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REMEDIAL

LAW

POINTERS IN REMEDIAL LAW


SC Rulings penned by Justice Lucas P. Bersamin


BASIC PRINCIPLES

Concepts; Construction
It is the spirit of the procedural rules, not their letter, that governs. (Macasaet vs. Co, Jr.,
697 SCRA 187, 204, G.R. No. 156759, June 5, 2013).
The Rules of Court itself calls for a liberal construction of its rules with the view of
promoting their objective of securing a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every
action and proceeding.1 (Robles vs. Yapcino, 739 SCRA 75, 86, G.R. No. 169568, October
22, 2014).
Although procedural rules are not to be belittled or disregarded considering that they
insure an orderly and speedy administration of justice, it is equally true that litigation is
not a game of technicalities. Law and jurisprudence grant to the courts the prerogative
to relax compliance with procedural rules of even the most mandatory character,
mindful of the duty to reconcile both the need to speedily put an end to litigation and
the parties right to an opportunity to be heard. (Robles vs. Yapcino, 739 SCRA 75, 86,
G.R. No. 169568, October 22, 2014).
Indeed, the procedural law must always be given a reasonable construction to preclude
absurdity in its application. (San Miguel Properties, Inc. vs. Perez, 705 SCRA 38, 61, G.R.
No. 166836, September 4, 2013).
Concepts; Questions of Law viz Questions of Fact
A question, to be one of law, must not involve an examination of the probative value of
the evidence presented by the litigants or any of them. (Maglana Rice and Corn Mill, Inc.
vs. Tan, 658 SCRA 58, 63, G.R. No. 159051, September 21, 2011).
There is a question of law in a given case when the doubt or difference arises as to what
the law is on certain state of facts; there is a question of fact when the doubt or
difference arises as to the truth or falsehood of alleged facts. (Angeles vs. Pascual, 658
SCRA 23, 29, G.R. No. 157150, September 21, 2011).


1 Section 6, Rule 1, Rules of Court.
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Whether certain items of evidence should be accorded probative value or weight, or
should be rejected as feeble or spurious; or whether or not the proofs on one side or
the other are clear and convincing and adequate to establish a proposition in issue;
whether or not the body of proofs presented by a party, weighed and analyzed in
relation to contrary evidence submitted by adverse party, may be said to be strong,
clear and convincing; whether or not certain documents presented by one side should
be accorded full faith and credit in the face of protests as to their spurious character by
the other side; whether or not inconsistencies in the body of proofs of a party are of
such gravity as to justify refusing to give said proofs weightall these are issues of fact.
(Maglana Rice and Corn Mill, Inc. vs. Tan, 658 SCRA 58, 63, G.R. No. 159051, September
21, 2011).
It is fundamental that the question as to who between the accused and the victim was
the unlawful aggressor is a question of fact addressed to the trial court for
determination based on the evidence on record. (People vs. Valdez, 663 SCRA 272, 283,
G.R. No. 175602, January 18, 2012).
This Court recognizes that the issue concerning the validity of the quitclaim was a
question of fact xxx. (Radio Mindanao Network, Inc. vs. Amurao III, 739 SCRA 64, 71, G.R.
No. 167225, October 22, 2014).
The [Supreme] Court is not a trier of facts, and thus should not re-examine the evidence
in order to determine whether the facts were as POTC and PHC (Nieto Group) now insist
they were. (Philippine Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (POTC) vs. Africa, 700
SCRA 453, 532, G.R. No. 184622, July 3, 2013).
Under Section 4, Rule 3 of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court, the following
situations are the exceptions in which the Court may review findings of fact by the lower
courts, to wit: (a) the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmise
and conjecture; (b) the inference made is manifestly mistaken; (c) there is grave abuse
of discretion; (d) the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (e) the findings
of fact are conflicting; (f) the collegial appellate courts went beyond the issues of the
case, and their findings are contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee;
(g) the findings of fact of the collegial appellate courts are contrary to those of the trial
court; (h) said findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on
which they are based; (i) the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioners
main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondents; (j) the findings of fact of the
collegial appellate courts are premised on the supposed evidence, but are contradicted
by the evidence on record; and (k) all other similar and exceptional cases warranting a
review of the lower courts findings of fact. A further exception is recognized when the
CA manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties, which, if
properly considered, would justify a different conclusion. (Rosaldes vs. People, 737
SCRA 592, 600, G.R. No. 173988, October 8, 2014).
Concepts; Costs of Suit
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Corpus Juris Secundum explains the concept of costs of suit thusly: Costs are certain
allowances authorized by statute or court rule to reimburse the successful party for
expenses incurred in prosecuting or defending an action or special proceedings. They
are in the nature of incidental damages allowed to indemnify a party against the
expense of successfully asserting his rights in court. The theory on which they are
allowed to a plaintiff is that the default of defendant made it necessary to sue him, and
to a defendant, that plaintiff sued him without cause. xxx. In their origin, costs were
given rather as a punishment of the defeated party for causing the litigation than as a
recompense to the successful party for the expenses to which he had been subjected. At
the present time, the latter theory generally obtains in the legislation with regard to it;
but under some statutes, the law of costs is regarded as penal, the right to recover costs
being given to the successful party against the unsuccessful party as a penalty for
presenting in court as suit or defense that which is without merit, as where the litigant
has pleaded frivolous or false matters. xxx. Costs are a mere incident to, and are in no
sense the subject of, the litigation; and while they are incident to all actions they are
nevertheless in their nature a mere incident to the judgment to which they attach,
especially in cases relating to motions and orders. The right to costs, although ancillary
to the judgment, is a substantive right and not a mere matter of procedure; alt-hough it
has been held that costs alone cannot furnish the basis for substantive judgment.
(Maglana Rice and Corn Mill, Inc. vs. Tan, 658 SCRA 58, 67-68, G.R. No. 159051,
September 21, 2011).
The imposition of treble costs of suit on the petitioners [for filing a frivolous appeal] is
meant to remind them and their attorney that the extent that an attorneys exercise of
his professional responsibility for their benefit as his clients submits to reasonable limits
beyond which he ought to go no further, and that his failure to recognize such limits will
not be allowed to go unsanctioned by the Court. (Maglana Rice and Corn Mill, Inc. vs.
Tan, 658 SCRA 58, 68, G.R. No. 159051, September 21, 2011).
The Court has not hesitated to impose treble costs of suit (a) to stress its dislike for any
scheme to prolong litigation or for an unwarranted effort to avoid the implementation
of a judgment painstakingly arrived at; (b) to sanction an appeal that was obviously
interposed for the sole purpose of delay; (c) to disapprove of the partys lack of good
and honest intentions, as well as the evasive manner by which it was able to frustrate
(the adverse partys) claim for a decade; (d) to stifle a partys deplorable propensity to
go to extreme lengths to evade complying with their duties under the law and the
orders of this Court and thereby to cause the case to drag for far too long with
practically no end in sight; (e) to condemn the counsels frantic search for any ground
to resuscitate his clients lost cause; and (f) to reiterate that a litigant, although his
right to initiate an action in court is fully respected, is not permitted to initiate similar
suits once his case has been adjudicated by a competent court in a valid final judgment,
in the hope of securing a favorable ruling for this will result to endless litigations
detrimental to the administration of justice. (Maglana Rice and Corn Mill, Inc. vs. Tan,
658 SCRA 58, 68-69, G.R. No. 159051, September 21, 2011).
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Substantive Law vis--vis Remedial Law
A law is procedural, according to De Los Santos vs. Vda. De Mangubat, 535 SCRA 411,
422 (2007), when it [R]efers to the adjective law which prescribes rules and forms of
procedure in order that courts may be able to administer justice. Procedural laws do not
come within the legal conception of a retroactive law, or the general rule against the
retroactive operation of statuesthey may be given retroactive effect on actions
pending and undetermined at the time of their passage and this will not violate any
right of a person who may feel that he is adversely affected, insomuch as there are no
vested rights in rules of procedure. (Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Ltd. vs. Surio, 679
SCRA 21, 29, G.R. No. 154213, August 23, 2012).
A law or regulation is procedural when it prescribes rules and forms of procedure in
order that courts may be able to administer justice. (University of the Philippines vs.
Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 87, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012).
There are no vested rights in rules of procedure. xxx [Procedural law] does not come
within the legal conception of a retroactive law, or is not subject of the general rule
prohibiting the retroactive operation of statues, but is given retroactive effect in actions
pending and undetermined at the time of its passage without violating any right of a
person who may feel that he is adversely affected. (University of the Philippines vs.
Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 87, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012).
Although, as a rule, all laws are prospective in application unless the contrary is
expressly provided, or unless the law is procedural or curative in nature, there is no
serious question about the retroactive applicability of Republic Act No. 8042 (Migrant
Workers and Overseas Filipinos Act of 1995) to the appeal of the POEAs decision on
petitioners disciplinary action against respondents. In a way, Republic Act No. 8042 was
a procedural law due to its providing or omitting guidelines on appeal. (Eastern
Mediterranean Maritime Ltd. vs. Surio, 679 SCRA 21, 29, G.R. No. 154213, August 23,
2012).
We have further said that a procedural rule that is amended for the benefit of litigants
in furtherance of the administration of justice shall be retroactively applied to likewise
favor actions then pending, as equity delights in equality. (University of the Philippines
vs. Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 88, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012).
Nature of Philippine Courts; Courts of Law and Equity
Equity jurisdiction aims to do complete justice in cases where a court of law is unable to
adapt its judgments to the special circumstances of a case because of the inflexibility of
its statutory or legal jurisdiction. (University of the Philippines vs. Dizon, 679 SCRA 54,
88, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012).
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We may even relax stringent procedural rules in order to serve substantial justice and in
the exercise of this Courts equity jurisdiction. (University of the Philippines vs. Dizon,
679 SCRA 54, 88, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012).

Nature of Philippine Courts; Principle of Judicial Hierarchy
Although the [Supreme] Court, the CA and the RTC have concurrence of jurisdiction to
issue writs of certiorari, the petitioner had no unrestrained freedom to choose which
among the several courts might his petition for certiorari be filed in. In other words, he
must observe the hierarchy of courts, the policy in relation to which has been explicitly
defined in Section 4 of Rule 65 concerning the petitions for the extraordinary writs of
certiorari, prohibition and mandamus. (Baez, Jr. vs. Concepcion, 679 SCRA 237, 249,
G.R. No. 159508, August 29, 2012).
Nature of Philippine Courts; Application of Judicial
Interpretation
The rule followed in this jurisdiction is that a judicial interpretation that varies from or
reverses another is applied prospectively and should not apply to parties who relied on
the old doctrine and acted in good faith. To hold otherwise is to deprive the law of its
quality of fairness and justice, for, then, there is no recognition of what had transpired
prior to such adjudication. Accordingly, if posterior changes in doctrines of the Court
cannot retroactively be applied to nullify a prior final ruling in the same proceeding
where the prior adjudication was had, we have stronger reasons to hold that such
changes could not apply to a different proceeding with a different set of parties and
facts. (Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Suntay, 662 SCRA 614, 644-645, G.R. No. 188376,
December 14, 2011).
Nature of Philippine Courts; Power to Settle Actual
Controversies
Courts of law in our judicial system are not allowed to delve on academic issues or to
render advisory opinions. They only resolve actual controversies, for that is what they
are authorized to do by the Fundamental Law itself, which forthrightly ordains that the
judicial power is wielded only to settle actual controversies involving rights that are
legally demandable and enforceable.2 (Stronghold Insurance Company, Inc. vs. Cuenca,
692 SCRA 473, 484-485, G.R. No. 173297, March 6, 2013).
It is fundamental that the courts are established in order to afford reliefs to persons
whose rights or property interests have been invaded or violated, or are threatened
with invasion by others conduct or acts, and to give relief only at the instance of such
persons. The jurisdiction of a court of law or equity may not be invoked by or for an


2 Section 1, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution.
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individual whose rights have not been breached. (Stronghold Insurance Company, Inc.
vs. Cuenca, 692 SCRA 473, 487, G.R. No. 173297, March 6, 2013).
Nature of Philippine Courts; The Supreme Court
Although Article VIII, Section 4 (1) of the Constitution gives the Court the discretion to
sit either en banc or in divisions of three, five, or seven Members, the divisions are not
considered separate and distinct courts. xxx The actions taken and the decisions
rendered by any of the divisions are those of the Court itself, considering that the
divisions are not considered separate and distinct courts but as divisions of one and the
same court. (Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Suntay, 662 SCRA 614, 645, G.R. No.
188376, December 14, 2011).
Nor is a hierarchy of courts [between the division and the en banc] thereby established
within the Supreme Court, which remains a unit notwithstanding that it also works in
divisions. (Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Suntay, 662 SCRA 614, 645, G.R. No. 188376,
December 14, 2011).
The only thing that the Constitution allows the banc to do in this regard is to reverse a
doctrine or principle of law laid down by the Court en banc or in division.3 (Land Bank of
the Philippines vs. Suntay, 662 SCRA 614, 645, G.R. No. 188376, December 14, 2011).

JURISDICTION
Jurisdiction of Courts
Trial judges should not immediately issue writs of execution or garnishment against the
Government or any of its subdivisions, agencies and instrumentalities to enforce money
judgments. They should bear in mind that the primary jurisdiction to examine, audit
and settle all claims of any sort due from the Government or any of its subdivisions,
agencies and instrumentalities pertains to the Commission on Audit (COA) pursuant to
Presidential Decree No. 1445 (Government Auditing Code of the Philippines). (University
of the Philippines vs. Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 57, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012).
The execution of the monetary judgment against the UP was within the primary
jurisdiction of the COA. This was expressly provided in Section 26 of Presidential Decree
No. 1445, xxx. It was of no moment that a final and executory decision already validated
the claim against the UP. The settlement of the monetary claim was still subject to the
primary jurisdiction of the COA despite the final decision of the RTC having already
validated the claim. (University of the Philippines vs. Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 79, G.R. No.
171182, August 23, 2012).
Jurisdiction of Courts; Sandiganbayan


3 Section 4(3), Article VIII, 1987 Constitution.
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The Sandiganbayan has exclusive original jurisdiction over the criminal action involving
petitioner notwithstanding that he is a private individual considering that his criminal
prosecution is intimately related to the recovery of ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses,
their immediate family, subordinates and close associates. (Disini vs. Sandiganbayan,
705 SCRA 459, 463-464, G.R. Nos. 169823-24, September 11, 2013).
Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 1606 was the law that established the Sandiganbayan and
defined its jurisdiction. The law was amended by R.A. No. 7975 and R.A. No. 8249.
Under Section 4 of R.A. No. 8249, the Sandiganbayan was vested with original and
exclusive jurisdiction over all cases involving: xxx c. Civil and criminal cases filed
pursuant to and in connection with Executive Order Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A, issued in
1986. (Disini vs. Sandiganbayan, 705 SCRA 459, 473-474, G.R. Nos. 169823-24,
September 11, 2013).
Executive Order No. 1 refers to cases of recovery and sequestration of ill-gotten wealth
amassed by the Marcoses their relatives, subordinates, and close associates, directly or
through nominees, by taking undue advantage of their public office and/or by using
their powers, authority, influence, connections or relationships. Executive Order No. 2
states that the ill-gotten wealth includes assets and properties in the form of estates
and real properties in the Philippines and abroad. Executive Orders No. 14 and No. 14-A
pertain to the Sandiganbayans jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases relative to the
ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses and their cronies. (Metropolitan Bank and Trust
Company vs. Sandoval, 691 SCRA 92, 110-111, G.R. No.169677, February 18, 2013).
That Disini was a private individual did not remove the offenses charged from the
jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan. Section 2 of E.O. No. 1, which tasked the PCGG with
assisting the President in [t]he recovery of all ill-gotten wealth accumulated by former
President Ferdinand E. Marcos, his immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close
associates, whether located in the Philippines or abroad, including the takeover or
sequestration of all business enterprises and entities owned or controlled by them,
during his administration, directly or through nominees, by taking undue advantage of
their public office and/or using their powers, authority, influence, connections or
relationship, expressly granted the authority of the PCGG to recover ill-gotten wealth
covered President Marcos immediate family, relatives, subordinates and close
associates, without distinction as to their private or public status. (Disini vs.
Sandiganbayan, 705 SCRA 459, 474, G.R. Nos. 169823-24, September 11, 2013).
Unquestionably, public officials occupying positions classified as Grade 27 or higher are
mentioned only in Subsection 4a and Subsection 4b, signifying the plain legislative
intent of limiting the qualifying clause to such public officials. To include within the
ambit of the qualifying clause the persons covered by Subsection 4c would contravene
the exclusive mandate of the PCGG to bring the civil and criminal cases pursuant to and
in connection with E.O. Nos. 1, 2, 14 and 14-A. In view of this, the Sandiganbayan
properly took cognizance of Criminal Case No. 28001 and Criminal Case No. 28002
despite Disinis being a private individual, and despite the lack of any allegation of his
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being the co-principal, accomplice or accessory of a public official in the commission of
the offenses charged. (Disini vs. Sandiganbayan, 705 SCRA 459, 478, G.R. Nos. 169823-
24, September 11, 2013).
The Court has ruled in Presidential Commission on Good Government vs.
Sandiganbayan, 326 SCRA 346, 353 (2000), that the Sandiganbayan has original and
exclusive jurisdiction not only over principal causes of action involving recovery of ill-
gotten wealth, but also over all incidents arising from, incidental to, or related to such
cases. (Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company vs. Sandoval, 691 SCRA 92, 111, G.R.
No.169677, February 18, 2013).
The Court made a similar pronouncement sustaining the jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan in Republic of the Philippines (PCGG) vs. Sandiganbayan (First Division),
258 SCRA 685 (1996), to wit: We cannot possibly sustain such a puerile stand. Pea
itself already dealt with the matter when it stated that under Section 2 of Executive
Order No. 14, all cases of the Commission regarding alleged ill-gotten properties xxx,
whether civil or criminal, are lodged within the exclusive and original jurisdiction of the
Sandiganbayan, and all incidents arising from, incidental to, or related to such cases
necessarily fall likewise under the Sandiganbayans exclusive and original jurisdiction,
subject to review on certiorari exclusively by the Supreme Court. (Metropolitan Bank
and Trust Company vs. Sandoval, 691 SCRA 92, 111-112, G.R. No.169677, February 18,
2013).
Upon the enactment of Republic Act No. 8799 (The Securities Regulation Code),
effective on August 8, 2000, the jurisdiction of the SEC over intra-corporate
controversies and the other cases enumerated in Section 5 of P.D. No. 902-A was
transferred to the Regional Trial Court pursuant to Section 5.2 of the law xxx. To
implement Republic Act No. 8799, the [Supreme] Court promulgated its resolution of
November 21, 2000 in A.M. No. 00-11-03-SC designating certain branches of the RTC to
try and decide the cases enumerated in Section 5 of P.D. No. 902-A [as special
commercial courts]. (Philippine Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (POTC) vs.
Africa, 700 SCRA 453, 515, G.R. No. 184622, July 3, 2013).
An intra-corporate dispute involving a corporation under sequestration of the
Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) falls under the jurisdiction of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC), not the Sandiganbayan. xxx. Section 2 of Executive Order No.
14 had no application herein simply because the subject matter involved was an intra-
corporate controversy, not any incidents arising from, incidental to, or related to any
case involving assets whose nature as ill-gotten wealth was yet to be determined. xxx.
Moreover, the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan has been held not to extend even to a
case involving a sequestered company notwithstanding that the majority of the
members of the board of directors were PCGG nominees. xxx. In the cases now before
the Court, what are sought to be determined are the propriety of the election of a party
as a Director, and his authority to act in that capacity. Such issues should be exclusively
determined only by the RTC pursuant to the pertinent law on jurisdiction because they
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did not concern the recovery of ill-gotten wealth. (Philippine Overseas
Telecommunications Corporation (POTC) vs. Africa, 700 SCRA 453, 458, 517-519, G.R.
No. 184622, July 3, 2013).
Jurisdiction Over the Parties
Jurisdiction over the person, or jurisdiction in personam the power of the court to
render a personal judgment or to subject the parties in a particular action to the
judgment and other rulings rendered in the action is an element of due process that
is essential in all actions, civil as well as criminal, except in actions in rem or quasi in
rem. (Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA 187, 198, G.R. No. 156759, June 5, 2013).
As the initiating party, the plaintiff in a civil action voluntarily submits himself to the
jurisdiction of the court by the act of filing the initiatory pleading. As to the defendant,
the court acquires jurisdiction over his person either by the proper service of the
summons, or by a voluntary appearance in the action. (Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA
187, 201, G.R. No. 156759, June 5, 2013).
Jurisdiction Over the Subject Matter
There should be no disagreement that jurisdiction over the subject matter of an action,
being conferred by law, could neither be altered nor conveniently set aside by the
courts and the parties. (Philippine Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (POTC) vs.
Africa, 700 SCRA 453, 516, G.R. No. 184622, July 3, 2013).
Jurisdiction Over the Res or Property in Litigation
Jurisdiction over the defendant in an action in rem or quasi in rem is not required, and
the court acquires jurisdiction over an action as long as it acquires jurisdiction over the
res that is the subject matter of the action. (Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA 187, 198,
G.R. No. 156759, June 5, 2013).










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CIVIL PROCEDURE
Actions; Actions In Rem, In Personam and Quasi In Rem
The distinctions that need to be perceived between an action in personam, on the one
hand, and an action in rem or quasi in rem, on the other hand, are aptly delineated in
Domagas vs. Jensen, 448 SCRA 663 (2005), thusly: The settled rule is that the aim and
object of an action determine its character. Whether a proceeding is in rem, or in
personam, or quasi in rem for that matter, is determined by its nature and purpose, and
by these only. A proceeding in personam is a proceeding to enforce personal rights and
obligations brought against the person and is based on the jurisdiction of the person,
although it may involve his right to, or the exercise of ownership of, specific property, or
seek to compel him to control or dispose of it in accordance with the mandate of the
court. The purpose of a proceeding in personam is to impose, through the judgment of a
court, some responsibility or liability directly upon the person of the defendant. Of this
character are suits to compel a defendant to specifically perform some act or actions to
fasten a pecuniary liability on him. An action in personam is said to be one which has for
its object a judgment against the person, as distinguished from a judgment against the
prop[er]ty to determine its state. It has been held that an action in personam is a
proceeding to enforce personal rights or obligations; such action is brought against the
person. As far as suits for injunctive relief are concerned, it is well-settled that it is an
injunctive act in personam. In Combs v. Combs, the appellate court held that
proceedings to enforce personal rights and obligations and in which personal judgments
are rendered adjusting the rights and obligations between the affected parties is in
personam. Actions for recovery of real property are in personam. . (Macasaet vs. Co,
Jr., 697 SCRA 187, 199-200, G.R. No. 156759, June 5, 2013).
On the other hand, a proceeding quasi in rem is one brought against persons seeking to
subject the property of such persons to the discharge of the claims assailed. In an action
quasi in rem, an individual is named as defendant and the purpose of the proceeding is
to subject his interests therein to the obligation or loan burdening the property. Actions
quasi in rem deal with the status, ownership or liability of a particular property but
which are intended to operate on these questions only as between the particular parties
to the proceedings and not to ascertain or cut off the rights or interests of all possible
claimants. The judgments therein are binding only upon the parties who joined in the
action. (Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA 187, 199-200, G.R. No. 156759, June 5, 2013).
Cause of Action
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All civil actions must be based on a cause of action,4 defined as the act or omission by
which a party violates the right of another.5 (Stronghold Insurance Company, Inc. vs.
Cuenca, 692 SCRA 473, 486, G.R. No. 173297, March 6, 2013).
Without the right, a person may not become a party plaintiff; without the obligation, a
person may not be sued as a party defendant; without the violation, there may not be a
suit. In such a situation, it is legally impossible for any person or entity to be both
plaintiff and defendant in the same action, thereby ensuring that the controversy is
actual and exists between adversary parties. Where there are no adversary parties
before it, the court would be without jurisdiction to render a judgment. (Stronghold
Insurance Company, Inc. vs. Cuenca, 692 SCRA 473, 487, G.R. No. 173297, March 6,
2013).
An issue is said to become moot and academic when it ceases to present a justiciable
controversy, so that a declaration on the issue would be of no practical use or value.
(Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Suntay, 662 SCRA 614, 639, G.R. No. 188376, December
14, 2011).
The application of the moot-and-academic principle is subject to several exceptions
already recognized in this jurisdiction. In David vs. Macapagal-Arroyo, 489 SCRA 160,
214-215 (2006), the Court has declared that the moot-and-academic principle is not a
magical formula that automatically dissuades courts from resolving cases, because they
will decide cases, otherwise moot and academic, if they find that: (a) There is a grave
violation of the Constitution; (b) The situation is of exceptional character, and
paramount public interest is involved; (c) The constitutional issue raised requires
formulation of controlling principles to guide the Bench, the Bar, and the public; or (d) A
case is capable of repetition yet evading review. (Land Bank of the Philippines vs.
Suntay, 662 SCRA 614, 639, G.R. No. 188376, December 14, 2011).
In addition, in Province of North Cotabato vs. Government of the Republic of the
Philippines Peace Panel on Ancestral Domain (GRP), 568 SCRA 402, 461 (2008), the
Court has come to consider a voluntary cessation by the defendant or the doer of the
activity complained of as another exception to the moot-and-academic principle, the
explanation for the exception being that: xxx once a suit is filed and the doer
voluntarily ceases the challenged conduct, it does not automatically deprive the tribunal
of power to hear and determine the case and does not render the case moot especially
when the plaintiff seeks damages or prays for injunctive relief against the possible
recurrence of the violation. (Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Suntay, 662 SCRA 614,
639-640, G.R. No. 188376, December 14, 2011).
Cause of Action; Splitting a Single Cause of Action


