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RULE 71: CONTEMPT

1. ANG VS CASTRO
SUMMARY: This is a case of denying appeal from an order holding him in contempt of court.
Judge Castro argues that failure of petitioner to appear, despite notice, on the scheduled hearing of
the contempt charge for the use of derogatory language in his two letters addressed to the Office
of the Presidential Assistant on Legal Affairs and to this Court in an administrative complaint
against him, constitutes direct contempt as the acts actually impeded, embarrassed and obstructed
him in the administration of justice.

RULING: The use of disrespectful or contemptuous language against a particular judge in


pleadings presented in another court or proceeding is indirect, not direct, contempt as it is not
tantamount to a misbehavior in the presence of or so near a court or judge as to interrupt the
administration of justice. If the pleading containing derogatory, offensive or malicious statements
is submitted in the same court or judge in which the proceedings are pending, it is direct contempt
because it is equivalent to a misbehavior committed in the presence of or so near a court or judge
as to interrupt the administration of justice.

2. SAN LUIS VS CA
SUMMARY: In his petition for certiorari before the CA petitioner contended that Judge Bayot
committed grave abuse of discretion in refusing to act on his motion to dismiss the indirect
contempt case and on his motion for reconsideration, and, instead, referred the case to Branch 111
of the court which issued the order subject of the case for indirect contempt.

RULING: For practical judicial administration, jurisdiction has been felt to properly rest in only
one tribunal at a time with respect to a given controversy. Only the court which rendered the order
commanding the doing of a certain act is vested with the right to determine whether or not the
order has been complied with, or whether a sufficient reason has been given for noncompliance,
and, therefore, whether a contempt has been committed. Contempt proceedings are sui generis and
are triable only by the court against whose authority the contempts are charged; the power to punish
for contempt exists for the purpose of enabling a court to compel due decorum and respect in its
presence and due obedience to its judgments, orders and processes.

Section 4, Rule 71 provides, in effect, that a charge for indirect contempt must be filed with the
court contemned.

3. EBALLA VS PAAS
SUMMARY: Complainant requested Judge Paas for postponement of hearing for arraignment
because her counsel was absent. Disregarding, Judge directed Depalobos(Defendant) to read the
informations over complainants objections. According to complainant, Depalobos read in a very
loud voice with the intent of humiliating her to everyone. Complainant refused to sign the
certificate of arraignment even when she was told that a plea of not guilty would be entered in her
behalf since she denied the charges against her. She said that the people in the courtroom laughed
when she told Depalobos, E, basa ka nang basa. For this reason, Judge Paas cited complainant for
contempt and ordered her incarcerated.
RULING: No. Complainant refused to sign the certificate of arraignment and her refusal to do so
was in a loud voice while making faces, to the great embarrasment of the court. At any rate, her
remedy was to file a petition for certiorari under Rule 71, 2 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure,
which provides:
Remedy therefrom. The person adjudged in direct contempt by any court may not
appeal therefrom, but may avail himself of the remedies of certiorari or prohibition. The execution
of the judgment shall be suspended pending resolution of the petition, provided such person files
a bond fixed by the court which rendered the judgment and conditioned that he will abide by and
perform the judgment should the petition be decided against him.

4. SORIANO VS CA
SUMMARY: A lawyer was charged with direct contempt by allegedly stating in disrespectful and
insulting manner in his Omnibus Motion for Recommendation stating that:
“It is respectfully submitted that even a first year law student will readily see that the
last sentence of the par. 2-3 above quoted - Restraining orders or preliminary injunction should
not be issued without prior notice and hearing and showing of a clear right thereto - must be read
and understood in the light of the heading and subject being discussed, namely, Prompt Action
on Dilatory Petitions, to Delay Enforcement of Executory Judgments. By no stretch of the
imagination can it be interpreted in isolation to mean that Courts had lost their inherent power to
issue ex-parte restraining orders.”

