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DASMARIAS GARMENTS VS. REYES/AMERICAN PRES.

safeguard the constitutional rights of the accused to meet the


LINES witness against him face to face.
GRN 108229 August 24, 1993 Narvasa, J.; Prosecution, elevated to CA. CA reversed RTC
no grave abuse of discretion can be imputed upon the
FACTS: MeTC for allowing the deposition-taking of the complaining
APL sued Dasmarias Garments for sum of money at the witness Li Luen Ping because no rule of procedure expressly
hearing. Instead of presenting its witness, APL filed a motion disallows the taking of depositions in criminal cases and that,
praying that it intended to take the depositions of in any case, petitioners would still have every opportunity
some Taiwan nationals. The lower court granted the deposition to cross-examine the complaining witness and make timely
which was in compliance with the rules on taking of testimony by objections during the taking of the oral deposition either
deposition upon written interrogatories under ROC. CA affirmed. through counsel or through the consular officer who would
be taking the deposition of the witness.
ISSUE:
Whether or not a party could present its evidence by taking the ISSUES:
deposition of its witness in a foreign jurisdiction before a private 1. Is allowing the deposition of private complainant
entity. tantamount to a violation of petitioners rights to public
trial and to confront the witnesses face to face? YES.
RULING: HELD:
Depositions are chiefly a mode of discovery. They are intended The procedure for taking depositions in criminal cases
as a means to compel disclosure of facts resting in the recognizes the prosecution's right to preserve testimonial
knowledge of a party or other person which are relevant in some evidence and prove its case despite the unavailability of its
suit or proceeding in court. Depositions are principally made by witness. It cannot, however, give license to prosecutorial
law to the parties as a means of informing themselves of all the indifference or unseemly involvement in a prosecution witness'
relevant facts; they are not therefore generally meant to be a absence from trial. To rule otherwise would
substitute for the actual testimony in open court of a party effectively deprive the accused of his fundamental right to be
witness. Leave of court is not necessary where the deposition is confronted with the witnesses against him.
to be taken before a secretary or embassy or legation, consul The Procedure for Testimonial Examination of an Unavailable
gen. etc., and the defendants answer has already been served. Prosecution Witness is Covered Under Section 15, Rule 119.
Depositions may be taken at any time after the institution of any The examination of witnesses must be done orally before a judge
action, whenever necessary or convenient. There is no rule that in open court.13 This is true especially in criminal cases where
limits deposition. Taking only to the period of pre-trial or before it; the Constitution secures to the accused his right to a public trial
no prohibition against the taking of deposition after pre-trial the and to meet the witnessess against him face to face. The
law authorizes the taking of depositions before or after an appeal requirement is the "safest and most satisfactory method of
is taken from the judgment of RTC to perpetuate their testimony investigating facts" as it enables the judge to test the witness'
for use in event of further proceedings in court or during the credibility through his manner and deportment while testifying.14
process of execution of a final and executor judgment. It is not without exceptions, however, as the Rules of Court
recognizes the conditional examination of witnesses and the use
HARRY L. GO, TONNY NGO, JERRY NGO AND JANE GO, of their depositions as testimonial evidence in lieu of direct court
Petitioners, vs. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES and testimony.
HIGHDONE COMPANY, LTD., ET AL., Respondents. Even in criminal proceedings, there is no doubt as to the
G.R. No. 185527 July 18, 2012 availability of conditional examination of witnesses both for the
benefit of the defense, as well as the prosecution. The Court's
FACTS: ruling in the case of Vda. de Manguerra v. Risos15 explicitly
Petitioners were charged with Other Deceits under Art 318 of states that
RPC before MTC Manila. They pleaded not guilty, trial dates o "x x x As exceptions, Rule 23 to 28 of the Rules of
were postponed due to the unavailability of private complainant Li Court provide for the different modes of discovery that may
Luen Ping, a frail old businessman from Laos, Cambodia. be resorted to by a party to an action. These rules are
The Prosecution filed a Motion to Take Oral Deposition of Li Luen adopted either to perpetuate the testimonies of
Ping, alleging that he was being treated for lung infection at the witnesses or as modes of discovery. In criminal
Cambodia Charity Hospital in Laos, Cambodia and that, upon proceedings, Sections 12, 13 and 15, Rule 119 of the Revised
doctor's advice, he could not make the long travel to the Rules of Criminal Procedure, which took effect on December 1,
Philippines by reason of ill health. 2000, allow the conditional examination of both the defense
Petitioners opposed. MTC granted said Motion; denied ensuing and prosecution witnesses." (Underscoring supplied)
MR. Petitioners, filed a Rule 65 before RTC Manila The procedure under Rule 23 to 28 of the Rules of Court allows
RTC granted the petition; declared the MTC Order null and void; the taking of depositions in civil cases, either upon oral
denied ensuing Motion for Reconsideration examination or written interrogatories, before any judge, notary
Section 17, Rule 23 on the taking of depositions of public or person authorized to administer oaths at any time or
witnesses in civil cases cannot apply suppletorily to the place within the Philippines; or before any Philippine consular
case since there is a specific provision in the Rules of Court with official, commissioned officer or person authorized to administer
respect to the taking of depositions of prosecution oaths in a foreign state or country, with no additional requirement
witnesses in criminal cases, which is primarily intended to except reasonable notice in writing to the other party.

