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CIVIL PROCEDURE ACTIONS Settled is the rule that what determines the nature of the action as well as the court which has jurisdiction over the case are the allegations in the complaint. The cause of action in a complaint is not what the designation of the complaint states, but what the allegations in the body of the complaint define or describe. The designation or caption is not controlling, more than the allegations in the complaint, for it is not even an indispensable part of the complaint. (Hernudd vs. Lofgren, 534 SCRA 205, September 2007) It is axiomatic that what determines the nature of an action and hence, the jurisdiction of the court, are the allegations of the complaint and the character of the relief sought. (Allgemeine-Bau-Chemie Phils. Inc., vs. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, 482 SCRA 247) Cause of action is defined as the act or omission by which a party violates the right of another. (Davao Light and Power Company Inc. vs. Judge, RTC Davao City, Br. 8, 485 SCRA 74) Admission of genuineness and due execution of a document simply means that the party whose signature it bears admits that he voluntarily signed the documents or it was signed by another for him and with his authority, that at the time it was signed its was in words and figures exactly as set out in the pleading of the party relying upon it, that the document was delivered, and that any formalities required by law, such as seal, an acknowledgement, or revenue stamp which it lacks, are waived by him; Admission of the genuineness and due execution of a document does not preclude a party from arguing against such it by evidence of fraud, mistake, compromise, payment, statute of limitations, estoppel, and want of consideration. (Simon vs. Canlas, 487 SCRA 433) Accion interdictal comprises two distinct causes of action, namely forcible entry (detentacion) and unlawful detainer (desahuico), the jurisdiction of these two actions, which are summary in nature, lies in the proper Municipal Trial Court or Metropolitan Trial Court. (Valdez vs. Court of Appeals, 489 SCRA 369) To justify an action for unlawful detainer, it is essential that the plaintiff’s supposed acts of tolerance must have been present right from the start of the possession which is later sought to be recoveredsuch tolerance must be present right from the start of possession sought to be recovered to categorize a cause of action as one of unlawful detainer, not forcible entry. (Valdez vs. Court of Appeals, 489 SCRA 369)
There is forum shopping when a party seeks to obtain remedies in an action in one court, which had already been solicited, and in other courts and other proceedings on other tribunals; Forum shopping is an act of malpractice, as the litigants trifle with the courts and abuse their processes. (Montes vs. Court of Appeals, 489 SCRA 432) For res judicata to apply, the following elements must be present: (1) the judgment or order must be final; (2) the judgment must be on the merits; (3) it must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties and (4) there must be, between the first and second actions, identity of the parties, of subject matter and of cause of action. (Parayno vs. Jovellanos, 495 SCRA 85) AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES A motion to dismiss by one defendant does not affect the right of the other defendants to plead their own affirmative defenses and be preliminary heard thereon. (Abrajano vs. Heirs of Augusto Salas, Jr., 482 SCRA 476) AMENDMENT OF PLEADINGS An amendment is only in form when it merely adds specifications to eliminate vagueness in the information and does not introduce new and material facts. (Cabo vs. Sandiganbayan, 491 SCRA 264) Settled is the rule that a motion to dismiss is not a responsive pleading for purposes of Section 2, Rule 10 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure; Since the plaintiff has the right to amend his or her complaint where no responsive pleading has yet been filed, it is correlative duty of the trial court to accept the amended complaint, otherwise mandamus would lie against it; It has always been the policy of the Supreme Court to be liberal in allowing amendments to pleadings in order that the real controversies between or among the parties may be presented and cases be decided on the merits without delay. (Alpine Lending Investors vs. Corpuz, 508 SCRA 45) ANNULMENT OF JUDGMENTS An action for annulment of judgment cannot and is not a substitute for the lost remedy of appeal. A party must have first availed of appeal, a motion for new trial or a petition for relief before an action for annulment can prosper. (Mercado vs. Security Bank Corporation, 482 SCRA 501) A judgment can be annulled on the following grounds: that the judgment is void for want of jurisdiction; that the judgment is void for lack of due process; or that it has been obtained by fraud. (Aranda vs. Fortune Savings and Loan Association, Inc., 490 SCRA 87) An action for annulment of judgment can be filed even by one who was not a party to the case in which the assailed judgment was rendered. (Villanueva vs. Nite, 496 SCRA 459)
ANSWERS A denial is not specific simply because it so qualified by the defendant- a general denial does not become specific by the use of the word “specifically”; When the matters of whether the defendant alleges having no knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief are plainly and necessarily within the defendant’s knowledge, his alleged ignorance or lack of information will not be considered as a specific denial. (Camitan vs. Court of Appeals, 511 SCRA 364) APPEALS The “fresh period rule” is a procedural law as it prescribes a fresh period of 15 days within which an appeal may be made in the event that the motion for reconsideration is denied by the lower court; The rule should be applied to pending actions. (Delos Santos vs. Vda. De Mangubat, 535 SCRA 411, October 2007) As a rule, an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is limited to review of errors of law. The factual findings of the trial court, especially when affirmed by the appellate court, are generally binding on us unless there was a misapprehension of facts or when the inference drawn from the facts was manifestly mistaken. (Hi-Cement Corporation vs. Insular Bank of Asia and America, 534 SCRA 269, September 2007) Judicial policy dictates that courts ensure the full adjudication of the merits of an appeal. Cases should be determined on the merits, after giving full opportunity to all parties for the ventilation of their causes and defenses, rather than on technicality or some procedural imperfections.(Bunsay, et. al. vs. Civil Service Commission, 530 SCRA 68, August 2007) As a rule, a decision on a prior appeal of the same case is held to be the law of the case whether that question is right or wrong, the remedy of the party deeming himself aggrieved being to seek a rehearing. (Escobar vs. Luna, 519 SCRA 1, March 2007) A petition for annulment of judgment under Rule 47 of the Rules of Court may be availed of against final judgments and orders rendered by either Regional Trial Courts in civil actions or Municipal Trial Courts- Final judgments or orders of quasi-judicial tribunal such as the National Labor Relations Commission, and the Office of the President are beyond its reach. (Padua vs. Court of Appeals, 517 SCRA 232, March 2007) An action for annulment of judgment based on lack of jurisdiction may be filed any time, unless laches has, in the meantime, set in. (Reyes vs. Alsons Development and Investment Corporation, 517 SCRA 244, March 2007) CAUSES OF ACTIONS Considering that bad faith and malice are not necessary in an action based on Article 32 of the Civil Code, the failure to specifically allege the same will not amount to failure to state a cause of action.
