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Law 126 Evidence

Prof. Avena

20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS


SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 96202. April 13, 1999]

ROSELLA D. CANQUE, petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF APPEALS


and SOCOR CONSTRUCTION CORPORATION, respondents.
DECISION
MENDOZA, J.:
This petition for review on certiorari seeks a reversal of the
decision[1] of the Court of Appeals affirming the judgment[2] of the
Regional Trial Court of Cebu City ordering petitioner . . . to pay [private respondent] the principal sum of Two Hundred
Ninety Nine Thousand Seven Hundred Seventeen Pesos and Seventy Five
Centavos (P299,717.75) plus interest thereon at 12% per annum from
September 22, 1986, the date of the filing of the complaint until fully
paid; to pay [private respondent] the further sum of Ten Thousand Pesos
(P10,000.00) for reasonable attorneys fees; to pay the sum of Five
Hundred Fifty Two Pesos and Eighty Six Centavos (P552.86) for filing
fees and to pay the costs of suit. Since [private respondent] withdrew its
prayer for an alias writ of preliminary attachment vis-a-vis the
[petitioners] counterbound, the incident on the alias writ of preliminary
attachment has become moot and academic.
The facts are as follows:

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Petitioner Rosella D. Canque is a contractor doing business under


the name and style RDC Construction. At the time material to this case,
she had contracts with the government for (a) the restoration of CebuToledo wharf road; (b) the asphalting of Lutopan access road; and (c) the
asphalting of Babag road in Lapulapu City.[3] In connection with these
projects, petitioner entered into two contracts with private respondent
Socor Construction Corporation. The first contract (Exh. A),[4] dated
April 26, 1985, provided:
The Sub-Contractor (SOCOR Corporation) and the Contractor (RDC
Construction) for the consideration hereinafter named, hereby agree as
follows:
1. SCOPE OF WORK:
a. The Sub-Contractor agrees to perform and execute the
Supply, Lay and Compact Item 310 and Item 302;
b. That Contractor shall provide the labor and materials
needed to complete the project;
c. That the Contractor agrees to pay the Sub-Contractor the
price of One Thousand Pesos only (P1,000.00) per Metric
Ton of Item 310 and Eight Thousand Only (P8,000.00)
per Metric Ton of Item 302.
d. That the Contractor shall pay the Sub-Contractor the
volume of the supplied Item based on the actual weight in
Metric Tons delivered, laid and compacted and accepted
by the MPWH;
e. The construction will commence upon the acceptance of
the offer.
The second contract (Exh. B),[5] dated July 23, 1985, stated:

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20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

The Supplier (SOCOR Construction) and the Contractor (RDC


Construction) for the consideration hereinafter named, hereby agree as
follows:
1. SCOPE OF WORK:
a. The Supplier agrees to perform and execute the delivery of
Item 310 and Item 302 to the jobsite for the Asphalting of
DAS Access Road and the Front Gate of ACMDC, Toledo City;
b. That the Contractor should inform or give notice to the
Supplier two (2) days before the delivery of such items;
c. That the Contractor shall pay the Supplier the volume of the
supplied items on the actual weight in metric tons delivered
and accepted by the MPWH fifteen (15) days after the
submission of the bill;
d. The delivery will commence upon the acceptance of the
offer.
On May 28, 1986, private respondent sent petitioner a bill (Exh. C),
containing a revised computation,[6] for P299,717.75, plus interest at the
rate of 3% a month, representing the balance of petitioners total
account of P2,098,400.25 for materials delivered and services rendered
by private respondent under the two contracts. However, petitioner
refused to pay the amount, claiming that private respondent failed to
submit the delivery receipts showing the actual weight in metric tons of
the items delivered and the acceptance thereof by the government.[7]
Hence, on September 22, 1986, private respondent brought suit in
the Regional Trial Court of Cebu to recover from petitioner the sum
of P299,717.75, plus interest at the rate of 3% a month.
In her answer, petitioner admitted the existence of the contracts
with private respondent as well as receipt of the billing (Exh. C), dated
May 28, 1986. However, she disputed the correctness of the bill

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. . . considering that the deliveries of [private respondent] were not


signed and acknowledged by the checkers of [petitioner], the bituminous
tack coat it delivered to [petitioner] consisted of 60% water, and
[petitioner] has already paid [private respondent] about P1,400,000.00
but [private respondent] has not issued any receipt to [petitioner] for
said payments and there is no agreement that [private respondent] will
charge 3% per month interest.[8]
Petitioner subsequently amended her answer denying she had
entered into sub-contracts with private respondent.[9]
During the trial, private respondent, as plaintiff, presented its vicepresident, Sofia O. Sanchez, and Dolores Aday, its bookkeeper.
Petitioners evidence consisted of her lone testimony.[10]
On June 22, 1988, the trial court rendered its decision ordering
petitioner to pay private respondent the sum of P299,717.75 plus
interest at 12% per annum, and costs. It held:
. . . . [B]y analyzing the plaintiffs Book of Collectible Accounts
particularly page 17 thereof (Exh. K) this Court is convinced that the
entries (both payments and billings) recorded thereat are
credible. Undeniably, the book contains a detailed account of SOCORs
commercial transactions with RDC which were entered therein in the
course of business. We cannot therefore disregard the entries recorded
under Exhibit K because the fact of their having been made in the
course of business carries with it some degree of trustworthiness.
Besides, no proof was ever offered to demonstrate the irregularity of the
said entries thus, there is then no cogent reason for us to doubt their
authenticity.[11]
The trial court further ruled that in spite of the fact that the
contracts did not have any stipulation on interest, interest may be
awarded in the form of damages under Article 2209 of the Civil Code.[12]

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20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

On appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed. It upheld the trial courts


reliance on private respondents Book of Collectible Accounts (Exh. K) on
the basis of Rule 130, 37[13] of the Rules of Court.
Hence, this appeal. Petitioner contends that
I. THE RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN ADMITTING IN
EVIDENCE AS ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS THE
ENTRIES IN PRIVATE RESPONDENTS BOOK OF
COLLECTIBLE ACCOUNTS CONSIDERING THAT THE
PERSON WHO MADE SAID ENTRIES ACTUALLY TESTIFIED
IN THIS CASE BUT UNFORTUNATELY HAD NO PERSONAL
KNOWLEDGE OF SAID ENTRIES.
II. THE DECISION OF THE RESPONDENT COURT SHOULD BE
REVERSED AS IT HAS ONLY INADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE TO
SUPPORT IT.
First. Petitioner contends that the presentation of the delivery
receipts duly accepted by the then Ministry of Public Works and
Highways (MPWH) is required under the contracts (Exhs. A and B) and
is a condition precedent for her payment of the amount claimed by
private respondent. Petitioner argues that the entries in private
respondents Book of Collectible Accounts (Exh. K) cannot take the place
of the delivery receipts and that such entries are mere hearsay and,
thus, inadmissible in evidence.[14]
We agree with the appellate court that the stipulation in the two
contracts requiring the submission of delivery receipts does not
preclude proof of delivery of materials by private respondent in some
other way. The question is whether the entries in the Book of Collectible
Accounts (Exh. K) constitute competent evidence to show such
delivery. Private respondent cites Rule 130, 37 of the Rules of Court
and argues that the entries in question constitute entries in the course
of business sufficient to prove deliveries made for the government
projects. This provision reads:

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Entries in the course of business. Entries made at, or near the time of
the transactions to which they refer, by a person deceased, outside of the
Philippines 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 or duty.[15]
The admission in evidence of entries in corporate books requires
the satisfaction of the following conditions:
1. The person who made the entry must be dead, outside the
country or unable to testify;
2. The entries were made at or near the time of the transactions to
which they refer;
3. The entrant was in a position to know the facts stated in the
entries;
4. The entries were made in his professional capacity or in the
performance of a duty, whether legal, contractual, moral or religious;
and
5. The entries were made in the ordinary or regular course of
business or duty.[16]
As petitioner points out, the business entries in question (Exh. K) do
not meet the first and third requisites. Dolores Aday, who made the
entries, was presented by private respondent to testify on the account of
RDC Construction. It was in the course of her testimony that the entries
were presented and marked in evidence. There was, therefore, neither
justification nor necessity for the presentation of the entries as the
person who made them was available to testify in court.
Necessity is given as a ground for admitting entries, in that they are the
best available evidence. Said a learned judge: What a man has actually
done and committed to writing when under obligation to do the act, it

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20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

being in the course of the business he has undertaken, and he being


dead, there seems to be no danger in submitting to the consideration of
the court. The person who may be called to court to testify on these
entries being dead, there arises the necessity of their admission without
the one who made them being called to court be sworn and subjected to
cross-examination. And this is permissible in order to prevent a failure
of justice.[17]
Moreover, Aday admitted that she had no personal knowledge of
the facts constituting the entry. She said she made the entries based on
the bills given to her. But she has no knowledge of the truth or falsity of
the facts stated in the bills. The deliveries of the materials stated in the
bills were supervised by an engineer for (such) functions.[18] The
person, therefore, who has personal knowledge of the facts stated in the
entries, i.e., that such deliveries were made in the amounts and on the
dates stated, was the companys project engineer. The entries made by
Aday show only that the billings had been submitted to her by the
engineer and that she faithfully recorded the amounts stated therein in
the books of account. Whether or not the bills given to Aday correctly
reflected the deliveries made in the amounts and on the dates indicated
was a fact that could be established by the project engineer alone who,
however, was not presented during trial. The rule is stated by former
Chief Justice Moran, thus:
[W]hen the witness had no personal knowledge of the facts entered by
him, and the person who gave him the information is individually known
and may testify as to the facts stated in the entry which is not part of a
system of entries where scores of employees have intervened, such
entry is not admissible without the testimony of the informer.[19]
Second. It is nonetheless argued by private respondent that
although the entries cannot be considered an exception to the hearsay
rule, they may be admitted under Rule 132, 10[20] of the Rules of Court
which provides:

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SEC. 10. When witness may refer to memorandum. A witness may be


allowed to refresh his memory respecting a fact, by anything written by
himself or under his direction at the time when the fact occurred, or
immediately thereafter, or at any other time when the fact was fresh in
his memory and he knew that the same was correctly stated in the
writing; but in such case the writing must be produced and may be
inspected by the adverse party, who may, if he chooses, cross-examine
the witness upon it, and may read it in evidence. So, also, a witness may
testify from such a writing, though he retain no recollection of the
particular facts, if he is able to swear that the writing correctly stated the
transaction when made; but such evidence must be received with
caution.
On the other hand, petitioner contends that evidence which is
inadmissible for the purpose for which it was offered cannot be admitted
for another purpose. She cites the following from Chief Justice Morans
commentaries:
The purpose for which the evidence is offered must be specified. Where
the offer is general, and the evidence is admissible for one purpose and
inadmissible for another, the evidence should be rejected. Likewise,
where the offer is made for two or more purposes and the evidence is
incompetent for one of them, the evidence should be excluded. The
reason for the rule is that it is the duty of a party to select the
competent from the incompetent in offering testimony, and he cannot
impose this duty upon the trial court. Where the evidence is
inadmissible for the purpose stated in the offer, it must be rejected,
though the same may be admissible for another purpose. The rule is
stated thus: If a party x x x opens the particular view with which he
offers any part of his evidence, or states the object to be attained by it, he
precludes himself from insisting on its operation in any other direction,
or for any other object; and the reason is, that the opposite party is
prevented from objecting to its competency in any view different from
the one proposed.[21]

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20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

It should be noted, however, that Exh. K is not really being


presented for another purpose. Private respondents counsel offered it
for the purpose of showing the amount of petitioners indebtedness. He
said:
Exhibit K, your Honor - faithful reproduction of page (17) of the
book on Collectible Accounts of the plaintiff, reflecting the
principal indebtedness of defendant in the amount of Two
hundred ninety-nine thousand seven hundred seventeen
pesos and seventy-five centavos (P299,717.75) and reflecting
as well the accumulated interest of three percent (3%)
monthly compounded such that as of December 11, 1987, the
amount collectible from the defendant by the plaintiff is Six
hundred sixteen thousand four hundred thirty-five pesos and
seventy-two centavos (P616,435.72);[22]
This is also the purpose for which its admission is sought as a
memorandum to refresh the memory of Dolores Aday as a witness. In
other words, it is the nature of the evidence that is changed, not the
purpose for which it is offered.
Be that as it may, considered as a memorandum, Exh. K does not
itself constitute evidence. As explained in Borromeo v. Court of
Appeals:[23]
Under the above provision (Rule 132, 10), the memorandum used to
refresh the memory of the witness does not constitute evidence, and
may not be admitted as such, for the simple reason that the witness has
just the same to testify on the basis of refreshed memory. In other
words, where the witness has testified independently of or after his
testimony has been refreshed by a memorandum of the events in
dispute, such memorandum is not admissible as corroborative
evidence. It is self-evident that a witness may not be corroborated by
any written statement prepared wholly by him. He cannot be more

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credible just because he supports his open-court declaration with


written statements of the same facts even if he did prepare them during
the occasion in dispute, unless the proper predicate of his failing
memory is priorly laid down. What is more, even where this
requirement has been satisfied, the express injunction of the rule itself is
that such evidence must be received with caution, if only because it is
not very difficult to conceive and fabricate evidence of this nature. This
is doubly true when the witness stands to gain materially or otherwise
from the admission of such evidence . . . .[24]
As the entries in question (Exh. K) were not made based on personal
knowledge, they could only corroborate Dolores Adays testimony that
she made the entries as she received the bills.
Third. Does this, therefore, mean there is no competent evidence of
private respondents claim as petitioner argues?[25] The answer is in the
negative. Aside from Exh. K, private respondent presented the following
documents:
1) Exhibit A - Contract Agreement dated 26 April 1985 which contract
covers both the Toledo wharf project and the Babag Road project in
Lapulapu City.
2) Exhibit B - Contract Agreement dated 23 July 1985 which covers the
DAS Asphalting Project.
3) Exhibit C - Revised Computation of Billings submitted on May 28,
1986.
4) Exhibit D - an affidavit executed by [petitioner] to the effect that she
has no more pending or unsettled obligations as far as Toledo Wharf
Road is concerned.

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20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

5) Exhibit D-1 - Statement of Work Accomplished on the Road


Restoration of Cebu-Toledo wharf project.
6) Exhibit E - another affidavit executed by [petitioner] attesting that
she has completely paid her laborers at the project located at Babag,
Lapulapu City
7) Exhibits F, G, G-1, G-2, G-3 - Premiums paid by [private respondent]
together with the receipts for filing fees.
8) Exhibits H, I, J - certifications issued by OIC, MPWH, Regional Office;
Lapulapu City, City Engineer; Toledo City Treasurers Office respectively,
proving that RDC construction has no more collectibles with all the said
government offices in connection with its projects.
10) Exhibit L - Bill No. 057 under the account of RDC Construction in the
amount of P153,382.75 dated August 24, 1985.
11) Exhibit M - Bill No. 069 (RDCs account), in the amount
of P1,701,795.00 dated November 20, 1985.
12) Exhibit N - Bill No. 071 (RDCs account) in the amount of P47,250.00
dated November 22, 1985.
13) Exhibit O - Bill No. 079 (RDCs account) in the amount of P7,290.00
dated December 6, 1985.
As the trial court found:
The entries recorded under Exhibit K were supported by Exhibits L,
M, N, O which are all Socor Billings under the account of RDC
Construction. These billings were presented and duly received by the
authorized representatives of defendant. The circumstances obtaining
in the case at bar clearly show that for a long period of time after receipt

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thereof, RDC never manifested its dissatisfaction or objection to the


aforestated billings submitted by plaintiff. Neither did defendant
immediately protest to plaintiffs alleged incomplete or irregular
performance. In view of these facts, we believe Art. 1235 of the New
Civil Code is applicable.
Art. 1235. When the obligee accepts the performance, knowing its
incompleteness and irregularity and without expressing any protest or
objection, the obligation is deemed complied with.
FINALLY, after a conscientious scrutiny of the records, we find Exhibit
D-1 (p. 85 record) to be a material proof of plaintiffs complete
fulfillment of its obligation.
There is no question that plaintiff supplied RDC Construction with Item
302 (Bitunimous Prime Coat), Item 303 (Bituminous Tack Coat) and
Item 310 (Bitunimous Concrete Surface Course) in all the three projects
of the latter. The Lutopan Access Road project, the Toledo wharf project
and the Babag-Lapulapu Road project.
On the other hand, no proof was ever offered by defendant to show the
presence of other contractors in those projects. We can therefore
conclude that it was Socor Construction Corp. ALONE who supplied RDC
with Bituminous Prime Coat, Bituminous Tack Coat and Bituminous
Concrete Surface Course for all the aforenamed three projects.[26]
Indeed, while petitioner had previously paid private respondent
about P1,400,000.00 for deliveries made in the past, she did not show
that she made such payments only after the delivery receipts had been
presented by private respondent. On the other hand, it appears that
petitioner was able to collect the full amount of project costs from the
government, so that petitioner would be unjustly enriched at the
expense of private respondent if she is not made to pay what is her just
obligation under the contracts.

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20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED.


SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Puno, Quisumbing, and Buena, JJ., concur.

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7 VICENTE J. FRANCISCO, THE REVISED RULES OF COURT


(EVIDENCE) 538-539 (1973).
[17]

[18]

TSN, pp. 35-36, Jan. 4, 1988.

5 MANUEL V. MORAN, COMMENTS ON THE RULES OF COURT 374


(1980).
[19]

Per Justice Pedro A. Ramirez and concurred in by Justices Rodolfo A.


Nocon and Jesus M. Elbinias.
[1]

[2]

Per Judge Juanito A. Bernad.


CA Decision, p. 1; Rollo, p. 15.

[3]
[4]

Records-RTC, p. 53.

[5]

Records-RTC, p. 54.

[6]

Exhibit C, Records-RTC, p. 55.

[7]

CA Decision, p. 2; Rollo, p. 16.

[8]

Answer, p. 1; Records-RTC, p. 25.

[9]

Amended Answer, pp. 1-2; Records-RTC, pp. 35-36.

[10]

RTC-Decision, p. 3.

[11]

Id., at 4.

[12]

Id., at 6-7.

[13]

Now Rule 130, 43 of the Revised Rules on Evidence.

[14]

Id. at 8-9; id. at 10-11.

[15]

Now Rule 130, 43 of the Revised Rules on Evidence.

[16]

2 Florenz D. Regalado, Remedial Law Compendium 616 (1995).

[20]

Now Rule 132, 16 of the present Rules on Evidence.

[21]

6 MORAN, COMMENTS ON THE RULES OF COURT 123 (1980).

[22]

TSN, p. 49, Jan. 4, 1988.

[23]

70 SCRA 329 (1976).

[24]

Supra, at 349.

[25]

Petition, p. 11, Rollo, p. 13.

[26]

RTC Decision, p. 5.

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20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
THIRD DIVISION
G.R. No. 164273

March 28, 2007

EMMANUEL B. AZNAR, Petitioner,


vs.
CITIBANK, N.A., (Philippines), Respondent.
DECISION
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
Before this Court is a Petition for Review assailing the Decision1 of the
Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 62554 dated January 30, 2004
which set aside the November 25, 1998 Order of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) Branch 10, Cebu City and reinstated the Decision of RTC Branch
20 of Cebu City dated May 29, 1998 in Civil Case No. CEB-16474; and the
CA Resolution dated May 26, 2004 denying petitioners motion for
reconsideration.
The facts are as follows:
Emmanuel B. Aznar (Aznar), a known businessman2 in Cebu, is a holder
of a Preferred Master Credit Card (Mastercard) bearing number 54233920-0786-7012 issued by Citibank with a credit limit of P150,000.00.
As he and his wife, Zoraida, planned to take their two grandchildren,
Melissa and Richard Beane, on an Asian tour, Aznar made a total advance
deposit of P485,000.00 with Citibank with the intention of increasing his
credit limit toP635,000.00.3

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With the use of his Mastercard, Aznar purchased plane tickets to Kuala
Lumpur for his group worth P237,000.00. On July 17, 1994, Aznar, his
wife and grandchildren left Cebu for the said destination.4
Aznar claims that when he presented his Mastercard in some
establishments in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia, the same was not
honored.5 And when he tried to use the same in Ingtan Tour and Travel
Agency (Ingtan Agency) in Indonesia to purchase plane tickets to Bali, it
was again dishonored for the reason that his card was blacklisted by
Citibank. Such dishonor forced him to buy the tickets in cash.6 He further
claims that his humiliation caused by the denial of his card was
aggravated when Ingtan Agency spoke of swindlers trying to use
blacklisted cards.7 Aznar and his group returned to the Philippines on
August 10, 1994.8
On August 26, 1994, Aznar filed a complaint for damages against
Citibank, docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-16474 and raffled to RTC
Branch 20, Cebu City, claiming that Citibank fraudulently or with gross
negligence blacklisted his Mastercard which forced him, his wife and
grandchildren to abort important tour destinations and prevented them
from buying certain items in their tour.9 He further claimed that he
suffered mental anguish, serious anxiety, wounded feelings, besmirched
reputation and social humiliation due to the wrongful blacklisting of his
card.10 To prove that Citibank blacklisted his Mastercard, Aznar
presented a computer print-out, denominated as ON-LINE
AUTHORIZATIONS FOREIGN ACCOUNT ACTIVITY REPORT, issued to
him by Ingtan Agency (Exh. "G") with the signature of one Victrina
Elnado Nubi (Nubi)11 which shows that his card in question was "DECL
OVERLIMIT" or declared over the limit.12
Citibank denied the allegation that it blacklisted Aznars card. It also
contended that under the terms and conditions governing the issuance
and use of its credit cards, Citibank is exempt from any liability for the
dishonor of its cards by any merchant affiliate, and that its liability for

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20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

any action or incident which may be brought against it in relation to the


issuance and use of its credit cards is limited to P1,000.00 or the actual
damage proven whichever is lesser.13
To prove that they did not blacklist Aznars card, Citibanks Credit Card
Department Head, Dennis Flores, presented Warning Cancellation
Bulletins which contained the list of its canceled cards covering the
period of Aznars trip.14
On May 29, 1998, RTC Branch 20, Cebu City, through Judge Ferdinand J.
Marcos, rendered its decision dismissing Aznars complaint for lack of
merit.15 The trial court held that as between the computer printout16presented by Aznar and the Warning Cancellation
Bulletins17 presented by Citibank, the latter had more weight as their
due execution and authenticity were duly established by Citibank.18 The
trial court also held that even if it was shown that Aznars credit card
was dishonored by a merchant establishment, Citibank was not shown to
have acted with malice or bad faith when the same was dishonored.19
Aznar filed a motion for reconsideration with motion to re-raffle the case
saying that Judge Marcos could not be impartial as he himself is a holder
of a Citibank credit card.20 The case was re-raffled21 and on November
25, 1998, the RTC, this time through Judge Jesus S. De la Pea of Branch
10 of Cebu City, issued an Order granting Aznars motion for
reconsideration, as follows:
WHEREFORE, the Motion for Reconsideration is hereby GRANTED. The
DECISION dated May 29, 1998 is hereby reconsidered, and consequently,
the defendant is hereby condemned liable to pay the following sums of
money:
a) P10,000,000.00 as moral damages;
b) P5,000,000.00 as exemplary damages;

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c) P1,000,000.00 as attorneys fees; and


d) P200,000.00 as litigation expenses.22
Judge De la Pea ruled that: it is improbable that a man of Aznars
stature would fabricate Exh. "G" or the computer print-out which shows
that Aznars Mastercard was dishonored for the reason that it was
declared over the limit; Exh. "G" was printed out by Nubi in the ordinary
or regular course of business in the modern credit card industry and
Nubi was not able to testify as she was in a foreign country and cannot
be reached by subpoena; taking judicial notice of the practice of
automated teller machines (ATMs) and credit card facilities which
readily print out bank account status, Exh. "G" can be received as prima
facie evidence of the dishonor of Aznars Mastercard; no rebutting
evidence was presented by Citibank to prove that Aznars Mastercard
was not dishonored, as all it proved was that said credit card was not
included in the blacklisted cards; when Citibank accepted the additional
deposit of P485,000.00 from Aznar, there was an implied novation and
Citibank was obligated to increase Aznars credit limit and ensure that
Aznar will not encounter any embarrassing situation with the use of his
Mastercard; Citibanks failure to comply with its obligation constitutes
gross negligence as it caused Aznar inconvenience, mental anguish and
social humiliation; the fine prints in the flyer of the credit card limiting
the liability of the bank to P1,000.00 or the actual damage proven,
whichever is lower, is a contract of adhesion which must be interpreted
against Citibank.23
Citibank filed an appeal with the CA and its counsel filed an
administrative case against Judge De la Pea for grave misconduct, gross
ignorance of the law and incompetence, claiming among others that said
judge rendered his decision without having read the transcripts. The
administrative case was held in abeyance pending the outcome of the
appeal filed by Citibank with the CA.24lawphi1.net

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On January 30, 2004, the CA rendered its Decision granting Citibanks


appeal thus:
WHEREFORE, the instant appeal is GRANTED. The assailed order of the
Regional Trial Court, 7th Judicial Region, Branch 10, Cebu City, in Civil
Case No. CEB-16474, is hereby SET ASIDE and the decision, dated 29
May 1998 of the Regional Trial Court, 7th Judicial Region, Branch 20,
Cebu City in this case is REINSTATED.
SO ORDERED.25
The CA ruled that: Aznar had no personal knowledge of the blacklisting
of his card and only presumed the same when it was dishonored in
certain establishments; such dishonor is not sufficient to prove that his
card was blacklisted by Citibank; Exh. "G" is an electronic document
which must be authenticated pursuant to Section 2, Rule 5 of the Rules
on Electronic Evidence26 or under Section 20 of Rule 132 of the Rules of
Court27 by anyone who saw the document executed or written; Aznar,
however, failed to prove the authenticity of Exh. "G", thus it must be
excluded; the unrefuted testimony of Aznar that his credit card was
dishonored by Ingtan Agency and certain establishments abroad is not
sufficient to justify the award of damages in his favor, absent any
showing that Citibank had anything to do with the said dishonor;
Citibank had no absolute control over the actions of its merchant
affiliates, thus it should not be held liable for the dishonor of Aznars
credit card by said establishments.28
Aznar filed a motion for reconsideration which the CA dismissed in its
Resolution dated May 26, 2004.29
Parenthetically, the administrative case against Judge De la Pea was
activated and on April 29, 2005, the Courts Third Division30 found
respondent judge guilty of knowingly rendering an unjust judgment and
ordered his suspension for six months. The Court held that Judge De la

Page 10 of 95

Pea erred in basing his Order on a manifestation submitted by Aznar to


support his Motion for Reconsideration, when no copy of such
manifestation was served on the adverse party and it was filed beyond
office hours. The Court also noted that Judge De la Pea made an
egregiously large award of damages in favor of Aznar which opened
himself to suspicion.31
Aznar now comes before this Court on a petition for review alleging that:
the CA erroneously made its own factual finding that his Mastercard was
not blacklisted when the matter of blacklisting was already a non-issue
in the November 25, 1998 Order of the RTC; the RTC found that Aznars
Mastercard was dishonored for the reason that it was declared over the
credit limit; this factual finding is supported by Exh. "G" and by his
(Aznars) testimony; the issue of dishonor on the ground of DECL
OVERLIMIT, although not alleged in the complaint, was tried with the
implied consent of the parties and should be treated as if raised in the
pleadings pursuant to Section 5, Rule 10 of the Rules of Civil
Procedure;32 Exh. "G" cannot be excluded as it qualifies as an electronic
evidence following the Rules on Electronic Evidence which provides that
print-outs are also originals for purposes of the Best Evidence Rule; Exh.
"G" has remained complete and unaltered, apart from the signature of
Nubi, thus the same is reliable for the purpose for which it was
generated; the RTC judge correctly credited the testimony of Aznar on
the issuance of the computer print-out as Aznar saw that it was signed
by Nubi; said testimony constitutes the "other evidence showing the
integrity and reliability of the print-out to the satisfaction of the judge"
which is required under the Rules on Electronic Evidence; the trial court
was also correct in finding that Citibank was grossly negligent in failing
to credit the additional deposit and make the necessary entries in its
systems to prevent Aznar from encountering any embarrassing situation
with the use of his Mastercard.33
Citibank, in its Comment, contends that: Aznar never had personal
knowledge that his credit card was blacklisted as he only presumed such

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Prof. Avena

20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

fact; the issue of dishonor on the ground that the card was declared over
the limit was also never tried with the implied consent of both parties;
Aznars self-serving testimony is not sufficient to prove the integrity and
reliability of Exh. "G"; Aznar did not declare that it was Nubi who printed
the document and that said document was printed in his presence as he
merely said that the print-out was provided him; there is also no
annotation on Exh. "G" to establish that it was Nubi who printed the
same; assuming further that Exh. "G" is admissible and Aznars credit
card was dishonored, Citibank still cannot be held liable for damages as
it only shows that Aznars credit card was dishonored for having been
declared over the limit; Aznars cause of action against Citibank hinged
on the alleged blacklisting of his card which purportedly caused its
dishonor; dishonor alone, however, is not sufficient to award Aznar
damages as he must prove that the dishonor was caused by a grossly
negligent act of Citibank; the award of damages in favor of Aznar was
based on Article 117034 of the Civil Code, i.e., there was fraud, negligence
or delay in the performance of its obligation; there was no proof,
however that Citibank committed fraud or delay or that it contravened
its obligations towards Aznar; the terms and conditions of the credit
card cannot be considered as a contract of adhesion since Aznar was
entirely free to reject the card if he did not want the conditions
stipulated therein; a person whose stature is such that he is expected to
be more prudent with respect to his transactions cannot later on be
heard to complain for being ignorant or having been forced into merely
consenting to the contract.35
In his Reply, Aznar contended that to a layman, the term "blacklisting" is
synonymous with the words "hot list" or "declared overlimit"; and
whether his card was blacklisted or declared over the limit, the same
was dishonored due to the fault or gross negligence of Citibank.36
Aznar also filed a Memorandum raising as issues the following:

Page 11 of 95

I. Whether or not the augmentation deposit in the amount


of P485,000.00 of the Petitioner constitutes relative extinctive
novation;
II. Whether or not the purchases made by Petitioner were
beyond his credit limit;
III. Whether or not the issues of dishonor by reason of overlimit
was tried with the consent of the parties;
IV. Whether or not the "On Line Authorization Report" is an
electronic document."
V. Whether or not the "On Line Authorization Report" constitutes
electronic evidence;
VI. Whether or not the agreement between the parties is a
contract of adhesion;
VII. Whether or not the Respondent is negligent in not crediting
the deposits of the Respondent.37
Aznar further averred in his Memorandum that Citibank assured him
that with the use of his Mastercard, he would never be turned down by
any merchant store, and that under Section 43, Rule 130 of the Rules of
Court, Exh. "G" is admissible in evidence.38
Citibank also filed a Memorandum reiterating its earlier arguments.39
Stripped to its essentials, the only question that needs to be answered is:
whether Aznar has established his claim against Citibank.
The answer is no.