4 Section 1, Rule 2, Rules of Court.

5 Section 2, Rule 2, Rules of Court.


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Splitting a single cause of action is the act of dividing a single or indivisible cause of
action into several parts or claims and instituting two or more actions upon them. A
single cause of action or entire claim or demand cannot be split up or divided in order to
be made the subject of two or more different actions. Thus, Section 4, Rule 2 of the
Rules of Court expressly prohibits splitting of a single cause of action. (Chu vs. Cunanan,
657 SCRA 379, 388-389, G.R. No. 156185, September 12, 2011).
Splitting violates the policy against multiplicity of suits, whose primary objective [is] to
avoid unduly burdening the dockets of the courts. (Chu vs. Cunanan, 657 SCRA 379, 389,
G.R. No. 156185, September 12, 2011).
The petitioners were not at liberty to split their demand to enforce or rescind the deed
of sale with assumption of mortgage and to prosecute piecemeal or present only a
portion of the grounds upon which a special relief was sought under the deed of sale
with assumption of mortgage, and then to leave the rest to be presented in another
suit; otherwise, there would be no end to litigation. (Chu vs. Cunanan, 657 SCRA 379,
389, G.R. No. 156185, September 12, 2011).
Parties to Civil Actions
There is no question that a litigation should be disallowed immediately if it involves a
person without any interest at stake, for it would be futile and meaningless to still
proceed and render a judgment where there is no actual controversy to be thereby
determined. (Stronghold Insurance Company, Inc. vs. Cuenca, 692 SCRA 473, 484, G.R.
No. 173297, March 6, 2013).
Courts of law in our judicial system xxx only resolve actual controversies, for that is what
they are authorized to do by the Fundamental Law itself, which forthrightly ordains that
the judicial power is wielded only to settle actual controversies involving rights that are
legally demandable and enforceable.6 To ensure the observance of the mandate of the
Constitution, Section 2, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court requires that unless otherwise
authorized by law or the Rules of Court every action must be prosecuted or defended in
the name of the real party in interest. (Stronghold Insurance Company, Inc. vs. Cuenca,
692 SCRA 473, 484-485, G.R. No. 173297, March 6, 2013).
The remedial right or the remedial obligation is the persons interest in the controversy.
The right of the plaintiff or other claimant is alleged to be violated by the defendant,
who has the correlative obligation to respect the right of the former. (Stronghold
Insurance Company, Inc. vs. Cuenca, 692 SCRA 473, 487, G.R. No. 173297, March 6,
2013).
Parties to Civil Actions; Real Party in Interest


6 Section 1, Article VIII, 1987 Constitution.
REMEDIAL LAW
A real party in interest is one who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment in
the suit, or one who is entitled to the avails of the suit.7 Accordingly, a person, to be a
real party in interest in whose name an action must be prosecuted, should appear to be
the present real owner of the right sought to be enforced, that is, his interest must be a
present substantial interest, not a mere expectancy, or a future, contingent,
subordinate, or consequential interest. (Stronghold Insurance Company, Inc. vs. Cuenca,
692 SCRA 473, 485, G.R. No. 173297, March 6, 2013).
A person having no material interest to protect cannot invoke the jurisdiction of the
court as the plaintiff in an action. Nor does a court acquire jurisdiction over a case
where the real party in interest is not present or impleaded. (Stronghold Insurance
Company, Inc. vs. Cuenca, 692 SCRA 473, 485-486, G.R. No. 173297, March 6, 2013).
The purposes of the requirement for the real party in interest prosecuting or defending
an action at law are: (a) to prevent the prosecution of actions by persons without any
right, title or interest in the case; (b) to require that the actual party entitled to legal
relief be the one to prosecute the action; (c) to avoid a multiplicity of suits; and (d) to
discourage litigation and keep it within certain bounds, pursuant to sound public policy.
(Stronghold Insurance Company, Inc. vs. Cuenca, 692 SCRA 473, 486, G.R. No. 173297,
March 6, 2013).
Indeed, considering that all civil actions must be based on a cause of action, xxx the
defendant must be allowed to insist upon being opposed by the real party in interest so
that he is protected from further suits regarding the same claim. Under this rationale,
the requirement benefits the defendant because the defendant can insist upon a
plaintiff who will afford him a setup providing good res judicata protection if the
struggle is carried through on the merits to the end. (Stronghold Insurance Company,
Inc. vs. Cuenca, 692 SCRA 473, 486, G.R. No. 173297, March 6, 2013).
The rule on real party in interest ensures, therefore, that the party with the legal right to
sue brings the action, and this interest ends when a judgment involving the nominal
plaintiff will protect the defendant from a subsequent identical action. Such a rule is
intended to bring before the court the party rightfully interested in the litigation so that
only real controversies will be presented and the judgment, when entered, will be
binding and conclusive and the defendant will be saved from further harassment and
vexation at the hands of other claimants to the same demand. (Stronghold Insurance
Company, Inc. vs. Cuenca, 692 SCRA 473, 486-487, G.R. No. 173297, March 6, 2013).
But the real party in interest need not be the person who ultimately will benefit from
the successful prosecution of the action. Hence, to aid itself in the proper identification
of the real party in interest, the court should first ascertain the nature of the substantive
right being asserted, and then must determine whether the party asserting that right is
recognized as the real party in interest under the rules of procedure. Truly, that a party


7 Section 2, Rule 3, Rules of Court.
REMEDIAL LAW
stands to gain from the litigation is not necessarily controlling. (Stronghold Insurance
Company, Inc. vs. Cuenca, 692 SCRA 473, 487, G.R. No. 173297, March 6, 2013).
Given the separate and distinct legal personality of Arc Cuisine, Inc., the Cuencas and
Tayactac [herein respondents] lacked the legal personality to claim the damages
sustained from the levy of the formers properties. According to Asset Privatization Trust
vs. Court of Appeals, 300 SCRA 579, 617 (1998), even when the foreclosure on the assets
of the corporation was wrongful and done in bad faith the stockholders had no standing
to recover for themselves moral damages; otherwise, they would be appropriating and
distributing part of the corporations assets prior to the dissolution of the corporation
and the liquidation of its debts and liabilities. xxx. The Cuencas and Tayactac still had no
right of action even if the affected properties were then under their custody at the time
of the attachment, considering that their custody was only incidental to the operation of
the corporation. (Stronghold Insurance Company, Inc. vs. Cuenca, 692 SCRA 473, 488-
490, G.R. No. 173297, March 6, 2013).
Rules on Pleadings; Kinds of Pleading; Third (Fourth, etc.) Party Complaints
The device of the third-party action, also known as impleader, was in accord with [now,
Section 11, Rule 6 of the Rules of Court]. (Philtranco Service Enterprises, Inc. vs. Paras,
671 SCRA 24, 35, G.R. No. 161909, April 25, 2012).
Explaining the application of [Section 11], Rule 6, the Court said in Balbastro vs. Court of
Appeals, 48 SCRA 231 (1972), to wit: [The rule] authorizes a defendant to bring into a
lawsuit any person not a party to the action . . . for contribution, indemnity,
subrogation or any other relief in respect of his opponents claim. From its explicit
language it does not compel the defendant to bring the third-parties into the litigation,
rather it simply permits the inclusion of anyone who meets the standard set forth in the
rule. The secondary or derivative liability of the third-party is centralwhether the basis
is indemnity, subrogation, contribution, express or implied warranty or some other
theory. The impleader of new parties under this rule is proper only when a right to relief
exists under the applicable substantive law. This rule is merely a procedural mechanism,
and cannot be utilized unless there is some substantive basis under applicable law.
(Philtranco Service Enterprises, Inc. vs. Paras, 671 SCRA 24, 35-36, G.R. No. 161909, April
25, 2012).
Accordingly, the requisites for a third-party action are, firstly, that the party to be
impleaded must not yet be a party to the action; secondly, that the claim against the
third-party defendant must belong to the original defendant; thirdly, the claim of the
original defendant against the third-party defendant must be based upon the plaintiffs
claim against the original defendant; and, fourthly, the defendant is attempting to
transfer to the third-party defendant the liability asserted against him by the original
plaintiff. (Philtranco Service Enterprises, Inc. vs. Paras, 671 SCRA 24, 36, G.R. No. 161909,
April 25, 2012).
REMEDIAL LAW
The rule requires that the third-party defendant is not a party to the action for
otherwise the proper procedure for asserting a claim against one who is already a party
to the suit is by means of counterclaim or cross-claim xxx. (Philtranco Service
Enterprises, Inc. vs. Paras, 671 SCRA 24, 35, G.R. No. 161909, April 25, 2012 citing
Balbastro vs. Court of Appeals, 48 SCRA 231, No. 33255, November 29, 1972).
As the foregoing indicates, the claim that the third-party complaint asserts against the
third-party defendant must be predicated on substantive law. (Philtranco Service
Enterprises, Inc. vs. Paras, 671 SCRA 24, 36, G.R. No. 161909, April 25, 2012).
Under [the third-party complaint rule], a person not a party to an action may be
impleaded by the defendant either (a) on an allegation of liability to the latter; (b) on
the ground of direct liability to the plaintiff; or, (c) both (a) and (b). The situation in (a) is
covered by the phrase for contribution, indemnity or subrogation; while (b) and (c) are
subsumed under the catch all or any other relief, in respect of his opponents claim.
(Philtranco Service Enterprises, Inc. vs. Paras, 671 SCRA 24, 40, G.R. No. 161909, April 25,
2012 citing Samala vs. Judge Victor, 170 SCRA 453, G.R. No. L-53969, February 21, 1989).
Parass cause of action against Inland (breach of contract of carriage) did not need to be
the same as the cause of action of Inland against [third-party defendants] Philtranco and
its driver (tort or quasi-delict) in the impleader. xxx It is worth adding that allowing the
recovery of damages by Paras based on quasi-delict, despite his complaint being upon
contractual breach, served the judicial policy of avoiding multiplicity of suits and circuity
of actions by disposing of the entire subject matter in a single litigation. (Philtranco
Service Enterprises, Inc. vs. Paras, 671 SCRA 24, 37, 40, G.R. No. 161909, April 25, 2012).
It is settled that a defendant in a contract action may join as third-party defendants
those who may be liable to him in tort for the plaintiffs claim against him, or even
directly to the plaintiff. Indeed, Prof. Wright, et al., commenting on the provision of the
Federal Rules of Procedure of the United States from which Section 12 [now, Section 11,
Rule 6], was derived, observed so, to wit: The third-party claim need not be based on
the same theory as the main claim. For example, there are cases in which the third-party
claim is based on an express indemnity contract and the original complaint is framed in
terms of negligence. Similarly, there need not be any legal relationship between the
third-party defendant and any of the other parties to the action. Impleader also is
proper even though the third partys liability is contingent, and technically does not
come into existence until the original defendants liability has been established. In
addition, the words is or may be liable in Rule 14(a) make it clear that impleader is
proper even though the third-party defendants liability is not automatically established
once the third-party plaintiffs liability to the original plaintiff has been determined.
(Philtranco Service Enterprises, Inc. vs. Paras, 671 SCRA 24, 37-38, G.R. No. 161909, April
25, 2012).
Nor was it a pre-requisite for attachment of the liability to [third-party defendants]
Philtranco and its driver that [defendant] Inland be first declared and found liable to
[plaintiff] Paras for the breach of its contract of carriage with him. As the Court has
REMEDIAL LAW
cogently discoursed in Samala vs. Judge Victor, 170 SCRA 453 (1989): xxx In the case of
Viluan vs. Court of Appeals, xxx, this Court had occasion to elucidate on the subjects
covered by this Rule, thus: ...If the third party complaint alleges facts showing a third
partys direct liability to plaintiff on the claim set out in plaintiffs petition, then third
party shall make his defenses xxx and his counterclaims against plaintiff xxx. In the case
of alleged direct liability, no amendment (to the complaint) is necessary or required. The
subject-matter of the claim is contained in plaintiffs complaint, the ground of third
partys liability on that claim is alleged in third party complaint, and third partys
defense to set up in his answer to plaintiffs complaint. At that point and without
amendment, the plaintiff and third party are at issue as to their rights respecting the
claim. xxx It is not indispensable in the premises that the defendant be first adjudged
liable to plaintiff before the third-party defendant may be held liable to the plaintiff, as
precisely, the theory of defendant is that it is the third party defendant, and not he, who
is directly liable to plaintiff. xxx. (Philtranco Service Enterprises, Inc. vs. Paras, 671 SCRA
24, 38-40, G.R. No. 161909, April 25, 2012).
Compromise Agreements
A compromise agreement is a contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal
concessions, avoid litigation or put an end to one already commenced. (Chu vs.
Cunanan, 657 SCRA 379, 386, G.R. No. 156185, September 12, 2011).
A compromise agreement encompasses the objects specifically stated therein, although
it may include other objects by necessary implication, and is binding on the contracting
parties, being expressly acknowledged as a juridical agreement between them. It has
the effect and authority of res judicata upon the parties. (Chu vs. Cunanan, 657 SCRA
379, 386-387, G.R. No. 156185, September 12, 2011).
In the construction or interpretation of a compromise agreement, the intention of the
parties is to be ascertained from the agreement itself, and effect should be given to that
intention. Thus, the compromise agreement must be read as a whole. (Chu vs.
Cunanan, 657 SCRA 379, 387, G.R. No. 156185, September 12, 2011).
Effect of Failure to Plead; Failure to Plead Defenses
Although defenses and objections not pleaded in a motion to dismiss or in an answer
are deemed waived, it was really incorrect for [petitioners] Dicos to insist that
prescription could not be appreciated against them for that reason. Their insistence was
contrary to Section 1, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court, which provides as follows: Section
1. Defenses and objections not pleaded.Defenses and objections not pleaded either
in a motion to dismiss or in the answer are deemed waived. However, when it appears
from the pleadings or the evidence on record that the court has no jurisdiction over the
subject matter, that there is another action pending between the same parties for the
same cause, or that the action is barred by a prior judgment or by statute of limitations,
the court shall dismiss the claim. (Dico, Sr. vs. Vizcaya Management Corporation, 701
SCRA 367, 388, G.R. No. 161211, July 17, 2013).
REMEDIAL LAW
Under [Section 1, Rule 9], the defenses of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter,
litis pendentia, res judicata, and prescription of action may be raised at any stage of the
proceedings, even for the first time on appeal, except that the objection to the lack of
jurisdiction over the subject matter may be barred by laches. (Dico, Sr. vs. Vizcaya
Management Corporation, 701 SCRA 367, 388, G.R. No. 161211, July 17, 2013).
Filing and Service of Pleadings, Judgments, Final Orders and Resolutions
The rule is that it is on the counsel and not the client that the service should be made.
(University of the Philippines vs. Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 85, G.R. No. 171182, August 23,
2012).
It is settled that where a party has appeared by counsel, service must be made upon
such counsel. Service on the party or the partys employee is not effective because such
notice is not notice in law. This is clear enough from Section 2, second paragraph, of
Rule 13, Rules of Court, which explicitly states that: If any party has appeared by
counsel, service upon him shall be made upon his counsel or one of them, unless service
upon the party himself is ordered by the court. Where one counsel appears for several
parties, he shall only be entitled to one copy of any paper served upon him by the
opposite side. (University of the Philippines vs. Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 85-86, G.R. No.
171182, August 23, 2012).
Filing and Service of Pleadings, Judgments, Final Orders and Resolutions; Periods of Filing
For the U.P., the fresh period of 15-days counted from service of the denial of the
motion for reconsideration would end on June 1, 2002, which was a Saturday. Hence,
the UP had until the next working day, or June 3, 2002, a Monday, within which to
appeal, conformably with Section 1 of Rule 22, Rules of Court, which holds that: If the
last day of the period, as thus computed, falls on a Saturday, a Sunday, or a legal holi-
day in the place where the court sits, the time shall not run until the next working day.
(University of the Philippines vs. Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 89, G.R. No. 171182, August 23,
2012).
Summons
Upon the filing of the complaint and the payment of the requisite legal fees, the clerk of
court forthwith issues the corresponding summons to the defendant. The summons is
directed to the defendant and signed by the clerk of court under seal. It contains the
name of the court and the names of the parties to the action; a direction that the
defendant answers within the time fixed by the Rules of Court; and a notice that unless
the defendant so answers, the plaintiff will take judgment by default and may be
granted the relief applied for. To be attached to the original copy of the summons and
all copies thereof is a copy of the complaint (and its attachments, if any) and the order,
if any, for the appointment of a guardian ad litem. (Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA 187,
201, G.R. No. 156759, June 5, 2013).
Summons; Nature and Purpose in Relation to Actions In Personam, In Rem and Quasi in Rem
REMEDIAL LAW
The significance of the proper service of the summons on the defendant in an action in
personam cannot be overemphasized. The service of the summons fulfills two
fundamental objectives, namely: (a) to vest in the court jurisdiction over the person of
the defendant; and (b) to afford to the defendant the opportunity to be heard on the
claim brought against him. (Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA 187, 201-202, G.R. No.
156759, June 5, 2013).
As to the former, when jurisdiction in personam is not acquired in a civil action through
the proper service of the summons or upon a valid waiver of such proper service, the
ensuing trial and judgment are void. If the defendant knowingly does an act
inconsistent with the right to object to the lack of personal jurisdiction as to him, like
voluntarily appearing in the action, he is deemed to have submitted himself to the
jurisdiction of the court. (Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA 187, 202, G.R. No. 156759, June
5, 2013).
As to the latter, the essence of due process lies in the reasonable opportunity to be
heard and to submit any evidence the defendant may have in support of his defense.
With the proper service of the summons being intended to afford to him the
opportunity to be heard on the claim against him, he may also waive the process. In
other words, compliance with the rules regarding the service of the summons is as much
an issue of due process as it is of jurisdiction. (Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA 187, 202,
G.R. No. 156759, June 5, 2013).
As a rule, Philippine courts cannot try any case against a defendant who does not reside
and is not found in the Philippines because of the impossibility of acquiring jurisdiction
over his person unless he voluntarily appears in court; but when the case is an action in
rem or quasi in rem enumerated in Section 15, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court, Philippine
courts have jurisdiction to hear and decide the case because they have jurisdiction over
the res, and jurisdiction over the person of the non-resident defendant is not essential.
(Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA 187, 200, G.R. No. 156759, June 5, 2013).
The purpose of summons in [an action in rem or quasi in rem] is not the acquisition of
jurisdiction over the defendant but mainly to satisfy the constitutional requirement of
due process. (Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA 187, 198, G.R. No. 156759, June 5, 2013).
Summons; Personal Service
Under the Rules of Court, the service of the summons should firstly be effected on the
defendant himself whenever practicable. Such personal service consists either in
handing a copy of the summons to the defendant in person, or, if the defendant refuses
to receive and sign for it, in tendering it to him.8 The rule on personal service is to be
rigidly enforced in order to ensure the realization of the two fundamental objectives
earlier mentioned. (Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA 187, 202-203, G.R. No. 156759, June
5, 2013).

8 Section 6, Rule 14, Rules of Court.
REMEDIAL LAW
Only when the defendant cannot be served personally within a reasonable time may
substituted service be resorted to. Hence, the impossibility of prompt personal service
should be shown by stating the efforts made to find the defendant himself and the fact
that such efforts failed, which statement should be found in the proof of service or
sheriffs return. (Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA 187, 203, G.R. No. 156759, June 5,
2013).
Nonetheless, the requisite showing of the impossibility of prompt personal service as
basis for resorting to substituted service may be waived by the defendant either
expressly or impliedly. (Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA 187, 204, G.R. No. 156759, June 5,
2013).
Summons; Substituted Service
If, for justifiable reasons, the defendant cannot be served in person within a reasonable
time, the service of the summons may then be effected either (a) by leaving a copy of
the summons at his residence with some person of suitable age and discretion then
residing therein, or (b) by leaving the copy at his office or regular place of business with
some competent person in charge thereof.9 [This] is known as substituted service
because the service of the summons on the defendant is made through his substitute.
(Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA 187, 203, G.R. No. 156759, June 5, 2013).
To warrant the substituted service of the summons and copy of the complaint, the
serving officer must first attempt to effect the same upon the defendant in person. Only
after the attempt at personal service has become futile or impossible within a
reasonable time may the officer resort to substituted service. (Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697
SCRA 187, 190-191, G.R. No. 156759, June 5, 2013).
He (Sheriff Medina) was not expected or required as the serving officer to effect
personal service by all means and at all times, considering that he was expressly
authorized to resort to substituted service should he be unable to effect the personal
service within a reasonable time. In that regard, what was a reasonable time was
dependent on the circumstances obtaining. While we are strict in insisting on personal
service on the defendant, we do not cling to such strictness should the circumstances
already justify substituted service instead. It is the spirit of the procedural rules, not
their letter, that governs. (Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA 187, 204, G.R. No. 156759,
June 5, 2013).
Substituted service, being in derogation of the usual method of service, is extraordinary
in character and may be used only as prescribed and in the circumstances authorized by
statute. (Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA 187, 203, G.R. No. 156759, June 5, 2013).
It is no longer debatable that the statutory requirements of substituted service must be
followed strictly, faithfully and fully, and any substituted service other than that

9 Section 7, Rule 14, Rules of Court.
REMEDIAL LAW
authorized by statute is considered ineffective. (Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA 187, 203,
G.R. No. 156759, June 5, 2013).
Summons; Extra-territorial Service
[When the case is an action in rem or quasi in rem enumerated in Section 15, Rule 14 of
the Rules of Court], extraterritorial service of summons can be made upon the
defendant, and such extraterritorial service of summons is not for the purpose of
vesting the court with jurisdiction, but for the purpose of complying with the
requirements of fair play or due process, so that the defendant will be informed of the
pendency of the action against him and the possibility that property in the Philippines
belonging to him or in which he has an interest may be subjected to a judgment in favor
of the plaintiff, and he can thereby take steps to protect his interest if he is so minded.
(Macasaet vs. Co, Jr., 697 SCRA 187, 200, G.R. No. 156759, June 5, 2013).
Motions; Motion to Dismiss; Grounds; States No Cause of Action
Where the plaintiff is not the real party in interest, the ground for the motion to dismiss
is lack of cause of action. The reason for this is that the courts ought not to pass upon
questions not derived from any actual controversy. (Stronghold Insurance Company, Inc.
vs. Cuenca, 692 SCRA 473, 485, G.R. No. 173297, March 6, 2013).
Motions; Motion to Dismiss; Grounds; Barred By Prior Judgment

Res judicata means a matter adjudged, a thing judicially acted upon or decided; a thing
or matter settled by judgment. The doctrine of res judicata is an old axiom of law,
dictated by wisdom and sanctified by age, and founded on the broad principle that it is
to the interest of the public that there should be an end to litigation by the same parties
over a subject once fully and fairly adjudicated. (Chu vs. Cunanan, 657 SCRA 379, 389-
390, G.R. No. 156185, September 12, 2011).
Under the doctrine of res judicata, a final judgment or decree on the merits rendered by
a court of competent jurisdiction is conclusive about the rights of the parties or their
privies in all later suits and on all points and matters determined in the previous suit.
(Heirs of Marcelo Sotto vs. Palicte, 698 SCRA 294, 307, G.R. No. 159691, June 13, 2013).
It has been appropriately said that the doctrine [of res judicata] is a rule pervading every
well-regulated system of jurisprudence, and is put upon two grounds embodied in
various maxims of the common law: the one, public policy and necessity, which makes it
to the interest of the State that there should be an end to litigationinterest reipublicae
ut sit finis litium; the other, the hardship on the individual that he should be vexed twice
for one and the same causenemo debet bis vexari pro una et eadem causa. A contrary
doctrine would subject the public peace and quiet to the will and neglect of individuals
and prefer the gratification of the litigious disposition on the part of suitors to the
preservation of the public tranquillity and happiness. (Chu vs. Cunanan, 657 SCRA 379,
390, G.R. No. 156185, September 12, 2011).
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The foundation principle upon which the doctrine [of res judicata] rests is that the
parties ought not to be permitted to litigate the same issue more than once; that when
a right or fact has been judicially tried and determined by a court of competent
jurisdiction, so long as it remains unreversed, it should be conclusive upon the parties
and those in privity with them in law or estate. (Heirs of Marcelo Sotto vs. Palicte, 698
SCRA 294, 307, G.R. No. 159691, June 13, 2013).
The doctrine [of res judicata] is to be applied with rigidity. (Heirs of Marcelo Sotto vs.
Palicte, 698 SCRA 294, 308, G.R. No. 159691, June 13, 2013).
Res judicata exists when as between the action sought to be dismissed and the other
action these elements are present, namely: (1) the former judgment must be final; (2)
the former judgment must have been rendered by a court having jurisdiction of the
subject matter and the parties; (3) the former judgment must be a judgment on the
merits; and (4) there must be between the first and subsequent actions (i) identity of
parties or at least such as representing the same interest in both actions; (ii) identity of
subject matter, or of the rights asserted and relief prayed for, the relief being founded
on the same facts; and, (iii) identity of causes of action in both actions such that any
judgment that may be rendered in the other action will, regardless of which party is
successful, amount to res judicata in the action under consideration. (Heirs of Marcelo
Sotto vs. Palicte, 698 SCRA 294, 304, G.R. No. 159691, June 13, 2013).
The first requisite [of res judicata] was attendant. Civil Case No. G-1936 was already
terminated under the compromise agreement, for the judgment, being upon a
compromise, was immediately final and unappealable. (Chu vs. Cunanan, 657 SCRA 379,
391, G.R. No. 156185, September 12, 2011).
That the compromise agreement explicitly settled the entirety of Civil Case No. G-1936
by resolving all the claims of the parties against each other indicated that the third
requisite [of res judicata] was also satisfied. (Chu vs. Cunanan, 657 SCRA 379, 391, G.R.
No. 156185, September 12, 2011).
Considering that at the time the orders of dismissal were issued NHA had not yet
established the facts essential for the RTC to proceed on its petition for reconstitution,
the RTCs dismissal did not amount to an adjudication on the merits of the petition and
was thus not a viable basis for a bar by res judicata. (National Housing Authority vs.
Roxas, 647 SCRA 286, 298, G.R. No. 161204, April 06, 2011).
It is settled that the absolute identity of parties was not a condition sine qua non for res
judicata to apply, because a shared identity of interest sufficed. Mere substantial
identity of parties, or even community of interests between parties in the prior and
subsequent cases, even if the latter were not impleaded in the first case, was sufficient.
(Chu vs. Cunanan, 657 SCRA 379, 392, G.R. No. 156185, September 12, 2011).
In all the five cases xxx, an identity of parties existed because the parties were the same,
or there was privity among them, or some of the parties were successors-in-interest
litigating for the same thing and under the same title and in the same capacity. xxx. As
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such, the fact that a previous case was filed in the name of the Estate of Sotto only was
of no consequence. (Heirs of Marcelo Sotto vs. Palicte, 698 SCRA 294, 306-307, G.R. No.
159691, June 13, 2013).
Section 47 (b) Rule 39 of the Rules of Court institutionalizes the doctrine of res judicata
in the concept of bar by prior judgment, viz.: Section 47. Effect of judgments and
final orders.The effect of a judgment or final order rendered by a court of the
Philippines, having jurisdiction to pronounce the judgment or final order, may be as
follows: xxx (b) In other cases, the judgment or final order is, with respect to the
matter directly adjudged or as to any other matter that could have been raised in
relation thereto, conclusive between the parties and their successors in interest by title
subsequent to the commencement of the action or special proceeding, litigating for the
same thing and under the same title and in the same capacity; xxx. (Heirs of Marcelo
Sotto vs. Palicte, 698 SCRA 294, 307-308, G.R. No. 159691, June 13, 2013).
Dismissal of Actions; Due to the Fault of Plaintiff
We declare, however, that the RTCs dismissal of NHAs petition for reconstitution [for
failure to comply with the jurisdictional requirements], albeit with prejudice, does not
bar NHA from filing another petition for reconstitution. The RTCs express barring of
NHAs right to refile its petition for reconstitution emanated more from judicial
disapproval of NHAs mishandling of the petition than from any other reason. Yet, the
bar was not insuperable, considering that the stated reason of thereby preventing
NHAs possible forum shopping was unnecessary. The venue for a new petition for
reconstitution would still be Quezon City due to the parcels of land covered by TCT No.
1356 being located entirely within Quezon City. As such, the RTC in Quezon City
remained as the proper court for a refiled petition for reconstitution. Moreover, xxx, the
RTCs dismissal did not amount to an adjudication on the merits of the petition and was
thus not a viable basis for a bar by res judicata. (National Housing Authority vs. Roxas,
647 SCRA 286, 298, G.R. No. 161204, April 06, 2011).
Pre-Trial
The CA correctly pointed out that Rule 6 [(Election Contests) of the Interim Rules of
Procedure for Intra-Corporate Controversies (A.M. No. 01-2-04-SC), nowhere required
that the RTC acting as a special commercial court should first conduct a pre-trial
conference before it could render its judgment in a corporate election contest. Hence,
the RTC (Branch 138) in Makati properly heard the case of annulment of the election
with dispatch in accordance with the guidelines set in the resolution in A.M. No. 01-2-
04-SC. With the requirements of due process having been served, no defect infirmed the
RTCs ruling to set aside the election, and to oust those illegally elected. (Philippine
Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (POTC) vs. Africa, 700 SCRA 453, 520, G.R.
No. 184622, July 3, 2013).
Calendar of Cases
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The 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure has expressly made the raffle the exclusive method of
assigning cases among several branches of a court in a judicial station by providing in
Section 2 of Rule 20, as follows: Section 2. Assignment of Cases.The assignment of
cases to the different branches of a court shall be done exclusively by raffle. The
assignment shall be done in open session of which adequate notice shall be given so as
to afford interested parties the opportunity to be present. (Government Service
Insurance System vs. Cancino-Erum, 680 SCRA 44, 53, A.M. No. RTJ-09-2182, September
5, 2012).
The avowed purpose of instituting raffle as the exclusive method of assigning cases
among several branches of a court in the same station is two-fold: one, to equalize the
distribution of the cases among the several branches, and thereby foster the Courts
policy of promoting speedy and efficient disposition of cases; and, two, to ensure the
impartial adjudication of cases and thereby obviate any suspicion regarding assignment
of cases to predetermined judges. To achieve and implement this two-fold purpose, the
Supreme Court issued Circular No. 7 on September 23, 1974. (Government Service
Insurance System vs. Cancino-Erum, 680 SCRA 44, 54, A.M. No. RTJ-09-2182, September
5, 2012).
We reiterate that the raffle should always be the rule rather than the exception.
Henceforth, adherence to the procedure for the raffle set forth in Circular No. 7
[s.1974], is demanded of all Raffle Committees in multi-sala trial courts in order to
achieve the two-fold objectives earlier mentioned. Only the exceptions expressly
recognized under item IV [entitled In case of urgent or interlocutory matters] of
Circular No. 7 shall be permitted. (Government Service Insurance System vs. Cancino-
Erum, 680 SCRA 44, 58, A.M. No. RTJ-09-2182, September 5, 2012).
Trial; Consolidation or Severance of Hearing
It is true that under the Rules of Court,10 the consolidation of cases for trial is permissive
and a matter of judicial discretion. This is because trials held in the first instance require
the attendance of the parties, their respective counsel and their witnesses, a task that
surely entails an expense that can multiply if there are several proceedings upon the
same issues involving the same parties. At the trial stage, the avoidance of unnecessary
expenses and undue vexation to the parties is the primary objective of consolidation of
cases. (Re: Letter Complaint of Merlita B. Fabiana Against Presiding Justice Andres B.
Reyes, Jr., et al., 700 SCRA 348, 363-364, A.M. No. CA-13-51-J, July 2, 2013).
The court, in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice, may order a separate
trial of any claim, cross-claim, counterclaim, or third-party complaint, or of any separate
issue or of any number of claims, cross-claims, counterclaims, third-party complaints or
issues. But a separate trial may be denied if a party is thereby deprived of his right to be


