You are on page 1of 58

Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-12435 November 9, 1917

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
REGINO BLANCO, defendant-appellant.

Basilio Aromin for appellant.


Attorney-General Avanceña for appellee.

CARSON, J.:

The defendant and appellant was convicted originally in the court of the justice of peace
of the municipality of Castillejos, Province of Zambales, and fined P25 on a charge of
violation of an ordinance of that municipality prohibiting and penalizing the obstruction
of the public highways. On appeal to the Court of First Instance of the Province of
Zambales, the accused was again convicted and fined P25. The case in before us on
appeal from the judgment entered in the Court of First Instance.

Having in mind the provisions of Act No. 2677 enacted since this appeal was perfected,
expressly authorizing appeals in cases of this kind, we do not stop to consider the
contentions of the parties as to the merely procedural question touching the proper
disposition of this appeal under the law in force prior to the enactment of that statute.

On this appeal counsel relies wholly upon his contentions —

First. That a doubt arises as to whether the ordinance in question was in force at the date
of its alleged violation. Section 9 of the ordinance reads as follows:

Esta ordenanza entrara en vigor desde su aprobacion por la honorable Junta


Provincial. (This ordinance will take effect from the date of its approval by the
honorable provincial board.)

Counsel contends that since no affirmative proof was offered in the court below as to the
date of approval of the ordinance, the court had no evidence before it on which to base a
finding that the ordinance was in force at the date of its alleged violation.

We have no doubt, however, that the court of a justice of the peace may, and should, take
judicial notice of the municipal ordinances in force in the municipality wherein it sits;
and we are furthermore of the opinion that in an appeal from the judgment of a court of
the justice of the peace the appellate courts may take judicial notice of municipal
ordinances in force in the municipality wherein the case originated, and to that end may
adopt the findings and conclusions of the court of the justice of the peace in that regard as
developed by the record, in the absence of affirmative proof that such findings and
conclusions are erroneous. (U. S. vs. Hernandez, 31 Phil. Rep., 342; Cf. sec. 51, Manila
Charter.)

The doctrine is well stated by Judge McQuillin in the following citation from his work on
Municipal Corporations, and we are of the opinion that under the judicial system in force
in these Islands, the rule which should be adopted is that set forth in the last paragraph of
the citation as the "better view" with regard to the matter dealt therein:

Par. 849. Courts will judicially notice the charter or incorporating act of a
municipal corporation without being specially pleaded, not only when it is public
or general in its nature or purposes. But state courts will not take judicial notice of
ordinances of municipal corporations; hence as mentioned, they must be pleaded
with as much certainty of description as to their subject-matter as a contract or
other private paper.

Courts of the state take judicial notice of public laws of the state. Ordinances
when legally enacted operate throughout the limits of the city in like manner as
public laws operate within the state limits. The city or municipal courts bear the
same relation to ordinances of the city as the state courts do to the public laws of
the state. Hence, on principle, the municipal courts may for like reason take
judicial notice of all city ordinances of a general nature, or those having a general
obligatory force throughout the city. And the rule that courts will not take judicial
notice of municipal ordinances does not apply to police courts and city courts,
which have jurisdiction of complaints for the enforcement of ordinances. They
will take judicial notice of their ordinances, without allegation or proof of their
existence.

Par. 861. While, as we have seen, municipal or city courts will take notice of the
ordinances and resolutions passed and in force within the jurisdiction of the court,
without being pleaded and proved, in many jurisdictions it is held, and the weight
of authority seems to be that, on appeal from such courts to a state the latter will
not take judicial notice of ordinances unless they have been pleaded in the
municipal or city court and set out in the record. But the better view appears to be
that where an action for the violation of an ordinance has been commenced in a
municipal or police court and the case is appealed, the latter court, whether state
or municipal, will take judicial notice of the incorporation of the city and of the
existence or substance of its ordinances.

It has been suggested that the doctrine thus stated should not be followed in this
jurisdiction, because our statutes providing for appeals from municipal courts to Courts
of First Instance, contemplate and prescribe trials de novo.
We think that the following citations of authority sufficiently dispose of this contention,
having in mind the provisions of our statute which in both civil and criminal cases
authorize the trial de novo of cases appealed to a Court of First Instance to proceed on the
complaint submitted in the court of the justice of the peace or the municipal court
wherein the case originated. (Art. 112, Code of Civ. Proc.)

Municipal courts, and the circuit courts on trials de novo on appeal from them,
will take judicial notice not only of the ordinances of a city, but of such journals
and records of the common council as affect their validity, meaning, and
construction, just as state courts take official notice of the public statutes of the
State and the journals of the legislature. (Portland vs. Yick, 44 Ore., 439.)

When the case was taken on appeal from the police court to the district court, it
was not only within the power, but it was the duty of the district court to try the
case in the same manner that it should be tried before the police court. The district
court was in fact substituted for the police court have taken judicial notice of
while the case was in that court, the district court could and should have taken
judicial notice of after the removal of the case to the district court. (Smith vs. City
of Emporia, 27 Kan, 528, 530.)

Where an action for the violation of a city ordinance is commenced and


prosecuted to conviction and sentence before the police judge of such city, and the
case is then taken by the defendant on appeal to the district court the district court
should, with reference to such case, take existence and substance of its
ordinances. (City of Solomon vs. Hughes, 24 Kan., 154.)

As shedding some light upon the contentions raised by counsel in this connection, we
insert here a citation from Dillon on Municipal Corporations, which, read together with
the citations in the noted appended by the author, indicates quite clearly the line of
reasoning upon which the courts in the United States have proceeded in cases of this
kind:

Mode of pleading ordinances. — The courts, unless they are the courts of the
municipality, do not judicially notice the ordinances of a municipal corporation,
unless directed by charter or statute to do so. Therefore, such ordinances, when
sought to be enforced by action, or when set up by the defendant as a protection,
should be set out or stated in substance in the pleading. It has been sometimes
decided that it is not sufficient that they be referred to generally by the title or
section. It is, however, believed to be sufficient, in the absence of special
legislative provisions prescribing the manner of pleading, to set forth the legal
substance of that part of the ordinance alleged to have been violated, it being
advisable, for the purposes of identification, to refer also to the tile, date and
section. The liberal rules of pleading and practice which characterize modern
judicial proceedings should extend to, and doubtless would be held to embrace,
suits and prosecutions to enforce the by-laws or ordinances of municipal
corporations. (Dillon on Corporations, sec. 413 (346).)
Second. It is contented further, that the ordinance having been enacted under authority of
the provisions of article 39, subsection (j) of Act No. 82 (The Municipal Code), and that
Code having been repealed by the enactment of the Administrative Code, the ordinance
should be deemed to have been abrogated at the same time. It is sufficient answer to this
contention to indicate that the Administrative Code, while it repealed the Municipal
Code, conferred upon and confirmed to all duly organized municipalities the power to
enact and maintain ordinances such as that now under consideration, in substantially the
same language as that found in the Municipal Code. (Cf. Administrative Code, sec. 2242,
subsecs. (e) and (h).

Section 3 of the Administrative Code expressly provides that the provisions of that Code
incorporating prior laws shall be deemed to be made in continuation thereof, and to be in
the nature of amendments thereto, without prejudice to any right already accrued.

It follows that the enactment of the Administrative Code did not have effect of abrogating
or repealing a municipal ordinance enacted and maintained in the exercise of a power
confirmed to the municipality by the code itself. lawph!1.net

We find no error in the proceedings prejudicial to the rights of the accused; and conclude
that the judgment entered in the court below should be affirmed with the costs of this
instance against the appellant. So ordered.

Arellano, C. J., Araullo, and Street, JJ., concur.


Torres, Johnson, and Avanceña, JJ., took no part.

Separate Opinions

MALCOLM, J., concurring:

I concur. I am glad to note that this decision has the effect of nullifying the obiter dicta to
be found in the United States vs. Ong Yec So ([1915] 31 Phil., 202) to the effect that
"from the express terms of the statute it is clear that the penalty prescribed in case of
recidivism can be imposed only in those cases wherein there has been a previous
conviction under this statute, and that a former conviction under the old law is not
sufficient for that purpose."

Just as the Administrative Code is a "continuation" of the Municipal Code, so is the


present Opium Law a "continuation" of the anterior Opium Law.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-7969 October 5, 1912

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
CHUA MO, defendant-appellant.

Jos. N. Wolfson, for appellant.


Office of the Solicitor General Harvey, for appellee.

JOHNSON, J.:

This defendant was charged with the illegal possession of opium, in violation of the
provisions of the Opium Law.

After hearing the evidence, the Honorable A.S. Crossfield, judge found the
defendant guilty of the crime charged in the complaint, and sentenced him to pay a fine
of P300 and the costs of the action, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.

From that sentence the defendant appealed. The defendant alleged in his defense in
this court that the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila did not have jurisdiction to
try him; that the testimony adduced during the trial of the cause fails to show where the
offense was committed.

The complaint filed in the present cause alleges that "on or about the 19th of
March, 1912, in the city of Manila, Philippine Islands, the said Chua Mo, voluntarily,
illegally and criminally was the owner and had in his possession and under his control" a
certain quantity of opium.

The judge of the lower court, after hearing the evidence, made the following
findings of facts:

From the evidence presented at the trial, I find that internal revenue agents
went to the place described as 717 Calle Sacristia in the city of Manila, and
entering the premises there found the defendant, etc.
It appears, therefore, that the complaint charges that the crime was committed in
the city of Manila. The judge who tried the cause found from the evidence presented that
the crime was committed in the city of Manila. An examination of the evidence adduced
during the trial shows simply that the internal revenue agents, on or about the 19th of
March, 192, entered the residence at 717 Calle Sacristia, etc., etc. There is nothing in the
record which shows where or in what political division of the Philippine Islands the said
residence at No. 717 Calle Sacristia is located. The judge of the lower court evidently
took judicial notice of the fact that Calle Sacristia was one of the public streets of the city
of Manila. We have then the question presented whether or not a trial judge can take
judicial notice of the fact that a certain public street is located in a certain city or political
division of the Philippine Islands. Section 275 of the Code of Procedure in Civil Actions
(Act No. 190) provides:

Matters judicially recognized.—The existence and territorial extent of


states, and of the several islands forming the Philippine Archipelago, their forms
of government, and symbols of nationality, the laws of nations, the admirality and
maritime and history of the United States and of the Philippine Islands, the seals
of the several departments of the Government of the United States, and of the
States of the Union, and of the Philippine Islands, public and private, and officials
acts of the legislative, executive, and judicial departments of the United States and
of the Philippine Islands, the laws of nature, and the measure of time, the
geographical divisions and of political history of the world, and all similar
matters of public knowledge shall be judicially recognized by the court without
the introduction of proof; but the court may receive evidence upon any of the
subjects in this section stated, when it shall find it necessary for its own
information, and may resort for its aid to appropriate books, documents, or
evidence.

In the case of Marzon vs. Udtujan (20 Phil. rep., 232), this court held, under the
provisions of section 275 above quoted, that the trial court had a right to take judicial
notice of the fact that a certain municipality or barrio was within its jurisdiction.

In the present case the question presented is whether or not the trial court had a
right to take judicial notice of the fact that certain house, upon a certain street, was within
a city in its jurisdiction. Said section 275 above quoted provides that trial courts may take
judicial notice, among other things, of the geographical division of the state. Cities and
municipalities are created by public law. Their limits are also prescribed by public law.
The streets are laid out, surveyed and established by virtue of public authority. In the
present case the complaint alleged that the crime was committed in the city of Manila.
The court, in his findings of fact "from the evidence, found that the crime was committed
in the city of Manila." We are of the opinion and so hold that the lower court was
authorized, under provisions of section 275, to take judicial notice of the fact that the
house located at No. 717 Calle Sacristia, was located within the city of Manila.
Mr. Justice Gray, of the Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of Jones
vs. United States (137 U.S., 202) in discussing the right of the court to take judicial notice
of territorial extent, said:

All courts of justice are bound to take judicial notice of the territorial extent of the
jurisdiction exercised by the government whose laws they administer . . . as appearing
from the public acts of the legislature and executive, although those acts are not formally
put in evidence nor are in accord with the pleadings." (U.S. vs. Reynes, 9 How., 127;
Kennett vs. Chambers, 14 How., 38; Hoyt vs. Russell, 117 U. S., 401-404; Coffee vs.
Grover, 123 U.S., 1; State vs. Dunwell, 3 R. I., 127; State vs. Wagner, 61 Me., 178;
Taylor vs. Barclay, 2 Sim., 213.)

So far as the facts of the political organization and operation of the State are
determined by law, they are judicially notices as a part of the law. The chief difficulty
comes in distinguishing between what is contained solely and abstractly in the law and
what depends more or less on specific official acts done under the law or upon the
application of the terms of the law to concrete things. Courts should be permitted to give
a liberal interpretation to the law permitting them to take judicial notice of the facts
mentioned in such laws, especially when a technical interpretation would have the effect
of defeating the very purpose and object of the law. (Wigmore on Evidence, sec. 2575.)

In the case of Master vs. Morse (18 Utah, 21) it was held that courts might take
judicial notice that a certain city had been surveyed into lots, blocks and streets and that
judicial notice would be taken of such divisions. 1awphil.net

In the case of "The Apollon" (9 Wheaton, 362-374) the Supreme Court of the
United States held that "public facts of geographical divisions might be taken judicial
notice of."

In the case of Peyrox vs. Howard (7 Peters, 324-342), the Supreme Court of the
United States held that the court would take judicial notice of the fact that the port of
New Orleans was within its jurisdiction, as depending on the ebb and flow of the tide.

In the case of Board vs. State (147 Ind., 476) the supreme court of the State of
Indiana held that trial courts might take judicial notice of the area and boundary lines of a
county.

The cases holding that courts may take judicial notice of the fact that certain towns
are within the limits of the jurisdiction of the courts are almost innumerable. (St. Louis I.
M. and S. Ry. Co. vs. Magness, 68 Mo., 289; People vs. Etting, 99 Cal., 577; People vs.
Faust, 113 Cal., 172; State vs. Powers, 25 Conn., 48; Perry vs. State, 113 Ga., 936;
Gilbert vs. National C. R. Co., 176 Ill., 288; Ham vs. Ham, 39 Me. 263; Commonwealth
vs. Desmond, 103 Mass., 445; Baumann vs. Trust Co., 66 Minn., 227.)
In the case of Gardner vs. Eberhart (82 Ill., 316), the supreme court of Illinois held
that the trial courts had authority to take judicial notice of the subdivision of towns and
city property into blocks, lots, etc. (See also Sever vs. Lyons, 170 Ill., 395.)

We believe, considering the ample provisions of said section 275 and the
jurisprudence already established by reputable courts, that we have authority for holding
that the lower court committed no error in taking judicial notice of the fact that the place
where the crime was committed was within its jurisdiction. Therefore the sentence of the
lower court is hereby affirmed, with costs. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Mapa and Carson, JJ., concur.


Trent, J., dissents.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Baguio City

FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 182114 April 5, 2010

GENESIS TRANSPORT SERVICE, INC. and RELY L. JALBUNA, Petitioners,


vs.
UNYON NG MALAYANG MANGGAGAWA NG GENESIS TRANSPORT
(UMMGT), and JUAN TAROY, Respondents.

DECISION

CARPIO MORALES, J.:

Respondent Juan Taroy was hired on February 2, 1992 by petitioner Genesis Transport
Service, Inc. (Genesis Transport) as driver on commission basis at 9% of the gross
revenue per trip.