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Prof. Avena

20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

It is basic that in civil cases, the burden of proof rests on the plaintiff to
establish his case based on a preponderance of evidence. The party that
alleges a fact also has the burden of proving it.40

Page 12 of 95

Q. And after you were told that your card was denied you presumed
that it was blacklisted?
A. Definitely.

In the complaint Aznar filed before the RTC, he claimed that Citibank
blacklisted his Mastercard which caused its dishonor in several
establishments in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, particularly in
Ingtan Agency in Indonesia where he was humiliated when its staff
insinuated that he could be a swindler trying to use a blacklisted card.

Q. So your statement that your card was allegedly blacklisted is


only your presumption drawn from the fact, from your allegations,
that it was denied at the merchandise store?
A. Yes, sir.42 (Emphasis supplied)

As correctly found by the RTC in its May 29, 1998 Decision, Aznar failed
to prove with a preponderance of evidence that Citibank blacklisted his
Mastercard or placed the same on the "hot list."41
Aznar in his testimony admitted that he had no personal knowledge that
his Mastercard was blacklisted by Citibank and only presumed such fact
from the dishonor of his card.
Q Now, paragraph 12 also states and I quote: "its entry in the "hot" list
was confirmed to be authentic".
Now, who confirmed that the blacklisting of your Preferred Citibank
Mastercard was authentic?
A. Okey. When I presented this Mastercard, my card rather, at the
Merchants store, I do not know, they called up somebody for verification
then later they told me that "your card is being denied". So, I am not in a
position to answer that. I do not know whom they called up; where they
verified. So, when it is denied thats presumed to be blacklisted.
Q. So the word that was used was denied?
A. Denied.

The dishonor of Aznars Mastercard is not sufficient to support a


conclusion that said credit card was blacklisted by Citibank, especially in
view of Aznars own admission that in other merchant establishments in
Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, his Mastercard was accepted and
honored.43
Aznar puts much weight on the ON-LINE AUTHORIZATION FOREIGN
ACCOUNT ACTIVITY REPORT, a computer print-out handed to Aznar by
Ingtan Agency, marked as Exh. "G", to prove that his Mastercard was
dishonored for being blacklisted. On said print-out appears the words
"DECL OVERLIMIT" opposite Account No. 5423-3920-0786-7012.
As correctly pointed out by the RTC and the CA, however, such exhibit
cannot be considered admissible as its authenticity and due execution
were not sufficiently established by petitioner.
The prevailing rule at the time of the promulgation of the RTC Decision
is Section 20 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court. It provides that whenever
any private document offered as authentic is received in evidence, its
due execution and authenticity must be proved either by (a) anyone who
saw the document executed or written; or (b) by evidence of the
genuineness of the signature or handwriting of the maker.

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Prof. Avena

20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

Aznar, who testified on the authenticity of Exh. "G," did not actually see
the document executed or written, neither was he able to provide
evidence on the genuineness of the signature or handwriting of Nubi,
who handed to him said computer print-out. Indeed, all he was able to
allege in his testimony are the following:
Q I show to you a Computer Print Out captioned as On Line
Authorization Activity Report where it is shown that the Preferred
Master Card Number 5423392007867012 was denied as per notation on
the margin of this Computer Print Out, is this the document evidencing
the dishonor of your Preferred Master Card?

Page 13 of 95

Statement and I requested her to sign to show proof that my


Preferred Master Card has been rejected.44 (Emphasis supplied).
Even if examined under the Rules on Electronic Evidence, which took
effect on August 1, 2001, and which is being invoked by Aznar in this
case, the authentication of Exh. "G" would still be found wanting.
Pertinent sections of Rule 5 read:
Section 1. Burden of proving authenticity. The person seeking to
introduce an electronic document in any legal proceeding has the
burden of proving its authenticity in the manner provided in this Rule.

xxxx
A Yes sir, after that Ingtan incident, I went straight to the Service Agency
there and on the left hand side you will be able to see the name of the
person in-charged [sic] there certifying that really my card is being
blacklisted and there is the signature there of the agency.

Section 2. Manner of authentication. Before any private electronic


document offered as authentic is received in evidence, its authenticity
must be proved by any of the following means:
(a) by evidence that it had been digitally signed by the person
purported to have signed the same;

ATTY. NAVARRO:
The witness, your honor, is pointing to the signature over the
handwritten name of Victrina Elnado Nubi which I pray, your honor, that
the Computer Print Out be marked as our Exhibit "G" and the remarks at
the left hand bottom portion of Victorina Elnado Nubi with her signature
thereon be encircled and be marked as our Exhibit "G-1".

(b) by evidence that other appropriate security procedures or


devices as may be authorized by the Supreme Court or by law for
authentication of electronic documents were applied to the
document; or
(c) by other evidence showing its integrity and reliability to the
satisfaction of the judge.

xxxx
Q Mr. Aznar, where did you secure this Computer Print Out marked
as Exhibit "G"?
A This is provided by that Agency, your honor. They were the ones
who provided me with this. So what the lady did, she gave me the

Aznar claims that his testimony complies with par. (c), i.e., it constitutes
the "other evidence showing integrity and reliability of Exh. "G" to the
satisfaction of the judge." The Court is not convinced. Aznars testimony
that the person from Ingtan Agency merely handed him the computer
print-out and that he thereafter asked said person to sign the same
cannot be considered as sufficient to show said print-outs integrity and

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Prof. Avena

20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

reliability. As correctly pointed out by Judge Marcos in his May 29, 1998
Decision, Exh. "G" does not show on its face that it was issued by Ingtan
Agency as Aznar merely mentioned in passing how he was able to secure
the print-out from the agency; Aznar also failed to show the specific
business address of the source of the computer print-out because while
the name of Ingtan Agency was mentioned by Aznar, its business
address was not reflected in the print-out.45
Indeed, Aznar failed to demonstrate how the information reflected on
the print-out was generated and how the said information could be
relied upon as true. In fact, Aznar to repeat, testified as follows:
ATTY. NERI
Q Now, paragraph 12 also states and I quote: "its entry in the "hot" list
was confirmed to be authentic"
Now, who confirmed that the blacklisting of your Preferred Citibank
Mastercard was authentic?
A Okey. When I presented this Mastercard, my card rather, at the
Merchants store, I do not know, they called up somebody for verification
then later they told me that "your card is being denied". So, I am not in a
position to answer that. I do not know whom they called up; where
they verified. So, when it is denied thats presumed to be
blacklisted.46 (Emphasis supplied)
Aznar next invokes Section 43 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court, which
pertains to entries in the course of business, to support Exh. "G". Said
provision reads:
Sec. 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,

Page 14 of 95

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 or duty.
Under this rule, however, the following conditions are required:
1. the person who made the entry must be dead, or unable to
testify;
2. the entries were made at or near the time of the transactions
to which they refer;
3. the entrant was in a position to know the facts stated in the
entries;
4. the entries were made in his professional capacity or in the
performance of a duty, whether legal, contractual, moral or
religious; and
5. the entries were made in the ordinary or regular course of
business or duty.47
As correctly pointed out by the RTC in its May 29, 1998 Decision, there
appears on the computer print-out the name of a certain "Victrina
Elnado Nubi" and a signature purportedly belonging to her, and at the
left dorsal side were handwritten the words "Sorry for the delay since the
records had to be retrieved. Regards. Darryl Mario." It is not clear
therefore if it was Nubi who encoded the information stated in the printout and was the one who printed the same. The handwritten annotation
signed by a certain Darryl Mario even suggests that it was Mario who
printed the same and only handed the print-out to Nubi. The identity of
the entrant, required by the provision above mentioned, was therefore
not established. Neither did petitioner establish in what professional
capacity did Mario or Nubi make the entries, or whether the entries were

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Prof. Avena

20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

made in the performance of their duty in the ordinary or regular course


of business or duty.
And even if Exh. "G" is admitted as evidence, it only shows that the use of
the credit card of petitioner was denied because it was already over the
limit. There is no allegation in the Complaint or evidence to show that
there was gross negligence on the part of Citibank in declaring that the
credit card has been used over the limit.
The Court is also perplexed that stated on Exh. "G" is the amount of
"6,289,195.10" opposite petitioner's account number, which data,
petitioner did not clarify.48 As plaintiff in this case, it was incumbent on
him to prove that he did not actually incur the said amount which is
above his credit limit. As it is, the Court cannot see how Exh. "G" could
help petitioner's claim for damages.
The claim of petitioner that Citibank blacklisted his card through fraud
or gross negligence is likewise effectively negated by the evidence of
Citibank which was correctly upheld by the RTC and the CA, to wit:
xxx Mr. Dennis Flores, the Head of the Credit Card Department of
defendant Bank, presented documents known as Warning Cancellation
Bulletin for July 10, 17, 24, and 31, 1994 (Exhibits 3, 3-1 to 3-38, 4,
4-1 to 4-38 5, 5-1 to 5-39 and 6, 6-1 to 6-39), for August 7, 1994
(Exhibit[s] 7, 7-1 to 7-37), for August 8, 1994 (Exhibit[s] 8, 8-1 to
8-20) which show that plaintiffs Citibank preferred mastercard was
not placed in a hot list or was not blacklisted.
The Warning Cancellation Bulletins (WCB) (Exhibits 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
and their submarkings) which covered the period of four (4) days in July
1994 (from July 10, 17, 24 and 31, 1994), and two (2) days in August
1994, (August 7 and 8, 1994), when plaintiff traveled in the
aforementioned Asian countries showed that said Citibank preferred
mastercard had never been placed in a hot list or the same was

Page 15 of 95

blacklisted, let alone the fact that all the credit cards which had been
cancelled by the defendant bank were all contained, reported and listed
in said Warning Cancellation Bulletin which were issued and released on
a regular basis.
These three hundred (300) Warning Cancellation Bulletins pieces of
documentary proofs, all in all, adduced by defendant pointed to the fact
that said plaintiffs credit car (sic) was not among those found in said
bulletins as having been cancelled for the period for which the said
bulletins had been issued.
Between said computer print out (Exhibit G) and the Warning
Cancellation Bulletins (Exhibits 3 to 8 and their submarkings) the
latter documents adduced by defendant are entitled to greater weight
than that said computer print out presented by plaintiff that bears on the
issue of whether the plaintiffs preferred master card was actually placed
in the hot list or blacklisted for the following reasons:
The first reason is that the due execution and authentication of these
Warning Cancellation Bulletins (or WCB) have been duly established and
identified by defendants own witness, Dennis Flores, one of the banks
officers, who is the head of its credit card department, and, therefore,
competent to testify on the said bulletins as having been issued by the
defendant bank showing that plaintiffs preferred master credit card was
never blacklisted or placed in the Banks hot list. But on the other hand,
plaintiffs computer print out (Exhibit G) was never authenticated or its
due execution had never been duly established. Thus, between a set of
duly authenticated commercial documents, the Warning Cancellation
Bulletins (Exhibits 3 to 8 and their submarkings), presented by
defendants (sic) and an unauthenticated private document, plaintiffs
computer print out (Exhibit G), the former deserves greater evidentiary
weight supporting the findings of this Court that plaintiffs preferred
master card (Exhibit 1) had never been blacklisted at all or placed in a
so-called hot list by defendant.49

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Prof. Avena

20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

Petitioner next argues that with the additional deposit he made in his
account which was accepted by Citibank, there was an implied novation
and Citibank was under the obligation to increase his credit limit and
make the necessary entries in its computerized systems in order that
petitioner may not encounter any embarrassing situation with the use of
his credit card. Again, the Court finds that petitioner's argument on this
point has no leg to stand on.
Citibank never denied that it received petitioners additional deposit.50 It
even claimed that petitioner was able to purchase plane tickets from
Cebu to Kuala Lumpur in the amount of P237,170.00, which amount was
beyond hisP150,000.00 limit, because it was able to credit petitioners
additional deposit to his account. Flores of Citibank testified:

Page 16 of 95

COURT:
So, Atty. Navarro, what do you say to that explanation?
ATTY. NAVARRO [counsel of petitioner]:
That is correct, your honor, that is borne out by the records, your
honor. (Emphasis supplied)
COURT: (to witness)
Q So, I think Atty. Navarro is only after whether a credit line could be
extended?

COURT:

A Yes, your honor.

Q When was this ticket purchased, after the account was augmented

Q Even if there is no augmenting?

or before?

A No, sir, it is not possible. So, the only way the P237,000.00
transaction could be approved was by way of advance payment
which actually happened in this case because there is no way that
the P237,000.00 can be approved with the P150,000.00 credit
limit.52 (Emphasis supplied)

A After the account was augmented, Your Honor, because there is no


way we can approve a P250,000.00 purchase with a P150,000.00 credit
limit.51
xxx
ATTY. NERI:
For the record, your honor, the deposit of P450,000.00 was made as
per exhibit of the plaintiff on June 28. The purchase of the tickets
amount to P237,000.00 was approved and debited on the account
of Mr. Aznar on July 20, your honor. The deposit was made about a
month before the purchase of the tickets as per documentary
exhibits, your honor.

The allegations of blacklisting not having been proved, is Citibank liable


for damages for the dishonor of Aznars Mastercard?
Again, the answer is no.
Citibank, in its attempt to evade liability, invokes paragraphs 7 and 15 of
the terms and conditions governing the issuance of its Mastercard which
read:

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Prof. Avena

20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

7. MERCHANT AFFILIATES. [Citibank is] not responsible if the Card is


not honored by any merchant affiliate for any reason. Furthermore, [the
cardholder] will not hold [Citibank] responsible for any defective
product or service purchased through the Card.
xxxx
15. LIMITATION OF LIABILITY. In any action arising from this
agreement or any incident thereto which [the cardholder] or any other
party may file against [Citibank], [Citibanks] liability shall not exceed
One Thousand Pesos [P1,000.00] or the actual damages proven,
whichever is lesser.53
On this point, the Court agrees with Aznar that the terms and conditions
of Citibanks Mastercard constitute a contract of adhesion. It is settled
that contracts between cardholders and the credit card companies are
contracts of adhesion, so-called, because their terms are prepared by
only one party while the other merely affixes his signature signifying his
adhesion thereto.54
In this case, paragraph 7 of the terms and conditions states that
"[Citibank is] not responsible if the Card is not honored by any merchant
affiliate for any reason x x x". While it is true that Citibank may have no
control of all the actions of its merchant affiliates, and should not be held
liable therefor, it is incorrect, however, to give it blanket freedom from
liability if its card is dishonored by any merchant affiliate for any reason.
Such phrase renders the statement vague and as the said terms and
conditions constitute a contract of adhesion, any ambiguity in its
provisions must be construed against the party who prepared the
contract,55 in this case Citibank.
Citibank also invokes paragraph 15 of its terms and conditions which
limits its liability to P1,000.00 or the actual damage proven, whichever is
lesser.

Page 17 of 95

Again, such stipulation cannot be considered as valid for being


unconscionable as it precludes payment of a larger amount even though
damage may be clearly proven. This Court is not precluded from ruling
out blind adherence to the terms of a contract if the attendant facts and
circumstances show that they should be ignored for being obviously too
one-sided.56
The invalidity of the terms and conditions being invoked by Citibank,
notwithstanding, the Court still cannot award damages in favor of
petitioner.
It is settled that in order that a plaintiff may maintain an action for the
injuries of which he complains, he must establish that such injuries
resulted from a breach of duty which the defendant owed to the plaintiff
a concurrence of injury to the plaintiff and legal responsibility by the
person causing it. The underlying basis for the award of tort damages is
the premise that an individual was injured in contemplation of law; thus
there must first be a breach before damages may be awarded and the
breach of such duty should be the proximate cause of the injury.57
It is not enough that one merely suffered sleepless nights, mental
anguish or serious anxiety as a result of the actuations of the other party.
It is also required that a culpable act or omission was factually
established, that proof that the wrongful act or omission of the
defendant is shown as the proximate cause of the damage sustained by
the claimant and that the case is predicated on any of the instances
expressed or envisioned by Arts. 221958 and 222059 of the Civil Code.60
In culpa contractual or breach of contract, moral damages are
recoverable only if the defendant has acted fraudulently or in bad faith,
or is found guilty of gross negligence amounting to bad faith, or
in wanton disregard of his contractual obligations. The breach must
be wanton, reckless, malicious or in bad faith, oppressive or abusive.61

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Prof. Avena

20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

While the Court commiserates with Aznar for whatever undue


embarrassment he suffered when his credit card was dishonored by
Ingtan Agency, especially when the agencys personnel insinuated that
he could be a swindler trying to use blacklisted cards, the Court cannot
grant his present petition as he failed to show by preponderance of
evidence that Citibank breached any obligation that would make it
answerable for said suffering.
As the Court pronounced in BPI Express Card Corporation v. Court of
Appeals,62
We do not dispute the findings of the lower court that private
respondent suffered damages as a result of the cancellation of his credit
card. However, there is a material distinction between damages and
injury. Injury is the illegal invasion of a legal right; damage is the loss,
hurt, or harm which results from the injury; and damages are the
recompense or compensation awarded for the damage suffered. Thus,
there can be damage without injury to those instances in which the loss
or harm was not the result of a violation of a legal duty. In such cases, the
consequences must be borne by the injured person alone, the law affords
no remedy for damages resulting from an act which does not amount to
a legal injury or wrong. These situations are often called damnum absque
injuria.63
WHEREFORE, the petition is denied for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Foonotes
Penned by Associate Justice Perlita J. Tria Tirona and concurred
in by Associate Justices Portia Alio-Hormachuelos and
Rosalinda Asuncion-Vicente; rollo, pp. 51-76.

Page 18 of 95

President and Chairman of the Board of E.B. Aznar Shipping


Corp., E.B. Aznar Mining Corp., and E.B. Aznar Guardian Security
and Detective Agency; Director and stockholder of Aznar
Enterprises Inc.; and Director of Aznar Brothers Realty Corp. and
Southwestern University, TSN, Emmanuel Aznar, February 22,
1995, pp. 5-6.
2

Rollo, p. 52 (CA Decision); Records p. 293 (RTC Decision).

Id.

Records, p. 293 (RTC Decision); TSN, Emmanuel Aznar,


February 22, 1995, pp. 11-12.
5

Id. at 293 (RTC Decision); Records, p. 3 (Complaint); TSN,


Emmanuel Aznar, February 22, 1995, p. 15.
6

Id. at 3 (Complaint).

Rollo, p. 53 (CA Decision).

Records, p. 4.

10

Id.

11

Spelled as "Rubi" in other parts of the records.

12

Id. at 153, 295.

13

Id. at 20-21.

14

Id. at 293.

15

Id. at 298.

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16

Prof. Avena

20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

Exh. "G".

Exhs. "3", "3-1" to "3-38", "4", "4-1" to "4-38", "5", "5-1" to "539", "6", "6-1" to "6-39", "7", "7-1" to "7-37", "8", "8-1" to "8-20".

Page 19 of 95

(c) by other evidence showing its integrity and reliability


to the satisfaction of the judge.

17

18

Records, p. 297.

19

Id. at 298.

20

Id. at 299-302.

21

Id. at 304.

22

Id. at 332.

23

Id. at 328-331.

See Neri v. De la Pea, A.M. No. RTJ-05-1896, April 29, 2005,


457 SCRA 539, 544.

Sec. 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:
27

(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.
28

Rollo, pp. 68-76, (CA Decision, pp. 18-26).

29

Id. at 92.

24

25

Rollo, p. 76.

Section 2. Manner of authentication. - Before any private


electronic document offered as authentic is received in evidence,
its authenticity must be proved by any of the following means:
26

(a) by evidence that it had been digitally signed by the


person purported to have signed the same;
(b) by evidence that other appropriate security
procedures or devices as may be authorized by the
Supreme Court or by law for authentication of electronic
documents were applied to the document; or

Penned by Associate Justice Renato C. Corona and concurred in


by Associate Justices Artemio V. Panganiban, Angelina SandovalGutierrez, Conchita Carpio-Morales and Cancio C. Garcia.
30

31

Neri v. De la Pea, supra note 24, at 547- 548.

Sec. 5. xxx When issues not raised by the pleadings are tried
with the express or implied consent of the parties, they shall be
treated in all respects as if they had been raised in the pleadings.
Such amendment of the pleadings as may be necessary to cause
them to conform to the evidence and to raise these issues may be
made upon motion of any party at any time, even after judgment;
but failure to amend does not affect the result of the trial of these
issues. xxx
32

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33

Prof. Avena

20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

Rollo, pp. 17-24.

Art. 1170. Those who in the performance of their obligation


are guilty of fraud, negligence, or delay and those who in any
manner contravene the tenor thereof, are liable for damages.
34

49

CA rollo, pp. 150-151 (CA Decision, pp. 10-11).

50

TSN, Dennis Flores, September 18, 1995, p. 10.

51

Id. at 12.

Page 20 of 95

35

Rollo, pp. 104-118.

52

TSN, Dennis Flores, October 9, 1995, pp. 5-6.

36

Id. at 137-142.

53

Records, p. 26, Annex "A."

37

Id. at 164-165.

54

BPI Express Card Corp. v. Olalia, 423 Phil. 593, 599 (2001).

38

Id. at 165-171.

55

Polotan, Sr. v. Court of Appeals, 357 Phil. 250, 258 (1998).

39

Id. at 190-224.

56

Id. at 259.

40

Citibank N.A. Mastercard v. Teodoro, 458 Phil. 480, 488 (2003).

57

41

See records, p. 297 (RTC Decision, p. 9).

BPI Express Card Corporation v. Court of Appeals, 357 Phil. 262,


276 (1998).
Art. 2219. Moral damages may be recovered in the following
and analogous cases:
58

42

TSN, March 22, 1995, p. 13.

43

Id. at 8; TSN, May 9, 1995, pp. 3-4.

(1) A criminal offense resulting in physical injuries;

44

TSN, February 22, 1995, pp. 15-17.

(2) Quasi-delicts causing physical injuries;

45

Records, p. 295.

(3) Seduction, abduction, rape, or other lascivious acts;

46

TSN, March 22, 1995, p. 13.

(4) Adultery or concubinage;

Security Bank and Trust Company v. Gan, G.R. No. 150464, June
27, 2006, 493 SCRA 239, 244-245.
47

(5) Illegal or arbitrary detention or arrest;


(6) Illegal search;

48

Records, p. 153.
(7) Libel, slander or any other form of defamation;

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20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

(8) Malicious prosecution;


(9) Acts mentioned in article 309;
(10) Acts and actions referred to in articles 21, 26, 27, 28,
29, 30, 32, 34, and 35.
xxx
Art. 2220. Willful injury to property may be a legal ground for
awarding moral damages if the court should find that, under the
circumstances, such damages are justly due. The same rule
applies to breaches of contract where the defendant acted
fraudulently or in bad faith.
59

Equitable Banking Corp. v. Calderon, G.R. No. 156168,


December 14, 2004, 446 SCRA 271, 276.
60

61

Id. at 277.

62

Supra note 57.

63

Id. at 275-276.

Page 21 of 95

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20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 169606

November 27, 2009

BERNARDO B. JOSE, JR., Petitioner,


vs.
MICHAELMAR PHILS., INC. and MICHAELMAR SHIPPING SERVICES,
INC., Respondents.
DECISION
CARPIO, J.:
The Case
This is a petition1 for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules
of Court. The petition challenges the 11 May 2005 Decision2 and 5
August 2005 Resolution3 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
83272. The Court of Appeals set aside the 19 January4 and 22
March5 2004 Resolutions of the National Labor Relations
Commission (NLRC) in NLRC NCR CA No. 036666-03 and reinstated
the 18 June 2003 Decision6 of the Labor Arbiter in NLRC NCR OFW
Case No. (M)02-12-3137-00.
The Facts
Michaelmar Philippines, Inc. (MPI) is the Philippine agent of Michaelmar
Shipping Services, Inc. (MSSI). In an undertaking7 dated 2 July 2002 and
an employment contract8 dated 4 July 2002, MSSI through MPI engaged

Page 22 of 95

the services of Bernardo B. Jose, Jr. (Jose, Jr.) as oiler of M/T Limar. The
employment contract stated:
That the employee shall be employed on board under the following
terms and conditions:
1.1 Duration of
Contract

EIGHT (8) MONTHS

Position

OILER

Basic Monthly Salary

US$ 450.00 & US$ 39.00 TANKER


ALLOWANCE

Hours of Work

48 HOURS/WEEK

Overtime

US$ 386.00 FIXED OT. 105 HRS/ MOS.

Vacation Leave with


Pay

US$ 190.00 & US$ 150 OWNERS BONUS

Point of Hire

MANILA, PHILIPPINES9

In connection with the employment contract, Jose, Jr. signed a


declaration10 dated 10 June 2002 stating that:
In order to implement the Drug and Alcohol Policy on board the
managed vessels the following with [sic] apply:
All alcoholic beverages, banned substances and unprescribed drugs
including but not limited to the following: Marijuana Cocaine
Phencyclidine Amphetamines Heroin Opiates are banned from Stelmar
Tankers (Management) Ltd. managed vessels.