1
But for purposes of taking the deposition in criminal cases, more However, the suggested suppletory application of Rule 23 in the
particularly of a prosecution witness who would forseeably be testimonial examination of an unavailable prosecution witness
unavailable for trial, the testimonial examination should be made has been categorically ruled out by the Court in the same case of
before the court, or at least before the judge, where the case is Vda. de Manguerra, as follows:
pending as required by the clear mandate of Section 15, Rule It is true that Section 3, Rule 1 of the Rules of Court provides that
119 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. The pertinent the rules of civil procedure apply to all actions, civil or criminal,
provision reads thus: and special proceedings. In effect, it says that the rules of civil
SEC. 15. Examination of witness for the prosecution. procedure have suppletory application to criminal cases.
When it satisfactorily appears that a witness for the However, it is likewise true that criminal proceedings are primarily
prosecution is too sick or infirm to appear at the trial as directed governed by the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure.
by the court, or has to leave the Philippines with no definite Considering that Rule 119 adequately and squarely
date of returning, he may forthwith be conditionally examined covers the situation in the instant case, we find no cogent
before the court where the case is pending. Such reason to apply Rule 23 suppletorily or otherwise."
examination, in the presence of the accused, or in his The Conditional Examination of a Prosecution Witness Cannot
absence after reasonable notice to attend the examination has Defeat the Rights of the Accused to Public Trial and
been served on him shall be conducted in the same manner Confrontation of Witnesses
as an examination at the trial. Failure or refusal of the The CA took a simplistic view on the use of depositions in
accused to attend the examination after notice shall be criminal cases and overlooked fundamental considerations no
considered a waiver. The statement taken may be admitted in less than the Constitution secures to the accused, i.e., the right to
behalf of or against the accused. a public trial and the right to confrontation of witnesses. Section
Since the conditional examination of a prosecution witness must 14(2), Article III of the Constitution provides as follows:
take place at no other place than the court where the case is
pending, the RTC properly nullified the MeTC's orders granting VDA. De MANGUERRA vs. RISOS August 28, 2008 | Nachura
the motion to take the deposition of Li Luen Ping before the | Rule 45 Petition
Philippine consular official in Laos, Cambodia. We quote with Facts: RTC of Cebu, and not before the Clerk of Court of Makati
approval the RTC's ratiocination in this wise: City; and thus, in issuing the assailed order, the RTC clearly
The condition of the private complainant being sick and committed grave abuse of discretion. Respondents were
of advanced age falls within the provision of Section 15 Rule charged with Estafa Through Falsification of Public Document
119 of the Rules of Court. However, said rule substantially before the RTC of Cebu City, Branch 19. The case arose from
provides that he should be conditionally examined the falsification of a deed of real estate mortgage allegedly
before the court where the case is pending. Thus, this Court committed by respondents where they made it appear that
concludes that the language of Section 15 Rule 119 must be Concepcion, the owner of the mortgaged property known as the
interpreted to require the parties to present testimony at Gorordo property, affixed her signature to the document.
the hearing through live witnesses, whose demeanor and Concepcion, who was a resident of Cebu City, while on vacation
credibility can be evaluated by the judge presiding at the in Manila, was unexpectedly confined at the Makati Medical
hearing, rather than by means of deposition. No where in the said Center due to upper gastrointestinal bleeding; and was advised
rule permits the taking of deposition outside the Philippines to stay in Manila for further treatment. Respondents then filed a
whether the deponent is sick or not.18 (Underscoring Motion for Suspension of the Proceedings in Criminal Case No.
