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G.R. No.

118438 December 4, 1998


ALLIED AGRI-BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CO., INC., petitioner,
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and CHERRY VALLEY FARMS LIMITED, respondents.

BELLOSILLO, J.:
ALLIED AGRI-BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CO., INC. assails in this petition the decision of the
Court of Appeals which affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting the motion for summary
judgment filed by Cherry Valley Farms Limited based on the implied admissions of petitioner.
On 14 October 1986 respondent Cherry Valley Farms Limited (CHERRY VALLEY), a foreign
company based in England, filed against petitioner Allied Agri-Business Development Co. Inc.
(ALLIED) a complaint with the Regional Trial Court of Makati City for the collection of sum of money
alleging, among others that: (a) CHERRY VALLEY is a foreign corporation with principal office at
Rothwell, Lincoln, England; (b) on 1 September 1982 up to 16 February 1983, or for a period of less
than six (6) months, petitioner ALLIED purchased in ten (10) separate orders and received from
respondent CHERRY VALLEY several duck hatching eggs and ducklings which in value totalled
51,245.12; (c) ALLIED did not pay the total purchase price of 51,245.12 despite repeated
demands evidenced by a letter of Solicitor Braithwaite of England in behalf of CHERRY VALLEY; (d)
instead of paying its obligation, ALLIED through its president wrote CHERRY VALLEY on 17 July
1985 inviting the latter to be a stockholder in a new corporation to be formed by ALLIED, which
invitation however was rejected by CHERRY VALLEY on 26 September 1985; and, (e) ALLIED's
president Ricardo Quintos expressly acknowledged through a letter of 8 October 1985 the obligation
of his corporation to CHERRY VALLEY. The complaint also prayed that ALLIED be made to pay the
sum of 51,245.12 or its peso equivalent at the time of payment, plus legal interest from date of filing
of the complaint until full payment, and twenty percent (20%) of the total amount being claimed from
petitioner's attorney's fees; and, to pay the cost of suit.
On 27 February 1986 ALLIED filed an answer 1 denying the material allegations of the complaint and
contended that: (a) private respondent CHERRY VALLEY lacked the capacity to sue; (b) the letter of
Quintos to CHERRY VALLEY was never authorized by the board of petitioner ALLIED, thus any
admission made in that letter could not bind ALLIED; (c) the alleged amount of 51,245.12 did not
represent the true and real obligation, if any, of petitioner; (d) to the best of the knowledge of ALLIED, not
all ducks and ducklings covered and represented by CHERRY VALLEY's invoices were actually ordered
by the former; and, (e) private respondent had no cause of action against petitioner.
On 19 July 1988, CHERRY VALLEY served on ALLIED's counsel a Request for Admission 2 dated 15
July 1988 worded as follows:
1. That the chairman of the board of directors and president of your corporation is Mr.
Ricardo V. Quintos;

2. That out of the 3,000,000 subscribed shares of stock, 1,496,000 shares is (sic)
owned by Mr. Ricardo Quintos and 1,432,000 shares is (sic) also owned by his wife,
Agnes dela Torre;
3. That for a period of six (6) months starting from 1 September 1982, your
corporation ordered and received from CHERRY VALLEY duck eggs and ducklings
with a total value of 51,245.12 as reflected on CHERRY VALLEY invoices issued to
you;
4. That you received a letter dated 22 March 1985 from Mr. P.R.C. Braithwaite,
solicitor of CHERRY VALLEY, demanding settlement of your unpaid account of
52,245.12 for the above-stated purchases;
5. That instead of paying your obligation to CHERRY VALLEY, Mr. Ricardo Quintos,
in his capacity as president of your corporation, sent a letter to CHERRY VALLEY
dated 17 July 1985 proposing the setting up of a new corporation with CHERRY
VALLEY refusing acceptance of your proposal;
6. That you received a letter dated 26 September 1985 from Mr. J. Cross, Director
and Secretary of CHERRY VALLEY refusing acceptance of your proposal;
7. That Mr. Ricardo Quintos in a letter dated 8 October 1985 admitted your
indebtedness in the sum of English Sterling Pounds 51,245.12.
It is further requested that said sworn admission be made within 10 days from receipt
of this request.
ALLIED filed its Comments/Objections 3 alleging that: (a) the admissions requested were matters which
the private respondent had the burden to prove through its own witness during the trial and thus petitioner
need not answer; and, (b) the request for admission regarding the ownership set-up of petitioner
corporation was immaterial and improper for not having been pleaded in the complaint.
In its Reply 4 to Comments/Objections to Request for Admission, CHERRY VALLEY maintained that there
was no need on its part to produce a witness to testify on the matters requested for admission, for these
pertained to incidents personal to and within the knowledge of petitioner alone. Thereafter, on 2 August
1998, CHERRY VALLEY filed a motion with the trial court to resolve the objections of ALLIED to the
request for admission.
On 11 August 1988 the trial court issued an Order 5 disregarding ALLIED's Comments/Objections to
Request for Admission in view of its non-compliance with Sec. 2, Rule 26, of the Rules of Court and
directing ALLIED to answer the request for admission within ten (10) days from receipt of the order,
otherwise, the matters contained in the request would be deemed admitted. ALLIED moved to reconsider
the order; however, on 8 November 1988 the lower court denied 6 ALLIED's motion for reconsideration
and directed the latter to answer the request for admission within a nonextendible period of five (5) days
from receipt of the order.