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20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

Disciplinary action up to and including dismissal will be taken against


any employee found to be in possession of or impaired by the use of any
of the above mentioned substances.
A system of random testing for any of the above banned substances will
be used to enforce this policy. Any refusal to submit to such tests shall be
deemed as a serious breach of the employment contract and shall result
to the seamans dismissal due to his own offense.
Therefore any seaman will be instantly dismissed if:

Page 23 of 95

Clinic, Inc.,13 and Maritime Clinic for International Services, Inc.14 He was
found negative for marijuana.
Jose, Jr. filed with the NLRC a complaint against MPI and MSSI for illegal
dismissal with claim for his salaries for the unexpired portion of the
employment contract.
The Labor Arbiters Ruling
In her 18 June 2003 Decision, the Labor Arbiter dismissed the complaint
for lack of merit. The Labor Arbiter held that:

xxx
They are found to have positive trace of alcohol or any of the banned
substances in any random testing sample.
Jose, Jr. began performing his duties on board the M/T Limar on 21
August 2002. On 8 October 2002, a random drug test was conducted on
all officers and crew members of M/T Limar at the port of Curacao. Jose,
Jr. was found positive for marijuana. Jose, Jr. was informed about the
result of his drug test and was asked if he was taking any medication.
Jose, Jr. said that he was taking Centrum vitamins.
Jose, Jr. was allowed to continue performing his duties on board the M/T
Limar from 8 October to 29 November 2002. In the Sea Going Staff
Appraisal Report11 on Jose Jr.s work performance for the period of 1
August to 28 November 2002, Jose, Jr. received a 96% total rating and
was described as very hardworking, trustworthy, and reliable.
On 29 December 2002, M/T Limar reached the next port after the
random drug test and Jose, Jr. was repatriated to the Philippines. When
Jose, Jr. arrived in the Philippines, he asked MPI that a drug test be
conducted on him. MPI ignored his request. On his own, Jose, Jr.
procured drug tests from Manila Doctors Hospital,12 S.M. Lazo Medical

Based from the facts and evidence, this office inclined [sic] to rule
in favor of the respondents: we find that complainants termination
from employment was valid and lawful. It is established that
complainant, after an unannounced drug test conducted by the
respondent principal on the officers and crew on board the vessel,
was found positive of marijuana, a prohibited drug. It is a
universally known fact the menace that drugs bring on the user as
well as to others who may have got on his way. It is noted too that
complainant worked on board a tanker vessel which carries toxic
materials such as fuels, gasoline and other combustible materials
which require delicate and careful handling and being an oiler,
complainant is expected to be in a proper disposition. Thus, we
agree with respondents that immediate repatriation of
complainant is warranted for the safety of the vessel as well as to
complainants co-workers on board. It is therefore a risk that
should be avoided at all cost. Moreover, under the POEA Standard
Employment Contract as cited by the respondents (supra), violation
of the drug and alcohol policy of the company carries with it the
penalty of dismissal to be effected by the master of the vessel. It is
also noted that complainant was made aware of the results of the
drug test as per Drug Test Certificate dated October 29, 2002. He

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20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

was not dismissed right there and then but it was only on December
29, 2002 that he was repatriated for cause.
As to the complainants contention that the ship doctors report can not
be relied upon in the absence of other evidence supporting the doctors
findings for the simple reason that the ship doctor is under the control of
the principal employer, the same is untenable. On the contrary, the
findings of the doctor on board should be given credence as he would
not make a false clarification. Dr. A.R.A Heath could not be said to have
outrageously contrived the results of the complainants drug test. We are
therefore more inclined to believe the original results of the
unannounced drug test as it was officially conducted on board the vessel
rather than the subsequent testing procured by complainant on his own
initiative. The result of the original drug test is evidence in itself and
does not require additional supporting evidence except if it was shown
that the drug test was conducted not in accordance with the drug testing
procedure which is not obtaining in this particular case. [H]ence, the
first test prevails.
We can not also say that respondents were motivated by ill will against
the complainant considering that he was appraised to be a good worker.
For this reason that respondents would not terminate [sic] the services
of complainant were it not for the fact that he violated the drug and
alcohol policy of the company. [T]hus, we find that just cause exist [sic]
to justify the termination of complainant.15
Jose, Jr. appealed the Labor Arbiters 18 June 2003 Decision to the NLRC.
Jose, Jr. claimed that the Labor Arbiter committed grave abuse of
discretion in ruling that he was dismissed for just cause.
The NLRCs Ruling
In its 19 January 2004 Resolution, the NLRC set aside the Labor
Arbiters 18 June 2003 Decision. The NLRC held that Jose, Jr.s

Page 24 of 95

dismissal was illegal and ordered MPI and MSSI to pay Jose, Jr. his
salaries for the unexpired portion of the employment contract. The
NLRC held that:
Here, a copy of the purported drug test result for Complainant
indicates, among others, the following typewritten words "Hoofd:
Drs. R.R.L. Petronia Apotheker" and "THC-COOH POS."; the
handwritten word "Marihuana"; and the stamped words "Dr. A.R.A.
Heath, MD", "SHIPS DOCTOR" and "29 OKT. 2002." However, said
test result does not contain any signature, much less the signature
of any of the doctors whose names were printed therein (Page 45,
Records). Verily, the veracity of this purported drug test result is
questionable, hence, it cannot be deemed as substantial proof that
Complainant violated his employers "no alcohol, no drug" policy. In
fact, in his November 14, 2002 message to Stelmar Tanker Group,
the Master of the vessel where Complainant worked, suggested that
another drug test for complainant should be taken when the vessel
arrived [sic] in Curacao next call for final findings (Page 33,
Records), which is an indication that the Master, himself, was in
doubt with the purported drug test result. Indeed there is reason
for the Master of the vessel to doubt that Complainant was taking in
the prohibited drug "marihuana." The Sea Going Staff Appraisal
Report signed by Appraiser David A. Amaro, Jr. and reviewed by the
Master of the vessel himself on complainants work performance as
Wiper from August 1, 2002 to November 28, 2002 which included a
two-month period after the purported drug test, indicates that out
of a total score of 100% on Safety Consciousness (30%), Ability
(30%), Reliability (20%) and Behavior & Attitude (20%),
Complainant was assessed a score of 96% (Pages 30-31, Records).
Truly, a worker who had been taking in prohibited drug could not
have given such an excellent job performance. Significantly, under
the category "Behavior & Attitude (20%)," referring to his personal
relationship and his interactions with the rest of the ships staff and
his attitude towards his job and how the rest of the crew regard

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20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

him, Complainant was assessed the full score of 20% (Page 31,
Records), which belies Respondents insinuation that his alleged
offense directly affected the safety of the vessel, its officers and
crew members. Indeed, if Complainant had been a threat to the
safety of the vessel, officers and crew members, he would not be
been [sic] allowed to continue working almost three (3) months
after his alleged offense until his repatriation on December 29,
2002. Clearly, Respondents failed to present substantial proof that
Complainants dismissal was with just or authorized cause.
Moreover, Respondents failed to accord Complainant due process prior
to his dismissal. There is no showing that Complainants employer
furnished him with a written notice apprising him of the particular act or
omission for which his dismissal was sought and a subsequent written
notice informing him of the decision to dismiss him, much less any proof
that Complainant was given an opportunity to answer and rebut the
charges against him prior to his dismissal. Worse, Respondents invoke
the provision in the employment contract which allows summary
dismissal for cases provided therein. Consequently, Respondents argue
that there was no need for him to be notified of his dismissal. Such
blatant violation of basic labor law principles cannot be permitted by
this Office. Although a contract is law between the parties, the provisions
of positive law which regulate such contracts are deemed included and
shall limit and govern the relations between the parties (Asia World
Recruitment, Inc. vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 113363, August 24, 1999).
Relative thereto, it is worth noting Section 10 of Republic Act No. 8042,
which provides that "In cases of termination of overseas employment
without just, valid or authorized cause as defined by law or contract, the
worker shall be entitled to the full reimbursement of his placement fee
with interest of twelve percent (12%) per annum, plus his salaries for
the unexpired portion of his employment contract or for three (3)
months for every year of the unexpired term, whichever is less."16

Page 25 of 95

MPI and MSSI filed a motion for reconsideration. In its 22 March


2004 Resolution, the NLRC denied the motion for lack of merit. MPI
and MSSI filed with the Court of Appeals a petition17 for certiorari
under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. MPI and MSSI claimed that the
NLRC gravely abused its discretion when it (1) reversed the Labor
Arbiters factual finding that Jose, Jr. was legally dismissed; (2)
awarded Jose, Jr. his salaries for the unexpired portion of the
employment contract; (3) awarded Jose, Jr. $386 overtime pay; and
(4) ruled that Jose, Jr. perfected his appeal within the reglementary
period.
The Court of Appeals Ruling
In its 11 May 2005 Decision, the Court of Appeals set aside the 19
January and 22 March 2004 Resolutions of the NLRC and reinstated the
18 June 2003 Decision of the Labor Arbiter. The Court of Appeals held
that:
The POEA standard employment contract adverted to in the labor
arbiters decision to which all seamens contracts must adhere explicitly
provides that the failure of a seaman to obey the policy warrants a
penalty of dismissal which may be carried out by the master even
without a notice of dismissal if there is a clear and existing danger to the
safety of the vessel or the crew. That the petitioners were implementing
a no-alcohol, no drug policy that was communicated to the respondent
when he embarked is not in question. He had signed a document entitled
Drug and Alcohol Declaration in which he acknowledged that alcohol
beverages and unprescribed drugs such as marijuana were banned on
the vessel and that any employee found possessing or using these
substances would be subject to instant dismissal. He undertook to
comply with the policy and abide by all the relevant rules and guidelines,
including the system of random testing that would be employed to
enforce it.

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20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

We can hardly belabor the reasons and justification for this policy. The
safety of the vessel on the high seas is a matter of supreme and
unavoidable concern to all the owners, the crew and the riding public.
In the ultimate analysis, a vessel is only as seaworthy as the men who
sail it, so that it is necessary to maintain at every moment the efficiency
and competence of the crew. Without an effective no alcohol, no drug
policy on board the ship, the vessels safety will be seriously
compromised. The policy is, therefore, a reasonable and lawful order or
regulation that, once made known to the employee, must be observed by
him, and the failure or refusal of a seaman to comply with it should
constitute serious misconduct or willful disobedience that is a just cause
for the termination of employment under the Labor Code (Aparente vs.
National Labor Relations Commission, 331 SCRA 82). As the labor
arbiter has discerned, the seriousness and earnestness in the
enforcement of the ban is highlighted by the provision of the POEA
Standard Employment Contract allowing the ship master to forego the
notice of dismissal requirement in effecting the repatriation of the
seaman violating it.
xxxx
Under legal rules of evidence, not all unsigned documents or papers fail
the test of admissibility. There are kinds of evidence known as
exceptions to the hearsay rule which need not be invariably signed by
the author if it is clear that it issues from him because of necessity and
under circumstances that safeguard the trustworthiness of the paper. A
number of evidence of this sort are called entries in the course of
business, which are transactions made by persons in the regular course
of their duty or business. We agree with the labor arbiter that the drug
test result constitutes entries made in the ordinary or regular course of
duty of a responsible officer of the vessel. The tests administered to the
crew were routine measures of the vessel conducted to enforce its stated
policy, and it was a matter of course for medical reports to be issued and
released by the medical officer. The ships physician at Curacao under

Page 26 of 95

whom the tests were conducted was admittedly Dr. Heath. It was under
his name and with his handwritten comments that the report on the
respondent came out, and there is no basis to suspect that these results
were issued other than in the ordinary course of his duty. As the labor
arbiter points out, the drug test report is evidence in itself and does not
require additional supporting evidence except if it appears that the drug
test was conducted not in accordance with drug testing procedures.
Nothing of the sort, he says, has even been suggested in this particular
case.
The regularity of the procedure observed in the administration and
reporting of the tests is the very assurance of the reports admissibility
and credibility under the laws of the evidence. We see no reason why it
cannot be considered substantial evidence, which, parenthetically, is the
lowest rung in the ladder of evidence. It is from the fact that a report or
entry is a part of the regular routine work of a business or profession
that it derives its value as legal evidence.
Then the respondent was notified of the results and allowed to explain
himself. He could not show any history of medication that could account
for the traces of drugs in his system. Despite his lack of plausible
excuses, the ship captain came out in support of him and asked his
superiors to give him another chance. These developments prove that
the respondent was afforded due process consistent with the exigencies
of his service at sea. For the NLRC to annul the process because he was
somehow not furnished with written notice is already being pedantic.
What is the importance to the respondent of the difference between a
written and verbal notice when he was actually given the opportunity to
be heard? x x x
The working environment in a seagoing vessel is sui generis which
amply justifies the difference in treatment of seamen found guilty of
serious infractions at sea. The POEA Standard Employment Contract
allows the ship master to implement a repatriation for just cause

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Prof. Avena

20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

without a notice of dismissal if this is necessary to avoid a clear and


existing danger to the vessel. The petitioners have explained that that
[sic] it is usually at the next port of call where the offending crewman is
made to disembark. In this case, a month had passed by after the date of
the medical report before they reached the next port. We may not
second-guess the judgment of the master in allowing him to remain at
his post in the meantime. It is still reasonable to believe that the proper
safeguards were taken and proper limitations observed during the
period when the respondent remained on board.
Finally, the fact that the respondent obtained negative results in
subsequent drug tests in the Philippines does not negate the findings
made of his condition on board the vessel. A drug test can be negative if
the user undergoes a sufficient period of abstinence before taking the
test. Unlike the tests made at his instance, the drug test on the vessel was
unannounced. The credibility of the first test is, therefore, greater than
the subsequent ones.18
Jose, Jr. filed a motion19 for reconsideration. In its 5 August 2005
Resolution, the Court of Appeals denied the motion for lack of merit.
Hence, the present petition.
motion20

In a
dated 1 August 2007, MPI and MSSI prayed that they be
substituted by OSG Ship Management Manila, Inc. as respondent in the
present case. In a Resolution21 dated 14 November 2007, the Court
noted the motion.
The Issues
In his petition dated 13 September 2005, Jose, Jr. claims that he was
illegally dismissed from employment for two reasons: (1) there is no just
cause for his dismissal because the drug test result is unsigned by the
doctor, and (2) he was not afforded due process. He stated that:

Page 27 of 95

2. The purported drug test result conducted to petitioner indicates,


among others, the following: [sic] typwritten words Hool: Drs. R.R.L..
[sic] Petronia Apotheker" [sic] and :THC-COOH POS." [sic]; the
handwritten word "Marihuana"; and the stamped words "Dr. A.R.A
Heath, MD", "SHIPS DOCTOR" and "29 OKT. 2002." However, said test
result does not contain any signature, much less the signature of any of
the doctors whose name [sic] were printed therein. This omission is fatal
as it goes to the veracity of the said purported drug test result.
Consequently, the purported drug test result cannot be deemed as
substantial proof that petitioner violated his employers "no alcohol, no
drug policy [sic].
xxxx
Even assuming arguendo that there was just cause, respondents
miserably failed to show that the presence of the petitioner in the
vessel constitutes a clear and existing danger to the safety of the
crew or the vessel. x x x
xxxx
It is a basic principle in Labor Law that in termination disputes, the
burden is on the employer to show that the dismissal was for a just and
valid cause. x x x
xxxx
x x x [T]he Honorable Labor Arbiter as well as the Honorable Court of
Appeals clearly erred in ruling that there was just cause for the
termination of petitioners employment. Petitioners employment was
terminated on the basis only of a mere allegation that is unsubstantiated,
unfounded and on the basis of the drug test report that was not even
signed by the doctor who purportedly conducted such test.

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Prof. Avena

20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

5. Moreover, respondents failed to observe due process in terminating


petitioners employment. There is no evidence on record that petitioner
was furnished by his employer with a written notice apprising him of the
particular act or omission which is the basis for his dismissal.
Furthermore, there is also no evidence on record that the second notice,
informing petitioner of the decision to dismiss, was served to the
petitioner. There is also no proof on record that petitioner was given an
opportunity to answer and rebut the charges against him prior to the
dismissal.22
The Courts Ruling
In its 11 May 2005 Decision, the Court of Appeals held that there was
just cause for Jose, Jr.s dismissal. The Court of Appeals gave credence to
the drug test result showing that Jose, Jr. was positive for marijuana. The
Court of Appeals considered the drug test result as part of entries in the
course of business. The Court of Appeals held that:
Under legal rules of evidence, not all unsigned documents or papers fail
the test of admissibility. There are kinds of evidence known as
exceptions to the hearsay rule which need not be invariably signed by
the author if it is clear that it issues from him because of necessity and
under circumstances that safeguard the trustworthiness of the paper. A
number of evidence of this sort are called entries in the course of
business, which are transactions made by persons in the regular course
of their duty or business. We agree with the labor arbiter that the drug
test result constitutes entries made in the ordinary or regular course of
duty of a responsible officer of the vessel. The tests administered to the
crew were routine measures of the vessel conducted to enforce its stated
policy, and it was a matter of course for medical reports to be issued and
released by the medical officer. The ships physician at Curacao under
whom the tests were conducted was admittedly Dr. Heath. It was under
his name and with his handwritten comments that the report on the
respondent came out, and there is no basis to suspect that these results

Page 28 of 95

were issued other than in the ordinary course of his duty. As the labor
arbiter points out, the drug test report is evidence in itself and does not
require additional supporting evidence except if it appears that the drug
test was conducted not in accordance with drug testing procedures.
Nothing of the sort, he says, has even been suggested in this particular
case.23 (Emphasis supplied)
Jose, Jr. claims that the Court of Appeals erred when it ruled that there
was just cause for his dismissal. The Court is not impressed. In a petition
for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, a mere
statement that the Court of Appeals erred is insufficient. The petition
must state the law or jurisprudence and the particular ruling of the
appellate court violative of such law or jurisprudence. In Encarnacion v.
Court of Appeals,24 the Court held that:
Petitioner asserts that there is a question of law involved in this appeal.
We do not think so. The appeal involves an appreciation of facts, i.e.,
whether the questioned decision is supported by the evidence and the
records of the case. In other words, did the Court of Appeals commit a
reversible error in considering the trouble record of the subject
telephone? Or is this within the province of the appellate court to
consider? Absent grave abuse of discretion, this Court will not reverse
the appellate courts findings of fact.
In a petition for review under Rule 45, Rules of Court, invoking the usual
reason, i.e., that the Court of Appeals has decided a question of substance
not in accord with law or with applicable decisions of the Supreme
Court, a mere statement of the ceremonial phrase is not sufficient to
confer merit on the petition. The petition must specify the law or
prevailing jurisprudence on the matter and the particular ruling of the
appellate court violative of such law or previous doctrine laid down by
the Supreme Court. (Emphasis supplied)

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Prof. Avena

20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

In the present case, Jose, Jr. did not show that the Court of Appeals
ruling is violative of any law or jurisprudence. Section 43, Rule 130, of
the Rules of Court states:
SEC. 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 or duty.1avvphi1
In Canque v. Court of Appeals,25 the Court laid down the requisites for
admission in evidence of entries in the course of business: (1) the person
who made the entry is dead, outside the country, or unable to testify; (2)
the entries were made at or near the time of the transactions to which
they refer; (3) the person who made the entry was in a position to know
the facts stated in the entries; (4) the entries were made in a
professional capacity or in the performance of a duty; and (5) the entries
were made in the ordinary or regular course of business or duty.
Here, all the requisites are present: (1) Dr. Heath is outside the country;
(2) the entries were made near the time the random drug test was
conducted; (3) Dr. Heath was in a position to know the facts made in the
entries; (4) Dr. Heath made the entries in his professional capacity and
in the performance of his duty; and (5) the entries were made in the
ordinary or regular course of business or duty.
The fact that the drug test result is unsigned does not necessarily lead to
the conclusion that Jose, Jr. was not found positive for marijuana. In KAR
ASIA, Inc. v. Corona,26 the Court admitted in evidence unsigned payrolls.
In that case, the Court held that:
Entries in the payroll, being entries in the course of business, enjoy the
presumption of regularity under Rule 130, Section 43 of the Rules of

Page 29 of 95

Court. It is therefore incumbent upon the respondents to adduce clear


and convincing evidence in support of their claim. Unfortunately,
respondents naked assertions without proof in corroboration will not
suffice to overcome the disputable presumption.
In disputing the probative value of the payrolls for December 1994, the
appellate court observed that the same contain only the signatures of
Ermina Daray and Celestino Barreto, the paymaster and the president,
respectively. It further opined that the payrolls presented were only
copies of the approved payment, and not copies disclosing actual
payment.
The December 1994 payrolls contain a computation of the amounts
payable to the employees for the given period, including a breakdown of
the allowances and deductions on the amount due, but the signatures of
the respondents are conspicuously missing. Ideally, the signatures of the
respondents should appear in the payroll as evidence of actual payment.
However, the absence of such signatures does not necessarily lead to the
conclusion that the December 1994 COLA was not received. (Emphasis
supplied)
In the present case, the following facts are established (1) random drug
tests are regularly conducted on all officers and crew members of M/T
Limar; (2) a random drug test was conducted at the port of Curacao on 8
October 2002; (3) Dr. Heath was the authorized physician of M/T Limar;
(4) the drug test result of Jose, Jr. showed that he was positive for
marijuana; (5) the drug test result was issued under Dr. Heaths name
and contained his handwritten comments. The Court of Appeals found
that:
The tests administered to the crew were routine measures of the vessel
conducted to enforce its stated policy, and it was a matter of course for
medical reports to be issued and released by the medical officer. The
ships physician at Curacao under whom the tests were conducted was

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Prof. Avena

20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

admittedly Dr. Heath. It was under his name and with his handwritten
comments that the report on the respondent came out, and there is no
basis to suspect that these results were issued other than in the ordinary
course of his duty. As the labor arbiter points out, the drug test report is
evidence in itself and does not require additional supporting evidence
except if it appears that the drug test was conducted not in accordance
with drug testing procedures. Nothing of the sort, he says, has even been
suggested in this particular case.27
Factual findings of the Court of Appeals are binding on the Court. Absent
grave abuse of discretion, the Court will not disturb the Court of Appeals
factual findings.28 In Encarnacion,29 the Court held that, "unless there is a
clearly grave or whimsical abuse on its part, findings of fact of the
appellate court will not be disturbed. The Supreme Court will only
exercise its power of review in known exceptions such as gross
misappreciation of evidence or a total void of evidence." Jose, Jr. failed to
show that the Court of Appeals gravely abused its discretion.
Article 282(a) of the Labor Code states that the employer may terminate
an employment for serious misconduct. Drug use in the premises of the
employer constitutes serious misconduct. In Bughaw, Jr. v. Treasure
Island Industrial Corporation,30 the Court held that:
The charge of drug use inside the companys premises and during
working hours against petitioner constitutes serious misconduct, which
is one of the just causes for termination. Misconduct is improper or
wrong conduct. It is the transgression of some established and definite
rule of action, a forbidden act, a dereliction of duty, willful in character,
and implies wrongful intent and not merely an error in judgment. The
misconduct to be serious within the meaning of the Act must be of such a
grave and aggravated character and not merely trivial or unimportant.
Such misconduct, however serious, must nevertheless, in connection
with the work of the employee, constitute just cause for his separation.
This Court took judicial notice of scientific findings that drug abuse can

Page 30 of 95

damage the mental faculties of the user. It is beyond question therefore


that any employee under the influence of drugs cannot possibly continue
doing his duties without posing a serious threat to the lives and property
of his co-workers and even his employer. (Emphasis supplied)
Jose, Jr. claims that he was not afforded due process. The Court agrees.
There are two requisites for a valid dismissal: (1) there must be just
cause, and (2) the employee must be afforded due process.31 To meet the
requirements of due process, the employer must furnish the employee
with two written notices a notice apprising the employee of the
particular act or omission for which the dismissal is sought and another
notice informing the employee of the employers decision to dismiss.
In Talidano v. Falcon Maritime & Allied Services, Inc.,32 the Court held
that:
[R]espondent failed to comply with the procedural due process required
for terminating the employment of the employee. Such requirement is
not a mere formality that may be dispensed with at will. Its disregard is a
matter of serious concern since it constitutes a safeguard of the highest
order in response to mans innate sense of justice. The Labor Code does
not, of course, require a formal or trial type proceeding before an erring
employee may be dismissed. This is especially true in the case of a vessel
on the ocean or in a foreign port. The minimum requirement of due
process termination proceedings, which must be complied with even
with respect to seamen on board a vessel, consists of notice to the
employees intended to be dismissed and the grant to them of an
opportunity to present their own side of the alleged offense or
misconduct, which led to the managements decision to terminate. To
meet the requirements of due process, the employer must furnish the
worker sought to be dismissed with two written notices before
termination of employment can be legally effected, i.e., (1) a notice
which apprises the employee of the particular acts or omissions for
which his dismissal is sought; and (2) the subsequent notice after due

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Prof. Avena

20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

hearing which informs the employee of the employers decision to


dismiss him. (Emphasis supplied)
In the present case, Jose, Jr. was not given any written notice about his
dismissal. However, the propriety of Jose, Jr.s dismissal is not affected
by the lack of written notices. When the dismissal is for just cause, the
lack of due process does not render the dismissal ineffectual but merely
gives rise to the payment of P30,000 in nominal damages.33
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The 11 May 2005 Decision and 5
August 2005 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 83272
are AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that OSG Ship Management
Manila, Inc. is ordered to pay Bernardo B. Jose, Jr. P30,000 in nominal
damages.
SO ORDERED.
Footnotes
*

Designated additional member per Special Order No. 776.


Rollo, pp. 9-24.

Id. at 30-38. Penned by Associate Justice Mario L. Guaria III,


with Associate Justices Rebecca de Guia-Salvador and Santiago
Javier Ranada, concurring.

Id. at 42-48. Penned by Labor Arbiter Roma C. Asinas.

Id. at 65.

Id. at 66.

Id.

10

CA rollo, p. 75.

11

Rollo, pp. 67-68.

12

Id. at 69-70.

13

Id. at 71.

14

Id. at 72.

15

Id. at 46-47.

16

Id. at 56-58.

17

CA rollo, pp. 2-13.

18

Rollo, pp. 33-37.

19

CA rollo, pp. 125-130.

20

Rollo, pp. 154-156.

21

Id. at 159.

22

Id. at 16-20.

23

Id. at 35.

Id. at 40.

Id. at 49-60. Penned by Commissioner Victoriano R. Calaycay,


with Presiding Commissioner Raul T. Aquino and Commissioner
Angelita A. Gacutan, concurring.
4

Id. at 62-63.

Page 31 of 95

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20. ENTRIES IN THE COURSE OF BUSINESS

24

G.R. No. 101292, 8 June 1993, 223 SCRA 279, 282-283.

25

365 Phil. 124, 131 (1999).

26

480 Phil. 627, 636 (2004).

27

Rollo, p. 35.

28

Encarnacion v. Court of Appeals, supra note 24, at 282.

29

Id. at 284.

30

G.R. No. 173151, 28 March 2008, 550 SCRA 307, 319.

Talidano v. Falcon Maritime & Allied Services, Inc., G.R. No.


172031, 14 July 2008, 558 SCRA 279, 293.
31

32

Id. at 297-298.

Merin v. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No.


171790, 17 October 2008, 569 SCRA 576, 582-583.
33

Page 32 of 95

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

[G.R. No. 140023. August 14, 2003]

RUDY

LAO, petitioner, vs.


INC., respondent.

STANDARD

INSURANCE

CO.,

DECISION
QUISUMBING, J.:
The instant petition seeks the reversal of the Court of Appeals
Decision[1] dated February 4, 1999, as well as its Resolution,[2] dated
September 7, 1999, in CA-G.R. CV No. 47227. The assailed decision
dismissed petitioners appeal and the resolution denied petitioners
motion for reconsideration.
The original action was lodged before the Regional Trial Court of
Iloilo City, Branch 25, as Civil Case No. 17045 for breach of contract and
damages, as a result of the insurance companys refusal of petitioners
claim on the insurance policy of his truck which figured in an accident
during the effectivity of the policy.
The following are the antecedent facts:
Petitioner Rudy Lao is the owner of a Fuso truck with Plate No. FCG538. The truck was insured with respondent Standard Insurance Co., Inc.
under Policy No. CV-21074[3] for the maximum amount of P200,000 and
an additional sum of P50,000 to cover any damages that might be caused
to his goods.

Page 33 of 95

While the policy was in effect, an accident occurred. At around 8:00


p.m. of April 24, 1985, in Barangay Buhang, Jaro, Iloilo City, the insured
truck bumped another truck, with Plate No. FBS-917, also owned by
petitioner Lao. The latter truck was running ahead of the insured truck
and was bumped from the rear. The insured truck sustained damages
estimated to be around P110,692, while the damage to the other truck
and to properties in the vicinity of the accident, were placed at P35,000
more or less.
Petitioner filed a claim with the insurance company for the
proceeds from his policy. However, the claim was denied by the
insurance company on the ground that when its adjuster went to
investigate the matter, it was found that the driver of the insured
truck, Leonardo Anit, did not possess a proper drivers license at the
time of the accident. The restriction[4] in Leonardo Anits drivers license
provided that he can only drive four-wheeled vehicles weighing not
more than 4,500 kgs. Since the insured truck he was driving weighed
more than 4,500 kgs., he therefore violated the authorized driver
clause[5] of the insurance policy. In addition, respondent cited the
following excerpts from the police blotter of the Iloilo INP, to wit:
C-UN-85
DAMAGE TO PROPERTY W/ PHY INJURIES R/
IMPRUDENCE
11:30 PM Sgt. A. Bernas informed this office that a collision took place
at Brgy. Buhang, Jaro, IC. Investigation conducted by Pat. Villahermosa,
assisted by Lt. P. Baclaron (OD), disclosed that at about 8:00 PM this date
at the aforementioned place, a collision took place between a truck
(Hino) with Plate Nr FB[S] 917 owned by Rudy Lao and driven by BOY
GIDDIE Y COYEL, 38 yrs, a res. of Balasan, Iloilo, with License Nr DLR
1108142 and another truck with Plate Nr. FCG-538 owned by Rudy Lao
and driver (sic) by LEONARDO ANIT Y PANES, 33 yrs, a res. of Brgy Laya,
Balasan, Iloilo with License Nr 1836482. (Emphasis supplied.)[6]

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Petitioner claims that at the time of the accident, it was in fact


another driver named Giddie Boy Y Coyel who was driving the insured
truck. Giddie Boy possessed a drivers license authorizing him to drive
vehicles such as the truck which weighed more than 4,500 kgs. As
evidence, petitioner presented the Motor Vehicle Accident
Report[7] wherein the Investigating Officer, Pat. Felipe D. Villahermosa,
stated that it was Giddie Boy driving the insured truck and not Leonardo
Anit. The said report was made three days after the accident or on April
27, 1985. However, respondent insurance company was firm in its
denial of the claim.
Hence, petitioner filed the civil case before the RTC. After trial, the
court disposed of the case as follows:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court finds that plaintiff lacks
sufficient cause of action against the defendant and hence ordered his
case dismissed and further orderes (sic) him to pay the defendant the
following:
1)

P20,000.00 as attorneys fees plus P500.00 for appearance fee; and

2)

P50,000.00 as exemplary damages.

SO ORDERED.[8]
On appeal with the Court of Appeals, the RTC decision was affirmed.
The petition was dismissed and the motion for reconsideration was
denied. The CA stated:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision appealed from is hereby
AFFIRMED. Consequently, the complaint is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.[9]

Page 34 of 95

In his petition for review now before us, petitioner cites the
following as grounds therefor:
A. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND THE LOWER
COURT RELIED MAINLY ON SECTION 44, RULE 130 OF THE
RULES OF COURT IN UPHOLDING THE ENTRY IN THE
POLICE BLOTTER WHICH STATED THAT THE DRIVER OF
THE INSURED VEHICLE WAS LEONARDO ANIT Y PANES,
WHO WAS NOT AN AUTHORIZED DRIVER. UNDER THE
SAID SECTION 44, RULE 130 ITSELF HOWEVER, THE
POLICE BLOTTER IS MERELY A PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE OF
THE FACTS STATED THEREIN WHICH MAY BE NULLIFIED
BY OTHER EVIDENCE;[10]
B. PERCEPTION OF THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS ON
THE DIMINISHED CREDIBILITY OF PAT. FELIPE
VILLAHERMOSA, THE TRAFFIC POLICE INVESTIGATOR, IS
MISPLACED AND UNFOUNDED;[11]
C. THE DRIVER OF THE INSURED TRUCK WITH PLATE NR.
FCG-538 WAS GIDDIE BOY Y COYEL, AN AUTHORIZED
DRIVER OF THE SAID TRUCK. THE DRIVER OF THE OTHER
TRUCK INVOLVED IN THE ACCIDENT WITH PLATE NR. FBS917 WAS LEONARDO ANIT Y PANES;[12]
D. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS MISAPPLIED
ARTICLES 2232 AND 2208 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE IN
GRANTING EXEMPLARY DAMAGES AND ATTORNEYS FEES
TO RESPONDENT. UNDER ARTICLES 2229 AND 2234 OF
THE NEW CIVIL CODE, EXEMPLARY DAMAGES CANNOT BE
AWARDED IN THE ABSENCE OF AN AWARD FOR MORAL,
TEMPERATE,
LIQUIDATED
OR
COMPENSATORY
DAMAGES;[13]
E. TESTIMONIES OF THE WITNESSES OF RESPONDENT
NAMELY, SGT. BERNAS, THE DESK OFFICER AND ROMEO

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Prof. Avena

21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

GUIERGEN, INSURANCE ADJUSTER, WERE INCONSISTENT


AND UNRELIABLE;[14] and
F. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS UPHELD THE
DECISION OF THE LOWER COURT DESPITE GLARING
MISAPPLICATION OF THE LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE
ESTABLISHED BY THIS HONORABLE SUPREME COURT AS
WELL AS CLEAR MISAPPREHENSION OF THE FACTS IN
THIS CASE.[15]
Three issues must be resolved: (1) The admissibility and probative
value of the police blotter as evidence; (2) The assessment of the
credibility of witnesses; and (3) The propriety and basis of the awards
for exemplary damages and attorneys fees. Also pertinent here is the
factual issue of whether or not Leonardo Anit, an unauthorized driver,
was driving the insured truck at the time of the accident.
Petitioner assails the admissibility and evidentiary weight given to
the police blotter, as a basis for the factual finding of the RTC and the CA.
He contends that the same entry was belied by the Motor Vehicle
Accident Report and testimony of the investigating policeman himself,
attesting that it was Giddie Boy Coyel, not Leonardo Anit, who was
driving the insured vehicle.[16]
Respondent avers that the same police report and testimony were
of dubious nature. Both trial and appellate courts noted that the report
was made three days after the accident and did not form part of the
official police records.[17]
The police blotter was admitted under Rule 130, Section 44 of the
Rules of Court.[18] Under the said rule, the following are the requisites for
its admissibility:
(a)

that the entry was made by a public officer, or by another


person, specially enjoined by law to do so;

Page 35 of 95

(b)

that it was made by the public officer in the performance


of his duties, or by such other person in the performance
of a duty specially enjoined by law;

(c)

that the public officer or other person had sufficient


knowledge of the facts by him stated, which must have
been acquired by him personally or through official
information.[19]

We agree with the trial and appellate courts in finding that the
police blotter was properly admitted as they form part of official
records.[20] Entries in police records made by a police officer in the
performance of the duty especially enjoined by law are prima
facie evidence of the fact therein stated, and their probative value may
be either substantiated or nullified by other competent
evidence.[21] Although police blotters are of little probative value, they
are nevertheless admitted and considered in the absence of competent
evidence to refute the facts stated therein.
In this case, the entries in the police blotter reflected the
information subject of the controversy. Stated therein was the fact that
Leonardo Anit was driving the insured truck with plate number FCG538. This is unlike People v. Mejia,[22] where we said that entries in the
police blotters should not be given undue significance or probative
value, since the Court there found that the entries in question are sadly
wanting in material particulars.
Furthermore, in this case the police blotter was identified and
formally offered as evidence. The person who made the entries was
likewise presented in court; he identified and certified as correct the
entries he made on the blotter. The information was supplied to the
entrant by the investigating officer who did not protest about any
inaccuracy when the blotter was presented to him. No explanation was
likewise given by the investigating officer for the alleged interchange of
names.