On May 10, 2002, Taroy was, after due notice and hearing, terminated from employment
after an accident on April 20, 2002 where he was deemed to have been driving recklessly.

Taroy thus filed on June 7, 2002 a complaint1 for illegal dismissal and payment of service
incentive leave pay, claiming that he was singled out for termination because of his union
activities, other drivers who had met accidents not having been dismissed from
employment.

Taroy later amended2 his complaint to implead his herein co-respondent Unyon ng
Malayang Manggagawa ng Genesis Transport (the union) as complainant and add as
grounds of his cause of action unfair labor practice (ULP), reimbursement of illegal
deductions on tollgate fees, and payment of service incentive leave pay.
Respecting the claim for refund of illegal deductions, Taroy alleged that in 1997,
petitioner started deducting from his weekly earnings an amount ranging from P160 to
P900 representing toll fees, without his consent and written authorization as required
under Article 113 of the Labor Code and contrary to company practice; and that
deductions were also taken from the bus conductor’s earnings to thus result to double
deduction.

Genesis Transport countered that Taroy committed several violations of company rules
for which he was given warnings or disciplined accordingly; that those violations, the last
of which was the April 20, 2002 incident, included poor driving skills, tardiness,
gambling inside the premises, use of shabu, smoking while driving, insubordination and
reckless driving;3 and that Taroy’s dismissal was on a valid cause and after affording him
due process.

In support of its claim that Taroy was afforded due process, Genesis Transport cited his
preventive suspension; the directive for him to explain in writing4 his involvement in the
April 20, 2002 accident; and the conduct of a hearing during which the expert opinion of
its Maintenance Department, as well as an independent entity – the Columbian Motors
Corporation,5 was considered in the determination of whether the accident was due to his
reckless driving or, as he contended, to faulty brakes.

Genesis Transport went on to claim that as the result of the investigation6 showed that the
cause of the accident was Taroy’s reckless driving, and his immediate past infraction of
company rules on January 25, 2001 – smoking inside the bus – already merited a final
warning,7 it validly terminated8 his employment.

By Decision9 of June 30, 2004, the Labor Arbiter found that Genesis Transport
discharged the burden of proof that Taroy’s dismissal was on a valid cause; that while
Taroy’s past infractions can not be used against him, still, they showed habituality; and
that Genesis Transport complied with the twin requirements of notice and hearing, hence,
Taroy’s dismissal was effected with due process.

As to the charge of ULP, the Labor Arbiter ruled that the respondent union failed to
prove that Taroy’s dismissal was due to his union membership and/or activities.

On the claim for service incentive leave pay, the Labor Arbiter ruled that Taroy was not
entitled thereto since he was a field personnel paid on commission basis.

With respect to Taroy’s claim for refund, however, the Labor Arbiter ruled in his favor
for if, as contended by Genesis Transport, tollgate fees form part of overhead expense,
why were not expenses for fuel and maintenance also charged to overhead expense. The
Labor Arbiter thus concluded that "it would appear that the tollgate fees are deducted
from the gross revenues and not from the salaries of drivers and conductors, but certainly
the deduction thereof diminishes the take home pay of the employees."

Thus, the Labor Arbiter disposed:


WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered dismissing instant
complaint for illegal dismissal for lack of merit. However, respondents are hereby
ordered to refund to complainant the underpayment/differential due him as a result of the
deduction of the tollgate fees from the gross receipts. Actual computation shall be based
on and limited to the evidence at hand, which is in the amount of P5,273.16. For having
been compelled to litigate, respondents are hereby also ordered to pay complainant 10%
attorney’s fees. (underscoring supplied)

Both parties appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC), petitioners
questioning the order for them to refund "underpayment" and pay attorney’s fees, and
respondents questioning the Labor Arbiter’s failure to pass on the propriety of his
preventive suspension, dismissal of his complaint for constructive dismissal and ULP,
and failure to award him service incentive leave pay.

By Resolution of December 29, 2005, the NLRC affirmed the Labor Arbiter’s decision
with modification. It deleted the award to Taroy of attorney’s fees. It brushed aside
Taroy’s claim of having been illegally suspended, it having been raised for the first time
on appeal.

The parties filed their respective motions for reconsideration which were denied.

On respondents’ appeal, the Court of Appeals, by the assailed Decision of August 24,
2007, partly granted the same, it ruling that petitioner Genesis Transport violated Taroy’s
statutory right to due process when he was preventively suspended for more than thirty
(30) days, in violation of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Labor Code.

The appellate court thus held Taroy to be entitled to nominal damages in the amount of
P30,000. And it reinstated the Labor Arbiter’s order for petitioners to refund Taroy "the
underpayment."

Their motion for reconsideration having been denied by Resolution of March 13, 2008,
petitioners filed the present recourse.

On the issue of refund of "underpayment," petitioners aver that cases of similar import
involving also the respondent union have been decided with finality in their favor by the
NLRC, viz: UMMGT v. Genesis Transport Service, Inc. (NLRC RAB III Case No. 04-
518-03) and Reyes v. Genesis Transport Service, Inc. (NLRC CA No. 04862-04); and
Santos v. Genesis Transport Service, Inc. (NLRC CA No. 041869-04).

Petitioners thus pray that the Court accord respect to the rulings of the NLRC in the
above-cited cases and apply the principle of res judicata vis-à-vis the present case.

On the appellate court’s award of nominal damages, petitioners reiterate that Taroy was
not entitled thereto, his dismissal having been based on a valid cause, and he was
accorded due process.
Further, petitioners note that the issue of preventive suspension, on which the appellate
court based its ruling that it violated Taroy’s right to due process, was raised only on
appeal to the NLRC, hence, it should not be considered.

Finally, petitioners assert that the delay in the service of the Notice of Dismissal (dated
May 10, 2002, but received by Taroy only on June 4, 2002) was due to Taroy’s
premeditated refusal to acknowledge receipt thereof.

The petition is partly meritorious.

Absent proof that the NLRC cases cited by petitioners have attained finality, the Court
may not consider them to constitute res judicata on petitioners’ claim for refund of the
"underpayment" due Taroy.

Neither may the Court take judicial notice of petitioners’ claim that the deduction of
tollgate fees from the gross earnings of drivers is an accepted and long-standing practice
in the transportation industry. Expertravel & Tours, Inc. v. Court of Appeals10 instructs:

Generally speaking, matters of judicial notice have three material requisites: (1) the
matter must be one of common and general knowledge; (2) it must be well and
authoritatively settled and not doubtful or uncertain; and (3) it must be known to be
within the limits of the jurisdiction of the court. The principal guide in determining what
facts may be assumed to be judicially known is that of notoriety. Hence, it can be said
that judicial notice is limited to facts evidenced by public records and facts of general
notoriety. Moreover, a judicially noticed fact must be one not subject to a reasonable
dispute in that it is either: (1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the
trial court; or (2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resorting to sources
whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questionable.

Things of "common knowledge," of which courts take judicial matters coming to the
knowledge of men generally in the course of the ordinary experiences of life, or they may
be matters which are generally accepted by mankind as true and are capable of ready and
unquestioned demonstration. Thus, facts which are universally known, and which may be
found in encyclopedias, dictionaries or other publications, are judicially noticed,
provided, they are of such universal notoriety and so generally understood that they may
be regarded as forming part of the common knowledge of every person. As the common
knowledge of man ranges far and wide, a wide variety of particular facts have been
judicially noticed as being matters of common knowledge. But a court cannot take
judicial notice of any fact which, in part, is dependent on the existence or non-existence
of a fact of which the court has no constructive knowledge. (emphasis supplied)

None of the material requisites for the Court to take judicial notice of a particular matter
was established by petitioners.

Albeit the amounts representing tollgate fees were deducted from gross revenues and not
directly from Taroy’s commissions, the labor tribunal and the appellate court correctly
held that the withholding of those amounts reduced the amount from which Taroy’s 9%
commission would be computed. Such a computation not only marks a change in the
method of payment of wages, resulting in a diminution of Taroy’s wages in violation of
Article 113 vis-à-vis Article 100 of the Labor Code, as amended. It need not be
underlined that without Taroy’s written consent or authorization, the deduction is
considered illegal.

Besides, the invocation of the rule on "company practice" is generally used with respect
to the grant of additional benefits to employees, not on issues involving diminution of
benefits.

Respecting the issue of statutory due process, the Court holds that Taroy’s right thereto
was not violated. Sections 8 and 9 of Rule XXIII, Book V of the Implementing Rules and
Regulations of the Labor Code provide:

Section 8. Preventive suspension. – The employer may place the worker concerned under
preventive suspension if his continued employment poses a serious and imminent threat
to the life or property of the employer or his co-workers.

xxxx

Section 9. Period of Suspension – No preventive suspension shall last longer than


thirty (30) days. The employer shall thereafter reinstate the worker in his former or in a
substantially equivalent position or the employer may extend the period of suspension
provided that during the period of extension, he pays the wages and other benefits due to
the worker. In such case, the worker shall not be bound to reimburse the amount paid to
him during the extension if the employer decides, after completion of the hearing, to
dismiss the worker. (emphasis supplied)

To the appellate court, Genesis Transport’s act of "placing Taroy under preventive
suspension for more than thirty (30) days was a predetermined effort to dismiss [him]
from employment, negating the argument that the delay in the service of the notice of
dismissal was not an issue and that the same was allegedly due to Taroy’s inaction to
receive the same." Hence, the appellate court concluded, while there was a just and valid
cause for the termination of his services, his right to statutory due process was violated to
entitle him to nominal damages, following Agabon v. NLRC.11

The propriety of Taroy’s preventive suspension was raised by respondents for the first
time on appeal, however. The well-settled rule, which also applies in labor cases, is that
issues not raised below cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. Points of law,
theories, issues and arguments not brought to the attention of the lower court need not be,
and ordinarily will not be, considered by the reviewing court, as they cannot be raised for
the first time at that late stage. Basic considerations of due process impel the adoption of
this rule.12
In any event, what the Rules require is that the employer act on the suspended worker’s
status of employment within the 30-day period by concluding the investigation either by
absolving him of the charges, or meting the corresponding penalty if liable, or ultimately
dismissing him. If the suspension exceeds the 30-day period without any corresponding
action on the part of the employer, the employer must reinstate the employee or extend
the period of suspension, provided the employee’s wages and benefits are paid in the
interim.

In the present case, petitioner company had until May 20, 2002 to act on Taroy’s case. It
did by terminating him through a notice dated May 10, 2002, hence, the 30-day
requirement was not violated even if the termination notice was received only on June 4,
2002, absent any showing that the delayed service of the notice on Taroy was attributable
to Genesis Transport.

Taroy’s statutory due process not having been violated, he is not entitled to the award of
nominal damages.

WHEREFORE, the challenged Court of Appeals’ Decision of August 24, 2007 and
Resolution13 of March 13, 2008 are AFFIRMED, with the MODIFICATION that the
award of nominal damages to respondent Juan Taroy is DELETED.

SO ORDERED.

CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES


Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice
Chairperson

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE
LUCAS P. BERSAMIN
CASTRO
Associate Justice
Associate Justice

MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR.


Associate Justice

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, I certify that the conclusions in
the above decision had been reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the
writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.
REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

Footnotes
1
NLRC records, pp. 1-2.
2
Id. at 7-9.
3
See various memoranda on infractions, id. at 38-60.
4
See memorandum dated April 20, 2002, id. at 61.
5
See memorandum and letter, id. at 77-80.
6
See written explanation, various minutes/reports as to incident, id. at 62-76.
7
See memorandum dated January 29, 2001, id. at 60.
8
See "Desisyon sa Aksidente ng Bus #887" dated May 10, 2002, id. at 81-86.
9
Id. at 123-136. Penned by Labor Arbiter Leandro M. Jose.
10
G.R. No. 152392, 26 May 2005, 459 SCRA 147, 162.
11
G.R. No. 158693, November 17, 2004, 442 SCRA 573.
12
Pag-Asa Steel Works v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 166647, March 31, 2006,
486 SCRA 475.
13
Rollo, pp. 53-54. Penned by Associate Justice Josefina Guevara-Salonga and
concurred in by Associate Justices Ramon R. Garcia and Vicente Q. Roxas.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

FIRST DIVISION

G.R. No. 119288 August 18, 1997

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, represented by THE DIRECTOR OF


LANDS, petitioner,
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS and JOSEFA GACOT, respondents.

RESOLUTION

VITUG, J.:

The Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Director of Lands, prays in


the instant petition for review on certiorari for the annulment of the decision,
dated 22 February 1995, of the Court of Appeals affirming the 12th August 1993
judgment of the Regional Trial Court of Palawan (Branch 50-Puerto Princesa)
which has adjudicated Lot No. 5367 in Cadastral Case No. 13, GLRO Cadastral
Record No. 1133, to herein private respondent, now deceased Josefa Gacot, the
claimant in the cadastral case.

The antecedents are amply summarized in the appealed decision of the Court of
Appeals, viz:

The entire lot 5367 is being claimed by Josefa Gacot as per answer she filed on June 7,
1971. It appears from the record that the lot is located in Barangay Los Angeles,
Magsaysay, Palawan but the area was not indicated. It also appeared that Ceferino
Sabenacio is her co-owner.

This case was set for hearing on August 9, 1990 and the petitioner was represented by
Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Reynaldo Guayco and Rogelio Paglinawan, Community
Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) of Puerto Princesa City while the
claimant appeared without counsel. In view thereof, the hearing was reset to August 13,
1990. Before the scheduled hearing on August 13, 1990, the Court received a report from
the Land Registration Authority calling the Court's attention of the decision rendered by
Judge Lorenzo Garlitos on October 20, 1950 declaring this lot as property of the Republic
of the Philippines. Despite this declaration however, the petitioner nor the government did
not bar the claimant from filing her answer, possessing and occupying the lot and in fact
accepted her tax payments and issuing her tax declaration on the same.

The claimant presented herself as witness as well as her son, Vicente Dantic, Jr. The
witnesses testified that Josefa Gacot was married to Vicente Dantic, Sr. in 1940 and were
in actual possession of the property for more than 30 years, having bought the same from
Cipriana Dantic-Llanera as per deed of sale dated April 22, 1955 in Cuyono dialect
(Exhibit 1 and 1-A). Since she acquired the property from Cipriana Llanera, she
continued her occupation and introduced improvements thereon as well as declared Lot
5367 for taxation purposes in her name (Exhibit 2) and paid the corresponding taxes
thereon up to the present time (Exhibit 3). That claimant is now a widow and has 5
children namely, Hernando Dantic, Antero Dantic, Felipe Dantic, Fe Dantic and Vicente
Dantic, Jr.

Cipriano Sabenacio, the alleged co-owner of claimant Josefa Gacot appeared in Court
and manifested that he is waiving his claim over Lot 5367 in favor of Josefa Gacot who is
in actual possession of the property as he is only a boundary owner.
After the presentation of claimant and her son, they offered their exhibits and rested their
case. Thereafter, the petitioner thru counsel manifested that it is not presenting
controverting evidence and is submitting the case for resolution. 1

On 05 September 1990, the trial court rendered judgment adjudicating Lot No.
5367 to Josefa Gacot, thus —

WHEREFORE, this Court finds the claim of Josefa Gacot Dantic to be in order.
Accordingly, Lot 5367 is hereby adjudicated to Josefa Gacot-Dantic, widow and a
resident of Barangay Los Angeles, Magsaysay, Palawan with all the improvements the,
eon, subject to the estate tax as provided by law.