10For civil trials, the rule on consolidation is Section 1, Rule 31, Rules of Court; for criminal trials, the
applicable provision is Section 22, Rule 119, Rules of Court.
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heard upon an issue dealt with and determined in the main trial. (Metropolitan Bank
and Trust Company vs. Sandoval, 691 SCRA 92, 95, G.R. No.169677, February 18, 2013).
The rule on separate trials in civil actions is found in Section 2, Rule 31 of the Rules of
Court, which reads: Section 2. Separate trials.The court, in furtherance of
convenience or to avoid prejudice, may order a separate trial of any claim, cross-claim,
counterclaim, or third-party complaint, or of any separate issue or of any number of
claims, cross-claims, counterclaims, third-party complaints or issues. (Metropolitan
Bank and Trust Company vs. Sandoval, 691 SCRA 92, 103, G.R. No.169677, February 18,
2013).
The text of the rule grants to the trial court the discretion to determine if a separate trial
of any claim, cross-claim, counterclaim, or third-party complaint, or of any separate
issue or of any number of claims, cross-claims, counterclaims, third-party complaints or
issues should be held, provided that the exercise of such discretion is in furtherance of
convenience or to avoid prejudice to any party. (Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company
vs. Sandoval, 691 SCRA 92, 103, G.R. No.169677, February 18, 2013).
In Corrigan v. Methodist Hospital, No. 94-CV-1478, 874 F. Supp. 657 (1995), the US
District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has cautioned against the
unfettered granting of separate trials, thusly: Courts order separate trials only when
clearly necessary. xxx This is because a single trial will generally lessen the delay,
expense, and inconvenience to the parties and the courts. xxx. The movant has the
burden to show prejudice. xxx. (Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company vs. Sandoval,
691 SCRA 92, 106-107, G.R. No.169677, February 18, 2013).
In Bowers v. Navistar International Transport Corporation (No. 88 CIV 8857 (SS), 1993
U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6129), we find the following explanation made by the US District Court
for the Southern District of New York on the objectives of having separate trials, to wit:
The aim and purpose of the Rule is aptly summarized in C. Wright and A. Millers
Federal Practice and Procedure: The provision for separate trials in Rule 42 (b) [of the
United States Federal Rules of Civil Procedure] is intended to further convenience, avoid
delay and prejudice, and serve the ends of justice. It is the interest of efficient judicial
administration that is to be controlling rather than the wishes of the parties. The
piecemeal trial of separate issues in a single suit is not to be the usual course. It should
be resorted to only in the exercise of informed discretion when the court believes that
separation will achieve the purposes of the rule. xxx. As explained recently by the
Second Circuit in United v. Alcan Aluminum Corp., Nos. 92-6158, xxx the purpose of
separate trials under Rule 42 (b) is to isolate issues to be resolved, avoid lengthy and
perhaps needless litigation . . . [and to] encourage settlement discussions and speed up
remedial action. xxx Separate trials, however, remain the exception rather than the
rule. xxx. (Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company vs. Sandoval, 691 SCRA 92, 105-106,
G.R. No.169677, February 18, 2013).
In Divine Restoration Apostolic Church v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. (Civil Action
No. 4:09-CV-0926, 2010 U.S. Dist.), the US District Court for the Southern District of
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Texas, Houston Division specified that separate trials remained the exception, and
emphasized that the moving party had the burden to establish the necessity for the
separation of issues. (Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company vs. Sandoval, 691 SCRA 92,
106, G.R. No.169677, February 18, 2013).
Exceptions to the general rule are permitted only when there are extraordinary grounds
for conducting separate trials on different issues raised in the same case, or when
separate trials of the issues will avoid prejudice, or when separate trials of the issues will
further convenience, or when separate trials of the issues will promote justice, or when
separate trials of the issues will give a fair trial to all parties. Otherwise, the general rule
must apply. (Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company vs. Sandoval, 691 SCRA 92, 108, G.R.
No.169677, February 18, 2013).
Demurrer to Evidence
A demurrer to evidence is an objection by one of the parties in an action to the effect
that the evidence that his adversary produced, whether true or not, is insufficient in
point of law to make out a case or to sustain the issue. (Republic vs. Reyes-Bakunawa,
704 SCRA 163, 178, G.R. No. 180418, August 28, 2013).
The demurring party thereby challenges the sufficiency of the whole evidence to sustain
a judgment. The court, in passing upon the sufficiency of the evidence, is required
merely to ascertain whether there is competent or sufficient evidence to sustain the
indictment or claim, or to support a verdict of guilt or liability. (Republic vs. Reyes-
Bakunawa, 704 SCRA 163, 178, G.R. No. 180418, August 28, 2013).
Judgments and Final Orders; Contents of a Judgment
Section 14 of Article VIII of the Constitution prescribes that express findings of fact and
of law should be made in the decision rendered by any court, xxx. Implementing the
constitutional provision in civil actions is Section 1 of Rule 36, Rules of Court, viz.:
Section 1. Rendition of judgments and final orders.A judgment or final order
determining the merits of the case shall be in writing personally and directly prepared
by the judge, stating clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based,
signed by him, and filed with the clerk of the court. (University of the Philippines vs.
Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 89, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012).
The Constitution and the Rules of Court apparently delineate two main essential parts of
a judgment, namely: the body and the decretal portion. Although the latter is the
controlling part, the importance of the former is not to be lightly regarded because it is
there where the court clearly and distinctly states its findings of fact and of law on
which the decision is based. To state it differently, one without the other is ineffectual
and useless. The omission of either inevitably results in a judgment that violates the
letter and the spirit of the Constitution and the Rules of Court. (University of the
Philippines vs. Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 89-90, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012).
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The term findings of fact that must be found in the body of the decision refers to
statements of fact, not to conclusions of law. (University of the Philippines vs. Dizon, 679
SCRA 54, 90, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012).
Unlike in pleadings where ultimate facts alone need to be stated, the Constitution and
the Rules of Court require not only that a decision should state the ultimate facts but
also that it should specify the supporting evidentiary facts, for they are what are called
the findings of fact. (University of the Philippines vs. Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 90, G.R. No.
171182, August 23, 2012).
The importance of the findings of fact and of law cannot be overstated. The reason and
purpose of the Constitution and the Rules of Court in that regard are obviously to inform
the parties why they win or lose, and what their rights and obligations are. Only thereby
is the demand of due process met as to the parties. (University of the Philippines vs.
Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 90, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012).
As Justice Isagani A. Cruz explained in Nicos Industrial Corporation vs. Court of Appeals,
206 SCRA 127, 132 (1992): It is a requirement of due process that the parties to a
litigation be informed of how it was decided, with an explanation of the factual and legal
reasons that led to the conclusions of the court. The court cannot simply say that
judgment is rendered in favor of X and against Y and just leave it at that without any
justification whatsoever for its action. The losing party is entitled to know why he lost,
so he may appeal to a higher court, if permitted, should he believe that the decision
should be reversed. A decision that does not clearly and distinctly state the facts and the
law on which it is based leaves the parties in the dark as to how it was reached and is
especially prejudicial to the losing party, who is unable to pinpoint the possible errors of
the court for review by a higher tribunal. (University of the Philippines vs. Dizon, 679
SCRA 54, 90-91, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012).
As the Court declared in Velarde vs. Social Justice Society, 428 SCRA 283 (2004), the
failure to comply with the constitutional requirement for a clear and distinct statement
of the supporting facts and law is a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction and that decisions or orders issued in careless disregard of the
constitutional mandate are a patent nullity and must be struck down as void.
(University of the Philippines vs. Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 95, G.R. No. 171182, August 23,
2012).
The statement that due to defendants unjustified refusal to pay their outstanding
obligation to plaintiff, the same suffered losses and incurred expenses as he was forced
to re-mortgage his house and lot located in Quezon City to Metrobank (Exh. CC) and
BPI Bank just to pay its monetary obligations in the form of interest and penalties
incurred in the course of the construction of the subject project was only a conclusion
of fact and law that did not comply with the constitutional and statutory prescription.
The statement specified no detailed expenses or losses constituting the P5,716,729.00
actual damages sustained by Stern Builders in relation to the construction project or to
other pecuniary hardships. The omission of such expenses or losses directly indicated
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that Stern Builders did not prove them at all, which then contravened Article 2199, Civil
Code, the statutory basis for the award of actual damages, which entitled a person to an
adequate compensation only for such pecuniary loss suffered by him as he has duly
proved. (University of the Philippines vs. Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 91, G.R. No. 171182,
August 23, 2012).
There was also no clear and distinct statement of the factual and legal support for the
award of moral damages in the substantial amount of P10,000,000.00. The award was
thus also speculative and whimsical. Like the actual damages, the moral damages
constituted another judicial ipse dixit, the inevitable consequence of which was to
render the award of moral damages incapable of attaining finality. (University of the
Philippines vs. Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 92, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012).
Like the actual and moral damages, the P150,000.00, plus P1,500.00 per appearance,
granted as attorneys fees were factually unwarranted and devoid of legal basis. xxx
With attorneys fees being allowed in the concept of actual damages, their amounts
must be factually and legally justified in the body of the decision and not stated for the
first time in the decretal portion. Stating the amounts only in the dispositive portion of
the judgment is not enough; a rendition of the factual and legal justifications for them
must also be laid out in the body of the decision. (University of the Philippines vs. Dizon,
679 SCRA 54, 93-94, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012).
Nonetheless, the absence of findings of fact and of any statement of the law and
jurisprudence on which the awards of actual and moral damages, as well as of
attorneys fees, were based was a fatal flaw that invalidated the decision of the RTC only
as to such awards. xxx The other item granted by the RTC xxx shall stand. (University of
the Philippines vs. Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 95, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012).

Judgments and Final Orders; Judgment Nunc Pro Tunc
A judgment nunc pro tunc has been defined and characterized thuswise: The object of
a judgment nunc pro tunc is not the rendering of a new judgment and the ascertainment
and determination of new rights, but is one placing in proper form on the record, the
judgment that had been previously rendered, to make it speak the truth, so as to make
it show what the judicial action really was, not to correct judicial errors, such as to
render a judgment which the court ought to have rendered, in place of the one it did
erroneously render, nor to supply non-action by the court, however erroneous the
judgment may have been. (Sofio vs. Valenzuela, 666 SCRA 55, 65-66, G.R. No. 157810,
February 15, 2012).
The petitioners situation did not fall within the scope of a nunc pro tunc amendment,
considering that what they were seeking was not mere clarification, but the complete
reversal in their favor of the final judgment and the reinstatement of the DARAB
decision. (Sofio vs. Valenzuela, 666 SCRA 55, 66, G.R. No. 157810, February 15, 2012).
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Post-judgment Remedies; Motion for New Trial
Ordinarily, the concept of newly discovered evidence is applicable to litigations in which
a litigant seeks a new trial or the re-opening of the case in the trial court. Seldom is the
concept appropriate when the litigation is already on appeal, particularly in this Court.
The absence of a specific rule on newly discovered evidence at this late stage of the
proceedings is not without reason. The propriety of remanding the case for the purpose
of enabling the CTA to receive newly discovered evidence would undo the decision
already on appeal and require the examination of the pieces of newly discovered
evidence, an act that the Court could not do by virtue of its not being a trier of facts.
(Luzon Hydro Corporation vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 709 SCRA 462, 475-476,
G.R. No. 188260, November 13, 2013).
In order that newly discovered evidence may be a ground for allowing a new trial, it
must be fairly shown that: (a) the evidence is discovered after the trial; (b) such
evidence could not have been discovered and produced at the trial even with the
exercise of reasonable diligence; (c) such evidence is material, not merely cumulative,
corroborative, or impeaching; and (d) such evidence is of such weight that it would
probably change the judgment if admitted. (Luzon Hydro Corporation vs. Commissioner
of Internal Revenue, 709 SCRA 462, 476, G.R. No. 188260, November 13, 2013).
The first two requisites [to allow a motion for new trial] are not attendant. To start with,
the proposed evidence was plainly not newly discovered considering the petitioners
admission that its former Finance and Accounting Manager had misplaced the VAT
official receipts. If that was true, the misplaced receipts were forgotten evidence. And,
secondly, the receipts, had they truly existed, could have been sooner discovered and
easily produced at the trial with the exercise of reasonable diligence. But the petitioner
made no convincing demonstration that it had exercised reasonable diligence. The Court
cannot accept its tender of such receipts and return now, for, indeed, the
nonproduction of documents as vital and material as such receipts and return were to
the success of its claim for refund or tax credit was improbable, as it goes against the
sound business practice of safekeeping relevant documents precisely to ensure their
future use to support an eventual substantial claim for refund or tax credit. (Luzon
Hydro Corporation vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 709 SCRA 462, 476, G.R. No.
188260, November 13, 2013).
Post-judgment Remedies; Motion for Reconsideration
The Motion for Reconsideration, being a second motion for reconsideration [before the
Supreme Court], cannot be entertained. As to that, Section 2 of Rule [52] of the Rules of
Court is unqualified. (League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) vs. COMELEC, 652 SCRA
798, 808, G.R. No. 176951, June 28, 2011).
The Court has firmly held that a second motion for reconsideration [before the Supreme
Court] is a prohibited pleading, and only for extraordinarily persuasive reasons and only
after an express leave has been first obtained may a second motion for reconsideration
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be entertained. (League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) vs. COMELEC, 652 SCRA 798,
808-809, G.R. No. 176951, June 28, 2011).
The restrictive policy against a second motion for re-consideration has been re-
emphasized in the recently promulgated Internal Rules of the Supreme Court, whose
Section 3, Rule 15 states: Section 3. Second motion for reconsideration.The Court
shall not entertain a second motion for reconsideration, and any exception to this rule
can only be granted in the higher interest of justice by the Court en banc upon a vote of
at least two-thirds of its actual membership. There is reconsideration in the higher
interest of justice when the assailed decision is not only legally erroneous, but is
likewise patently unjust and potentially capable of causing unwarranted and
irremediable injury or damage to the parties. A second motion for reconsideration can
only be entertained before the ruling sought to be reconsidered becomes final by
operation of law or by the Courts declaration. In the Division, a vote of three Members
shall be required to elevate a second motion for reconsideration to the Court En Banc.
(League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) vs. COMELEC, 652 SCRA 798, 809, G.R. No.
176951, June 28, 2011).
We observe, too, that the prescription that a second motion for reconsideration can
only be entertained before the ruling sought to be reconsidered becomes final by
operation of law or by the Courts declaration even renders the denial of the
petitioners Motion for Reconsideration more compelling. As the resolution of April 12,
2011 bears out, the ruling sought to be reconsidered became final by the Courts
express declaration. Consequently, the denial of the Motion for Reconsideration is
immediately warranted. (League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) vs. COMELEC, 652 SCRA
798, 809, G.R. No. 176951, June 28, 2011).
Still, the petitioners seem to contend that the Court had earlier entertained and granted
the respondents own second motion for reconsideration. There is no similarity between
then and now, however, for the Court en banc itself unanimously declared in the
resolution of June 2, 2009 that the respondents second motion for reconsideration was
no longer a prohibited pleading. No similar declaration favors the petitioners Motion
for Reconsideration. (League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP) vs. COMELEC, 652 SCRA
798, 809-810, G.R. No. 176951, June 28, 2011).
Post-judgment Remedies; Motion for Reconsideration;
Fresh 15-day Period Rule
Equity calls for the retroactive application in the UPs favor of the fresh-period rule that
the Court first announced in mid-September of 2005 through its ruling in Neypes vs.
Court of Appeals, 469 SCRA 633 (2005), viz.: To standardize the appeal periods
provided in the Rules and to afford litigants fair opportunity to appeal their cases, the
Court deems it practical to allow a fresh period of 15 days within which to file the notice
of appeal in the Regional Trial Court, counted from receipt of the order dismissing a
motion for a new trial or motion for reconsideration. (University of the Philippines vs.
Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 87, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012).
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The retroactive application of the fresh-period rule, a procedural law that aims to
regiment or make the appeal period uniform, to be counted from receipt of the order
denying the motion for new trial, motion for reconsideration (whether full or partial) or
any final order or resolution, is impervious to any serious challenge. This is because
there are no vested rights in rules of procedure. (University of the Philippines vs. Dizon,
679 SCRA 54, 87, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012).
At the time the RTC issued its resolution denying due course to NHAs notice of appeal
on July 24, 2001, the applicable rule was Section 3 of Rule 41 of the Rules of Court,
which stated that the period for taking an ordinary appeal is within 15 days from notice
of the judgment or final order appealed from. The filing of a motion for new trial or
reconsideration interrupted the running of the period of appeal, which began to run
again from the movants receipt of notice of the order denying the motion. Thus, NHA
had only the balance of the period within which to perfect an appeal xxx. NHAs stance
might be correct under the pronouncement in Neypes vs. Court of Appeals, 496 SCRA
633 (2005), where the Court has allowed a fresh period of 15 days within which an
aggrieved party may file the notice of appeal in the RTC, reckoned from the receipt of
the order denying said partys motion for new trial or motion for reconsideration.
Although Neypes has been intended to standardize the appeal periods under the Rules
of Court, and has been applied retroactively in some cases due to its being a dictum on
remedial law, the pronouncement could not now benefit NHA considering that the issue
of whether or not the RTC had been guilty of grave abuse of discretionthe precise
subject matter of its petition for certiorarishould be determined on the basis of the
rules and jurisprudence then prevailing. (National Housing Authority vs. Roxas, 647 SCRA
286, 295, G.R. No. 161204, April 06, 2011).