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Prof. Avena

21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Petitioner also assails the credence given by the trial court to the
version of the respondents vis--vis the testimonies of the witnesses.
Time and again we have reiterated the settled doctrine that great weight,
and even finality, is given to the factual conclusions of the Court of
Appeals which affirm those of the trial courts.[23] We find on this score no
reason to overturn such conclusions.
On the issue of damages, we agree with petitioner that the award of
exemplary damages was improper. In Tiongco v. Atty. Deguma[24] we
held that the entitlement to the recovery of exemplary damages must be
shown. In the case at bar, respondent have not shown sufficient evidence
that petitioner indeed schemed to procure the dubious documents and
lied through his teeth to establish his version of the facts. What was
found was that the document he presented was inadmissible, and its
contents were dubious. However, no proof was adduced to sufficiently
establish that it came to his hands through his employment of
underhanded means. In Tiongco, we further stated:

Page 36 of 95

WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision and Resolution of the Court of


Appeals are AFFIRMED, with the MODIFICATION that the award of
exemplary damages and attorneys fees is hereby DELETED. No
pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Austria-Martinez, and Tinga, JJ., concur.
Callejo, Sr., J., on leave.

[1]

Rollo, pp. 56-64.

[2]

Id. at 78-79.

[3]

Records, pp.6-7.

[4]

Id. at 195; Restriction Code 2.

Although exemplary damages cannot be recovered as a matter of right,


they also need not be proved. But a complainant must still show that he
is entitled to moral, temperate or compensatory damages before the
court may consider the question of whether or not exemplary damages
should be awarded.[25]

[5]

Id. at 121; AUTHORIZED DRIVER:

Thus, it was error for the courts below to award exemplary


damages in the absence of any award for moral, temperate or
compensatory damages.

Provided that the person driving is permitted, in accordance with the


licensing law or other regulations, to drive the Scheduled vehicle,
or has been permitted and is not disqualified by order of a Court
of Law or by reason of any enactment or regulation - that behalf,
provided that for Sections I and II only of this Policy an
authorized driver shall include a duly licensed driver whose
license at the time of the accident had expired. (Emphasis
supplied.)

The award of attorneys fees must also be deleted. Such award was
given in its extraordinary concept as indemnity for damages to be paid
by the losing party to the prevailing party.[26] But it was not sufficiently
shown that petitioner acted maliciously in instituting the claim for
damages. Perforce, the award of attorneys fees was improper.

Any of the following:


(a) The insured
(b) Any person driving on the Insureds order or with his permission.

[6]

Records, p. 193.

Law 126 Evidence


[7]

Id. at 11.

[8]

Rollo, p. 30.

[9]

Id. at 63.

Prof. Avena

21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

[10]

Id. at 10.

[11]

Id. at 12.

[12]

Id. at 13.

[13]

Id. at 15.

[14]

Id. at 17.

[15]

Id. at 19.

[16]

Rollo, pp. 10-11.

[17]

Id. at. 171.

[18]

Rule 130, Section 44. Entries in official records.- Entries in official


records made in the performance of his duty by a public officer
of the Philippines, or by a person in the performance of a duty
specially enjoined by law, are prima facie evidence of the facts
therein stated.

[19]

Africa v. Caltex (Phil.) Inc., 123 Phil. 272, 277 (1966).

[20]

People v. Dy, G.R. No. L-74517, 23 February 1988, 158 SCRA 111, 125.

[21]

United States v. Que Ping, 40 Phil. 17, 19 (1919).

[22]

341 Phil. 118, 147 (1997).

[23]

Compania Maritima, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 376 Phil. 278, 286


(1999) citing Metro Manila Transit Corporation v. CA, 359 Phil.
18, 30 (1998).

[24]

375 Phil. 978, 993-994 (1999).

Page 37 of 95

[25]

Ibid, citing Makabali v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-46877, 157 SCRA
253, 259.

[26]

Supra, note 23 at 284.

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Prof. Avena

21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

(US$303.00)
representing salary for the
month of June 1989;
b) THREE THOUSAND FIFTY FOUR US DOLLARS

G.R. No. 108433 October 15, 1996


WALLEM MARITIME SERVICES, INC. and WALLEM
SHIPMANAGEMENT LTD., petitioners,
vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and JOSELITO V.
MACATUNO, respondents.

Page 38 of 95

(US$3,054.00)
representing salaries for
the unexpired portion of
the contract (JulyDecember 1989); and
c) ONE HUNDRED SIX & 50/100 US DOLLARS
(US$106.50) or five
percent (5%) of the total
award as and by way of
attorney's fees.

ROMERO, J.:p
This petition for certiorari seeks to annul and set aside the
Resolution 1 of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC)
affirming the Decision 2 of the Philippine Overseas Employment
Administration (POEA) which disposed of POEA Case No.(M) 8909-865 as follows:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondents
Wallem Maritime Services, Inc. and Wallem
Shipmanagement Ltd. are hereby ordered jointly and
severally, to pay complainant the following in Philippine
currency at the prevailing rate of exchange at the time of
payment:
a) THREE HUNDRED THREE US DOLLARS

The claim against Prudential Guarantee and Assurance


Inc. is dismissed for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.
Private respondent Joselito V. Macatuno was hired by Wallem
Shipmanagement Limited thru its local manning agent, Wallem
Maritime Services, Inc., as an able-bodied seaman on board the
M/T Fortuna, a vessel of Liberian registry. Pursuant to the
contract of employment, private respondent was employed for
ten (10) months covering the period February 26, 1989 until
December 26, 1989 with a monthly salary of two hundred
seventy-six US dollars (US $276); hourly overtime rate of one
dollar and seventy-two cents (US $1.72), and a monthly tanker

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Prof. Avena

21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

allowance of one hundred twenty-seven dollars and sixty cents


(US $127.60), with six (6) days leave with pay for each month.
On June 24, 1989, while the vessel was berthed at the port of
Kawasaki, Japan, an altercation took place between private
respondent and fellow Filipino crew member, Julius E. Gurimbao,
on the one hand, and a cadet/apprentice officer of the same
nationality as the captain of the vessel on the other hand. The
master entered the incident in the tanker's logbook.
As a consequence, private respondent and Gurimbao were
repatriated to the Philippines where they lost no time in lodging
separate complaints for illegal dismissal with the
POEA. 3 According to the affidavit private respondent executed
before a POEA administering officer, the following facts led to the
filing of the complaint.
At about 5:50 a.m. of June 24, 1989, private respondent was on
duty along with Gurimbao, checking the manifold of the vessel
and looking for oil leakages, when a cadet/apprentice who was
of the same nationality as the vessel's captain (Singh),
approached them. He ordered Gurimbao to use a shovel in
draining the water which, mixed with oil and dirt, had
accumulated at the rear portion of the upper deck of the vessel.
Gurimbao explained to the cadet/apprentice that throwing dirty
and oily water overboard was prohibited by the laws of Japan; in
fact, port authorities were roaming and checking the sanitary
conditions of the port. The cadet/apprentice got mad and,
shouting, ordered Gurimbao to get a hose and siphon off the
water. To avoid trouble, Gurimbao used a shovel in throwing the
dirty water into the sea.

Page 39 of 95

Having finished his job, Gurimbao complained to private


respondent about the "improper and unauthorized act" of the
cadet/apprentice. The two then went to the cadet/apprentice
who was idly standing in a corner. They reminded him that as a
mere apprentice and not an officer of the vessel, he had no right
whatsoever to order around any member of the crew. However,
the cadet/apprentice reacted violently shouting invectives
and gesturing "as if challenging" the two to a fight. To prevent
him from "intimidating" them, private respondent pushed twice
the cadet/apprentice's chest while Gurimbao "mildly hit" his
arm. Frantic and shouting, the cadet/apprentice ran to the
captain "who happened to witness the incident" from the cabin's
window.
The captain summoned private respondent and Gurimbao. With
their bosun (head of the deck crew), they went to the captain's
cabin. The captain told them to pack up their things as their
services were being terminated. They would disembark at the
next port, the Port of Ube, from where they would be flown home
to the Philippines, the repatriation expenses to be shouldered by
them. The two attempted to explain their side of the incident but
the captain ignored them and firmly told them to go home.
Before disembarking, they were entrusted by the bosun with a
letter of their fellow crew members, addressed to Capt. Dio,
attesting to their innocence. At the Port of Ube, an agent of the
company handed them their plane tickets and accompanied them
the following day to the Fukoka Airport where they boarded a
Cathay Pacific airplane bound for Manila.
A few days after their arrival in Manila or on July 1, 1989, the two
gave the letter to Capt. Dio and conferred with him and Mr.
James Nichols. The latter told private respondent that they could
not secure a reimbursement of their repatriation expenses nor

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Prof. Avena

21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

could they get their salaries for the month of June. Private
respondent, in a letter addressed to Capt. Dio, asked for a
reconsideration of their dismissal but the latter did not respond.
Frustrated, private respondent sought the assistance of a lawyer
who wrote Wallem a demand letter dated August 28, 1989 but
the same was ignored. 4
Petitioners, defending their position, alleged that the incident
was not the first infraction committed by the two. As shown by
the logbook, on June 19, 1989, while the vessel was docked in
Batangas, they left it during working hours without asking
permission. For this offense, they were given a warning. On June
27, 1989 (sic), while the vessel was anchored at the Port of
Kawasaki, Japan, they assaulted the officer on watch for the day,
Mr. V.S. Sason. The three were "mustered" and it was found that
Sason "was attacked with a spanner without provacition (sic)."
The two were "severely warned that they will be dealt according
to the rules and regulation of their contact of employment (sic)."
When the vessel was about to sail that day, the two went ashore
inspite of the warning given them. They were arrested by
Japanese authorities but the vessel's departure was delayed for
five (5) hours. The agency in Manila was informed that their
wages should be settled "after deducting recoveries" or fines and
air fare. Their dismissal from the service was also
recommended. 5
In his aforementioned decision of September 14, 1990 finding
private respondent's dismissal to be illegal, POEA Deputy
Administrator Manuel G. Imson held:
We find complainant's dismissal to be without just and
valid cause. We cannot give much weight and credence to
the "certified true copy of the official logbook" (Annex
"1", answer) because the alleged entries therein were

Page 40 of 95

only handpicked and copied from the official logbook of


the vessel M/V "Fortuna". There is no way of verifying
the truth of these entries and whether they actually
appear in the log entries for the specific dates mentioned.
The pages in the official logbook where these entries
appear should have been the ones reproduced to give the
same a taint of credence. Moreover, no documentary
evidence was submitted to support the alleged official
logbook, like the Master's report and the police report or
any report by the Japanese authorities by reason of their
arrest. Finally, the copy of the alleged official logbook
was not properly authenticated. The authentication is
necessary specially so since this document is the only
piece of evidence submitted by respondents.
Granting that the entries in the logbook are true, a
perusal thereof will readily show that complainant was
not afforded due process. The warnings allegedly given
to complainant were not submitted in evidence. Likewise,
no investigation report was presented to prove that
complainant was given the opportunity to air his side of
the incident.
It is also noteworthy to mention that complainant was
able to describe with particularity the circumstances
which led to his misunderstanding with the
cadet/apprentice and which we believe is not sufficient
to warrant his dismissal. 6
As stated above, the NLRC affirmed the decision of the POEA,
adopting as its own the latter's findings and conclusions. Hence,
the instant petition contending that both the POEA and the NLRC
gravely abused their discretion in finding that private
respondent was illegally terminated from his employment.

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As with G.R. No. 107865, where herein petitioners likewise


questioned the NLRC decision affirming that of POEA Case No.
(M) 88-11-1078 finding the dismissal from employment of
Gurimbao to be illegal, 7 the Court sees no merit in the instant
petition.
An employer may dismiss or lay off an employee only for the just
and authorized causes enumerated in Articles 282 and 283 of the
Labor Code. However, this basic and normal prerogative of an
employer is subject to regulation by the State in the exercise of
its paramount police power inasmuch as the preservation of
lives of citizens, as well as their means of livelihood, is a basic
duty of the State more vital than the preservation of corporate
profits. 8 One' s employment, profession, trade or calling is a
property right within the protection of the constitutional
guaranty of due process of law. 9
We agree with petitioners that the ship captain's logbook is a
vital evidence as Article 612 of the Code of Commerce requires
him to keep a record of the decisions he had adopted as the
vessel's head. Thus, inHaverton Shipping Ltd. v. NLRC, 10 the Court
held that a copy of an official entry in the logbook is legally
binding and serves as an exception to the hearsay rule.
However, the Haverton Shipping ruling does not find unqualified
application in the case at bar. In said case, an investigation of the
incident which led to the seaman's dismissal was conducted
before he was dismissed.11 Consequently, the facts appearing in
the logbook were supported by the facts gathered at the
investigation. In this case, because no investigation was
conducted by the ship captain before repatriating private
respondent, the contents of the logbook have to be duly
identified and authenticated lest an injustice result from a blind

Page 41 of 95

adoption of such contents which merely serve as prima


facie evidence of the incident in question. 12
Moreover, what was presented in the Haverton Shipping case
was a copy of the official entry from the logbook itself. In this
case, petitioners did not submit as evidence to the POEA the
logbook itself, or even authenticated copies of pertinent pages
thereof, which could have been easily xeroxed or photocopied
considering the present technology on reproduction of
documents. 13 What was offered in evidence was merely a
typewritten collation of excerpts from what could be the
logbook 14 because by their format, they could have been lifted
from other records kept in the vessel in accordance with Article
612 of the Code of Commerce. 15
Furthermore, the alleged entry in the "logbook" states, as
regards the June 27, 1989 (sic) incident, as follows:
KAWASAKI KAWASAKI This is to place on record
27.6.89 that at the time, date and
place mentioned Mr. J. V.
MACATUNO (Sr No. 147) and
Mr. J.E. GURIMBAO (Sr No.
156) attacked and assaulted
apprentice officer Mr V.S.
SASON while on duty. All three
were mustered and it was found
that Mr. SASON was attacked
with a spanner without
provacition (sic). Both the
seaman (sic) have been severely
warned that they will be dealt
according to the rules and

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

regulation of their contact of


employment. 16
Under the Table of Offenses and Corresponding Administrative
Penalties appended to the contract of employment entered into
by petitioners and private respondent, the offense described by
the logbook entry may well fall under insubordination and may
constitute assaulting a superior officer "with the use of deadly
weapon" punishable with dismissal 17 if the victim is indeed a
"superior officer." However, an "apprentice officer" cannot be
considered a "superior officer." An apprentice is a person bound
in the form of law to a master, to learn from him his art, trade, or
business, and to serve him during the time of his
apprenticeship. 18 In other words, Mr. V. S. Sason was merely a
learner or a trainee and not a regular officer on board M/T
Fortuna.
In this regard, it should be clarified that this Court does not
tolerate nor sanction assault in any form. Physical violence
against anyone at any time and any place is reprehensible.
However, in cases such as this, where a person's livelihood is at
stake, strict interpretation of the contract of employment in
favor of the worker must be observed to affirm the constitutional
provision on protection to labor.
Moreover, the aforequoted entry in the logbook is so sketchy
that, unsupported by other evidence, it leaves so many questions
unanswered. Although private respondent candidly admitted in
his affidavit having hit Sason on the chest twice, he did not admit
using a spanner. The conflicting versions of the incident
rendered it impossible to determine whether it was private
respondent or Gurimbao who wielded said tool. In the absence of
a more detailed narration in the logbook entry of the
circumstances surrounding the alleged assault, the same cannot

Page 42 of 95

constitute a valid justification to terminate private respondent's


employment. 19
H ence, as the typewritten excerpts from the "logbook" were the
only pieces of evidence presented by petitioners to support the
dismissal of private respondent, have no probative value at all,
petitioners' cause must fail. Their failure to discharge the onus
probandi properly may have no other result than a finding that
the dismissal of private respondent is unjustified. 20
Petitioners' failure to substantiate the grounds for a valid
dismissal was aggravated by the manner by which the
employment of private respondent was terminated. It must be
borne in mind that the right of an employer to dismiss an
employee is to be distinguished from and should not be confused
with the manner in which such right is exercised. Dismissal from
employment must not be effected abusively and oppressively as
it affects one's person and property. Thus, Batas Pambansa Blg.
130, amending paragraph (b) of Article 278 of the Labor Code,
imposed as a condition sine qua non that any termination of
employment under the grounds provided in Article 283 must be
done only after notice and formal investigation have been
accorded the supposed errant
worker. 21
That the workers involved in the incident were "mustered" or
convened thereafter by the captain is inconsequential. It is
insufficient compliance with the law which requires, as a vital
component of due process, observance of the twin requirements
of notice and hearing before dismissing an employee. As regards
the notice requirement, the Court has stated:
On the issue of due process . . . , the law requires the
employer to furnish the worker whose employment is

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Page 43 of 95

sought to be terminated a written notice containing a


statement of the cause or causes for termination and
shall afford him ample opportunity to be heard and to
defend himself with the assistance of a representative.
Specifically, the employer must furnish the worker
with two (2) written notices before termination of
employment can be legally effected: (a) notice which
apprises the employee of the particular acts or omissions
for which his dismissal is sought; and (b) the subsequent
notice which informs the employee of the employer's
decision to dismiss him. (Emphasis supplied.) 22

3 Gurimbao's complaint was docketed as POEA Case No.


(M) 89-11-1078.

Neither is the ship captain's having witnessed the altercation an


excuse for dispensing with the notice and hearing requirements.
Serving notice to private respondent under the circumstances
cannot be regarded as an "absurdity and superfluity." 23

8 Manila Electric Company v. NLRC, G.R. No. 78763, July


12, 1989, 175 SCRA 277.

ON ALL THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, the petition at bar


is DISMISSED and the Resolution of respondent National Labor
Relations Commission is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
SO ORDERED.
Regalado, Puno, Mendoza and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur.
Footnotes
1 Penned by Commissioner Vicente S.E. Veloso and
concurred in by Presiding Commissioner Bartolome S.
Carale and Commissioner Romeo B. Putong.
2 Penned by Deputy Administrator and Officer-in-Charge
Manuel G. Imson.

4 Rollo, pp. 31-32,


5 Ibid., p. 29.
6 Ibid., pp. 105-106.
7 The petition in G.R. No. 107865 was dismissed in the
Minute Resolution of September 8, 1993.

9 Callanta v. Carnation Philippines, Inc., G.R. No. L-70615,


October 28, 1986, 145 SCRA 268.
10 G.R. No. L-65442, April 15, 1985, 135 SCRA 685.
11 Ibid., at p. 690.
12 Ibid.
13 Abacast Shipping and Management Agency, Inc. v.
NLRC, G.R. Nos. L-81124-26, June 23, 1988, 162 SCRA
541, 544-545.
14 Annex D to Petition; Rollo, p. 29.
15 In Reyes & Lim Company, Inc. v. NLRC (G.R. Nos.
87012-13, September 25, 1991, 201 SCRA 772), what
was passed off as the logbook kept by the master or
captain of the vessel who has supervision and control of

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

the members of his crew was actually the "steam of


engine book (sic) kept by the engineer" under Art. 613
(3) of the Code of Commerce.
16 Rollo, p. 27.
17 Ibid., p. 27.
18 BOUVIER'S LAW DICTIONARY, Third Revision, Vol. I,
p. 217.
19 Fil-Pride Shipping Co., Inc. v. NLRC, G.R. No. 97068,
March 5, 1993, 219 SCRA 576, 583.
20 Reyes & Lim Company, Inc. v. NLRC, supra at p.
775 citing Starlite Plastic Corp. v. NLRC, G.R. No. 78491,
March 16, 1989, 171 SCRA 315.
21 Metro Port Services, Inc. v. NLRC, G.R. Nos. 71632-33,
March 9, 1989, 171 SCRA 190.
22 Jones v. NLRC, G.R. No. 107729, December 6, 1995,
250 SCRA 668, 674.
23 Petition, p. 10.

Page 44 of 95

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-8171

August 16, 1956

EMILIO MANALO and CARLA SALVADOR, plaintiffs-appellees,


vs.
ROBLES TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, INC., defendant-appellant.
Cornelio S. Ruperto and Lazaro Pormarejo for appellant.
San Juan, Africa, Yiguez and Benedicto for appellees.
MONTEMAYOR, J.:
Robles Transportation Company, Inc., later referred to as the Company,
is appealing from the decision of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, civil
case No. 2013, ordering it to pay plaintiffs Emilio Manalo and his wife,
Clara Salvador, the sum of P3,000 with interest at 12 per cent per annum
from November 14, 1952 plus the amount of P600 for attorney's fee and
expenses of litigation, with cost.
The facts involved in this case are simple and without dispute. On August
9, 1947, a taxicab owned and operated by defendant appellant Company
and driven by Edgardo Hernandez its driver, collided with a passenger
truck at Paraaque, Rizal. In the course of and a result of the accident,
the taxicab ran over Armando Manalo, an eleven year old, causing him
physical injuries which resulted in his death several days later. Edgardo
Hernandez was prosecuted for homicide through reckless imprudence
and after trial was found guilty of the charge and sentenced to one
year prision correccional, to indemnify the heirs of the deceased in the
amount of P3,000, in the case of insolvency to suffer subsidiary

Page 45 of 95

imprisonment, and to pay costs. Edgardo Hernandez served out his


sentence but failed to pay the indemnity. Two writs of execution were
issued against him to satisfy the amount of the indemnity, but both writs
were returned unsatisfied by the sheriff who certified that property, real
or personal in Hernandez" name could be found.
On February 17, 1953, plaintiffs Emilio Manalo and his wife Clara
Salvador, father and mother respectively of Armando filed the present
action against the Company to enforce its subsidiary liability, pursuant
to Articles 102 and 103 of the Revised Penal Code. The Company filed its
appearance and answer and later an amended answer with special
defenses and counterclaim. It also filed a motion to dismiss the
complaint unless and until the convicted driver Hernandez was included
as a party defendant, the Company considering him an indispensable
party. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss, holding that
Hernandez was not an indispensable party defendant. Dissatisfied with
this ruling, the Company filed certiorari proceedings with the Court of
Appeals, but said appellate court held that Hernandez was not an
indispensable party defendant, and consequently, the trial court in
denying the motion to dismiss acted within the proper limits of its
discretion. Eventually, the trial court rendered judgment sentencing the
defendant Company to pay to plaintiffs damages in the amount P3,000
with interest at 12 per cent per annum from November 14, 1952, plus
P600 for attorney's fee and expenses for litigation, with cost. As
aforesaid, the Company is appealing from this decision.
To prove their case against the defendant Company, the plaintiffs
introduced a copy of the decision in the criminal case convicting
Hernandez of homicide through reckless imprudence, the writs of
execution to enforce the civil liability, and the returns of the sheriff
showing that the two writs of execution were not satisfied because of the
insolvency of Hernandez, the sheriff being unable to locate any property
in his name. Over the objections of the Company, the trial court admitted
this evidence and based its decision in the present case on the same.

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Defendant-appellant now contends that this kind of evidence is


inadmissible and cities in support of its contention the cases of City of
Manila vs. Manila Electric Company (52 Phil., 586), and Arambulo vs.
Manila Electric decided by this tribunal in the case of Martinez vs.
Barredo (81 Phil., 1). After considering the same two cases now cited by
appellant, this court held that the judgment of conviction, in the absence
of any collusion between the defendant and offended party, is binding
upon the party subsidiarily liable.
The appelant also claims that in admitting as evidence the sheriff's
return of the writs of execution to prove the insolvency of Hernandez,
without requiring said opportunity to cross-examine said sheriff. A
sheriff's return is an official statement made by a public official in the
performance of a duty specially enjoined by the law and forming part of
official records, and is prima facie evidence of the facts stated therein.
(Rule 39, section 11 and Rule 123, section 35, Rules of Court.) The
sheriff's making the return need not testify in court as to the facts stated
in his entry. In the case of Antillon vs. Barcelon, 37 Phil., 151 citing
Wigmore on Evidence, this court said:
To the foregoing rules with reference to the method of proving
private documents an exception is made with reference to the
method of proving public documents executed before and
certified to, under the land of seal of certain public officials. The
courts and the legislature have recognized the valid reason for
such an exception. The litigation is unlimited in which testimony
by officials is daily needed, the occasion in which the officials
would be summoned from his ordinary duties to declare as a
witness are numberless. The public officers are few in whose
daily work something is not done in which testimony is not
needed from official statements, host of official would be found
devoting the greater part of their time to attending as witness in
court or delivering their depositions before an officer. The work

Page 46 of 95

of Administration of government and the interest of the public


having business with officials would alike suffer in consequence.
And this Court added:
The law reposes a particular confidence in public officers that it
presumes they will discharge their several trust with accuracy
and fidelity; and therefore, whatever acts they do in discharge of
their public duty may be given in evidence and shall be taken of
their public duty may be given in evidence and shall be taken to
be true under such a degree of caution as the nature and
circumstances of each a case may appear to require.
The appellant also contends that Article 102 and 103 of the Revised
Penal Code were repealed by the New Civil Code, promulgated in 1950,
particularly, by the repealing clause under which comes Article 2270 of
the said code. We find the contention untenable. Article 2177 of the New
Civil Code expressly recognizes civil liabilities arising from negligence
under the Penal Code, only that it provides that plaintiff cannot recover
damages twice for the same act of omission of the defendant.
ART. 2177. Responsibility for fault or negligence under the
preceding article is entirely separate and distinct from the civil
liability arising from negligence under the Penal Code. But the
plaintiff cannot recover damages twice for the same act of
omission of the defendant.
Invoking prescription, appellant claims that the present action is barred
by the Statute of Limitations for the reason that it is an action either
upon a quasi delict, and that according to Article 1146 of the New Civil
Code, such action must be instituted within four years. We agree with
the appellee that the present action is based upon a judgement, namely,
that in the criminal case, finding Hernandez guilty of homicide through
reckless imprudence and sentencing him to indemnify the heirs of the

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

deceased in the sum of P3,000, and, consequently may be instituted


within ten years.
As regards the other errors assigned by appellant, we find it unnecessary
to discuss and rule upon them.
Finding the decision appealed from to be in accordance with law, the
same is hereby affirmed, with costs.
Paras, C. J., Bengzon, Padilla, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo, Labrador,
Concepcion, Reyes, J. B. L., and Endencia, JJ., concur.

Page 47 of 95

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

SPECIAL FIRST DIVISION


G.R. No. 166645
VICENTE D. HERCE, JR., Petitioner,
Vs.
MUNICIPALITY OF CABUYAO, LAGUNA and JOSE B.
CARPENA, Respondents.
January 23, 2007
RESOLUTION
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

For resolution is the Motion for Reconsideration filed by petitioner


Vicente D. Herce, Jr. of the Decision dated November 11, 2005, the
dispositive portion of which states:
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The validity
of Decree No. 4244 issued on March 3, 1991 in favor of
respondent Municipality of Cabuy[a]o, Laguna is
AFFIRMED, whereas Decree No. N-216115 and Original
Certificate of Title No. 0-2099, issued in the name of
petitioner Herce, are declared NULL and VOID.
SO ORDERED.
In denying the petition, we held that:

Page 48 of 95

[I]t is clear that Decree No. 4244 issued in favor of the


respondent municipality in 1911 has become
indefeasible; as such, petitioner is now barred from
claiming the subject land. Although the municipalitys
claim of ownership is based on the entry in the Ordinary
Decree Book, LRC (CLR) Rec. No. 6763, showing that
Decree No. 4244 was issued on March 3, 1911 and that
Lot I Plan II-2719 was one of the six parcels of land
previously applied for registration by the Municipality of
Cabuyao in LRC (GLRO) Record No. 6763, being a public
document, the Ordinary Decree Book is prima facie proof
of the entries appearing therein. x x x
xxxx
In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the
Ordinary Decree Book, LRC (CLR) Rec. No. 6763, showing
that Decree No. 4244 was issued on March 3, 1911, is
presumed to have been regularly issued by the
accountable public officers who enjoy the legal
presumption of regularity in the performance of their
functions. Thus, the proceedings that led to the issuance
of
Decree
No.
4244
in
favor
of
the Municipality of Cabuyao cannot
be
overturned
without any countervailing proof to the contrary. x x x
xxxx
Accordingly, the decree of registration issued by
the LRA on January 28, 1997 in favor of petitioner,
followed by the issuance of OCT No. O-2099, pertaining
to the same parcel of land covered by Decree No. 4244,
has no legal basis and should be nullified.

