You are on page 1of 6

LIGON vs.

RTC
FACTS: Ligon filed a complaint for the collection of sum of money and damages, rescission of
contract, and nullification of title with prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment
before the RTC of Quezon City.
It was alleged that Rosario enticed her to extend a short–term loan in the amount of P3,000,000.00,
payable in a month’s time and secured by an Allied Bank post–dated check and that Rosario and
her husband were in the process of selling their property and that the proceeds of the said sale
could easily pay–off the loan.
Unfortunately, the Allied Bank check was dishonored and Rosario failed to replace it with cash.
Ligon discovered that the subject property had already been transferred to Polished Arrow. The
writ of preliminary attachment was issued and was annotated on the subject property.
A similar case was likewise filed by Spouses Vicente against Rosario and Polished Arrow before
the RTC in Makati. A writ of preliminary attachment was also issued against the subject property.
Before the first case was concluded, the RTC in Makati rendered a decision and directed the
Register of Deeds to restore the subject property in the name of Rosario.
Meanwhile, the Quezon City RTC rendered a decision directing Sps. Baladjay to pay Ligon P3
Million. Such decision became final and executory. However, when Ligon sought for its execution,
she discovered that the annotation was deleted when the subject property was sold to a public
auction and was already registered in the name of its highest bidder pursuant to the order of the
Makati City RTC.
Ligon filed a certiorari petition alleging that the Makati City RTC committed grave abuse of
discretion in issuing the Assailed Orders.

ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Laigo (of Makati City, RTC) should be cited in contempt and
penalized administratively.

RULING: While the Court agrees with Ligon’s position on the issue of grave abuse of discretion,
it holds an opposite view anent its complaint for indirect contempt against Judge Laigo and/or the
respondents in this case.

Contempt of court has been defined as a willful disregard or disobedience of a public authority.
In its broad sense, contempt is a disregard of, or disobedience to, the rules or orders of a legislative
or judicial body or an interruption of its proceedings by disorderly behavior or insolent language
in its presence or so near thereto as to disturb its proceedings or to impair the respect due to such
a body. In its restricted and more usual sense, contempt comprehends a despising of the authority,
justice, or dignity of a court.

Contempt of court is of two (2) kinds, namely: direct and indirect contempt. Indirect contempt or
constructive contempt is that which is committed out of the presence of the court. Any improper
conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice
would constitute indirect contempt.

The indirect contempt charges in this case involve an invocation of paragraphs b, c, and d, Section
3, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court which read as follows:

Section 3. Indirect contempt to be punished after charge and hearing. — After a charge in
writing has been filed, and an opportunity given to the respondent to comment thereon within
such period as may be fixed by the court and to be heard by himself or counsel, a person guilty
of any of the following acts may be punished for indirect contempt:

xxxx

(b) Disobedience of or resistance to a lawful writ, x x x;

(c) Any abuse of or any unlawful interference with the processes or proceedings of a court
not constituting direct contempt under section 1 of this Rule;

(d) Any improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade
the administration of justice;

Examining the petition, the Court finds that Ligon failed to sufficiently show how the acts of each
of the respondents, or more specifically, Judge Laigo, constituted any of the acts punishable under
the foregoing section tending towards a wilful disregard or disobedience of a public authority. In
issuing the Assailed Orders, Judge Laigo merely performed his judicial functions pursuant to the
December 9, 2004 Decision in the Makati City Case which had already attained finality. Thus,
without Ligon’s proper substantiation, considering too that Judge Laigo’s official acts are accorded
with the presumption of regularity, the Court is constrained to dismiss the indirect contempt
charges in this case.

RE: VERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR DISBARMENT OF AMA LAND, INC.