supplied) CBU-52248 on the ground of prejudicial question. They argued
Certainly, to take the deposition of the prosecution witness that Civil Case No. CEB-20359, which was an action for
elsewhere and not before the very same court where the case is declaration of nullity of the mortgage, should first be resolved. On
pending would not only deprive a detained accused of his right to May 11, 2000, the RTC granted the aforesaid motion.
attend the proceedings but also deprive the trial judge of the Concepcions motion for reconsideration was denied on June 5,
opportunity to observe the prosecution witness' deportment and 2000. This prompted Concepcion to institute a special civil action
properly assess his credibility, which is especially intolerable for certiorari before the CA seeking the nullification of the May 11
when the witness' testimony is crucial to the prosecution's case and June 5 RTC orders. The counsel of Concepcion filed a
against the accused. This is the import of the Court's ruling in motion to take the latters deposition. He explained the need to
Vda. de Manguerra19 where we further declared that perpetuate Concepcions testimony due to her weak physical
While we recognize the prosecution's right to preserve condition and old age, which limited her freedom of mobility. RTC
the testimony of its witness in order to prove its case, we granted the motion and ordered the taking of the deposition
cannot disregard the rules which are designed mainly for the before the Clerk of the Makati RTC. Respondents appealed to
protection of the accused's constitutional rights. The the CA. CA rendered a judgment favorable to the respondents.
giving of testimony during trial is the general rule. The CA ratiocinated that the examination of prosecution witnesses, as
conditional examination of a witness outside of the trial is only an in the present case, is governed by Section 15, Rule 119 of the
exception, and as such, calls for a strict construction of Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure and not Rule 23 of the
the rules. Rules of Court. The latter provision, said the appellate court, only
It is argued that since the Rules of Civil Procedure is made applies to civil cases. Pursuant to the specific provision of
explicitly applicable in all cases, both civil and criminal as well as Section 15, Rule 119, Concepcions deposition should have been
special proceedings, the deposition-taking before a Philippine taken before the judge or the court where the case is pending,
consular official under Rule 23 should be deemed allowable also which is the
under the circumstances.

2
Issue/Held: WoN Rule 23 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure
applies to the deposition of Concepcion. NO. ALLIED AGRI-BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CO., INC vs.CA
G.R. No. 118438, December 4, 1998
Ratio: It is basic that all witnesses shall give their testimonies at
the trial of the case in the presence of the judge. This is TOPIC: Admission of Facts
especially true in criminal cases in order that the accused may be
afforded the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses pursuant FACTS:
to his constitutional right to confront the witnesses face to face. It A complaint was filed by respondent Cherry Valley for
also gives the parties and their counsel the chance to propound collection of sum of money against the petitioner Allied Agri-
such questions as they deem material and necessary to support Business for its failure to pay for the value of orders made
their position or to test the credibility of said witnesses. Lastly, and received by the latter. Cherry Valley served a Request for
this rule enables the judge to observe the witnesses' demeanor. Admission of Facts to Agri-Business. The latter failed to submit a
This rule however, is not absolute. As exceptions, Rules 23 to 28 sworn answer to the request for admission within the allowed
of the Rules of Court provide for different MODES OF period. Thus, summary judgment ensued. Agri-Business alleged
DISCOVERY that may be resorted to by a party to an action. that Cherry Valley had the burden to prove through its own
These rules are adopted either to perpetuate the testimonies of witness during the trial the matters for which admissions were
witnesses or as modes of discovery. In criminal proceedings, requested, and subsequently questioned the summary judgment.
Sections 12, 13, and 15 of Rule 119, which took effect 1 ISSUE:
December 2000, allow the conditional examination of both the
defense and prosecution witnesses. In the case at bench, in Whether or not respondents failure to answer the
issue is the examination of a prosecution witness who according Request for Admission shall mean admission of the mailers
to the petitioners was too sick to travel and appear before the trial stated in the request which can be the basis for summary
court. Section 15 of Rule 119 comes into play and it provides: judgment?
Section 15. Examination of witness for prosecution When it
satisfactorily appears that a witness for the prosecution is too HELD:
sick or infirm to appear at the trial as directed by the court, or has
to leave the Philippines with no definite date of returning, he may The purpose of the rule governing requests for
forthwith be conditionally examined before the court where the admission of facts and genuineness of documents is to expedite
case is pending. Such examination, in the presence of the trial and to relieve parties of the costs of proving facts which will
accused, or in his absence, after reasonable notice to attend the not be disputed on trial and the truth of which can be ascertained
examination has been served on him, shall be conducted in the by reasonable inquiry. The burden of affirmative action is on
same manner as an examination at the trial. Failure or refusal of the party upon whom notice is served to avoid the admission
the accused to attend the examination after notice shall be rather than upon the party seeking the admission. Hence, when
considered a waiver. The statement taken may be admitted in Agri-Business failed to reply to a request to admit, it may not
behalf of or against the accused. argue that the adverse, party has the burden of proving the facts
sought to be admitted. Agri-Business silence is an admission of
Petitioners contend that Concepcion's advanced age and health the facts stated in the request. This now becomes the basis of a
condition exempt her from this application of Section 15, Rule summary judgment.