(Vinzons-Chato vs. Fortune Tobacco Corporation, 525 SCRA 11, June 2007) It is well-settled rule that the existence of a cause of action is determined by the allegations in the complaint. In resolving a motion to dismiss based on the failure to state cause of action, only the facts alleged in the complaint must be considered. (Jan-Dec Construction Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 481 SCRA 556) Hornbook is the rule that identity of causes of actions does not mean absolute identity. The test to determine whether the causes of action are identical is to ascertain whether the same evidence will sustain both actions, or whether there is an identity in the facts essential to the maintenance of the two actions. (Cruz vs. Court of Appeals, 482 SCRA 379) “Cause of action” is the act or omission by which a party violates a right of another. It contains three elements: (1) a right existing in favor of the plaintiff; (2) a duty on the part of the defendant to respect the right of the plaintiff; and (3) a breach of the defendant’s duty. (Balanay vs. Paderanga, 499 SCRA 670) A cause of action is a formal statement of the operative facts that give rise to a remedial right; Question of whether the complaint states a cause of action is determined by its averments regarding the acts committed by the defendant. (Zepeda vs. China Banking Corporation, 504 SCRA 126) In determining whether an initiatory pleading states a cause of action, the test is as follows: admitting the truth of the facts alleged, can the court render a valid judgment in accordance with the prayer?; Only the material allegations in the complaint are to be taken into account, extraneous facts and circumstances or other matters aliunde are not considered; However, the court may consider in addition to the complaint the appended annexes or documents, other pleadings of the plaintiff, or admissions in the records. (Aldemita vs. Heirs of Melquiades Silva, 506 SCRA 607) DEFAULT If the defendant is absent during the initial trial without any justifiable reason therefore, the defendant cannot be declared as in default for such absence but the court may allow the plaintiff to present his evidence before the Branch Clerk of Court ex parte- by the absence of the defendant, he waives, not only his right to crossexamine the plaintiff and his witnesses, but also to adduce evidence in his behalf. (Pangasinan Five Star Bus Co., Inc. vs. Barredo, 498 SCRA 418) There are three requirements which must be complied with by the claiming party before the court may declare the defending party in default, to wit: 1. the claiming party must file a motion asking the court to declare the defending party in default; 2. the defending party must be notified of the motion to declare him in default; 3. the claiming party must prove that the defending party has failed to answer within
the period provided by the Rule. (Delos Santos vs. Carpio, 501 SCRA 390) DEMURRER TO EVIDENCE Demurrer is an aid or instrument for the expeditious termination of an action, similar to a motion to dismiss, which the court or tribunal may either grant or deny. (Dandoy vs. Court of Appeals, 531 SCRA 351, August 2007) DEPOSITION Deposition is allowed as a departure from the accepted and usual judicial proceedings of examining witnesses in open court where their demeanor could be observed by the trial judge, consistent with the principle of promoting just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding, provided it is taken in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Court. (Hyatt Industrial Manufacturing Corp. vs. Ley Construction and Developmnet Corp., 484 SCRA 286) DOCTRINE OF PRIMARY JURISDICTION It is a doctrine of long standing that courts will not interfere in matters which are addressed to the sound discretion of the government agency entrusted with regulation of activities coming under the special and technical training and knowledge of such agency- the exercise of administrative discretion is a policy decision and a matter that best be discharged by the government agency concerned and not by the courts. (Yazaki Torres Manufacturing, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 493 SCRA 86) An exception to the rule on primary jurisdiction is when the issue raised is a purely legal question, well within the competence and the jurisdiction of the court not the administrative agency; For the same reason that the issues to be resolved in this case are purely legal in nature. (Arimao vs. Taher, 498 SCRA 74) ENTRY OF JUDGMENT Nothing in the rules of procedure provides that the entry of judgment be served on the parties, or reckons the date of finality of the judgment from the moment the entry of judgment is received by the parties. (Trans Middle East vs. Sandiganbayan, 490 SCRA 455) EXECUTION On meritorious grounds, execution of final judgment by mere motion may be allowed even after the lapse of five years when delay in the execution is caused or occasioned by the actions of the judgment debtor and/or incurred for his benefit. (Central Surety and Insurance Company vs. Planters Products, Inc., 517 SCRA 651, March 2007)
FINALITY OF JUDGMENTS Once a judgment becomes final and executory, it can no longer be disturbed no matter how erroneous it may be and nothing further can be done therewith except to execute it. (Florentino vs. Rivera, 479 SCRA 522) Once a judgment attains finality it becomes immutable and unalterable. It may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law, and regardless of whether the modification is attempted to be made by the court rendering it or by the highest court of the land. (Bearneza vs. NLRC, 501 SCRA 372) FORUM SHOPPING As no distinction is made as to which party must execute the certificate, the requirement is made to apply to both natural and juridical entities. (Philippine Airlines, Inc. vs. Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines, 479 SCRA 605) Only individuals vested with authority by a valid board resolution may sign the certificate of non-forum shopping in behalf of a corporation. Petition subject to dismissal if a certification was submitted unaccompanied by proof of the signatory’s authority. (Fuentebella vs. Castro, 494 SCRA 183) Conditions to be complied with before the rule on personal signing of the certification may be relaxed. (Tolentino vs. Rivera, 480 SCRA 87) INTERVENTION The requirements for the intervention are: a. legal interest in the matter in litigation; and b. consideration must be given as to whether the adjudication of the original parties may be delayed or prejudiced, or whether the intervenor’s rights may be protected in a separate proceeding or not. Legal interest, which entities a person to intervene, must be in the matter in litigation and of such direct and immediate character that the intervenor will either gain or lose by direct legal operation and effect of the judgment. Such interest must be actual, direct and material, and not simply contingent and expectant. (Perez vs. Court of Appeals, 480 SCRA 411) Motions to intervene may be filed at any time before rendition of judgment by the trial court, not after. (Rockland Construction Co., Inc. vs. Singzon, Jr., 508 SCRA 1) JUDGMENT A compromise agreement that is intended to resolve a matter already under litigation is normally called a judicial compromise. Once it is stamped with judicial imprimatur, it becomes more than a mere contract binding upon the parties. Having the sanction of the court and