SO ORDERED. 2

The Republic, through the Solicitor General, elevated the case to the Court of
Appeals.

During the pendency of the appeal, the Office of the Solicitor General was able to
verify that Lot 5367 was earlier declared to be the property of the Republic in a
decision rendered by Judge Lorenzo Garlitos on 20 October 1950 following an
order of general default. The Solicitor General thus filed a motion with the
appellate court to have the case reopened and remanded to the court a quo to
allow the Republic of the Philippines to present the decision of Judge Garlitos. In
its resolution, dated 26 December 1991, the Court of Appeals granted the
motion.

What transpired thereafter was narrated by the trial court in its 12th August 1993
decision; viz:

This case was set for hearing several times for the government to present its evidence
and for the parties to submit their respective memorandum in support of their respective
stand on the matter. The claimant submitted her memorandum while the government
represented by the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor assigned to this sala has not
presented any witness to support the government's claim, neither has he submitted any
memorandum to support the government's stand on this matter.

With the foregoing development, the Court is of the opinion that the subsequent
application or claim of Josefa Gacot-Dantic on Lot 5367 which became part of the public
domain where her occupation thereto having been open to the whole world, public and
notorious in the concept of an owner since 38 years ago was well taken and therefore
entitled to the lawful adjudication of Lot 5367 in her name. Besides, the government
represented by the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor and the Community Environment and
Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) for Puerto Princesa City and Cuyo, Palawan have
not made any protest nor interposed any objection on the claim of Josefa Gacot during
the hearings. Neither was there a manifestation of protest or claim of government use
coming from the municipal officials of Magsaysay, Palawan despite notice sent to them of
the cadastral hearing. And the sad part was that the government had accepted without
any protest all the taxes due the property paid by the claimant religiously. This is not to
say that this order has been considered in the previous decision of this Court which is
hereunder quoted as follows:
xxx xxx xxx

With this finding of the Court, it is its considered opinion and so holds, that there is no
reason to disturb its previous decision aforequoted. 3

An appeal was taken by the Republic from the decision of the trial court. In its
now assailed decision of 22 February 1995, the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto
the judgment of the trial court. The appellate court ratiocinated:

In its brief, the Office of the Solicitor General claims that "records of the re-hearing show
that on October 20, 1950, an order was, indeed, issued by Judge Lorenzo C. Garlitos of
the Court of First Instance of Palawan, 7th Judicial District, declaring that Lot No. 5367
was among lots declared as property of the Republic of the Philippines." (p. 3, Appellant's
Brief, p. 19, Rec.) It now invokes Republic Act No. 931, approved on June 30, 1953 and
Republic Act No. 2061, which took effect on June 30, 1958, both laws setting the time
limits for the filing of applications, among other things, for the reopening of judicial
proceedings on certain lands which were declared public land. Under R.A. 2061, the time
for filing an application shall not extend beyond December 31, 1968. Thus, petitioner-
appellant argues that since claimant-appellee Josefa Gacot filed her answer only on 07
June 1971, the court a quo did not acquire jurisdiction over the instant claim since she did
not file her answer within the period fixed by R.A. No. 2061.

This would be true, if the Order dated 20 October 1950 of Judge Lorenzo Garlitos
declaring Lot No. 5367 as property of the Republic of the Philippines, was presented as
evidence in the rehearing of this case. Unfortunately, the Republic of the Philippines
failed to offer as its exhibit the said order. There is no basis for the appellant, therefore, to
invoke R.A. 2061, to support its claim that claimant-appellee Josefa Gacot filed her
answer beyond the period fixed by said law and therefore the court a quo did not acquire
jurisdiction over the case.

Precisely, the purpose of the rehearing was to enable the Republic of the Philippines,
thru the Office of the Solicitor General, to present in evidence the said order. The Solicitor
General, in its Motion dated 21 May 1991, prayed that with regards to Lot No. 5367 "the
proceedings therein be ordered reopened and the same be remanded to the court a quo
to enable the Republic of the Philippines to present the judgment dated October 20, 1950
of Judge Lorenzo Garlitos declaring Lot No. 5367 as government property." (pp. 30-31,
Rollo) [Emphasis Ours]

This Court granted the motion and ordered the records of the case remanded to the court
a quo for further proceedings "to enable the government to present in evidence the
judgment dated October 20, 1950, declaring Lot No. 5367 as government property . . ."
(p. 42, Rollo) [Emphasis Ours]

During the rehearing, however, the Government failed to present the said order of Judge
Garlitos in evidence. Thus, the court a quo said in its appealed decision:

This case was set for hearing several times for the government to
present its evidence and for the parties to submit their respective
memoranda in support of their respective stand on the matter. The
claimant submitted her memorandum while the government represented
by the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor has not presented any witness to
present the government's claim neither has he submitted any
memorandum to support the government's stand on this matter." (see p.
92, Rollo) [Emphasis Ours]
It is the rule that "The court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally
offered." (Rule 132, Sec. 34) It is true that the Order of 20 October 1950 has been
appended to the records of this case (see p. 19, Rec.). But it is misleading on the part of
the Solicitor General to state that "Records of the rehearing show that on October 20,
1950, an order was, indeed, issued by Judge Lorenzo C. Garlitos . . . ." For, during the
rehearing, as reflected in the appealed decision, the government did not present any
evidence nor any memorandum despite having been ordered by the court a quo.

"Neither can We take judicial notice of the Order of Judge Garlitos. As a general rule,
courts are not authorized to take judicial knowledge of the contents of the record of other
cases, in the adjudication of cases pending before them, even though the trial judge in
fact knows or remembers the contents thereof, or even when said other cases have been
heard or are pending in the same court and notwithstanding the fact that both cases may
have been heard or are really pending before the same judge. (Municipal Council vs.
Colegio de San Jose, et al., G.R. No. L-45460; 31 C.J.S. 623-624; cited in p. 25,
Evidence, Second Ed.; R.J. Francisco) Indeed, the Government missed its opportunity to
have the claim of Josefa Gacot, the herein appellee, declared as a nullity, considering
that no evidence was presented by it in opposition thereto. 4

In the instant petition, the Republic, assigning a sole error, contends


that —

THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS (HAS) ERRED IN RULING THAT THERE IS


NO BASIS FOR PETITIONER TO INVOKE R.A. No. 2061 TO SUPPORT ITS CLAIM
THAT JOSEFA GACOT FILED HER ANSWER BEYOND THE PERIOD FIXED BY THE
SAID LAW AND THEREFORE THE TRIAL COURT DID NOT ACQUIRE JURISDICTION
OVER THE CASE, SINCE IT (HAS) FAILED TO OFFER AS ITS EXHIBIT THE ORDER,
DATED OCTOBER 20, 1950 OF JUDGE LORENZO GARLITOS. 5

The Solicitor General explains that the records of the reopened case would show
that a certified copy of the decision, dated 20 October 1950, of Judge Garlitos
has been appended to page 19 thereof. It is not evident, however, why the
Assistant Provincial Prosecutor and the Community Environment and Natural
Resources Officer ("CENRO") for Puerto Princesa, representing the government
during the rehearing, did not present it. The Solicitor General, nevertheless,
invokes the rule that the Republic is not estopped by the mistake or error on the
part of its officials or agents.

In the meantime, Josefa Gacot passed away. The Solicitor General thereupon
moved that the heirs of Josefa Gacot be impleaded party respondents in
substitution for the deceased. The motion was granted, and the heirs were
directed to comment on the government's petition.

To this day, private respondents have not submitted their comment. The Court,
however, cannot allow the case to remain pending and unresolved indefinitely. It
must now dispense, as it hereby dispenses, with such comment in order not to
unduly delay the remand of the case to the trial court for further proceedings.

Let it initially be said that, indeed, the Court realizes the points observed by the
appellate court over which there should be no quarrel. Firstly, that the rules of
procedure 6 and jurisprudence, 7 do not sanction the grant of evidentiary value, 8 in
ordinary trials, 9 of evidence which is not formally offered, and secondly, that
adjective law is not to be taken lightly for, without it, the enforcement of
substantive law may not remain assured. The Court must add, nevertheless, that
technical rules of procedure are not ends in themselves but primarily devised and
designed to help in the proper and expedient dispensation of justice. In
appropriate cases, therefore, the rules may have to be so
construed 10 liberally as to meet and advance the cause of substantial justice.

Furthermore, Section 1, Rule 129, of the Rules of Court provides:

Sec. 1. Judicial notice, when mandatory. — A court shall take judicial notice, without the
introduction of evidence, of the existence and territorial extent of states, their political
history, forms of government and symbols of nationality, the law of nations, the admiralty
and maritime courts of the world and their seals, the political constitution and history of
the Philippines, the official acts of the legislative, executive and judicial departments of
the Philippines, the laws of nature, the measure of time, and the geographical divisions.

Mr. Justice Edgardo L. Paras 11 opined:

A court will take judicial notice of its own acts and records in the same case, of facts
established in prior proceedings in the same case, of the authenticity of its own records of
another case between the same parties, of the files of related cases in the same court,
and of public records on file in the same court. In addition judicial notice will be taken of
the record, pleadings or judgment of a case in another court between the same parties or
involving one of the same parties, as well as of the record of another case between
different parties in the same court. Judicial notice will also be taken of court personnel. 12

The remand of the case would likewise seem to be unavoidable. The area of Lot
No. 5367 claimed and awarded to the late Josefa Gacot had not been specified
in the records. Indeed, on the basis of the Certification of the Forest Management
Services of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Lot No.
5367, per Land Classification (LC) No. 1246 of 15 January 1936, would appear to
contain an area of 394,043 square meters, 300,000 square meters of which were
classified as Alienable and Disposable land and 94,043 square meters as
Timberland, which under Proclamation No. 2152, dated 29 December 1981, had
been included to form part of the Mangrove Swamp Forest Reserve, closed for
entry, exploitation and settlement. 13

It behooves all concerned that the above matters be carefully looked into, albeit
with reasonable dispatch, for the final resolution of this case.

WHEREFORE, the case is REMANDED to the trial court for further proceedings
for it to ascertain and resolve the conflicting claims of the parties conformably
with the foregoing opinion of the Court. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
Padilla, Bellosillo, Kapunan and Hermosisima, Jr., JJ., concur.

Footnotes

1 Rollo, pp. 4-6.

2 Rollo, p. 34.

3 Rollo, pp. 36-38.

4 Rollo, pp. 30-32.

5 Rollo, p. 19.

6 Rule 132, Section 34.

7 Veran vs. Court of Appeals, 157 SCRA 438; De los Reyes vs. IAC, 176 SCRA
394; People vs. Carino, et al., 165 SCRA 664.

8 Vda. De Flores vs. WCC, 78 SCRA 17; Republic vs. Court of Appeals and
People vs. Court of Appeals, 116 SCRA 505;

9 Delos Reyes vs. IAC, 176 SCRA 394.

10 Sec. 2. Construction. — These rules shall be liberally construed in order to


promote their object and to assist the parties in obtaining just, speedy, and
inexpensive determination of every action and proceeding. (Rules of Court)

11 Rules of Court Annotated, Vol. 4, 1991 Ed., p. 52.

12 Citing Graham on Evidence, 1986 ed.

13 See Director of Forestry vs. Munoz, 23 SCRA 1183.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-25314 February 10, 1968

THE MUNICIPALITY OF TACURONG, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
ROSARIO ABRAGAN, ET AL., defendants-appellees.

Estanislao V. Valdez for plaintiff-appellant.


Condrado Gonzales for defendants-appellees.
BENGZON, J. P., J.:

On October 9, 1956, Lot No. 6001, PLS-73, situated in the Municipality of


Tacurong, Cotabato and formerly part of the public domain, was declared by Executive
Proclamation No. 351, as land reserved for Municipal Site Purposes and withdrawn from
sale or settlement. Portions of said land were then occupied by Rosario Abragan, Ramona
Pirales, Teofilo Apilado, Ester Apilado, all for residential purposes, and by the Tacurong
Evangelical Church, for religious purposes.

Years later, on August 29, 1961, the Municipality of Tacurong, through Atty.
Estanislao Valdez, Secretary to the Mayor, filed before the Court of First Instance of
Cotabato, a complaint for recovery of possession of the above-stated land against said
occupants after the latter had allegedly refused repeated demands of the municipality for
them to vacate the land so that the same may be devoted to the purpose reserved by the
proclamation.

The defendants sought on September 18, 1961, to dismiss the complaint, alleging
that it stated no cause of action because Executive Proclamation No. 351 provides for
compensation to occupants for their constructions; and that there was no allegation of any
offer or refusal of compensation prior to the filing of the action. Defendants also claimed
that the complaint should have been filed by the Solicitor General or any attorney
authorized by law.

The court, on February 28, 1962, ruled that the complaint had a sufficient cause of
action and pointed out that the municipality could engage its own counsel to file the case
on its behalf.

On April 5, 1962, however, defendants filed a motion for reconsideration citing a


particular portion of the proclamation which provides: "To protect and safeguard the
interests of certain occupants who in good faith have introduced improvements in the
reservation, the Municipality of Tacurong shall make proper arrangements for the
compensation and/or removal of said improvements." These "arrangements for
compensation" were advanced as conditions precedent to the filing of the complaint and,
since no allegation of fufillment of such conditions was made, defendants maintained that
the complaint did not state a cause of action.

Acting thereon, the court of first instance dismissed the case on the ground that the
complaint did not allege the conditions precedent to the enforcement of the Executive
Proclamation. The same court denied the plaintiff's urgent motion for reconsideration,
rejecting plaintiff's argument that the contents of the proclamation should not have been
considered, with the observation that the Presidential Proclamation is a matter of which
judicial notice may be taken.

The plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeals which in turn certified the case to Us
on questions purely of law.
The purely legal questions are on the sufficiency of the cause of action alleged in
the complaint and the propriety of the court's having taken judicial notice of the
Executive Proclamation.

As a ground for dismissal, lack of a cause of action must appear on the face of the
complaint. And thus to determine whether a complaint states a cause of action, only facts
alleged in the complaint, and no other, should be considered. 1 The complaint at bar after
citing the Executive Proclamation, alleges among other things that:

In view of the desire of the Municipality of Tacurong, Cotabato, to improve


and utilize Lot No. 6001, Pls-73, for the purpose for which it was legally reserved,
notices have been repeatedly served on the above-named defendants to vacate
said premises, but said defendants repeatedly and obstinately refused to vacate
said premises, the notices to that effect notwithstanding and they still continue to
refuse to vacate said lot.2

We consider this to be a sufficient allegation of a cause of action. Though not


alleging that offers for compensation had been made by the municipality, paragraph two 3
of the complaint sufficiently alleges that Executive Proclamation No. 351 had reserved
the land in question for Municipal Park Site purposes. The defendants' alleged right to
compensation under the proclamation is a matter for them to plead as a defense in their
answer and during the trial on the merits.

The judicial notice of the proclamation was not an error on the part of the court
because Executive Proclamations are among the matters within judicial notice under
Section 1, Rule 129 of the Rules of Court. 4 However, We find it an error for the lower
court to have considered that the offer of payment was a condition precedent to the
enforceability of the proclamation. The cited portion of the proclamation does not speak
only of compensation but adds "and/or removal of said improvements," thereby
indicating that payment of compensation does not always have to take place. It is for the
defendants, therefore, to show that they are entitled to compensation and recovery.