119 of the Rules on Criminal Procedure and thus, calls for the
application of Rule 23 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. The PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs WEBB
contention does not persuade. The very reason offered by the 312 SCRA 573
petitioners to exempt Concepcion from the coverage of Rule 119
is at once the ground which places her squarely within the FACTS:
coverage of the same provision. Undoubtedly, the procedure set
forth in Rule 119 applies to the case at bar. In granting Webb, an accused in the crime of Rape with Homicide,
Concepcion's motion and in actually taking her deposition, were filed a Motion to Take Testimony by Oral Deposition, to take the
the rules complied with? The CA answered in the negative. The
testimonies of some vital witnesses residing in the U.S., before
appellate court considered the taking of deposition before the
Clerk of Court of Makati City erroneous and contrary to the clear the proper Philippine consular authorities since the Philippine
mandate of the Rules that the same be made before the court court had no jurisdiction over them and may not therefore be
where the case is pending. Accordingly, said the CA, the RTC compelled by subpoena to testify. Respondent further alleged
order was issued with grave abuse of discretion. To reiterate, the that the taking of the oral depositions of the aforementioned
conditional examination of a prosecution witness for the purpose individuals whose testimonies are allegedly material and
of taking his deposition should be made before the court, or at indispensable to establish his innocence of the crime charged is
least before the judge where the case is pending. Such is the
sanctioned by Section 4, Rule 24 of the Revised Rules of Court.
clear mandate of the Rules of Criminal Procedure. While we
recognize the prosecution's right to preserve its witness; The prosecution thereafter filed an opposition to the said motion
testimony to prove its case, we cannot disregard rules which are averring that Rule 24, Section 4 of the Rules of Court has no
designed mainly for the protection of the accused's constitutional application in criminal cases. The trial court denied the motion
rights. The giving of testimony during trial is the general rule. The but was thereafter reversed by the COA on appeal.
conditional examination of a witness outside of the trial is only an
exception, and as such, calls for a strict construction of the rules.

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ISSUE: Rules, Metrobanks officers who are considered adverse
parties may not be compelled to appear and testify in court
Whether or not COA committed reversible error in reversing for the petitioners since they were not initially served with
the trial courts ruling. written interrogatories; that petitioners have not shown the
materiality and relevance of the documents sought to be
RULING: produced in court; and that petitioners were merely fishing for
YES. It need not be overemphasized that the factual evidence.
circumstances only serves to underscore the immutable fact that On October 19, 2006, the RTC denied petitioners motion for lack
the depositions proposed to be taken from the five U.S. based of merit.
witnesses would be merely corroborative or cumulative in nature Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration claiming that the
and in denying respondents motion to take them, the trial court defective notice was cured by the filing of Metrobanks
was but exercising its judgment on what it perceived to be a Opposition, which they claim is tantamount to notice. They further
superfluous exercise on the belief that the introduction thereof
argued that Metrobanks officers who are the subject of the
will not reasonably add to the persuasiveness of the evidence
already on record. subpoena are not party-defendants, and thus do not comprise
It is pointed out that the defense has already presented at least the adverse party; they are individuals separate and distinct from
fifty-seven (57) witnesses and four hundred sixty-four (464) Metrobank.
documentary exhibits, many of them of the exact nature as those In an Opposition to the Motion for Reconsideration, Metrobank
to be produced or testified to by the proposed foreign deponents. insisted that since a corporation may act only through its officers
Under the circumstances, We sustain the proposition that the trial and employees, they are to be considered as adverse parties in a
judge commits no grave abuse of discretion if she decides that case against the corporation itself.
the evidence on the matter sought to be proved in the United The RTC denied petitioners Motion for Reconsideration
States could not possibly add anything substantial to the defense
prompting them to file a Petition for Certiorari with the CA
evidence involved.
asserting this time that their Motion for Issuance of Subpoena
SPOUSES AFULUGENCIA vs METROBANK Duces Tecum Ad Testificandum is not a litigated motion; it does
715 SCRA 399 not seek relief, but aims for the issuance of a mere process. They
added that Rule 21 of the Rules requires prior notice and hearing
TOPIC: only with respect to the taking of depositions. Finally, petitioners
claimed that the Rules particularly Section 10,22 Rule 132 do
Section 6,1 Rule 25 of the Rules of Court (Rules) provides that "a not prohibit a party from presenting the adverse party as its own
party not served with written interrogatories may not be witness.
compelled by the adverse party to give testimony in open court, The CA affirmed the assailed decision.