ALLIED failed to submit a sworn answer to the request for admission within the additional period of
five (5) days granted by the trial court. Hence, CHERRY VALLEY filed a motion for summary
judgment 7 alleging that there was already an implied admission on the matters requested for admission
pursuant to Rule 26 of the Rules of Court.
On 23 October 1990, the trial court rendered judgment 8 against petitioner: (a) Ordering defendant to
pay plaintiff the sum of -51,245.12 or its peso equivalent at the time of payment plus legal interest from
the date of filing of this complaint until fully paid; and, (b) Ordering defendant to pay plaintiff ten percent
(10%,) of the total amount due from defendant by way of attorney's fees since no protracted trial was held
in this case, plus cost of suit.
ALLIED appealed to the Court of Appeals. On 6 September 1994 the Court of Appeals rendered a
decision 9 affirming the summary judgment rendered by the trial court with the modification that ALLIED
should pay the monetary award to CHERRY VALLEY in Philippine currency and that the award
ofattorney's fees and costs of suit be deleted.
Hence, the instant petition by ALLIED alleging that serious errors were committed by the Court of
Appeals in affirming the summary judgment of the trial court; that the complaint should have been
instantly dismissed on the ground of lack of personality to sue on the part of respondent CHERRY
VALLEY; that the summary judgment was tantamount to a denial of ALLIED's right to due process for
not requiring CHERRY VALLEY to produce its own witness; and, that the admission requested were
matters which CHERRY VALLEY had the burden to prove during the trial.
The petition must fail. We cannot sustain the allegation that respondent CHERRY VALLEY being an
unlicensed foreign corporation lacked the legal capacity to institute the suit in the trial court for the
recovery of money claims from petitioner. In fact, petitioner is estopped from challenging or
questioning the personality of a corporation after having acknowledged the same by entering into a
contract with it. 10 The doctrine of lack of capacity to sue or failure of a foreign corporation to acquire a
local license was never intended to favor domestic corporations who enter into solitary transactions with
unwary foreign firms and then repudiate their obligations simply because the latter are not licensed to do
business in this country. 11
Petitioner cannot also successfully argue that its failure to answer the request for admission did not
result in its admission of the matters stated in the request. Section 1 of Rule 26 of the Rules of Court
provides:
Sec. 1. Request for admission. At any time after issues have been joined, a party
may file and serve upon any other party a written request for the admission by the
latter of the genuineness of any material and relevant document described in and
exhibited with the request or of the truth of any material and relevant matter of fact
set forth in the request. Copies of the documents shall be delivered with the request
unless copies have already been furnished.
The purpose of the rule governing requests for admission of facts and genuineness of documents is
to expedite trial and to relieve parties of the costs of proving facts which will not be disputed on trial
and the truth of which can be ascertained by reasonable inquiry. Each of the matters of which an
admission is requested shall be deemed admitted unless within a period designated in the request

which shall not be less than fifteen (15) days after service thereof, or within such further time as the
court may allow on motion, the party to whom the request is directed files and serves upon the party
requesting the admission a sworn statement either denying specifically the matters of which an
admission is requested or setting forth in detail the reasons why he cannot truthfully either admit or
deny those matters. 12 Upon service of request for admission, the party served may do any of the
following acts: (a) he may admit each of the matters of which an admission is requested, in which case,
he need not file an answer; (b) he may admit the truth of the matters of which admission is requested by
serving upon the party requesting a written admission of such matters within the period stated in the
request, which must not be less than ten (10) days after service, or within such further time as the court
may allow on motion and notice; (c) he may file a sworn statement. denying specifically the matter of
which an admission is requested; or, (d) he may file a sworn statement setting forth in detail the reasons
why he cannot truthfully either admit or deny the matters of which an admission is requested. 13
The records show that although petitioner filed with the trial court its comments and objections to the
request for admission served on it by private respondent, the trial court disregarded the objections
and directed petitioner after denying its motion for reconsideration, to answer the request within five
(5) days from receipt of the directive; otherwise, the matters of which the admission was requested
would be deemed admitted. Petitioner failed to submit the required answer within the period. The
matters set forth in the request were therefore deemed admitted by petitioner, i.e., (a) that for a
period of six (6) months starting from 1 September 1982, petitioner ordered and received from
respondent CHERRY VALLEY duck eggs and ducklings amounting to 51,245.12; (b) that petitioner
received a letter dated 22 March 1985 from private respondent's lawyer demanding payment of the
amount of the purchases; (c) that instead of paying the obligation to respondent CHERRY VALLEY,
petitioner's president Ricardo Quintos sent a letter to the former proposing the establishment of a
new corporation with CHERRY VALLEY as one of the stockholders; (d) that the proposal was
refused by the Director of CHERRY VALLEY; and, (e) that petitioner's president Ricardo Quintos
admitted the indebtedness of his corporation to CHERRY VALLEY in the sum of English Sterling
Pounds 51,245.12.
The burden of affirmative action is on the party upon whom notice is served to avoid the admission
rather than upon the party seeking the
admission. 14 Hence, when petitioner failed to reply to a request to admit, it may not argue that the
adverse party has the burden of proving the facts sought to be admitted. Petitioner's silence is an
admission of the facts stated in the request. 15
This Court finds that the motion for summary judgment filed by respondent CHERRY VALLEY on the
ground that there were no questions of fact in issue since the material allegations of the complaint
were not disputed was correctly granted by the trial court. It is a settled rule that summary judgment
may be granted if the facts which stand admitted by reason of a party's failure to deny statements
contained in a request for admission show that no material issue of fact exists. 16 By its failure to
answer the other party's request for admission, petitioner has admitted all the material facts necessary for
judgment against itself. 17
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The decision of the Court of Appeals dated 6 September
1994 which AFFIRMED the trial court in "ordering defendant to pay plaintiff the sum of 51,245.12 or
its peso equivalent at the time of payment plus legal interest from the date of filing of this complaint
until fully paid;" and "ordering defendant to pay plaintiff ten percent (10%) of the total amount due

from defendant by way of attorney's fees since no protacted trial was held in this case plus cost of
suit," with the modification that "Allied shall pay the monetary award of attorney's fees and costs of
suit be deleted," is AFFIRMED. Costs against herein petitioner Allied Agri-Business Development
Co., Inc.
SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 132577

August 17, 1999

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,


vs.
HUBERT JEFFREY P. WEBB, respondent.
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
Challenged in this petition for review on certiorari is the Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
SP No. 45399 entitled "Hubert Jeffrey P. Webb v. Hon. Amelita Tolentino, in her capacity as Presiding
Judge of Branch 274 of the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque, People of the Philippines and Lauro
Vizconde" which set aside the order of respondent judge therein denying herein respondent Hubert
Jeffrey P. Webb's request to take the depositions of five (5) citizens and residents of the United
States before the proper consular officer of the Philippines in Washington D.C. and California, as the
case may be.
1wphi1.nt

The factual and procedural antecedents are matters of record or are otherwise uncontroverted.
Respondent Hubert Jeffrey P. Webb is one of the accused in Criminal Case No. 95-404 for Rape
with Homicide entitled "People of the Philippines v. Hubert Jeffrey P. Webb, et al." presently pending
before Branch 274 of the Regional Trial Court of Paraaque, presided by Judge Amelita G.
Tolentino.

During the course of the proceedings in the trial court, respondent filed on May 2, 1997, a Motion To
Take Testimony By Oral Deposition1 praying that he be allowed to take the testimonies of the
following:
1.] Steven Bucher
Acting Chief, Records Services Branch
U.S. Department of Justice
Immigration and Naturalization Service
425 Eye Street, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20536
U.S.A.
2.] Debora Farmer
Records Operations, Office of Records
U.S. Department of Justice
Immigration and Naturalization Service
Washington D.C.
U.S.A.
3.] Jaci Alston
Department of Motor Vehicles
Sacramento, California
U.S.A.
4.] Ami Smalley
Department of Motor Vehicles
Sacramento, California
U.S.A.