WHEREFORE, the dismissal order appealed from is hereby reversed and the case
is remanded to the lower court for further proceedings. No costs. So ordered.

Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Makalintal, Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro, Angeles
and Fernando, JJ., concur.1äwphï1.ñët

Footnotes
1
Remitere v. Montinola Vda. de Yulo,. L-19751, Feb. 28, 1966; Dalandan v. Julio,
L-19101, Feb. 29, 1964.
2
Par. 4 of Complaint, p. 3 of Record on Appeal.
3
P. 2 of Record on Appeal..
4
Formerly, Sec. 5, Rule 123.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 171814 May 8, 2009

SOUTH DAVAO DEVELOPMENT COMPANY, INC. (NOW SODACO


AGRICULTURAL CORPORATION) AND/OR MALONE PACQUIAO AND
VICTOR A. CONSUNJI, Petitioners,
vs.
SERGIO L. GAMO, ERNESTO BELLEZA, FELIX TERONA, CARLOS ROJAS,
MAXIMO MALINAO, VIRGILIO COSEP, ELEONOR COSEP, MAXIMO
TOLDA, NELSON BAGAAN, and TRADE UNION OF THE PHILIPPINES and
ALLIED SERVICES (TUPAS), Respondents.

D E C I S I ON

TINGA, J.:

Before us is a Rule 45 petition1 which seeks the reversal of the Court of Appeals’
decision2 and resolution3 in CA-G.R. SP No. 68511. The Court of Appeal’s decision
reinstated the NLRC’s Resolution4 dated 23 March 2001 which reversed the labor
arbiter’s decision.5

Petitioner South Davao Development Company (petitioner or petitioner corporation) is


the operator of a coconut and mango farm in San Isidro, Davao Oriental and
Inawayan/Baracatan, Davao del Sur. On August 1963 petitioner hired respondent Sergio
L. Gamo (Gamo) as a foreman. Sometime in 1987, petitioner appointed Gamo as a copra
maker contractor. Respondents Ernesto Belleza, Carlos Rojas, Maximo Malinao were all
employees in petitioner’s coconut farm, while respondents Felix Terona, Virgilio Cosep,
Maximo Tolda, and Nelson Bagaan were assigned to petitioner’s mango farm. All of the
abovenamed respondents (copra workers) were later transferred by petitioner to Gamo as
the latter’s copraceros. From 1987 to 1999, Gamo and petitioner entered into a profit-
sharing agreement wherein 70% of the net proceeds of the sale of copra went to petitioner
and 30% to Gamo. The copra workers were paid by Gamo from his 30% share.

Petitioner wanted to standardize payments to its "contractors" in its coconut farms. On 2


October 1999, petitioner proposed a new payment scheme to Gamo. The new scheme
provided a specific price for each copra making activity. Gamo submitted his counter
proposal.6 Petitioner did not accept Gamo’s counter proposal since it was higher by at
least fifty percent (50%) from its original offer. Without agreeing to the new payment
scheme, Gamo and his copra workers started to do harvesting work. Petitioner told them
to stop. Eventually, petitioner and Gamo agreed that the latter may continue with the
harvest provided that it would be his last "contract" with petitioner. Gamo suggested to
petitioner to look for a new "contractor" since he was not amenable to the new payment
scheme.7

Gamo and petitioner failed to agree on a payment scheme, thus, petitioner did not renew
the "contract" of Gamo. Gamo and the copra workers alleged that they were illegally
dismissed.

On the other hand, respondent Eleonor Cosep (Eleonor) was employed as a mango
classifier in the packing house of petitioner’s mango farm in San Isidro, Davao Oriental.
Sometime in October 1999, she did not report for work as she had wanted to raise and
sell pigs instead. Petitioner, through Malone Pacquiao, tried to convince Eleonor to report
for work but to no avail.

On 22 March 2000, respondents filed a complaint8 for illegal dismissal against petitioner.
They alleged that sometime in December 1999, petitioner verbally terminated them en
masse.

The labor arbiter dismissed9 the complaint. He ruled that there was no employee-
employer relationship between petitioner and respondents. As to Eleonor, he ruled that
she had voluntarily stopped working.

Respondents appealed to the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC). The


NLRC’s Resolution10 reversed the arbiter’s decision and ruled that respondents were
petitioner’s employees. Petitioner moved11 for reconsideration. The NLRC granted12 the
motion for reconsideration and ruled that the nature of the job of the respondents could
not result in an employer-employee relationship. Respondents moved for reconsideration
which was denied.13

Respondents filed a petition for certiorari14 under Rule 65 with the Court of Appeals. The
Court of Appeals ruled that there existed an employer-employee relationship. It declared
that respondents were regular seasonal employees who can be dismissed by the petitioner
at the end of the season provided due process is observed.15 With regard to Eleonor, the
Court of Appeals ruled that she did not abandon her work.

Hence this petition.

Petitioner raises the following issues: (1) whether the Court of Appeals failed to take
judicial notice of the accepted practice of independent contractors in the coconut
industry; (2) whether there is a valid job contracting between petitioner and Gamo; and
(3) whether Eleonor had effectively abandoned her work.

The labor arbiter took judicial notice of the alleged prevailing business practices in the
coconut industry that copra making activities are done quarterly; that the workers can
contract with other farms; and that the workers are independent from the land owner on
all work aspects. Petitioner wants this Court to take judicial notice of the current business
practice in the coconut industry which allegedly treats copraceros as independent
contractors. In Expertravel & Tours, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 16 we held, thus:

Generally speaking, matters of judicial notice have three material requisites: (1) the
matter must be one of common and general knowledge; (2) it must be well and
authoritatively settled and not doubtful or uncertain; and (3) it must be known to be
within the limits of the jurisdiction of the court. The principal guide in determining what
facts may be assumed to be judicially known is that of notoriety.17 Hence, it can be said
that judicial notice is limited to facts evidenced by public records and facts of general
notoriety. Moreover, a judicially noticed fact must be one not subject to a reasonable
dispute in that it is either: (1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the
trial court; or (2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resorting to sources
whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questionable.18

Things of "common knowledge," of which courts take judicial matters coming to the
knowledge of men generally in the course of the ordinary experiences of life, or they may
be matters which are generally accepted by mankind as true and are capable of ready and
unquestioned demonstration. Thus, facts which are universally known, and which may be
found in encyclopedias, dictionaries or other publications, are judicially noticed,
provided, they are of such universal notoriety and so generally understood that they may
be regarded as forming part of the common knowledge of every person. As the common
knowledge of man ranges far and wide, a wide variety of particular facts have been
judicially noticed as being matters of common knowledge. But a court cannot take
judicial notice of any fact which, in part, is dependent on the existence or non-existence
of a fact of which the court has no constructive knowledge.19

An invocation that the Court take judicial notice of certain facts should satisfy the
requisites set forth by case law. A mere prayer for its application shall not suffice. Thus,
in this case the Court cannot take judicial notice of the alleged business practices in the
copra industry since none of the material requisites of matters of judicial notice is present
in the instant petition. The record is bereft of any indication that the matter is of common
knowledge to the public and that it has the characteristic of notoriety, except petitioners’
self-serving claim.

A related issue is whether Gamo is an independent contractor. In Escario v. NLRC,20 we


ruled that there is permissible job contracting when a principal agrees to put out or farm
out with a contractor or a subcontractor the performance or completion of a specific job,
work or service within a definite or predetermined period, regardless of whether such job
or work service is to be performed within or outside the premises of the principal.21 To
establish the existence of an independent contractor, we apply the following conditions:
first, the contractor carries on an independent business and undertakes the contract work
on his own account under his own responsibility according to his own manner and
method, free from the control and direction of his employer or principal in all matters
connected with the performance of the work except to the result thereof; and second, the
contractor has substantial capital or investments in the form of tools, equipment,
machineries, work premises and other materials which are necessary in the conduct of his
business.22

The Implementing Rules and Regulation of the Labor Code defines investment—as tools,
equipment, implements, machineries and work premises, actually and directly used by the
contractor or subcontractor in the performance or completion of the job, work, or service
contracted out.23 The investment must be sufficient to carry out the job at hand.

In the case at bar, Gamo and the copra workers did not exercise independent judgment in
the performance of their tasks. The tools used by Gamo and his copra workers like the
karit, bolo, pangbunot, panglugit and pangtapok are not sufficient to enable them to
complete the job.24 Reliance on these primitive tools is not enough. In fact, the
accomplishment of their task required more expensive machineries and equipment, like
the trucks to haul the harvests and the drying facility, which petitioner corporation owns.

In order to determine the existence of an employer-employee relationship, the Court has


frequently applied the four-fold test: (1) the selection and engagement of the employee;
(2) the payment of wages; (3) the power of dismissal; and (4) the power to control the
employee’s conduct, or the so called "control test," which is considered the most
important element.25 From the time they were hired by petitioner corporation up to the
time that they were reassigned to work under Gamo’s supervision, their status as petitioner
corporation’s employees did not cease. Likewise, payment of their wages was merely coursed through
Gamo. As to the most determinative test―the power of control, it is sufficient that the power to control the
manner of doing the work exists, it does not require the actual exercise of such power.26 In this case, it was
in the exercise of its power of control when petitioner corporation transferred the copra workers from their
previous assignments to work as copraceros. It was also in the exercise of the same power that petitioner
corporation put Gamo in charge of the copra workers although under a different payment scheme. Thus, it
is clear that an employer-employee relationship has existed between petitioner corporation and respondents
since the beginning and such relationship did not cease despite their reassignments and the change of
payment scheme.

As to the last issue, petitioner seeks our indulgence to declare that Eleonor has abandoned her work.
Petitioner admitted that Eleonor was its regular employee.27 However, it claimed that she abandoned her
work, preferring to sell and raise pigs instead.

It is well settled that abandonment as a just and valid ground for dismissal requires the deliberate and
unjustified refusal of the employee to return for work. Two elements must be present, namely: (1) the
failure to report for work or absence without valid or justifiable reason, and (2) a clear intention to sever the
employer-employee relationship. The second element is more determinative of the intent and must be
evinced by overt acts. Mere absence, not being sufficient, the burden of proof rests upon the

employer to show that the employee clearly and deliberately intended to discontinue her employment
without any intention of returning.28 In Samarca v. Arc-Men Industries, Inc, we held that abandonment is a
matter of intention and cannot lightly be presumed from certain equivocal acts.1awphi1

To constitute abandonment, there must be clear proof of deliberate and unjustified intent to sever the
employer-employee relationship. Clearly, the operative act is still the employee’s ultimate act of putting an
end to his employment.29 However, an employee who takes steps to protest her layoff cannot be said to
have abandoned her work because a charge of abandonment is totally inconsistent with the immediate filing
of a complaint for illegal dismissal, more so when it includes a prayer for reinstatement.30 When Eleonor
filed the illegal dismissal complaint, it totally negated petitioner’s theory of abandonment.
Also, to effectively dismiss an employee for abandonment, the employer must comply with the due process
requirement of sending notices to the employee. In Brahm Industries, Inc. v. NLRC,31 we ruled that this
requirement is not a mere formality that may be dispensed with at will. Its disregard is a matter of serious
concern since it constitutes a safeguard of the highest order in response to man’s innate sense of justice.32
Petitioner was not able to send the necessary notice requirement to Eleonor. Petitioner’s belated claim that
it was not able to send the notice of infraction prior to the filing of the illegal dismissal case cannot simply
unacceptable.33 Based on the foregoing, Eleonor did not abandon her work.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED. Cost
against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

DANTE O. TINGA
Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES


Associate Justice
Acting Chairperson

TERESITA J. LEONARDO-DE
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
CASTRO
Associate Justice
Associate Justice

ARTURO D. BRION
Associate Justice

ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was
assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES


Associate Justice
Acting Chairperson, Second Division

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, and the Division Acting Chairperson’s Attestation,
it is hereby certified that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the
case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

REYNATO S. PUNO
Chief Justice

Footnotes
*
Acting chairperson as replacement of Associate Justice Leonardo Quisumbing who is on official
leave per Special Order No. 618.

**
Additional member of the Second Division per Special Order No. 619.

1
Rollo, pp. 17-30.

2
Dated 27 September 2005. Penned by Justice Rodrigo F. Lim, Jr. and concurred in by Justices
Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores and Myrna Dimaranan Vidal; Id. at 32-45.

3
Dated 27 January 2006. Penned by Justice Rodrigo F. Lim, Jr. and concurred in by Justices
Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores and Myrna Dimaranan Vidal; Id. at 47-47-A.

4
Penned by Commissioner Leon G. Gonzaga, Jr. concurred in by Commissioners Salic B.
Dumarpa and Oscar N. Abella, id. at 93-100.

5
Dated 21 July 2000. Penned by Miriam A. Libron-Barroso; id. at 75-82.

6
Id. at 63.

7
Id. at 56.

8
Records, p. 3.

9
Supra note 5.

10
Rollo, pp. 93-100.

11
Id. at 101-109.

12
Resolution granting Motion for Reconsideration dated 29 June 2001. id. at 111-114.

13
Id. at 116-a-117.

14
Id. at 118-134.

15
Id. at 43.

16
Expertravel & Tours, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 152392, 26 May 2005, 459 SCRA 147,
162.

17
Citing State Prosecutors v. Muro, A.M. RTJ-92-876, 19 September 1994, 236 SCRA 505.

18
Citing Wood v. Astleford, 412 N.W. 2d 753 (1987).

19
Citing Trepanier v. Toledo & D.C. Ry., Co., 130 N.E. 558.

20
388 Phil. 929 (2000), G.R. No. 145271, 14 July 2005.

21
Id. at 938.
22
Manila Electric Company v. Benamira, G.R. No. 145271, 14 July 2005, 463 SCRA 331, 353
citing National Power Corporation v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 119121, 14 August 1998, 294
SCRA 209, 214.

23
Department of Labor and Employment, Department Order No. 18-02, Sec. 5.

24
Rollo, p. 221.

25
Coca-Cola Bottlers, (Phils.), Inc. v. Climaco, G.R. No. 146881, 05 February 2007, 514 SCRA
164, 177, citing Philippine Global Communication, Inc. v. De Vera, G.R. No. 157214, 07 June
2005, 459 SCRA 260, 268.

26
Vinoya v. National Labor Relations Commission, 381 Phil. 460, 481 (2000), citing Zanotte
Shoes v. NLRC, 241 SCRA 261 and Tiu v. NLRC, 254 SCRA 1.

27
Rollo, p. 64.

28
Aquinas School v. Magnaye, 344 Phil. 145, 151 (1997) citing Brew Master International Inc. v.
NLRC, G.R. No. 1

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 177809 October 16, 2009

SPOUSES OMAR and MOSHIERA LATIP, Petitioners,


vs.
ROSALIE PALAÑA CHUA, Respondent.

DECISION

NACHURA, J.:

Challenged in this petition for review on certiorari is the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision
in CA-G.R. SP No. 89300:1 (1) reversing the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 274, Parañaque City in Civil Case No. 04-0052;2 and (2) reinstating and affirming
in toto the decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), Branch 78, of the same city
in Civil Case No. 2001-315.3

First, we sift through the varying facts found by the different lower courts.