entered as its determination of the controversy, it has the force and effect of any other judgment. Such agreement has the force of law and is conclusive between the parties. It transcends its identity as a mere contract binding only upon the parties thereto, for it becomes a judgment that is subject to execution in accordance with the Rules. Thus, a compromise agreement that has been made and duly approved by the court attains the effect and authority of res judicata, although no execution may be issued unless the agreement receives the approval of the court where the litigation is pending and compliance with the terms of the agreement is decreed. (Viesca vs. David, 526 SCRA 566, July 2007) A judgment is on the merits when it determines the rights and liabilities of the parties based on the ultimate facts as disclosed by the pleadings or issues presented for trial; It is not necessary that there should have been a trial, actual hearing or arguments on the facts of the case. (Heirs of Igmedio Maglaque and Sabina Payawal vs. Court of Appeals, 524 SCRA 234,June 2007) Upon finality of the judgment, the court loses its jurisdiction to amend, modify, or alter the same- except for correction of clerical errors or the making of nunc pro tunc entries which causes no prejudice to any party, or where the judgment is void, the judgment can neither be amended nor altered after it has become final and executory. Any amendment or alteration made which substantially affects the final and executory judgment is null and void for lack of jurisdiction. (Aguila vs. Baldovizo, 517 SCRA 91, March 2007) Under the doctrine of conclusiveness judgment, which is also known as “preclusion of issues” or “collateral estoppel,” issues actually and directly resolved in a former suit cannot again be raised in any future case between the same parties involving a different cause of action. (Borlongan vs. Buenaventura, 483 SCRA 405) Relief will not be granted to a party who seeks avoidance from the effects of the judgment when the loss of the remedy at law was due to his own negligence. Due process is satisfied when the parties are afforded a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain their respective sides of the controversy. (Ampo vs. Court of Appeals, 482 SCRA 562) A judgment or order may be appealed only when it is final, meaning that it completely disposes of the case and definitively adjudicates the respective rights of the parties, leaving thereafter no substantial proceedings to be had in connection with the case except the proper execution of the judgment or order. (PDIC vs. Internal Revenue, 511 SCRA 123) The rule is that a final judgment may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct erroneous conclusions of fact or law, and regardless of whether the modification is attempted to be made by the court rendering it or by the highest court of the land. (Surtida vs. Rural Bank of Malinao(Albay), Inc., 511 SCRA 507)
Annulment of judgment as a remedy can be resorted to only where the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal, petition for relief or other appropriate remedies are no longer available through no fault of the petitioner. (Tan vs. Court of Appeals, 491 SCRA 452) Annulment of judgment is a recourse equitable in character, allowed only in exceptional cases as where there is no available or other adequate remedy. (Camitan vs. Court of Appeals, 511 SCRA 364) It is the dispositive part of the judgment that actually settles and declares the rights and obligations of the parties, finally, definitively, and authoritatively, notwithstanding the existence of inconsistent statements in the body that may tend to confuse. (Maricalum Mining Corporation vs. Brion, 482 SCRA 87) It is an important fundamental principle in the judicial system that every litigation must come to an end- access to the courts is guaranteed but there must be a limit thereto. (Aguilar vs. Manila Banking Corporation, 502 SCRA 614) Even after its promulgation, a decision does not bind the parties until notice of the decision is duly served on them by any of the modes prescribed by law. (Mendizabel vs. Apao, 482 SCRA 587) Interlocutory orders are not appealable until after the rendition of the judgments on the merits. The remedy of a party aggrieved would be a petition for certiorari. (Valenzuela vs. Court of Appeals, 482 SCRA 513) There is judgment on the merits when there is an unequivocal determination of the rights and obligations of the parties with respect to the causes of action and subject matter of the case. An order issuing a writ of possession is an order where the sheriff is commanded to place a person in possession of a real or personal property, and to a purchaser in an auction sale, be it foreclosure or neither exercises its official discretion nor judgment. Being a ministerial function and summary in nature, an order issuing a writ of possession is not a judgment on the merits, but simply an incident in the transfer of title. (Philippine National Oil Company vs. National College of Business and Arts, 481 SCRA 298) Once a case is dismissed for failure to prosecute, this has the effect of an adjudication on the merits and is understood to be with prejudice to the filing of another action unless otherwise provided in the order of dismissal. (Cruz vs. Court of Appeals, 482 SCRA 379) A ruling based on a motion to dismiss, without any trial on the merits or formal presentation of evidence, can still be a judgment on the merits. (Id.) Where a motion for judgment on the pleadings is filed, the essential question is whether there are issues generated by the pleadings- in a proper case for judgment on the pleadings, there is no ostensible issue at all because of the failure of the defending party’s answer to raise an issue. (Tan vs. Dela Vega, 484 SCRA 538)
When the pleadings tender a genuine issue, summary judgment is not proper. An issue is genuine if it requires the presentation of evidence as distinguished from sham, fictitious, contrived, or false claim. (Ontimare, Jr., vs. Elep, 479 SCRA 257) JURISDICTION The doctrine that all cases of recovery of possession or accion publiciana lies with the regional trial courts regardless of the value of the property no longer holds true—as things now stand, a distinction must be made between those properties the assessed value of which is below P20,000, if outside Metro Manila, and P50,000, if within. (Quinagoran vs. Court of Appeals, 531 SCRA 104, August 2007) Under the doctrine of non interference, a trial court has no authority to interfere with the proceedings of a court of equal jurisdiction, much less to annul the final judgment of a co-equal court. (Clark Development Corporation vs. Mondragon Leisure and Resorts Corporation, 517 SCRA 203, March 2007) Jurisdiction is the authority to hear and determine a cause or the right to act in a case; The grant to a tribunal or agency of adjudicatory power, or the authority to hear and adjudge cases, should normally and logically be deemed to include the grant of authority to enforce or execute the judgments it renders, unless the law otherwise provides. (Union Bank of the Philippines vs. SEC, 499 SCRA 253) The material averments in the complaint determine the jurisdiction of a court. A court does not lose its jurisdiction over an ejectment suit by the simple expedient of a party raising as a defense therein the alleged existence of a tenancy relationship between the parties. (Cano vs. Jumawan, 481 SCRA 582) It is axiomatic that the allegations in the complaint, not the defenses set up in the answer or in the motion to dismiss determine which court has jurisdiction over an action. (Abacus Securities Corporation vs. Ampil, 483 SCRA 315) Jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by law- the nature of an action, as well as which court or body has jurisdiction over it, is determined based on the allegations contained in the complaint of the plaintiff, irrespective of whether or not plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein. (Orendain vs. BF Homes Inc., 506 SCRA 348) A direct invocation of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction to issue these writs should be allowed only when there are special and important reasons therefore, clearly and specifically set out in the petition. (Quesada vs. Department of Justice, 500 SCRA 454) Petitions for annulment of judgment are not among the cases originally cognizable by the Supreme Court. (Grande vs. University of the Philippines, 502 SCRA 67) The decisions and final orders of the Sandiganbayan shall be appealable to the Supreme Court by petition for review on certiorari