5.] John Pavlisin


210 South Glasell, City of Orange
California, 92666
U.S.A.
before the general consul, consul, vice-consul or consular agent of the Philippines in lieu of
presenting them as witnesses in court alleging that the said persons are all residents of the United
States and may not therefore be compelled by subpoena to testify since the court had no jurisdiction
over them.
Respondent further alleged that the taking of the oral depositions of the aforementioned individuals
whose testimonies are allegedly "material and indispensable" to establish his innocence of the crime
charged is sanctioned by Section 4, Rule 24 of the Revised Rules of Court which provides that:
Sec. 4. Use of depositions. At the trial or upon the hearing of a motion or an interlocutory
proceeding, any part or all of a deposition, so far as admissible under the rules of evidence,
may be used against any party who was present or represented at the taking of the
deposition or who had due notice thereof, in accordance with any one of the following
provisions:
(a) Any deposition may by used by any party for the purpose of contradicting or
impeaching the testimony of the deponent as a witness;
(b) The deposition of a party or of any one who at the time of taking the deposition
was an officer, director, or managing agent of a public or private corporation,
partnership, or association which is a party may be used by an adverse party for any
purpose;
(c) The deposition of a witness whether or not a party, may be used by any party for
any purpose if the court finds: (1) that the witness is dead; (2) that the witness is out
of the province and a greater distance than fifty (50) kilometers from the place of trial
or hearing, or is out of the Philippines, unless it appears that his absence was
procured by the party offering the deposition; or (3) that the witness is unable to
attend or testify because of age, sickness, infirmity, or imprisonment; or (4) that the
party offering the deposition has been unable to procure the attendance of the
witness by subpoena or (5) upon application and notice, that such exceptional
circumstances exist as to make it desirable in the interest of justice and with due
regard to the importance of presenting the testimony of witnesses orally in open
court, to allow the deposition to be used;
(d) If only part of a deposition is offered in evidence by a party, the adverse party
may require him to introduce all of it which is relevant to the part introduced and any
party may introduce any other parts. (emphasis supplied).

The prosecution thereafter filed an opposition to the said motion averring that: 1.] Rule 24, Section 4
of the Rules of Court, contrary to the representation of respondent-accused, has no application in
criminal cases; 2.] Rule 119, Section 4 of the Rules of Court on Criminal Procedure, being a mode of
discovery, only provides for conditional examination of witnesses for the accused before trial not
during trial; 3.] Rule 19, Section 5 of the Rules of Court on Criminal Procedure does not sanction the
conditional examination of witnesses for the accused/defense outside Philippine Jurisdiction. 2
In an Order dated June 11, 1997, the trial court denied the motion of respondent on the ground that
the same is not allowed by Section 4, Rule 24 and Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 119 of the Revised
Rules of Court.3
A motion for reconsideration4 thereto on the grounds that: 1.] The 1997 Rules of Court expressly
allows the taking of depositions, and 2.] Section 11 of Rule 23 of the 1997 Rules of Court expressly
allows the taking of depositions in foreign countries before a consul general, consul, vice-consul or
consular agent of the Republic of the Philippines, was likewise denied by the trial court in an order
dated July 25, 1997.5
Dissatisfied, respondent elevated his cause to the Court of Appeals by way of a petition for certiorari6
naming as respondents therein the Presiding Judge Amelita G. Tolentino, the People and private
complainant Lauro Vizconde. In the petition, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 45399, respondent Webb
argued that: 1.] The taking of depositions pending action is applicable to criminal proceedings; 2.]
Depositions by oral testimony in a foreign country can be taken before a consular officer of the
Philippine Embassy in the United States; and, 3.] He has the right to completely and fully present
evidence to support his defense and the denial of such right will violate his constitutional right to due
process.
Commenting7 on the petition, the People contended that the questioned orders of the Presiding
Judge are well within the sphere of her judicial discretion and do not constitute grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction and that if at all, they may be considered
merely as errors of judgment which may be corrected by appeal in due time because: a.] The motion
failed to comply with the requirements of Section 4, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court; b.] The
conditional examination must be conducted before an inferior court; and c.] The examination of the
witnesses must be done in open court.
In his Comment,8 private respondent Lauro Vizconde sought the dismissal of the petition contending
that:
1.] The public respondent did not commit grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioner [now
herein respondent] Webb's motion to take testimony by oral deposition dated 29 April 1997
as well as petitioner's motion for reconsideration dated 23 June 1997 for not being
sanctioned by the Rules of Court.
a.] The public respondent correctly held that Rule 23, Section 1 of the 1997 Revised
Rules of Civil Procedure finds no application in criminal actions such as the case at
bar.

b.] The public respondent correctly ruled that Rule 119, Section 4 of the Rules of
Criminal Procedure only provides for conditional examination of witnesses before trial
but not during trial.
c.] The public respondent correctly ruled that Rule 119 of the Rules on Criminal
Procedure does not sanction the conditional examination of witnesses for the
accused/defense outside of Philippine jurisdiction.
2.] The public respondent did not commit any grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioner
Webb's motion to take testimony by oral deposition considering that the proposed deposition
tends only to further establish the admissibility of documentary exhibits already admitted in
evidence by the public respondent.
On February 6, 1998, the Fourth Division9 of the Court of Appeals rendered judgment,10 the
dispositive portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The orders of respondent judge dated 11 June
1997 (Annex "A" of the Petition) and 25 July 1997 (Annex "B" of the Petition) are hereby
ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. It is hereby ordered that the deposition of the following
witnesses be TAKEN before the proper consular officer of the Republic of the Philippines in
Washington D.C. and California, as the case maybe:
(a) Mr. Steven Bucher;
(b) Ms. Deborah Farmer;
(c) Mr. Jaci Alston;
(d) Ms. Ami Smalley; and
(e) Mr. John Pavlisin.
SO ORDERED.
From the foregoing, the People forthwith elevated its cause to this Court by way of the instant
petition dispensing with the filing of a motion for reconsideration for the following reasons: 1.] The
rule that the petitioner should first file a motion for reconsideration applies to the special civil action
of certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure and there is no similar requirement
in taking an appeal from a final judgment or order11 such as the present appeal by certiorari; 2.]
Section 4, Rule 45 in requiring a petition for review on certiorari which indicates that "when a motion
for new trial or reconsideration, if any, was filed" implies that petitioner need not file a motion for
reconsideration; 3.] The questions being raised before the Court are the same as those which were
squarely raised before the Court of Appeals;12 4.] The issues being raised here are purely legal;13 5.]
There is an urgent need to resolve the issues considering that the trial of the accused in the criminal
case is about to end; and, 6.] The nature of this case requires a speedy and prompt disposition of
the issues involved.14