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. ISSUE/S:
FACTS:
1. WON an adverse party can be required to take the
witness stand (Sec. 6 of Rule 25) without complying with
Petitioners, spouses Vicente and Leticia Afulugencia, filed a
the notice and hearing requirement under Sec. 4 and 5
Complaint for nullification of mortgage, foreclosure, auction sale,
of Rule 15
certificate of sale and other documents, with damages, against
respondents Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. (Metrobank) and
Emmanuel L. Ortega (Ortega) before the RTC of Malolos City.
With the conclusion of pre-trial, petitioners filed a Motion for RULING:
NO. On the procedural issue, it is quite clear that Metrobank was
Issuance of Subpoena Duces Tecum Ad Testificandum to require
notified of the Motion for Issuance of Subpoena Duces Tecum Ad
Metrobanks officers to appear and testify as the petitioners initial Testificandum; in fact, it filed a timely Opposition thereto. The
witnesses during the August 31, 2006 hearing for the technical defect of lack of notice of hearing was thus cured by the
presentation of their evidence-in-chief, and to bring the filing of the Opposition.
documents relative to their loan with Metrobank, as well as those As a rule, in civil cases, the procedure of calling the adverse
covering the extrajudicial foreclosure and sale of petitioners 200- party to the witness stand is not allowed, unless written
interrogatories are first served upon the latter. This is embodied
square meter land in Meycauayan, Bulacan.
in Section 6, Rule 25 of the Rules, which provides
Metrobank filed an Opposition arguing that for lack of a proper
Sec. 6. Effect of failure to serve written interrogatories.
notice of hearing, the Motion must be denied; that being a Unless thereafter allowed by the court for good cause shown and
litigated motion, the failure of petitioners to set a date and to prevent a failure of justice, a party not served with written
time for the hearing renders the Motion ineffective and pro interrogatories may not be compelled by the adverse party to
forma; that pursuant to Sections 1 and 6 of Rule 25 of the give testimony in open court, or to give a deposition pending
appeal.

4
One of the purposes of the above rule is to prevent fishing as it had made him believe that it had the authority to provide
expeditions and needless delays; it is there to maintain order and such guarantee. The Republic countered by invoking Section 15,
facilitate the conduct of trial. It will be presumed that a party who Article XI of the 1987 Constitution which provides that (t)he right
does not serve written interrogatories on the adverse party of the State to recover properties unlawfully acquired by public
beforehand will most likely be unable to elicit facts useful to its officials or employees from them or from their nominees, or
case if it later opts to call the adverse party to the witness stand transferees, shall not be barred by prescription, laches or
as its witness. estoppel.
Issue: Whether or not the PCGG acted within its authority when it
In the present case, petitioners seek to call Metrobanks officers revoked and nullified the Immunity Agreement, hence having
to the witness stand as their initial and main witnesses, and to jurisdiction over the person of Disini.
present documents in Metrobanks possession as part of their Held: No. PCGG needs to fulfill its obligations honorably as Disini
principal documentary evidence. This is tantamount to building did. More than anyone, the government should be fair.
their whole case from the evidence of their opponent. The burden It has been a settled rule that by seeking affirmative relief,
of proof and evidence falls on petitioners, not on Metrobank; if voluntary appearance or submission to the jurisdiction of the
petitioners cannot prove their claim using their own evidence, Sandiganbayan constitute waiver on the objection regarding lack
then the adverse party Metrobank may not be pressured to hang of jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner. Jurisprudence
itself from its own defense. holds that an objection based on lack of jurisdiction over the
Disini vs Sandiganbayan person is waived when the defendant files a motion or pleading
Jurisdiction over person which seeks affirmative relief other than the dismissal of the
On 16 February 1989, the Republic of the Philippines and Disini case.
entered into an Immunity Agreement under which Disini The Court should not allow respondent Republic, to put it bluntly,
undertook to testify for the Republic and provide its lawyers with to double cross petitioner Disini. The Immunity Agreement was
the information, affidavits, and documents they needed in its the result of a long drawn out process of negotiations with each
case against Westinghouse Electric Corporation before the party trying to get the best concessions out of it. The Republic did
United States District Court of New Jersey and in the arbitration not have to enter that agreement. It was free not to. But when it
case that Westinghouse International Projects Company and did, it needs to fulfill its obligations honorably as Disini did. More
others filed against the Republic before the International than any one, the government should be fair.