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

In his Motion for Reconsideration, petitioner principally claimed


that the entries in the Ordinary Decree Book of the Land Registration
Authority (LRA) did not categorically state that the property covered by
Decree No. N-216115 and OCT No. O-2099 was included in Decree No.
4244. As such, the title issued in his favor could not be declared void,
because it had not been shown by competent proof that the lot covered
thereby was included in Decree No. 4244.
Petitioner thus prayed that: (a) The parcel of land identified as
Lot Plan II-2719-A and Cadastral Lot No. 3484 be declared as not
included in Decree No. 4244 issued in favor of the Municipality of
Cabuyao;
(b) The Municipality of Cabuyao be declared as having
been barred by laches from recovering the title and ownership over the
subject property; (c) Jose B. Carpena should be declared as having been
barred by laches from asserting ownership over the subject
property; and (d) Decree No. N-216115 and OCT No. 0-2099 issued in
favor of petitioner should be declared as valid. In the
alternative, petitioner prayed that the assailed Decision be partially
reconsidered by remanding the case to the trial court for the
determination of whether the property subject of litigation was included
in Decree No. 4244 issued in favor of the Municipality of Cabuyao. If
found to be included, then OCT No. 0-2099 and Decree No. N-216115
issued in favor of petitioner should be declared as void.
In
its Opposition/Comment to
petitioners Motion
for
Reconsideration, respondents maintained that Lot 1, Plan II-2719-A, the
property subject of litigation, was included in Decree No. 4244 issued in
the name of the Municipality of Cabuyao, as shown by the following
pieces of evidence, to wit:
(a)
Survey Plan conducted by the Bureau of
Lands with notation at the bottom portion indicating that
Decree No. 4244 was issued in favor of the Municipality

Page 49 of 95

of Cabuyao on March 3, 1911 over the Lot 1, Plan II2719-A;


(b)
Certification issued by Mr. Teodoro
Bonifacio, then Administrator of the Land Registration
Authority, stating that Plan SWO-25706 (II-2719-A) was
presented as evidence in the Carpena case;
(c)

Entries in the Ordinary Decree Book of the

LRA;
(d)
LRA
Report
dated December
2,
1980 narrating the history of the subject property; and
(e)

Survey Plan over Lot 3484.

The motion is partially granted.


The inherent power of a court to amend and control its processes
and orders includes the right to reverse itself if only to make its findings
and conclusions conformable to law and justice. Every court has the
power and the corresponding duty to review, amend or reverse its
findings and conclusions whenever its attention is seasonably called to
any error or defect that it may have committed.
We have given the assailed Decision as well as the parties
respective evidence and arguments a hard second look. It appearing that
we have overlooked certain crucial points and arguments and calling to
mind the Courts duty to rectify its mistakes when warranted by the facts
and the law at hand, we are constrained to partially grant petitioners
motion for reconsideration.
After a careful and more circumspect re-evaluation of the evidence
before us, we are convinced that the case should be remanded to the

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

trial court. It must be recalled that on August 21, 1998, the trial court
issued an Order, the dispositive portion of which states:
In view of the foregoing rule, and considering the
Report dated December 2, 1980, of the Acting
Commissioner of Land Registration x x x that Decree No.
4244 was issued on x x x March 3, 1911 in LRC (GLRO),
Record No. 6763, in favor of the Municipality of Cabuyao
for apparently the same parcel of land applied for herein,
this Court resolves to open the decree of registration
issued herein. The Decision of this Court dated May 29,
1957, in Land Registration Case No. N-438, LRC Record
No. 10514, insofar as Lot 1, Plan II-2719 only is
concerned, and the Order of this Court dated May 3,
1996 are both set aside.
Set this case for presentation of evidence for
claimant Vicente Herce, Jr. on September 28,
1998 at 8:30 a.m.
SO ORDERED.[1]
From the foregoing Order, it is clear that petitioner must still
present evidence to prove his claim over the subject
property. Petitioners motion for reconsideration of the Order was
denied; hence, he filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of
Appeals where the sole issue for resolution was whether the trial court
gravely abused its discretion in granting respondent municipalitys
motion to reopen the decree of registration. Finding that the latter met
all the requirements to reopen the decree of registration, the Court of
Appeals denied the petition. At the same time, it ruled that:
It should be recalled that the basis of the issuance
of the Decree in favor of the petitioner in the case at bar

Page 50 of 95

is the May 30, 1980 Decision of Branch I of the Court of


First Instance of Laguna in Cad. Case No. N-B-1-LRC Cad
No.
N-651
instituted
by
the
Republic
of
the Philippines denying the latters petition for
registration which is in turn based on the opposition filed
by the petitioner alleging therein that he is the rightful
owner of the property having acquired the same from
Jose Carpena.
Noticeable from the said May 30, 1980 decision
however is that the existence of Decree No. 4244 issued
on March 3, 1911 was never mentioned. Neither was it
mentioned in the petitioners motion to modify decision
dated June 26, 1995. In fact, when asked to comment on
the petitioners motion to modify decision, the LRA
interposed no objection thereto, but with the caveat that
xxx provided it will not adversely affect the government as
well as third parties.
Of course, the controversy could have easily ended
at this point had LRA exercised prudence in checking its
records and would have found out the existence of
Decree No. 4244 in favor of the Municipality of
Cabuyao. As it were, however, the motion to modify
decision was granted, notwithstanding the fact that the
1957 decision of the trial court directing the issuance of
the corresponding decrees over the 44 parcels of land
applied for by the group of Juanita Carpena had already
attained finality, that decrees over the 42 of these parcels
have already been issued, and that the property subject
of the present case was not issued a decree in view
precisely of the existence of Decree 4244.

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Clearly, the decree was issued upon the


petitioners manifestation before the trial court that it
was the rightful owner of the property subject of the
controversy and that as transferee and therefore the
successor-in-interest of the original applicant Juanita
Carpena, he was entitled to the issuance of a decree of
registration as decreed in the 1957 Decision of the CFI of
Laguna.
xxxx
In the case at bar, the respondent municipality in
its petition/motion to reopen/review decree alleged that
as early as March 3, 1911, it has been issued Decree No.
4244 over Lot I Plan II 2719-A (now Lot 3484, Cabuyao
Cadastral 455-1). In 1975, petitioner entered his
opposition to the case claiming to be the possessor of the
said parcel. While the court ruled in favor of the
petitioner in the said case and ordered a decree of
registration in his favor, it was subsequently found out in
a report dated December 2, 1980 that the decree ordered
by the court could not be issued as it appears in the
Ordinary Decree Book of the LRC Record 6763, a
previous decree (Decree 4244) dated March 3, 1911 was
already issued in favor of the Municipality which is the
same parcel of land sought to be registered by the
oppositor in his name.
Specifically, the ground relied upon by the
municipality in seeking the reopening of the decree of
registration is the Report dated December 2, 1980 of the
Land Registration Authority in Cadastral Case No. N-B-1,
LRC Cadastral No. N-651 that after plotting the technical
descriptions of Lot 3484, in the Municipal Index Map, it

Page 51 of 95

was found that said lot is more or less identical to the


parcel of land described in Plan II-2719-A for which no
final decree of registration has as yet been issued.
To hold otherwise would result in a situation
wherein the LRA would be compelled to issue a decree of
registration over a piece of land which has already been
decreed and titled in the name of another, if it were
found out that indeed, the property has already been
earlier titled in the name of the municipality.
Considering the existence of two conflicting titles
one in favor of petitioner, and the other in the name of
the Municipality of Cabuyao, the court properly granted
the reopening of the decree of title in order to finally
settle the issue of ownership over the property subject of
the instant controversy and to end this litigation which
has dragged on for decades.[2]
The foregoing pronouncements of the Court of Appeals do not
expressly state that the property covered by OCT No. 0-2099 and Decree
No. N-216115 issued in favor of petitioner is included and within the
scope of Decree No. 4244 earlier issued in 1911 in favor of respondent
municipality.
As we have ruled in the assailed Decision, there is no doubt that
Decree No. 4244 issued in favor of the municipality has become
indefeasible. However, based on the records before us, there is
insufficient information to conclude that Decree No. 4244 includes the
property covered by OCT No. 0-2099 and Decree No. N-216115. As such,
there is a need to remand the case to the trial court for further
proceedings. As correctly noted by the Court of Appeals:

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Considering the existence of two conflicting titles


one in favor of petitioner, and the other in the name of
the Municipality of Cabuyao, the court properly granted
the reopening of the decree of title in order to finally
settle the issue of ownership over the property subject of
the instant controversy and to end this litigation which
has dragged on for decades.[3]
It is elementary that a court must render judgment confirming
the title of the applicant only if it finds that the latter has sufficient title
proper for registration. An application for land registration may include
two or more parcels of land, but the court may at any time order an
application to be amended by striking out one or more of the parcels or
order a severance of the application.
WHEREFORE,
the
assailed
Decision
is PARTIALLY
RECONSIDERED. The case is REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of
Laguna, Branch 24 for the determination of whether the subject
property is included in Decree No. 4244 issued in favor of the
Municipality of Cabuyao.
SO ORDERED.

Page 52 of 95

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 108366 February 16, 1994


JOHN PAUL E. FERNANDEZ, ET AL., petitioners,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS and CARLITO S. FERNANDEZ, respondents.
Erlinda B. Espejo for petitioners.
C.B. Carbon & Associates for private respondent.

PUNO, J.:
The legal dispute between the parties began when the petitioners filed
Civil Case No. Q-45567 for support against the private respondent before
the RTC of Quezon City. The complaint was dismissed on December 9,
1986 by Judge Antonio P. Solano, 1 who found that "(t)here is nothing in
the material allegations in the complaint that seeks to compel (private
respondent) to recognize or acknowledge (petitioners) as his
illegitimate children," and that there was no sufficient and competent
evidence to prove the petitioners filiation. 2
Petitioners plodded on. On February 19, 1987, they file the case at
bench, another action for recognition and support against the private

Page 53 of 95

respondent before another branch of the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 87.
The case was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-50111.
The evidence shows that VIOLETA P. ESGUERRA, single, is the mother
and guardian ad litem of the two petitioners, CLARO ANTONIO
FERNANDEZ and JOHN PAUL FERNANDEZ, met sometime in 1983, at the
Meralco Compound tennis courts. A Meralco employee and a tennis
enthusiast, Carlito used to spend his week-ends regularly at said courts,
where Violeta's father served as tennis instructor.
Violeta pointed to Carlito as the father of her two sons. She claimed that
they started their illicit sexual relationship six (6) months after their first
meeting. The tryst resulted in the birth of petitioner Claro Antonio on
March 1, 1984, and of petitioner John Paul on not know that Carlito was
married until the birth of her two children. She averred they were
married in civil rites in October, 1983. In March, 1985, however, she
discovered that the marriage license which they used was spurious.
To bolster their case, petitioners presented the following documentary
evidence: their certificates of live birth, identifying respondent Carlito as
their father; the baptismal certificate of petitioner Claro which also
states that his father is respondent Carlito; photographs of Carlito taken
during the baptism of petitioner Claro; and pictures of respondent
Carlito and Claro taken at the home of Violeta Esguerra.
Petitioners likewise presented as witnesses, Rosario Cantoria, 3 Dr.
Milagros Villanueva, 4 Ruby Chua Cu, 5 and Fr. Liberato Fernandez. 6 The
first three witnesses told the trial court that Violeta Esguerra had, at
different times, 7 introduced the private respondent to them as her
"husband". Fr. Fernandez, on the other hand, testified that Carlito was
the one who presented himself as the father of petitioner Claro during
the latter's baptism.

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

In defense, respondent Carlito denied Violeta's allegations that he sired


the two petitioners. He averred he only served as one of the sponsors in
the baptism of petitioner Claro. This claim was corroborated by the
testimony of Rodante Pagtakhan, an officemate of respondent Carlito
who also stood as a sponsor of petitioner Claro during his baptism. The
Private respondent also presented as witness, Fidel Arcagua, a waiter of
the Lighthouse Restaurant. He disputed Violeta's allegation that she and
respondent Carlito frequented the said restaurant during their affair.
Arcagua stated he never saw Violeta Esguerra and respondent Carlito
together at the said restaurant. Private respondent also declared he only
learned he was named in the birth certificates of both petitioners as
their father after he was sued for support in Civil Case No.
Q-45567.
Based on the evidence adduced by the parties, the trial court ruled in
favor of petitioners, viz.:
In view of the above, the Court concludes and so holds
that the plaintiffs minors (petitioners herein) are entitled
to the relief's prayed for in the complaint. The defendant
(herein private respondent) is hereby ordered to
recognize Claro Antonio Carlito Fernandez, now aged 6,
and John Paul Fernandez, now aged 41/2 as his sons. As
the defendant has admitted that he has a supervisory job
at the Meralco, he shall give the plaintiffs support in the
amount of P2,000 each a month, payment to be delivered
to Violeta Esguerra, the children's mother and natural
guardian, with arrears reckoned as of the filing of the
complaint on February 19, 1987.
SO ORDERED.
On appeal, the decision was set aside and petitioners complaint
dismissed by the respondent Court of Appeals 8 in its impugned decision,

Page 54 of 95

dated October 20, 1992. It found that the "proof relied upon by the (trial)
court (is) inadequate to prove the (private respondent's) paternity and
filiation of (petitioners)." It further held that the doctrine of res
judicata applied because of the dismissal of the petitioners complaint in
Civil Case No. Q-45567. Petitioners' motion for reconsideration was
denied on December 22, 1992.
Petitioners now contend that the respondent appellate court erred in:
(1) not giving full faith and credit to the testimony in of Violeta Esguerra;
(2) not giving weight and value to the testimony of Father Liberato
Fernandez; (3) not giving probative value to the numerous pictures of
respondent Carlito Fernandez taken during the baptismal ceremony and
inside the bedroom of Violeta Esguerra; (4) not giving probative value to
the birth certificates of petitioners; (5) giving so much credence to the
self-serving and incredible testimony of respondent Carlito Fernandez;
and (6) holding that the principle of res judicata is applicable in the case
at bar.
We find no merit in the petition.
The rule is well-settled that findings of facts of the Court of Appeals may
be reviewed by this court only under exceptional circumstances. One
such situation is when the findings of the appellate court clash with
those of the trial court as in the case at bench. It behooves us therefore
to exercise our extraordinary power, and settle the issue of whether the
ruling of the appellate court that private respondent is not the father of
the petitioners is substantiated by the evidence on record.
We shall first examine the documentary evidence offered by the
petitioners which the respondent court rejected as insufficient to prove
their filiation. Firstly, we hold that petitioners cannot rely on the
photographs showing the presence of the private respondent in the
baptism of petitioner Claro (Exh. "B-8", Exh. "B-12", Exh. "H" and Exh.
"I"). These photographs are far from proofs that private respondent is

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

the father of petitioner Claro. As explained by the private respondent, he


was in the baptism as one of the sponsors of petitioner Claro. His
testimony was corroborated by Rodante Pagtakhan.
Secondly, the pictures taken in the house of Violeta showing private
respondent showering affection to Claro fall short of the evidence
required to prove paternity (Exhibits "B", "B-1", "B-2", "B-7", "B-14" and
"B-15"). As we held in Tan vs. Trocio, 192 SCRA 764, viz:
. . . The testimonies of complainant and witness Marilou
Pangandaman, another maid, to show unusual closeness
between Respondent and Jewel, like playing with him
and giving him paternity. The same must be said of . . .
(the) pictures of Jewels and Respondent showing
allegedly their physical likeness to each other. Said
evidence is inconclusive to prove paternity and much less
would prove violation of complaint's person and honor.
(Emphasis supplied)
Thirdly, the baptismal certificates (Exh. "D") of petitioner Claro naming
private respondent as his father has scant evidentiary value. There is no
showing that private respondent participated in its preparation. On this
score, we held in Berciles vs. Systems, et al. 128 SCRA 53 (1984):
As to the baptismal certificates, Exh. "7-A", the rule is that
although the baptismal record of a natural child
describes her as a child of the record the decedent had no
intervening, the baptismal record cannot be held to be a
voluntary recognition of parentage. . . . The reason for
this rule that canonical records do not constitute the
authentic document prescribed by Arts. 115 and 117 to
prove the legitimate filiation of a child is that such
canonical record is simply proof of the only act to which
the priest may certify by reason of his personal

Page 55 of 95

knowledge, an act done by himself or in his presence, like


the administration of the sacrament upon a day stated; it
is no proof of the declarations in the record with respect
to the parentage of the child baptized, or of prior and
distinct facts which require separate and concrete
evidence.
In Macandang vs. Court of Appeals, 100 SCRA 73 (1980), we also ruled
that while baptismal certificates may be considered public documents,
they can only serve as evidence of the administration of the sacraments
on the dates so specified. They are not necessarily competent evidence
of the veracity of entries therein with respect to the child's paternity.
Fourth, the certificates of live birth (Exh. "A"; Exh. "B") of the petitioners
identifying private respondent as their father are not also competent
evidence on the issue of their paternity. Again, the records do no show
that private respondent had a hand in the preparation of said
certificates. In rejecting these certificates, the ruling of the respondent
court is in accord with our pronouncement in Roces vs. Local Civil
Registrar, 102 Phil. 1050 (1958),viz:
. . . Section 5 of Act No. 3793 and Article 280 of the Civil
Code of the Philippines explicity prohibited, not only the
naming of the father or the child born outside wedlock,
when the birth certificates, or the recognition, is not filed
or made by him, but, also, the statement of any
information or circumstances by which he could be
identified. Accordingly, the Local Civil Registrar had no
authority to make or record the paternity of an
illegitimate child upon the information of a third person
and the certificate of birth of an illegitimate child, when
signed only by the mother of the latter, is incompetent
evidence of fathership of said child. (Emphasis supplied)

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Page 56 of 95

We reiterated this rule in Berciles, op. cit., when we held that "a birth
certificate no signed by the alleged father therein indicated is not
competent evidence of paternity."

Q What was the answer of Fernandez?

We have also reviewed the relevant testimonies of the witnesses for the
petitioners and we are satisfied that the respondent appellate court
properly calibrated their weight. Petitioners capitalize on the testimony
of Father Liberato Fernandez who solemnized the baptismal ceremony
of petitioner Claro. He declared on the witness stand:

Q I just want to be sure, Father, will you


please look at the defendant again. I want
to be sure if he is the person who
appeared before you on that occasion?

A Yes, I do.

A I am sure.
Q Do you recall Father, whether on that
occasion when you called for the father
and the mother of the child, that both
father and mother were present?
A Yes.

(TSN, May 23, 1986, pp. 14-16)


However, on cross examination, Father Fernandez admitted that he has
to be shown a picture of the private respondent by Violeta Esguerra to
recognize the private respondent, viz:

Q Would you able to recognized the father


and the mother who were present at that
time?

Q When was the, approximately, when


you were first shown this picture by
Violeta Esguerra?

A Yes.

A I cannot recall.

Q Please point to the court?

Q At least the month and the year?

A There (witness pointing to the


defendant, Carlito Fernandez).

A It must be in 1986.

Q For instance, just give us more


specifically what question do you
remember having asked him?
A Yes, like for example, do you renounce
Satan and his works?

Q What month in 1986.


A It is difficult. . .
Q When was the first time you know you
are going to testify here?

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

A Let us see, you came there two times


and first one was you want to get a
baptismal certificate and then the second
time was I asked you for what is this? And
you said it is for the court.
Q On the second time that Ms. Violeta
Esguerra went to your place, you were
already informed that you will testify
here before this Honorable Court?
A Yes.
Q And you were informed by this Ms.
Violeta Esguerra that this man wearing
the blue T-shirt is the father?
A Yes, sir.

Page 57 of 95

We cannot also disturb the findings of the respondent court on the


credibility of Violeta Esguerra. Her testimony is highly suspect as it is
self-serving and by itself, is insufficient to prove the paternity of the
petitioners.
We shall not pass upon the correctness of the ruling of the respondent
appellate court applying the doctrine of res judicata as additional reason
in dismissing petitioners action for recognition and support. It is
unnecessary considering our findings that petitioners evidence failed to
substantiate their cause of action.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is DISMISSED and the Decision of the
respondent court in CA-G.R. CV No. 29182 is AFFIRMED. Costs against
petitioners.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, C.J., Padilla, Regalado, and Nocon, JJ., concur.

Q So, it was Violeta Esguerra who. . .


A Yes.
(TSN, May 23, 1986, pp. 18 to 22)
Indeed, there is no proof that Father Fernandez is a close friend of
Violeta Esguerra and the private respondent which should render
unquestionable his identification of the private respondent during
petitioner Claro's baptism. In the absence of this proof, we are not
prepared to concede that Father Fernandez who officiates numerous
baptismal ceremonies day in and day out can remember the parents of
the children he has baptized.

#Footnotes
1 Presiding judge of Branch 86, RTC Quezon City.
2 In this regard, Judge Solano held:
xxx xxx xxx
(Petitioners') certificates of birth imputing filiation to
defendant as the putative father are incompetent
evidence.

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

The baptismal certificates, upon the other hand, is not an


indubitable writing that is impressed with authority to
establish filiation with those alleged as the parents of the
child baptized.
The oral testimony of Violeta Esguerra, uncorroborated
as it were, to sustain a conclusion that defendant indeed
is the father of plaintiffs.
3 She is neighbor of Violeta Esguerra.
4 She is the obstetrician who delivered the petitioners.
Dr. Villanueva is the mother-in-law of Violeta Esguerra's
brother.
5 She is a friend and former officemate of Violeta
Esguerra.
6 He is the priest who officiated over the baptism of
petitioner Claro Antonio Fernandez. Fr. Fernandez
actually testified in Civil Case No. Q-45567. The whole
records of the earlier case were presented as evidence in
this case.
7 In the case of Rosario Cantoria, she first met private
respondent Carlito (who was introduced by Violeta as
her "husband") when she (Rosario) was taking care of
Fernandez. Dr. Villanueva was first introduced to Carlito
(as Violeta's "husband") on March 1, 1984, after she (Dr.
Villanueva) delivered petitioner Claro Antonio
Fernandez. Ruby Chua Cu met Violeta's "husband"
(Carlito) at the baptism of petitioner Claro Antonio
Fernandez.

Page 58 of 95

8 Through its Fifth Division, composed of Associate


Justices Serafin E. Camilon (chairman), Jorge S. Imperial
(ponente), and Cancio C. Garcia. The case was docketed
as CA-G.R. CV No. 29182.

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Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-12986

Page 59 of 95

operation. Negligence on the part of both of them was attributed as the


cause of the fire.
The trial court and the Court of Appeals found that petitioners failed to
prove negligence and that respondents had exercised due care in the
premises and with respect to the supervision of their employees.

March 31, 1966

THE SPOUSES BERNABE AFRICA and SOLEDAD C. AFRICA, and the


HEIRS OF DOMINGA ONG, petitioners-appellants,
vs.
CALTEX (PHIL.), INC., MATEO BOQUIREN and THE COURT OF
APPEALS, respondents-appellees.
Ross, Selph, Carrascoso and Janda for the respondents.
Bernabe Africa, etc. for the petitioners.
MAKALINTAL., J.:
This case is before us on a petition for review of the decision of the Court
of Appeals, which affirmed that of the Court of First Instance of Manila
dismissing petitioners' second amended complaint against respondents.
The action is for damages under Articles 1902 and 1903 of the old Civil
Code. It appears that in the afternoon of March 18, 1948 a fire broke out
at the Caltex service station at the corner of Antipolo street and Rizal
Avenue, Manila. It started while gasoline was being hosed from a tank
truck into the underground storage, right at the opening of the receiving
tank where the nozzle of the hose was inserted. The fire spread to and
burned several neighboring houses, including the personal properties
and effects inside them. Their owners, among them petitioners here,
sued respondents Caltex (Phil.), Inc. and Mateo Boquiren, the first as
alleged owner of the station and the second as its agent in charge of

The first question before Us refers to the admissibility of certain reports


on the fire prepared by the Manila Police and Fire Departments and by a
certain Captain Tinio of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Portions of
the first two reports are as follows:
1. Police Department report:
Investigation disclosed that at about 4:00 P.M. March 18,
1948, while Leandro Flores was transferring gasoline
from a tank truck, plate No. T-5292 into the underground
tank of the Caltex Gasoline Station located at the corner
of Rizal Avenue and Antipolo Street, this City, an
unknown Filipino lighted a cigarette and threw the
burning match stick near the main valve of the said
underground tank. Due to the gasoline fumes, fire
suddenly blazed. Quick action of Leandro Flores in
pulling off the gasoline hose connecting the truck with
the underground tank prevented a terrific explosion.
However, the flames scattered due to the hose from
which the gasoline was spouting. It burned the truck and
the following accessorias and residences.
2. The Fire Department report:
In connection with their allegation that the premises was (sic)
subleased for the installation of a coca-cola and cigarette stand,
the complainants furnished this Office a copy of a photograph

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

taken during the fire and which is submitted herewith. it appears


in this picture that there are in the premises a coca-cola cooler
and a rack which according to information gathered in the
neighborhood contained cigarettes and matches, installed
between the gasoline pumps and the underground tanks.
The report of Captain Tinio reproduced information given by a certain
Benito Morales regarding the history of the gasoline station and what
the chief of the fire department had told him on the same subject.
The foregoing reports were ruled out as "double hearsay" by the Court of
Appeals and hence inadmissible. This ruling is now assigned as error. It
is contended: first, that said reports were admitted by the trial court
without objection on the part of respondents; secondly, that with respect
to the police report (Exhibit V-Africa) which appears signed by a
Detective Zapanta allegedly "for Salvador Capacillo," the latter was
presented as witness but respondents waived their right to crossexamine him although they had the opportunity to do so; and thirdly,
that in any event the said reports are admissible as an exception to the
hearsay rule under section 35 of Rule 123, now Rule 130.
The first contention is not borne out by the record. The transcript of the
hearing of September 17, 1953 (pp. 167-170) shows that the reports in
question, when offered as evidence, were objected to by counsel for each
of respondents on the ground that they were hearsay and that they were
"irrelevant, immaterial and impertinent." Indeed, in the court's
resolution only Exhibits J, K, K-5 and X-6 were admitted without
objection; the admission of the others, including the disputed ones,
carried no such explanation.
On the second point, although Detective Capacillo did take the witness
stand, he was not examined and he did not testify as to the facts
mentioned in his alleged report (signed by Detective Zapanta). All he
said was that he was one of those who investigated "the location of the

Page 60 of 95

fire and, if possible, gather witnesses as to the occurrence, and that he


brought the report with him. There was nothing, therefore, on which he
need be cross-examined; and the contents of the report, as to which he
did not testify, did not thereby become competent evidence. And even if
he had testified, his testimony would still have been objectionable as far
as information gathered by him from third persons was concerned.
Petitioners maintain, however, that the reports in themselves, that is,
without further testimonial evidence on their contents, fall within the
scope of section 35, Rule 123, which provides that "entries in official
records made in the performance of his duty by a public officer of the
Philippines, or by a person in the performance of a duty specially
enjoined by law, are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated."
There are three requisites for admissibility under the rule just
mentioned: (a) that the entry was made by a public officer, or by another
person specially enjoined by law to do so; (b) that it was made by the
public officer in the performance of his duties, or by such other person in
the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law; and (c) that the
public officer or other person had sufficient knowledge of the facts by
him stated, which must have been acquired by him personally or
through official information (Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court,
Vol. 3 [1957] p. 398).
Of the three requisites just stated, only the last need be considered here.
Obviously the material facts recited in the reports as to the cause and
circumstances of the fire were not within the personal knowledge of the
officers who conducted the investigation. Was knowledge of such facts,
however, acquired by them through official information? As to some
facts the sources thereof are not even identified. Others are attributed to
Leopoldo Medina, referred to as an employee at the gas station were the
fire occurred; to Leandro Flores, driver of the tank truck from which
gasoline was being transferred at the time to the underground tank of
the station; and to respondent Mateo Boquiren, who could not, according

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

to Exhibit V-Africa, give any reason as to the origin of the fire. To qualify
their statements as "official information" acquired by the officers who
prepared the reports, the persons who made the statements not only
must have personal knowledge of the facts stated but must have the duty
to give such statements for record.1
The reports in question do not constitute an exception to the hearsay
rule; the facts stated therein were not acquired by the reporting officers
through official information, not having been given by the informants
pursuant to any duty to do so.
The next question is whether or not, without proof as to the cause and
origin of the fire, the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur should apply so as to
presume negligence on the part of appellees. Both the trial court and the
appellate court refused to apply the doctrine in the instant case on the
grounds that "as to (its) applicability ... in the Philippines, there seems to
he nothing definite," and that while the rules do not prohibit its adoption
in appropriate cases, "in the case at bar, however, we find no practical
use for such doctrine." The question deserves more than such summary
dismissal. The doctrine has actually been applied in this jurisdiction, in
the case of Espiritu vs. Philippine Power and Development Co. (CA-G.R. No.
3240-R, September 20, 1949), wherein the decision of the Court of
Appeals was penned by Mr. Justice J.B.L. Reyes now a member of the
Supreme Court.
The facts of that case are stated in the decision as follows:
In the afternoon of May 5, 1946, while the plaintiff-appellee and
other companions were loading grass between the municipalities
of Bay and Calauan, in the province of Laguna, with clear weather
and without any wind blowing, an electric transmission wire,
installed and maintained by the defendant Philippine Power and
Development Co., Inc. alongside the road, suddenly parted, and
one of the broken ends hit the head of the plaintiff as he was

Page 61 of 95

about to board the truck. As a result, plaintiff received the full


shock of 4,400 volts carried by the wire and was knocked
unconscious to the ground. The electric charge coursed through
his body and caused extensive and serious multiple burns from
skull to legs, leaving the bone exposed in some parts and causing
intense pain and wounds that were not completely healed when
the case was tried on June 18, 1947, over one year after the
mishap.
The defendant therein disclaimed liability on the ground that the
plaintiff had failed to show any specific act of negligence, but the
appellate court overruled the defense under the doctrine of res ipsa
loquitur. The court said:
The first point is directed against the sufficiency of plaintiff's
evidence to place appellant on its defense. While it is the rule, as
contended by the appellant, that in case of noncontractual
negligence, or culpa aquiliana, the burden of proof is on the
plaintiff to establish that the proximate cause of his injury was
the negligence of the defendant, it is also a recognized principal
that "where the thing which caused injury, without fault of the
injured person, is under the exclusive control of the defendant
and the injury is such as in the ordinary course of things does not
occur if he having such control use proper care, it affords
reasonable evidence, in the absence of the explanation, that the
injury arose from defendant's want of care."
And the burden of evidence is shifted to him to establish that he
has observed due care and diligence. (San Juan Light & Transit
Co. v. Requena, 244, U.S. 89, 56 L. ed. 680.) This rule is known by
the name of res ipsa loquitur (the transaction speaks for itself),
and is peculiarly applicable to the case at bar, where it is
unquestioned that the plaintiff had every right to be on the
highway, and the electric wire was under the sole control of

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

defendant company. In the ordinary course of events, electric


wires do not part suddenly in fair weather and injure people,
unless they are subjected to unusual strain and stress or there
are defects in their installation, maintenance and supervision;
just as barrels do not ordinarily roll out of the warehouse
windows to injure passersby, unless some one was negligent.
(Byrne v. Boadle, 2 H & Co. 722; 159 Eng. Reprint 299, the
leading case that established that rule). Consequently, in the
absence of contributory negligence (which is admittedly not
present), the fact that the wire snapped suffices to raise a
reasonable presumption of negligence in its installation, care and
maintenance. Thereafter, as observed by Chief Baron Pollock, "if
there are any facts inconsistent with negligence, it is for the
defendant to prove."
It is true of course that decisions of the Court of Appeals do not lay down
doctrines binding on the Supreme Court, but we do not consider this a
reason for not applying the particular doctrine of res ipsa loquitur in the
case at bar. Gasoline is a highly combustible material, in the storage and
sale of which extreme care must be taken. On the other hand, fire is not
considered a fortuitous event, as it arises almost invariably from some
act of man. A case strikingly similar to the one before Us is Jones vs. Shell
Petroleum Corporation, et al., 171 So. 447:
Arthur O. Jones is the owner of a building in the city of Hammon
which in the year 1934 was leased to the Shell Petroleum
Corporation for a gasoline filling station. On October 8, 1934,
during the term of the lease, while gasoline was being
transferred from the tank wagon, also operated by the Shell
Petroleum Corporation, to the underground tank of the station, a
fire started with resulting damages to the building owned by
Jones. Alleging that the damages to his building amounted to
$516.95, Jones sued the Shell Petroleum Corporation for the
recovery of that amount. The judge of the district court, after

Page 62 of 95

hearing the testimony, concluded that plaintiff was entitled to a


recovery and rendered judgment in his favor for $427.82. The
Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reversed this judgment, on
the ground the testimony failed to show with reasonable
certainty any negligence on the part of the Shell Petroleum
Corporation or any of its agents or employees. Plaintiff applied to
this Court for a Writ of Review which was granted, and the case
is now before us for decision.1wph1.t
In resolving the issue of negligence, the Supreme Court of Louisiana
held:
Plaintiff's petition contains two distinct charges of negligence
one relating to the cause of the fire and the other relating to the
spreading of the gasoline about the filling station.
Other than an expert to assess the damages caused plaintiff's
building by the fire, no witnesses were placed on the stand by
the defendant.
Taking up plaintiff's charge of negligence relating to the cause of
the fire, we find it established by the record that the filling
station and the tank truck were under the control of the
defendant and operated by its agents or employees. We further
find from the uncontradicted testimony of plaintiff's witnesses
that fire started in the underground tank attached to the filling
station while it was being filled from the tank truck and while
both the tank and the truck were in charge of and being operated
by the agents or employees of the defendant, extended to the
hose and tank truck, and was communicated from the burning
hose, tank truck, and escaping gasoline to the building owned by
the plaintiff.