What are challenged before this Court are interlocutory orders and not a final Judgment. The
respondent has filed his Comment15 which We treat as an Answer. The petitioner, in turn, filed a
Reply.16 The petition is ripe for decision.
In urging this Tribunal to exercise its power of review over the assailed decision of the Appellate
Court, petitioner asserts that the Court of Appeals committed serious and reversible error
I
IN RULING THAT RULE 23 OF THE 1997 RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE IS APPLICABLE TO
CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS.
II
IN RULING THAT THE DEPOSITION MAY BE TAKEN BEFORE A CONSULAR OFFICER OF THE
PHILIPPINES WHERE THE PROSPECTIVE WITNESSES RESIDE OR ARE OFFICIALLY
STATIONED.
III
IN RULING THAT RESPONDENT WAS DEPRIVED OF DUE PROCESS OF LAW BY THE TRIAL
COURT.
which can be reduced to the primordial issue of whether or not the trial judge gravely abused her
discretion in denying the motion to take testimony by oral depositions in the United States which
would be used in the criminal case before her Court.
In setting aside the order of the trial judge, the Appellate Court's Fourth Division reasoned, inter alia,
thus:
Settled is the rule that the whole purpose and object of procedure is to make the powers of
the court fully and completely available for justice. Thus, as the Supreme Court has ruled in
Manila Railroad Co. vs. Attorney General and reiterated in subsequent cases:
. . . The most perfect procedure that can be devised is that which give the opportunity
for the most complete and perfect exercise of the powers of the court within the
limitations set by natural justice. It is that one which, in other words, gives the most
perfect opportunity for the powers of the court to transmute themselves into concrete
acts of justice between the parties before it. The purpose of such a procedure is not
to restrict the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter, but to give it effective
facility in righteous action. It may be said in passing that the most salient objection
which can be urged against procedure today is that it so restricts the exercise of the
court's powers by technicalities that part of its authority effective for justice between
the parties is many times an inconsiderable portion of the whole. The purpose of
procedure is not to thwart justice. Its proper aim is to facilitate the application of
justice to the rival claims of the contending parties. It was created not to hinder and

delay but to facilitate and promote the administration of justice. It does not constitute
the thing itself which the courts are always striving to secure the litigants. It is
designed as the as the means best adapted to obtain that thing. In other words, it is a
means to an end. It is the means by which the powers of the court are made effective
in just judgments. When it loses the character of the one and takes on the other [,]
the administration of justice becomes incomplete and unsatisfactory and lays itself
open to grave criticism.17
In the light of the foregoing judicial precedent, this Court finds that the public respondent
gravely abused her discretion in denying the motion to take the deposition of the witnesses
for petitioner. While petitioner had invoked Rule 23, Section 1 of the Rule of Court, which is
found under the general classification of the Civil Procedure, it does not prevent its
application to the other proceedings, provided the same is not contrary to the specific rules
provided therein. Indeed, the Rules of Court is to be viewed and construed as a whole, and if
the Supreme Court had compartmentalized the same into four divisions, it was, as petitioner
had claimed, for the purpose of organization and expediency and not, for exclusivity.
To be sure, a reading of the rules on criminal procedure, specifically Section 4, Rule 119 vis-vis Section 1, Rule 23 would reveal no inconsistency so as to exclude the application of
the latter rule in criminal proceedings. Section 4, Rule 119 refers to the conditional
examination of witnesses for the accused before trial, while Section 1, Rule 23 refers to the
taking of deposition witnesses during trial. . . .
xxx

xxx

xxx

While the taking of depositions pending trial is not expressly provided [for] under the Rules
on Criminal Procedure, we find no reason for public respondent to disallow the taking of the
same in the manner provided for under Section 1 of Rule 23 under the circumstances of the
case. To disallow petitioner to avail of the specific remedies provided under the Rules would
deny him the opportunity to adequately defend himself against the criminal charge of rape
with homicide now pending before the public respondent and, further, [it] loses sight of the
object of procedure which is to facilitate the application of justice to the rival claims of
contending parties.
xxx

xxx

xxx

Even granting arguendo that Rule 23 is to be exclusively applied to civil actions, the taking of
the deposition of petitioner's US-based witnesses should be still allowed considering that the
civil action has been impliedly instituted in the criminal action for rape with homicide. Since
public respondent has jurisdiction over the civil case to recover damages, she exercised full
authority to employ all auxiliary writs, processes and other means to carry out the jurisdiction
conferred and [to] adopt any suitable process or mode of proceeding which includes the
application of the rule on depositions pending action under Rule 23 in the case pending
before her.

Second. Depositions obtained during trial in a foreign state or country may be taken before a
consular office of the Republic of the Philippines where the deponent resides or is officially
stationed.18 Section 5, Rule 119 of the Rules of Court is thus clearly inapplicable in the instant
case since the same relates to the examination of witnesses under Section 4 thereof and not
Section 1 of Rule 23. Consistent with the procedure provided [for] under Rule 23, the
deposition of the petitioner's witnesses, which include four (4) officials of the United States
government, will be taken before a consular officer of the Philippines where these witnesses
reside or are officially stationed, as the case may be.
The denial of petitioner's right to present his witnesses, who are residing abroad, based on a
very Shaky technical ground, is tantamount to depriving him of his constitutional right to due
process. This Court recognizes the impossibility of enforcing the right of petitioner to secure
the attendance of the proposed witnesses through compulsory process considering that they
are beyond the jurisdiction of Philippine Courts. Petitioner, however, is not without any
remedy and he correctly sought to secure the testimonies of his witness through the process
of taking their depositions pending the trial of Criminal Case No. 95-404 in the court below
under Rule 23 of the Rules of Court. In any event the prosecution would have the opportunity
to cross-examine the witnesses for accused Hubert Webb (petitioner herein) since they will
be given the opportunity to cross-examine the deponents as in accordance with Section 3 to
18 of Rule 132.19
Furthermore, no prejudice would be suffered in the taking of the depositions of petitioner's
US-based witness(es). On the other hand, a denial of the same would be prejudicial to
petitioner-accused since he would be denied an opportunity to completely present his
evidence, which strikes at the very core of the due process guarantee of the Constitution. To
reiterate, it is not the function of this Court to second-guess the trial court on its ruling on the
admissibility of the pieces of documentary evidence as well as the latter's witnesses, 20 but it
is definitely within this court's inherent power to scrutinize, as it does in the case at bench,
the acts of respondent judge and declare that she indeed committed grave abuse discretion
in issuing the questioned Orders.
In the final analysis, this Court rules that the denial of the deposition-taking amount to the
denial of the constitutional right to present his evidence and for the production of evidence in
his behalf. The denial is not justified by the flimsy reason that Sec. 1 of Rule 23 of the Rules
of Court is not applicable to the criminal proceedings. To rule that petitioner cannot take the
testimony of these witnesses by deposition it to put [a] premium on technicality at the
expense of the constitutional rights of the accused, which this court is not inclined to do.
Particularly where the issue of the guilt or innocence of the petitioner is bound to hinge
heavily upon the testimonies of his US-based witnesses, it behooves upon public respondent
not only to guarantee that accused is given a reasonable opportunity to present his
evidence, but also to allow him a certain latitude in the presentation of his evidence, lest he
may be so hampered that the ends of justice may eventually be defeated or appear to be
defeated. Finally, even if respondent's contention is correct, it cannot be denied that the case
at bar includes the recovery of the civil liability of the accused, which normally is done
through a civil case.