raising pure questions of law in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. (People vs. Sandiganbayan, 485 SCRA 473) In a petition for review, only questions of law may be raised- the Supreme Court is not the proper venue to consider factual issues as it is not a trier of facts. (Santos Ventura Hocorma Foundations vs. Funk, 510 SCRA 68) The general rule is that jurisdiction of this Court in a petition for review under Rule 45 is confined to a review of questions of lawfurther, the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals, when supported by substantial evidence, are conclusive and binding on the parties, and are not reviewed by this Court except when the findings are contrary with those of the lower court or quasi-judicial bodies. (Muaje-Tuazon vs. Wenphil Corporation, 511 SCRA 521) In a petition for certiorari, the jurisdiction of the appellate court is narrow in scope—it is limited to resolving only errors of jurisdiction—its is not to stray at will and resolve questions or issues beyond its competence, such as an error of judgment which is defined as one in which the court or quasi-judicial body may commit in the exercise of its jurisdiction; an error of jurisdiction is one where the acts complained of were issued without or in excess of jurisdiction. (Macawiag vs. Balindong, 502 SCRA 454) The Court of Appeals has jurisdiction over orders, directives, and decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases only—it cannot review the orders, directives, or decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in criminal or non-administrative cases. (Golangco vs. Fung, 504 SCRA 321) In the absence of a special contract, no sovereign is bound to give effect within its dominion to a judgment rendered by a tribunal of another country, however, under the rules of comity, utility and convenience, nations have established a usage among civilized states by which final judgments of foreign courts of competent jurisdiction are reciprocally respected and rendered efficacious under certain conditions that may vary in different countries. (St. Aviation Services Co., Pte., Ltd. Vs. Grand International Airways, Inc., 505 SCRA 30) KATARUNGANG PAMBARANGAY LAW Non-compliance with the condition precedent under Presidential Decree No. 1508 does not prevent a court of competent jurisdiction from exercising its power of adjudication over a case where the defendants fail to object to such exercise of jurisdiction. (Espino vs. Legarda, 485 SCRA 74) Section 412(a) of Republic Act No. 7160 requires the parties to undergo a conciliation before filing a complaint in court. (Lumbuan vs. Ronquillo, 489 SCRA 650) LIBERAL CONSTRUCTION
The rules may be reasonably and liberally construed to avoid a patent denial of substantial justice, because it cannot be denied that the ends of justice are better served when cases are determined on the merits — after all parties are given full opportunity to ventilate their causes and defenses — rather than on technicality or some procedural imperfections. (Amodia Vda. De Melencion vs. Court of Appeals, 534 SCRA 62, September 2007) MOTIONS The general rule is that all written motions shall be set for hearing by the movant, except the non-litigated motions or those which may be acted upon by the court without prejudicing the rights of the adverse party, such as a motion for extension of time to file pleadings, motion for extension of time to file an answer, and a motion for extension of time to file a record on appeal; A notice of time and place of hearing is mandatory for motions for new trial or motions for reconsideration. (Rustia vs. Rivera, 508 SCRA 39) Motion to dismiss based on prescription hypothetically admits the truth of the facts alleged in the complaint. (Crisostomo vs. Garcia, Jr., 481 SCRA 402) It has long been settled that an order denying a motion to dismiss is an interlocutory order. In order to justify the grant of the extraordinary remedy of certiorari, the denial of the motion to dismiss must have been tainted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. (Davao Light & Power Co., Inc. vs. Judge, Regional Trial Court, Davao City, Branch 8, 484 SCRA 272) Dismissal based on grounds other than those specified in paragraphs (f), (b), and (i) of Section 1, Rule 16, are without prejudice because they do not preclude the refiling of the same action; A dismissal based on the ground that the Complaint states no cause of action cannot be said to be a dismissal with prejudice. (Strongworld Construction Corporation vs. Perello, 496 SCRA 700) Litis pendentia as a ground for the dismissal of a civil action refers to that situation wherein another action is pending between the same parties for the same cause of action, such that the second action becomes unnecessary and vexatious. (Guevara vs. BPI Securities Corporation, 498 SCRA 613) While, in the resolution of a motion to dismiss, the truth of the facts alleged in the complaint are theoretically admitted, such admission is merely hypothetical and only for the purpose of resolving the motion; In case of denial, the movant is not be deprived of the right to submit its own case and to submit evidence to rebut the allegation in the complaint. Neither will the grant of the motion by a trial court and the ultimate reversal thereof by an appellate court have the effect of stifling such right. So too, the trial court should be given the opportunity to evaluate the evidence, apply the law and decree the proper remedy. (Guevara vs. BPI Securities Corporation, 498 SCRA 613)
As it now stands, the following defenses are not waived even if not raised in a motion to dismiss or in the answer; (a) lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter; (b) litis pendentia; (c) res judicata; and (d) prescription on the action- failure to state a cause of action is not an exception. (Aldemita vs. Heirs of Melquiades Silva, 506 SCRA 607) NEW TRIAL A motion for reconsideration is equivalent to a motion for new trial if based on a ground for new trial, but if the grounds are not valid causes for new trial, then such motion is not one for new trial. (Republic vs. Asuncion, 502 SCRA 140) NUNC PRO TUNC ENTRIES When a final judgment becomes executory, it thereby becomes immutable and unalterable- the judgment may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law, and regardless of whether the modification is attempted to be made by the Court rendering it or by the highest Court of the land, the only recognized exceptions being the correction of clerical errors or the making of socalled nunc pro tunc entries which cause no prejudice to any party, and, of course, where the judgment is void. (Equitable Banking Corporation vs. Sadac, 490 SCRA 380) PARTIES Under the Rules of Civil Procedure, every action must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party-in-interest, the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in the suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the suit. “Interest” within the meaning of the rule means material interest, an interest in issue and to be affected by the decree, as distinguished from mere interest in the question involved, or a mere incidental interest. The purpose of the rule is to protect parties against undue and unnecessary litigation and to ensure that the court will have the benefit of having before it the real adverse parties in the consideration of the case. This rule, however, is not to be narrowly and restrictively construed, and its application should be neither dogmatic nor rigid at all times but viewed in consonance with extant realities and practicalities. Since a contract may be violated only by the parties thereto as against each other, in an action upon that contract, the real parties-in-interest, either as plaintiff or as defendant, must be parties to the said contract. The joinder of indispensable parties is mandatory. Their presence is necessary to vest the court with jurisdiction, which is “the authority to hear and determine a cause, the right to act in a case.” Thus, without their presence to a suit or proceeding, judgment of a court cannot attain real finality. The absence of an indispensable party renders all subsequent actions of the court null and void for want of authority to act, not only as to the absent parties but even as to those present.