The facts parleyed by the MeTC show that respondent Rosalie Chua (Rosalie) is the
owner of Roferxane Building, a commercial building, located at No. 158 Quirino Avenue
corner Redemptorist Road, Barangay Baclaran, Parañaque City.
On July 6, 2001, Rosalie filed a complaint for unlawful detainer plus damages against
petitioners, Spouses Omar and Moshiera Latip (Spouses Latip). Rosalie attached to the
complaint a contract of lease over two cubicles in Roferxane Bldg., signed by Rosalie, as
lessor, and by Spouses Latip, as lessees thereof.1 a vv p h ! 1

The contract of lease reads:

CONTRACT OF LEASE

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:

This Contract of Lease is entered into by and between:

ROSALIE PALAÑA CHUA, Filipino, of legal age, married with office at 2/F
JOFERXAN Building, F.B. Harrison St., Brgy. Baclaran, Parañaque City, and hereinafter
referred to as the LESSOR,

- and -

OMAR LATIEF marriage to MOSHIERA LATIEF, also both Filipino, of legal age
with address at 24 Anahan St. RGV Homes Parañaque City, and hereinafter referred to as
the LESSEES.

WITNESSETH

1. That the LESSOR is the owner of the commercial building erected at the lot of the
Toribio G. Reyes Realty, Inc. situated at 158 Quirino Ave. corner Redemptorist Road,
Barangay Baclaran in Parañaque Ctiy;

2. That LESSOR hereby leases two (2) cubicles located at the 1st & 2nd Floor, of said
building with an area of 56 square meters under the following terms and conditions, to
wit:

a. That the monthly rental of the two (2) cubicles in PESOS, SIXTY
THOUSAND (P60,000.00), Philippine Currency. However, due to unstable
power of the peso LESSEES agrees to a yearly increase of ten (10%) percent of
the monthly rental;

b. That any rental in-arrears shall be paid before the expiration of the contract to
the LESSOR;

c. That LESSEES agree to pay their own water and electric consumptions in the
said premises;

d. That the LESSEES shall not sub-let or make any alteration in the cubicles
without a written permission from the LESSOR. Provided, however, that at the
termination of the Contract, the lessee shall return the two cubicles in its original
conditions at their expenses;

e. That the LESSEES agree to keep the cubicles in a safe and sanitary conditions,
and shall not keep any kinds of flammable or combustible materials.

f. That in case the LESSEES fail to pay the monthly rental every time it falls due
or violate any of the above conditions shall be enough ground to terminate this
Contract of Lease. Provided, further, that, if the LESSEES pre-terminate this
Contract they shall pay the rentals for the unused month or period by way of
liquidated damages in favor of the LESSOR.

3. That this Contract of Lease is for six (6) yrs. only starting from December _____, 1999
or up to December ______, 2005.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties have hereunto affixed their hands this ___th day of
December, 1999 at City of Manila, Philippines.

(sgd.) (sgd.)
ROSALIE PALAÑA-CHUA MOSHIERA LATIEF
LESSOR LESSEE

(sgd.)
OMAR LATIEF
LESSEE

SIGNED IN THE PRESENCE OF:

(sgd.) (sgd.)
1. Daisy C. Ramos 2. Ferdinand C. Chua

Republic of the Philippines)


City of Manila)s.s.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

BEFORE ME, a Notary Public for and in the City of Manila personally appeared the
following persons:

Rosalie P. Chua with CTC No. 05769706 at Parañaque City on 2/1/99; Moshiera Latief
with CTC No. 12885654 at Parañaque City on 11/11/99; Omar Latief with CTC No.
12885653 Parañaque City on Nov. 11, 1999.

known to me and to me known to be the same persons who executed this instrument
consisting of two (2) pages duly signed by them and the two (2) instrumental witnesses
and acknowledged to me that the same is their free and voluntarily acts and deeds.
IN FAITH AND TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto affixed my hand and
Notarial Seal this ____th day of December, 1999 at the City of Manila, Philippines.

Doc. No. _____ ATTY. CALIXTRO B. RAMOS


Page No. _____ NOTARY PUBLIC
Book No. LXV Until December 31, 2000
Series of 1999 PTR # 374145-1/11/99/-Mla.
IBP # 00262-Life Member4

A year after the commencement of the lease and with Spouses Latip already occupying
the leased cubicles, Rosalie, through counsel, sent the spouses a letter demanding
payment of back rentals and should they fail to do so, to vacate the leased cubicles. When
Spouses Latip did not heed Rosalie’s demand, she instituted the aforesaid complaint.

In their Answer, Spouses Latip refuted Rosalie’s claims. They averred that the lease of
the two (2) cubicles had already been paid in full as evidenced by receipts showing
payment to Rosalie of the total amount of P2,570,000.00. The three (3) receipts, in
Rosalie’s handwriting, read:

1. I received the amount of P2,000,000.00 (two million pesos) from [O]mar Latip
& Moshi[e]ra Latip for the payment of 2 cubicles located at 158 Quirino Ave.
corner Redemptorist Rd.[,] Baclaran P[arañ]aque City. ROFERLAND5 Bldg. with
the terms 6 yrs. Contract.

P2,000,000.00 (sgd.)
CHECK # 3767924 ____________________
FAR EAST BANK Rosalie Chua

(sgd.)
____________________
Ferdinand Chua

2. Received cash
P500,000.00
From Moshiera Latip

(sgd.)
Rosalie Chua
12/10/99
____________________
Received by

3. Received cash
P70,000.00 from
Moshiera Latip
(sgd.)
12-11-99 ____________________
Received by:6

Spouses Latip asseverated that sometime in October 1999, Rosalie offered for sale lease
rights over two (2) cubicles in Roferxane Bldg. Having in mind the brisk sale of goods
during the Christmas season, they readily accepted Rosalie’s offer to purchase lease
rights in Roferxane Bldg., which was still under construction at the time. According to
Spouses Latip, the immediate payment of P2,570,000.00 would be used to finish
construction of the building giving them first priority in the occupation of the finished
cubicles.

Thereafter, in December 1999, as soon as two (2) cubicles were finished, Spouses Latip
occupied them without waiting for the completion of five (5) other stalls. Spouses Latip
averred that the contract of lease they signed had been novated by their purchase of lease
rights of the subject cubicles. Thus, they were surprised to receive a demand letter from
Rosalie’s counsel and the subsequent filing of a complaint against them.

The MeTC ruled in favor of Rosalie, viz.:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the [Spouses Latip] and all persons claiming rights
under them are hereby ordered to VACATE the property subject of this case located at
the 1st and 2nd floors of a Roferxane Building situated at No. 158 Quirino Avenue corner
Redemptorist Road, Barangay Baclaran, Parañaque City. The [Spouses Latip] are also
ordered to PAY [Rosalie] the amount of SEVEN HUNDRED TWENTY THOUSAND
PESOS (P720,000.00) as rent arrearages for the period of December 1999 to December
2000 and thereafter to PAY [Rosalie] the amount of SEVENTY TWO THOUSAND
PESOS (P72,000.00) per month from January 2001 to December 2002, plus ten percent
(10%) increase for each and every succeeding years thereafter as stipulated in paragraph
2(a) of the Contract of Lease x x x, until the [Spouses Latip] have completely vacated the
leased premises subject of this lease. Finally[,] the [Spouses Latip] are hereby ordered to
PAY [Rosalie] the amount of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS (P20,000.00) as
attorney’s fees and TWO THOUSAND PESOS (P2,000.00) per [Rosalie’s] appearance in
Court as appearance fee and to PAY the cost of this suit.

[Spouses Latip’s] counterclaim is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED.7

In stark contrast, the RTC reversed the MeTC and ruled in favor of Spouses Latip. The
RTC did not give credence to the contract of lease, ruling that it was not notarized and, in
all other substantial aspects, incomplete. Further on this point, the RTC noted that the
contract of lease lacked: (1) the signature of Ferdinand Chua, Rosalie’s husband; (2) the
signatures of Spouses Latip on the first page thereof; (3) the specific dates for the term of
the contract which only stated that the lease is for "six (6) y[ea]rs only starting from
December 1999 or up to December 2005"; (4) the exact date of execution of the
document, albeit the month of December and year 1999 are indicated therein; and (5) the
provision for payment of deposit or advance rental which is supposedly uncommon in big
commercial lease contracts.

The RTC believed the claim of Spouses Latip that the contract of lease was modified and
supplemented; and the entire lease rentals for the two (2) cubicles for six (6) years had
already been paid by Spouses Latip in the amount of P2,570,000.00. As to Rosalie’s
claim that her receipt of P2,570,000.00 was simply goodwill payment by prospective
lessees to their lessor, and not payment for the purchase of lease rights, the RTC shot this
down and pointed out that, apart from her bare allegations, Rosalie did not adduce
evidence to substantiate this claim. On the whole, the RTC declared an existent lease
between the parties for a period of six (6) years, and already fully paid for by Spouses
Latip. Thus, Spouses Latip could not be ejected from the leased premises until expiration
of the lease period.

The RTC disposed of the appeal, viz.:

WHEREFORE, all the foregoing considered, the appealed decision of the [MeTC] dated
January 13, 2004 is reversed as judgment is hereby rendered for the [Spouses Latip] and
against [Rosalie], ordering the latter to pay the former –

(1) the sum of PhP1,000,000.00 as moral damages;

(2) the sum of PhP500,000.00 as exemplary damages;

(3) the sum of PhP250,000.00 plus PhP3,000.00 per court appearance as and for
attorney’s fees; and

(4) costs of suit.

SO ORDERED.8

In yet another turn of events, the CA, as previously mentioned, reversed the RTC and
reinstated the decision of the MeTC. The CA ruled that the contract of lease, albeit
lacking the signature of Ferdinand and not notarized, remained a complete and valid
contract. As the MeTC had, the CA likewise found that the alleged defects in the contract
of lease did not render the contract ineffective. On the issue of whether the amount of
P2,570,000.00 merely constituted payment of goodwill money, the CA took judicial
notice of this common practice in the area of Baclaran, especially around the
Redemptorist Church. According to the appellate court, this judicial notice was bolstered
by the Joint Sworn Declaration of the stallholders at Roferxane Bldg. that they all had
paid goodwill money to Rosalie prior to occupying the stalls thereat. Thus, ruling on
Rosalie’s appeal, the CA disposed of the case:

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the Petition for Review is hereby GRANTED.
The assailed decision of RTC Parañaque City Branch 274 dated September 24, 2004 is
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the January 13, 2004 decision of the MeTC is
REINSTATED and AFFIRMED en toto.

SO ORDERED.9

Not surprisingly, Spouses Latip filed the present appeal.

The singular issue for our resolution is whether Spouses Latip should be ejected from the
leased cubicles.

As previously adverted to, the CA, in ruling for Rosalie and upholding the ejectment of
Spouses Latip, took judicial notice of the alleged practice of prospective lessees in the
Baclaran area to pay goodwill money to the lessor.

We disagree.

Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 129 of the Rules of Court declare when the taking of judicial
notice is mandatory or discretionary on the courts, thus:

SECTION 1. Judicial notice, when mandatory. – A court shall take judicial notice,
without the introduction of evidence, of the existence and territorial extent of states, their
political history, forms of government and symbols of nationality, the law of nations, the
admiralty and maritime courts of the world and their seals, the political constitution and
history of the Philippines, the official acts of the legislative, executive and judicial
departments of the Philippines, the laws of nature, the measure of time, and the
geographical divisions.

SEC. 2. Judicial notice, when discretionary. – A court may take judicial notice of matters
which are of public knowledge, or are capable of unquestionable demonstration or ought
to be known to judges because of their judicial functions.

On this point, State Prosecutors v. Muro10 is instructive:

I. The doctrine of judicial notice rests on the wisdom and discretion of the courts. The
power to take judicial notice is to be exercised by courts with caution; care must be taken
that the requisite notoriety exists; and every reasonable doubt on the subject should be
promptly resolved in the negative.

Generally speaking, matters of judicial notice have three material requisites: (1) the
matter must be one of common and general knowledge; (2) it must be well and
authoritatively settled and not doubtful or uncertain; and (3) it must be known to be
within the limits of the jurisdiction of the court. The principal guide in determining what
facts may be assumed to be judicially known is that of notoriety. Hence, it can be said
that judicial notice is limited to facts evidenced by public records and facts of general
notoriety.
To say that a court will take judicial notice of a fact is merely another way of saying that
the usual form of evidence will be dispensed with if knowledge of the fact can be
otherwise acquired. This is because the court assumes that the matter is so notorious that
it will not be disputed. But judicial notice is not judicial knowledge. The mere personal
knowledge of the judge is not the judicial knowledge of the court, and he is not
authorized to make his individual knowledge of a fact, not generally or professionally
known, the basis of his action. Judicial cognizance is taken only of those matters which
are "commonly" known.

Things of "common knowledge," of which courts take judicial notice, may be matters
coming to the knowledge of men generally in the course of the ordinary experiences of
life, or they may be matters which are generally accepted by mankind as true and are
capable of ready and unquestioned demonstration. Thus, facts which are universally
known, and which may be found in encyclopedias, dictionaries or other publications, are
judicially noticed, provided they are of such universal notoriety and so generally
understood that they may be regarded as forming part of the common knowledge of every
person.11

We reiterated the requisite of notoriety for the taking of judicial notice in the recent case
of Expertravel & Tours, Inc. v. Court of Appeals,12 which cited State Prosecutors:

Generally speaking, matters of judicial notice have three material requisites: (1) the
matter must be one of common and general knowledge; (2) it must be well and
authoritatively settled and not doubtful or uncertain; and (3) it must be known to be
within the limits of the jurisdiction of the court. The principal guide in determining what
facts may be assumed to be judicially known is that of notoriety. Hence, it can be said
that judicial notice is limited to facts evidenced by public records and facts of general
notoriety. Moreover, a judicially noticed fact must be one not subject to a reasonable
dispute in that it is either: (1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the
trial court; or (2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resorting to sources
whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questionable.

Things of "common knowledge," of which courts take judicial notice, may be matters
coming to the knowledge of men generally in the course of the ordinary experiences of
life, or they may be matters which are generally accepted by mankind as true and are
capable of ready and unquestioned demonstration. Thus, facts which are universally
known, and which may be found in encyclopedias, dictionaries or other publications, are
judicially noticed, provided, they are such of universal notoriety and so generally
understood that they may be regarded as forming part of the common knowledge of every
person. As the common knowledge of man ranges far and wide, a wide variety of
particular facts have been judicially noticed as being matters of common knowledge. But
a court cannot take judicial notice of any fact which, in part, is dependent on the
existence or non-existence of a fact of which the court has no constructive
knowledge.1avvphi1
From the foregoing provisions of law and our holdings thereon, it is apparent that the
matter which the appellate court took judicial notice of does not meet the requisite of
notoriety. To begin with, only the CA took judicial notice of this supposed practice to pay
goodwill money to the lessor in the Baclaran area. Neither the MeTC nor the RTC, with
the former even ruling in favor of Rosalie, found that the practice was of "common
knowledge" or notoriously known.

We note that the RTC specifically ruled that Rosalie, apart from her bare allegation,
adduced no evidence to prove her claim that the amount of P2,570,000.00 simply
constituted the payment of goodwill money. Subsequently, Rosalie attached an annex to
her petition for review before the CA, containing a joint declaration under oath by other
stallholders in Roferxane Bldg. that they had paid goodwill money to Rosalie as their
lessor. On this score, we emphasize that the reason why our rules on evidence provide for
matters that need not be proved under Rule 129, specifically on judicial notice, is to
dispense with the taking of the usual form of evidence on a certain matter so notoriously
known, it will not be disputed by the parties.