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Predicated on these circumstances and the further circumstance


of defendant's failure to explain the cause of the fire or to show
its lack of knowledge of the cause, plaintiff has evoked the
doctrine of res ipsa loquitur. There are many cases in which the
doctrine may be successfully invoked and this, we think, is one of
them.

Investigation of the basic complaint disclosed that the Caltex


Gasoline Station complained of occupies a lot approximately 10
m x 10 m at the southwest corner of Rizal Avenue and Antipolo.
The location is within a very busy business district near the
Obrero Market, a railroad crossing and very thickly populated
neighborhood where a great number of people mill around t

Where the thing which caused the injury complained of is shown


to be under the management of defendant or his servants and
the accident is such as in the ordinary course of things does not
happen if those who have its management or control use proper
care, it affords reasonable evidence, in absence of explanation by
defendant, that the accident arose from want of care. (45 C.J.
#768, p. 1193).

until

This statement of the rule of res ipsa loquitur has been widely
approved and adopted by the courts of last resort. Some of the
cases in this jurisdiction in which the doctrine has been applied
are the following, viz.: Maus v. Broderick, 51 La. Ann. 1153, 25 So.
977; Hebert v. Lake Charles Ice, etc., Co., 111 La. 522, 35 So. 731,
64 L.R.A. 101, 100 Am. St. Rep. 505; Willis v. Vicksburg, etc., R.
Co., 115 La. 63, 38 So. 892; Bents v. Page, 115 La. 560, 39 So. 599.
The principle enunciated in the aforequoted case applies with equal
force here. The gasoline station, with all its appliances, equipment and
employees, was under the control of appellees. A fire occurred therein
and spread to and burned the neighboring houses. The persons who
knew or could have known how the fire started were appellees and their
employees, but they gave no explanation thereof whatsoever. It is a fair
and reasonable inference that the incident happened because of want of
care.
In the report submitted by Captain Leoncio Mariano of the Manila Police
Department (Exh. X-1 Africa) the following appears:

gasoline
tever be theWactjvities of these peopleor lighting a cigarette
cannot be excluded and this constitute a secondary hazard to its
operation which in turn endangers the entire neighborhood to
conflagration.
Furthermore, aside from precautions already taken by its
operator the concrete walls south and west adjoining the
neighborhood are only 2-1/2 meters high at most and cannot
avoid the flames from leaping over it in case of fire.
Records show that there have been two cases of fire which
caused not only material damages but desperation and also panic
in the neighborhood.
Although the soft drinks stand had been eliminated, this gasoline
service station is also used by its operator as a garage and repair
shop for his fleet of taxicabs numbering ten or more, adding
another risk to the possible outbreak of fire at this already small
but crowded gasoline station.
The foregoing report, having been submitted by a police officer in the
performance of his duties on the basis of his own personal observation
of the facts reported, may properly be considered as an exception to the

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Page 64 of 95

hearsay rule. These facts, descriptive of the location and objective


circumstances surrounding the operation of the gasoline station in
question, strengthen the presumption of negligence under the doctrine
of res ipsa loquitur, since on their face they called for more stringent
measures of caution than those which would satisfy the standard of due
diligence under ordinary circumstances. There is no more eloquent
demonstration of this than the statement of Leandro Flores before the
police investigator. Flores was the driver of the gasoline tank wagon
who, alone and without assistance, was transferring the contents thereof
into the underground storage when the fire broke out. He said: "Before
loading the underground tank there were no people, but while the
loading was going on, there were people who went to drink coca-cola (at
the coca-cola stand) which is about a meter from the hole leading to the
underground tank." He added that when the tank was almost filled he
went to the tank truck to close the valve, and while he had his back
turned to the "manhole" he, heard someone shout "fire."

not extenuate his negligence. A decision of the Supreme Court of Texas,


upon facts analogous to those of the present case, states the rule which
we find acceptable here. "It is the rule that those who distribute a
dangerous article or agent, owe a degree of protection to the public
proportionate to and commensurate with a danger involved ... we think
it is the generally accepted rule as applied to torts that 'if the effects of
the actor's negligent conduct actively and continuously operate to bring
about harm to another, the fact that the active and substantially
simultaneous operation of the effects of a third person's innocent,
tortious or criminal act is also a substantial factor in bringing about the
harm, does not protect the actor from liability.' (Restatement of the Law
of Torts, vol. 2, p. 1184, #439). Stated in another way, "The intention of
an unforeseen and unexpected cause, is not sufficient to relieve a
wrongdoer from consequences of negligence, if such negligence directly
and proximately cooperates with the independent cause in the resulting
injury." (MacAfee, et al. vs. Traver's Gas Corporation, 153 S.W. 2nd 442.)

Even then the fire possibly would not have spread to the neighboring
houses were it not for another negligent omission on the part of
defendants, namely, their failure to provide a concrete wall high enough
to prevent the flames from leaping over it. As it was the concrete wall
was only 2-1/2 meters high, and beyond that height it consisted merely
of galvanized iron sheets, which would predictably crumple and melt
when subjected to intense heat. Defendants' negligence, therefore, was
not only with respect to the cause of the fire but also with respect to the
spread thereof to the neighboring houses.

The next issue is whether Caltex should be held liable for the damages
caused to appellants. This issue depends on whether Boquiren was an
independent contractor, as held by the Court of Appeals, or an agent of
Caltex. This question, in the light of the facts not controverted, is one of
law and hence may be passed upon by this Court. These facts are: (1)
Boquiren made an admission that he was an agent of Caltex; (2) at the
time of the fire Caltex owned the gasoline station and all the equipment
therein; (3) Caltex exercised control over Boquiren in the management
of the state; (4) the delivery truck used in delivering gasoline to the
station had the name of CALTEX painted on it; and (5) the license to
store gasoline at the station was in the name of Caltex, which paid the
license fees. (Exhibit T-Africa; Exhibit U-Africa; Exhibit X-5 Africa;
Exhibit X-6 Africa; Exhibit Y-Africa).

There is an admission on the part of Boquiren in his amended answer to


the second amended complaint that "the fire was caused through the
acts of a stranger who, without authority, or permission of answering
defendant, passed through the gasoline station and negligently threw a
lighted match in the premises." No evidence on this point was adduced,
but assuming the allegation to be true certainly any unfavorable
inference from the admission may be taken against Boquiren it does

In Boquiren's amended answer to the second amended complaint, he


denied that he directed one of his drivers to remove gasoline from the
truck into the tank and alleged that the "alleged driver, if one there was,

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

was not in his employ, the driver being an employee of the Caltex (Phil.)
Inc. and/or the owners of the gasoline station." It is true that Boquiren
later on amended his answer, and that among the changes was one to
the effect that he was not acting as agent of Caltex. But then again, in his
motion to dismiss appellants' second amended complaint the ground
alleged was that it stated no cause of action since under the allegations
thereof he was merely acting as agent of Caltex, such that he could not
have incurred personal liability. A motion to dismiss on this ground is
deemed to be an admission of the facts alleged in the complaint.
Caltex admits that it owned the gasoline station as well as the equipment
therein, but claims that the business conducted at the service station in
question was owned and operated by Boquiren. But Caltex did not
present any contract with Boquiren that would reveal the nature of their
relationship at the time of the fire. There must have been one in
existence at that time. Instead, what was presented was a license
agreement manifestly tailored for purposes of this case, since it was
entered into shortly before the expiration of the one-year period it was
intended to operate. This so-called license agreement (Exhibit 5-Caltex)
was executed on November 29, 1948, but made effective as of January 1,
1948 so as to cover the date of the fire, namely, March 18, 1948. This
retroactivity provision is quite significant, and gives rise to the
conclusion that it was designed precisely to free Caltex from any
responsibility with respect to the fire, as shown by the clause that Caltex
"shall not be liable for any injury to person or property while in the
property herein licensed, it being understood and agreed that LICENSEE
(Boquiren) is not an employee, representative or agent of LICENSOR
(Caltex)."
But even if the license agreement were to govern, Boquiren can hardly
be considered an independent contractor. Under that agreement
Boquiren would pay Caltex the purely nominal sum of P1.00 for the use
of the premises and all the equipment therein. He could sell only Caltex
Products. Maintenance of the station and its equipment was subject to

Page 65 of 95

the approval, in other words control, of Caltex. Boquiren could not assign
or transfer his rights as licensee without the consent of Caltex. The
license agreement was supposed to be from January 1, 1948 to
December 31, 1948, and thereafter until terminated by Caltex upon two
days prior written notice. Caltex could at any time cancel and terminate
the agreement in case Boquiren ceased to sell Caltex products, or did not
conduct the business with due diligence, in the judgment of Caltex.
Termination of the contract was therefore a right granted only to Caltex
but not to Boquiren. These provisions of the contract show the extent of
the control of Caltex over Boquiren. The control was such that the latter
was virtually an employee of the former.
Taking into consideration the fact that the operator owed his
position to the company and the latter could remove him or
terminate his services at will; that the service station belonged to
the company and bore its tradename and the operator sold only
the products of the company; that the equipment used by the
operator belonged to the company and were just loaned to the
operator and the company took charge of their repair and
maintenance; that an employee of the company supervised the
operator and conducted periodic inspection of the company's
gasoline and service station; that the price of the products sold
by the operator was fixed by the company and not by the
operator; and that the receipts signed by the operator indicated
that he was a mere agent, the finding of the Court of Appeals that
the operator was an agent of the company and not an
independent contractor should not be disturbed.
To determine the nature of a contract courts do not have or are
not bound to rely upon the name or title given it by the
contracting parties, should thereby a controversy as to what they
really had intended to enter into, but the way the contracting
parties do or perform their respective obligations stipulated or
agreed upon may be shown and inquired into, and should such

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

performance conflict with the name or title given the contract by


the parties, the former must prevail over the latter. (Shell
Company of the Philippines, Ltd. vs. Firemens' Insurance
Company of Newark, New Jersey, 100 Phil. 757).
The written contract was apparently drawn for the purpose of
creating the apparent relationship of employer and independent
contractor, and of avoiding liability for the negligence of the
employees about the station; but the company was not satisfied
to allow such relationship to exist. The evidence shows that it
immediately assumed control, and proceeded to direct the
method by which the work contracted for should be performed.
By reserving the right to terminate the contract at will, it
retained the means of compelling submission to its orders.
Having elected to assume control and to direct the means and
methods by which the work has to be performed, it must be held
liable for the negligence of those performing service under its
direction. We think the evidence was sufficient to sustain the
verdict of the jury. (Gulf Refining Company v. Rogers, 57 S.W. 2d,
183).
Caltex further argues that the gasoline stored in the station belonged to
Boquiren. But no cash invoices were presented to show that Boquiren
had bought said gasoline from Caltex. Neither was there a sales contract
to prove the same.
As found by the trial court the Africas sustained a loss of P9,005.80, after
deducting the amount of P2,000.00 collected by them on the insurance of
the house. The deduction is now challenged as erroneous on the ground
that Article 2207 of the New Civil Code, which provides for the
subrogation of the insurer to the rights of the insured, was not yet in
effect when the loss took place. However, regardless of the silence of the
law on this point at that time, the amount that should be recovered be
measured by the damages actually suffered, otherwise the principle

Page 66 of 95

prohibiting unjust enrichment would be violated. With respect to the


claim of the heirs of Ong P7,500.00 was adjudged by the lower court on
the basis of the assessed value of the property destroyed, namely,
P1,500.00, disregarding the testimony of one of the Ong children that
said property was worth P4,000.00. We agree that the court erred, since
it is of common knowledge that the assessment for taxation purposes is
not an accurate gauge of fair market value, and in this case should not
prevail over positive evidence of such value. The heirs of Ong are
therefore entitled to P10,000.00.
Wherefore, the decision appealed from is reversed and respondentsappellees are held liable solidarily to appellants, and ordered to pay
them the aforesaid sum of P9,005.80 and P10,000.00, respectively, with
interest from the filing of the complaint, and costs.
Bengzon, C.J., Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Regala,
Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar and Sanchez, JJ., concur.
Dizon, J., took no part.
Footnotes
1Thus,

for instance, the record of a justice of the peace of


marriage certificates transmitted to him by the corresponding
priest is admissible. The justice of the peace has no personal
knowledge of the marriage, but it was reported to him by a priest
whose duty it was, under the law, to make the report for record
purposes. Similarly, the tax records of a provincial assessor are
admissible even if the assessments were made by subordinates.
So also are entries of marriages made by a municipal treasurer in
his official record, because he acquires knowledge thereof by
virtue of a statutory duty on the part of those authorized to
solemnize marriages to send a copy of each marriage contract
solemnized by them to the local civil registrar. (See Moran,
Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. 3 [1957] pp. 389-395.)

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FIRST DIVISION
G. R. No. 157064
BARCELON, ROXAS SECURITIES, INC. (now known as UBP Securities,
Inc.) Petitioner,
Vs.
COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, Respondent
August 7, 2006

Page 68 of 95

part of the deductible business expense since petitioner failed to subject


the salaries, bonuses and allowances to withholding taxes. This
assessment was covered by Formal Assessment Notice No. FAN-1-87-91000649 dated 1 February 1991, which, respondent alleges, was sent to
petitioner through registered mail on 6 February 1991. However,
petitioner denies receiving the formal assessment notice.[3]
On 17 March 1992, petitioner was served with a Warrant
of Distraint and/or Levy to enforce collection of the deficiency income
tax for the year 1987. Petitioner filed a formal protest, dated 25 March
1992, against the Warrant of Distraint and/or Levy, requesting for its
cancellation. On 3 July 1998, petitioner received a letter dated 30 April
1998 from the respondent denying the protest with finality.[4]

DECISION

CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari, under Rule 45 of the
Rules of Court, seeking to set aside the Decision of the Court of Appeals
in CA-G.R. SP No. 60209 dated 11 July 2002,[1] ordering the petitioner to
pay the Government the amount of P826,698.31 as deficiency income tax
for the year 1987 plus 25% surcharge and 20% interest per annum. The
Court of Appeals, in its assailed Decision, reversed the Decision of the
Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) dated 17 May 2000[2] in C.T.A. Case No. 5662.
Petitioner Barcelon, Roxas Securities Inc. (now known as UBP
Securities, Inc.) is a corporation engaged in the trading of
securities. On 14 April 1988, petitioner filed its Annual Income Tax
Return for taxable year 1987. After an audit investigation conducted by
the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), respondent Commissioner of
Internal Revenue (CIR) issued an assessment for deficiency income tax
in the amount of P826,698.31 arising from the disallowance of the item
on salaries, bonuses and allowances in the amount of P1,219,093,93 as

On 31 July 1998, petitioner filed a petition for review with


the CTA. After due notice and hearing, the CTA rendered a decision
in favor of petitioner on 17 May 2000. The CTA ruled on the primary
issue of prescription and found it unnecessary to decide the issues
on the validity and propriety of the assessment. It maintained that
while a mailed letter is deemed received by the addressee in the
course of mail, this is merely a disputable presumption. It reasoned
that the direct denial of the petitioner shifts the burden of proof to
the respondent that the mailed letter was actually received by the
petitioner. The CTA found the BIR records submitted by the
respondent immaterial, self-serving, and therefore insufficient to
prove that the assessment notice was mailed and duly received by
the petitioner.[5] The dispositive portion of this decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing,
the 1988 deficiency tax assessment against petitioner is
hereby CANCELLED. Respondent is hereby ORDERED TO
DESIST from collecting said deficiency tax. No
pronouncement as to costs.[6]

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

On 6 June 2000, respondent moved for reconsideration of the


aforesaid decision but was denied by the CTA in a Resolution
dated 25 July 2000. Thereafter, respondent appealed to the Court of
Appeals on 31 August 2001. In reversing the CTA decision, the Court
of Appeals found the evidence presented by the respondent to be
sufficient proof that the tax assessment notice was mailed to
the petitioner, therefore the legal presumption that it was received
should apply.[7] Thus, the Court of Appeals ruled that:
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby
GRANTED. The decision dated May 17, 2000 as
well as the Resolution dated July 25, 2000 are
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and a new on
entered ordering the respondent to pay the
amount of P826,698.31 as deficiency income tax
for the year 1987 plus 25% surcharge and 20%
interest per annum from February 6, 1991 until
fully paid pursuant to Sections 248 and 249 of the
Tax Code.[8]
Petitioner moved for reconsideration of the said decision but
the same was denied by the Court of Appeals in its assailed
Resolution dated 30 January 2003.[9]
Hence, this Petition for Review on Certiorari raising the
following issues:

Page 69 of 95

II
WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS WAS
CORRECT IN REVERSING THE SUBJECT DECISION OF
THE COURT OF TAX APPEALS.
III
WHETHER OR NOT THE RIGHT OF THE BUREAU OF
INTERNAL REVENUE TO ASSESS PETITIONER FOR
ALLEGED DEFICIENCY INCOME TAX FOR 1987 HAS
PRESCRIBED.
IV
WHETHER OR NOT THE RIGHT OF THE BUREAU OF
INTERNAL REVENUE TO COLLECT THE SUBJECT
ALLEGED DEFICIENCY INCOME TAX FOR 1987 HAS
PRESCRIBED.
V
WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER IS LIABLE FOR THE
ALLEGED DEFICIENCY INCOME TAX ASSESSMENT FOR
1987.
VI

I
WHETHER OR NOT LEGAL BASES EXIST FOR
THE COURT OF APPEALS FINDING THAT THE
COURT OF TAX APPEALS COMMITTED GROSS
ERROR IN THE APPRECIATION OF FACTS.

WHETHER OR NOT THE SUBJECT ASSESSMENT IS


VIOLATIVE OF THE RIGHT OF PETITIONER TO DUE
PROCESS.[10]

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

This Court finds the instant Petition meritorious.


The core issue in this case is whether or not respondents
right to assess petitioners alleged deficiency income tax is barred by
prescription, the resolution of which depends on reviewing the
findings of fact of the Court of Appeals and the CTA.
While the general rule is that factual findings of the Court of
Appeals are binding on this Court, there are, however, recognized
exceptions[11] thereto, such as when the findings are contrary to those of
the trial court or, in this case, the CTA.[12]
In its Decision, the CTA resolved the issues raised by the parties

Page 70 of 95

properly addressed with postage prepaid,


and (b) that it was mailed. Once these
facts are proved, the presumption is that
the letter was received by the addressee
as soon as it could have been transmitted
to him in the ordinary course of the
mail. But if one of the said facts fails to
appear, the presumption does not lie. (VI,
Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court,
1963
ed,
56-57
citing Enriquez
vs. Sunlife Assurance of Canada, 41 Phil
269).

thus:
Jurisprudence is replete with cases holding that if
the taxpayer denies ever having received an assessment
from the BIR, it is incumbent upon the latter to prove by
competent evidence that such notice was indeed received
by the addressee. The onus probandi was shifted to
respondent to prove by contrary evidence that the
Petitioner received the assessment in the due course of
mail. The Supreme Court has consistently held that while
a mailed letter is deemed received by the addressee in
the course of mail, this is merely a disputable
presumption subject tocontroversion and a direct denial
thereof shifts the burden to the party favored by the
presumption to prove that the mailed letter was indeed
received by the addressee (Republic vs. Court of Appeals,
149 SCRA 351). Thus as held by the Supreme Court
in Gonzalo P. Nava vs. Commissioner of Internal Revenue,
13 SCRA 104, January 30, 1965:
The facts to be proved to raise this
presumption are (a) that the letter was

In the instant case, Respondent utterly failed to


discharge this duty. No substantial evidence was ever
presented to prove that the assessment notice No. FAN1-87-91-000649 or other supposed notices subsequent
thereto were in fact issued or sent to the taxpayer. As a
matter of fact, it only submitted the BIR record book
which allegedly contains the list of taxpayers names, the
reference number, the year, the nature of tax, the
city/municipality and the amount (see Exh. 5-a for the
Respondent). Purportedly, Respondent intended to show
to this Court that all assessments made are entered into a
record book in chronological order outlining the details
of the assessment and the taxpayer liable
thereon. However, as can be gleaned from the face of the
exhibit, all entries thereon appears to be immaterial and
impertinent in proving that the assessment notice was
mailed and duly received by Petitioner. Nothing
indicates therein all essential facts that could sustain the
burden of proof being shifted to the Respondent. What is
essential to prove the fact of mailing is the registry
receipt issued by the Bureau of Posts or the Registry

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

return card which would have been signed by the


Petitioner or its authorized representative. And if said
documents cannot be located, Respondent at the very
least, should have submitted to the Court a certification
issued by the Bureau of Posts and any other pertinent
document which is executed with the intervention of the
Bureau of Posts. This Court does not put much credence
to the self serving documentations made by the BIR
personnel especially if they are unsupported by
substantial evidence establishing the fact of mailing.
Thus:
While we have held that an
assessment is made when sent within the
prescribed period, even if received by the
taxpayer after its expiration (Coll. of Int.
Rev. vs. Bautista, L-12250 and L-12259,
May 27, 1959), this ruling makes it the
more imperative that the release, mailing
or sending of the notice be clearly and
satisfactorily proved. Mere notations
made without the taxpayers intervention,
notice or control, without adequate
supporting evidence cannot suffice;
otherwise, the taxpayer would be at the
mercy of the revenue offices, without
adequate protection or defense. (Nava vs.
CIR, 13 SCRA 104, January 30, 1965).
xxxx
The failure of the respondent to prove receipt of
the assessment by the Petitioner leads to the conclusion
that no assessment was issued. Consequently, the

Page 71 of 95

governments right to issue an assessment for the said


period has already prescribed. (Industrial Textile
Manufacturing Co. of the Phils., Inc. vs. CIR CTA Case 4885,
August 22, 1996).[13]

Jurisprudence has consistently shown that this Court accords the


findings of fact by the CTA with the highest respect. In Sea-Land Service
Inc. v. Court of Appeals[14] this Court recognizes that the Court of Tax
Appeals, which by the very nature of its function is dedicated exclusively
to the consideration of tax problems, has necessarily developed an
expertise on the subject, and its conclusions will not be overturned
unless there has been an abuse or improvident exercise of
authority. Such findings can only be disturbed on appeal if they are not
supported by substantial evidence or there is a showing of gross error or
abuse on the part of the Tax Court.[15] In the absence of any clear and
convincing proof to the contrary, this Court must presume that the CTA
rendered a decision which is valid in every respect.
Under Section 203[16] of the National Internal Revenue Code
(NIRC), respondent had three (3) years from the last day for the filing of
the return to send an assessment notice to petitioner. In the case
of Collector of Internal Revenue v. Bautista,[17] this Court held that an
assessment is made within the prescriptive period if notice to this effect
is released, mailed or sent by the CIR to the taxpayer within said
period. Receipt thereof by the taxpayer within the prescriptive period is
not necessary. At this point, it should be clarified that the rule does not
dispense with the requirement that the taxpayer should actually receive,
even beyond the prescriptive period, the assessment notice which was
timely released, mailed and sent.
In the present case, records show that petitioner filed its Annual
Income Tax Return for taxable year 1987 on 14 April 1988.[18] The last
day for filing by petitioner of its return was on 15 April 1988,[19] thus,

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

giving respondent until 15 April 1991 within which to send an


assessment notice. While respondent avers that it sent the assessment
notice dated 1 February 1991 on 6 February 1991, within the three (3)year period prescribed by law, petitioner denies having received an
assessment notice from respondent. Petitioner alleges that it came to
know of the deficiency tax assessment only on 17 March 1992 when it
was served with the Warrant of Distraint and Levy.[20]
Appeals,[21]

In Protectors Services, Inc. v. Court of


this Court ruled
that when a mail matter is sent by registered mail, there exists a
presumption, set forth under Section 3(v), Rule 131 of the Rules of
Court, [22] that it was received in the regular course of mail. The facts to
be proved in order to raise this presumption are: (a) that the letter was
properly addressed with postage prepaid; and (b) that it was
mailed. While a mailed letter is deemed received by the addressee in the
ordinary course of mail, this is still merely a disputable presumption
subject to controversion, and a direct denial of the receipt thereof shifts
the burden upon the party favored by the presumption to prove that the
mailed letter was indeed received by the addressee.[23]
In the present case, petitioner denies receiving the assessment
notice, and the respondent was unable to present substantial evidence
that such notice was, indeed, mailed or sent by the respondent before
the BIRs right to assess had prescribed and that said notice was
received by the petitioner. The respondent presented the BIR record
book where the name of the taxpayer, the kind of tax assessed, the
registry receipt number and the date of mailing were noted. The BIR
records custodian, Ingrid Versola, also testified that she made the entries
therein. Respondent offered the entry in the BIR record book and the
testimony of its record custodian as entries in official records in
accordance with Section 44, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court,[24] which
states that:

Page 72 of 95

Section 44. Entries in official records. - Entries in


official records made in the performance of his duty by a
public officer of the Philippines, or by a person in the
performance of a duty specially enjoined by law,
are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated.

The foregoing rule on evidence, however, must be read in


accordance with this Courts pronouncement in Africa v. Caltex (Phil.),
Inc.,[25] where it has been held that an entrant must have personal
knowledge of the facts stated by him or such facts were acquired by him
from reports made by persons under a legal duty to submit the same.
There are three requisites for admissibility under
the rule just mentioned: (a) that the entry was made by a
public officer, or by another person specially enjoined by
law to do so; (b) that it was made by the public officer in
the performance of his duties, or by such other person in
the performance of a duty specially enjoined by law; and
(c) that the public officer or other person had sufficient
knowledge of the facts by him stated, which must have
been acquired by him personally or through official
information x x x.
In this case, the entries made by Ingrid Versola were not
based on her personal knowledge as she did not attest to the fact
that she personally prepared and mailed the assessment notice. Nor
was it stated in the transcript of stenographic notes[26] how and from
whom she obtained the pertinent information. Moreover, she did
not attest to the fact that she acquired the reports from persons
under a legal duty to submit the same. Hence, Rule 130, Section 44
finds no application in the present case. Thus, the evidence offered
by respondent does not qualify as an exception to the rule against
hearsay evidence.

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Page 73 of 95

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the instant Petition


is GRANTED. The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. SP No. 60209 dated 11 July 2002, is hereby REVERSED and SET
ASIDE, and the Decision of the Court of Tax Appeals in C.T.A. Case
No. 5662, dated 17 May 2000, cancelling the 1988 Deficiency Tax
Assessment against Barcelon, Roxas Securitites, Inc. (now known as
UPB Securities, Inc.) for being barred by prescription, is hereby
REINSTATED. No costs.