Nevertheless, the non-joinder of indispensable parties is not a ground for the dismissal of an action, and the remedy is to implead the non-party claimed to be indispensable. Parties may be added by order of the court on motion of the party or on its own initiative at any stage of the action and/or at such times as are just. If the petitioner refuses to implead an indispensable party despite the order of the court, the latter may dismiss the complaint/petition for the plaintiff/petitioner's failure to comply therewith. (Pepsico vs. Emerald Pizza, Inc., 530 SCRA 48, August 2007) Section 2 of Rule 3 of the Rules of Court has two requirements(1) to institute an action, the plaintiff must be real party in interest, and, (2) the action must be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest. (Oco vs. Limbaring, 481 SCRA 348) Interest within the meaning of the Rules means material interest or an interest in issue to be affected by the decree or judgment of the case, as distinguished from mere curiosity about the question involved. (Id.) Under Rule 3, Section 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, an indispensable party is a party in interest without whom there can be no final determination of an action. As a rule, an indispensable party in interest in the subject matter is such that a complete and efficient determination of the equities and rights of the parties is not possible if he is not joined. (De Galicia vs. Mercado, 484 SCRA 131) Joinder of all indispensable parties must be made under any and all conditions, their presence being a sine qua non for the exercise of the judicial power. (Id.) It is not proper to implead the President as respondent—settled is the doctrine that the President, during his tenure of office or actual incumbency, may not be sued in any civil or criminal case, and there is no need to provide for it in the Constitution or law; It will degrade the dignity of the high office of the President, the Head of the State, if he can be dragged into court litigation while serving as such. (David vs. Macapagal-Arroyo, 489 SCRA 160) Persons who are not parties to a case may not seek the inhibition of the presiding judge. (Hilado vs. Reyes, 496 SCRA 282) Being not a real party in interest, a Personnel Superintendent has no right to file a petition in behalf of the corporation without any authority from its board of directors- it is basic in law that a corporation has a legal personality entirely separate and distinct from that of its officers and the latter cannot act for and on its behalf without being so authorized by its governing board. (United Paragon Mining Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 497 SCRA 638) PERSONAL SERVICE OF SUMMONS Where the address of respondent’s counsel is 83 kilometers away from the address of petitioner’s counsel, such distance makes personal service impracticable, and a written explanation why service
was not done personally might have been superfluous. Liberal construction of a rule of procedure has been allowed where, among other cases, “the injustice to the adverse party is not commensurate with the degree of his thoughtfulness in not complying with the procedure prescribed. (Maceda vs. De Guzman Vda. De Macatangay, 481 SCRA 415) Where recourse is made to the exception to personal service of petitions and pleadings, a written explanation why the service and the filing were not done personally is indispensable, even when the explanation by its nature is acceptable and manifest, and where no explanation is offered, the discretionary power of the court to expunge the pleading becomes mandatory. (Tagabi vs. Tanque, 496 SCRA 622) PETITIONS FOR RELIEF A petition for relief under Rule 38 of the Rules of Court is only available against a final and executory judgment; Where the petitioner alleges that the court a quo had no jurisdiction over it, then all the proceedings therein are null and void, and recourse to a petition for relief would be inappropriate- the remedy is to file a motion for reconsideration, without prejudice to the filing of a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Court. (Aboitiz International Forwarders, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 488 SCRA 492) PEADINGS Rule 13 Section 2 of the Rules of Court merely defines filing as “the act of presenting the pleading or other paper to the clerk of court.” Since the signing of verifications and certifications against forum shopping is not integral to the act of filing, this may not be deemed as necessarily included in an authorization merely to file cases. (Metropolitan Cebu Water District vs. Adala, 526 SCRA 465, July 2007) Lack of verification can be excused or dispensed with in meritorious cases, the defect being neither jurisdictional nor always fatal. (Larano vs. Calendacion, 525 SCRA 57, June 2007) PRE-TRIAL A lawyer’s failure to file a pre-trial brief constitutes inexcusable negligence; Since pre-trial is a serious business of the court, preparation of the lawyers and parties for the pre-trial in both questions of fact and of law cannot be overemphasized as an essential requirement for pre-trial conference. (Soriano vs. Reyes, 489 SCRA 328) A pre-trial order is an interlocutory order; A petition for certiorari under Rule 45 is inappropriate to assail an interlocutory order- the proper subject of a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 is a final judgment or order which finally disposes of a case, leaving nothing more to be done by the Court in respect thereto. (Del Rosario, Jr. vs. People, 492 SCRA 170)
A pre-trial is mandatory, and plaintiff’s absence therein can result to the dismissal of the case. (Paguirigan vs. Pilhino Sales Corporation, 494 SCRA 384) Under the Rules of Court, both the parties and their counsels are mandated to appear in the pre-trial conference; If the parties opt not to be present, their counsel must be armed with a special power of attorney specifically for the purpose. (Alcaraz vs. Court of Appeals, 497 SCRA 75) What constitutes a valid ground to excuse litigants and their counsels at the pre-trial under Rule 18, Section 4 of the Rules is subject to the sound discretion of a judge. (Khonghun vs. United Coconut Planters Bank, 497 SCRA 320) The non-appearance of a party at a pre-trial may be excused when there is a valid cause shown or when a representative shall appear in his behalf, and is fully authorized in writing to enter into an amicable settlement, to submit to alternative modes of dispute resolution, and to enter into stipulations or admissions of facts and of documents. (Vette Industrial Sales Co., Inc. vs. Cheng, 509 SCRA 532) PROHIBITION A writ of prohibition is an extraordinary writ, to be issued only in the absence of a plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law; Persons who are not parties to a case have a speedy, adequate, and plain remedy in the course of law- they have the right to request the Ex-Officio Provincial Sheriff to refrain from executing the writ as against them. (Purok Bagong Silang Association vs. Yuipco, 489 SCRA 382) A remedy is considered plain, speedy and adequate if it will promptly relieve the petitioner from the injurious effects of the judgment or rule, order or resolution of the lower court or agency. (Montes vs. Court of Appeals, 489 SCRA 432) Prohibition lies against judicial or ministerial functions, but not against legislative or quasi-legislative functions; Where the principal relief sought is to invalidate the IRR, petitioner’s remedy is an ordinary action for its nullification, an action which properly falls under the jurisdiction of the RTC. (Holy Spirit Homeowners Association, Inc. vs. Defensor, 497 SCRA 581) The principal purpose for the writ of prohibition is to prevent an encroachment, excess, usurpation or assumption of jurisdiction on the part of an inferior court or quasi-judicial tribunal. (Arimao vs. Taher, 498 SCRA 74) In a petition for prohibition, only legal issues affecting the jurisdiction of the tribunal, board, or officer involved may be resolved on the basis of the undisputed facts; Prohibition is the remedy to prevent inferior courts, corporations, boards, or persons from usurping or exercising a jurisdiction or power with which they have not been vested by law. (Gonzales vs. Abaya, 498 SCRA 445)
QUESTIONS OF FACTS The defense of prescription is a question of fact when the doubt or difference arises as to the truth or falsehood of the alleged fact; It is a question of law when there is doubt or controversy as to what law is on a certain state of facts. The test whether a question is one of law or fact is not the appellation given to the question by the party raising the same but whether the appellate court can determine the issue raised without reviewing or evaluating the evidence. (Crisostomo vs. Garcia Jr., 481 SCRA 402) QUESTIONS OF LAW There is question of law when the issues does not call for an examination of the probative value of evidence presented, the truth or falsehood of facts being admitted and the doubt concerns the correct application of law and jurisprudence of the matter; There is a question of fact when the doubt or controversy arises as to the truth or falsity of the alleged facts.( KASSAMA-CCO-CFWn Local 245 vs. Court of Appeals, 487 SCRA 487) An order dismissing a petition for injunction for being moot and academic is a final order, and the remedy therefrom is a writ of error to the Court of Appeals or a petition for review on certiorari to the Supreme Court under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court where only questions of law are raised or involved; The test of whether a question is one of law or of fact is not the appellation given to such question by the party raising the same- it is whether the appellate court can determine the issue without reviewing or evaluating the evidence, in which case it is a question of law, otherwise, it is a question of fact. (Garayblas vs. Atien za, Jr., 492 SCRA 202) A question of whether or not a complaint states a cause of action or that the action is premature is one of law. (First Bancorp, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 492 SCRA 221)