We disagree.
As defined, a deposition is
The testimony of a witness taken upon oral question or written interrogatories, not in open
court, but in pursuance of a commission to take testimony issued by court, or under a
general law or court rule on the subject, and reduce to writing and duly authenticated, and
intended to be used in preparation and upon the trial of a civil or a criminal prosecution. A
pretrial discovery device by which one party (through his or her attorney) ask oral questions
of the other party or of a witness for the other party. The person who is deposed is called the
deponent. The deposition is conducted under oath outside of the court room, usually in one
of the lawyer's offices. A transcript word for word account is made of the deposition.
Testimony of [a] witness, taken in writing, under oath or affirmation, before some judicial
officer in answer to questions or interrogatories . . . 21
and the purposes of taking depositions are to: 1.] Give greater assistance to the parties in
ascertaining the truth and in checking and preventing perjury; 2.] Provide an effective means of
detecting and exposing false, fraudulent claims and defenses; 3.] Make available in a simple,
convenient and inexpensive way, facts which otherwise could not be proved except with great
difficulty; 4.] Educate the parties in advance of trial as to the real value of their claims and defenses
thereby encouraging settlements; 5.] Expedite litigation; 6.] Safeguard against surprise; 7.] Prevent
delay; 8.] Simplify and narrow the issues; and 9.] Expedite and facilitate both preparation and trial. 22
As can be gleaned from the foregoing, a deposition, in keeping with its nature as a mode of
discovery, should be taken before and not during trial. In fact, rules on criminal practice
particularly on the defense of alibi, which is respondent's main defense in the criminal proceedings
against him in the court below states that when a person intends to rely on such a defense, that
person must move for the taking of the deposition of his witnesses within the time provided for filing
a pre-trial motion.23
It needs to be stressed that the only reason of respondent for seeking the deposition of the foreign
witnesses is "to foreclose any objection and/or rejection of, as the case may be, the admissibility of
Defense Exhibits "218" and "219"." This issue has, however, long been rendered moot and academic
by the admission of the aforementioned documentary exhibits by the trial court in its order dated July
10, 1998.24
In fact, a circumspect scrutiny of the record discloses that the evidence to be obtained through the
deposition-taking would be superfluous or corroborative at best. A careful examination of Exhibits
"218" and "219" readily shows that these are of the same species of documents which have been
previously introduced and admitted into evidence by the trial court in its order dated July 18, 1997
which We noted in Webb, et al. v. People of the Philippines, et al.25 wherein We pointed out, among
others, "[t]hat respondent judge reversed this erroneous ruling and already admitted these 132
pieces of evidence after finding that "the defects in (their) admissibility have been cured though the
introduction of additional evidence during the trial on the merits"."26
Indeed, a comparison of Exhibit "218-A" which is a U.S. Department of State Certification issued by
Joan C. Hampton, Assistant Authenticating Officer of the said agency, for and in the name of

Madeleine K. Albright, stating that the documents annexed thereto were issued by the U.S.
Department of Justice as shown by seal embossed thereon,27 with other exhibits previously offered
as evidence reveals that they are of the same nature as Exhibits "42-H" 28 and "42-M".29 The only
difference in the documents lies in the fact that Exhibit "218-A" was signed by Joan C. Hampton for
and in behalf of the incumbent Secretary of State, Madeleine K. Albright whereas, Exhibits "42-H"
and "42-M" were signed by Authenticating Officer Annie R. Maddux for and in behalf of former
Secretary of State Warren Christopher.30
A comparison of Exhibit "218-B"31 with the other documentary exhibits offered by respondent,
likewise discloses that its contents are the same as Exhibits "42-I"32 and "42-N."33 The only difference
in the three exhibits, which are actually standard issue certification forms issued by the U.S.
Department of Justice with blanks to be filled up, is that Exhibit "218-B" is dated February 5, 1997
and signed by one of the U.S. Attorney General's several Deputy Assistant Attorneys for
Administration for and in her behalf, while Exhibits "42-I" and "42-N" are both dated September 21,
1995 with another of the said deputies signing both documents.34
Still comparing respondent's Exhibit "218-F,"35 which is likewise a standard issue U.S. Department of
Justice Certification Form, with other documents previously introduced as evidence reveals that it is
the same as Exhibits "39-D"36 and "42-C."37 The only differences in these documents are that Exhibit
"218-F" is dated October 13, 1995 and is signed by Debora A. Farmer while Exhibits "39-D" and "42C" are both dated August 31, 1995 and signed by Cecil G. Christian, Jr., Assistant Commissioner,
Officer of Records, INS.38
Still further scrutinizing and comparing respondent's Exhibit "218-G"39 which was also introduced and
admitted into evidence as Defense Exhibit "207-B"40 shows that the document has been earlier
introduced and admitted into evidence by the trial court an astounding seven (7) times, particularly
as Exhibits "34-A", "35-F", "39-E", "42-D", "42-P", "50" and "50-F."41 The only difference in these
document is that they were printed on different dates. Specifically, Exhibits "218-G" as with Exhibits
"34-A", "35-F", "50", and "52-F" were printed out on October 26, 199542 whereas Exhibit "207-B" as
with Exhibits "39-E", "42-D" and "42-F" were printed out on August 31, 1995. 43
In fact, the records show that respondent's: a.] application for Non-Commercial Driver's License; b.]
Documentary records based on Clet's Database Response; c.] Computer-generated thumb-print; d.]
Documentary records based on still another Clet's Database Response, and e.] The Certification
issued by one Frank Zolin, Director of the State of California's Department of Motor Vehicles, were
already introduced and admitted into evidence as Defense Exhibits "66-J", "66-K", "66-H", "66-I" and
"66-L", respectively.44
It need not be overemphasized that the foregoing factual circumstances only; serves to underscore
the immutable fact that the depositions proposed to be taken from the five U.S. based witnesses
would be merely corroborative or cumulative in nature and in denying respondent's motion to take
them, the trial court was but exercising its judgment on what it perceived to be a superfluous
exercise on the belief that the introduction thereof will not reasonably add to the persuasiveness of
the evidence already on record. In this regard, it bears stressing that under Section 6, Rule 113 of
the Revised Rules of Court:

Sec. 6. Power of the court to stop further evidence. The court may stop the introduction of
further testimony upon any particular point when the evidence upon it is already so full that
more witnesses to the same point cannot be reasonably expected to be additionally
persuasive. But this power should be exercised with caution. (emphasis and italics supplied.)
Needless to state, the trial court can not be faulted with lack of caution in denying respondent's
motion considering that under the prevailing facts of the case, respondent had more than ample
opportunity to adduce evidence in his defense. Certainly, a party can not feign denial of due process
where he had the opportunity to present his side. 45 It must be borne in mind in this regard that due
process is not a monopoly of the defense. Indeed, the State is entitled to due process as much as
the accused.46 Furthermore, while a litigation is not a game of technicalities, it is a truism that every
case must be prosecuted in accordance with the prescribed procedure to insure an orderly and
speedy administration of justice.47
The use of discovery procedures is directed to the sound discretion of the trial judge. 48 The
deposition taking can not be based nor can it be denied on flimsy reasons. 49 Discretion has to be
exercised in a reasonable manner and in consonance with the spirit of the law. There is no indication
in this case that in denying the motion of respondent-accused, the trial judge acted in a biased,
arbitrary, capricious or oppressive manner. Grave abuse of discretion ". . . implies such capricious,
and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction, or, in other words where
the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion or personal
hostility, and it must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual
refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act all in contemplation of Law." 50
Certiorari as a special civil action can be availed of only if there is concurrence of the
essential requisites, to wit: (a) the tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial functions has
acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack
or in excess or jurisdiction, and (b) there is no appeal, nor any plain, speedy and adequate
remedy in the ordinary course of law for the purpose of annulling or modifying the
proceeding. There must be a capricious, arbitrary and whimsical exercise of power for it to
prosper.51
To question the jurisdiction of the lower court or the agency exercising judicial or quasijudicial functions, the remedy is a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules
of Court. The petitioner in such cases must clearly show that the public respondent acted
without jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction. Grave abuse of discretion defies exact definition, but generally refers to
"capricious or whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The
abuse of discretion must be patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or
a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, as
where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and
hostility.
It has been held, however, that no grave abuse of discretion may be attributed to a court
simply because of its alleged misappreciation of facts and evidence. A writ of certiorari may
not be used to correct a lower tribunal's evaluation of the evidence and factual findings. In

other words, it is not a remedy for mere errors of judgment, which are correctible by an
appeal or a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court.
In fine, certiorari will issue only to correct errors of jurisdiction, not errors of procedure or
mistakes in the findings or conclusions of the lower court. As long as a court acts within its
jurisdiction, any alleged errors committed in the exercise of its discretion will amount to
nothing more than errors of judgment which are reviewable by timely appeal and not by
special civil action for certiorari.52
Whether or not the respondent-accused has been given ample opportunity to prove his innocence
and whether or not a further prolongation of proceedings would be dilatory is addressed, in the first
instance, to the sound discretion of the trial judge. If there has been no grave abuse of discretion,
only after conviction may this Court examine such matters further. It is pointed out that the defense
has already presented at least fifty-seven (57) witnesses and four hundred sixty-four (464)
documentary exhibits, many of them of the exact nature as those to be produced or testified to by
the proposed foreign deponents. Under the circumstances, we sustain the proposition that the trial
judge commits no grave abuse of discretion if she decide that the evidence on the matter sought to
be proved in the United States could not possibly add anything substantial to the defense evidence
involved. There is no showing or allegation that the American public officers and the bicycle store
owner can identify respondent Hubert Webb as the very person mentioned in the public and private
documents. Neither is it shown in this petition that they know, of their own personal knowledge, a
person whom they can identify as the respondent-accused who was actually present in the United
States and not in the Philippines on the specified dates.
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The decision of the
Court of Appeals dated February 6, 1998 in CA-G.R. SP No. 45399 is hereby REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court of Paraaque City is ordered to proceed posthaste in the trial of the
main case and to render judgment therein accordingly.

.R. No. 185145

February 5, 2014

SPOUSES VICENTE AFULUGENCIA and LETICIA AFULUGENCIA, Petitioners,


vs.
METROPOLITAN BANK & TRUST CO. and EMMANUEL L. ORTEGA, Clerk of Court, Regional
Trial Court and Ex-Officio Sheriff, Province of Bulacan, Respondents.
DECISION
DEL CASTILLO, J.:
Section 6, Rule 25 of the Rules of Court (Rules) provides that "a party not served with written
interrogatories may not be compelled by the adverse party to give testimony in open court, or to give
a deposition pending appeal." The provision seeks to prevent fishing expeditions and needless
delays. Its goal is to maintain order and facilitate the conduct of trial.
1

Assailed in this Petition for Review on Certiorari are the April 15, 2008 Decision of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 99535 which dismissed petitioners' Petition for Certiorari for lack of
merit and its October 2, 2008 Resolution denying petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration.
2

Factual Antecedents
Petitioners, spouses Vicente and Leticia Afulugencia, filed a Complaint for nullification of mortgage,
foreclosure, auction sale, certificate of sale and other documents, with damages, against
respondents Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. (Metrobank) and Emmanuel L. Ortega (Ortega) before
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Malolos City, where it was docketed as Civil Case No. 336-M-2004
and assigned to Branch 7.
6

Metrobank is a domestic banking corporation existing under Philippine laws, while Ortega is the
Clerk of Court and Ex-Officio Sheriff of the Malolos RTC.
After the filing of the parties pleadings and with the conclusion of pre-trial, petitioners filed a Motion
for Issuance of Subpoena Duces Tecum Ad Testificandum to require Metrobanks officers to appear
and testify as the petitioners initial witnesses during the August 31, 2006 hearing for the
presentation of their evidence-in-chief, and to bring the documents relative to their loan with
Metrobank, as well as those covering the extrajudicial foreclosure and sale of petitioners 200-square
meter land in Meycauayan, Bulacan covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 20411 (M). The
Motion contained a notice of hearing written as follows:
7

NOTICE
The Branch Clerk of Court
Regional Trial Court
Branch 7, Malolos, Bulacan
Greetings:
Please submit the foregoing motion for the consideration and approval of the Hon. Court
immediately upon receipt hereof.
(signed)
Vicente C. Angeles

Metrobank filed an Opposition arguing that for lack of a proper notice of hearing, the Motion must
be denied; that being a litigated motion, the failure of petitioners to set a date and time for the
hearing renders the Motion ineffective and pro forma; that pursuant to Sections 1 and 6 of Rule 25
of the Rules, Metrobanks officers who are considered adverse parties may not be compelled to
appear and testify in court for the petitioners since they were not initially served with written
interrogatories; that petitioners have not shown the materiality and relevance of the documents
sought to be produced in court; and that petitioners were merely fishing for evidence.
10