Post-judgment Remedies; Appeals
An appeal may also avail to review and correct any grave abuse of discretion committed
by an inferior court, provided it will be adequate for that purpose. (Bordomeo vs. Court
of Appeals, 691 SCRA 269, 285, G.R. No. 161596, February 20, 2013).
It is true that under the Rules of Court, the consolidation of cases for trial is permissive
and a matter of judicial discretion. xxx. But the permissiveness of consolidation does not
carry over to the appellate stage where the primary objective is less the avoidance of
unnecessary expenses and undue vexation than it is the ideal realization of the dual
function of all appellate adjudications. xxx. In the appellate stage, therefore, the rigid
policy is to make the consolidation of all cases and proceedings resting on the same set
of facts, or involving identical claims or interests or parties mandatory. Such
consolidation should be made regardless of whether or not the parties or any of them
requests it. A mandatory policy eliminates conflicting results concerning similar or like
issues between the same parties or interests even as it enhances the administration of
justice. (Re: Letter Complaint of Merlita B. Fabiana Against Presiding Justice Andres B.
Reyes, Jr., et al., 700 SCRA 348, 363-365, A.M. No. CA-13-51-J, July 2, 2013).
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We have always regarded as a fundamental precept that an administrative complaint
against a judge is inappropriate as a remedy for the correction of an act or omission
complained of where the remedy of appeal or certiorari is a recourse available to an
aggrieved party. Two reasons underlie this fundamental precept, namely: (a) to hold
otherwise is to render judicial office untenable, for no one called upon to try the facts or
to interpret the law in the process of administering justice can be infallible in his
judgment; and (b) to follow a different rule can mean a deluge of complaints, legitimate
or otherwise, and our judges will then be immersed in and be ceaselessly occupied with
answering charges brought against them instead of performing their judicial functions.
(Government Service Insurance System vs. Cancino-Erum, 680 SCRA 44, 59-60, A.M. No.
RTJ-09-2182, September 5, 2012).
Post-judgment Remedies; Appeals; Right to Appeal
A statute that eliminates the right to appeal and considers the judgment rendered final
and unappealable only destroys the right to appeal, but not the right to prosecute an
appeal that has been perfected prior to its passage, for, at that stage, the right to appeal
has already vested and cannot be impaired. Conversely and by analogy, an appeal that
is perfected when a new statute affecting appellate jurisdiction comes into effect should
comply with the provisions of the new law, unless otherwise provided by the new law.
(Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Ltd. vs. Surio, 679 SCRA 21, 30, G.R. No. 154213,
August 23, 2012).
Relevantly, petitioners need to be reminded that the right to appeal from a decision is a
privilege established by positive laws, which, upon authorizing the taking of the appeal,
point out the cases in which it is proper to present the appeal, the procedure to be
observed, and the courts by which the appeal is to be proceeded with and resolved.
(Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Ltd. vs. Surio, 679 SCRA 21, 30, G.R. No. 154213,
August 23, 2012).
This is why we consistently hold that the right to appeal is statutory in character, and is
available only if granted by law or statute. (Eastern Mediterranean Maritime Ltd. vs.
Surio, 679 SCRA 21, 30, G.R. No. 154213, August 23, 2012).
Post-judgment Remedies; Appeals; Modes; Petition for
Review
In Dee Ping Wee vs. Lee Hiong Wee, 629 SCRA 145 (2010), the Court has expounded that
the appropriate mode of appeal for an aggrieved party in an intra-corporate dispute is a
petition for review under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court, xxx. Indeed, the appeal under
Rule 43 of the Rules of Court would have been adequate to review and correct even the
grave abuse of discretion imputed to the RTC [as a special commercial court]. (Philippine
Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (POTC) vs. Africa, 700 SCRA 453, 526, 529,
G.R. No. 184622, July 3, 2013).
Post-judgment Remedies; Appeals; Modes; Petition for
Review on Certiorari
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In an appeal under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, the Court reviews only questions of
law. No review of the findings of fact by the CA is involved. As a consequence of this
rule, the Court accords the highest respect for the factual findings of the trial court, its
assessment of the credibility of witnesses and the probative weight of their testimonies
and the conclusions drawn from its factual findings, particularly when they are affirmed
by the CA. (Cruz vs. People, 737 SCRA 567, 579-580, G.R. No. 166441, October 8, 2014).
This Court recognizes that the issue concerning the validity of the quitclaim was a
question of fact that is not within the province of a review on certiorari under Rule 45.
However, there is reason to hold that the CA manifestly overlooked certain relevant and
undisputed facts that, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion herein.
On that basis, the Court has to delve into the factual issue, and has to review the
evidence again to ensure that its ruling on the issue jibes with the evidence on record.
Its doing so is an acceptable exception to the general rule of non-review of factual
matters. (Radio Mindanao Network, Inc. vs. Amurao III, 739 SCRA 64, 71, G.R. No.
167225, October 22, 2014).
Post-judgment Remedies; Appeals; Issues to be Raised on
Appeal
It is clear that the petitioners are changing their theory of the case on appeal. That
change is impermissible on grounds of its elemental unfairness to the adverse parties,
who would now be forced to adapt to the change and to incur additional expense in
doing so. (Pea vs. Tolentino, 642 SCRA 310, 323, G.R. No. 155227-28, February 9, 2011).
Indeed, the settled rule in this jurisdiction, according to Mon vs. Court of Appeals, 427
SCRA 165, 171-172 (2004), is that a party cannot change his theory of the case or his
cause of action on appeal. This rule affirms that courts of justice have no jurisdiction or
power to decide a question not in issue. Thus, a judgment that goes beyond the issues
and purports to adjudicate something on which the court did not hear the parties is not
only irregular but also extrajudicial and invalid. The legal theory under which the
controversy was heard and decided in the trial court should be the same theory under
which the review on appeal is conducted. Otherwise, prejudice will result to the adverse
party. (Pea vs. Tolentino, 642 SCRA 310, 324, G.R. No. 155227-28, February 9, 2011).
Besides, [changing ones theory of the case on appeal] would effectively deprive the
lower courts of the opportunity to decide the merits of the case fairly. It is certainly a
basic rule in appellate procedure that the trial court should be allowed the meaningful
opportunity not only to consider and pass upon all the issues but also to avoid or correct
any alleged errors before those issues or errors become the basis for an appeal. In that
regard, the Court has observed in Carantes vs. Court of Appeals, 76 SCRA 514, 521
(1977): The settled rule is that defenses not pleaded in the answer may not be raised
for the first time on appeal. A party cannot, on appeal, change fundamentally the nature
of the issue in the case. When a party deliberately adopts a certain theory and the case
is decided upon that theory in the court below, he will not be permitted to change the
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same on appeal, because to permit him to do so would be unfair to the adverse party.
(Pea vs. Tolentino, 642 SCRA 310, 323-324, G.R. No. 155227-28, February 9, 2011).
We stress that points of law, theories, issues, and arguments not adequately brought to
the attention of the lower court will not be ordinarily considered by a reviewing court,
inasmuch as they cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. This would be offensive
to the basic rules of fair play, justice, and due process. (Pea vs. Tolentino, 642 SCRA
310, 324, G.R. No. 155227-28, February 9, 2011).
Post-judgment Remedies; Appeals; Frivolous Appeals
A frivolous appeal is one where no error can be brought before the appellate court, or
whose result is obvious and the arguments of error are totally bereft of merit, or which
is prosecuted in bad faith, or which is contrary to established law and unsupported by a
reasoned, colorable argument for change. It is frivolous, too, when it does not present
any justiciable question, or is one so readily recognizable as devoid of merit on the face
of the record that there is little, if any, prospect that it can succeed. (Maglana Rice and
Corn Mill, Inc. vs. Tan, 658 SCRA 58, 66-67, G.R. No. 159051, September 21, 2011).
A losing party has no right to prosecute a frivolous appeal, because he and his counsel
are not relieved from the obligation to demonstrate persuasively even when appeal is a
matter of right the substantial and reversible errors committed during the trial.
(Maglana Rice and Corn Mill, Inc. vs. Tan, 658 SCRA 58, 67, G.R. No. 159051, September
21, 2011).
Given the frivolousness of the appeal, the Court imposes treble costs of suit on the
petitioners. Rule 142 of the Rules of Court provides: Section 3. Costs when appeal
frivolous.Where an action or an appeal is found to be frivolous, double or treble costs
may be imposed on the plaintiff or appellant, which shall be paid by his attorney, if so
ordered by the court. (Maglana Rice and Corn Mill, Inc. vs. Tan, 658 SCRA 58, 67, G.R.
No. 159051, September 21, 2011).
Post-judgment Remedies; Appeals; Dismissal of Appeal
Under Section 7, Rule 44 of the Rules of Court, the appellant is required to file the
appellants brief in the CA within forty-five (45) days from receipt of the notice of the
clerk that all the evidence, oral and documentary, are attached to the record, seven (7)
copies of his legibly typewritten, mimeo-graphed or printed brief, with proof of service
of two (2) cop-ies thereof upon the appellee. Section 1(e) of Rule 50 of the Rules of
Court grants to the CA the discretion to dismiss an appeal either motu proprio or on
motion of the appellee should the appellant fail to serve and file the required number of
copies of the appellants brief within the time provided by the Rules of Court. (Diaz vs.
People, 691 SCRA 139, 147-148, G.R. No. 180677, February 18, 2013).
The usage of the word may in Section 1(e) of Rule 50 indicates that the dismissal of
the appeal upon failure to file the appellants brief is not mandatory, but discretionary.
Verily, the failure to serve and file the required number of copies of the appellants brief
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within the time provided by the Rules of Court does not have the immediate effect of
causing the out-right dismissal of the appeal. This means that the discretion to dismiss
the appeal on that basis is lodged in the CA, by virtue of which the CA may still allow the
appeal to proceed despite the late filing of the appellants brief, when the circumstances
so warrant its liberality. In deciding to dismiss the appeal, then, the CA is bound to
exercise its sound discretion upon taking all the pertinent circumstances into due
consideration. (Diaz vs. People, 691 SCRA 139, 148, G.R. No. 180677, February 18, 2013).
Post-judgment Remedies; Appeals; Dual Function of
Appellate Courts
The dual function [of all appellate adjudications] is expounded thuswise: An appellate
court serves a dual function. The first is the review for correctness function, whereby
the case is reviewed on appeal to assure that substantial justice has been done. The
second is the institutional function, which refers to the progressive development of the
law for general application in the judicial system.
Differently stated, the review for correctness function is concerned with the justice of
the particular case while the institutional function is concerned with the articulation and
application of constitutional principles, the authoritative interpretation of statutes, and
the formulation of policy within the proper sphere of the judicial function.
The duality also relates to the dual function of all adjudication in the common law
system. The first pertains to the doctrine of res judicata, which decides the case and
settles the controversy; the second is the doctrine of stare decisis, which pertains to the
precedential value of the case which assists in deciding future similar cases by the
application of the rule or principle derived from the earlier case.
With each level of the appellate structure, the review for correctness function
diminishes and the institutional function, which concerns itself with uniformity of
judicial administration and the progressive development of the law, increases. (Re:
Letter Complaint of Merlita B. Fabiana Against Presiding Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr., et
al., 700 SCRA 348, 364-365, A.M. No. CA-13-51-J, July 2, 2013 citing Bersamin, L.P.,
Appeal and Review in the Philippines, 2000 (2nd Edition), p. 355).
Post-judgment Remedies; Annulments of Judgments or
Final Orders or Resolutions
A petition for annulment of judgment is a remedy in equity so exceptional in nature that
it may be availed of only when other remedies are wanting, and only if the judgment,
final order or final resolution sought to be annulled was rendered by a court lacking
jurisdiction or through extrinsic fraud. (Dare Adventure Farm Corporation vs. Court of
Appeals, 681 SCRA 580, 586, G.R. 161122, September 24, 2012).
The Court has instituted safeguards by limiting the grounds for the annulment to lack of
jurisdiction and extrinsic fraud, and by prescribing in Section 1 of Rule 47 of the Rules of
Court that the petitioner should show that the ordinary remedies of new trial, appeal,
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petition for relief or other appropriate remedies are no longer available through no fault
of the petitioner. A petition for annulment that ignores or disregards any of the
safeguards cannot prosper. (Dare Adventure Farm Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 681
SCRA 580, 586-587, G.R. 161122, September 24, 2012).
The attitude of judicial reluctance towards the annulment of a judgment, final order or
final resolution is understandable, for the remedy disregards the time-honored doctrine
of immutability and unalterability of final judgments, a solid corner stone in the
dispensation of justice by the courts. (Dare Adventure Farm Corporation vs. Court of
Appeals, 681 SCRA 580, 587, G.R. 161122, September 24, 2012).

Section 1 of Rule 47 extends the remedy of annulment only to a party in whose favor
the remedies of new trial, reconsideration, appeal, and petition for relief from judgment
are no longer available through no fault of said party. (Dare Adventure Farm Corporation
vs. Court of Appeals, 681 SCRA 580, 589, G.R. 161122, September 24, 2012).
The petitioners resort to annulment of judgment under Rule 47 was unnecessary if,
after all, the judgment rendered did not prejudice it. (Dare Adventure Farm Corporation
vs. Court of Appeals, 681 SCRA 580, 589, G.R. 161122, September 24, 2012).
Execution and Satisfaction of Judgments; Exempt from
Execution
The funds of the UP are government funds that are public in character. xxx. Hence, the
funds subject of this action could not be validly made the subject of the RTCs writ of
execution or garnishment. The adverse judgment rendered against the UP in a suit to
which it had impliedly consented was not immediately enforceable by execution against
the UP, because suability of the State did not necessarily mean its liability. (University of
the Philippines vs. Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 76-77, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012)
Effect of Judgments or Final Orders
It is elementary that a judgment of a court is conclusive and binding only upon the
parties and those who are their successors in interest by title after the commencement
of the action in court. Section 47(b) of Rule 39 of the Rules of Court explicitly so
provides, xxx. The principle that a person cannot be prejudiced by a ruling rendered in
an action or proceeding in which he has not been made a party conforms to the
constitutional guarantee of due process of law. xxx. We said [in Muoz vs. Yabut, Jr., 650
SCRA 344 (2011)] that the effect of a judgment could not be extended to non-parties by
simply issuing an alias writ of execution against them, for no man should be prejudiced
by any proceeding to which he was a stranger. In the same manner, a writ of execution
could be issued only against a party, not against a person who did not have his day in
court. (Dare Adventure Farm Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 681 SCRA 580, 588-589,
G.R. 161122, September 24, 2012).
Land Bank vs. Martinez, 560 SCRA 776 (2008) concerned a different set of facts, a
different set of parties, and a different subject matter; it was extraneous to the present
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matter, xxx. Land Bank and Suntay (and his assignee Josefina Lubrica) were not parties
in Land Bank vs. Martinez, rendering the pronouncement inapplicable to them now. At
best, Land Bank vs. Martinez may only guide the resolution of similar controversies, but
only prospectively. (Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Suntay, 662 SCRA 614, 644, G.R. No.
188376, December 14, 2011).
Effect of Judgments or Final Orders; Finality of Judgments
The finality of the judgment in Land Bank vs. Suntay (G.R. No. 157903) meant that the
decrees thereof could no longer be altered, modified, or reversed even by the Court en
banc. Nothing is more settled in law than that a judgment, once it attains finality,
becomes immutable and unalterable, and can 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. This rule rests on the
principle that all litigation must come to an end, however unjust the result of error may
appear; otherwise, litigation will become even more intolerable than the wrong or
injustice it is designed to correct. (Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Suntay, 662 SCRA 614,
642, G.R. No. 188376, December 14, 2011).
This doctrine of finality and immutability of judgments is grounded on fundamental
considerations of public policy and sound practice to the effect that, at the risk of
occasional error, the judgments of the courts must become final at some definite date
set by law. The reason is that litigations must end and terminate sometime and
somewhere; and it is essential for the effective and efficient administration of justice
that once a judgment has become final the winning party should not be deprived of the
fruits of the verdict. (Sofio vs. Valenzuela, 666 SCRA 55, 64-65, G.R. No. 157810,
February 15, 2012).
The doctrine of immutability and unalterability of final judgments serves a two-fold
purpose, namely: (a) to avoid delay in the administration of justice and thus,
procedurally, to make orderly the discharge of judicial business; and (b) to put an end to
judicial controversies, at the risk of occasional errors, which is precisely why the courts
exist. As to the first, a judgment that has acquired finality becomes immutable and
unalterable and is no longer to be modified in any respect even if the modification is
meant to correct an erroneous conclusion of fact or of law, and whether the
modification is made by the court that rendered the decision or by the highest court of
the land. As to the latter, controversies cannot drag on indefinitely because
fundamental considerations of public policy and sound practice demand that the rights
and obligations of every litigant must not hang in suspense for an indefinite period of
time. (Dare Adventure Farm Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 681 SCRA 580, 587, G.R.
161122, September 24, 2012).
The only exceptions to the [doctrine of finality and immutability of judgments] are: (a)
the correction of clerical errors; (b) the so-called nunc pro tunc entries that cause no
prejudice to any party; (c) void judgments; and (d) whenever circumstances transpire
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after the finality of the judgments rendering execution unjust and inequitable. (Sofio vs.
Valenzuela, 666 SCRA 55, 65, G.R. No. 157810, February 15, 2012).
Moreover, in Heirs of Maura So vs. Obliosca, 542 SCRA 406, 418 (2008), we stated that
despite the absence of the [exceptions to the doctrine of finality and immutability of
judgments], the Court is not precluded from brushing aside procedural norms if only to
serve the higher interests of justice and equity. Also, in Gumaru vs. Quirino State
College, 525 SCRA 412, 426 (2007), the Court nullified the proceedings and the writ of
execution issued by the RTC for the reason that respondent state college had not been
represented in the litigation by the Office of the Solicitor General. (University of the
Philippines vs. Dizon, 679 SCRA 54, 84, G.R. No. 171182, August 23, 2012).
Suntay is also incorrect to insinuate that a modification or reversal of a final and
executory decision rendered by a division of the Court would be valid only if done by the
Court en banc. Such insinuation runs afoul of the well-settled doctrine of immutability
of judgments. (Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Suntay, 662 SCRA 614, 645, G.R. No.
188376, December 14, 2011).
Effect of Judgments or Final Orders; Stare Decisis
It was not the principle of res judicata xxx that justified the application to Civil Case No.
04-1049 of the Courts ruling in G.R. No. 141796 and G.R. No. 141804 xxx, but rather the
doctrine of stare decisis et non quieta movere, which means to adhere to precedents,
and not to unsettle things which are established. (Philippine Overseas
Telecommunications Corporation (POTC) vs. Africa, 700 SCRA 453, 522, G.R. No. 184622,
July 3, 2013).
Under the doctrine of stare decisis, when the Court has once laid down a principle of law
as applicable to a certain state of facts, the courts will adhere to that principle, and
apply it to all future cases in which the facts are substantially similar, regardless of
whether the parties and property involved are the same. (Philippine Overseas
Telecommunications Corporation (POTC) vs. Africa, 700 SCRA 453, 522, G.R. No. 184622,
July 3, 2013).
The doctrine of stare decisis is based upon the legal principle or rule involved, not upon
the judgment that results therefrom. It is in this particular sense that stare decisis differs
from res judicata, because res judicata is based upon the judgment. (Philippine Overseas
Telecommunications Corporation (POTC) vs. Africa, 700 SCRA 453, 522, G.R. No. 184622,
July 3, 2013).
The doctrine of stare decisis is grounded on the necessity for securing certainty and
stability in judicial decisions, thus: Time and again, the Court has held that it is a very
desirable and necessary judicial practice that when a court has laid down a principle of
law as applicable to a certain state of facts, it will adhere to that principle and apply it to
all future cases in which the facts are substantially the same. Stare decisis et non quieta
movere. Stand by the decisions and disturb not what is settled. Stare decisis simply
means that for the sake of certainty, a conclusion reached in one case should be applied
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to those that follow if the facts are substantially the same, even though the parties may
be different. It proceeds from the first principle of justice that, absent any powerful
countervailing considerations, like cases ought to be decided alike. Thus, where the
same questions relating to the same event have been put forward by the parties
similarly situated as in a previous case litigated and decided by a competent court, the
rule of stare decisis is a bar to any attempt to relitigate the same issue. (Philippine
Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (POTC) vs. Africa, 700 SCRA 453, 522-523,
G.R. No. 184622, July 3, 2013 citing Ty vs. Banco Filipino Savings & Mortgage Bank, 475
SCRA 65, 75-76, G.R. No. 144705, November 15, 2005).
Effect of Judgments or Final Orders; Law of the Case
In Cucueco vs. Court of Appeals, 441 SCRA 290 (2004), the Court defined law of the case
as the opinion delivered on a former appeal. Law of the case is a term applied to an
established rule that when an appellate court passes on a question and remands the
case to the lower court for further proceedings, the question there settled becomes the
law of the case upon subsequent appeal. (Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Suntay, 662
SCRA 614, 643, G.R. No. 188376, December 14, 2011).
Law of the case means that whatever is once irrevocably established as the controlling
legal rule or decision between the same parties in the same case continues to be the law
of the case, whether correct on general principles or not, so long as the facts on which
such decision was predicated continue to be the facts of the case before the court. With
the pronouncement in G.R. No. 157903 having undeniably become the law of the case
between the parties, we cannot pass upon and rule again on the same legal issue
between the same parties. (Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Suntay, 662 SCRA 614, 643-
644, G.R. No. 188376, December 14, 2011).
Provisional Remedies; Preliminary Injunction
In City Government of Butuan vs. Consolidated Broadcasting System (CBS), Inc., 636
SCRA 79 (2010), the Court restated the nature and concept of a writ of preliminary
injunction in the following manner, to wit: A preliminary injunction is an order granted
at any stage of an action or proceeding prior to the judgment or final order requiring a
party or a court, an agency, or a person to refrain from a particular act or acts. It may
also require the performance of a particular act or acts, in which case it is known as a
preliminary mandatory injunction. Thus, a prohibitory injunction is one that commands
a party to refrain from doing a particular act, while a mandatory injunction commands
the performance of some positive act to correct a wrong in the past. (Delos Santos vs.
Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, 684 SCRA 410, 423-424, G.R. No. 153852,
October 24, 2012).
The urgent nature of an injunction or TRO case demands prompt action and immediate
attention, thereby compelling the filing of the case in the proper court without delay.
(Government Service Insurance System vs. Cancino-Erum, 680 SCRA 44, 57, A.M. No. RTJ-
09-2182, September 5, 2012).
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We reiterate that injunction will not protect contingent, abstract or future rights whose
existence is doubtful or disputed. Indeed, there must exist an actual right, because
injunction will not be issued to protect a right not in esse and which may never arise, or
to restrain an act which does not give rise to a cause of action. (Delos Santos vs.
Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, 684 SCRA 410, 426, G.R. No. 153852, October
24, 2012).
An injunction will not issue to protect a right not in esse, or a right which is merely
contingent and may never arise; or to restrain an act which does not give rise to a cause
of action; or to prevent the perpetration of an act prohibited by statute. Indeed, a right,
to be protected by injunction, means a right clearly founded on or granted by law or is
enforceable as a matter of law. (Delos Santos vs. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company,
684 SCRA 410, 424, G.R. No. 153852, October 24, 2012 citing City Government of Butuan
vs. Consolidated Broadcasting System (CBS), Inc., G.R. No. 157315, December 1, 2010).
As with all equitable remedies, injunction must be issued only at the instance of a party
who possesses sufficient interest in or title to the right or the property sought to be
protected. It is proper only when the applicant appears to be entitled to the relief
demanded in the complaint, which must aver the existence of the right and the violation
of the right, or whose averments must in the minimum constitute a prima facie showing
of a right to the final relief sought. Accordingly, the conditions for the issuance of the
injunctive writ are: (a) that the right to be protected exists prima facie; (b) that the act
sought to be enjoined is violative of that right; and (c) that there is an urgent and
paramount necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage. (Delos Santos vs.
Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, 684 SCRA 410, 424, G.R. No. 153852, October
24, 2012 citing City Government of Butuan vs. Consolidated Broadcasting System (CBS),
Inc., G.R. No. 157315, December 1, 2010).
At any rate, an application for injunctive relief is strictly construed against the pleader.
(Delos Santos vs. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, 684 SCRA 410, 426, G.R. No.
153852, October 24, 2012).

SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS


Declaratory Reliefs and Similar Remedies; Proceedings
Considered as Similar Remedies; Quieting of Title
This case involves an action for quieting of title, a common-law remedy for the removal
of any cloud or doubt or uncertainty on the title to real property by reason of any
instrument, record, claim, encumbrance, or proceeding that is apparently valid or
effective, but is, in truth and in fact, invalid, ineffective, voidable, or unenforceable, and
may be prejudicial to said title. (Heirs of Prodon vs. Heirs of Alvarez and Clave, 704 SCRA
465, 479, G.R. No. 170604, September 2, 2013).
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In xxx an [action to quiet title], the competent court is tasked to determine the
respective rights of the complainant and other claimants to place things in their proper
place and to make the one who has no rights to said immovable respect and not disturb
the other. The action is for the benefit of both, so that he who has the right would see
every cloud of doubt over the property dissipated, and he can thereafter fearlessly
introduce any desired improvements, as well as use, and even abuse the property.
(Heirs of Prodon vs. Heirs of Alvarez and Clave, 704 SCRA 465, 479, G.R. No. 170604,
September 2, 2013).
For an action to quiet title to prosper, two indispensable requisites must concur,
namely: (a) the plaintiff or complainant has a legal or an equitable title to or interest in
the real property subject of the action; and (b) the deed, claim, encumbrance, or
proceeding claimed to be casting cloud on his title must be shown to be in fact invalid or
inoperative despite its prima facie appearance of validity or legal efficacy. (Heirs of
Prodon vs. Heirs of Alvarez and Clave, 704 SCRA 465, 479, G.R. No. 170604, September 2,
2013).
The action for quieting of title may be based on the fact that a deed is invalid,
ineffective, voidable, or unenforceable. (Heirs of Prodon vs. Heirs of Alvarez and Clave,
704 SCRA 465, 479, G.R. No. 170604, September 2, 2013).
The terms of the writing may or may not be material to an action for quieting of title,
depending on the ground alleged by the plaintiff. For instance, when an action for
quieting of title is based on the unenforceability of a contract for not complying with the
Statute of Frauds, Article 1403 of the Civil Code specifically provides that evidence of the
agreement cannot be received without the writing, or a secondary evidence of its
contents. There is then no doubt that the Best Evidence Rule will come into play. (Heirs
of Prodon vs. Heirs of Alvarez and Clave, 704 SCRA 465, 479-480, G.R. No. 170604,
September 2, 2013).
Review of judgments and Final Orders or Resolutions of
the COMELEC and COA
Rule 64 is generally identical with certiorari under Rule 65, except as to the period of the
filing of the petition for certiorari, that is, in the former, the period is 30 days from
notice of the judgment or final order or resolution sought to be reviewed but, in the
latter, not later than 60 days from notice of the judgment, order or resolution assailed.
(Causing vs. COMELEC, 734 SCRA 495, 505, G.R. No. 199139, September 9, 2014).
A perusal of the circumstances of the case shows that none of the foregoing exceptions
was applicable herein. Hence, [petitioner] Causing should have filed the motion for
reconsideration, especially because there was nothing in the COMELEC Rules of
Procedure that precluded the filing of the motion for reconsideration in election offense
cases [before resorting to Rule 64]. (Causing vs. COMELEC, 734 SCRA 495, 507, G.R. No.
199139, September 9, 2014).
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Only when the [Commission on Audit] has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or
with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, may the Court
entertain and grant a petition for certiorari brought to assail its actions. (Nazareth vs.
Villar, 689 SCRA 385, 408, G.R. No. 188635, January 29, 2013).
Certiorari
We remind that the writ of certioraribeing a remedy narrow in scope and inflexible in
character, whose purpose is to keep an inferior court within the bounds of its
jurisdiction, or to prevent an inferior court from committing such grave abuse of
discretion amounting to excess of jurisdiction, or to relieve parties from arbitrary acts of
courts (i.e., acts that courts have no power or authority in law to perform)is not a
general utility tool in the legal workshop, and cannot be issued to correct every error
committed by a lower court. (Delos Santos vs. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company,
684 SCRA 410, 420, G.R. No. 153852, October 24, 2012).
The sole office of the writ of certiorari is the correction of errors of jurisdiction, which
includes the commission of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.
(Delos Santos vs. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, 684 SCRA 410, 422, G.R. No.
153852, October 24, 2012).
It is further emphasized that a petition for certiorari seeks solely to correct defects in
jurisdiction, and does not correct just any error or mistake committed by a court, board,
or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions xxx. (Yusay vs. Court of Appeals,
647 SCRA 269, 277, G.R. No. 156684, April 6, 2011).
Certiorari; Petition for Certiorari viz Appeal by Certiorari
Ordinarily, an original action for certiorari will not prosper if the remedy of appeal is
available, for an appeal by petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court and an original action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court are
mutually exclusive, not alternative nor successive, remedies. (Dongon vs. Rapid Movers
and Forwarders Co., Inc., 704 SCRA 56, 65, G.R. No. 163431, August 28, 2013).
On several occasions, however, the Court has treated a petition for certiorari as a
petition for review on certiorari when: (a) the petition has been filed within the 15-day
reglementary period; (b) public welfare and the advancement of public policy dictate
such treatment; (c) the broader interests of justice require such treatment; (d) the writs
issued were null and void; or (e) the questioned decision or order amounts to an
oppressive exercise of judicial authority. (Dongon vs. Rapid Movers and Forwarders Co.,
Inc., 704 SCRA 56, 65-66, G.R. No. 163431, August 28, 2013).
In St. Martin Funeral Home vs. National Labor Relations Commission, 295 SCRA 494, 503-
504 (1998), the Court has clarified that parties seeking the review of decisions of the
NLRC should file a petition for certiorari in the CA on the ground of grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the NLRC.
Thereafter, the remedy of the aggrieved party from the CA decision is an appeal via
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petition for review on certiorari. (Dongon vs. Rapid Movers and Forwarders Co., Inc., 704
SCRA 56, 65, G.R. No. 163431, August 28, 2013).
Certiorari; Requisites
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court still requires the petition for certiorari to comply with the
following requisites, namely: (1) the writ of certiorari is directed against a tribunal, a
board, or an officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions; (2) such tribunal,
board, or officer has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction; and (3) there is no appeal or any
plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. (Bordomeo vs. Court
of Appeals, 691 SCRA 269, 286-287, G.R. No. 161596, February 20, 2013).
We need to emphasize, too, that with certiorari being an extraordinary remedy, they
must strictly observe the rules laid down by law for granting the relief sought. (Delos
Santos vs. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, 684 SCRA 410, 422, G.R. No. 153852,
October 24, 2012).
The first requisite is that the respondent tribunal, board, or officer must be exercising
judicial or quasi-judicial functions. Judicial function, according to Bouvier, is the exercise
of the judicial faculty or office; it also means the capacity to act in a specific way which
appertains to the judicial power, as one of the powers of government. The term,
Bouvier continues, is used to describe generally those modes of action which appertain
to the judiciary as a department of organized government, and through and by means of
which it accomplishes its purpose and exercises its peculiar powers. (Yusay vs. Court of
Appeals, 647 SCRA 269, 277, G.R. No. 156684, April 6, 2011).
Based on the foregoing, certiorari did not lie against the Sangguniang Panglungsod,
which was not a part of the Judiciary settling an actual controversy involving legally
demandable and enforceable rights when it adopted Resolution No. 552, but a
legislative and policy-making body declaring its sentiment or opinion. (Yusay vs. Court of
Appeals, 647 SCRA 269, 277-278, G.R. No. 156684, April 6, 2011).
In a special civil action for certiorari xxx, petitioner carries the burden of proving that the
court or quasi-judicial body committed not a merely reversible error but a grave abuse
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the impugned order.
Showing mere abuse of discretion is not enough, for it is necessary to demonstrate that
the abuse of discretion was grave. (Zuellig Freight and Cargo Systems vs. National Labor
Relations Commission, 701 SCRA 561, 569-570, G.R. No. 157900, July 22, 2013).
Mere abuse of discretion is not enough to warrant the issuance of the writ. The abuse of
discretion must be grave, which means either that the judicial or quasi-judicial power
was exercised in an arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion or personal
hostility, or that the respondent judge, tribunal or board evaded a positive duty, or
virtually refused to perform the duty enjoined or to act in contemplation of law, such as
when such judge, tribunal or board exercising judicial or quasi-judicial powers acted in a
capricious or whimsical manner as to be equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. (Delos Santos
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vs. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, 684 SCRA 410, 422-423, G.R. No. 153852,
October 24, 2012).
Considering that the requisites must concurrently be attendant, the herein petitioners
stance that a writ of certiorari should have been issued even if the CA found no showing
of grave abuse of discretion is absurd. The commission of grave abuse of discretion was
a fundamental requisite for the writ of certiorari to issue against the RTC. Without their
strong showing either of the RTCs lack or excess of jurisdiction, or of grave abuse of
discretion by the RTC amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, the writ of certiorari
would not issue for being bereft of legal and factual bases. (Delos Santos vs.
Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, 684 SCRA 410, 422, G.R. No. 153852, October
24, 2012).
No rights can be conferred by and be inferred from a resolution, which is nothing but an
embodiment of what the lawmaking body has to say in the light of attendant
circumstances. In simply expressing its sentiment or opinion through the resolution,
therefore, the Sangguniang Panglungsod in no way abused its discretion, least of all
gravely, for its expression of sentiment or opinion was a constitutionally protected right.
(Yusay vs. Court of Appeals, 647 SCRA 269, 278, G.R. No. 156684, April 6, 2011).
A remedy is plain, speedy and adequate if it will promptly relieve the petitioner from the
injurious effects of that judgment and the acts of the tribunal or inferior court. (Yusay
vs. Court of Appeals, 647 SCRA 269, 284, G.R. No. 156684, April 6, 2011).
Certiorari; Exceptions to Filing of Motion for
Reconsideration Before Filing Petition
The well-established rule is that the motion for reconsideration is an indispensable
condition before an aggrieved party can resort to the special civil action for certiorari
under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. The filing of the motion for reconsideration before
the resort to certiorari will lie is intended to afford to the public respondent the
opportunity to correct any actual or fancied error attributed to it by way of re-
examination of the legal and factual aspects of the case. (Causing vs. COMELEC, 734
SCRA 495, 506, G.R. No. 199139, September 9, 2014).
The rule is not absolute, however, considering that jurisprudence has laid down
exceptions to the requirement for the filing of a petition for certiorari without first filing
a motion for reconsideration, namely: (a) where the order is a patent nullity, as where
the court a quo has no jurisdiction; (b) where the questions raised in the certiorari
proceedings have been duly raised and passed upon by the lower court, or are the same
as those raised and passed upon in the lower court; (c) where there is an urgent
necessity for the resolution of the question, and any further delay would prejudice the
interests of the Government, or of the petitioner, or the subject matter of the petition is
perishable; (d) where, under the circumstances, a motion for reconsideration would be
useless; (e) where the petitioner was deprived of due process, and there is extreme
urgency for relief; (f) where, in a criminal case, relief from an order of arrest is urgent,
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and the granting of such relief by the trial court is improbable; (g) where the
proceedings in the lower court are a nullity for lack of due process; (h) where the
proceeding was ex parte or in which the petitioner had no opportunity to object; and (i)
where the issue raised is one purely of law or public interest is involved. (Causing vs.
COMELEC, 734 SCRA 495, 506, G.R. No. 199139, September 9, 2014).
Certiorari; When Proper
Jurisprudence recognizes certain situations when the extraordinary remedy of certiorari
may be deemed proper, such as: (a) when it is necessary to prevent irreparable
damages and injury to a party; (b) where the trial judge capriciously and whimsically
exercised his judgment; (c) where there may be danger of a failure of justice; (d) where
an appeal would be slow, inadequate, and insufficient; (e) where the issue raised is one
purely of law; (f) where public interest is involved; and (g) in case of urgency. (Bordomeo
vs. Court of Appeals, 691 SCRA 269, 287, G.R. No. 161596, February 20, 2013).
Certiorari; Requirements for Filing
The Court stresses that NHA, as the petitioner, had the obligation to comply with the
basic requirements for the filing of a petition for certiorari prescribed in Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court, specifically to accompany the petition with a certified true copy of the
judgment, order or resolution subject thereof, copies of all pleadings and documents
relevant and pertinent thereto, and a sworn certification of non-forum shopping as
provided in the third paragraph of section 3, Rule 46. (National Housing Authority vs.
Roxas, 647 SCRA 286, 293, G.R. No. 161204, April 06, 2011).
NHA did not attach the petition for reconstitution filed with the trial Court and other
resolutions or orders of the court before its dismissal of the petition, documents which
are considered relevant and pertinent thereto. The omission was fatal to the petition
for certiorari of NHA. Section 3, Rule 46, of the Rules of Court, supra, expressly provides
that: The failure of the petitioner to comply with any of the foregoing requirements
shall be sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition Dismissal of the petition was
the recourse of the CA, because the requirements imposed by the Rules of Court were
not to be lightly treated or disregarded due to the omitted documents being essential in
a special civil action for certiorari, a proceeding by which a superior court determines
whether the respondent court or judge acted without jurisdiction or in excess of
jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.
(National Housing Authority vs. Roxas, 647 SCRA 286, 295, G.R. No. 161204, April 06,
2011).
Certiorari; When to File
Considering that the motion for reconsideration xxx was in reality and effect a
prohibited second motion for reconsideration xxx, the assailed orders dated July 30,
2001, October 21, 1999, and October 8, 1999 could no longer be subject to attack by
certiorari. Thus, the petition for certiorari filed only in March 2002 was already
improper and tardy for being made beyond the 60-day limitation defined in Section 4,
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Rule 65, 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, which requires a petition for
certiorari to be filed not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment, order or
resolution, or, 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. (Mallari vs. Government Service Insurance System, G.R.
No. 157659, January 25, 2010).
It is worth emphasizing that the 60-day limitation is considered inextendible, because
the limitation has been prescribed to avoid any unreasonable delay that violates the
constitutional rights of parties to a speedy disposition of their cases. (Mallari vs.
Government Service Insurance System, G.R. No. 157659, January 25, 2010).
Prohibition
The writ of prohibition is directed against proceedings that are done without or in
excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion, there being no appeal or other
plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. (Yusay vs. Court of
Appeals, 647 SCRA 269, 283, G.R. No. 156684, April 6, 2011).
The function of prohibition is to prevent the unlawful and oppressive exercise of legal
authority and to provide for a fair and orderly administration of justice. (Yusay vs. Court
of Appeals, 647 SCRA 269, 283, G.R. No. 156684, April 6, 2011).
Prohibition; Requisites
For grave abuse of discretion to be a ground for prohibition, the petitioner must first
demonstrate that the tribunal, corporation, board, officer, or person, whether
exercising judicial, quasi-judicial or ministerial functions, has exercised its or his power
in an arbitrary or despotic manner, by reason of passion or personal hostility, which
must be so patent and gross as would amount to an evasion, or to a virtual refusal to
perform the duty enjoined or to act in contemplation of law. (Yusay vs. Court of Appeals,
647 SCRA 269, 283, G.R. No. 156684, April 6, 2011).
On the other hand, the term excess of jurisdiction signifies that the court, board, or
officer has jurisdiction over a case but has transcended such jurisdiction or acted
without any authority. (Yusay vs. Court of Appeals, 647 SCRA 269, 283, G.R. No. 156684,
April 6, 2011).
The petitioner must further allege in the petition and establish facts to show that any
other existing remedy is not speedy or adequate. A remedy is plain, speedy and
adequate if it will promptly relieve the petitioner from the injurious effects of that
judgment and the acts of the tribunal or inferior court. (Yusay vs. Court of Appeals, 647
SCRA 269, 284, G.R. No. 156684, April 6, 2011).
Mandamus
The writ of mandamus has xxx an important feature that sets it apart from the other
remedial writs, i.e., that it is used merely to compel action and to coerce the
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performance of a pre-existing duty. In fact, a doctrine well-embedded in our
jurisprudence is that mandamus will issue only when the petitioner has a clear legal
right to the performance of the act sought to be compelled and the respondent has an
imperative duty to perform the same. (Special People, Inc. Foundation vs. Canda, 688
SCRA 403, 423-424, G.R. No. 160932, January 14, 2013).
Mandamus; Requisites
Its failure to [exhaust administrative remedies] rendered its resort to mandamus in the
RTC premature. The omission is fatal, because mandamus is a remedy only when there
is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
(Special People, Inc. Foundation vs. Canda, 688 SCRA 403, 417, G.R. No. 160932, January
14, 2013).
The petitioner [in a mandamus suit] bears the burden to show that there is such a clear
legal right to the performance of the act, and a corresponding compelling duty on the
part of the respondent to perform the act. (Special People, Inc. Foundation vs. Canda,
688 SCRA 403, 423-424, G.R. No. 160932, January 14, 2013).
A key principle to be observed in dealing with petitions for mandamus is that such
extraordinary remedy lies to compel the performance of duties that are purely
ministerial in nature, not those that are discretionary. (Special People, Inc. Foundation
vs. Canda, 688 SCRA 403, 424, G.R. No. 160932, January 14, 2013).
Another reason for denying due course to this review is that the petitioner did not
establish that the grant of its application for the CNC was a purely ministerial in nature
on the part of RD Lipayon. Hence, mandamus was not a proper remedy. (Special People,
Inc. Foundation vs. Canda, 688 SCRA 403, 417, G.R. No. 160932, January 14, 2013).
A purely ministerial act or duty is one that an officer or tribunal performs in a given state
of facts, in a prescribed manner, in obedience to the mandate of a legal authority,
without regard to or the exercise of its own judgment upon the propriety or impropriety
of the act done. The duty is ministerial only when its discharge requires neither the
exercise of official discretion or judgment. (Special People, Inc. Foundation vs. Canda,
688 SCRA 403, 424, G.R. No. 160932, January 14, 2013).
A marked distinction exists between a discretionary act and a ministerial one. A purely
ministerial act or duty is one that an officer or tribunal performs in a given state of facts,
in a prescribed manner, in obedience to the mandate of a legal authority, without
regard to or the exercise of his own judgment upon the propriety or impropriety of the
act done. If the law imposes a duty upon a public officer and gives him the right to
decide how or when the duty shall be performed, such duty is discretionary, not
ministerial. The duty is ministerial only when its discharge requires neither the exercise
of official discretion nor the exercise of judgment. (Mallari vs. Government Service
Insurance System, G.R. No. 157659, January 25, 2010).
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In matters involving the exercise of judgment and discretion, mandamus cannot be used
to direct the manner or the particular way the judgment and discretion are to be
exercised. Consequently, the Secretary of Justice may be compelled by writ of
mandamus to act on a letter-request or a motion to include a person in the information,
but may not be compelled by writ of mandamus to act in a certain way, i.e., to grant or
deny such letter-request or motion. (Ampatuan, Jr. vs. De Lima, 695 SCRA 159, 163, G.R.
No. 197291, April 3, 2013).
Expropriation
There can be no prohibition against a procedure whereby the immediate possession of
the land under expropriation proceedings may be taken, provided always that due
provision is made to secure the prompt adjudication and payment of just compensation
to the owner. This bar against prohibition comes from the nature of the power of
eminent domain as necessitating the taking of private land intended for public use, and
the interest of the affected landowner is thus made subordinate to the power of the
State. Once the State decides to exercise its power of eminent domain, the power of
judicial review becomes limited in scope, and the courts will be left to determine the
appropriate amount of just compensation to be paid to the affected landowners. Only
when the landowners are not given their just compensation for the taking of their
property or when there has been no agreement on the amount of just compensation
may the remedy of prohibition become available. (Yusay vs. Court of Appeals, 647 SCRA
269, 284-285, G.R. No. 156684, April 6, 2011).
Expropriation; Local Government Units
The power of eminent domain could be exercised by the City only through the filing of a
verified complaint in the proper court. Before the City as the expropriating authority
filed such verified complaint, no expropriation proceeding could be said to exist. Until
then, the petitioners as the owners could not also be deprived of their property under
the power of eminent domain. (Yusay vs. Court of Appeals, 647 SCRA 269, 285, G.R. No.
156684, April 6, 2011).
Expropriation; Local Government Units; Requisites Before
LGU Can Expropriate
The following essential requisites must concur before an LGU can exercise the power of
eminent domain: 1. An ordinance is enacted by the local legislative council authorizing
the local chief executive, in behalf of the LGU, to exercise the power of eminent domain
or pursue expropriation proceedings over a particular private property; 2. The power of
eminent domain is exercised for public use, purpose or welfare, or for the benefit of the
poor and the landless; 3. There is payment of just compensation, as required under
Section 9 Article III of the Constitution and other pertinent laws; 4. A valid and definite
offer has been previously made to the owner of the property sought to be expropriated,
but said offer was not accepted. (Yusay vs. Court of Appeals, 647 SCRA 269, 280, G.R.
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No. 156684, April 6, 2011 citing Municipality of Paraaque vs. V.M. Realty Corporation,
292 SCRA 678, G.R. No. 127820, July 20, 1998).
Republic Act No. 7160 (The Local Government Code) required the City to pass an
ordinance, not adopt a resolution, for the purpose of initiating an expropriation
proceeding. In this regard, Section 19 of The Local Government Code clearly provides,
viz.: Section 19. Eminent Domain.A local government unit may, through its chief
executive and acting pursuant to an ordinance, exercise the power of eminent domain
for public use, or purpose, or welfare for the benefit of the poor and the landless, upon
payment of just compensation, pursuant to the provisions of the Constitution and
pertinent laws: Provided, however, That the power of eminent domain may not be
exercised unless a valid and definite offer has been previously made to the owner, and
such offer was not accepted: Provided, further, That the local government unit may
immediately take possession of the property upon the filing of the expropriation
proceedings and upon making a deposit with the proper court of at least fifteen percent
(15%) of the fair market value of the property based on the current tax declaration of
the property to be expropriated: Provided, finally, That, the amount to be paid for the
expropriated property shall be determined by the proper court, based on the fair
market value at the time of the taking of the property. (Yusay vs. Court of Appeals, 647
SCRA 269, 278-279, G.R. No. 156684, April 6, 2011).
A resolution like Resolution No. 552 that merely expresses the sentiment of the
Sangguniang Panglungsod is not sufficient for the purpose of initiating an expropriation
proceeding. (Yusay vs. Court of Appeals, 647 SCRA 269, 279, G.R. No. 156684, April 6,
2011).
In view of the absence of the proper expropriation ordinance authorizing and providing
for the expropriation, the petition for certiorari filed in the RTC was dismissible for lack
of cause of action. (Yusay vs. Court of Appeals, 647 SCRA 269, 282, G.R. No. 156684,
April 6, 2011).
Foreclosure of Real Estate Mortgage
The foreclosure of a mortgage is but a necessary consequence of the non-payment of an
obligation secured by the mortgage. Where the parties have stipulated in their
agreement, mortgage contract and promissory note that the mortgagee is authorized to
foreclose the mortgage upon the mortgagors default, the mortgagee has a clear right to
the foreclosure in case of the mortgagors default. Thereby, the issuance of a writ of
preliminary injunction upon the application of the mortgagor will be improper. (Delos
Santos vs. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, 684 SCRA 410, 423, G.R. No. 153852,
October 24, 2012).
Nor do we discern any substantial controversy that had any real bearing on Metrobanks
right to foreclose the mortgage. The mere possibility that the RTC would rule in the end
in the petitioners favor by lowering the interest rates and directing the application of
the excess payments to the accrued principal and interest did not diminish the fact that
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when Metrobank filed its application for extrajudicial foreclosure they were already in
default as to their obligations and that their short-term loan of P4,400,000.00 had
already matured. (Delos Santos vs. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, 684 SCRA
410, 426, G.R. No. 153852, October 24, 2012).
Citing the ruling in Almeda vs. Court of Appeals, 256 SCRA 292 (1996), to the effect that
the issuance of a preliminary injunction [to enjoin an impending extrajudicial
foreclosure] pending the resolution of the issue on the correct interest rate would be
justified, the petitioners submit that they could be rightly considered in default only
after they had failed to settle the exact amount of their obligation as determined by the
trial court in the main case. The petitioners reliance on the ruling in Almeda was
misplaced. Almeda involved circumstances that were far from identical with those
obtaining herein. To start with, Almeda involved the mandatory foreclosure of a
mortgage by a government financial institution pursuant to P.D. No. 385 xxx. Secondly,
the petitioners in Almeda were not yet in default at the time they brought the action
questioning the propriety of the interest rate increases, but the herein petitioners were
already in default and the mortgage had already been foreclosed when they assailed the
interest rates in court. Thirdly, the Court found in Almeda that the increases in the
interest rates had been made without the prior assent of the borrowers, who had even
consistently protested the increases in the stipulated interest rate. In contrast, the Court
cannot make the same conclusion herein for lack of basis. Fourthly, the interest rates in
Almeda were raised to such a very high level that the borrowers were practically
enslaved and their assets depleted, with the interest rate even reaching at one point a
high of 68% per annum. Here, however, the increases reached a high of only 31% per
annum, according to the petitioners themselves. Lastly, the Court in Almeda attributed
good faith to the petitioners by their act of consigning in court the amounts of what
they believed to be their remaining obligation. No similar tender or consignation of the
amount claimed by the petitioners herein to be their correct outstanding obligation was
made by them. (Delos Santos vs. Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, 684 SCRA 410,
427-428, G.R. No. 153852, October 24, 2012).
Foreclosure of Real Estate Mortgage; Equity of
Redemption vs. Right of Redemption
The equity of redemption is the right of the defendant mortgagor to extinguish the
mortgage and retain ownership of the property by paying the secured debt within the
90-day period after the judgment becomes final, or even after the foreclosure sale but
prior to the confirmation of the sale. (Robles vs. Yapcino, 739 SCRA 75, 85, G.R. No.
169568, October 22, 2014).
The registration of the sale is required only in extrajudicial foreclosure sale because the
date of the registration is the reckoning point for the exercise of the right of
redemption. In contrast, the registration of the sale is superfluous in judicial foreclosure
because only the equity of redemption is granted to the mortgagor, except in mortgages
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with banking institutions. (Robles vs. Yapcino, 739 SCRA 75, 85, G.R. No. 169568,
October 22, 2014).
Anent the redemption of property sold in an extrajudicial foreclosure sale made
pursuant to the special power referred to in Section 1 of Act No. 3135, as amended, the
debtor, his successor-in-interest, or any judicial creditor or judgment creditor of said
debtor, or any person having a lien on the property subsequent to the mortgage or deed
of trust under which the property is sold has the right to redeem the property at
anytime within the term of one year from and after the date of the sale, xxx. In this
regard, we clarify that the redemption period envisioned under Act 3135 is reckoned
from the date of the registration of the sale, not from and after the date of the sale, as
the text of Act 3135 shows. (Mallari vs. Government Service Insurance System, G.R. No.
157659, January 25, 2010).
The 12-month period of redemption came to be held as beginning to run not from the
date of the sale but from the time of registration of the sale in the Office of the Register
of Deeds. This construction was due to the fact that the sheriffs sale of registered and
unregistered lands did not take effect as a conveyance, or did not bind the land, until
the sale was registered in the Register of Deeds. (Mallari vs. Government Service
Insurance System, G.R. No. 157659, January 25, 2010).
Desiring to avoid any confusion xxx, the Court has incorporated in Section 28 of Rule 39
of the current Rules of Court xxx the foregoing judicial construction of reckoning the
redemption period from the date of the registration of the certificate of sale, to wit:
Sec. 28. Time and manner of, and amounts payable on, successive redemptions; notice
to be given and filed. The judgment obligor, or redemptioner, may redeem the
property from the purchaser, at any time within one (1) year from the date of the
registration of the certificate of sale, by paying the purchaser the amount of his
purchase, with one per centum per month interest thereon in addition, up to the time
of redemption, together with the amount of any assessments or taxes which the
purchaser may have paid thereon after purchase, and interest on such last named
amount at the same rate; xxx (Mallari vs. Government Service Insurance System, G.R.
No. 157659, January 25, 2010).
The mortgagor or his successor-in-interest must redeem the foreclosed property within
one year from the registration of the sale with the Register of Deeds in order to avoid
the title from consolidating in the purchaser. By failing to redeem thuswise, the
mortgagor loses all interest over the foreclosed property. (Mallari vs. Government
Service Insurance System, G.R. No. 157659, January 25, 2010).
The purchaser, who has a right to possession that extends beyond the expiration of the
redemption period, becomes the absolute owner of the property when no redemption
is made, that it is no longer necessary for the purchaser to file the bond required under
Section 7 of Act No. 3135, as amended, considering that the possession of the land
becomes his absolute right as the lands confirmed owner. The consolidation of
ownership in the purchasers name and the issuance to him of a new TCT then entitles
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him to demand possession of the property at any time, and the issuance of a writ of
possession to him becomes a matter of right upon the consolidation of title in his name.
(Mallari vs. Government Service Insurance System, G.R. No. 157659, January 25, 2010).
It is clear from the foregoing that a non-redeeming mortgagor like the petitioner had no
more right to challenge the issuance of the writ of execution cum writ of possession
upon the ex parte application of GSIS. He could not also impugn anymore the
extrajudicial foreclosure, and could not undo the consolidation in GSIS of the ownership
of the properties covered by TCT No. 284272-R and TCT No. 284273-R, which
consolidation was already irreversible. (Mallari vs. Government Service Insurance
System, G.R. No. 157659, January 25, 2010).
Foreclosure of Real Estate Mortgage; Writ of Possession
A writ of possession, which commands the sheriff to place a person in possession of real
property, may be issued in: (1) land registration proceedings under Section 17 of Act
No. 496; (2) judicial foreclosure, provided the debtor is in possession of the mortgaged
property, and no third person, not a party to the foreclosure suit, had intervened; (3)
extrajudicial foreclosure of a real estate mortgage, pending redemption under Section 7
of Act No. 3135, as amended by Act No. 4118; and (4) execution sales, pursuant to the
last paragraph of Section 33, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. (Mallari vs. Government
Service Insurance System, G.R. No. 157659, January 25, 2010).
The court can neither halt nor hesitate to issue the writ of possession. It cannot exercise
any discretion to determine whether or not to issue the writ, for the issuance of the writ
to the purchaser in an extrajudicial foreclosure sale becomes a ministerial function.
(Mallari vs. Government Service Insurance System, G.R. No. 157659, January 25, 2010).
The proceeding upon an application for a writ of possession is ex parte and summary in
nature, brought for the benefit of one party only and without notice being sent by the
court to any person adverse in interest. The relief is granted even without giving an
opportunity to be heard to the person against whom the relief is sought. Its nature as an
ex parte petition under Act No. 3135, as amended, renders the application for the
issuance of a writ of possession a non-litigious proceeding. (Mallari vs. Government
Service Insurance System, G.R. No. 157659, January 25, 2010).
Forcible Entry and Unlawful Detainer
We note that on January 1, 2002, R.A. No. 9161 (Rental Reform Act of 2002) took effect.
Its Section 7(e) provided that the expiration of the period of the lease contract was still
one of the grounds for judicial ejectment. (Pea vs. Tolentino, 642 SCRA 310, 318, G.R.
No. 155227-28, February 9, 2011).
Contempt
The power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts, and is essential to the
preservation of order in judicial proceedings and to the enforcement of judgments,
orders, and mandates of the court, and ultimately, to the due administration of justice.
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(Philippine Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (POTC) vs. Africa, 700 SCRA 453,
530-531, G.R. No. 184622, July 3, 2013).
But such power should be exercised on the preservative, not on the vindictive, principle.
Only in cases of clear and contumacious refusal to obey should the power be exercised.
Such power, being drastic and extraordinary in its nature, should not be resorted to
unless necessary in the interest of justice. (Philippine Overseas Telecommunications
Corporation (POTC) vs. Africa, 700 SCRA 453, 531, G.R. No. 184622, July 3, 2013).
We deem to be appropriate to reiterate what the Court said on the nature of contempt
of court in Lorenzo Shipping Corporation vs. Distribution Management Association of the
Philippines, 656 SCRA 331, 349-350 (2011), viz.: Misbehavior means something more
than adverse comment or disrespect. There is no question that in contempt the intent
goes to the gravamen of the offense. Thus, the good faith, or lack of it, of the alleged
contemnor should be considered. Where the act complained of is ambiguous or does
not clearly show on its face that it is contempt, and is one which, if the party is acting in
good faith, is within his rights, the presence or absence of a contumacious intent is, in
some instances, held to be de-terminative of its character. A person should not be
condemned for contempt where he contends for what he believes to be right and in
good faith institutes proceedings for the purpose, however erroneous may be his
conclusion as to his rights. To constitute contempt, the act must be done willfully and
for an illegitimate or improper purpose. (Philippine Overseas Telecommunications
Corporation (POTC) vs. Africa, 700 SCRA 453, 530, G.R. No. 184622, July 3, 2013).
Contempt; Indirect Contempt
A person may be charged with indirect contempt only by either of two alternative ways,
namely: (1) by a verified petition, if initiated by a party; or (2) by an order or any other
formal charge requiring the respondent to show cause why he should not be punished
for contempt, if made by a court against which the contempt is committed. In short, a
charge of indirect contempt must be initiated through a verified petition, unless the
charge is directly made by the court against which the contemptuous act is committed.
(Mallari vs. Government Service Insurance System, G.R. No. 157659, January 25, 2010).
Justice Regalado has explained why the requirement of the filing of a verified petition
for contempt is mandatory: xxx. This new provision clarifies with a regulatory norm the
proper procedure for commencing contempt proceedings. While such proceeding has
been classified as a special civil action under the former Rules, the heterogeneous
practice, tolerated by the courts, has been for any party to file a mere motion without
paying any docket or lawful fees therefor and without complying with the requirements
for initiatory pleadings, which is now required in the second paragraph of this amended
section. Worse, and as a consequence of unregulated motions for contempt, said
incidents sometimes remain pending for resolution although the main case has already
been decided. xxx. Henceforth, except for indirect contempt proceedings initiated motu
proprio by order of or a formal charge by the offended court, all charges shall be
commenced by a verified petition with full compliance with the requirements therefor
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and shall be disposed of in accordance with the second paragraph of this section.
(Mallari vs. Government Service Insurance System, G.R. No. 157659, January 25, 2010).
Clearly, the petitioners charging GSIS, et al. with indirect contempt by mere motions
was not permitted by the Rules of Court. (Mallari vs. Government Service Insurance
System, G.R. No. 157659, January 25, 2010).
And, secondly, xxx, the petitioner should have tendered filing fees. The need to tender
filing fees derived from the fact that the procedure for indirect contempt under Rule 71,
Rules of Court was an independent special civil action. Yet, the petitioner did not tender
and pay filing fees, resulting in the trial court not acquiring jurisdiction over the action.
Truly, the omission to tender filing fees would have also warranted the dismissal of the
charges. (Mallari vs. Government Service Insurance System, G.R. No. 157659, January 25,
2010).