QUO WARRANTO Quo warranto proceeding is an action against the usurpation of a public office or position. (Engaño vs. Court of Appeals, 493 SCRA 323) REAL PARTY-IN-INTEREST Mere applicants of sales patent over a public land or lessees hoping to be given the right to purchase the same were held not proper parties to institute a case for cancellation of the grantee’s award or title. (Lu Do and Lu Ym Corporation vs. Aznar Brothers Realty Co., 488 SCRA 315) RES JUDICATA
There are two aspects to the doctrine of res judicata, the first aspect, known as “bar by prior judgment” is the effect of a judgment as a bar to the prosecution of a second action upon the same claim, demand or cause of action while in the second aspect, known as the “conclusiveness of judgment,” issues actually and directly resolved in a former suit cannot again be raised in any future case between the same parties involving a different cause of action. (Francisco vs. Co, 481 SCRA 241) Conclusiveness of judgment operates as a bar even if there is no identity as between the first and second causes of judgment—any right , fact or matter in issue directly adjudicated or necessarily involved in the determination of an action before a competent court in which judgment is rendered on the merits is conclusively settled by the judgment therein. (Orendain vs. BF Homes, Inc., 506 SCRA 348.) There is a judgment on the merits when there is an unequivocal determination of the rights and obligations of the parties with respect to the causes of action and subject matter of the case. An order issuing a writ of possession is an order where the sheriff is commanded to place a person in possession of a real or personal property, and to a purchaser in an auction sale, be it foreclosure or execution, a writ of possession is merely a ministerial function where the court neither exercises its official discretion nor judgment. Being a ministerial function and summary in nature, an order issuing a writ of possession is not a judgment on the merits, but simply an incident in the transfer of title. (Philippine National Oil Company vs. National College of Business and Arts, 481 SCRA 298) SUMMONS In order to acquire jurisdiction in actions in personam where defendant resides out of and is not found in the Philippines, it becomes a matter of course for the court to convert the action into a proceeding in rem or quasi in rem by attaching the defendant’s property. The service of summons in this case (which may be by publication coupled with the sending by registered mail of the copy of the summons and the court order to the last known address of the defendant), is no longer for the purpose of acquiring jurisdiction but for compliance with the requirements of due process. Substituted service of summons (under the present Section 7, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court) is the normal mode of service of summons that will confer jurisdiction on the court over the person of residents temporarily out of the Philippines. Meaning, service of summons may be effected by (a) leaving copies of the summons at the defendant’s residence with some person of suitable discretion residing therein, or (b) by leaving copies at the defendant’s office or regular place of business with some competent person in charge thereof. Hence, the court may acquire jurisdiction over an action in personam by mere substituted service without need of attaching the property of the defendant. (PCIB vs. Alejandro, 534 SCRA 738, September 2007) In case of substituted service of summons, there should be a report indicating that the person who received the summons in the
defendant’s behalf was one with whom the defendant had a relation of confidence ensuring that the latter would actually receive the summons. A party who makes a special appearance in court challenging the jurisdiction of the court based on the ground of invalid service of summons is not deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court. (Orion Security Corporation vs. San Pablo, Jr., 522 SCRA 713, April 2007) Jurisdiction over the defendant is acquired either upon a valid service of summons or the defendant’s voluntary appearance in court. When the defendant does not voluntarily submit to the court’s jurisdiction or when there is no valid service of summons, “any judgment of the court which has no jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is null and void.” In an action strictly in personam, personal service on the defendant is the preferred mode of service, that is, by handing a copy of the summons to the defendant in person. If defendant, for excusable reasons, cannot be served with the summons within a reasonable period, then substituted service can be resorted to. While substituted service of summons is permitted, “it is extraordinary in character and in derogation of the usual method of service.” Hence, it must faithfully and strictly comply with the prescribed requirements and circumstances authorized by the rules. Indeed, “compliance with the rules regarding the service of summons is as much important as the issue of due process as of jurisdiction.” Under the Rules, the service of summons has no set period. However, when the court, clerk of court, or the plaintiff asks the sheriff to make the return of the summons and the latter submits the return of summons, then the validity of the summons lapses. The plaintiff may then ask for an alias summons if the service of summons has failed. What then is a reasonable time for the sheriff to effect a personal service in order to demonstrate impossibility of prompt service? To the plaintiff, “reasonable time” means no more than seven (7) days since an expeditious processing of a complaint is what a plaintiff wants. To the sheriff, “reasonable time” means 15 to 30 days because at the end of the month, it is a practice for the branch clerk of court to require the sheriff to submit a return of the summons assigned to the sheriff for service. The Sheriff’s Return provides data to the Clerk of Court, which the clerk uses in the Monthly Report of Cases to be submitted to the Office of the Court Administrator within the first ten (10) days of the succeeding month. Thus, one month from the issuance of summons can be considered “reasonable time” with regard to personal service on the defendant. Sheriffs are asked to discharge their duties on the service of summons with due care, utmost diligence, and reasonable promptness and speed so as not to prejudice the expeditious dispensation of justice. Thus, they are enjoined to try their best efforts to accomplish personal service on defendant. On the other hand, since the defendant is expected to try to avoid and evade service of summons, the sheriff must be resourceful, persevering, canny, and diligent in serving the process on the defendant. For substituted service of summons to be available, there must be several attempts by the sheriff to personally serve the summons within a reasonable period [of one month] which eventually resulted in failure to prove impossibility
of prompt service. “Several attempts” means at least three (3) tries, preferably on at least two different dates. In addition, the sheriff must cite why such efforts were unsuccessful. It is only then that impossibility of service can be confirmed or accepted. (Manotoc vs. Court of Appeals, 499 SCRA 21, August 2006) VENUE The question of venue essentially relates to the trial and touches more upon the convenience of the parties, rather than upon the substance and merits of the case. (Westmont Pharmaceuticals, Ins. Vs Samaniego, 482 SCRA 611) The choice of venue for personal actions cognizable by the Regional trial Court (RTC) is given to the plaintiff but not to the plaintiff’s caprice because the matter is regulated by the Rules of Court. (Saludo, Jr. vs. American Express International , Inc., 487 SCRA 462) The term “residence” as employed in the rule on venue on personal actions filed with the courts of first instance means the place of abode whether permanent or temporary, of the plaintiff or the defendant, as distinguished from “domicile” which denotes a fixed permanent residence to which, when absent, one has intention of returning. (Id.) PROVISIONAL REMEDIES SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS Rule 70 Forcible entry and unlawful proceedings designed to provide protecting actual possession or the property involved. It does not admit thereof. detainer cases are summary for an expeditious means of right to the possession of the of a delay in the determination
It is a “time procedure” designed to remedy the situation. Stated in another way, the avowed objective of actions for forcible entry and unlawful detainer, which have purposely been made summary in nature, is to provide a peaceful, speedy and expeditious means of preventing an alleged illegal possessor of property from unjustly continuing his possession for a long time, thereby ensuring the maintenance of peace and order in the community; otherwise, the party illegally deprived of possession might feel the despair of long waiting and decide as a measure of self-protection to take the law into his hands and seize the same by force and violence. And since the law discourages continued wrangling over possession of property for it involves perturbation of social order which must be restored as promptly as possible, technicalities or details of procedure which may cause unnecessary delays should accordingly and carefully be avoided. (Five Star Marketing co., Inc. vs. Booc, 535 SCRA 28, October 2007)