(REPRESENTED BY JOSEPH B. USITA) AGAINST COURT OF APPEALS ASSOCIATE
JUSTICES
FACTS: In a Resolution, the Court (a) declared Joseph Usita guilty of two counts of indirect
contempt of court under Section 3 (d), Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, but deferred the determination
and imposition of the penalties against him; (b) ordered Usita to disclose the names of all the
members of the Board of Directors of AMA Land, Inc. (AMALI) who had authorized him to bring
the two administrative charges against respondent Associate Justice of the CA; and (c) required
Usita and a de Vera to shed light on the true interest or participation of the so-called JC-AT-JC
Law Offices.
Consequently, Usita submitted his compliance but denied having disobeyed the decision of March
11, 2014. Usita pointed out that he filed the present complaint against respondent Associate
Justices of the CA “in good faith and merely to petition to this Honorable Court for redress of what
he believed to be a judicial wrong”. He also explained that the JC-AT-JC Law Office did not have
any involvement in the filing of the administrative complaints.
ISSUE: WON Usita is guilty of indirect contempt.
RULING: Usita’s assertion that he did not disobey and defy the decision is hollow in light of the
findings of the Court about AMALI having been prone to bring charges against judicial officer
who had ruled against it in its cases.
Such assertions constitutes his continuing refusal to own his contumacious part in the filing of
frivolous administrative charges against respondent Associate Justices of the CA.
Nonetheless, we have frequently reminded that the power to punish for contempt must be used
sparingly, with caution, restraint, judiciousness, deliberation, and in due regard to the provisions
of the law and the constitutional rights of the individual.
Usita is responsible for only one count of indirect contempt by considering his compliance with
the Court’s directive for him to identify the members of AMALI’s Board of Directors who had
caused him to bring the unfounded charges as a mitigating circumstance.
Anent the liability of the members of AMALI’s Board of Directors, the general rule is that a
corporation and its officers and agents may be held liable for contempt of court for disobeying
judgments, decrees, or orders of a court issued in a case within its jurisdiction, or for committing
any improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the
administration of justice.
The involved members of AMALI’s Board of Directors are found and pronounced guilty of
indirect contempt of court for causing the bringing of the unfounded and unwarranted
administrative charges against respondent Associate Justices of the CA in order to intimidate or
harass them, thereby directly or indirectly impeding, obstructing or degrading the administration
of justice.

REPUBLIC vs. SANDIGANBAYAN


FACTS: Twenty four years ago, the Republic, through the Presidential Commission on Good
Government (PCGG), commenced a complaint for "reconveyance, reversion, accounting,
restitution and damages" against Tantoco, Santiago, Ferdinand Marcos, Imelda Marcos, et. al.
Instead of filing an Answer, respondents Tantoco and Santiago filed a "Motion to Strike Out Some
Portions of the Complaint and for Bill of Particulars," which were both denied for lack of bases.
Tantoco and Santiago filed with the Sandiganbayan a pleading denominated "Interrogatories to
Plaintiff." A month later, they filed both an "Amended Interrogatories to Plaintiff" and a Motion
for Production and Inspection of Documents. This time, the Sandiganbayan admitted the Amended
Interrogatories and granted the Motion for Production and Inspection of Documents.
The Supreme Court affirmed the Orders of the Sandiganbayan.
Pre-trial commenced, and from 3 January to 14 July 1993, the PCGG produced documents.
After the pre-trial was declared closed, the PCGG produced and caused the pre-marking of
additional documents, Exhibits "MMM" to "AAAAAAA", over the objections of respondents
Tantoco and Santiago.
Tantoco and Santiago filed a "Motion under Rule 29 of the Rules of Court," claiming that the
additional documents were never produced at the discovery proceedings and praying that petitioner
be sanctioned for contempt. The Sandiganbayan denied the motion and the trial proceeded.
On petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration, the Sandiganbayan partly relented and admitted
Exhibits "MMM" to "AAAAAAA".
The graft court issued the assailed Resolution, to wit:
“After a thorough review of the circumstances, this Court is convinced that it is fair and just to
grant defendants' Motion under Rule 29 of the Rules of Court filed on October 1, 1996 and to
sanction the plaintiff for its deliberate refusal and failure to comply with the directive of this
Court which was confirmed no less by the Supreme Court. The plaintiff must be prevented
from offering in evidence all the documents that were not produced and exhibited at the time
the plaintiff was under a directive to do so, i.e., Exhibits "MMM" to "AAAAAAA" . . . . In
arriving at this conclusion, the Court is not unmindful of the fact that the exhibits involved
have not passed the test of admissibility in any event.”
ISSUE: Whether or not the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of discretion in excluding the
documents due to petitioner's own failure to produce them at the pre-trial.
RULING: We find that in excluding Exhibits "MMM" to "AAAAAAA,"
the Sandiganbayan properly exercised its discretion over evidence formally offered by the
prosecution. Nothing therein shows that the court gravely exceeded its jurisdiction.
The graft court’s exclusion of the exhibits merely disposed of respondents' Motion to cite petitioner
in contempt. It does not constitute an irrevocable stamp of admissibility.
Its dispositive portion clearly states: "Under all these circumstances, there is no basis for the Court
to declare plaintiff in contempt of court and it would be too much of a technicality to bar it from
introducing the additional exhibits in evidence."
Petitioner conveniently disregards the basic rule of evidence, namely, that the issue of the
admissibility of documentary evidence arises only upon formal offer thereof. This is why objection
to the documentary evidence must be made at the time it is formally offered, and not earlier.