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
General Matters
In all criminal prosecutions, the Prosecution bears the burden to establish the guilt of
the accused beyond reasonable doubt. In discharging this burden, the Prosecutions
duty is to prove each and every element of the crime charged in the information to
warrant a finding of guilt for that crime or for any other crime necessarily included
therein. The Prosecution must further prove the participation of the accused in the
commission of the offense. In doing all these, the Prosecution must rely on the strength
of its own evidence, and not anchor its success upon the weakness of the evidence of
the accused. The burden of proof placed on the Prosecution arises from the
presumption of innocence in favor of the accused that no less than the Constitution has
guaranteed. Conversely, as to his innocence, the accused has no burden of proof, that
he must then be acquitted and set free should the Prosecution not overcome the
presumption of innocence in his favor. In other words, the weakness of the defense put
up by the accused is inconsequential in the proceedings for as long as the Prosecution
has not discharged its burden of proof in establishing the commission of the crime
charged and in identifying the accused as the malefactor responsible for it. (Patula vs.
People, 669 SCRA 135, 150, G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
Prosecution of Offenses
When there is a variance between the offense charged in the information and that
proved, and the offense as charged is included in or necessarily includes the offense
proved, the accused shall be convicted of the offense proved included in the offense
charged, or of the offense charged included in the offense proved. In that regard, an
offense charged necessarily includes the offense proved when some of the essential
elements or ingredients of the former, as alleged in the information, constitute the
latter; an offense charged is necessarily included in the offense proved when the
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essential ingredients of the former constitute or form part of those constituting the
latter. (People vs. Valdez, 663 SCRA 272, 289, G.R. No. 175602, January 18, 2012).
Prosecution of Offenses; Sufficiency of Complaint or
Information
It is axiomatic that a complaint or information must state every single fact necessary to
constitute the offense charged; otherwise, a motion to dismiss or to quash on the
ground that the complaint or information charges no offense may be properly
sustained. (Disini vs. Sandiganbayan, 705 SCRA 459, 486, G.R. Nos. 169823-24,
September 11, 2013).
Under Section 6, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, the information is sufficient if it states
the name of the accused; the designation of the offense given by the statute; the acts or
omissions complained of as constituting the offense; the name of the offended party;
the proximate date of the commission of the offense; and the place where the offense
was committed. (Rosaldes vs. People, 737 SCRA 592, 604, G.R. No. 173988, October 8,
2014).
The acts or omissions complained of must be alleged in such form as is sufficient to
enable a person of common understanding to know what offense is intended to be
charged, and enable the court to pronounce proper judgment. No information for a
crime will be sufficient if it does not accurately and clearly allege the elements of the
crime charged. (People vs. Valdez, 663 SCRA 272, 287, G.R. No. 175602, January 18,
2012 citing People vs. Dimaano, 469 SCRA 647, G.R. No. 168168, September 14, 2005).
Indeed, the real nature of the criminal charge is determined not from the caption or
preamble of the information, or from the specification of the provision of law alleged to
have been violated, which are mere conclusions of law, but by the actual recital of the
facts in the complaint or information. (People vs. Valdez, 663 SCRA 272, 286, G.R. No.
175602, January 18, 2012).
To have the facts stated in the body of the information determine the crime of which he
stands charged and for which he must be tried thoroughly accords with common sense
and with the requirements of plain justice, for, as the Court fittingly said in United States
vs. Lim San, 17 Phil. 273 (1910): From a legal point of view, and in a very real sense, it is
of no concern to the accused what is the technical name of the crime of which he stands
charged. It in no way aids him in a defense on the merits. xxx. That to which his
attention should be directed, and in which he, above all things else, should be most
interested, are the facts alleged. The real question is not did he commit a crime given in
the law some technical and specific name, but did he perform the acts alleged in the
body of the information in the manner therein set forth. If he did, it is of no
consequence to him, either as a matter of procedure or of substantive right, how the
law denominates the crime which those acts constitute. xxx. In the designation of the
crime the accused never has a real interest until the trial has ended. For his full and
complete defense he need not know the name of the crime at all. It is of no
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consequence whatever for the protection of his substantial rights. The real and
important question to him is, Did you perform the acts alleged in the manner alleged?
not Did you commit a crime named murder. If he performed the acts alleged, in the
manner stated, the law determines what the name of the crime is and fixes the penalty
therefor. It is the province of the court alone to say what the crime is or what it is
named. xxx. (People vs. Valdez, 663 SCRA 272, 288-289, G.R. No. 175602, January 18,
2012).
The importance of the proper manner of alleging the nature and cause of the accusation
in the information should never be taken for granted by the State. An accused cannot be
convicted of an offense that is not clearly charged in the complaint or information. To
convict him of an offense other than that charged in the complaint or information would
be violative of the Constitutional right to be informed of the nature and cause of the
accusation. Indeed, the accused cannot be convicted of a crime, even if duly proven,
unless the crime is alleged or necessarily included in the information filed against him.
(Patula vs. People, 669 SCRA 135, 138, G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
The requirement of sufficient factual averments is meant to inform the accused of the
nature and cause of the charge against him in order to enable him to prepare his
defense. It emanates from the presumption of innocence in his favor, pursuant to which
he is always presumed to have no in-dependent knowledge of the details of the crime
he is being charged with. (People vs. Valdez, 663 SCRA 272, 288, G.R. No. 175602,
January 18, 2012).
Every element of the offense must be stated in the information. What facts and
circumstances are necessary to be included therein must be determined by reference to
the definitions and essentials of the specified crimes. (People vs. Valdez, 663 SCRA 272,
287, G.R. No. 175602, January 18, 2012 citing People vs. Dimaano, 469 SCRA 647, G.R.
No. 168168, September 14, 2005).
To discharge its burden of informing him of the charge, the State must specify in the
information the details of the crime and any circumstance that aggravates his liability
for the crime. (People vs. Valdez, 663 SCRA 272, 288, G.R. No. 175602, January 18,
2012).
The presumption is that the accused has no independent knowledge of the facts that
constitute the offense. (People vs. Valdez, 663 SCRA 272, 287, G.R. No. 175602, January
18, 2012 citing People vs. Dimaano, 469 SCRA 647, G.R. No. 168168, September 14,
2005).
A practical consequence of the non-allegation of a detail that aggravates his liability is to
prohibit the introduction or consideration against the accused of evidence that tends to
establish that detail. The allegations in the information are controlling in the ultimate
analysis. (People vs. Valdez, 663 SCRA 272, 289, G.R. No. 175602, January 18, 2012).
Prosecution of Civil Action; When Civil Action May
Proceed Independently
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It is well-settled that a civil action based on defamation, fraud and physical injuries may
be independently instituted pursuant to Article 33 of the Civil Code, and does not
operate as a prejudicial question that will justify the suspension of a criminal case.
(Consing, Jr. vs. People, 701 SCRA 132, 145, G.R. No. 161075, July 15, 2013).
Prosecution of Civil Action; Prejudicial Question
A prejudicial question is understood in law to be that which arises in a case the
resolution of which is a logical antecedent of the issue involved in the criminal case, and
the cognizance of which pertains to another tribunal. It is determinative of the criminal
case, but the jurisdiction to try and resolve it is lodged in another court or tribunal. It is
based on a fact distinct and separate from the crime but is so intimately connected with
the crime that it determines the guilt or innocence of the accused. (San Miguel
Properties, Inc. vs. Perez, 705 SCRA 38, 55, G.R. No. 166836, September 4, 2013).
A prejudicial question generally comes into play in a situation where a civil action and a
criminal action are both pending, and there exists in the former an issue that must first
be determined before the latter may proceed, because howsoever the issue raised in
the civil action is resolved would be determinative juris et de jure of the guilt or
innocence of the accused in the criminal case. (Reyes vs. Rossi, 691 SCRA 57, 64, G.R. No.
159823, February 18, 2013).
The rationale for the suspension on the ground of a prejudicial question is to avoid
conflicting decisions. (Reyes vs. Rossi, 691 SCRA 57, 64-65, G.R. No. 159823, February 18,
2013).
Two elements that must concur in order for a civil case to be considered a prejudicial
question are expressly stated in Section 7, Rule 111 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal
Procedure, to wit: Section 7. Elements of prejudicial question.The elements of a
prejudicial question are: (a) the previously instituted civil action involves an issue similar
or intimately related to the issue raised in the subsequent criminal action, and (b) the
resolution of such issue determines whether or not the criminal action may proceed.
(Reyes vs. Rossi, 691 SCRA 57, 65, G.R. No. 159823, February 18, 2013).
A prejudicial question need not conclusively resolve the guilt or innocence of the
accused. It is enough for the prejudicial question to simply test the sufficiency of the
allegations in the information in order to sustain the further prosecution of the criminal
case. (San Miguel Properties, Inc. vs. Perez, 705 SCRA 38, 58, G.R. No. 166836,
September 4, 2013).
A party who raises a prejudicial question is deemed to have hypothetically admitted that
all the essential elements of the crime have been adequately alleged in the information,
considering that the Prosecution has not yet presented a single piece of evidence on the
indictment or may not have rested its case. A challenge to the allegations in the
information on the ground of prejudicial question is in effect a question on the merits of
the criminal charge through a non-criminal suit. (San Miguel Properties, Inc. vs. Perez,
705 SCRA 38, 58-59, G.R. No. 166836, September 4, 2013).
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In Sabandal vs. Tongco, 366 SCRA 567 (2001), the concept of prejudicial question is
explained in this wise: xxx If both civil and criminal cases have similar issues or the issue
in one is intimately related to the issues raised in the other, then a prejudicial question
would likely exist, provided the other element or characteristic is satisfied. It must
appear not only that the civil case involves the same facts upon which the criminal
prosecution would be based, but also that the resolution of the issues raised in the civil
action would be necessarily determinative of the guilt or innocence of the accused. If
the resolution of the issue in the civil action will not determine the criminal
responsibility of the accused in the criminal action based on the same facts, or there is
no necessity that the civil case be determined first before taking up the criminal case,
therefore, the civil case does not involve a prejudicial question. Neither is there a
prejudicial question if the civil and the criminal action can, according to law, proceed
independently of each other. (Reyes vs. Rossi, 691 SCRA 57, 65-66, G.R. No. 159823,
February 18, 2013).
San Miguel Properties (petitioner) further submits that respondents could not validly
raise the prejudicial question as a reason to suspend the criminal proceedings because
respondents had not themselves initiated either the action for specific performance or
the criminal action. xxx The submission is unfounded. The rule on prejudicial question
makes no distinction as to who is allowed to raise the defense. Ubi lex non distinguit nec
nos distinguere debemos. When the law makes no distinction, we ought not to
distinguish. (San Miguel Properties, Inc. vs. Perez, 705 SCRA 38, 61, G.R. No. 166836,
September 4, 2013).
The issue of Consings being a mere agent of his mother who should not be criminally
liable for having so acted due to the property involved having belonged to his mother as
principal has also been settled in [People vs. Consing, Jr.,] G.R. No. 148193, [January 16,
2003,] to wit: In the case at bar, we find no prejudicial question that would justify the
suspension of the proceedings in the [Cavite] criminal case. The issue in xxx (the Pasig
civil case) for Injunctive Relief is whether or not xxx [Consing] merely acted as an agent
of his mother, Cecilia de la Cruz; xxx. Even if respondent is declared merely an agent of
his mother in the transaction involving the sale of the questioned lot, he cannot be
adjudged free from criminal liability. An agent or any person may be held liable for
conspiring to falsify public documents. Hence, the determination of the issue involved in
[the Pasig civil case] is irrelevant to the guilt or innocence of the respondent in the
criminal case for estafa through falsification of public document. (Consing, Jr. vs.
People, 701 SCRA 132, 146-147, G.R. No. 161075, July 15, 2013).
It is true that the rescission of a contract results in the extinguishment of the obligatory
relation as if it was never created, the extinguishment having a retroactive effect. xxx.
However, until the contract is rescinded, the juridical tie and the concomitant
obligations subsist. To properly appreciate if there is a prejudicial question to warrant
the suspension of the criminal actions, reference is made to the elements of the crimes
charged. xxx. The issue in the criminal actions upon the violations of Batas Pambansa
Blg. 22 is, therefore, whether or not Reyes issued the dishonoured checks knowing them
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to be without funds upon presentment. On the other hand, the issue in the civil action
for rescission is whether or not the breach in the fulfillment of Advanced Foundations
obligation warranted the rescission of the conditional sale. If, after trial on the merits in
the civil action, Advanced Foundation would be found to have committed material
breach as to warrant the rescission of the contract, such result would not necessarily
mean that Reyes would be absolved of the criminal responsibility for issuing the
dishonored checks because, as the aforementioned elements show, he already
committed the violations upon the dishonor of the checks that he had issued at a time
when the conditional sale was still fully binding upon the parties. His obligation to fund
the checks or to make arrangements for them with the drawee bank should not be tied
up to the future event of extinguishment of the obligation under the contract of sale
through rescission. Indeed, under Batas Pambansa Blg. 22, the mere issuance of a
worthless check was already the offense in itself. Under such circumstances, the
criminal proceedings for the violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 could proceed despite
the pendency of the civil action for rescission of the conditional sale. Accordingly, we
agree with the holding of the CA that the civil action for the rescission of contract was
not determinative of the guilt or innocence of Reyes. (Reyes vs. Rossi, 691 SCRA 57, 67-
68, G.R. No. 159823, February 18, 2013).
The pendency of an administrative case for specific performance brought by the buyer
of residential subdivision lots in the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) to
compel the seller to deliver the transfer certificates of title (TCTs) of the fully paid lots is
properly considered a ground to suspend a criminal prosecution for violation of Section
25 of Presidential Decree No. 957 (The Subdivision and Condominium Buyers Protective
Decree) on the ground of a prejudicial question. The administrative determination is a
logical antecedent of the resolution of the criminal charges based on non-delivery of the
TCTs. xxx Contrary to San Miguel Properties submission that there could be no
prejudicial question to speak of because no civil action where the prejudicial question
arose was pending, the action for specific performance in the HLURB raises a prejudicial
question that sufficed to suspend the proceedings xxx. This is true simply because the
action for specific performance was an action civil in nature but could not be instituted
elsewhere except in the HLURB, whose jurisdiction over the action was exclusive and
original. (San Miguel Properties, Inc. vs. Perez, 705 SCRA 38, 43, 55-56, G.R. No. 166836,
September 4, 2013).
That the action for specific performance was an administrative case pending in the
HLURB, instead of in a court of law, was of no consequence at all [to the issue of
prejudicial question]. xxx The action for specific performance, although civil in nature,
could be brought only in the HLURB. This situation conforms to the doctrine of primary
jurisdiction. (San Miguel Properties, Inc. vs. Perez, 705 SCRA 38, 43, 59, G.R. No. 166836,
September 4, 2013).
Preliminary Investigation
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A preliminary investigation, according to Section 1, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, is an
inquiry or proceeding to determine whether there is sufficient ground to engender a
well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and the respondent is probably
guilty thereof, and should be held for trial. (Callo-Claridad vs. Esteban, 694 SCRA 185,
197-198, G.R. No. 191567, March 20, 2013).
The officer conducting the examination investigates or inquires into facts concerning the
commission of a crime with the end in view of determining whether an information may
be prepared against the accused. (Callo-Claridad vs. Esteban, 694 SCRA 185, 198, G.R.
No. 191567, March 20, 2013).
In Arula vs. Espino, 28 SCRA 540, 592 (1969), the Court rendered the three purposes of
a preliminary investigation, to wit: (1) to inquire concerning the commission of a crime
and the connection of the accused with it, in order that he may be informed of the
nature and character of the crime charged against him, and, if there is probable cause
for believing him guilty, that the State may take the necessary steps to bring him to trial;
(2) to preserve the evidence and keep the witnesses within the control of the State; and
(3) to determine the amount of bail, if the offense is bailable. (Callo-Claridad vs.
Esteban, 694 SCRA 185, 198, G.R. No. 191567, March 20, 2013).
The role and object of preliminary investigation were to secure the innocent against
hasty, malicious, and oppressive prosecutions, and to protect him from open and public
accusation of crime, from the trouble, expenses and anxiety of a public trial, and also to
protect the State from useless and expensive prosecutions. (Callo-Claridad vs. Esteban,
694 SCRA 185, 198, G.R. No. 191567, March 20, 2013).
A presumption of law is material during the actual trial of the criminal case where in the
establishment thereof the party against whom the inference is made should adduce
evidence to rebut the presumption and demolish the prima facie case. This is not so in a
preliminary investigation, where the investigating prosecutor only determines the
existence of a prima facie case that warrants the prosecution of a criminal case in court.
(Metrobank) vs. Tobias III, 664 SCRA 165, 179, G.R. No. 177780, January 25, 2012).
The presumption of authorship [of the forged document on the possessor], being
disputable, may be accepted and acted upon where no evidence upholds the contention
for which it stands. It is not correct to say, consequently, that the investigating
prosecutor will try to determine the existence of the presumption during preliminary
investigation, and then to disregard the evidence offered by the respondent. The fact
that the finding of probable cause during a preliminary investigation is an executive
function does not excuse the investigating prosecutor or the Secretary of Justice from
discharging the duty to weigh the evidence submitted by the parties. Towards that end,
the investigating prosecutor, and, ultimately, the Secretary of Justice have ample
discretion to determine the existence of probable cause, a discretion that must be used
to file only a criminal charge that the evidence and inferences can properly warrant.
(Metrobank) vs. Tobias III, 664 SCRA 165, 179-180, G.R. No. 177780, January 25, 2012).
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Preliminary Investigation; Probable Cause
We stress that a preliminary investigation for the purpose of determining the existence
of probable cause is not part of a trial. At a preliminary investigation, the investigating
prosecutor or the Secretary of Justice only determines whether the act or omission
complained of constitutes the offense charged. (Metrobank) vs. Tobias III, 664 SCRA
165, 177, G.R. No. 177780, January 25, 2012).
Probable cause for purposes of filing a criminal information is defined as such facts as
are sufficient to engender a well-founded belief that a crime has been committed and
that the respondent is probably guilty thereof. A finding of probable cause needs only to
rest on evidence showing that more likely than not a crime has been committed, and
that it was committed by the accused. (Callo-Claridad vs. Esteban, 694 SCRA 185, 199,
G.R. No. 191567, March 20, 2013).
Probable cause, although it requires less than evidence justifying a conviction, demands
more than bare suspicion. (Callo-Claridad vs. Esteban, 694 SCRA 185, 199, G.R. No.
191567, March 20, 2013).
There is no definitive standard by which probable cause is determined except to
consider the attendant conditions; the existence of probable cause depends upon the
finding of the public prosecutor conducting the examination, who is called upon not to
disregard the facts presented, and to ensure that his finding should not run counter to
the clear dictates of reason. (Metrobank) vs. Tobias III, 664 SCRA 165, 178, G.R. No.
177780, January 25, 2012).
A public prosecutor alone determines the sufficiency of evidence that establishes the
probable cause justifying the filing of criminal information against the respondent
because the determination of existence of a probable cause is the function of the public
prosecutor. (Callo-Claridad vs. Esteban, 694 SCRA 185, 199, G.R. No. 191567, March 20,
2013).
Preliminary Investigation; Review
Under the doctrine of separation of powers, the courts have no right to directly decide
matters over which full discretionary authority has been delegated to the Executive
Branch of the Government, or to substitute their own judgments for that of the
Executive Branch, represented in this case by the Department of Justice. (Metropolitan
Bank & Trust Co. (Metrobank) vs. Tobias III, 664 SCRA 165, 176-177, G.R. No. 177780,
January 25, 2012).
The settled policy is that the courts will not interfere with the executive determination
of probable cause for the purpose of filing an information, in the absence of grave abuse
of discretion. That abuse of discretion must be so patent and gross as to amount to an
evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law or to act
at all in contemplation of law, such as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and
despotic manner by reason of passion or hostility. For instance, in Balanganan vs. Court
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of Appeals, Special Nineteenth Division, Cebu City, 562 SCRA 184 (2008), the Court ruled
that the Secretary of Justice exceeded his jurisdiction when he required hard facts and
solid evidence in order to hold the defendant liable for criminal prosecution when such
requirement should have been left to the court after the conduct of a trial.
(Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. (Metrobank) vs. Tobias III, 664 SCRA 165, 177, G.R. No.
177780, January 25, 2012).
The courts could intervene in the Secretary of Justices determination of probable cause
only through a special civil action for certiorari. That happens when the Secretary of
Justice acts in a limited sense like a quasi-judicial officer of the executive department
exercising powers akin to those of a court of law. (Callo-Claridad vs. Esteban, 694 SCRA
185, 197, G.R. No. 191567, March 20, 2013).
Preliminary Investigation; Certification Requirement
The lack of the requisite certifications from the affidavits of most of the other witnesses
was in violation of Section 3, Rule 112 of the Rules of Court, which pertinently provides:
The affidavits shall be subscribed and sworn to before any prosecutor or government
official authorized to administer oath, or, in their absence or unavailability, before a
notary public, each of who must certify that he personally examined the affiants and
that he is satisfied that they voluntarily executed and understood their affidavits.
(Callo-Claridad vs. Esteban, 694 SCRA 185, 202, G.R. No. 191567, March 20, 2013).
Arrest; Without Warrant, When Lawful
The justification that underlies the legitimacy of the buy-bust operation is that the
suspect is arrested in flagrante delicto, that is, the suspect has just committed, or is in
the act of committing, or is attempting to commit the offense in the presence of the
arresting police officer or private person. (People vs. Andaya, 738 SCRA 105, 114, G.R.
No. 183700, October 13, 2014).
Bail; Nature
The right to bail is expressly afforded by Section 13, Article III (Bill of Rights) of the
Constitution, xxx. This constitutional provision is repeated in Section 7, Rule 114 of the
Rules of Court , as follows: Section 7. Capital offense or an offense punishable by
reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, not bailable. No person charged with a
capital offense, or an offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment,
shall be admitted to bail when evidence of guilt is strong, regardless of the stage of the
criminal prosecution. (Ponce Enrile vs. Sandiganbayan (Third Division), G.R. No. 213847,
August 18, 2015).
The decision whether to detain or release an accused before and during trial is
ultimately an incident of the judicial power to hear and determine his criminal case. The
strength of the Prosecution's case, albeit a good measure of the accuseds propensity
for flight or for causing harm to the public, is subsidiary to the primary objective of bail,
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which is to ensure that the accused appears at trial. (Ponce Enrile vs. Sandiganbayan
(Third Division), G.R. No. 213847, August 18, 2015).
It is worthy to note that bail is not granted to prevent the accused from committing
additional crimes. The purpose of bail is to guarantee the appearance of the accused at
the trial, or whenever so required by the trial court. xxx Thus, bail acts as a reconciling
mechanism to accommodate both the accuseds interest in his provisional liberty before
or during the trial, and the societys interest in assuring the accuseds presence at trial.
(Ponce Enrile vs. Sandiganbayan (Third Division), G.R. No. 213847, August 18, 2015).
The amount of bail should be high enough to assure the presence of the accused when
so required, but it should be no higher than is reasonably calculated to fulfill this
purpose. (Ponce Enrile vs. Sandiganbayan (Third Division), G.R. No. 213847, August 18,
2015).
The general rule is xxx that any person, before being convicted of any criminal offense,
shall be bailable, unless he is charged with a capital offense, or with an offense
punishable with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, and the evidence of his guilt is
strong. Hence, from the moment he is placed under arrest, or is detained or restrained
by the officers of the law, he can claim the guarantee of his provisional liberty under the
Bill of Rights, and he retains his right to bail unless he is charged with a capital offense,
or with an offense punishable with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, and the
evidence of his guilt is strong. Once it has been established that the evidence of guilt is
strong, no right to bail shall be recognized. (Ponce Enrile vs. Sandiganbayan (Third
Division), G.R. No. 213847, August 18, 2015).
The Court is further mindful of the Philippines responsibility in the international
community arising from the national commitment under the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights to xxx uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the worth
and dignity of every person. This commitment is enshrined in Section II, Article II of our
Constitution which provides: The State values the dignity of every human person and
guarantees full respect for human rights. xxx [T]he Philippine authorities are under
obligation to make available to every person under detention such remedies which
safeguard their fundamental right to liberty. These remedies include the right to be
admitted to bail. (Ponce Enrile vs. Sandiganbayan (Third Division), G.R. No. 213847,
August 18, 2015 citing Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region vs.
Olalia, Jr., 521 SCRA 470, 482, G.R. No. 153675, April 19, 2007).
This national commitment to uphold the fundamental human rights as well as value the
worth and dignity of every person has authorized the grant of bail not only to those
charged in criminal proceedings but also to extraditees upon a clear and convincing
showing: (1) that the detainee will not be a flight risk or a danger to the community; and
(2) that there exist special, humanitarian and compelling circumstances. (Ponce Enrile
vs. Sandiganbayan (Third Division), G.R. No. 213847, August 18, 2015).
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The currently fragile state of [petitioners] health presents another compelling
justification for his admission to bail xxx. In his testimony in the Sandiganbayan, Dr. Jose
C. Gonzales, the Director of the Philippine General Hospital, classified Enrile as a
geriatric patient who was found during the medical examinations conducted at the UP-
PGH to be suffering from [several] conditions xxx. Based on foregoing, there is no
question at all that Enriles advanced age and ill health required special medical
attention. xxx. Bail for the provisional liberty of the accused, regardless of the crime
charged, should be allowed independently of the merits of the charge, provided his
continued incarceration is clearly shown to be injurious to his health or to endanger his
life. Indeed, denying him bail despite imperiling his health and life would not serve the
true objective of preventive incarceration during the trial. (Ponce Enrile vs.
Sandiganbayan (Third Division), G.R. No. 213847, August 18, 2015).
It is relevant to observe that granting provisional liberty to [petitioner] will then enable
him to have his medical condition be properly addressed and better attended to by
competent physicians in the hospitals of his choice. This will not only aid in his adequate
preparation of his defense but, more importantly, will guarantee his appearance in court
for the trial. On the other hand, to mark time in order to wait for the trial to finish
before a meaningful consideration of the application for bail can be had is to defeat the
objective of bail, which is to entitle the accused to provisional liberty pending the trial.
(Ponce Enrile vs. Sandiganbayan (Third Division), G.R. No. 213847, August 18, 2015).
Granting bail to Enrile on the foregoing reasons is not unprecedented. The Court has
already held in Dela Rama vs. The Peoples Court, 77 Phil. 461 (1946), in which the
pending criminal case against therein petitioner was for treason: xxx [U]nless
allowance of bail is forbidden by law in the particular case, the illness of the prisoner,
independently of the merits of the case, is a circumstance, and the humanity of the law
makes it a consideration which should, regardless of the charge and the stage of the
proceeding, influence the court to exercise its discretion to admit the prisoner to bail;
Considering xxx the well-established doctrine cited in our above-quoted resolution, in
several cases, among them, the cases against Pio Duran xxx and Benigno Aquino xxx, in
which the said defendants were released on bail on the ground that they were ill and
their continued confinement in New Bilibid Prison would be injurious to their health or
endanger their life, it is evident xxx that the Peoples Court acted with grave abuse of
discretion in refusing to release the petitioner [Dela Rama] on bail. (Ponce Enrile vs.
Sandiganbayan (Third Division), G.R. No. 213847, August 18, 2015).
Bail; When A Matter of Right
All criminal cases within the competence of the Metropolitan Trial Court, Municipal Trial
Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, or Municipal Circuit Trial Court are bailable as
matter of right because these courts have no jurisdiction to try capital offenses, or
offenses punishable with reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment. Likewise, bail is a
matter of right prior to conviction by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) for any offense not
punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment, or even prior to
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conviction for an offense punishable by death, reclusion perpetua, or life imprisonment
when evidence of guilt is not strong. (Ponce Enrile vs. Sandiganbayan (Third Division),
G.R. No. 213847, August 18, 2015).
Bail; When A Matter of Discretion
On the other hand, the granting of bail is discretionary: (1) upon conviction by the RTC
of an offense not punishable by death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment; or (2) if
the RTC has imposed a penalty of imprisonment exceeding six years, provided none of
the circumstances enumerated under paragraph 3 of Section 5, Rule 114 is present, as
follows: (a) That he is a recidivist, quasi-recidivist, or habitual delinquent, or has
committed the crime aggravated by the circumstance of reiteration; (b) That he has
previously escaped from legal confinement, evaded sentence, or violated the conditions
of his bail without valid justification; (c) That he committed the offense while under
probation, parole, or conditional pardon; (d) That the circumstances of his case indicate
the probability of flight if released on bail; or (e) That there is undue risk that he may
commit another crime during the pendency of the appeal. (Ponce Enrile vs.
Sandiganbayan (Third Division), G.R. No. 213847, August 18, 2015).
Bail; Hearing of Application
For purposes of admission to bail, the determination of whether or not evidence of guilt
is strong in criminal cases involving capital offenses, or offenses punishable with
reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment lies within the discretion of the trial court. But,
as the Court has held in Concerned Citizens vs. Elma, 241 SCRA 84, 88 (1995) such
discretion may be exercised only after the hearing called to ascertain the degree of guilt
of the accused for the purpose of whether or not he should be granted provisional
liberty. It is axiomatic, therefore, that bail cannot be allowed when its grant is a matter
of discretion on the part of the trial court unless there has been a hearing with notice to
the Prosecution. (Ponce Enrile vs. Sandiganbayan (Third Division), G.R. No. 213847,
August 18, 2015).
The indispensability of the hearing with notice has been aptly explained in Aguirre vs.
Belmonte, 237 SCRA 778 (1994), viz.: xxx This Court already ruled in People vs. Dacudao
xxx that a hearing is mandatory before bail can be granted to an accused who is charged
with a capital offense, in this wise: Whether or not the evidence of guilt is strong for
each individual accused still has to be established unless the prosecution submits the
issue on whatever it has already presented. To appreciate the strength or weakness of
the evidence of guilt, the prosecution must be consulted or heard. It is equally entitled
as the accused to due process. xxx. Certain guidelines in the fixing of a bailbond call for
the presentation of evidence and reasonable opportunity for the prosecution to refute
it. Among them are the nature and circumstances of the crime, character and reputation
of the accused, the weight of the evidence against him, the probability of the accused
appearing at the trial, whether or not the accused is a fugitive from justice, and whether
or not the accused is under bond in other cases. ([now, Section 9], Rule 114, Rules of
Court). It is highly doubtful if the trial court can appreciate these guidelines in an ex-
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parte determination where the Fiscal is neither present nor heard. (Ponce Enrile vs.
Sandiganbayan (Third Division), G.R. No. 213847, August 18, 2015).
The hearing, which may be either summary or otherwise, in the discretion of the court,
should primarily determine whether or not the evidence of guilt against the accused is
strong. (Ponce Enrile vs. Sandiganbayan (Third Division), G.R. No. 213847, August 18,
2015).
For this purpose, a summary hearing means: xxx such brief and speedy method of
receiving and considering the evidence of guilt as is practicable and consistent with the
purpose of hearing which is merely to determine the weight of evidence for purposes of
bail. On such hearing, the court does not sit to try the merits or to enter into any nice
inquiry as to the weight that ought to be allowed to the evidence for or against the
accused, nor will it speculate on the outcome of the trial or on what further evidence
may be therein offered or admitted. The course of inquiry may be left to the discretion
of the court which may confine itself to receiving such evidence as has reference to
substantial matters, avoiding unnecessary thoroughness in the examination and cross
examination. (Ponce Enrile vs. Sandiganbayan (Third Division), G.R. No. 213847, August
18, 2015 citing Cortes vs. Catral, 279 SCRA 1, 11, A.M. No. RTJ-97-1387, September 10,
1997).
In resolving bail applications of the accused who is charged with a capital offense, or an
offense punishable by reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment, the trial judge is
expected to comply with the guidelines outlined in Cortes vs. Catral, 279 SCRA 1 (1997),
to wit: (1) In all cases, whether bail is a matter of right or of discretion, notify the
prosecutor of the hearing of the application for bail or require him to submit his
recommendation (Section 18, Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, as amended); (2) Where
bail is a matter of discretion, conduct a hearing of the application for bail regardless of
whether or not the prosecution refuses to present evidence to show that the guilt of the
accused is strong for the purpose of enabling the court to exercise its sound discretion;
(Section 7 and 8, supra); (3) Decide whether the guilt of the accused is strong based on
the summary of evidence of the prosecution; (4) If the guilt of the accused is not strong,
discharge the accused upon the approval of the bailbond (Section 19, supra). Otherwise,
petition should be denied. (Ponce Enrile vs. Sandiganbayan (Third Division), G.R. No.
213847, August 18, 2015).
Motion to Quash; Grounds
The fundamental test in determining whether a motion to quash may be sustained
based on [the] ground [that the complaint or information charges no offense] is
whether the facts alleged, if hypothetically admitted, will establish the essential
elements of the offense as defined in the law. Extrinsic matters or evidence aliunde are
not considered. The test does not require absolute certainty as to the presence of the
elements of the offense; otherwise, there would no longer be any need for the
Prosecution to proceed to trial. (Disini vs. Sandiganbayan, 705 SCRA 459, 486, G.R. Nos.
169823-24, September 11, 2013).
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The Court should no longer entertain the petitioners challenge against the sufficiency of
the information in form and substance. Her last chance to pose the challenge was prior
to the time she pleaded to the information through a motion to quash on the ground
that the information did not conform substantially to the prescribed form, or did not
charge an offense. She did not do so, resulting in her waiver of the challenge. (Rosaldes
vs. People, 737 SCRA 592, 604-605, G.R. No. 173988, October 8, 2014).
State Witnesses
The two modes by which a participant in the commission of a crime may become a state
witness are, namely: (a) by discharge from the criminal case pursuant to Section 17 of
Rule 119 of the Rules of Court; and (b) by the approval of his application for admission
into the Witness Protection Program of the DOJ in accordance with Republic Act No.
6981 (The Witness Protection, Security and Benefit Act). These modes are intended to
encourage a person who has witnessed a crime or who has knowledge of its commission
to come forward and testify in court or quasi-judicial body, or before an investigating
authority, by protecting him from reprisals, and shielding him from economic
dislocation. These modes, while seemingly alike, are distinct and separate from each
other. (Ampatuan, Jr. vs. De Lima, 695 SCRA 159, 170, G.R. No. 197291, April 3, 2013).
A participant in the commission of the crime, to be discharged to become a state
witness pursuant to Rule 119, must be one charged as an accused in the criminal case.
The discharge operates as an acquittal of the discharged accused and shall be a bar to
his future prosecution for the same offense, unless he fails or refuses to testify against
his co-accused in accordance with his sworn statement constituting the basis for his
discharge. The discharge is expressly left to the sound discretion of the trial court,
which has the exclusive responsibility to see to it that the conditions prescribed by the
rules for that purpose exist. (Ampatuan, Jr. vs. De Lima, 695 SCRA 159, 172, G.R. No.
197291, April 3, 2013).
On the other hand, there is no requirement under Republic Act No. 6981 for the
Prosecution to first charge a person in court as one of the accused in order for him to
qualify for admission into the Witness Protection Program. The admission as a state
witness under Republic Act No. 6981 also operates as an acquittal, and said witness
cannot subsequently be included in the criminal information except when he fails or
refuses to testify. The immunity for the state witness is granted by the DOJ, not by the
trial court. Should such witness be meanwhile charged in court as an accused, the public
prosecutor, upon presentation to him of the certification of admission into the Witness
Protection Program, shall petition the trial court for the discharge of the witness.11 The
Court shall then order the discharge and exclusion of said accused from the information.
(Ampatuan, Jr. vs. De Lima, 695 SCRA 159, 173, G.R. No. 197291, April 3, 2013).
Appeal; Effect of Appeal By Any of the Several Accused


