be qualified under Section 12, Rule 132 of the rules shall apply.
Rules of Court, the party presenting the adverse party witness
must comply with Section 6, Rule 25 of the Rules of Court WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED.

One of the purposes of the above rule is to prevent fishing


expeditions and needless delays; it is there to maintain order and
facilitate the conduct of trial. It will be presumed that a party
who does not serve written interrogatories on the adverse party
beforehand will most likely be unable to elicit facts useful to its
case if it later opts to call the adverse party to the witness stand
as its witness. Instead, the process could be treated as a fishing
expedition or an attempt at delaying the proceedings; it
produces no significant result that a prior written interrogatories
might bring.

Besides, since the calling party is deemed bound by the adverse


party’s testimony, compelling the adverse party to take the
witness stand may result in the calling party damaging its own
case. Otherwise stated, if a party cannot elicit facts or
information useful to its case through the facility of written
interrogatories or other mode of discovery, then the calling of
the adverse party to the witness stand could only serve to
weaken its own case as a result of the calling party’s being
bound by the adverse party’s testimony, which may only be
worthless and instead detrimental to the calling party’s cause.

Another reason for the rule is that by requiring prior written


interrogatories, the court may limit the inquiry to what is
relevant, and thus prevent the calling party from straying or
harassing the adverse party when it takes the latter to the stand.