Chamber of Commerce Court of Arbitration. Disini worked for his PCGGs revocation of the questioned immunity and
second cousin, Herminio, as an executive in the latter's Sandiganbayan's denial of Disini's motion to quash the subpoena
companies from 1971 to 1984. The Republic believed that the were both annulled.
Westinghouse contract for the construction of the Bataan Nuclear
Power Plant, brokered by one of Herminios companies, had been Metrobank v. Sandoval, G.R. No. 169677, February 18, 2013)
attended by anomalies. In the Immunity Agreement, the Republic Facts:
guaranteed that, apart from the two Westinghouse cases, it On July 17, 1987, the Republic brought a complaint for
would not compel Disini to testify in any other domestic or foreign reversion, reconveyance, restitution, accounting and
proceeding brought by the Republic against Herminio. Disini damages in the Sandiganbayan against Andres V. Genito,
complied with his undertaking but 18 years later, upon the Jr., Ferdinand E. Marcos, Imelda R. Marcos and other
Republic's application, the Sandiganbayan issued a subpoena defendants. The action was obviously to recover allegedly ill-
against Disini, commanding him to testify and produce gotten wealth of the Marcoses, their nominees, dummies
documents before that court in an action that the Republic filed and agents.
against Herminio. Disini moved to quash the subpoena, invoking Among the properties subject of the action were two parcels
the Immunity Agreement. The Sandiganbayan ignored the motion of commercial land located in Tandang Sora (Old Balara),
and issued a new subpoena directing him to testify before it. Quezon City, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT)
Subsequently, the PCGG revoked and nullified the Immunity No. 266423 and TCT No. 266588 of the Registry of Deeds of
Agreement insofar as it prohibited the Republic from requiring Quezon City registered in the names of Spouses Andres V.
Disini to testify against Herminio. Later on, the Sandiganbayan Genito, Jr. and Ludivina L. Genito.
denied Disinis motion to quash the subpoena. Disini, thus, On February 5, 2001, the Republic moved for the
brought the matter to the Supreme Court. The Republic amendment of the complaint in order to implead Asian Bank
maintained that the PCGGs power to grant immunity under (now Metrobank) as an additional defendant.
Section 5 of Executive Order 14 covered only immunity from civil
Commenting on the motion, Asian Bank sought the
or criminal prosecution and did not cover immunity from providing
deferment of any action on the motion until it was first given
evidence in court. The Republic argued that Disini's immunity
the opportunity to test and assail the testimonial and
from testifying against Herminio contravened the states policy to
documentary evidence the Republic had already presented
recover ill-gotten wealth acquired under the regime of former
against the original defendants, and contended that it would
President Marcos. The Republic further argued that under the
be deprived of its day in court if a separate trial were to be
last sentence of paragraph 3 of the Immunity Agreement which
held against it without having been sufficiently apprised
reads: Nothing herein shall affect Jesus P. Disini's obligation to
about the evidence the Republic had adduced before it was
provide truthful information or testimony, Disini, despite the
brought in as an additional defendant.
immunity given him against being compelled to testify in other
cases, was to provide truthful information or testimony in such In its reply to Asian Bank's comment, the Republic
other cases. For his part, Disini argued that the Republic, through maintained that a separate trial for Asian Bank was proper
the PCGG, was estopped from revoking the questioned immunity because its cause of action against Asian Bank was entirely

5
distinct and independent from its cause of action against the the evidence adduced against the original defendants, the
original defendants; and that the issue with respect to Asian properties would be thereby adjudged as ill-gotten and liable to
Bank was whether Asian Bank had actual or constructive forfeiture in favor of the Republic without Metrobank being given
knowledge at the time of the issuance of the TCTs for the the opportunity to rebut or explain its side. The outcome would
properties in its name that such properties were the subject surely be prejudicial towards Metrobank.
of the complaint in Civil Case No. 0004, while the issue as to Consequently, the Sandiganbayan has original exclusive
the original defendants was whether they had "committed jurisdiction over the claim against Asian Bank, for the Court has
the acts complained of as constituting illegal or unlawful ruled in Presidential Commission on Good Government v.
accumulation of wealth which would, as a consequence, Sandiganbayan, that "the Sandiganbayan has original and
justify forfeiture of the said properties or the satisfaction from exclusive jurisdiction not only over principal causes of action
said properties of the judgement that may be rendered in involving recovery of ill-gotten wealth, but also over all incidents
favor of the Republic. arising from, incidental to, or related to such cases."