However, in this case, the requisite of notoriety is belied by the necessity of attaching
documentary evidence, i.e., the Joint Affidavit of the stallholders, to Rosalie’s appeal
before the CA. In short, the alleged practice still had to be proven by Rosalie;
contravening the title itself of Rule 129 of the Rules of Court – What need not be proved.

Apparently, only that particular division of the CA had knowledge of the practice to pay
goodwill money in the Baclaran area. As was held in State Prosecutors, justices and
judges alike ought to be reminded that the power to take judicial notice must be exercised
with caution and every reasonable doubt on the subject should be ample reason for the
claim of judicial notice to be promptly resolved in the negative.

Ultimately, on the issue of whether Spouses Latip ought to be ejected from the leased
cubicles, what remains in evidence is the documentary evidence signed by both parties –
the contract of lease and the receipts evidencing payment of P2,570,000.00.

We need not be unduly detained by the issue of which documents were executed first or
if there was a novation of the contract of lease. As had been found by the RTC, the lease
contract and the receipts for the amount of P2,570,000.00 can be reconciled or
harmonized. The RTC declared:

Definitely, the parties entered into a lease agreement over two (2) cubicles of the 1st and
2nd floors of Roferxane (Roferland) Building, a commercial building located at 158
Quirino Avenue, corner Redemptorist Road, Baclaran, Parañaque City and belonging to
[Rosalie]. The lease agreement is for a term of six (6) years commencing in December
1999 up to December 2005. This agreement was embodied in a Contract of Lease x x x.
The terms of this lease contract, however, are modified or supplemented by another
agreement between the parties executed and or entered into in or about the time of
execution of the lease contract, which exact date of execution of the latter is unclear.13
We agree with the RTC’s holding only up to that point. There exists a lease agreement
between the parties as set forth in the contract of lease which is a complete document. It
need not be signed by Ferdinand Chua as he likewise did not sign the other two receipts
for P500,000.00 and P70,000.00, respectively, which contained only the signature of
Rosalie. Besides, it is undisputed that Rosalie owns and leases the stalls in Roferxane
Bldg.; thus, doing away with the need for her husband’s consent. The findings of the
three lower courts concur on this fact.

The contract of lease has a period of six (6) years commencing in December 1999. This
fact is again buttressed by Spouses Latip’s admission that they occupied the property
forthwith in December 1999, bearing in mind the brisk sales during the holiday season.

On the conflicting interpretations by the lower courts of the receipts amounting to


P2,570,000.00, we hold that the practice of payment of goodwill money in the Baclaran
area is an inadequate subject of judicial notice. Neither was Rosalie able to provide
sufficient evidence that, apart from the belatedly submitted Joint Affidavit of the
stallholders of Roferxane Bldg., the said amount was simply for the payment of goodwill
money, and not payment for advance rentals by Spouses Latip.

In interpreting the evidence before us, we are guided by the Civil Code provisions on
interpretation of contracts, to wit:

Art. 1371. In order to judge the intention of the contracting parties, their
contemporaneous and subsequent acts shall be principally considered.

Art. 1372. However general the terms of a contract may be, they shall not be understood
to comprehend things that are distinct and cases that are different from those which the
parties intended to agree.

Art. 1373. If some stipulation of any contract should admit of several meanings, it shall
be understood as bearing that import which is most adequate to render it effectual.

The RTC was already on the right track when it declared that the receipts for
P2,570,000.00 modified or supplemented the contract of lease. However, it made a
quantum leap when it ruled that the amount was payment for rentals of the two (2)
cubicles for the entire six-year period. We cannot subscribe to this finding. To obviate
confusion and for clarity, the contents of the receipts, already set forth above, are again
reproduced:

1. I received the amount of P2,000,000.00 (two million pesos) from [O]mar Latip
& Moshi[e]ra Latip for the payment of 2 cubicles located at 158 Quirino Ave.
corner Redemptorist Rd.[,] Baclaran P[arañ]que City. ROFERLAND Bldg. with
the terms 6 yrs. Contract.

P2,000,000.00 (sgd.)
CHECK # 3767924 ____________________
FAR EAST BANK Rosalie Chua

(sgd.)
____________________
Ferdinand Chua

2. Received cash
P500,000.00
From Moshiera Latip

(sgd.)
Rosalie Chua
12/10/99
____________________
Received by

3. Received cash
P70,000.00 from
Moshiera Latip

(sgd.)
12-11-99 ____________________
Received by:14

There is nothing on the receipts and on record that the payment and receipt of
P2,570,000.00 referred to full payment of rentals for the whole period of the lease. All
three receipts state Rosalie’s receipt of cash in varying amounts. The first receipt for
P2,000,000.00 did state payment for two (2) cubicles, but this cannot mean full payment
of rentals for the entire lease period when there are no words to that effect. Further, two
receipts were subsequently executed pointing to the obvious fact that the P2,000,000.00
is not for full payment of rentals. Thus, since the contract of lease remained operative, we
find that Rosalie’s receipt of the monies should be considered as advanced rentals on the
leased cubicles. This conclusion is bolstered by the fact that Rosalie demanded payment
of the lease rentals only in 2000, a full year after the commencement of the lease.

Finally, we note that the lease ended in 2005. Consequently, Spouses Latip can be ejected
from the leased premises. They are liable to Rosalie for unpaid rentals on the lease of the
two (2) cubicles in accordance with the stipulations on rentals in the Contract of Lease.
However, the amount of P2,570,000.00, covering advance rentals, must be deducted from
this liability of Spouses Latip to Rosalie.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The decision of


the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 89300 is REVERSED. The petitioners, spouses
Omar and Moshiera Latip, are liable to respondent Rosalie Chua for unpaid rentals minus
the amount of P2,570,000.00 already received by her as advance rentals. No costs.
SO ORDERED.

ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA


Associate Justice

WE CONCUR:

CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES*


Associate Justice

MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO** DIOSDADO M. PERALTA


Associate Justice Associate Justice

ROBERTO A. ABAD***
Associate Justice

ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision were reached in consultation before the
case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the Court’s Division.

MINITA V. CHICO-NAZARIO
Associate Justice
Acting Chairperson, Third Division

CERTIFICATION

Pursuant to Section 13, Article VIII of the Constitution and the Division Acting
Chairperson's Attestation, I certify that the conclusions in the above Decision had been
reached in consultation before the case was assigned to the writer of the opinion of the
Court’s Division.

LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING
Acting Chief Justice

Footnotes
*
Additional member vice Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio per Special Order
No. 744 dated October 13, 2009.
**
Acting Chairperson vice Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio per Special Order
No. 743 dated October 13, 2009.
***
Additional member vice Associate Justice Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr. per Special
Order No. 753 dated October 13, 2009.
1
Penned by Associate Justice Lucenito N. Tagle (retired), with Associate Justices
Rodrigo V. Cosico (retired) and Regalado E. Maambong (retired), concurring;
rollo, pp. 43-56.
2
Penned by Presiding Judge Fortunito L. Madrona, CA rollo. pp. 36-43.
3
Penned by Presiding Judge Jansen R. Rodriguez, CA rollo, pp. 44-49.
4
CA rollo, pp. 72-73.
5
Except for this designation in the receipt, the building where the leased cubicles
are located is referred to in the records as Roferxane Bldg.
6
CA rollo, pp. 99, 102, 103.
7
Id. at 48-49.
8
Id. at 42.
9
Rollo, p. 55.
10
A.M. No. RTJ-92-876, September 19, 1994, 236 SCRA 505, 521-522.
11
Emphasis supplied.
12
G.R. No. 152392, May 26, 2005, 459 SCRA 147, 162.
13
CA rollo, p. 40.
14
Supra note 6.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-13479 October 31, 1959

MARCELINO TIBURCIO, ET AL, plaintiffs-appellants,


vs.
PEOPLE'S HOMESITE & HOUSING CORPORATION, ET AL., defendants-
appellees.
Office of the Solicitor General Edilberto Barot and Solicitor Camilo D. Quiason for
appellee UP.

BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:

This is an action for reconveyance of a parcel of land located in Quezon City containing
an area of about 430 hectares.

On October 11, 1957, plaintiffs filed an action before the Court of First Instance of
Quezon City alleging that for many years prior to March 25, 1877 and up to the present
they and their ancestors have been in actual, adverse, open, public, exclusive and
continuous possession as owners of the land in litigation; that they have been cultivating
the land and enjoying its fruits exclusively; that from time immemorial up to the year
1955, they have been paying the land taxes thereon; that in 1955 defendant People's
Homesite & Housing Corporation began asserting title thereto claiming that its Transfer
Certificate of Title No. 1356 embraces practically all of plaintiff's property, while the
other defendant University of the Philippines began also asserting title thereto claiming
that its Transfer of Certificate of Title No. 9462 covers the remaining portion; that
defendants are not innocent purchasers for value, having had full notice of plaintiff's
actual possession and claim for ownership thereof; and that the inclusion of plaintiff's
property within the technical boundaries set out in defendants' titles was a clear mistake
and that at no time had defendants' predecessors in-interest exercised dominical rights
over plaintiff's property.

On October 31, 1957, defendant University of the Philippines filed a motion to dismiss
alleging that the complaint states no cause of action; that it is barred by the statute of
limitations; that the court has no jurisdiction over the case; and that in the event the
motion is not granted, defendant is separated from the case and be impleaded in a
separate action. To this motion plaintiffs filed a reply alleging that the complaint on its
faces alleges a valid and sufficient cause of action upon which the court could render a
valid judgment. Defendant People's Homesite & Housing Corporation, on the other hand,
filed a motion for bill of particulars to which plaintiffs filed also a reply. On November
20, 1957, Leonila G. de Perucho and Jose Peñaranda filed a motion for intervention
which was likewise opposed by plaintiffs. On December 11, 1957, the trial court issued
an order dismissing the complaint on the ground of lack of cause of action and that it is
already barred by the statute of limitations, leaving unresolved the other points raised in
the pleadings for being unnecessary. From this order plaintiffs took the present appeal.

Appellants contend that the lower court erred in dismissing the complaint on the ground
of lack of sufficient cause of action for the reason that on its face said complaint alleges
sufficient facts on which a valid judgment could be rendered against defendants. Thus, it
is claimed that the complaint alleges the following facts: that plaintiffs are the sole heirs
of Eladio Tiburcio who died intestate in 1910; that upon his death Eladio Tiburcio left to
plaintiffs as his sole heirs a tract of land located in Quezon City; that said plaintiffs have
always been actual, open, notorious and exclusive possession of the land as owners pro
indiviso; that sometime in 1955 defendants began asserting title to the land claiming that
the same is embraced and covered by their respective certificates of title; that defendants
acquired their respective titles with full notice of the actual possession and claim of
ownership of plaintiffs, and as such they cannot be considered innocent purchasers for
value.

It appears, however, that the land in question has been placed under the operation of the
Torrens system since 1914 when it has been originally registered in the name of
defendant's predecessor-in-interest. It further appears that sometime in 1955 defendant
People's Homesite & Housing Corporation acquired from the original owner a parcel of
land embracing practically all of plaintiff's property for which Transfer Certificate of
Title No. 1356 was issued in its favor, while defendant University of the Philippines
likewise acquired from the same owner another portion of the land which embraces the
remainder of the property for which Transfer Certificate of Title No. 9462 was issued in
its favor. It is therefore, clear that the land in question has been registers in the name of
defendant's predecessor-in-inters since 1914 under the Torren's system and that
notwithstanding what they now claim that the original title lacked the essential
requirements prescribed by law for their validity, they have never taken any step to
nullify said title until 1957 when they instituted the present action. In other words, they
allowed a period of 43 years before they woke up to invoke what they now claim to be
erroneous when the court decreed in 1914 the registration of the land in the name of
defendant's predecessor-in-interest. Evidently, this cannot be done for under our law and
jurisprudence, a decree of registration can only be set aside within one year after entry on
the ground of fraud provided no innocent purchaser for value has acquired the property
(Section 38, Act No. 496; Apurado vs. Apurado, 26 Phil., 581; Salmon vs. Bacando, 40
Off. Gaz., 13th Supp. 1607; Rivera vs. Moran, 48 Phil., 836).

On the other hand, our law is clear that upon the expiration of the one-year period within
to review the decree of registration, the decree as well as the title issued in pursuance
thereof becomes incontrovertible (Section 38 Act No. 496). The purpose of the law in
limiting to one year the period within which the decree may be reviewed is to put a limit
to the time within which a claimant may ask for its revocation. If after title to property is
decreed an action may be instituted beyond the one-year period to set aside the decree,
the object of the Torrens system which is to guarantee the indefeasibility of the Title
would be defeated (Cabanos vs. Register of Deeds, 40 Phil., 520).

Plaintiffs likewise contend that since the complaint alleges that defendants acquired their
respective titles with full notice of the actual possession and claim of ownership of
plaintiffs with respect to the land in question, it is error to dismiss the complaint for such
averment is sufficient to establish a cause of action against defendants. This contention
overlooks the fact that the land in question is covered by Torrens title. Thus, it appears
that defendant People's Homesite & Housing Corporation bought the portion of the
property in question from its predecessor-in-interest sometime in 1955 for which Transfer
Certificate of Title No. 1356 was issued in its favor. There is nothing in the complaint to
show that when it acquired the property said defendant knew of any defect in the title
appearing on its face in the form of any lien or encumbrance. The same thing is true with
regard to defendant University of the Philippines. It likewise acquired the portion of the
property on question sometime in 1955 from its predecessor-in-interest for which
Transfer Certificate of Title No. 9462 was issued in its favor. There is also nothing in the
complaint to show that when it acquired the property it knew of any defect in the title
appealing on its face in the form of any lien or incumbrace. Said defendants are therefore,
presumed to be purchasers for value and in good faith and as such are entitled to
protection under the law.

The foregoing finds support in the following well-settled principle: "A person dealing
with registered land is not required to go behind the register to determine the condition of
the property. He is only charged with notice of the burdens on the property which are
noted on the face of the register or the certificate of title. To require him to do more is to
defeat one of the primary objects of the Torrens System." (William H. Anderson vs.
Garcia, 64 Phil., 306; Castillo vs. Sian, 105 Phil., 622; Paraiso vs. Camon, supra, p. 187,
1959).

Assuming arguendo that plaintiffs' action for reconveyance had not yet prescribed as
contended, their right however to bring the instant action may be considered barred by
laches for not having taken the action seasonably after title to the property had been
issued under the Torrens system. It appears that the property in question was originally
registered on May 3, 1914 and it was only on October 11, 1957 that appellants asserted
their claim thereto when they brought the present action. In the recent case of Domingo
vs. Mayon Realty Corporation, 102 Phil., 32; 54 Off. Gaz., 4954), September 30, 1957
this Court said: "Like Ciriaco Allingag in the previous case, appellants herein could have
raised the issue of the validity of the certificate of title issued to Valle Cruz since 1928,
when the foreclosure sale in her favor was confirmed. They failed to do so until 18 years
afterwards, and their action (if any) now should be held by their own laches and
negligence."