11 Section 12, Republic Act No. 6981.
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On his part, Edwin [co-accused] cannot be barred from seeking the application to him of
the downgrading of the crimes committed (and the resultant lighter penalties) despite
the finality of his convictions for three counts of murder due to his withdrawal of his
appeal. xxx We grant Edwins plea based on Section 11(a), Rule 122 of the Rules of
Court, which relevantly provides: Section 11. Effect of appeal by any of several
accused.(a) An appeal taken by one or more of several accused shall not affect those
who did not appeal, except insofar as the judgment of the appellate court is favorable
and applicable to the latter. xxx. (People vs. Valdez, 690 SCRA 563, 571-572, G.R. No.
175602, February 13, 2013).
In People vs. Artellero, the Court extended the acquittal of Rodriguezs co-accused to
him despite the withdrawal of his appeal, applying the Rule 122, Section 11(a), and
considering that the evidence against both are inextricably linked, to wit: Although it is
only appellant who persisted with the present appeal, the well-established rule is that
an appeal in a criminal proceeding throws the whole case open for review of all its
aspects, including those not raised by the parties. The records show that Rodriguez had
withdrawn his appeal due to financial reasons. xxx As we have elucidated, the evidence
against and the conviction of both appellant and Rodriguez are inextricably linked.
Hence, appellants acquittal, which is favorable and applicable to Rodriguez, should
benefit the latter. (People vs. Valdez, 690 SCRA 563, 572, G.R. No. 175602, February 13,
2013 citing Lim vs. Court of Appeals, 491 SCRA 385, G.R. No. 147524, June 20, 2006).
In this connection, the Court has pronounced in Lim vs. Court of Appeals, 491 SCRA 385
(2006) that the benefits of this provision [Section 11(a), Rule 122 of the Rules of Court]
extended to all the accused, regardless of whether they appealed or not, to wit: xxx
Private respondent however, contends that said provision is not applicable to petitioner
inasmuch as he appealed from his conviction, and the provision states that a favorable
judgment shall be applicable only to those who did not appeal. A literal interpretation of
the phrase did not appeal, as espoused by private respondent, will not give justice to
the purpose of the provision. It should be read in its entirety and should not be
myopically construed so as to defeat its reason, i.e., to benefit an accused who did not
join in the appeal of his co-accused in case where the appellate judgment is favorable. In
fact, several cases rendered by the Court applied the foregoing provision without regard
as to the filing or non-filing of an appeal by a co-accused, so long as the judgment was
favorable to him. (People vs. Valdez, 690 SCRA 563, 572, G.R. No. 175602, February 13,
2013).
Search and Seizure
The constitutional guaranty against unlawful searches and seizures is intended as a
restraint against the Government and its agents tasked with law enforcement. (Sesbreo
vs. Court of Appeals, 720 SCRA 57, 68, G.R. No. 160689, March 26, 2014).
[The right against unlawful search and seizure] is to be invoked only to ensure freedom
from arbitrary and unreasonable exercise of State power. The Court has made this clear
in its pronouncements, including that made in People vs. Marti, 193 SCRA 57 (1991), viz.:
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xxx, if the search is made at the behest or initiative of the proprietor of a private
establishment for its own and private purposes, as in the case at bar, and without the
intervention of police authorities, the right against unreasonable search and seizure
cannot be invoked for only the act of private individual, not the law enforcers, is
involved. In sum, the protection against unreasonable searches and seizures cannot be
extended to acts committed by private individuals so as to bring it within the ambit of
alleged unlawful intrusion by the government. (Sesbreo vs. Court of Appeals, 720 SCRA
57, 68, G.R. No. 160689, March 26, 2014)

EVIDENCE

Admissibility of Evidence
In the trial of every criminal case, a judge must rigidly test the States evidence of guilt in
order to ensure that such evidence adheres to the basic rules of admissibility before
pronouncing an accused guilty of the crime charged upon such evidence. Nothing less is
demanded of the judge; otherwise, the guarantee of due process of law is nullified. The
accused need not adduce anything to rebut evidence that is discredited for failing the
test. Acquittal should then follow. (Patula vs. People, 669 SCRA 135, 138, G.R. No.
164457, April 11, 2012).
Direct and Circumstantial Evidence
Direct evidence proves a fact in issue directly without any reasoning or inferences being
drawn on the part of the factfinder; in contrast, circumstantial evidence indirectly
proves a fact in issue, such that the factfinder must draw an inference or reason from
circumstantial evidence. (People vs. Villaflores, 669 SCRA 365, 384, G.R. No. 184926,
April 11, 2012).
Circumstantial evidence, also known as indirect or presumptive evidence, consists of
proof of collateral facts and circumstances from which the existence of the main fact
may be inferred according to reason and common experience. (People vs. Nuyok, G.R.
No. 195424, June 15, 2015).
Circumstantial evidence is admissible as proof to establish both the commission of a
crime and the identity of the culprit. (People vs. Villaflores, 669 SCRA 365, 368, G.R. No.
184926, April 11, 2012).
The Rules of Court makes no distinction between direct evidence of a fact and evidence
of circumstances from which the existence of a fact may be inferred; hence, no greater
degree of certainty is required when the evidence is circumstantial than when it is
direct. (People vs. Villaflores, 669 SCRA 365, 384, G.R. No. 184926, April 11, 2012).
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The standard postulated by this Court in the appreciation of circumstantial evidence is
well set out in the following passage from People vs. Ludday, 61 Phil. 216 (1935): No
general rule can be laid down as to the quantity of circumstantial evidence which in any
case will suffice. xxx. (People vs. Villaflores, 669 SCRA 365, 385, G.R. No. 184926, April
11, 2012 citing People vs. Modesto, 25 SCRA 36, 41, No. L-25484, September 21, 1986).
[The identification of the accused as the person responsible for the imputed crime], to
be positive, need not always be by direct evidence from an eyewitness, for reliable
circumstantial evidence can equally confirm it as to overcome the constitutionally
presumed innocence of the accused. (People vs. Villarico, Sr., G.R. No. 158362, April 4,
2011).
Relevantly, the Court has distinguished two types of positive identification in People v.
Gallarde, 325 SCRA 835 (2000), namely: (a) that by direct evidence, through an
eyewitness to the very commission of the act; and (b) that by circumstantial evidence,
such as where the accused is last seen with the victim immediately before or after the
crime. (People vs. Villarico, Sr., G.R. No. 158362, April 4, 2011).
Burden of Proof and Burden of Evidence
Burden of proof is a term that refers to two separate and quite different concepts,
namely: (a) the risk of non-persuasion, or the burden of persuasion, or simply
persuasion burden; and (b) the duty of producing evidence, or the burden of going
forward with the evidence, or simply the production burden or the burden of evidence.
In its first concept, it is the duty to establish the truth of a given proposition or issue by
such a quantum of evidence as the law demands in the case at which the issue arises. In
its other concept, it is the duty of producing evidence at the beginning or at any
subsequent stage of trial in order to make or meet a prima facie case. (Far East Bank &
Trust Company vs. Chante, 707 SCRA 149, 161-162, G.R. No. 170598, October 9, 2013).
Generally speaking, burden of proof in its second concept [as burden of evidence]
passes from party to party as the case progresses, while in its first concept [as burden of
persuasion] it rests throughout upon the party asserting the affirmative of the issue.
(Far East Bank & Trust Company vs. Chante, 707 SCRA 149, 162, G.R. No. 170598,
October 9, 2013).
The party who alleges an affirmative fact has the burden of proving it because mere
allegation of the fact is not evidence of it. Verily, the party who asserts, not he who
denies, must prove. (Far East Bank & Trust Company vs. Chante, 707 SCRA 149, 162, G.R.
No. 170598, October 9, 2013).
In civil cases, the burden of proof is on the party who would be defeated if no evidence
is given on either side. This is because our system frees the trier of facts from the
responsibility of investigating and presenting the facts and arguments, placing that
responsibility entirely upon the respective parties. The burden of proof, which may
either be on the plaintiff or the defendant, is on the plaintiff if the defendant denies the
factual allegations of the complaint in the manner required by the Rules of Court; or on
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the defendant if he admits expressly or impliedly the essential allegations but raises an
affirmative defense or defenses, that, if proved, would exculpate him from liability. (Far
East Bank & Trust Company vs. Chante, 707 SCRA 149, 162-163, G.R. No. 170598,
October 9, 2013).
In every criminal prosecution, it is the State, and no other, that bears the burden of
proving the illegal sale of the dangerous drug beyond reasonable doubt. This
responsibility imposed on the State accords with the presumption of innocence in favor
of the accused, who has no duty to prove his innocence until and unless the
presumption of innocence in his favor has been overcome by sufficient and competent
evidence. (People vs. Andaya, 738 SCRA 105, 114-115, G.R. No. 183700, October 13,
2014).
In administrative proceedings, the burden of substantiating the charges falls on the
complainant who must prove her allegations in the complaint by substantial evidence.
(Re: Letter Complaint of Merlita B. Fabiana Against Presiding Justice Andres B. Reyes, Jr.,
et al., 700 SCRA 348, 358, A.M. No. CA-13-51-J, July 2, 2013).
Presumptions
A presumption affects the burden of proof [in a criminal suit] that is normally lodged in
the State. The effect is to create the need of presenting evidence to overcome the
prima facie case that shall prevail in the absence of proof to the contrary. As such, a
presumption of law is material during the actual trial of the criminal case where in the
establishment thereof the party against whom the inference is made should adduce
evidence to rebut the presumption and demolish the prima facie case. (Metrobank) vs.
Tobias III, 664 SCRA 165, 179, G.R. No. 177780, January 25, 2012).
The justification that underlies the legitimacy of the buy-bust operation is that the
suspect is arrested in flagrante delicto, xxx. The arresting police officer or private person
is favored in such instance with the presumption of regularity in the performance of
official duty. (People vs. Andaya, 738 SCRA 105, 114, G.R. No. 183700, October 13,
2014).
We have usually presumed the regularity of performance of their official duties in favor
of the members of buy-bust teams enforcing our laws against the illegal sale of
dangerous drugs. (People vs. Mendoza, 727 SCRA 113, 133, G.R. No. 192432, June 23,
2014).
Such presumption is based on three fundamental reasons, namely: first, innocence, and
not wrongdoing, is to be presumed; second, an official oath will not be violated; and,
third, a republican form of government cannot survive long unless a limit is placed upon
controversies and certain trust and confidence reposed in each governmental
department or agent by every other such department or agent, at least to the extent of
such presumption. (People vs. Mendoza, 727 SCRA 113, 134, G.R. No. 192432, June 23,
2014).
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The presumption of regularity of performance of official duty stands only when no
reason exists in the records by which to doubt the regularity of the performance of
official duty. (People vs. Mendoza, 727 SCRA 113, 134, G.R. No. 192432, June 23, 2014).
The presumption [of regularity of performance of official duty] is rebuttable by
affirmative evidence of irregularity or of any failure to perform a duty. Judicial reliance
on the presumption despite any hint of irregularity in the procedures undertaken by the
agents of the law will thus be fundamentally unsound because such hint is itself
affirmative proof of irregularity. (People vs. Mendoza, 727 SCRA 113, 134, G.R. No.
192432, June 23, 2014).
Nor should we shirk from our responsibility of protecting the liberties of our citizenry
just because the lawmen are shielded by the presumption of the regularity of their
performance of duty. The presumed regularity is nothing but a purely evidentiary tool
intended to avoid the impossible and time-consuming task of establishing every detail of
the performance by officials and functionaries of the Government. Conversion by no
means defeat the much stronger and much firmer presumption of innocence in favor of
every person whose life, property and liberty comes under the risk of forfeiture on the
strength of a false accusation of committing some crime. (People vs. Andaya, 738 SCRA
105, 118-119, G.R. No. 183700, October 13, 2014).
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall be presumed innocent until the contrary is
proved. The presumption of innocence is rooted in the guarantee of due process, and is
safeguarded by the constitutional right to be released on bail, and further binds the
court to wait until after trial to impose any punishment on the accused. (Ponce Enrile vs.
Sandiganbayan (Third Division), G.R. No. 213847, August 18, 2015).
We have to point out that entries made in the course of business enjoy the presumption
of regularity. If properly authenticated, the entries serve as evidence of the status of
the account of the petitioners. In Land Bank vs. Monets Export and Manufacturing
Corporation, 618 SCRA 451, 458-459 (2010), the Court has explained that such entries
are accorded unusual reliability because their regularity and continuity are calculated to
discipline record keepers in the habit of precision; and that if the entries are financial,
the records are routinely balanced and audited; hence, in actual experience, the whole
of the business world function in reliance of such kind of records. (Dela Cruz vs. Planters
Products, Inc., 691 SCRA 28, 51, G.R. No. 158649, February 18, 2013).
The presumption that whoever possesses or uses a spurious document is its forger
applies only in the absence of a satisfactory explanation. Accordingly, we cannot hold
that the Secretary of Justice erred in dismissing the information in the face of the
controverting explanation by Tobias showing how he came to possess the spurious
document. Much less can we consider the dismissal as done with abuse of discretion,
least of all grave. We concur with the erudite exposition of the CA on the matter, to wit:
xxx We are not unaware of the established presumption and rule that when it is proved
that a person has in his possession a falsified document and makes use of the same the
presumption or inference is that such person is the forger xxx. Yet, the Supreme Court
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declared that in the absence of satisfactory explanation, one who is found in possession
of a forged document and who used it is presumed to be the forger xxx. Very clearly
then, a satisfactory explanation could render ineffective the presumption which, after
all, is merely a disputable one. (Metrobank) vs. Tobias III, 664 SCRA 165, 180-181, G.R.
No. 177780, January 25, 2012).
Quantum of Evidence (Weight and Sufficiency); Proof
Beyond Reasonable Doubt
In all criminal prosecutions, the Prosecution bears the burden to establish the guilt of
the accused beyond reasonable doubt. In discharging this burden, the Prosecutions
duty is to prove each and every element of the crime charged in the information to
warrant a finding of guilt for that crime or for any other crime necessarily included
therein. (Patula vs. People, 669 SCRA 135, 138, G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
The identity of the dangerous drugs should be established beyond doubt by showing
that the dangerous drugs offered in court were the same substances bought during the
buy-bust operation. (People vs. Mendoza, 727 SCRA 113, 123, G.R. No. 192432, June 23,
2014).
Proof of the commission of the crime need not always be by direct evidence, for
circumstantial evidence could also sufficiently and competently establish the crime
beyond reasonable doubt. (People vs. Belgar, 734 SCRA 347, 358, G.R. No. 182794,
September 8, 2014).
For circumstantial evidence to be sufficient to support a conviction, all the
circumstances must be consistent with one another and must constitute an unbroken
chain leading to one fair and reasonable conclusion that a crime has been committed
and that the respondents are probably guilty thereof. (Callo-Claridad vs. Esteban, 694
SCRA 185, 201, G.R. No. 191567, March 20, 2013).
All the circumstances must be consistent with each other, consistent with the
hypothesis that the accused is guilty and at the same time inconsistent with the
hypothesis that he is innocent, and with every other rational hypothesis except that of
guilt. In other words, a judgment of conviction based on circumstantial evidence can be
sustained when the circumstances proved form an unbroken chain that results in a fair
and reasonable conclusion pointing to the accused, to the exclusion of all others, as the
perpetrator. (People vs. Nuyok, G.R. No. 195424, June 15, 2015).
Circumstantial evidence is sufficient [for conviction], xxx, if: (a) there is more than one
circumstance, (b) the facts from which the inferences are derived have been proven,
and (c) the combination of all the circumstances is such as to produce a conviction
beyond reasonable doubt.12 (Callo-Claridad vs. Esteban, 694 SCRA 185, 201, G.R. No.
191567, March 20, 2013).


12 Section 4, Rule 133, Rules of Court.
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[For circumstantial evidence to reliably establish the crime beyond reasonable doubt]
what [is] essential [is] that the unbroken chain of the established circumstances led to
no other logical conclusion except the appellants guilt. (People vs. Lupac, 681 SCRA 390,
400, G.R. No. 182230, September 19, 2012).