Sandiganbayan granted motion for separate trial and denied
MR of Metrobank. Hence, this petition for certiorari. REPUBLIC v. HEIRS OF ENRIQUE ORIBELLO, JR.
DOCTRINE: Consolidation is a procedural device to aid the court
Issue: in deciding how cases in its docket are to be tried so that the
WON Sandiganbayan committed GADALEJ? business of the court may be dispatched expeditiously and with
WON the Republic is entitled to a separate Trial against Asia economy while providing justice to the parties.
Bank? In the context of legal procedure, the term consolidation is used
Held: in three different senses: (1)Quasi-consolidation; (2)Actual
The Sandiganbayan gravely abused its discretion in granting the Consolidation; (3)Consolidation for Trial.
Republic's motion for separate trial, but was correct in upholding Since each action does not lose its distinct character, severance
its jurisdiction over the Republic's claim against Asian Bank. of one action from the other is not necessary to appeal a
The rule on separate trials in civil actions is found in Section 2, judgment already rendered in one action. There is no rule or law
Rule 31 of the Rules of Court, which reads: prohibiting the appeal of a judgment or part of a judgment in one
Section 2.Separate trials. The court, in furtherance of case which is consolidated with other cases.
convenience or to avoid prejudice, may order a separate trial of FACTS:
any claim, cross-claim, counterclaim, or third-party complaint, or Civil Case No. 233-0-91 (for recovery of possession) -
of any separate issue or of any number of claims, cross-claims, filed by Oribello against Apog and San Juan, the actual
counterclaims, third-party complaints or issues. occupants
The text of the rule grants to the trial court the discretion to Civil Case No. 225-0-92 (for reversion of property) - filed
determine if a separate trial of any claim, cross-claim, by the Republic
counterclaim, or third-party complaint, or of any separate issue or September 12, 1997 Order: Republic deemed to have
of any number of claims, cross-claims, counterclaims, third-party abandoned the case. = interlocutory as ruled by the SC
complaints or issues should be held, provided that the exercise of February 21, 2005 Order: Dismissed the consolidated
such discretion is in furtherance of convenience or to avoid cases without prejudice for non-substitution of deceased
prejudice to any party. plaintiff (Oribello) and his counsel.
We conclude that the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of
June 29, 2005 Order: Trial court allowed the
its discretion in ordering a separate trial as to Asian Bank
continuation of Republics presentation of evidence.
(Metrobank) on the ground that the issue against Asian Bank was
distinct and separate from that against the original defendants. July 12, 2006 Order: Dismissed case.
Thereby, the Sandiganbayan veered away from the general rule
of having all the issues in every case tried at one time, The present controversy involves a parcel of land situated in
unreasonably shunting aside the dictum in Corrigan, supra, that a Olongapo City, which was once classified as forest land by the
"single trial will generally lessen the delay, expense, and Bureau of Forest Development. The property was originally
inconvenience to the parties and the courts." occupied by a certain Valentin Fernandez (Valentin) in 1968 by
Exceptions to the general rule are permitted only when there are virtue of a Residential Permit issued by the same government
extraordinary grounds for conducting separate trials on different office. Upon Valentins death, his son, Odillon Fernandez
issues raised in the same case, or when separate trials of the (Odillon), continued to occupy the property, together with
issues will avoid prejudice, or when separate trials of the issues spouses Ruperto and Matilde Apog. Sometime in 1969, Odillon
will further convenience, or when separate trials of the issues will sold the property to a certain Mrs. Florentina Balcita who, later
promote justice, or when separate trials of the issues will give a on, sold the same property to Oribello.
fair trial to all parties. Otherwise, the general rule must apply.