Appellants finally claim that the lower court erred in dismissing the complaint on the
ground of res judicata by taking judicial notice of its own records in Land Registration
Case No. L-3 invoking in support of their contention the principle that a court cannot take
judicial notice of the contents of the records of other case even when such case had been
tried by the same court and notwithstanding the facts that both cases may have been tried
before the same judge. While the principle invoked is considered to be the general rule,
the same is not absolute. There are exceptions to this rule. Thus, as noted by former Chief
Justice Moran:

In some instance, courts have taken judicial notice of proceedings in other causes,
because of their close connection with the matter in the controversy. Thus, in a
separate civil action against the administrator of an estate arising from an appeal
against the report of the committee on claims appointed in the administration
proceedings of the said estate, to determine whether or not the appeal was taken
on time, the court took judicial notice of the record of the administration
proceedings. Courts have also taken judicial notice of previous cases to determine
whether or not the case pending is a moot one or whether or not a previous ruling
is applicable in the case under consideration.
Moreover, appellants' objection to the action of the trial court on this matter is merely
technical because they do not dispute the fact that appellant Marcelino Tiburcio, who
instituted the present case, is the same person who filed the application in Land
Registration Case No. L-3 for the registration of the same parcel of land which
application was denied by the court. It appears that in the registration case the oppositors
were the People's Homesite & Housing Corporation, Tuason and Co., and the Bureau of
Lands. Although the University of the Philippines was not an oppositor in that case, in
effect it was represented by its predecessor-in-interest, Tuason and Co. from which it
acquired the property. It may therefore be said that in the two case there is not only
identity of subject matter but identity of parties and causes of action. Indeed, the trial
court did not err in dismissing the complaint on the ground of res judicata.

Wherefore, the order appealed from is affirmed, with costs against appellants.

Paras. C.J., Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Labrador, Reyes, J.B.L., Endencia, Barrera,
and Gutierrez David, JJ., concur.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. L-9699 August 26, 1915

THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellant,


vs.
JUAN HERNANDEZ, ET AL., defendants-appellees.

Attorney-General Avanceña for appellant.


Buencamino and Lontok or appellees.

ARAULLO, J.:

The defendants named above were sentenced in the justice of the peace court of
Batangas, of the province o the same name, for infraction of a municipal ordinance
regulating fishing privileges. They appealed from the judgment and the cases against
them were carried to the Court of First Instance of said province, wherein the provincial
fiscal filed complaints against the said defendants, one on October 1, 1913, against the
said defendants, one on October 1, 1913, against Juan Hernandez, Lorenzo Claus, Donato
Dimasacat, Crisanto Como, Pedro Hermedilla, Rosalio Antenor, Fausto Godoy, Gabriel
Bartolome, Eulalio Driz, and Manuel Godoy to form case No. 2371, and three against
Cornelio Arellano on August 6 of the same year, 1913, which were the bases of cases
Nos. 2372, 2383, and 2409.

The first of said complaints is couched in the following terms:


The undersigned provincial fiscal in the above-entitled cause, brought into this
Court of First Instance on appeal, charges Juan Hernandez, Lorenzo Claus,
Donato Dimasacat, Crisanto Como, Pedro Hermedilla, Rosalio Antenor, Fausto
Godoy, Gabriel Bartolome, Eulalio Driz and Manuel Godoy with infraction of a
municipal ordinance, committed as follows:

In the night of March 2 of the current year, 1913, in the barrio of Pinamucan,
municipality of Batangas, Batangas, in jurisdiction of this Court of First Instance, the said
defendants fished by torchlight with small hand-nets in a portion of the sea marked off as
No. 106, intended for a fish weir and leased for that purpose to Lino Mendoza who at that
time had no weir installed in that portion of the sea, without the knowledge or consent of
said lessee; and in this way they caught fish as follows:

Juan Fernandez, to the value of P2.00


Lorenzo Claus, " " " " 2.00
Donato
" " " " 2.00
Dimasacat,
Crisanto Como, " " " " 2.00
Pedro
" " " " 0.40
Hermedilla,
Rosalio Antenor, " " " " 0.40
Fausto Godoy, " " " " 0.40
Gabriel
" " " " 0.40
Bartolome,
Manuel Godoy, " " " " 0.40
Eulalio Driz, " " " " 0.40

An act performed in violation of article 10, in connection with article 15, of


municipal ordinance No. 4, regulating fishing privileges, of the municipality of
Batangas.

One of the complaints filed against Cornelio Arellano is the following effect:

The undersigned provincial fiscal, in the above-entitled cause, brought into this
Court of First Instance on appeal, charges Cornelio Arellano with "infraction of a
municipal ordinance," committed as follows:

On or about April 27 of the current year, 1913, in the barrio of Pinamucan of the
municipality of Batangas, Batangas, in the jurisdiction of this court of First
Instance, the defendant, although provided with a license for fishing on the
surface of a water in accordance with section 14 of municipal ordinance No. 4 of
Batangas regulating fishing privileges, did maliciously fish with a small drag-net,
called a bayacus, in the portion of the sea set apart for fish weirs, marked off as
No. 111, without the knowledge or consent of Lino Mendoza who is the lawful
grantee of said portion of the sea, even though he had not placed any fish weir
there; the defendant having caught fish to the value of P14, which constitutes an
infraction of section 10 of said ordinance, penalized by section 15 therefore.

The other two complaints filed against the same Arellano are identical with the foregoing
and refer to the same a contrivance for fishing called alangang munti, and that said
fishing was carried on weirs Nos. 111 and 112 in the other.

Counsel for the defendants filed a demurrer in case No. 2371 on the ground that the facts
alleged therein did not constitute a crime or infraction, because the ordinance in question
was unconstitutional, illegal and inapplicable and that the acts alleged in the complaint
were not penalized by said ordinance, and therefore he prayed for dismissal of the case,
with costs de oficio. An identical prayer for dismissal had also been previously made on
the same grounds by the defendant Arellano in each of the three cases instituted against
him. After a hearing in the four cases had been granted to the fiscal who opposed the
foregoing motion, the Court of First Instance of Batangas on January 20, 1914, issued in
No. 2371 a single order of each and all of the said cases, dismissing the four complaints
and assessing the costs de oficio, cancelling the bond filed by the defendant for their
release and directing that a copy of the same order be annexed to the other cases
instituted against Arellano. Said dismissal was based on the finding that section 10 of the
ordinance in question was an illegal provision and consequently null and void and of no
force or effect, and that even though the validity and legality of said section should be
admitted, the infraction thereof was not included in the penal sanction prescribed in
section 15 of the same ordinance.

The judgment set forth was appealed from by the prosecution and said cases have been
brought up to this Supreme Court by virtue of that appeal. In a single brief filed by the
Attorney-General in support of said appeal in the four cases mentioned, it is maintained
that the trial court erred: (1) In taking judicial notice in its order of January 20, 1914, of
the existence of ordinance No. 4 of the municipality of Batangas; (2) in discussing in said
order the validity and legality of the provisions of said ordinance; (3) in declaring section
10 of ordinance No. 4 of the municipality of Batangas illegal and null and void; and (4) in
finally dismissing the complaints filed in cases Nos. 2371, 2372, 2383, and 2409.

Section 10 of the municipal ordinance cited in the complaint as violated reads thus: "Any
person provided with a license for a fish weir, even though he does not install it, may
utilize for his exclusive fishing by means of a net the space of 50 meters set apart for his
weir, and no other fisherman shall disturb him in his privilege or make use of said area
without his knowledge and consent."

Section 15 of the same ordinance, also cited in the said complaints, likewise reads: "Any
person who makes use of the concession for fishing on the surface of the water without
the corresponding license shall upon conviction be punished by a fine not exceeding two
hundred (P200) Conant or by imprisonment for not more than six (6) months in the
discretion of the court according to the seriousness of the offense."

The Attorney-General says in connection with the first assignment of error in his brief
that while Act No. 183, known as the Manila Chapter, as amended in section 42 by Act
no. 612, provides that the municipal court of Manila, as well as the Court of First
Instance of Manila, shall take judicial notice of the existence of all the municipal
ordinances enacted by the municipal board of the city of Manila, yet in Act No. 82, called
the Municipal Code, that is, the law organizing the municipalities of the Philippine
Islands, with the exception of the city of Manila, there is no provision similar to the one
above cited, and this silence in said Act demonstrates that the Courts of First Instance in
the provinces cannot and must not take judicial notice of the existence of municipal
ordinances, even when it takes cognizance of an infraction thereof on appeal from a
judgment by the justice of the peace.

It is true that there does not appear in Act No. 82, to wit, the so-called Municipal ode, any
provision analogous to that contained in Act No. 183, known as the Manila chapter, with
reference to the point mentioned, but this silence cannot be taken to mean that it was the
intention of the legislator to deprive the Courts of First Instance in the provinces of these
Islands of the authority conferred, not by Act No. 136, to wit, the law organizing the
judiciary of the Philippine Islands, but by the organic act of the city of Manila, for the
reason that, according to the said law organizing the judiciary (section 57), both the
Courts of First instance of the provinces and of Manila have appellate jurisdiction over all
cases arising in justices' and other inferior courts of their respective provinces; and there
is no reason for making between the various courts distinctions that said Organic Act
does not make for the exercise of their jurisdiction and the means of exercising it, among
which must be included the authority to take judicial notice of the existence of the
municipal ordinances in force in their respective districts. And we do not think that the
fact that no provision even tacitly so providing is found among the provisions of Chapter
X of Act No. 190, to wit, the Code of Civil Procedure, is any reason for maintaining, as
the Attorney-General understands, that the Courts of First Instance lack such authority,
because in the first place, we do not think that chapter of the Code of Civil Procedure the
appropriate place for setting forth such authority or duty, and, in the second place, if in
giving such a reason the intention was to maintain that among the rules of evidence
contained in said Chapter X there is none which refers to the means or method of proving
the existence of a municipal ordinance so that the court trying the case may take notice
thereof, we may turn to section 313, No. 5, included in said Chapter X, wherein, in fixing
the "Proof of official documents" (in addition to that set forth in the preceding sections),
among which are unquestionably the proceedings or ordinances of the municipalities of
these Islands, it is stated: "Official documents may be proved as follows: ... 5. The acts of
a municipal corporation of the Philippine Islands, or of a board or department thereof
may be proven by a copy certified by the legal keeper thereof, or by a printed book
published by the authority of said corporation," and it will be perfectly comprehend that,
according to the provision quoted, a certified copy of a municipal ordinance of the
Islands may be presented as evidence in court.
Furthermore, in each one of the four cases enumerated above, after the complaint and
before the motion to dismiss, there is annexed a duly certified copy of the municipal
ordinance in question, with the infraction thereof the defendants were respectively
charged in said informations. It does not appear by whom said copies were presented, but
they must have been submitted either by the provincial fiscal himself along with the
complaints, especially when reference is made therein to said ordinance, or by counsel
for the defendants in filing the motion to dismiss. The filing of said copies clearly
demonstrates the need the court had for taking notice of said ordinance in order to be able
to decide the questions raised by counsel in his prayer for dismissal and in order to
determine whether it had been violated, as the complaints charged.

However it may have been, the certain and positive fact is that copies of that were
presented to the court and it had to take them into account in rendering final judgment in
the case, and it cannot be said that because they were not introduced as evidence in due
course of the trial presentation thererof was not affected, for a question of fact was
involved in discussing the motions to dismiss said four cases, to wit, whether or not the
infraction of section 10, of said ordinance was an act penalized by section 15 thereof,
aside from the fact that in order to decide the questions relating to the unconstitutionality
or illegality of said ordinance it was necessary to know the terms thereof and
consequently to consult it. Those copies therefore constitute evidence presented on that
point, and it is to be noted that the provincial fiscal, the prosecutor, who was thereon and
opposed the dismissal sought, offered no objection to the presentation of said copies or to
the court's taking judicial notice of the existence of said ordinance, which compliance
signifies acknowledgment on the part of the prosecution in the Court of First instance of
the authority and the duty of the court in connection with such notice and bars the
admission and consideration of such objection at the present stage of the proceedings, and
so much the more so when, as has been said, it is possible that those copies may have
been presented in the Court of First Instance by the fiscal himself.

In other respects, there is nothing in the law to prohibit the Courts of First Instance of the
provinces in these Islands from taking judicial notice of the ordinances enacted by the
municipalities of their districts, or which establishes that they cannot exercise such
authority or perform their duty, when it may become necessary for the determination oft
he questions submitted to their jurisdiction.

On the other hand, there has been laid down in decisions of some of the courts of the
sovereign country the principle, observance whereof is reasonable and justifiable in these
Islands, that in cases analogous to the one at bar judicial notice must be taken of the
municipal ordinance that is called into question.

Where a conviction is had for the violation of a city ordinance and an appeal to
the district court, the ordinance of the city need not be introduced in evidence.
The district court should take judicial notice of such ordinance; but where said
ordinance is given in evidence, over the objection of the defendant, held, not
error. (Downing vs. City of Miltonvalve, 36 Kan., 740.)
Where an action for the violation of a city ordinance is commenced and
prosecuted to conviction and sentence before the police judge of such city, and the
case is then taken by the defendant on appeal to the district court, the district court
should, with reference to such case, take judicial notice of the incorporation of
such city, and of the existence and substance of its ordinances. (City of Solomon
vs. Hughes, 24 Kan., 154.)

In the body of the decision in the case of Smith vs. City of Emporia (27 Kan., 528, 530),
it is stated: "When the case was taken on appeal from the police court to the district court,
it was not only within the power, but it was the duty of the district court to try the case in
the same manner that it should be tried before the police court. The district court was in
fact substituted for the time being for the police court, and whatever the police court
could have taken judicial notice of while the case was in that court, the district court
could and should have taken judicial notice of after the removal of the case to the district
court.

Municipal courts, and the circuit courts on trial de novo on appeal from them, will
take judicial notice not only of the ordinances of a city, but such journals and
records of the common council as effect their validity, meaning, and construction,
just as state courts take official notice of the public statutes of the State and the
journals of the legislature. (Portland vs. Yick, 44 Ore., 439.)

It cannot be held, therefore, that the trial court committed the first error by the appellant
in his brief, nor in the second, namely, in considering, in the order appealed from, the
validity and legality of the provisions of Ordinance No. 4 of the municipal of Batangas,
of which he took judicial notice.

The Municipal Code, section 43 (c), as amended by section 1 (j) of Act No. 303 and
section 3 of Act No. 1530, includes among the municipal revenues, or, what amounts to
the same thing, among the methods the municipalities may adopt for raising revenue for
public purposes in their respective localities "the granting of the privilege of fisheries in
fresh-water streams, lakes, and tidal streams included within the municipality and not the
property of any private individual, and in the marine waters included between two lines
drawn perpendicular to the general coast line from points where the boundary lines of the
municipality touch the sea at high tide, and at third line parallel with the general coast
line and distant from it three marine leagues."

Act No. 1634, section 1, also authorizes the municipalities to let at public auction the
privilege or license to fish in definite fishing grounds in case the latter have been
previously indicated by the municipality.

The right to engage in fishing by a municipal corporation under a provision of law or


authority granted by the Legislature, being in this case a delegation of the state's authority
to the municipality.
By the common law all persons have a common and general right of fishing in the sea,
and in all other navigable or tidal waters; and no one can maintain an exclusive privilege
to any part of such waters unless he has acquired it by grant or prescription,
notwithstanding the title to the bed of such a stream is in the riparian owner. (19 Cyc.,
992, and cases there cited.)

In the absence of statute, the right of fishery in navigable waters within the limits
of a municipal corporation belongs to the public, and the corporation as such can
exercise no control over it; .... But power to regulate and control fisheries within
its limits has generally been given to such towns by patent or grant, or by an act of
the legislature .Under such grants or acts the right of fishing in waters within the
limits of a particular town may be given exclusively to the inhabitants thereof, . . .
(19 Cyc., 1004, and cases there cited.)