11

Petitioners submitted a Reply to Metrobanks Opposition, stating that the lack of a proper notice of
hearing was cured by the filing of Metrobanks Opposition; that applying the principle of liberality, the
defect may be ignored; that leave of court is not necessary for the taking of Metrobanks officers
depositions; that for their case, the issuance of a subpoena is not unreasonable and oppressive, but
instead favorable to Metrobank, since it will present the testimony of these officers just the same
during the presentation of its own evidence; that the documents sought to be produced are relevant
and will prove whether petitioners have paid their obligations to Metrobank in full, and will settle the
issue relative to the validity or invalidity of the foreclosure proceedings; and that the Rules do not
prohibit a party from presenting the adverse party as its own witness.
12

Ruling of the Regional Trial Court


On October 19, 2006, the trial court issued an Order denying petitioners Motion for Issuance of
Subpoena Duces Tecum Ad Testificandum, thus:
13

The motion lacks merit.


As pointed out by the defendant bank in its opposition, the motion under consideration is a mere
scrap of paper by reason of its failure to comply with the requirements for a valid notice of hearing as
specified in Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 15 of the Revised Rules of Court. Moreover, the defendant
bank and its officers are adverse parties who cannot be summoned to testify unless written
interrogatories are first served upon them, as provided in Sections 1 and 6, Rule 25 of the Revised
Rules of Court.
In view of the foregoing, and for lack of merit, the motion under consideration is hereby DENIED.
SO ORDERED.

14

Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration pleading for leniency in the application of the Rules
and claiming that the defective notice was cured by the filing of Metrobanks Opposition, which they
claim is tantamount to notice. They further argued that Metrobanks officers who are the subject of
the subpoena are not party-defendants, and thus do not comprise the adverse party; they are
individuals separate and distinct from Metrobank, the defendant corporation being sued in the case.
15

In an Opposition to the Motion for Reconsideration, Metrobank insisted on the procedural defect of
improper notice of hearing, arguing that the rule relative to motions and the requirement of a valid
notice of hearing are mandatory and must be strictly observed. It added that the same rigid
treatment must be accorded to Rule 25, in that none of its officers may be summoned to testify for
petitioners unless written interrogatories are first served upon them. Finally, it said that since a
corporation may act only through its officers and employees, they are to be considered as adverse
parties in a case against the corporation itself.
16

In another Order dated April 17, 2007, the trial court denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration.
The trial court held, thus:
17

Even if the motion is given consideration by relaxing Sections 4 and 5, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court,
no such laxity could be accorded to Sections 1 and 6 of Rule 25 of the Revised Rules of Court which
require prior service of written interrogatories to adverse parties before any material and relevant
facts may be elicited from them more so if the party is a private corporation who could be
represented by its officers as in this case. In other words, as the persons sought to be subpoenaed
by the plaintiffs-movants are officers of the defendant bank, they are in effect the very persons who
represent the interest of the latter and necessarily fall within the coverage of Sections 1 and 6, Rule
25 of the Revised Rules of Court.
In view of the foregoing, the motion for reconsideration is hereby denied.
SO ORDERED.

18

Ruling of the Court of Appeals


Petitioners filed a Petition for Certiorari with the CA asserting this time that their Motion for Issuance
of Subpoena Duces Tecum Ad Testificandum is not a litigated motion; it does not seek relief, but
aims for the issuance of a mere process. For these reasons, the Motion need not be heard. They
likewise insisted on liberality, and the disposition of the case on its merits and not on mere
technicalities. They added that Rule 21 of the Rules requires prior notice and hearing only with
respect to the taking of depositions; since their Motion sought to require Metrobanks officers to
appear and testify in court and not to obtain their depositions, the requirement of notice and hearing
may be dispensed with. Finally, petitioners claimed that the Rules particularly Section 10, Rule
132 do not prohibit a party from presenting the adverse party as its own witness.
19

20

21

22

On April 15, 2008, the CA issued the questioned Decision, which contained the following decretal
portion:
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The assailed orders dated October 19,
2006 and April 17, 2007 in Civil Case No. 336-M-2004 issued by the RTC, Branch 7, Malolos City,
Bulacan, are AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.
SO ORDERED.

23

The CA held that the trial court did not commit grave abuse of discretion in issuing the assailed
Orders; petitioners Motion is a litigated motion, especially as it seeks to require the adverse party,
Metrobanks officers, to appear and testify in court as petitioners witnesses. It held that a proper
notice of hearing, addressed to the parties and specifying the date and time of the hearing, was
required, consistent with Sections 4 and 5, Rule 15 of the Rules.
24

The CA held further that the trial court did not err in denying petitioners Motion to secure a subpoena
duces tecum/ad testificandum, ratiocinating that Rule 25 is quite clear in providing that the
consequence of a partys failure to serve written interrogatories upon the opposing party is that the
latter may not be compelled by the former to testify in court or to render a deposition pending appeal.
By failing to serve written interrogatories upon Metrobank, petitioners foreclosed their right to present
the banks officers as their witnesses.

The CA declared that the justification for the rule laid down in Section 6 is that by failing to seize the
opportunity to inquire upon the facts through means available under the Rules, petitioners should not
be allowed to later on burden Metrobank with court hearings or other processes. Thus, it held:
x x x Where a party unjustifiedly refuses to elicit facts material and relevant to his case by
addressing written interrogatories to the adverse party to elicit those facts, the latter may not
thereafter be compelled to testify thereon in court or give a deposition pending appeal. The
justification for this is that the party in need of said facts having foregone the opportunity to inquire
into the same from the other party through means available to him, he should not thereafter be
permitted to unduly burden the latter with courtroom appearances or other cumbersome processes.
The sanction adopted by the Rules is not one of compulsion in the sense that the party is being
directly compelled to avail of the discovery mechanics, but one of negation by depriving him of
evidentiary sources which would otherwise have been accessible to him.
25

Petitioners filed their Motion for Reconsideration, which the CA denied in its assailed October 2,
2008 Resolution. Hence, the present Petition.
26

Issues
Petitioners now raise the following issues for resolution:
I
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERRORS IN REQUIRING NOTICE AND
HEARING (SECS. 4 AND 5, RULE 15, RULES OF COURT) FOR A MERE MOTION FOR
SUBPOENA OF RESPONDENT BANKS OFFICERS WHEN SUCH REQUIREMENTS APPLY
ONLY TO DEPOSITION UNDER SEC. 6, RULE 25, RULES OF COURT.
II
THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED (REVERSIBLE) ERROR IN HOLDING THAT THE
PETITIONERS MUST FIRST SERVE WRITTEN INTERROGATORIES TO RESPONDENT BANKS
OFFICERS BEFORE THEY CAN BE SUBPOENAED.
27