Furthermore, independent evidence, such as the registry


receipt of the assessment notice, or a certification from the Bureau of
Posts, could have easily been obtained. Yet respondent failed to
present such evidence.
In the case of Nava v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, [27] this
Court stressed on the importance of proving the release, mailing or
sending of the notice.

SO ORDERED.
While we have held that an assessment is made
when sent within the prescribed period, even if received
by the taxpayer after its expiration (Coll. of Int. Rev. vs.
Bautista, L-12250 and L-12259, May 27, 1959), this
ruling makes it the more imperative that the release,
mailing, or sending of the notice be clearly and
satisfactorily proved. Mere notations made without the
taxpayers intervention, notice, or control, without
adequate supporting evidence, cannot suffice; otherwise,
the taxpayer would be at the mercy of the revenue
offices, without adequate protection or defense.

[1]

[2]
[3]
[4]
[5]
[6]
[7]
[8]
[9]

In the present case, the evidence offered by the respondent


fails to convince this Court that Formal Assessment Notice No. FAN1-87-91-000649 was released, mailed, or sent before 15 April 1991,
or before the lapse of the period of limitation upon assessment and
collection prescribed by Section 203 of the NIRC. Such evidence,
therefore, is insufficient to give rise to the presumption that the
assessment notice was received in the regular course of
mail. Consequently, the right of the government to assess and collect
the alleged deficiency tax is barred by prescription.

[10]
[11]

Penned by Associate Justice Delilah Vidallon-Magtolis with


Associate Justice Candido Rivera and Associate Justice
Sergio Pestao, concurring. Rollo, pp. 12-17.
Id. at 18-28.
Id. at 18.
Id. at 18-19.
Id. at 22-27.
Id. at 27.
Id. at 16-17.
Id. at 17.
CA rollo, p. 147.
Rollo, pp. 55-56.
Instances when the findings of fact of the trial court and/or
Court of Appeals may be reviewed by the Supreme Court are (1)
when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on
speculation, surmises or conjectures; (2) when the inference
made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) where
there is a grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment is
based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of
fact are conflicting; (6) when the Court of Appeals, in making its
findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same is
contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee; (7)

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[12]

[13]
[14]
[15]

[16]

[17]
[18]
[19]

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

the findings of the Court of Appeals are contrary to those of the


trial court; (8) when the findings of fact are conclusions without
citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (9) when
the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioners
main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondents; and
(10) the finding of fact of the Court of Appeals is premised on
the supposed absence of evidence and is contradicted by the
evidence on record. (Misa v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 97291, 5
August 1992, 212 SCRA 217, 221-222)
Metro Construction, Inc. v. Chatham Properties, Inc., 418 Phil.
176, 206 (2001).
Rollo, pp. 24-27.
G.R. No. 122605, 30 April 2001, 357 SCRA 441, 445-446.
Commissioner of Internal Revenue v. Mitsubishi Metal Corp., G.R.
Nos. 54908 and 80041, 22 January 1990, 181 SCRA 214, 220.
Section 203. Period of Limitation Upon Assessment and
Collection. Except as provided in the Section 222, internal
revenue taxes shall be assessed within three (3) years after the
last day prescribed by law for the filing of the return, and no
proceeding in court without assessment for the collection of such
taxes shall be begun after expiration of such period: Provided,
that in a case where a return is filed beyond the period
prescribed by law, the three (3)-year period shall be counted
from the day the return was filed. For purposes of this Section, a
return filed before the last day prescribed by law for the filing
thereof shall be considered as filed on such last day.
105 Phil. 1326, 1327 (1959).
Rollo, pp. 14 and 24.
Section 77 (B) of the NIRC states that:
(B) Time of Filing the Income Tax Return. - The corporate
quarterly declaration shall be filed within sixty (60) days
following the close of each of the first three (3) quarters of the
taxable year. The final adjustment return shall be filed on or
before the fifteenth (15th) day of April, or on or before the

Page 74 of 95

fifteenth (15th) day of the fourth (4th) month following the close
of the fiscal year, as the case may be.
[20]
Rollo, pp. 53-54.
[21]
386 Phil. 611, 623 (2000).
[22]
Section 3(v), Rule 131, of the 1997 Rules of Court provides:
Sec. 3. Disputable presumptions. The following
presumptions are satisfactory if uncontradicted, but may be
contradicted and overcome by other evidence:
xxxx
(v) That a letter duly directed and mailed was received
in the regular course of the mail;
[23]
Republic v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. L-38540, 30 April 1987,
149 SCRA 351, 355.
[24]
Rollo, p. 56.
[25]
123 Phil. 272, 277 (1966).
[26]
Transcript of Stenographic Notes, Barcelon, Roxas Securities,
Inc. v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, CTA Case No. 5662, 25
August 1998, pp. 1-13.
[27]
121 Phil. 117, 123-124 (1965).

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-21649

October 9, 1924

SALMON, DEXTER & CO., plaintiff-appellee,


vs.
NICOLAS WIJANGCO, defendant-appellant.
Eusebio Orense for appellant.
J. W. Ferrier for appellee.

VILLAMOR, J.:
On the 8th day of October, 1920, a contract was entered into between
the parties to this action for the purchase and sale of a tractor and
threshing machine upon the conditions specified in said contract, which
is evidenced by Exhibit A set out in the complaint.
The price of the machineries sold Is P12,400, payable by installments as
follows: P400 at the signing of the contract sale, to wit, October 8, 1920;
P4,000 upon the delivery of said machineries by the defendant to the
plaintiff; another P4,000 on June 15, 1921, and, finally, another P4,000
on December 15, 1921.
The plaintiff alleges four causes of action and upon each of them prays
for judgment against the defendant:

Page 75 of 95

(1) For the sum of P188.96 claimed in the first cause of action,
with legal interest thereon from the date of the filing of the
complaint;
(2) The sum of P5,000 claimed in the second cause of action, with
interest thereon at 12 per cent per annum from the 16th day of
January, 1923, until full payment, together with an additional 10
per cent of the amount due;
(3) For the sum of P5,000 claimed in the third cause of action,
plus interest at the rate of 12 per cent per annum from the 16th
day of January, 1923, until full payment together with an
additional 10 per cent of the amount due;
(4) For the sum of P1,547.35 claimed in the fourth cause of
action, with legal interest thereon from the date of the filing of
the complaint.
The defendant denies generally and specifically the facts alleged in the
complaint, and as a special defense alleges:
(a) That the tractor and threshing machine, which is the subjectmatter of the contract set out in the second paragraph of the first
cause of action and which was sold by the plaintiff company to
the defendant, does not meet the conditions specified and
guaranteed in the aforesaid contract of sale, to wit, (a) the good
operation of the machineries; (b) the new quality of the materials
employed in the construction thereof; and (c) the capacity to
thresh 300 cavans of palay per day, all of which conditions are
specified and guaranteed in subsection (b) of paragraph 2, and in
paragraph 4 of the contract of sale aforesaid.
(b) That in the month of April, 1921, the defendant has notified
the plaintiff of the fact that the threshing machine sold to him

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

pursuant to the contract above referred to could not thresh 300


cavans per day, as was guaranteed in said contract, and offered
to return the aforesaid tractor and threshing machine, but the
plaintiff company, without answering said offer, let the time
elapse until the filing of the herein complaint.
(c) That all the amounts claimed in the herein complaint are
based on the contract set out in paragraph 2 of the first cause of
action, which as above stated, was violated by the plaintiff. And
as a counterclaim the defendant prays that the plaintiff be
ordered to pay him the sum of P4,211.04 paid by him on account
of the aforesaid tractor and threshing machine, plus the amount
of P5,000 as damages. And as a cross-complaint, the defendant
prays that the contract in question be declared rescinded.
After proper proceedings, the lower court rendered judgment
sentencing the defendant to pay the plaintiff: First, the sum of P188.96
with legal interest thereon from the filing of the herein complaint;
second, P4,000 with interest thereon at the rate of 12 per cent per
annum from the 15th day of December, 1920, until full payment; third,
P4,000 with interest thereon at the same rate of 12 per cent per annum
from the 15th day of December, 1920, until full payment; and finally,
P1,403.97 with legal interest thereon from the commencement of this
action; and to pay in addition the sum equivalent to 10 per cent of the
two amounts of P4,000 claimed by the plaintiff as attorney's fee and
expenses of collection; and absolving the plaintiff from the counterclaim
and cross-complaint set up by the defendant against it.
The appellant alleges that the trail court erred: (a) In holding that the
preponderance of evidence shows that if the defendant could not thresh
a larger quantity of palay in the period of time aforementioned it was
due, not to the bad quality of the machineries in question, but to the poor
quality of the palay harvested and threshed in Magalang and Concepcion,
in said period of time, and in admitting as evidence Exhibit L of the

Page 76 of 95

plaintiff; (b) in sentencing the defendant to pay the various amounts


specified in the judgment appealed from, or in absolving the plaintiff
from the counterclaim and the cross-complaint interposed by the herein
defendant, and in not allowing the latter the damages claimed in his
answer; and (c) in denying the motion for new trial presented by the
herein defendant and appellant.
According to the appellant, the question at issue in this case is whether
or not the threshing machine purchased by the herein defendant from
the plaintiff company can thresh not less than 300 cavans of ordinary
palay, as was guaranteed by the seller, and upon which condition the
contract of purchase and sale was executed. That is to the contract,
according to the terms thereof, the purchaser is in turn bound to pay the
price. 1awph!l.net
Upon the capacity of the threshing machine to thresh not less than 300
cavans of ordinary palay per day of ten hours' work, as question of fact,
proof was introduced by both parties, and the trial court in view thereof
held that the preponderance of the evidence shows that if the defendant
could not thresh a larger quantity of palay in the period aforementioned
(1920 to 1921 agricultural year), it was due to the poor quality of the
palay harvested and threshed in Magalang and Concepcion in said
period. We have examined the record and do not feel justified in altering
the conclusion reached by the trial court.
The appellant calls our attention to the testimonies of his six witnesses
in support of the proposition that the palay threshed by the machineries
in question is ordinary palay, and that notwithstanding this fact the
threshing machine could not give out 300 cavans of palay per day.
A slight examination of the testimonies of said witnesses shows that
there is no ground for complaint against the act of the trial court in
giving them the merit it did. For instance, Juan Feliciano testifies that in
the 1920-1921 agricultural year he had 80 hectares of land planted with

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Prof. Avena

21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

palay, and harvested more than 3,000 cavans. (That is to say, that his
land yielded 37 cavans per hectare, and an output of from 30 to 40
cavans per hectare is what the parties understand by ordinary palay.) He
affirms that the threshing capacity of the threshing machine was from
170 to 200 cavans per day, and that using said threshing machine it took
him eight days to thresh 1,200 cavans, which means a daily capacity of
150 cavans.
Pablo A. Luciano affirms that the threshing machine threshed 172 cavans
per day in the eight days he used it, during which he threshed 1,232
cavans from the crop he had harvested in that year from his land of 40
hectares, which shows a capacity of 154 cavans per day.
Andres Feliciano affirms having used the threshing machine for sixteen
years during which he threshed 3,000 cavans of palay and that the daily
capacity of the threshing machine is approximately 200 cavans, but then
he adds that the machine did not give more than 100 cavans per day, and
sometimes more than 100 cavans, but he could not tell the exact number
of days during which the machine was used in one or the other case.
Anacleto Tuma testifies that he had harvested from his land of 35
hectares about 17 mandalas, some of which were big and some small.
Fifteen mandalas were threshed by the threshing machine in question in
six days and a half, and gave out 900 cavans, while the other two
mandalas threshed by horses yielded 600 cavans.
Eutiquio Feliciano affirms that the maximum capacity of the threshing
machine in that period was only 160 cavans per day, and it could not
thresh 200 cavans per day. He threshed with the machine in question
2,400 cavans of palay in ten days, which means a daily capacity of 240
cavans.
Without the necessity of going into a minute analysis, the inconsistency
of the evidence of the defendant will easily be noted; so that we cannot

Page 77 of 95

hold erroneous the finding of the trial court which has had the
opportunity to observe the witnesses while they were testifying before
it.
Another error assigned by the appellant is the admission by the lower
court of Exhibit L of the plaintiff, which is a certificate of the Director of
the Bureau of Agriculture as to the average crop of palay produced in the
municipality of Magalang in the 1920-1921 agricultural year, and is as
follows:
I, Adriano Hernandez, Director of the Bureau of Agriculture,
hereby certify that the records of the said Bureau of Agriculture
show that for the crop seasons 1920-1921 there was planted to
palay in the municipality of Magalang, Province of Pampanga,
5,050 hectares and that the average yield per hectare for such
crop seasons was 22 cavanes.
(Sgd.) ADN. HERNANDEZ, Director.
The statistics prepared by the Bureau of Agriculture is chiefly based on
the quarterly reports of the municipal presidents made pursuant to
section 2202 of the Administrative Code, which provides:
The president of each municipality shall, upon forms to be
supplied by the Director of Agriculture, and in such detail as shall
be required by him, make quarterly reports of the condition of
agriculture and live stock in his municipality, and of such other
matters as relate to the development of those interests.
The reports so made shall be submitted to the municipal council,
and, if approved, a copy thereof shall be forwarded to the office
of the provincial governor, a second copy to the representative
from the district, a third copy to the Director of Agriculture, and

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Prof. Avena

21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

a fourth copy shall be filed in the office of the municipal


secretary.
Under such circumstances, we hold that the certificate issued by the
Director of Agriculture is admissible in evidence as an official document
issued by a public officer authorized by law. Wigmore, in his treatise on
evidence, vol. 3, section 1636, speaking of exceptions to the rule as to the
inadmissibility of hearsay evidence, among other things, says:
xxx

xxx

xxx

6. Certificates. Every officer has an implied duty or authority


to prepare and deliver out to an applicant a certificate stating
anything which has been done or observed by him or exists in his
office by virtue of some authority or duty, and the certificate is
admissible.
The third assignment of error has reference to the alleged breach of the
contract on the part of the plaintiff. Such a breach of contract not having
been proven, as we have seen in the discussion of the first two errors
assigned by the appellant, the conclusion of law is inevitable that the
claim for damages and refunding of what was paid is untenable.
For all of the foregoing, the judgment appealed from must be, as is
hereby affirmed with costs against the appellant. So ordered.
Johnson, Street, Malcolm, Avancea, Ostrand and Romualdez, JJ., concur.

Page 78 of 95

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 169958
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE SECRETARY RAUL M. GONZALEZ,
BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION COMMISSIONER and BOARD OF
COMMISSIONERS CHAIRMAN ALIPIO F. FERNANDEZ, JR., and
IMMIGRATION ASSOCIATE COMMISSIONERS and BOARD OF
COMMISSIONERS MEMBERS ARTHEL B. CARONONGAN, TEODORO B.
DELARMENTE, JOSE D.L. CABOCHAN, and FRANKLIN Z. LITTUA,
Petitioners,
Vs.
MICHAEL ALFIO PENNISI, Respondent
March 5, 2010

Page 79 of 95

Michael Alfio Pennisi (respondent) was born on 13 March 1975 in


Queensland, Australia to Alfio Pennisi, an Australian national, and Anita
T. Quintos (Quintos), allegedly a Filipino citizen. In March 1999,
respondent filed a petition for recognition as Filipino citizen before the
Bureau of Immigration (BI). Respondent submitted the following
documents before the BI:
1. Certified photocopy of the certificate of birth of
Quintos, and a certification issued by the Local Civil
Registrar of San Antonio, Nueva Ecija stating that
Quintos was born on 14 August 1949 of Filipino
parents, Felipe M. Quintos and Celina G. Tomeda, in
Panabingan, San Antonio, Nueva Ecija;
2.
Certified true copy of the certificate
of marriage of respondents parents dated 9 January
1971, indicating the Philippines as Quintos
birthplace;

DECISION

CARPIO, J.:
The Case
Before the Court is a petition for review[1] assailing the 30
September 2005 Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No.
87271.
The Antecedent Facts
The facts, gathered from the Court of Appeals decision, are as
follows:

3.
Certified true copy of Quintos
Australian certificate of registration of alien,
indicating her nationality as Filipino;
4. Certified true copy of respondents birth
certificate stating that he was born on 13 March
1975 and indicating the Philippines as his mothers
birthplace; and
5. Certified true copy of the letter dated 14 July
1999 of the Australian Department of Immigration
and Multicultural Affairs, stating that as of 14 July
1999, Quintos has not been granted Australian
citizenship.

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

On 17 February 2000, BI Associate Commissioner Alan Roullo Yap


issued an order granting respondents petition for recognition as Filipino
citizen. In a 2ndIndorsement dated 28 February 2000, the Secretary of
the Department of Justice (DOJ) disapproved the order. However, upon
respondents submission of additional documents, BI Commissioner
Rufus B. Rodriguez granted the order as per Recognition Order No.
206679 dated 3 March 2000 which states:
Finding the grounds cited in the instant petition for
recognition as a citizen of the Philippines filed on behalf
of the applicant to be well-founded and meritorious, we
hereby authorize the recognition of MICHAEL ALFIO
PENNISI as a citizen of the Philippines pursuant to Article
III[,] Section 1, para. 2 of the 1973 Constitution.
Henceforth, applicant shall be entitled to all the rights and
privileges appurtenant thereto. Once this Order is affirmed by the
Secretary of Justice and upon payment of the corresponding fees, he/she
shall be issued an identification Certificate which shall indicate
prominently thereon the date of affirmation.
An Exit Clearance Certificate (ECC) fee shall also be assessed
against the applicant whenever he/she departs for abroad using a
foreign passport or travel documents.
Give the applicant a copy of this Order.
SO ORDERED.[3]
In a 2nd Indorsement dated 8 March 2000, the DOJ affirmed
Recognition Order No. 206679, as follows:
Respectfully returned to the Commissioner of
Immigration, Manila, the within records relating to the

Page 80 of 95

request for reconsideration of this Departments


2nd Indorsement dated February 28, 2000, which
disapproved the Order of that Office dated February 17,
2000 granting the petition for recognition as a Filipino
citizen of MICHAEL ALFIO PENNISI.
The additional documents submitted (duly authenticated
Certificate of Birth of the petitioner and Certificate of Marriage of his
parents), together with the original records, satisfactorily establish that
petitioner was born in Queensland, Australia, on March 13, 1975, the
legitimate issue of the spouses Anita T. Quintos, a natural-born Filipino
citizen, and Alfio Pennisi, an Australian national, and may, therefore, be
deemed a citizen of the Philippines pursuant to Section 1(2), Article III
of the 1973 Constitution, in relation to Section 1(2), Article IV of the
present Constitution.
Wherefore, the instant request for reconsideration is hereby
granted and the above-mentioned Order of that Office dated February
17, 2000 granting the petition for recognition as a Filipino citizen of
Michael Alfio Pennisi is now AFFIRMED.
This supersedes our aforesaid 2nd Indorsement
dated February 28, 2000 on the same subject matter.[4]

Thereafter, respondent was drafted and played for the Red Bull, a
professional basketball team in the Philippine Basketball Association
(PBA).
On 7 August 2003, the Senate Committees on Games, Amusement
and Sports and on Constitutional Amendments (Senate Committees)
jointly submitted Committee Report No. 256[5] (Committee Report)
recommending, among other things, that (1) the BI conduct summary
deportation proceedings against several Filipino-foreign PBA players,

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

including respondent; and (2) the DOJ Secretary conduct an immediate


review of all orders of recognition. Respondent was included in the list
on the basis of the following findings of the Senate Committees:
F. Michael Alfio Pennisi was able to present before
the BI and the committees, the documents required in
granting
recognition of
Philippine
citizenship,
particularly the birth certificate of his Filipino mother,
Anita Tomeda Quintos;
However, a verification on the authenticity of the above
documents reveals highly suspicious circumstances.
His alleged mother and other relatives, specifically the parents of
the former, namely: Felipe M. Quintos and Celina G. Tomeda, who were
mentioned in his application for recognition of Philippine citizenship in
the BI, are not known and have never existed in Panabingan, San
Antonio, Nueva Ecija.
According to the affidavits executed by Barangay Captain Ramon
Soliman and Barangay Treasurer Condrado P. Peralta of the
abovementioned place, there are no Quintoses or Tomedas that have
lived or have resided in the said barangay.
Both barangay officials further claimed that even in their census
or master list of voters, the family names of Quintos or Tomedas do not
exist.
His mothers certificate of birth in the civil registrar
of San Antonio, Nueva Ecija was issued on the basis of an
application for late registration, which is ten (10) years
after the date of birth.

Page 81 of 95

Ricardo V. Paras as Chairperson, to investigate the citizenship of


Filipino-foreign players in the PBA. The special committee required
respondent to submit a position paper in connection with the
investigation. On 18 October 2004, the DOJ issued a resolution revoking
respondents certificate of recognition and directing the BI to begin
summary deportation proceedings against respondent and other
Filipino-foreign PBA players.
On 20 October 2004, respondent and Davonn Harp (Harp), another
Filipino-foreign PBA player, filed a petition for prohibition with an
application for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction
before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 268 (trial court), to
enjoin the DOJ and BI from instituting summary deportation proceedings
against them. On even date, respondent received a letter from the BI
directing him to submit, within five days from notice, a memorandum in
connection with the deportation proceedings being conducted against
him. Respondent submitted his memorandum on 25 October 2004.
In a hearing before the trial court on the same date, the Office of the
Solicitor General, representing the DOJ and BI, manifested that
respondent would not be subjected to summary deportation and that he
would be given an opportunity to present evidence of his Filipino
citizenship in a full-blown trial on the merits. However, in a Summary
Deportation[6] Order dated 26 October 2004, the BI directed the
deportation of several Filipino-foreign PBA players, including
respondent. Respondent and Harp withdrew their petition before the
trial court without prejudice, which the trial court granted in its order of
4 November 2004. Respondent filed a petition for review, with an
application for temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction,
before the Court of Appeals.
The Decision of the Court of Appeals

Thereafter, the DOJ issued Department Order No. 412 dated 21


September 2004 creating a special committee, with Chief State Counsel

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

In its 30 September 2005 Decision, the Court of Appeals granted the


petition.
The Court of Appeals noted that respondents citizenship was
previously recognized by the BI and DOJ and it was only after four years
that the BI and DOJ reversed themselves in view of the finding in the
Committee Report. The Court of Appeals ruled that the highly
suspicious circumstances stated in the Committee Report referred to
the affidavits of Barangay Captain Ramon Soliman (Soliman) and
Barangay Treasurer Condrado P. Peralta (Peralta) that there were no
Quintoses or Tomedas in the birthplace of respondents mother and that
no such surnames appeared in the census or master list of voters. The
Court of Appeals ruled that apart from the affidavits, no other evidence
was presented to prove that Quintos was not a Filipino citizen or that
her birth certificate was false or fraudulently obtained. The Court of
Appeals ruled that respondents documentary evidence before the BI
and DOJ have more probative value and must prevail over the
allegations of Soliman and Peralta. The Court of Appeals further noted
that among the documents presented by respondent were authenticated
documents issued by the Commonwealth of Australia attesting that
Quintos consistently presented herself to be a Filipino citizen. The Court
of Appeals ruled that the authenticity of the documents issued by the
Australian government was never questioned nor put in issue. The
Court of Appeals further ruled that the fact that the Quintoses and
Tomedas were not included in the census or master list of voters did not
automatically render Quintos birth certificate invalid. The Court of
Appeals ruled that unless a public document is declared invalid by
competent authority, it should be presumed valid and binding for all
intents and purposes.

Page 82 of 95

Justice dated October 18, 2004 and summary deportation


order of the Bureau of Immigration dated October 26,
2004 are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE.
SO ORDERED.[7]
Hence, the petition before this Court.
The Issue
Petitioners raise this sole issue in their Memorandum:[8]
Whether the Court of Appeals committed a
reversible error in finding that respondent is a Filipino
citizen.

Petitioners allege that respondents petition was filed out of


time. Petitioners further allege that respondents voluntary departure
from the Philippines had rendered the petition moot. Finally, petitioners
allege that the cancellation of respondents certificate of recognition as a
Filipino citizen and the issuance of the deportation order against him are
valid.

The Ruling of this Court


The petition has no merit.

The dispositive portion of the Court of Appeals Decision reads:


Late Filing of Petition
WHEREFORE,
the
instant
petition
is
GRANTED. The assailed resolution of the Department of

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Petitioners allege that the petition filed before the Court of Appeals
should have been dismissed for late filing. Petitioners allege that
respondent only had 15 days from 19 October 2004, the date of receipt
of the 18 October 2004 DOJ Resolution, within which to file a petition for
review before the Court of Appeals. However, respondent filed his
petition only on 4 November 2004, or one day beyond the reglementary
period for filing the petition for review. Petitioners allege that when the
petition was filed, the 18 October 2004 DOJ Resolution had already
lapsed into finality.

Page 83 of 95

THE TRIAL COURT. BEFORE FILING THE PETITION FOR REVIEW


BEFORE THE COURT OF APPEALS, RESPONDENT HAD TO WITHDRAW
THE PETITION FOR PROHIBITION BEFORE THE TRIAL COURT. THE
TRIAL COURT GRANTED THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE PETITION ONLY
ON 4 NOVEMBER 2004, THE DATE OF FILING OF THE PETITION FOR
REVIEW BEFORE THE COURT OF APPEALS. UNDER THE
CIRCUMSTANCES, WE FIND THE ONE-DAY DELAY IN FILING THE
PETITION FOR REVIEW EXCUSABLE.
WE REITERATE:

We do not agree.
A one-day delay does not justify the appeals dismissal where no
element of intent to delay the administration of justice could be
attributed to the petitioner.[9] The Court has ruled:
The general rule is that the perfection of an appeal in
the manner and within the period prescribed by law is,
not only mandatory, but jurisdictional, and failure to
conform to the rules will render the judgment sought to
be reviewed final and unappealable. By way of exception,
unintended lapses are disregarded so as to give due
course to appeals filed beyond the reglementary period
on the basis of strong and compelling reasons, such as
serving the ends of justice and preventing a grave
miscarriage thereof. The purpose behind the limitation
of the period of appeal is to avoid an unreasonable delay
in the administration of justice and to put an end to
controversies.[10]

RULES OF PROCEDURE ARE MERELY TOOLS


DESIGNED TO FACILITATE THE ATTAINMENT OF
JUSTICE. IF THE APPLICATION OF THE RULES WOULD
TEND TO FRUSTRATE RATHER THAN TO PROMOTE
JUSTICE, IT IS ALWAYS WITHIN OUR POWER TO
SUSPEND THE RULES OR EXCEPT A PARTICULAR CASE
FROM THEIR OPERATION. LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE
GRANT TO COURTS THE PREROGATIVE TO RELAX
COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROCEDURAL RULES, EVEN
THE MOST MANDATORY IN CHARACTER, MINDFUL OF
THE DUTY TO RECONCILE THE NEED TO PUT AN END
TO LITIGATION SPEEDILY AND THE PARTIES RIGHT TO
AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE HEARD.[11]

HENCE, WE SUSTAIN THE COURT OF APPEALS IN ACCEPTING THE


PETITION FOR REVIEW ALTHOUGH IT WAS FILED ONE-DAY LATE.
MOOTNESS OF THE PETITION

RESPONDENT HAD A VALID EXCUSE FOR THE LATE FILING OF


THE PETITION BEFORE THE COURT OF APPEALS. IT IS NOT DISPUTED
THAT THERE WAS A PENDING PETITION FOR PROHIBITION BEFORE

PETITIONERS ALLEGE THAT THE PETITION HAD BEEN RENDERED


MOOT BECAUSE RESPONDENT ALREADY LEFT THE COUNTRY.

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

PETITIONERS CITED LEWIN V. THE DEPORTATION


BOARD[12] WHERE THE COURT RULED:
X X X. EVEN IF THE DEPORTATION CASE IS TO
PROCEED AND EVEN IF THIS COURT WILL DECIDE THIS
APPEAL ON THE MERITS, THERE WOULD BE NO
PRACTICAL VALUE OR EFFECT OF SUCH ACTION UPON
LEWIN, BECAUSE HE HAS ALREADY LEFT THE
COUNTRY. CONSEQUENTLY, THE ISSUES INVOLVED
HEREIN HAVE BECOME MOOT AND ACADEMIC.[13]
HOWEVER, WE AGREE WITH RESPONDENT THAT THE FACTUAL
CIRCUMSTANCES IN LEWIN ARE DIFFERENT FROM THE CASE BEFORE
US. IN LEWIN, PETITIONER WAS AN ALIEN WHO ENTERED THE
COUNTRY AS A TEMPORARY VISITOR, TO STAY FOR ONLY 50 DAYS. HE
PROLONGED HIS STAY BY SECURING SEVERAL EXTENSIONS. BEFORE
HIS LAST EXTENSION EXPIRED, HE VOLUNTARILY LEFT THE
COUNTRY, UPON FILING A BOND, WITHOUT ANY ASSURANCE FROM
THE DEPORTATION BOARD THAT HE WOULD BE ADMITTED TO THE
COUNTRY UPON HIS RETURN. THE COURT FOUND THAT HE DID NOT
RETURN TO THE COUNTRY, AND AT THE TIME HE WAS LIVING IN
ANOTHER COUNTRY. THE COURT RULED THAT LEWINS VOLUNTARY
DEPARTURE FROM THE COUNTRY, HIS LONG ABSENCE, AND HIS
STATUS WHEN HE ENTERED THE COUNTRY AS A TEMPORARY VISITOR
RENDERED ACADEMIC THE QUESTION OF HIS DEPORTATION AS AN
UNDESIRABLE ALIEN.
IN THIS CASE, RESPONDENT, PRIOR TO HIS DEPORTATION, WAS
RECOGNIZED AS A FILIPINO CITIZEN. HE MANIFESTED HIS INTENT TO
RETURN TO THE COUNTRY BECAUSE HIS FILIPINO WIFE AND
CHILDREN ARE RESIDING IN THE PHILIPPINES. THE FILING OF THE
PETITIONS BEFORE THE COURT OF APPEALS AND BEFORE THIS
COURT SHOWED HIS INTENTION TO PROVE HIS FILIPINO LINEAGE
AND CITIZENSHIP, AS WELL AS THE ERROR COMMITTED BY

Page 84 of 95

PETITIONERS IN CAUSING HIS DEPORTATION FROM THE


COUNTRY. HE WAS PRECISELY QUESTIONING THE DOJS REVOCATION
OF HIS CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION AND HIS SUMMARY
DEPORTATION BY THE BI.
THEREFORE, WE RULE THAT RESPONDENTS DEPORTATION DID
NOT RENDER THE PRESENT CASE MOOT.