Moreover, the case Municipal Code, section 39 (jj), authorizes the municipalities of these
Islands to "make such ordinances and regulations, not repugnant to law as may be
necessary to carry into effect and discharge the powers and duties conferred by this Act,
and such as shall seem necessary and proper to provide for the health and safety, promote
the prosperity, improve the morals, peace, good order, comfort, and convenience of the
municipalities and the inhabitants thereof, and for the protection of property therein; and
enforce obedience thereto wit such lawful fines and penalties as the municipal council
may prescribe under the provisions of paragraph (dd), of this section."

Hence, the municipal council of Batangas has acted in accordance with law and in strict
compliance therewith in enacting the ordinance No. 4, which is here in question, to
require the granting of a license for securing the privilege of fishing in the rivers and the
marine waters of said municipality, in regulating the exercise of said privilege and in
prescribing the methods for securing the same, in safeguarding the right of the grantee by
fixing penalties for any of the cases of disturbance thereof, and in also fixing penalties for
the grantee should he in the exercise of his privilege cause injury to the public or to the
grantees of adjoining areas. The fact that section 10 of the same ordinance prescribes that
no other fisherman shall disturb the grantee in the exercise of his privilege or make use of
the space granted to him without his knowledge or consent dos not mean that said
section, and consequently the said ordinance, is illegal and null and void, for such a
concession would not be a privilege but a permit of a general nature to fish in a definite
area. The exclusive right of the grantee in the instance in the privilege itself, just as the
privilege would cease to exist if such right could not be exercised. It is a principle of law
that the grantee cannot use his privilege to the exclusion of another grantee, whence it
necessarily follows that he can use it to the exclusion of others who do not enjoy the
privilege. And as has already been stated, municipal corporations are authorized by law
to grant such a privilege.

It is true, as stated in the order appealed from, that the Municipal Code contains no
provision which expressly confers upon municipalities authority to grant the exclusive
use of a portion of the sea in its jurisdiction for fishing purposes and to give the grantee
the right to require permission to fish in the portion granted. But the Municipal Code does
not contain such provisions because they are absolutely unnecessary for the purpose of
determining the meaning of the granting of the privilege for fishing, to which the section
43 cited makes reference, for the simple reason that the right to fish in the marine and
other navigable waters or tidal waters within the boundaries of a municipal corporation is
public, common and general. In mentioning in the said code as one of the sources of
revenue for the municipalities the granting of privileges for fishing in the marine waters
within its jurisdiction, not the property of any private individual, and in the marine waters
within lines fixed in said section 43, reference was made to the granting of privileges for
fishing in definite areas or parts of that portion of the sea, not in the sea in general, since
for this such a grant was unnecessary; and in accordance with the provision cited from
the ordinance here in question and for the purpose of the granting of said privilege, the
water along the seashore seems to be included in the second group to which section 1
refers for in treating of the rights and obligations of the grantee is made of the places for
weirs, that is, definite portions of the sea, within which the grantee may exercise that
right. Anybody provided with a license for a weir is authorized by section 10, even
though he may not have installed it, to make use of the space of 50 meters for his
exclusive fishing with a net, as set aside for his weir, and for fishing in the sea in general,
because such a grant would not, we repeat, be necessary therefor. And still less was
necessary for the said Municipal Code to confer expressly upon the municipalities
authority to confer upon the grantee the right to require permission to fish in the portion
granted, because that right is inherent in the very granting of the privilege to fish in a
definite place in the sea, which is what the granting mentioned in section 43 amounts to,
and the authority of the municipality to confer this right is also included in the authority
to make the grant, for the thing granted would not be a privilege if the grantee could not
exercise such right.

Finally, we see nothing in the ordinance in question which justifies the conclusion, as set
forth in the order appealed from, that the granting of the privilege, as regulated therein,
lends itself to abusive and odious combinations, to prevent which an effort should have
been made, for section 3 of the same ordinance states that the license for securing the
privilege shall be let at public auction, that is, in accordance with the provisions of
section 1 of Act No. 1634, and the other sections contain prescriptions referring to the use
and enjoyment of the privilege which are not contract to law. While it is true that in the
exercise of the privilege or in the exclusive use of the space granted to him for fishing,
the grantee may violate the law or abuse his right by means of combinations that may be
prejudicial to the public interest, or rather the welfare of the locality, there are means
within the pale of the law to suppress them and even to provide punishment for them.
Moreover this possibility is no reason for holding that the provision contained in section
10 of said ordinance is illegal, and consequently null and void and of no force or effect,
as the lower court has held, thus incurring the third error assigned by the appellant in his
brief, as well as the fourth, by dismissing on such ground the complaints in the four cases
enumerated above.

Nevertheless, dismissal is proper on the ground set forth in the very order appealed from
that the infraction of said section 10 is not included within the sanction prescribed by
section 15 of said ordinance, and to convince oneself of this fact the mere reading of said
two sections is sufficient.

On this ground, and declaring the provision contained in section 10 of said ordinance of
the municipal council of Batangas to be legal and valid, we affirm the judgment appealed
from, with the costs de oficio. So ordered.

Arellano, C.J., and Torres, J., concur.


Johnson, J., concurs in the result.

Separate Opinions

CARSON, J., concurring:

I concur in the disposition of this appeal.

I think it well to indicate however that the comment of the opinion in regard to the right
of the courts to take judicial notice of the contents and the enactment of municipal
ordinances should be held to be limited strictly, in the language of the opinion itself, to
"casos analogous al de que se trata."

The general doctrine, as I understand it, is quite clearly set forth by Judge McQuillin in
his work on Municipal Corporations, from which I extract the following:

PAR. 849. — Courts will judicially notice the character or incorporating act of a
municipal corporation without being specially pleaded, not only when it is
declared to be a public statute, but when it is public or general in its nature or
purposes. But state courts will not take judicial notice of ordinances of municipal
corporations; hence, as mentioned, they must pleaded with as much certainty of
description as to their subject-matter as a contract or other private paper.

Courts of the state take judicial of public laws of the state. Ordinances when
legally enacted operate throughout the limits of the city in like manner as public
laws operate within the state limits. the city or municipal courts bear the same
relation to ordinances of the city as the state courts do to the public laws of the
state. Hence, on principle, the municipal courts may for like reason take judicial
notice of all city ordinances of a general nature, or those having a general
obligatory force throughout the city. And the rule that courts will not take judicial
notice of their ordinances, without allegation or proof of their existence.

PAR. 861. — While, as we have seen, municipal or city courts will take judicial
notice of the ordinances and resolutions passed and in force within the jurisdiction
of the court, without being pleaded and proved, in many jurisdictions it is held,
and the weight of authority seems to be that, on appeal from such courts to a state
court the latter will not take judicial notice of ordinances unless they have been
pleaded in the municipal or city court and set out in the record. But the better
view appears to be that where an action for the violation of an ordinance has been
commenced in a municipal or police court and the case is appealed, the latter
court, whether state or municipal, will take judicial notice of the incorporation of
the city and of the existence or substance of its ordinances.

I may say also that I think that under the rulings of this court in United States vs.
Tamporong (p. 321 supra), the appeal should have been dismissed forthwith, with out
discussing the merits, when the court had satisfied itself as to the validity of the
ordinance, the sole ground upon which appellants were permitted to maintain their appeal
being the alleged invalidity of the ordinance.

Nevertheless, as the judgment entered by this court has substantially the same effect as
that which would be secured by dismissing the appeal, I have not felt constrained to
dissent on this ground alone.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

THIRD DIVISION

G.R. No. 145169 May 13, 2004

SIENA REALTY CORPORATION, as represented by LYDIA CO HAO and


LILIBETH MANLUGON, petitioner,
vs.
HON. LOLITA GAL-LANG, as Presiding Judge of the RTC of Manila, Branch 44;
ANITA CO NG in trust for ROCKEFELLER NG; and the COURT OF APPEALS,
SPECIAL 13th DIVISION, respondents.

DECISION

CARPIO MORALES, J.:

Challenged via petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Revised Rules
of Court is the September 13, 2000 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. SP
No. 59096, Siena Realty Corporation, as represented by Lydia Co Hao and Lilibeth
Manlugon v. Hon. Lolita O. Gal-lang, as Presiding Judge of Br. 44 of the RTC of
Manila, and Anita Co Ng in trust for Rockefeller Ng.

Since the petition attributes grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Court of Appeals
in the issuance of subject resolution, what should have been filed was one for certiorari
under Rule 65. On this score alone, the petition must be denied due course.
But even if technicality were set aside, just the same the petition fails.

Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals on June 7, 2000 or
allegedly on the 60th day from their receipt of the March 23, 2000 Order of Branch 44 of
the Manila Regional Trial Court denying their motion for Reconsideration of said court’s
Order dismissing, on motion of private respondent, their complaint.

The Court of Appeals, by Resolution1 of June 20, 2000, dismissed petitioner’s petition for
certiorari, however, for being filed out of time, it holding that:

Per records, it appears that petitioners had only until May 29, 2000 within which
to file the Petition for Certiorari considering the following:

1. Petitioners received a copy of the October 20, 1999 Order denying their
[counsel’s] Notice of Withdrawal [and likewise denying petitioners’
Motion for Reconsideration of the Order dismissing their complaint] on
November 8, 1999;

2. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of the October 20, 1999


Order on November 17, 1999; and that

3. Petitioners received a copy of the March 23, 2000 Order denying their
motion for reconsideration on April 8, 2000.

The instant petition was filed on June 7, 2000 or nine (9) days late.

Thus, for being belatedly filed, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED.

Petitioners thereupon filed (on July 10, 2000) a motion for reconsideration2 of the above-
said June 20, 2000 Order of the appellate court.

In the meantime, this Court issued in A.M. No. 00-2-03-SC (Reglamentary Period to File
Petitions for Certiorari and Petition for Review on Certiorari) a Resolution dated August
1, 2000 approving the amendment to the following provision of Section 4, Rule 65 of the
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure:

SECTION 4. Where petition filed. – The petition may be filed not later than
sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment, order, resolution sought to be
assailed in the Supreme Court or, if it relates to the acts or omissions of a lower
court or of a corporation, board, officer or person, in the Regional Trial Court
exercising jurisdiction over the territorial area as defined by the Supreme Court. It
may also be filed in the Court of Appeals whether or not the same is in aid of its
jurisdiction. If it involves the acts or omissions of a quasi-judicial agency, and
unless otherwise provided by law or these Rules, the petition shall be filed in and
cognizable only by the Court of Appeals.
If the petitioner had filed a motion for new trial or reconsideration after
notice of said judgment, order or resolution, the period herein fixed shall be
interrupted. If the motion is denied, the aggrieved party may file the petition
within the remaining period, but which shall not be less than five (5) days in
any event, reckoned from notice of such denial. No extension of time shall be
granted except for the most compelling reason and in no case to exceed
fifteen (15) days. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)

The amendment to Sec. 4, Rule 65, which took effect on September 1, 2000, reads:

SECTION 4. When and where petition filed. – The petition shall be filed not later
than sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment, order or resolution. In case a
motion for reconsideration or new trial is timely filed, whether such motion
is required or not, the sixty (60) day period shall be counted from notice of
the denial of the said motion.

The petition shall be filed in the Supreme Court or, if it relates to the acts or
omissions of a lower court or of a corporation, board, officer or person, in the
Regional Trial Court exercising jurisdiction over the territorial area as defined by
the Supreme Court. It may also be filed in the Court of Appeals whether or not the
same is in the aid of its appellate jurisdiction, or in the Sandiganbayan if it is in
aid of its appellate jurisdiction. If it involves the acts or omissions of a quasi-
judicial agency, unless otherwise provided by law or these rules, the petition shall
be filed in and cognizable only by the Court of Appeals.

No extension of time to file the petition shall be granted except for compelling
reason and in no case exceeding fifteen (15) days. (Emphasis and underscoring
supplied)

The Court of Appeals, acting on petitioners’ Motion for Reconsideration of its Order of
June 20, 2000, denied, by Resolution of September 13, 2000,3 said motion in this wise:

xxx

From the argument espoused by petitioners’ counsel, it appears that he overlooked


the provision of second paragraph of Sec. 4, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure as amended per Supreme Court Circular dated July 21, 1998, which
provides as follows:

"If the petitioner had filed a motion for new trial or reconsideration after
notice of said judgment, order or resolution, the period herein fixed shall
be interrupted. If the motion is denied, the aggrieved party may file the
petition within the remaining period, but which shall not be less than five
(5) days in any event, reckoned from notice of such denial. No extension
of time shall be granted except for the most compelling reason and in no
case to exceed fifteen (15) days."
Verily, the sixty (60) day period within which to file a Petition for Certiorari is
not counted from the date of the receipt of the denial of Motion for
Reconsideration, but from the date of the receipt of the questioned order or
decision, except that such 60-day period is interrupted upon the filing of a Motion
for Reconsideration.

WHEREFORE, for reason above-stated, the instant motion is DENIED.


Consequently, the present Petition for Certiorari is DISMISSED with finality.
(Underscoring supplied)

Hence, the petition at bar, petitioners challenging the September 13, 2000 Resolution of
the appellant court as having been

. . . ISSUED WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AS IT WAS MADE


WITHOUT TAKING PRIOR JUDICIAL NOTICE OF SUPREME COURT
A.M. NO. 00-2 - 03 SC WHICH RESOLUTION TOOK EFFECT ON
SEPTEMBER 1, 2000, AND WHICH AMENDED THE SECOND
PARAGRAPH OF SECTION 4, RULE 65 OF THE 1997 RULES OF CIVIL
PROCEDURE.4 (Underscoring supplied)

Petitioner’s argument is well-taken.

Section 1, Rule 129 of the Rules on Evidence reads:

SECTION 1. Judicial notice, when mandatory. – A court shall take judicial


notice, without the introduction of evidence, of the existence and territorial
extent of states, their political history, forms of government and symbols of
nationality, the law of nations, the admiralty and maritime courts of the world and
their seals, the political constitution and history of the Philippines, the official
acts of the legislative, executive and judicial departments of the Philippines, the
laws of nature, the measure of time, and the geographical divisions. (Emphasis
and underscoring supplied)

Even if petitioner did not raise or allege the amendment in their motion for
reconsideration before it, the Court of Appeals should have taken mandatory judicial
notice of this Court’s resolution in A.M. Matter No. 00-02-03 SC. The resolution did not
have to specify that it had retroactive effect as it pertains to a procedural matter. Contrary
to private respondent’s allegation that the matter was no longer pending and
undetermined, the issue of whether the petition for certiorari was timely filed was still
pending reconsideration when the amendment took effect on September 1, 2000, hence,
covered by the its retroactive application.

The amendatory rule in their favor notwithstanding, petitioners’ petition fails as stated
early on. The order of the trial court granting private respondent’s Motion to Dismiss the
complaint was a final, not interlocutory, order and as such, it was subject to appeal,5 not a
petition for certiorari. At the time petitioners filed before the appellate court their petition
for certiorari on the 60th day following their receipt of the October 20, 1999 Order of the
trial court denying their Motion for Reconsideration of its dismissal order, the said
October 20, 1999 Order had become final and executory after the 15th day following
petitioners’ receipt thereof.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is, in light of the foregoing discussions, hereby
DENIED.

SO ORDERED.

Vitug, Sandoval-Gutierrez, and Corona, JJ., concur.

Footnotes
1
Rollo at 39-40.
2
Id. at 105-107.
3
Id. at 37-38.
4
Id. at 22.
5
Sec. 1, Rule 41, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.