Later, the counsel felt that for reasons known only to the Court it could not really act freely on the
Case and therefore a motion to inhibit was filed. But the Court took the motion to inhibit in a
different light. It denied the motio and it vented its anger at undersigned counsel

RULING: A lawyer’s remarks explaining his position in a case do not necessarily assume the
level of contempt that justifies the court to exercise the power of contempt. Courts must be slow
to punish for direct contempt. The salutary rule is that the power to punish for contempt must be
exercised on the preservative, not vindictive principle, and on the corrective and not retaliatory
idea of punishment. The courts must exercise the power to punish for contempt for purposes that
are impersonal because that power is intended as a safeguard not for the judges as persons but for
the functions that they exercise.

Snide remarks or even sarcastic innuendoes do not necessarily assume that level of contumely
actionable under Rule 71 of the Revised Rules of Court. Lawyers may not be held to too strict an
account for words said in the heat of the moment, because of chagrin at losing cases, and that the
big way is for the court to condone even contemptuous language

5. OCLAVIT VS PADERANGA
SUMMARY: When petitioner filed a motion to approve compromise agreement the court ruled
that the agreement was not before the barangay captain. petitioner informed the court that the
compromise agreement was signed and was explaining further when the court told him repeatedly
to shut up. Then petitioner requested the court to stop shouting at him. The court rhetorically asked:
why should the court precisely not cite you for contempt for doing that, that is, for settling the case
before the barangay captain. Petitioner remarked that the presiding judge was becoming very
arrogant. The court issued a verbal order holding him for direct contempt. Petitioner indicated that
he would challenge the ruling. Then, respondent judge issued a detention commitment to the Jail
committing the person of petitioner for direct contempt.

RULING: The presiding judge must state expressly in the order the facts or specific cause
constituting the contemptuous behavior of petitioner and declaring him in direct contempt of court.
In this case, there was none. However, the impression of lawyers in the courtroom at that time was
that the presiding judge was irked because petitioner shouted back and banged the table as
petitioner charged the presiding judge with arrogance. This incident is not recorded in the
transcript, leaving it doubtful if it occurred. It is apparent, however, that the presiding judge
continuously ordered petitioner to shut up. Even then, an order of direct contempt is not
immediately executory or enforceable. The contemner must be afforded a reasonable remedy
to extricate or purge himself of the contempt. Such person may not appeal therefrom, but
may avail himself of certiorari or prohibition.

Petitioner asked the court presided over by respondent judge to fix a bail for his temporary liberty
pending the filing of a petition for certiorari. This written motion was filed on the first hour the
very next day. It was timely filed because the written order of contempt was issued only the next
day and given to petitioner when he was in jail. The respondent judge did not act on the motion.
By such inaction, respondent judge deprived petitioner of an effective relief from an order of direct
contempt of court. This is a violation of the Rules on contempt of court.

6. CANAS VS CASTIGADOR
SUMMARY: Respondent prosecutor filed a motion to declare petitioner in contempt of court,
without furnishing her a copy. That for her failure to produce [the] accused in Court, and the
release of [the] vehicle is hereby recalled. The court ordered for hearing of this motion but because
of the incorrect address, the first notice was not received and so it was rescheduled. The second
notice again was not received due to the same reason. And so, the court ordered contempt and
issued warrant of arrest.

RULING: petitioner cannot be cited for contempt for defying respondent judges September 11,
1996 Order because its dispositive portion clearly commands the Chief of Police or any other
officer of the law, not petitioner, to seize, impound and surrender to the trial court the subject
vehicle. Indirect contempt is one committed out of or not in the presence of the court that tends to
belittle, degrade, obstruct or embarrass the court and justice. Section 3, Rule 71:
Indirect contempts to be punished after charge and hearing. - After charge in writing
has been filed, and an opportunity given to the accused to be heard by himself or counsel, a person
guilty of any of the following acts may be punished for contempt:
(b) Disobedience of or resistance to a lawful writ, process, order, judgment, or command of a court,
or injunction granted by a court or judge . . .

Contempt of court has been distinctly described as an offense against the State and not against the
judge personally. To reiterate, a judge must always remember that the power of the court to punish
for contempt should be exercised for purposes that are not personal, because that power is intended
as a safeguard, not for judges as persons, but for the functions they exercise.