It is settled that certiorari will lie only if there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law; A motion for reconsideration is indispensable before resort to the special civil action for certiorari to afford the court or tribunal the opportunity to correct its error, if any. Considering that petitioners’ allegations in their complaint do not only involve a collection for sum of money, but also the enforcement of their right over the subject parcels of land, it follows that the RTC, in ordering its cancellation, committed grave abuse of discretion. (Hernudd vs. Lofgren, 534 SCRA 205, September 2007) Both demands- to pay installment due or adhere to the terms of the Contract to Sell and to vacate are necessary to make the vendee deforciant in order that an ejectment suit may be filed; Giving of such demand must be alleged in the complaint, otherwise the MTC cannot acquire jurisdiction over the case. (Larano vs. Calendacion, 525 SCRA 57, June 2007) There are three essential dates that must be stated in a petition for certiorari brought under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court for the nullification of a judgment, resolution or order: (1) the date when notice of the judgment, resolution or order was received; (2) when a motion for a new trial or reconsideration of the judgment, order or resolution was submitted; and (3) when notice of the denial thereof was received by petitioner. The requirement of setting forth the three (3) dates in a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court is for the purpose of determining its timeliness, considering that a petition is required to be filed not later than 60 days from notice of the judgment, order or resolution sought to be nullified. The heirs may be allowed to be substituted for the deceased without requiring the appointment of an administrator or executor. However, if within the specified period a legal representative fails to appear, the court may order the opposing counsel, within a specified period, to process the appointment of an administrator or executor who shall immediately appear for the estate of the deceased. (San Juan vs. Cruz, GR 167321, July 2006) Settled is the rule that in summary actions for ejectment such as Forcible Entry and Unlawful Detainer, the only issue involved is that of physical possession or possession de facto, the purpose of which is only to protect the owner from any physical encroachment from without. The judgment rendered in an action for forcible entry or detainer shall be conclusive with respect to the possession only and shall in no wise bind the title or affect the ownership of the land or building. Such judgment shall not bar an action between the same parties respecting title to the land or building. If another case pending before another court of justice does not bar an independent summary case for ejectment like forcible entry or unlawful detainer, the Court likewise takes the view that neither should
an ejectment case be barred by another case pending before an administrative body, such as the COSLAP, where the question of ownership over the subject property is raised. In addition, considering the enactment of the later law, Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended, expressly conferring on the Municipal Trial Court jurisdiction over cases for Forcible Entry and Unlawful Detainer (under Section 33 thereof), there is no more question as to its power to decide these cases independently of other tribunals. (Cayabyab vs. Gomez de Aquino, 532 SCRA 353, September 2007) Ejectment cases in general involve a perturbation of social order which must be restored as promptly as possible; It is within the context of this policy of the law that we rule that respondent’s challenge against the identity of the subject property is barred. (Claudio vs. Quebral, 526 SCRA 639, July 2007) Certiorari is not a shield from the adverse consequences of an omission to file the required motion for reconsideration. (Salinas vs. Digital Telecommunications Philippines, Inc., 517 SCRA 67, February 2007)
EVIDENCE He who alleges fraud must prove it for basic is the rule that actori incumbit onus probandi; Fraud is never presumed, but must be established by clear and convincing evidence. (Cuenca vs. Atlas, 535 SCRA 48, October 2007) As for appellant’s invocation of the equipoise rule ─ that if the inculpatory facts and circumstances are capable of two or more explanations, one of which is consistent with the innocence of the accused and the other consistent with his guilt, then the evidence does not fulfill the test of moral certainty, and does not suffice to produce a conviction, the same must be denied. (People vs. Navarro, 535 SCRA 644, October 2007) Indeed, rules on evidence and principles in jurisprudence sustain the conviction of an accused through circumstantial evidence, defined as that which “indirectly proves a fact in issue through an inference which the fact-finder draws from the evidence established. (People vs. Delim, 534 SCRA 366, September 2007) Section 36, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules on Evidence, states that a witness can testify only to those facts which he knows of or comes from his personal knowledge, that is, which are derived from his perception. A witness, therefore, may not testify as to what he merely learned from others either because he was told, or he read or heard the same. Such testimony is considered hearsay and may not be received as proof of the truth of what he has learned. This is known as the hearsay rule. The law, however, provides for specific exceptions to the hearsay rule. One of the exceptions is the entries in official records made in the performance of duty by a public officer. In other words, official entries are admissible in evidence regardless of whether the officer or person who made them was presented and testified in court, since these entries are considered prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein. Other recognized reasons for this exception are necessity and trustworthiness. The necessity consists in the inconvenience and difficulty of requiring the official’s attendance as a witness to testify to innumerable transactions in the course of his duty. This will also unduly hamper public business. The trustworthiness consists in the presumption of regularity of performance of official duty by a public officer. Well-entrenched is the rule that resort to handwriting experts is not mandatory. Handwriting experts, while probably useful, are not indispensable in examining or comparing handwritings or signatures. This is so since under Section 22, Rule 132 of the Revised Rules on Evidence, the handwriting of a person may be proved by any witness who believes it to be the handwriting of such person, because he has seen the person write; or has seen writing purporting to be his upon which the witness has acted or has been charged, and has thus
acquired knowledge of the handwriting of such person. Moreover, the opinion of a non-expert witness, for which proper basis is given, may be received in evidence regarding the handwriting or signature of a person with which he has sufficient familiarity. (Fullero vs. People, 534 SCRA 97, September 2007) In order that pedigree may be proved by acts or declarations of relatives under Section 39 of the Revised Rules of Evidence, it is necessary that (a) the actor or declarant is dead or unable to testify; (b) the act or declaration is made by a person related to the subject by birth or marriage; (c) the relationship between the declarant or the actor and the subject is shown by evidence other than such act or declaration; and (d) the act or declaration was made ante litem motam, or prior to the controversy. (Tandog vs. Macapagal, 5323 SCRA 550, September 2007) The rule is that the positive and categorical assertions of witnesses generally prevail over bare denials- such accordance of greater probative value to evidence that is positive in nature than that which is negative in character is a time-honored principle. Denial is a self-serving negative evidence that cannot be given greater weight than the declaration of credible witnesses who testified on affirmative matters. (Republic vs. Bautista, 532 SCRA 598, September 2007) It is axiomatic that truth is established not by the number of witnesses but by the quality of their testimonies; While the number of witnesses may be considered a factor in the appreciation of ebidence, proof beyond reasonable doubt is not necessarily with the greatest number. Misappropriation or conversion may be proved by the prosecution by direct evidence or by circumstantial evidence; The demand for the return of the thing delivered in trust and the failure of the accused to account for it are circumstantial evidence of misappropriation; Presumption however is rebuttable.(CenizaManantan vs. People 531 SCRA 364, August 2007) Just because a piece of evidence is not objected to does not ipso facto mean that it conclusively proves that fact in dispute- the admissibility of evidence should not be confused with its probative value. (Foundation Specialists, Inc. vs. LICOMCEN, 531 SCRA 705, August 2007) A finding of sufficiency of evidence as to the civil aspect, where a demurrer to evidence is filed with leave of court, does not authorize the trial court to terminate the proceedings and immediately render a decision. (Hun Hyung Park vs. Eun Won Choi, 526 SCRA 205, July 2007) When a rape victim’s testimony is straightforward, unflawed by any material or significant inconsistency, then it deserves full faith and credit and cannot be discarded; Once found credible, her lone testimony is sufficient to sustain a conviction.