Petitioners Arguments
Praying that the assailed CA dispositions be set aside and that the Court allow the issuance of the
subpoena duces tecum/ad testificandum, petitioners assert that the questioned Motion is not a
litigated motion, since it seeks not a relief, but the issuance of process. They insist that a motion
which is subject to notice and hearing under Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 15 is an application for relief
other than a pleading; since no relief is sought but just the process of subpoena, the hearing and
notice requirements may be done away with. They cite the case of Adorio v. Hon. Bersamin, which
held that
28

Requests by a party for the issuance of subpoenas do not require notice to other parties to the
action. No violation of due process results by such lack of notice since the other parties would have
1wphi1

ample opportunity to examine the witnesses and documents subpoenaed once they are presented in
court.
29

Petitioners add that the Rules should have been liberally construed in their favor, and that
Metrobanks filing of its Opposition be considered to have cured whatever defect the Motion suffered
from.
Petitioners likewise persist in the view that Metrobanks officers the subject of the Motion do not
comprise the adverse party covered by the rule; they insist that these bank officers are mere
employees of the bank who may be called to testify for them.
Respondents Arguments
Metrobank essentially argues in its Comment that the subject Motion for the issuance of a
subpoena duces tecum/ad testificandum is a litigated motion, especially as it is directed toward its
officers, whose testimony and documentary evidence would affect it as the adverse party in the civil
case. Thus, the lack of a proper notice of hearing renders it useless and a mere scrap of paper. It
adds that being its officers, the persons sought to be called to the stand are themselves adverse
parties who may not be compelled to testify in the absence of prior written interrogatories; they are
not ordinary witnesses whose presence in court may be required by petitioners at any time and for
any reason.
30

Finally, Metrobank insists on the correctness of the CA Decision, adding that since petitioners failed
up to this time to pay the witnesses fees and kilometrage as required by the Rules, the issuance of
a subpoena should be denied.
31

Our Ruling
The Court denies the Petition.
On the procedural issue, it is quite clear that Metrobank was notified of the Motion for Issuance of
Subpoena Duces Tecum Ad Testificandum; in fact, it filed a timely Opposition thereto. The technical
defect of lack of notice of hearing was thus cured by the filing of the Opposition.
32

Nonetheless, contrary to petitioners submission, the case of Adorio cannot apply squarely to this
case. In Adorio, the request for subpoena duces tecum was sought against bank officials who were
not parties to the criminal case for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22. The situation is different
here, as officers of the adverse party Metrobank are being compelled to testify as the calling partys
main witnesses; likewise, they are tasked to bring with them documents which shall comprise the
petitioners principal evidence. This is not without significant consequences that affect the interests of
the adverse party, as will be shown below.
As a rule, in civil cases, the procedure of calling the adverse party to the witness stand is not
allowed, unless written interrogatories are first served upon the latter. This is embodied in Section 6,
Rule 25 of the Rules, which provides

Sec. 6. Effect of failure to serve written interrogatories.


Unless thereafter allowed by the court for good cause shown and to prevent a failure of justice, a
party not served with written interrogatories may not be compelled by the adverse party to give
testimony in open court, or to give a deposition pending appeal.
One of the purposes of the above rule is to prevent fishing expeditions and needless delays; it is
there to maintain order and facilitate the conduct of trial. It will be presumed that a party who does
not serve written interrogatories on the adverse party beforehand will most likely be unable to elicit
facts useful to its case if it later opts to call the adverse party to the witness stand as its witness.
Instead, the process could be treated as a fishing expedition or an attempt at delaying the
proceedings; it produces no significant result that a prior written interrogatories might bring.
Besides, since the calling party is deemed bound by the adverse partys testimony, compelling the
adverse party to take the witness stand may result in the calling party damaging its own case.
Otherwise stated, if a party cannot elicit facts or information useful to its case through the facility of
written interrogatories or other mode of discovery, then the calling of the adverse party to the witness
stand could only serve to weaken its own case as a result of the calling partys being bound by the
adverse partys testimony, which may only be worthless and instead detrimental to the calling partys
cause.
33

Another reason for the rule is that by requiring prior written interrogatories, the court may limit the
inquiry to what is relevant, and thus prevent the calling party from straying or harassing the adverse
party when it takes the latter to the stand.
Thus, the rule not only protects the adverse party from unwarranted surprises or harassment; it
likewise prevents the calling party from conducting a fishing expedition or bungling its own case.
Using its own judgment and discretion, the court can hold its own in resolving a dispute, and need
not bear witness to the parties perpetrating unfair court practices such as fishing for evidence,
badgering, or altogether ruining their own cases. Ultimately, such unnecessary processes can only
constitute a waste of the courts precious time, if not pointless entertainment.
In the present case, petitioners seek to call Metrobanks officers to the witness stand as their initial
and main witnesses, and to present documents in Metrobanks possession as part of their principal
documentary evidence. This is improper. Petitioners may not be allowed, at the incipient phase of
the presentation of their evidence-in-chief at that, to present Metrobanks officers who are
considered adverse parties as well, based on the principle that corporations act only through their
officers and duly authorized agents as their main witnesses; nor may they be allowed to gain
access to Metrobanks documentary evidence for the purpose of making it their own. This is
tantamount to building their whole case from the evidence of their opponent. The burden of proof
and evidence falls on petitioners, not on Metrobank; if petitioners cannot prove their claim using their
own evidence, then the adverse party Metrobank may not be pressured to hang itself from its own
defense.
34

It is true that under the Rules, a party may, for good cause shown and to prevent a failure of justice,
be compelled to give testimony in court by the adverse party who has not served written

interrogatories. But what petitioners seek goes against the very principles of justice and fair play;
they would want that Metrobank provide the very evidence with which to prosecute and build their
case from the start. This they may not be allowed to do.
Finally, the Court may not turn a blind eye to the possible consequences of such a move by
petitioners. As one of their causes of action in their Complaint, petitioners claim that they were not
furnished with specific documents relative to their loan agreement with Metrobank at the time they
obtained the loan and while it was outstanding. If Metrobank were to willingly provide petitioners with
these documents even before petitioners can present evidence to show that indeed they were never
furnished the same, any inferences generated from this would certainly not be useful for Metrobank.
One may be that by providing petitioners with these documents, Metrobank would be admitting that
indeed, it did not furnish petitioners with these documents prior to the signing of the loan agreement,
and while the loan was outstanding, in violation of the law.
With the view taken of the case, the Court finds it unnecessary to further address the other issues
raised by the parties, which are irrelevant and would not materially alter the conclusions arrived at.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The assailed April 15, 2008 Decision and October 2, 2008
Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 99535 are AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.