The Rules of Court makes no distinction between direct evidence of a fact and evidence
of circumstances from which the existence of a fact may be inferred; hence, no greater
degree of certainty is required when the evidence is circumstantial than when it is
direct. In either case, the trier of fact must be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of
the guilt of the accused. (People vs. Villaflores, 669 SCRA 365, 384, G.R. No. 184926,
April 11, 2012).
Nor has the quantity of circumstances sufficient to convict an accused been fixed as to
be reduced into some definite standard to be followed in every instance. Thus, the
Court said in People vs. Modesto, 25 SCRA 36, 41 (1968): The standard postulated by
this Court in the appreciation of circumstantial evidence is well set out in the following
passage from People vs. Ludday, 61 Phil. 216 (1935): No general rule can be laid down
as to the quantity of circumstantial evidence which in any case will suffice. xxx. (People
vs. Villaflores, 669 SCRA 365, 384-385, G.R. No. 184926, April 11, 2012).
Quantum of Evidence (Weight and Sufficiency);
Preponderance of Evidence
Section 1, Rule 133 of the Rules of Court sets the quantum of evidence for civil actions,
and delineates how preponderance of evidence is determined, viz.: Section 1. In civil
cases, the party having the burden of proof must establish his case by a preponderance
of evidence. In determining where the preponderance or superior weight of evidence on
the issues involved lies, the court may consider all the facts and circumstances of the
case, the witnesses manner of testifying, their intelligence, their means and
opportunity of knowing the facts to which they are testifying, the nature of the facts to
which they testify, the probability or improbability of their testimony, their interest or
want of interest, and also their personal credibility so far as the same may legitimately
appear upon the trial. xxx. (Far East Bank & Trust Company vs. Chante, 707 SCRA 149,
163, G.R. No. 170598, October 9, 2013).
By preponderance of evidence is meant that the evidence adduced by one side is, as a
whole, superior to that of the other side. Essentially, preponderance of evidence refers
to the comparative weight of the evidence presented by the opposing parties. As such, it
has been defined as the weight, credit, and value of the aggregate evidence on either
side, and is usually considered to be synonymous with the term greater weight of the
evidence or greater weight of the credible evidence. It is proof that is more convincing
to the court as worthy of belief than that which is offered in opposition thereto.
(Republic vs. Reyes-Bakunawa, 704 SCRA 163, 177-178, G.R. No. 180418, August 28,
2013).
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As [Section 1, Rule 133] indicates, preponderant evidence refers to evidence that is of
greater weight, or more convincing, than the evidence offered in opposition to it. It is
proof that leads the trier of facts to find that the existence of the contested fact is more
probable than its nonexistence. (Far East Bank & Trust Company vs. Chante, 707 SCRA
149, 163, G.R. No. 170598, October 9, 2013).
Under the rule on preponderance of evidence, the court is instructed to find for and to
dismiss the case against the defendant should the scales hang in equipoise and there is
nothing in the evidence that tilts the scales to one or the other side. The plaintiff who
had the burden of proof has failed to establish its case, and the parties are no better off
than before they proceeded upon their litigation. In that situation, the court should
leave the parties as they are. (Republic vs. Reyes-Bakunawa, 704 SCRA 163, 178, G.R. No.
180418, August 28, 2013).
Although the evidence of the plaintiff may be stronger than that of the defendant, there
is no preponderance of evidence on the plaintiffs side if its evidence alone is insufficient
to establish its cause of action. (Republic vs. Reyes-Bakunawa, 704 SCRA 163, 178-179,
G.R. No. 180418, August 28, 2013).
Similarly, when only one side is able to present its evidence, and the other side demurs
to the evidence, a preponderance of evidence can result only if the plaintiffs evidence is
sufficient to establish the cause of action. For this purpose, the sheer volume of the
evidence presented by one party cannot tip the scales in its favor. Quality, not quantity,
is the primordial consideration in evaluating evidence. (Republic vs. Reyes-Bakunawa,
704 SCRA 163, 179, G.R. No. 180418, August 28, 2013).
The Republic correctly submits that only a preponderance of evidence was needed to
prove its demand for reconveyance or recovery of ill-gotten wealth. That is quite clear
from Section 1 of E.O. No. 14-A, which provides: Section 1. Section 3 of Executive
Order No. 14 dated May 7, 1986 is hereby amended to read as follows: Sec. 3. The
civil suits to recover unlawfully acquired property under Republic Act No. 1379 or for
restitution, reparation of damages, or indemnification for consequential and other
damages or any other civil actions under the Civil Code or other existing laws filed with
the Sandiganbayan xxx may proceed independently of any criminal proceedings and
may be proved by a preponderance of evidence. (Republic vs. Reyes-Bakunawa, 704
SCRA 163, 177, G.R. No. 180418, August 28, 2013).
Quantum of Evidence (Weight and Sufficiency); Clear and
Convincing Evidence
Alibi, to prosper, must be substantiated with clear and convincing evidence. [Accused]
must demonstrate not only that he was somewhere else when the crime occurred, but
also that it was physically impossible for him to be at the crime scene when the crime
was committed. (People vs. Belgar, 734 SCRA 347, 358, G.R. No. 182794, September 8,
2014).
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Documentary Evidence
The nature of documents as either public or private determines how the documents
may be presented as evidence in court. (Patula vs. People, 669 SCRA 135, 156, G.R. No.
164457, April 11, 2012).
A public document, by virtue of its official or sovereign character, or because it has been
acknowledged before a notary public (except a notarial will) or a competent public
official with the formalities required by law, or because it is a public record of a private
writing authorized by law, is self-authenticating and requires no further authentication
in order to be presented as evidence in court. (Patula vs. People, 669 SCRA 135, 156,
G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
A private document is any other writing, deed, or instrument executed by a private
person without the intervention of a notary or other person legally authorized by which
some disposition or agreement is proved or set forth. (Patula vs. People, 669 SCRA 135,
156, G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
Lacking the official or sovereign character of a public document, or the solemnities
prescribed by law, a private document requires authentication in the manner allowed by
law or the Rules of Court before its acceptance as evidence in court. (Patula vs. People,
669 SCRA 135, 156, G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
Exhibit V (the statement of account) being a private document, authentication pursuant
to the rules on evidence was a condition for its admissibility. [Witness] Llanera,
admittedly the person who had prepared the document, was competent to testify on
the due execution and authenticity of Exhibit V. Such authentication was done in
accordance with Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, whose Section 20 states: Section 20.
Proof of private document.Before any private document offered as authentic is
received in evidence, its due execution and authenticity must be proved either: (a) By
anyone who saw the document executed or written; or (b) By evidence of the
genuineness of the signature or handwriting of the maker. Any other private document
need only be identified as that which it is claimed to be. (Dela Cruz vs. Planters
Products, Inc., 691 SCRA 28, 50, G.R. No. 158649, February 18, 2013).
The requirement of authentication of a private document is excused only in four
instances, specifically: (a) when the document is an ancient one within the context of
Section 21, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court; (b) when the genuineness and authenticity of
an actionable document have not been specifically denied under oath by the adverse
party; (c) when the genuineness and authenticity of the document have been admitted;
or (d) when the document is not being offered as genuine. (Patula vs. People, 669 SCRA
135, 156-157, G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
The mystery shrouding the RTCs soft treatment of the Prosecutions flawed
presentation was avoidable simply by the RTC adhering to the instructions of [Section
20, Rule 132], as well as with Section 22 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, which
contains instructions on how to prove the genuineness of a handwriting in a judicial
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proceeding, as follows: Section 22. How genuineness of handwriting proved.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 been charged, and has thus
acquired knowledge of the handwriting of such person. Evidence respecting the
handwriting may also be given by a comparison, made by the witness or the court, with
writings admitted or treated as genuine by the party against whom the evidence is of-
fered, or proved to be genuine to the satisfaction of the judge. (Patula vs. People, 669
SCRA 135, 167, G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
Documentary Evidence; Best Evidence Rule
The Best Evidence Rule stipulates that in proving the terms of a written document the
original of the document must be produced in court. (Heirs of Prodon vs. Heirs of Alvarez
and Clave, 704 SCRA 465, 477, G.R. No. 170604, September 2, 2013).
The [Best Evidence Rule] excludes any evidence other than the original writing to prove
the contents thereof, unless the offeror proves: (a) the existence or due execution of
the original; (b) the loss and destruction of the original, or the reason for its non-
production in court; and (c) the absence of bad faith on the part of the offeror to which
the unavailability of the original can be attributed. (Heirs of Prodon vs. Heirs of Alvarez
and Clave, 704 SCRA 465, 477-478, G.R. No. 170604, September 2, 2013).
The primary purpose of the Best Evidence Rule is to ensure that the exact contents of a
writing are brought before the court, considering that (a) the precision in presenting to
the court the exact words of the writing is of more than average importance,
particularly as respects operative or dispositive instruments, such as deeds, wills and
contracts, because a slight variation in words may mean a great difference in rights; (b)
there is a substantial hazard of inaccuracy in the human process of making a copy by
handwriting or typewriting; and (c) as respects oral testimony purporting to give from
memory the terms of a writing, there is a special risk of error, greater than in the case of
attempts at describing other situations generally. (Heirs of Prodon vs. Heirs of Alvarez
and Clave, 704 SCRA 465, 478, G.R. No. 170604, September 2, 2013).
The [Best Evidence Rule] further acts as an insurance against fraud. (Heirs of Prodon vs.
Heirs of Alvarez and Clave, 704 SCRA 465, 478, G.R. No. 170604, September 2, 2013).
Lastly, the [Best Evidence Rule] protects against misleading inferences resulting from
the intentional or unintentional introduction of selected portions of a larger set of
writings. (Heirs of Prodon vs. Heirs of Alvarez and Clave, 704 SCRA 465, 478, G.R. No.
170604, September 2, 2013).
Verily, if a party is in the possession of the best evidence and withholds it, and seeks to
substitute inferior evidence in its place, the presumption naturally arises that the better
evidence is withheld for fraudulent purposes that its production would expose and
defeat. (Heirs of Prodon vs. Heirs of Alvarez and Clave, 704 SCRA 465, 478, G.R. No.
170604, September 2, 2013).
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But the evils of mistransmission of critical facts, fraud, and misleading inferences arise
only when the issue relates to the terms of the writing. Hence, the Best Evidence Rule
applies only when the terms of a writing are in issue. When the evidence sought to be
introduced concerns external facts, such as the existence, execution or delivery of the
writing, without reference to its terms, the Best Evidence Rule cannot be invoked. In
such a case, secondary evidence may be admitted even without accounting for the
original. (Heirs of Prodon vs. Heirs of Alvarez and Clave, 704 SCRA 465, 478-479, G.R. No.
170604, September 2, 2013).
Considering that the Best Evidence Rule was not applicable because the terms of the
deed of sale with right to repurchase were not the issue, the CA did not have to address
and determine whether the existence, execution, and loss, as pre-requisites for the
presentation of secondary evidence, had been established by Prodons evidence. It
should have simply addressed and determined whether or not the existence and
execution of the deed as the facts in issue had been proved by preponderance of
evidence. (Heirs of Prodon vs. Heirs of Alvarez and Clave, 704 SCRA 465, 481-482, G.R.
No. 170604, September 2, 2013).
Verily, the registration alone of the deed was not conclusive proof of its authenticity or
its due execution by the registered owner of the property, which was precisely the issue
in this case. The explanation for this is that registration, being a specie of notice, is
simply a ministerial act by which an instrument is inscribed in the records of the Register
of Deeds and annotated on the dorsal side of the certificate of title covering the land
subject of the instrument. It is relevant to mention that the law on land registration
does not require that only valid instruments be registered, because the purpose of
registration is only to give notice. (Heirs of Prodon vs. Heirs of Alvarez and Clave, 704
SCRA 465, 487-488, G.R. No. 170604, September 2, 2013).
By the same token, the entry in the notarial register of Notary Public Razon could only
be proof that a deed of sale with right to repurchase had been notarized by him, but did
not establish the due execution of the deed. (Heirs of Prodon vs. Heirs of Alvarez and
Clave, 704 SCRA 465, 488, G.R. No. 170604, September 2, 2013).
Documentary Evidence; Parol Evidence Rule
Considering that the terms and conditions nowhere stated that the card holder must
submit the new application form in order to reactivate her credit card, to allow BPI
Express Credit to impose the duty to submit the new application form in order to enable
Armovit to reactivate the credit card would contravene the Parol Evidence Rule. Indeed,
there was no agreement between the parties to add the submission of the new
application form as the means to reactivate the credit card. (BPI Express Card
Corporation vs. Armovit, 737 SCRA 542, 549-550, G.R. No. 163654, October 8, 2014).
Testimonial Evidence
It is not trite to remind that a truth-telling witness is not always expected to give an
error-free testimony because of the lapse of time and the treachery of human memory;
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and that inaccuracies noted in testimony may even suggest that the witness is telling the
truth and has not been rehearsed. To properly appreciate the worth of testimony,
therefore, the courts do not resort to the individual words or phrases alone but seek out
the whole impression or effect of what has been said and done. (People vs. Valdez, 663
SCRA 272, 283, G.R. No. 175602, January 18, 2012).
The supposed inconsistencies [in the victims testimony] dwelled on minor details or
collateral matters that the CA precisely held to be badges of veracity and manifestations
of truthfulness due to their tendency of demonstrating that the testimony had not been
rehearsed or concocted. (People vs. Sabadlab, 668 SCRA 237, 246, G.R. No. 175924,
March 14, 2012).
It is also basic that inconsistencies bearing on minor details or collateral matters should
not adversely affect the substance of the witness declaration, veracity, or weight of
testimony. The only inconsistencies that might have discredited the victims credible
testimony were those that affected or related to the elements of the crime. Alas, that
was not true herein. (People vs. Sabadlab, 668 SCRA 237, 246, G.R. No. 175924, March
14, 2012).
Judicial experience has shown, indeed, that the trial courts are in the best position to
decide issues of credibility of witnesses, having themselves heard and seen the
witnesses and observed firsthand their demeanor and deportment and the manner of
testifying under exacting examination. (Cruz vs. People, 737 SCRA 567, 580, G.R. No.
166441, October 8, 2014).
We hardly need to remind that the task of assigning values to the testimonies of
witnesses and of weighing their credibility is best left to the trial judge by virtue of the
first-hand impressions he derives while the witnesses testify before him. The demeanor
on the witness chair of persons sworn to tell the truth in judicial proceedings is a
significant element of judicial adjudication because it can draw the line between fact
and fancy. Their forthright answers or hesitant pauses, their quivering voices or angry
tones, their flustered looks or sincere gazes, their modest blushes or guilty blanchesall
these can reveal if the witnesses are telling the truth or lying in their teeth. (People vs.
Sabadlab, 668 SCRA 237, 247, G.R. No. 175924, March 14, 2012).
As the final appellate reviewer in this case, then, we bow to the age-old norm to accord
the utmost respect to the findings and conclusions on the credibility of witnesses
reached by the trial judge on account of his unmatched opportunity to observe the
witnesses and on account of his personal access to the various indicia available but not
reflected in the record. (People vs. Sabadlab, 668 SCRA 237, 247, G.R. No. 175924,
March 14, 2012).
Testimonial Evidence; Hearsay Rule
The theory of the hearsay rule is that when a human utterance is offered as evidence of
the truth of the fact asserted, the credit of the assertor becomes the basis of inference,
and, therefore, the assertion can be received as evidence only when made on the
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witness stand, subject to the test of cross-examination. (Patula vs. People, 669 SCRA
135, 153, G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
To elucidate why the Prosecutions hearsay evidence was unreliable and untrustworthy,
and thus devoid of probative value, reference is made to Section 36 of Rule 130, Rules
of Court, a rule that states that a witness can testify only to those facts that she knows
of her personal knowledge; that is, which are derived from her own perception, except
as otherwise provided in the Rules of Court. (Patula vs. People, 669 SCRA 135, 151-152,
G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
The personal knowledge of a witness is a substantive prerequisite for accepting
testimonial evidence that establishes the truth of a disputed fact. A witness bereft of
personal knowledge of the disputed fact cannot be called upon for that purpose
because her testimony derives its value not from the credit accorded to her as a witness
presently testifying but from the veracity and competency of the extrajudicial source of
her information. (Patula vs. People, 669 SCRA 135, 152, G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
In case a witness is permitted to testify based on what she has heard another person say
about the facts in dispute, the person from whom the witness derived the information
on the facts in dispute is not in court and under oath to be examined and cross-
examined. The weight of such testimony then depends not upon the veracity of the
witness but upon the veracity of the other person giving the information to the witness
without oath. The information cannot be tested because the declarant is not standing in
court as a witness and cannot, therefore, be cross-examined. (Patula vs. People, 669
SCRA 135, 152, G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
It is apparent, too, that a person who relates a hearsay is not obliged to enter into any
particular, to answer any question, to solve any difficulties, to reconcile any
contradictions, to explain any obscurities, to remove any ambiguities; and that she
entrenches herself in the simple assertion that she was told so, and leaves the burden
entirely upon the dead or absent author. Thus, the rule against hearsay testimony rests
mainly on the ground that there was no opportunity to cross-examine the declarant.
The testimony may have been given under oath and before a court of justice, but if it is
offered against a party who is afforded no opportunity to cross-examine the witness, it
is hearsay just the same. (Patula vs. People, 669 SCRA 135, 152-153, G.R. No. 164457,
April 11, 2012).
Excluding hearsay also aims to preserve the right of the opposing party to cross-examine
the original declarant claiming to have a direct knowledge of the transaction or
occurrence. If hearsay is allowed, the right stands to be denied because the declarant is
not in court. It is then to be stressed that the right to cross-examine the adverse partys
witness, being the only means of testing the credibility of witnesses and their
testimonies, is essential to the administration of justice. (Patula vs. People, 669 SCRA
135, 153-154, G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
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To address the problem of controlling inadmissible hearsay as evidence to establish the
truth in a dispute while also safeguarding a partys right to cross-examine her
adversarys witness, the Rules of Court offers two solutions. The first solution is to
require that all the witnesses in a judicial trial or hearing be examined only in court
under oath or affirmation. Section 1, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court formalizes this
solution. (Patula vs. People, 669 SCRA 135, 154, G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
The second solution is to require that all witnesses be subject to the cross-examination
by the adverse party. Section 6, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court ensures this solution xxx.
Although [this] solution traces its existence to a Constitutional precept relevant to
criminal cases, i.e., Section 14, (2), Article III, of the 1987 Constitution, which guarantees
that: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall xxx enjoy the right xxx to meet the
witnesses face to face xxx, the rule requiring the cross-examination by the adverse
party equally applies to non-criminal proceedings. (Patula vs. People, 669 SCRA 135,
154, G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
We thus stress that the rule excluding hearsay as evidence is based upon serious
concerns about the trustworthiness and reliability of hearsay evidence due to its not
being given under oath or solemn affirmation and due to its not being subjected to
cross-examination by the opposing counsel to test the perception, memory, veracity and
articulateness of the out-of-court declarant or actor upon whose reliability the worth of
the out-of-court statement depends. (Patula vs. People, 669 SCRA 135, 154-155, G.R.
No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
Testimonial Evidence; Hearsay Rule; Legal Hearsay
However, if an extrajudicial utterance is offered, not as an assertion to prove the matter
asserted but without reference to the truth of the matter asserted, the hearsay rule
does not apply. xxx This kind of utterance is hearsay in character but is not legal
hearsay. The distinction is, therefore, between (a) the fact that the statement was
made, to which the hearsay rule does not apply, and (b) the truth of the facts asserted
in the statement, to which the hearsay rule applies. (Patula vs. People, 669 SCRA 135,
153, G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
Testimonial Evidence; Hearsay Rule; No Probative Value
That the Prosecutions evidence was left uncontested because petitioner decided not to
subject [witness] Guivencan to cross-examination, and did not tender her contrary
evidence was inconsequential. Although the trial court had overruled the seasonable
objections to Guivencans testimony by petitioners counsel due to the hearsay
character, it could not be denied that hearsay evidence, whether objected to or not, had
no probative value. Verily, the flaws of the Prosecutions evidence were fundamental
and substantive, not merely technical and procedural, and were defects that the
adverse partys waiver of her cross-examination or failure to rebut could not set right or
cure. Nor did the trial courts overruling of petitioners objections imbue the flawed
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evidence with any virtue and value. (Patula vs. People, 669 SCRA 135, 169-170, G.R. No.
164457, April 11, 2012).
Testimonial Evidence; Hearsay Rule; Exceptions to the
Hearsay Rule
It appears from the foregoing testimony that Bolanon had gone to the residence of
Estao, his uncle, to seek help right after being stabbed by Salafranca; xxx; that on the
way to the hospital, Estao had asked Bolanon who had stabbed him, and the latter had
told Estao that his assailant had been Salafranca; xxx; and that about ten minutes after
his admission at the emergency ward of the hospital, Bolanon had expired and had been
pronounced dead. Such circumstances qualified the utterance of Bolanon as both a
dying declaration and as part of the res gestae, considering that the Court has
recognized that the statement of the victim an hour before his death and right after the
hacking incident bore all the earmarks either of a dying declaration or part of the res
gestae either of which was an exception to the hearsay rule. (People vs. Salafranca, 666
SCRA 501, 511-512, G.R. No. 173476, February 22, 2012).
Testimonial Evidence; Hearsay Rule; Exceptions to the
Hearsay Rule; Dying Declaration
A dying declaration, although generally inadmissible as evidence due to its hearsay
character, may nonetheless be admitted when the following requisites concur, namely:
(a) that the declaration must concern the cause and surrounding circumstances of the
declarants death; (b) that at the time the declaration is made, the declarant is under a
consciousness of an impending death; (c) that the declarant is competent as a witness;
and (d) that the declaration is offered in a criminal case for homicide, murder, or
parricide, in which the decla-rant is a victim. (People vs. Salafranca, 666 SCRA 501, 512,
G.R. No. 173476, February 22, 2012).
Testimonial Evidence; Hearsay Rule; Exceptions to the
Hearsay Rule; Part of the Res Gestae
Section 42, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court states: Section 42. Part of the res
gestae.Statements made by a person while a startling occurrence is taking place or
immediately prior or subsequent thereto with respect to the circumstances thereof,
may be given in evidence as part of the res gestae. So, also, statements accompanying
an equivocal act material to the issue, and giving it a legal significance, may be received
as part of the res gestae. (People vs. Lupac, 681 SCRA 390, 401, G.R. No. 182230,
September 19, 2012).
A declaration or an utterance is deemed as part of the res gestae and thus admissible in
evidence as an exception to the hearsay rule when the following requisites concur, to
wit: (a) the principal act, the res gestae, is a startling occurrence; (b) the statements are
made before the declarant had time to contrive or devise; and (c) the statements must
concern the occurrence in question and its immediately attending circumstances.
(People vs. Salafranca, 666 SCRA 501, 513, G.R. No. 173476, February 22, 2012).
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The nature of res gestae has been fittingly explained by the Court in People vs.
Salafranca, 666 SCRA 501, 613-614 (2012), viz.: The term res gestae has been defined
as those circumstances which are the undesigned incidents of a particular litigated act
and which are admissible when illustrative of such act. (People vs. Lupac, 681 SCRA
390, 402, G.R. No. 182230, September 19, 2012).
In a general way, res gestae refers to the circumstances, facts, and declarations that
grow out of the main fact and serve to illustrate its character and are so spontaneous
and contemporaneous with the main fact as to exclude the idea of deliberation and
fabrication. The rule on res gestae encompasses the exclamations and statements made
by either the participants, victims, or spectators to a crime immediately before, during,
or immediately after the commission of the crime when the circumstances are such that
the statements were made as a spontaneous reaction or utterance inspired by the
excitement of the occasion and there was no opportunity for the declarant to deliberate
and to fabricate a false statement. (People vs. Salafranca, 666 SCRA 501, 514, G.R. No.
173476, February 22, 2012).
The test of admissibility of evidence as a part of the res gestae is, therefore, whether the
act, declaration, or exclamation is so intimately interwoven or connected with the
principal fact or event that it characterizes as to be regarded as a part of the transaction
itself, and also whether it clearly negatives any premeditation or purpose to
manufacture testimony. (People vs. Salafranca, 666 SCRA 501, 514, G.R. No. 173476,
February 22, 2012).
The Court holds that AAAs denunciation of Lupac as her rapist to Tita Terry and her own
mother with the use of the words hindot and inano ako ni Kuya Ega without any
appreciable length of time having intervened following her discovery of the rape was
part of the res gestae (that is, rape). (People vs. Lupac, 681 SCRA 390, 401, G.R. No.
182230, September 19, 2012).
Testimonial Evidence; Hearsay Rule; Exceptions to the
Hearsay Rule; Entries in the Course of Business
The RTC excepted the entries in the ledgers from the application of the hearsay rule by
also tersely stating that the ledgers were prepared in the regular course of business.
Seemingly, the RTC applied Section 43, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court xxx. This was
another grave error of the RTC. The terse yet sweeping manner of justifying the
application of Section 43 was unacceptable due to the need to show the concurrence of
the several requisites before entries in the course of business could be excepted from
the hearsay rule. The requisites are as follows: (a) The person who made the entry must
be dead or unable to testify; (b) The entries were made at or near the time of the
transactions to which they refer; (c) The entrant was in a position to know the facts
stated in the entries; (d) The entries were made in his professional capacity or in the
performance of a duty, whether legal, contractual, moral, or religious; and (e) The
entries were made in the ordinary or regular course of business or duty. (Patula vs.
People, 669 SCRA 135, 170-171, G.R. No. 164457, April 11, 2012).
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The petitioners dispute the contents of Exhibit V (the statement of account) by invoking
Section 43, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, to wit: Section 43. Entries in the course of
business.Entries made at, or near the time of the transactions to which they refer, by
a person deceased, or unable to testify, who was in a position to know the facts therein
stated, may be received as prima facie evidence, if such person made the entries in his
professional capacity or in the performance of duty and in the ordinary or regular course
of business. The invocation of the rule is misplaced, however, because the rule speaks
of a situation where the person who made the entries is dead or unable to testify, which
was not the situation here. (Dela Cruz vs. Planters Products, Inc., 691 SCRA 28, 50-51,
G.R. No. 158649, February 18, 2013).
Offer and Objection; Offer of Evidence
It was basic enough that the Sandiganbayan could not consider any evidence that was
not formally offered; and could consider evidence only for the purposes it was
specifically offered. Section 34, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court explicitly states: Section
34. Offer of evidence.The court shall consider no evidence which has not been
formally offered. The purpose for which the evidence is offered must be specified.
(Republic vs. Reyes-Bakunawa, 704 SCRA 163, 191-192, G.R. No. 180418, August 28,
2013).
The need to formally offer evidence by specifying the purpose of the offer cannot be
overemphasized. This need is designed to meet the demand for due process by
apprising the adverse party as well as the trial court on what evidence the court would
soon be called upon to decide the litigation. (Republic vs. Reyes-Bakunawa, 704 SCRA
163, 192, G.R. No. 180418, August 28, 2013).
The offer and purpose will also put the trial court in the position to determine which
rules of evidence it shall apply in admitting or denying admission to the evidence being
offered. (Republic vs. Reyes-Bakunawa, 704 SCRA 163, 192, G.R. No. 180418, August 28,
2013).
According to Union Bank of the Philippines vs. Tiu, 657 SCRA 86 (2011): xxx a formal
offer is necessary because judges are mandated to rest their findings of facts and their
judgment only and strictly upon the evidence offered by the parties at the trial. It has
several functions: (1) to enable the trial judge to know the purpose or purposes for
which the proponent is presenting the evidence; (2) to allow opposing parties to
examine the evidence and object to its admissibility; and (3) to facilitate review by the
appellate court, which will not be required to review documents not previously
scrutinized by the trial court. xxx. (Republic vs. Reyes-Bakunawa, 704 SCRA 163, 192,
G.R. No. 180418, August 28, 2013).
Expounding on the office of the offer and statement of the purposes, the Court has
cogently said in Candido vs. Court of Appeals, 253 SCRA 78 (1996): A document, or any
article for that matter, is not evidence when it is simply marked for identification; it
must be formally offered, and the opposing counsel given an opportunity to object to it
REMEDIAL LAW
or cross-examine the witness called upon to prove or identify it. xxx The pertinent
provisions of the Revised Rules of Court on the inclusion on appeal of documentary
evidence or exhibits in the records cannot be stretched as to include such pleadings or
documents not offered at the hearing of the case. (Republic vs. Reyes-Bakunawa, 704
SCRA 163, 192-193, G.R. No. 180418, August 28, 2013).