As we see it, however, the justification of the Sandiganbayan for Oribello filed a Miscellaneous Sales Application with the
allowing the separate trial did not constitute a special or Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR),
compelling reason like any of the exceptions. To begin with, the which denied the application since the land remained forest land.
issue relevant to Asian Bank was not complicated. In that
context, the separate trial would not be in furtherance of On 20 February 1987, the subject property was declared open to
convenience. And, secondly, the cause of action against Asian disposition under the Public Land Act. Thus, Oribello filed another
Bank was necessarily connected with the cause of action against Miscellaneous Sales Application. The Director of Lands issued an
the original defendants. Should the Sandiganbayan resolve the Order for the issuance of a patent in favor of Oribello.
issue against Spouses Genito in a separate trial on the basis of

6
Matilde Apog and Aliseo San Juan claiming to be actual Consolidation is a procedural device to aid the court in
occupants of the property, protested with the DENR the issuance deciding how cases in its docket are to be tried so that the
of the sales patent and OCT in favor of Oribello. They sought the business of the court may be dispatched expeditiously and with
annulment of the sales patent, arguing that Oribello and Land economy while providing justice to the parties. To promote this
Inspector Dominador Laxa committed fraud and end, the rule allows the consolidation and a single trial of several
misrepresentation in the approval of the Miscellaneous Sales cases in the courts docket, or the consolidation of issues within
Application of Oribello. They alleged that Laxa submitted a false those cases. The Court explained, thus:
report to the Director of Lands, by stating that there were no
other claimants to the property and that Oribello was the actual In the context of legal procedure, the term consolidation is
occupant thereof, when the contrary was true. used in three different senses:

The OSG, representing petitioner, instituted a complaint for (1)Where all except one of several actions are stayed until
reversion and cancellation of title before the RTC. The case was one is tried, in which case the judgment in the one trial is
thereafter consolidated with Civil Case No. 233-0-91, a complaint conclusive as to the others. This is not actually consolidation but
for recovery of possession filed by Oribello against Apog and San is referred to as such. (quasi-consolidation)
Juan. (2)Where several actions are combined into one, lose their
separate identity, and become a single action in which a single
RTC dismissed the consolidated cases without prejudice for non- judgment is rendered. This is illustrated by a situation where
substitution of the deceased plaintiff (Oribello) and his counsel. several actions are pending between the same parties stating
Petitioner moved for reconsideration, contending that the Order claims which might have been set out originally in one complaint.
applied exclusively to Civil Case No. 233-0-91 (for recovery of (actual consolidation)
possession) and did not affect Civil Case No. 225-0-92 (for
reversion of property). RTC allowed the continuation of the (3)Where several actions are ordered to be tried together
presentation of petitioners evidence. but each retains its separate character and requires the entry of a
separate judgment. This type of consolidation does not merge
Aggrieved, Oribellos heirs filed a Manifestation and Motion, the suits into a single action, or cause the parties to one action to
bringing to the attention of the trial court the previous 12 be parties to the other. (consolidation for trial)
September 1997 Order declaring petitioner to have abandoned
the reversion case. Oribellos heirs pointed out that from the time In the present case, the complaint for reversion filed by
petitioner received the Order in 1997, it did nothing to question petitioner (Civil Case No. 225-0-92) was consolidated with the
the same, making the Order final. RTC finding merit in complaint for recovery of possession filed by Oribello (Civil Case
defendants Motion and Manifestation, the Order dated 29 June No. 223-0-91). While these two cases involve common questions
2005 granting the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the Solicitor of law and fact, each action retains its separate and distinct
General is recalled and the above-entitled case is DISMISSED. character. The reversion suit settles whether the subject land will
be reverted to the State, while the recovery of possession case
The CA denied petitioners appeal ruling that the remedy of determines which private party has the better right of possession
appeal is no longer available to petitioner and that petitioner has over the subject property. These cases, involving different issues
lost its right to participate in the proceedings of Civil Case No. and seeking different remedies, require the rendition and entry of
225-0-92 when it failed to question the trial courts 12 September separate judgments. The consolidation is merely for joint trial of
1997 Order, declaring it to have abandoned the case. As a the cases. Notably, the complaint for recovery of possession
consequence of petitioners inaction, such order inevitably proceeded independently of the reversion case, and was
became final. disposed of accordingly by the trial court.

Petitioner contends that the 12 September 1997 Order of the trial Since each action does not lose its distinct character,
court, deeming it to have abandoned the case, is interlocutory in severance of one action from the other is not necessary to
nature; thus, is not appealable. Respondents argue otherwise, appeal a judgment already rendered in one action. There is no
maintaining that such Order is a dismissal of the complaint on the rule or law prohibiting the appeal of a judgment or part of a
ground of failure to prosecute which is, under the Rules, judgment in one case which is consolidated with other cases.
considered an adjudication on the merits, and hence appealable. Further, severance is within the sound discretion of the court for
convenience or to avoid prejudice. It is not mandatory under the
ISSUE: Rules of Court that the court sever one case from the other cases
Whether the consolidated cases, without any order of severance, before a party can appeal an adverse ruling on such case.
cannot be subject of multiple appeals.
HELD:
YES.