RICARDO SILVERIO, SR. and LORNA SILVERIO vs. RICARDO SILVERIO, JR.
FACTS: Ricardo Sr. is the surviving spouse of the decedent Beatriz S. Silverio, with whom he has
children, one of them is Ricardo Jr. Lorna is Ricardo Sr.'s second wife.
Nelia filed a Petition for Certiorari questioning the trial court's October 31, 2006 Omnibus Order,
particularly Ricardo Jr.'s appointment as the new administrator.
The CA later issued two Resolutions, which granted Nelia's application for a writ of preliminary
injunction, enjoining the Respondents from enforcing the Omnibus Order and, allowing Ricardo,
Sr. to continue as administrator.
Ricardo Jr. filed with this Court an "Appeal under Rule 45 and/or Certiorari under Sec. 1, Rule
65" with a prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary
injunction seeking among others a reversal of the CA's Resolution and the issuance of injunctive
relief. Respondent contended therein that the CA acted with grave abuse of discretion.
Petitioners filed with the CA a Petition for Indirect Contempt, seeking that Ricardo Jr. be declared
in indirect contempt of court and punished accordingly in violating and defying the CA's
Resolutions which enjoined Ricardo Jr.'s appointment as administrator.
The CA, however, Court finds it inappropriate to make a ruling on whether or not the Respondent
has committed certain acts, supra, violative of Revised Rule 71 of the Rules.
ISSUE: WON the CA correctly dismissed the indirect contempt petition filed against Ricardo, Jr.
RULING: The pendency of a special civil action for certiorari instituted in relation to a pending
case does not stay the proceedings therein in the absence of a writ of preliminary injunction or
temporary restraining order.
Petitioners are thus correct in arguing that the pendency of G.R. No. 178676 did not interrupt the
course of CA-G.R. SP No. 97196, in the absence of a temporary restraining order or writ of
preliminary injunction issued in the former case. This is because "an original action
for certiorari is an independent action and is neither a continuation nor a part of the trial resulting
in the judgment complained of."
The CA therefore committed error in dismissing CA-G.R. SP No. 104060, or petitioners' indirect
contempt petition, on the ground of pendency of G.R. No. 178676. It need not wait for this Court
to resolve G.R. No. 178676 before the petitioners' contempt charge may be heard.
Aside from the fact that the CA is the court against which the alleged contempt was committed, a
hearing is required in resolving a charge for indirect contempt. The respondent in an indirect
contempt charge may not be convicted on the basis of written pleadings alone.
Sections 3 and 4, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, specifically [outline]
the procedural requisites before the accused may be punished for indirect
contempt. First, there must be an order requiring the respondent to show cause
why he should not be cited for contempt. Second, the respondent must be given
the opportunity to comment on the charge against him. Third, there must be a
hearing and the court must investigate the charge and consider respondent's
answer. Finally, only if found guilty will respondent be punished accordingly.
The law requires that there be a charge in writing, duly filed in court, and an
opportunity given to the person charged to be heard by himself or counsel. What
is most essential is that the alleged contemner be granted an opportunity to
meet the charges against him and to be heard in his defenses. This is due
process, which must be observed at all times.
xxx
In contempt proceedings, the prescribed procedure must be followed. To be sure, since an
indirect contempt charge partakes the nature of a criminal charge, conviction cannot be had
merely on the basis of written pleadings. A respondent in a contempt charge must be served with
a copy of the motion/petition. Unlike in civil actions, the Court does not issue summons on the
respondent. While the respondent is not required to file a formal answer similar to that in ordinary
civil actions, the court must set the contempt charge for hearing on a fixed date and time on
which the respondent must make his appearance to answer the charge.