A young girl’s revelation that she has been raped, coupled with her voluntary submission to medical examination and her willingness to undergo public trial where she could be compelled to give out the details of an assault to her dignity cannot be so easily dismissed as a mere concoction. The defense of insanity or imbecility must be clearly proved, for there is a presumption that acts penalized by law are voluntary. (People vs. Comanda, 526 SCRA 689, July 2007) In cases where the victim could not testify on the actual commission of the rape because she was rendered unconscious at the time the crime was perpetrated, the Revised Rules on Evidence sanctions the courts to rule on the basis of circumstantial evidence. (People vs. Moran, 517 SCRA 714, March 2007) Even if the delivery receipts and sales invoices did not form part of a party’s formal offer of evidence but the same formed part of the other party’s formal offer of evidence, they could be used as basis for the award of interest, liquidated damages and attorney’s fees. (Titan Construction Corporation vs. Uni-Field Enterprises, Inc., 517 SCRA 180, March 2007) Under the doctrine of independently relevant statements, only the fact that such statements were made is relevant, and the truth or falsity thereof is immaterial , and the hearsay rule does not apply. (People vs. Gumimba, 517 SCRA 25, February 2007) While the court cannot say that positive evidence does not carry an inherent advantage over negative defense when it comes to expert witnesses, the process by which the expert witnesses arrived at their conclusions should be carefully examined and considered; In the case at bar, the expert testimony that “no finding or conclusion can be arrived at” was found to be more credible than the expert testimony positively stating that the signatures were affixed before the typing of the Deeds of Donation. (Gomez vs. Gomez- Samson, 514 SCRA 475, February 2007) The Rules on Evidence accord trial courts considerable discretion on the matter of admission of rebuttal evidence, the rule being that, for an effective and efficient administration of justice, it is essential that litigation must end sometime and somewhere. (Gonzales vs. Madame Pilar Farm Development Corporation, 512 SCRA 199, January 2007) Failure to except to the evidence because it does not conform to the statute is a waiver of the provisions of the law; Hearsay evidence alone may be insufficient to establish a fact in a suit but, when no objection is made thereto, it is, like any other evidence, to be considered and given the importance it deserves. (Manliclic vs. Calaunan, 512 SCRA 642, January 2007) Relationship alone is not reason enough to discredit and label a witness’ testimony as biased and unworthy of credence and a witness’ relationship to one of the parties does not automatically affect the
veracity of his or her testimony. (Ong vs. Ong, 505 SCRA 76, October 2006) Bail is not a sick pass for an ailing or aged detainee or prisoner needing medical care outside the prison facility. A mere claim of illness is not a ground for bail. It may however be that the trend now is for courts to permit bail for prisoners who are seriously sick. (People vs. Fitzgerald, 505 SCRA 573, October 2006) Photographs are admissible in evidence in motor vehicle accident cases when they appear to have been accurately taken and are proved to be a faithful and clear representation of the subject, which cannot itself be produced, and are of such nature as to throw light upon a disputed point. (Manzanares vs. People, 504 SCRA 354, October 2006) Basic is the rule of evidence that when the subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence is admissible other than the original document itself except in the instances mentioned in Section 3, Rule 130 of the Revised Rules of Court. Mere photocopies of documents are inadmissible pursuant to the best evidence rule. This is especially true when the issue is that of forgery.( Citibank N.A.vs. Sabeniano, 504 SCRA 378, October 2006) Under Section 3 (d), Rule 131 of the Rules of Court, it is presumed that a person takes ordinary care of his concerns. Hence, the natural presumption is that one does not sign a document without first informing himself of its contents and consequences. (Allied Banking Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, GR 125851, July 2006) ADMISSION BY SILENCE Despite the damaging testimonies of the witnesses for the prosecution, petitioner did not testify to rebut them, such posture is admission in silence. (Capila vs. People, 495 SCRA 276) ADMISSION AGAINST INTEREST Judicial admissions are, conclusive on him and his successors-ininterest which can be contradicted only by showing that it was made through palpable mistake or that no such admission was made- all proofs submitted by him and his successors contrary thereto or inconsistent therewith should be ignored, whether objection is interposed by him or not. (Yuchengco vs. Sandiganbayan, 479 SCRA 1)
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE It is hornbook doctrine that jurisdiction to try a criminal action is determined by the law in force at the time of the institution of the action and not during the arraignment of the accused. The rule is that a variance between the allegation in the information and proof adduced during trial shall be fatal to the criminal case if it is material and prejudicial to the accused so much so that it affects his substantial rights. (Palana vs. People, 534 SCRA 296, September 2007) Conviction in a criminal case does not entail absolute certainty; what is required only is that degree of proof which, after an examination of the entire records of the case, produces in an unprejudiced mind moral certainty of the culpability of the accused. Prior to its substantial incorporation in the Revised Rules of Court in 2000, Section 11, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court provides that -It is not necessary to state in the complaint or information the precise time at which the offense was committed except when the time is a material ingredient of the offense, but the act may be alleged to have been committed at any time as near to the actual date at which offense was committed as the information or complaint will permit. If the accused finds the information defective as it bears only the month and year of the incident complained of, he should file a Motion for Bill of Particulars, as provided for under Rule 116, before he enters his plea. (People vs. Jalbuena, 526 SCRA 500, July 2007) Nowhere in Section 4, Rule 126 or any other provision of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure is it required that the search warrant must name the person who occupies the same. (Quelnan vs. People, 526 SCRA 653, July 2007) Where the trial court failed in its duty to conduct the prescribed “searching inquiry” into the voluntariness of the accused’s plea of guilty and full comprehension thereof, the plea of guilty is deemed made improvidently and rendered inefficacious. When a plea of guilty to capital offense is entered, there are three (3) conditions that the trial court must observe to obviate an improvident plea of guilty by the accused- (1) it must conduct a searching inquiry into the voluntariness and full comprehension by the accused of the consequences of his plea, (2) it must require the prosecution to present evidence to prove the guilt of the accused and
the precise degree of his culpability, and, (3) it must ask the accused whether he desires to present evidence on his behalf, and allow him to do so of he so desires. There is no hard and fast rule as to how a judge may conduct a “searching inquiry,” or as to the number and character of questions he may ask the accused, or as to the earnestness with which he may conduct it, since each case must be measured according to its individual merit; The logic behind the rule is that courts must proceed with caution where the imposable penalty is death for the reason that the execution of such a sentence is irrevocable and experience has shown that innocent persons have at times pleaded guilty. Convictions based on an improvident plea of guilt are set aside only if such plea is the sole basis of the judgment. SPECIAL PROCEEDINGS The settlement of estate whether testate or intestate is a proceeding in rem and that publication in the newspaper of the filing of the application and of the date set for the hearing of the same in the manner prescribed by law is a notice to the whole world of the existence of the proceedings and of the hearing on the date and time indicated in the publication. ( Pilapil vs. Heirs of Maximo Briones, 514 SCRA 197, February 2007) The court before which a petition for letters of administration is not precluded from receiving evidence on a person’s filiation—its jurisdiction extends to matters incidental and collateral to the exercise of its recognized powers in handling the settlement of the estate, including the determination of the status of each heir; Two causes of action, one to compel recognition and the other to claim inheritance, may be joined in one complaint. (Guy vs. Court of Appeals, 502 SCRA 151, September 2006)
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