VALIDITY OF THE CANCELLATION OF RESPONDENTS


CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION AND THE
ISSUANCE OF DEPORTATION ORDER BY THE BID
PETITIONERS ALLEGE THAT THE DOJ ADDUCED SUBSTANTIAL
EVIDENCE WARRANTING THE REVOCATION OF RESPONDENTS
CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION AND THE FILING OF THE
DEPORTATION PROCEEDINGS AGAINST HIM. PETITIONERS LIKEWISE
ALLEGE THAT THE CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION DID NOT ATTAIN
FINALITY AS CLAIMED BY RESPONDENT.
WE AGREE WITH PETITIONERS THAT THE ISSUANCE OF
CERTIFICATE OF RECOGNITION TO RESPONDENT HAS NOT ATTAINED
FINALITY. IN GO V. RAMOS,[14] THE COURT RULED THAT CITIZENSHIP
PROCEEDINGS ARE A CLASS OF ITS OWN AND CAN BE THRESHED OUT
AGAIN AND AGAIN AS THE OCCASION MAY DEMAND. RES
JUDICATA MAY BE APPLIED IN CASES OF CITIZENSHIP ONLY IF THE
FOLLOWING CONCUR:
1. A PERSONS CITIZENSHIP MUST BE RAISED AS A
MATERIAL ISSUE IN A CONTROVERSY WHERE SAID
PERSON IS A PARTY;

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

THE SOLICITOR GENERAL OR HIS AUTHORIZED


REPRESENTATIVE TOOK ACTIVE PART IN THE
RESOLUTION THEREOF; AND
THE FINDING OR CITIZENSHIP IS AFFIRMED BY THIS
COURT.[15]

However, the courts are not precluded from reviewing the findings
of the BI. Judicial review is permitted if the courts believe that there is
substantial evidence supporting the claim of citizenship, so substantial
that there are reasonable grounds for the belief that the claim is
correct.[16] When the evidence submitted by a deportee is conclusive of
his citizenship, the right to immediate review should be recognized and
the
courts
should
promptly
enjoin
the
deportation
proceedings.[17] Courts may review the actions of the administrative
offices authorized to deport aliens and reverse their rulings when there
is no evidence to sustain the rulings.[18]
IN THIS CASE, WE SUSTAIN THE COURT OF APPEALS THAT THE
EVIDENCE PRESENTED BEFORE THE BI AND THE DOJ, I.E., (1)
CERTIFIED PHOTOCOPY OF THE CERTIFICATE OF BIRTH OF QUINTOS,
AND A CERTIFICATION ISSUED BY THE LOCAL CIVIL REGISTRAR OF
SAN ANTONIO, NUEVA ECIJA STATING THAT QUINTOS WAS BORN ON
14 AUGUST 1949 OF FILIPINO PARENTS, FELIPE M. QUINTOS AND
CELINA G. TOMEDA, IN PANABINGAN, SAN ANTONIO, NUEVA ECIJA; (2)
CERTIFIED TRUE COPY OF THE CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE OF
RESPONDENTS PARENTS DATED 9 JANUARY 1971, INDICATING THE
PHILIPPINES AS QUINTOS BIRTHPLACE; (3) CERTIFIED TRUE COPY OF
QUINTOS AUSTRALIAN CERTIFICATE OF REGISTRATION OF ALIEN,
INDICATING HER NATIONALITY AS FILIPINO; (4) CERTIFIED TRUE
COPY OF RESPONDENTS BIRTH CERTIFICATE STATING THAT HE WAS
BORN ON 13 MARCH 1975 AND INDICATING THE PHILIPPINES AS HIS
MOTHERS BIRTHPLACE; AND (5) CERTIFIED TRUE COPY OF THE

Page 85 of 95

LETTER DATED 14 JULY 1999 OF THE AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF


IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS, STATING THAT AS OF
14 JULY 1999, QUINTOS HAS NOT BEEN GRANTED AUSTRALIAN
CITIZENSHIP, HAVE MORE PROBATIVE VALUE AND MUST PREVAIL
OVER THE STATEMENTS OF SOLIMAN AND PERALTA BEFORE THE
SENATE COMMITTEES. THE COMMITTEE REPORT ON RESPONDENT
STATED:
F. MICHAEL ALFIO PENNISI WAS ABLE TO PRESENT
BEFORE THE BI AND THE COMMITTEES, THE
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED IN GRANTING RECOGNITION
OF PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP, PARTICULARLY THE
BIRTH CERTIFICATE OF HIS FILIPINO MOTHER, ANITA
TOMEDA QUINTOS.
HOWEVER, A VERIFICATION OF THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE ABOVE
DOCUMENTS REVEALS HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES.
HIS ALLEGED MOTHER AND OTHER RELATIVES, SPECIFICALLY THE
PARENTS OF THE FORMER, NAMELY: FELIPE M. QUINTOS AND CELINA
G. TOMEDA, WHO WERE MENTIONED IN HIS APPLICATION FOR
RECOGNITION OF PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP IN THE BI, ARE NOT
KNOWN AND HAVE NEVER EXISTED IN PANABINGAN, SAN ANTONIO,
NUEVA ECIJA.

ACCORDING TO THE AFFIDAVITS EXECUTED BY


BARANGAY
CAPTAIN
RAMON
SOLIMAN AND
BARANGAY TREASURER CONDRADO P. PERALTA OF
THE ABOVEMENTIONED PLACE, THERE ARE NO
QUINTOSES OR TOMEDAS THAT HAVE LIVED OR HAVE
RESIDED IN THE SAID BARANGAY.

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

BOTH BARANGAY OFFICIALS FURTHER CLAIMED THAT EVEN IN THE


CENSUS OR MASTER LIST OF VOTERS, THE FAMILY NAMES OF
QUINTOS OR TOMEDAS DO NOT EXIST.
HIS MOTHER'S CERTIFICATE OF BIRTH IN THE CIVIL
REGISTRAR OF SAN ANTONIO, NUEVA ECIJA WAS
ISSUED ON THE BASIS OF AN APPLICATION FOR LATE
REGISTRATION, WHICH IS TEN (10) YEARS AFTER THE
DATE OF BIRTH.[19]
THE MEMORANDUM[20] OF THE DOJ SPECIAL COMMITTEE ALSO
CITED ONLY THE AFFIDAVITS OF SOLIMAN AND PERALTA AND THEN
CONCLUDED THAT THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED BEFORE THE SENATE
COMMITTEES HAD OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION THAT THE
ENTRIES IN THE CERTIFICATE OF LIVE BIRTH OF QUINTOS ARE PRIMA
FACIE EVIDENCE OF THE FACTS STATED THEREIN.[21]

Page 86 of 95

FOR RECOGNITION AS FILIPINO CITIZEN. AS SUCH, IT COULD NOT BE


PRESUMED THAT THE CERTIFICATES LATE FILING WAS MEANT TO
USE IT FRAUDULENTLY. FINALLY, THE AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF
IMMIGRATION AND MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS ITSELF ATTESTED
THAT AS OF 14 JULY 1999, QUINTOS HAS NOT BEEN GRANTED
AUSTRALIAN CITIZENSHIP. RESPONDENT SUBMITTED A CERTIFIED
TRUE COPY OF QUINTOS AUSTRALIAN CERTIFICATE OF
REGISTRATION OF ALIEN, INDICATING HER NATIONALITY AS
FILIPINO. THESE PIECES OF EVIDENCE SHOULD PREVAIL OVER THE
AFFIDAVITS SUBMITTED BY SOLIMAN AND PERALTA TO THE SENATE
COMMITTEES.
WHEREFORE,
WE DENY THE
PETITION. WE AFFIRM THE
30 SEPTEMBER 2005 DECISION OF
THE COURT OF APPEALS IN CA-G.R. SP
NO. 87271.
SO ORDERED.

WE AGREE WITH THE COURT OF APPEALS THAT WHILE THE


AFFIDAVITS OF SOLIMAN AND PERALTA MIGHT HAVE CAST DOUBT ON
THE VALIDITY OF QUINTOS CERTIFICATE OF LIVE BIRTH, SUCH
CERTIFICATE REMAINS VALID UNLESS DECLARED INVALID BY
COMPETENT AUTHORITY. THE RULE STANDS THAT (D)OCUMENTS
CONSISTING OF ENTRIES IN PUBLIC RECORDS MADE IN THE
PERFORMANCE OF A DUTY BY A PUBLIC OFFICER ARE PRIMA
FACIE EVIDENCE OF THE FACTS STATED THEREIN. X X X.[22]
WE FURTHER SUSTAIN THE COURT OF APPEALS THAT THERE
COULD BE REASONS WHY THE QUINTOSES AND TOMEDAS WERE NOT
INCLUDED IN THE CENSUS, SUCH AS THEY COULD HAVE BEEN MERE
TRANSIENTS IN THE PLACE. AS FOR THEIR ABSENCE IN THE
MASTERS LIST OF VOTERS, THEY COULD HAVE FAILED TO REGISTER
THEMSELVES AS VOTERS. THE LATE REGISTRATION OF QUINTOS
CERTIFICATE OF LIVE BIRTH WAS MADE 10 YEARS AFTER HER BIRTH
AND NOT ANYTIME NEAR THE FILING OF RESPONDENTS PETITION

Under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.


pp. 31-43. Penned by Associate Justice Edgardo P. Cruz with
Associate Justices Josefina Guevara-Salonga and Sesinando E.
Villon, concurring.
[3]
Rollo, pp. 32-33.
[4]
Id. at 33-34.
[5]
Id. at 45-56.
[6]
Id. at 138-145.
[7]
Id. at 43.
[8]
Id. at 341-357.
[9]
Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation v. Angara, G.R.
No. 142937, 15 November 2005,
475 SCRA 41.
[10]
Republic Cement Corporation v. Guinmapang, G.R. No. 168910,
24 August 2009. Emphasis in
the original.
[1]

[2]Rollo,

Law 126 Evidence


[11]

Prof. Avena

Sta. Ana v. Carpo, G.R. No. 164340, 28 November 2008, 572 SCRA

463, 477.
[12]
[13]
[14]
[15]
[16]
[17]
[18]
[19]
[20]
[21]
[22]

21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

No. L-16872, 31 January 1962, 4 SCRA 307.


Id. at 311.
G.R. No. 167569, 4 September 2009.
Id.
Id.
Id.
Domingo v. Scheer, 466 Phil. 235 (2004).
Rollo, p. 51.
Id. at 64-111.
Id. at 97-98.
Section 23, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court.

Page 87 of 95

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Page 88 of 95

SECOND DIVISION

Factual Antecedents

G.R. No. 172896

On October 1, 1996, petitioner was charged with Homicide in an


Information, [6] the accusatory portion of which reads as follows:

ROO SEGURITAN y JARA, Petitioner,


Vs.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
April 19, 2010

That on or about November 25,1995, in the


municipality of Gonzaga, province of Cagayan, and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused,
ROO SEGURITAN y JARA alias Ranio, with intent to kill, did
then and there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously assault,
attack and box one Lucrecio Seguritan, inflicting upon the
latter head injuries which caused his death.

DECISION
Contrary to law.
DEL CASTILLO, J.:

In a criminal case, factual findings of the trial court are generally accorded
great weight and respect on appeal, especially when such findings are
supported by substantial evidence on record.[1] It is only in exceptional
circumstances, such as when the trial court overlooked material and relevant
matters, that this Court will re-calibrate and evaluate the factual findings of the
court below. In this case, we hold that the trial court did not overlook such
factual matters; consequently, we find no necessity to review, much less,
overturn its factual findings.
This petition for review on certiorari assails the Decision[2] of the Court of
Appeals (CA) dated February 24, 2006 in CA-G.R. CR No. 25069 which affirmed
with modification the Judgment[3] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Aparri,
Cagayan, Branch 06 in Criminal Case No. VI-892 finding petitioner Roo
Seguritan y Jara guilty beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of
homicide. Likewise impugned is the Resolution[4] dated May 23, 2006 which
denied the Motion for Reconsideration.[5]

During the arraignment,


guilty. Thereafter, trial ensued.

petitioner

entered

plea

of

not

The Version of the Prosecution


In the afternoon of November 25, 1995, petitioner was having a drinking
session with his uncles Lucrecio Seguritan (Lucrecio), Melchor Panis (Melchor)
and Baltazar Panis (Baltazar), in the house of Manuel dela Cruz
in Barangay Paradise, Gonzaga, Cagayan. Petitioner, who was seated beside
Lucrecio, claimed that Lucrecios carabao entered his farm and destroyed his
crops. A heated discussion thereafter ensued, during which petitioner
punched Lucrecio twice as the latter was about to stand up. Petitioners
punches landed on Lucrecios right and left temple, causing him to fall face-up
to the ground and hit a hollow block which was being used as an improvised
stove.
Lucrecio lost consciousness but was revived with the assistance of
Baltazar. Thereafter, Lucrecio rode a tricycle and proceeded to his house in the

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Prof. Avena

21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

neighboring barangayof Calayan, Cagayan. Upon his arrival, his wife noticed
blood on his forehead. Lucrecio explained that he was stoned, then went
directly to his room and slept.
At around 9 oclock in the evening, Lucrecios wife and daughter noticed
that his complexion has darkened and foamy substance was coming out of his
mouth. Attempts were made to revive Lucrecio but to no avail. He died that
same night.
After the burial of Lucrecio on December 4, 1995, his wife learned of
petitioners involvement in her husbands death. Thus, she sought the
assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). NBI Medico-Legal
Officer Dr. Antonio Vertido (Dr. Vertido) exhumed Lucrecios body and
performed the autopsy. Dr. Vertido found hematomas in the scalp located in
the right parietal and left occipital areas, a linear fracture in the right
middle fossa, and a subdural hemorrhage in the right and left cerebral
hemisphere. Dr. Vertido concluded that Lucrecios cause of death was
traumatic head injury.[7]
On May 21, 1996, Melchor executed a sworn statement before the
Gonzaga Police Station recounting the events on that fateful day, including the
punching of Lucrecio by petitioner.

Page 89 of 95

Petitioner presented Joel Cabebe, the Assistant Registration Officer of


Gonzaga, Cagayan, and Dr. Corazon Flor, the Municipal Health Officer of Sta.
Teresita, Cagayan, to prove that Lucrecio died of a heart attack. These
witnesses identified the Certificate of Death of Lucrecio and the entry therein
which reads: Antecedent cause: T/C cardiovascular disease.[8]
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
On February 5, 2001, the trial court rendered a Decision convicting
petitioner of homicide. The dispositive portion of the Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds the accused GUILTY
beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of homicide and
sentences the accused to an indeterminate sentence of 6
years and 1 day of prision mayor as minimum to 17 years
and 4 months of reclusion temporal as maximum. The
accused is ordered to pay the heirs of the late Lucrecio
Seguritan the amount of P30,000.00 as actual damages
and the amount of P135,331.00 as loss of earning
capacity and to pay the costs.
SO ORDERED.[9]

At the time of Lucrecios death, he was 51 years old and earned an annual
income of P14,000.00 as a farmer.
The Decision of the Court of Appeals
The Version of the Defense
Petitioner denied hitting Lucrecio and alleged that the latter died of
cardiac arrest. Petitioner claimed that he suddenly stood up during their
heated argument with the intent to punch Lucrecio. However, since the latter
was seated at the opposite end of the bench, Lucrecio lost his balance and fell
before he could be hit. Lucrecios head hit the improvised stove as a result of
which he lost consciousness.

On appeal, the CA affirmed with modification the Judgment of the RTC.


Thus:
WHEREFORE, the judgment appealed from is partly
AFFIRMED, WITH MODIFICATION, to read as follows: The
Court finds the accused GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of
the crime of homicide and sentences the accused to an

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Prof. Avena

21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

indeterminate penalty of SIX (6) YEARS AND ONE (1) DAY


of prision mayor, as minimum, to TWELVE (12) YEARS AND
ONE (1) DAY of reclusion temporal, as maximum. The accused
Roo Seguritan is ordered to pay the heirs of the late Lucrecio
Seguritan the amount of P 30,000.00 as actual damages, the
amount
of P135,331.00
as
loss
of
earning
capacity, P 50,000.00 as moral damages and to pay the costs.

Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration but it was denied by the


CA in its Resolution dated May 23, 2006.
Issues
this

petition

the fracture may also be caused by one falling from a height. Petitioner also
maintains that the punches he threw at Lucrecio had nothing to do with the
fatal head injuries the latter suffered. According to him, Lucrecio sustained the
head injuries when he accidentally hit the hollow block that was used as an
improvised stove, after falling from the opposite end of the bench. Petitioner
insists that Lucrecio died due to a fatal heart attack.
In fine, petitioner contends that the appellate court, in affirming the
judgment of the trial court, overlooked material and relevant factual matters
which, if considered, would change the outcome of the case.

SO ORDERED.[10]

Thus,
issues:

Page 90 of 95

for

review

raising

the

following

I
The Court of Appeals erred in affirming the trial courts
judgment of conviction.
II
The Court of Appeals erred in convicting the accused of the
crime of homicide.[11]

We are not persuaded.


It is on record that Lucrecio suffered two external injuries and one
internal injury in his head. The autopsy report showed that Lucrecio died of
internal hemorrhage caused by injuries located at the upper right portion of the
head, left side of the center of his head, and a fracture, linear, right middle fossa,
hemorrhage, subdural, right and left cerebral hemisphere.
We find no reason to doubt the findings of the trial court, as affirmed by
the appellate court, that petitioner punched Lucrecio twice causing him to fall
to the ground. Melchor categorically testified that petitioner punched Lucrecio
twice and as a result, Lucrecio fell to the ground and lost
consciousness. Melchor would not have testified falsely against petitioner, who
was his nephew. He even hesitated to testify as shown by his execution of a
sworn statement just after the autopsy of Lucrecio which revealed that the
cause of death was traumatic head injury attributed to petitioner.

Our Ruling
The petition is denied.
Petitioner disputes the conclusion that the fracture on the right
middle fossa of the skull, beneath the area where a hematoma developed was
due to the blow he delivered because according to the testimony of Dr. Vertido,

Melchors eyewitness account of the fist blows delivered by petitioner to


Lucrecio and the manner by which the latter fell from the bench and hit his
head on the improvised stove is consistent with the autopsy findings prepared
and testified to by Dr. Vertido. Thus:
xxxx

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21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Court:
Q:
A:

What is the right parietal area?


This is the right parietal area, sir.
(Witness pointing to the upper right portion of
the head).
And then the left occipital area, this is left
occipital area with a hematoma again
measuring 5.0 x 4.0 centimeters, sir.
(Witness pointing to the back left part, middle
back portion)[12]

What about this which reads Fracture, linear,


right middle fossa, where is this injury
located?

xxxx
Court:
Q:
A:

Will you point that from your head?


x x x [A]t the base of the brain of the skull, sir.
If you look at the head at the cut portion, the
fracture is located on the base of the brain,
particularly on the right mid-cranial fossa, sir.[13]

xxxx
Fiscal Feril:
Q:

falling to the ground, hitting solid objects in


the process?
Well, with regard to the hematomas there is a
possibility [that it could be caused by] falling
from a height x x x although it produces
hematoma, sir.

Court:
Q:
A:

Falling from a height?


Yes, sir.

Fiscal Feril:
Q:

xxxx
Fiscal Feril:
Q:

A:

Page 91 of 95

Could it be possible that the victim suffered the


injuries specifically the fracture while he was

If an external force is administered to such


victim, such as x x x fist blow[s] would it
accelerate this force and cause these injuries?
A:
Definitely it could accelerate, sir.[14]
We find no merit in petitioners argument that he could not be held
liable for the head fracture suffered by Lucrecio. The height from which he
stood to deliver the fist blows to Lucrecios head is sufficient to cause the
fracture.
The testimony of Dr. Vertido also ruled out petitioners contention that
Lucrecio died of a heart attack. The fact that Lucrecios cause of death is
internal hemorrhage resulting from the head injuries suffered during his
encounter with the petitioner and the certainty that he had no heart problem
are evident in the following portion of Dr. Vertidos testimony:
Atty. Antonio:
Q:
Did you notice anything unusual in the heart of
Lucrecio Seguritan?
A:
Well, with regard to our examination of the
heart Your Honor I limit only the examination
on the atomic portion, gross findings, when
we say gross findings that can be seen by the

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Prof. Avena

21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

eyes and so if for example other that the


findings on the brain, if I have not seen my
injury from the brain then my next
examination to contemplate would be to
bring a portion of each particular organ to
Manila and have it subjected to a
hispathologic
examination
over
the
microscope. But then we found out that there
is an injury to the brain so why should I now
perform a hispathologic examination on the
heart, when in fact there is already a gross
finding on the brain, meaning that the cause
of death now is of course, this traumatic
injury, sir.
Court:
Q:

A:

Supposed the victim had a heart attack first


and then fell down later, can you determine
then x x x the cause of death?
Well, your Honor as I said a while ago I opened
up the heart, I examined the heart grossly and
there was no findings that would find to a
heart attach on its function, the heart was
okay and coronaries were not thickened so I
said well grossly there was no heart
attack.[15]

xxxx
Court:
Q:

Since you were conducting just a cursory


examination of the heart, my question again is
that, could you have determined by further
examination whether the victim suffered a

A:

Page 92 of 95
heart attack before the injuries on the head
were inflicted?
That is why sir, I said, I examined the heart and
I found out that there was noting wrong with
the heart, and why should I insist on further
examining the heart.[16]

The notation in the Certificate of Death of Lucrecio that he died of a


heart attack has no weight in evidence. Dr. Corazon Flor, who signed said
document testified that she did not examine the cadaver of Lucrecio. She stated
that a circular governing her profession did not require her to conduct an
examination of Lucrecios corpse, as long as the informant tells her that it is not
a medico-legal case. Renato Sidantes (Renato), the brother-in-law of Lucrecio
who applied for the latters death certificate, had no knowledge of the real
cause of his death. Thus, Dr. Flor was mistakenly informed by Renato that the
cause of Lucrecios death was heart attack.
The petitioner belatedly contends that the delay in the autopsy of
Lucrecios body and its embalming compromised the results thereof. To
substantiate his claim, he quotes the book entitled Legal Medicine authored by
Dr. Pedro Solis, viz:
a dead body must not be embalmed before the
autopsy. The embalming fluid may render the tissue and
blood unfit for toxilogical analyses. The embalming may alter
the gross appearance of the tissues or may result to a wide
variety of artifacts that tend to destroy or obscure evidence.
the body must be autopsied in the same condition
when found at the crime scene. A delay in the performance
may fail or modify the possible findings thereby not serving
the interest of justice.[17]

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Prof. Avena

21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Petitioners reliance on this citation is misplaced. Petitioner failed to


adduce evidence that the one month delay in the autopsy indeed modified the
possible findings. He also failed to substantiate his claim that the embalming
fluid rendered the tissue and blood of Lucrecio unfit for toxilogical analysis.

Page 93 of 95

1. By any person committing a felony (delito) although


the wrongful act done be different from that which he
intended.
xxxx

Further, it is settled that courts will only consider as evidence that


which has been formally offered.[18] The allegation that the results of the
autopsy are unworthy of credence was based on a book that was neither
marked for identification nor formally offered in evidence during the hearing of
the case. Thus, the trial court as well as the appellate court correctly
disregarded them. The prosecution was not even given the opportunity to
object as the book or a portion thereof was never offered in evidence.[19]
A formal offer is necessary since judges are required to base their
findings of fact and judgment only and strictly upon the evidence offered by
the parties at the trial. To rule otherwise would deprive the opposing party of
his chance to examine the document and object to its admissibility. The
appellate court will have difficulty reviewing documents not previously
scrutinized by the court below.[20] Any evidence which a party desires to
submit to the courts must be offered formally because a judge must base his
findings strictly on the evidence offered by the parties at the trial.[21]
We are not impressed with petitioners argument that he should be
held liable only for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide due to the
absence of intent to kill Lucrecio. When death resulted, even if there was no
intent to kill, the crime is homicide, not just physical injuries, since with respect
to crimes of personal violence, the penal law looks particularly to the material
results following the unlawful act and holds the aggressor responsible for all
the consequences thereof.[22] Accordingly, Article 4 of the Revised Penal Code
provides:
Art. 4. Criminal liability Criminal liability shall be
incurred:

Petitioner committed an unlawful act by punching Lucrecio, his uncle


who was much older than him, and even if he did not intend to cause the death
of Lucrecio, he must be held guilty beyond reasonable doubt for killing him
pursuant to the above-quoted provision. He who is the cause of the cause is the
cause of the evil caused.[23]
Considering the foregoing discussion, we find that both the trial court and
the appellate court correctly appreciated the evidence presented before
them. Both courts did not overlook facts and circumstances that would
warrant a reevaluation of the evidence. Accordingly, there is no reason to
digress from the settled legal principle that the appellate court will generally
not disturb the assessment of the trial court on factual matters considering that
the latter as a trier of facts, is in a better position to appreciate the same.
Further, it is settled that findings of fact of the trial court are accorded
greatest respect by the appellate court absent any abuse of discretion.[24] There
being no abuse of discretion in this case, we affirm the factual findings of the
trial court.
Penalty and Damages
The penalty for Homicide under Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code
is reclusion temporal the range of which is from 12 years and one day to 20
years. Applying the Indeterminate Sentence Law, the penalty next lower in
degree is prision mayor the range of which is from six years and one day to 12
years. In this case, we find that the mitigating circumstance of no intention to

Law 126 Evidence

Prof. Avena

21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Page 94 of 95

commit so grave a wrong as that committed, attended the commission of the


crime. Thus, the appellate court correctly imposed the indeterminate penalty
of six years and one day of prision mayor, as minimum, to 12 years and one day
of reclusion temporal, as maximum.

Moral damages was correctly awarded to the heirs of the victim without
need of proof other than the fact that a crime was committed resulting in the
death of the victim and that the accused was responsible therefor.[31] The
award of P50,000.00 as moral damages conforms to existing jurisprudence.[32]

As regards the amount of damages, civil indemnity must also be awarded


to the heirs of Lucrecio without need of proof other than the fact that a crime
was committed resulting in the death of the victim and that petitioner was
responsible therefor.[25] Accordingly, we award the sum of P50,000.00 in line
with current jurisprudence.[26]

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision of the Court of


Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 25069 finding petitioner Roo Seguritan y Jara guilty
of homicide and sentencing him to suffer the penalty of six years and one day
of prision mayor as minimum, to 12 years and one day of reclusion temporal as
maximum, and to pay the heirs of Lucrecio Seguritan the amounts
of P50,000.00 as moral damages and P135,331.00 as loss of earning capacity
is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that petitioner is further ordered to
pay P25,000.00 as temperate damages in lieu of actual damages,
and P50,000.00 as civil indemnity.

The award of P135,331.00 for the loss of earning capacity was also in
order.[27] The prosecution satisfactorily proved that the victim was earning an
annual income ofP14,000.00 from the harvest of pineapples. Besides, the
defense no longer impugned this award of the trial court.

SO ORDERED.
However, the other awards of damages must be modified. It is error for
the trial court and the appellate court to award actual damages of P30,000.00
for the expenses incurred for the death of the victim. We perused the records
and did not find evidence to support the plea for actual damages. The expenses
incurred in connection with the death, wake and burial of Lucrecio cannot be
sustained without any tangible document to support such claim. While
expenses were incurred in connection with the death of Lucrecio, actual
damages cannot be awarded as they are not supported by receipts.[28]

[1]
[2]

[3]
[4]

In lieu of actual damages, the heirs of the victim can still be awarded
temperate damages. When pecuniary loss has been suffered but the amount
cannot, from the nature of the case, be proven with certainty, temperate
damages may be recovered. Temperate damages may be allowed in cases
where from the nature of the case, definite proof of pecuniary loss cannot be
adduced, although the court is convinced that the aggrieved party suffered
some pecuniary loss.[29] In this regard, the amount of P25,000.00 is in
accordance with recent jurisprudence.[30]

[5]
[6]

[7]
[8]
[9]
[10]
[11]
[12]

People v. Narca, 341 Phil. 713-714 (1997).


CA rollo, pp. 155-164; penned by Associate Justice Santiago Javier
Ranada and concurred in by Associate Justices Roberto A. Barrios
and Mario L. Guaria III.
Records, pp. 186-194; penned by Judge Rolando R. Velasco.
Rollo, p. 33.
CA rollo, pp. 164-175.
Records, p. 1.
Id. at 121.
Id. at 133.
Id. at 194.
CA rollo, p. 163.
Rollo, p. 15.
TSN, December 15, 1998, p. 32.

Law 126 Evidence


[13]
[14]
[15]
[16]
[17]
[18]
[19]
[20]
[21]
[22]
[23]
[24]
[25]
[26]
[27]
[28]
[29]

[30]
[31]
[32]

Prof. Avena

21. ENTRIES IN OFFICIAL RECORDS

Id. at 31-32.
Id. at 37-38.
TSN, December 15, 1998, pp. 41-42.
Id. at 44-45
Rollo, p. 21.
RULES OF COURT, Rule 132, Section 34.
Candido v. Court of Appeals, 323 Phil. 95, 99 (1996).
Id. at 100.
Id.
United States v. Gloria, 3 Phil. 333, 335 (1904).
People v. Ural, 155 Phil. 116, 123 (1974).
People v. San Gabriel, 323 Phil. 102, 108 (1996).
People v. Diaz, 443 Phil. 67, 90-91 (2003).
People v. Satonero, G.R. No. 186233, October 2, 2009.
See People v. Nullan, 365 Phil. 227, 257-258 (1999).
People v. San Gabriel, supra note 24.
Canada v. All Commodities Marketing Corp.,
146141, October 17, 2008, 569 SCRA 321, 329.
People v. Bascugin, G.R. No. 184704, June 30, 2009.
People v. San Gabriel, supra note 24.
People v. Satonero, supra note 26.

G.R.

No.

Page 95 of 95