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Roberto Otero vs Roger Tan statements of account that were presented by Tan before the

GR 200134, April 15, 2015 MTCC were overwhelming enough to prove that Otero is
indeed indebted to Tan in the amount of P270,818.01.
CA Decision: Upon appeal, Otero explained that the
A Complaint for collection of sum of money and damages was statements of account, which Tan adduced during the ex
filed by Roger Tan (Tan) with the Municipal Trial Court in parte presentation of his evidence, were prepared by a
Cities (MTCC), Cagayan de Oro City on July 28, 2005 against certain Betache who was not presented as a witness by Tan.
Roberto Otero (Otero). Tan alleged that on several occasions Otero avers that the genuineness and due execution of the
from February 2000 to May 2001, Otero purchased on credit said statements of account, being private documents, must
petroleum products from his Petron outlet in Valencia City, first be established lest the said documents be rendered
Bukidnon in the aggregate amount of P270,818.01. Tan inadmissible in evidence. Thus, Otero asserts, the MTCC and
further claimed that despite several verbal demands, Otero the RTC should not have admitted in evidence the said
failed to settle his obligation. statements of account as Tan failed to establish the
genuineness and due execution of the same. CA denied the
Despite receipt of the summons and a copy of the said
petition for review and the subsequent Motion for
complaint, which per the records of the case below were
served through his wife Grace R. Otero on August 31, 2005,
Otero failed to file his answer with the MTCC. Issue:
On November 18, 2005, Tan filed a motion with the MTCC to Whether Otero, having been declared in default by the MTCC,
declare Otero in default for his failure to file his answer. may, in the appellate proceedings, still raise the failure of Tan
Otero opposed Tan s motion, claiming that he did not receive to authenticate the statements of account which he adduced
a copy of the summons and a copy of Tan s complaint. in evidence
Hearing on the said motion was set on January 25, 2006, but
was later reset to March 8, 2006, Otero manifesting that he Ruling:
only received the notice therefor on January 23, 2006. The
hearing on March 8, 2006 was further reset to April 26, 2006 Yes, he may raise that issue, but it would not modify the
since the presiding judge was attending a convention. Otero ruling of declaring him liable to Tan. Petition denied. CA
failed to appear at the next scheduled hearing, and the MTCC decision is upheld.
issued an order declaring him in default. A copy of the said
A party in default loses his right to present his defense,
order was sent to Otero on May 9, 2006. Tan was then
control the proceedings, and examine or cross-examine
allowed to present his evidence ex parte.
witnesses. He has no right to expect that his pleadings would
Tan adduced in evidence the testimonies of Rosemarie be acted upon by the court nor may be object to or refute
Doblado and Zita Sara, his employees in his Petron outlet who evidence or motions filed against him.
attended Otero when the latter made purchases of
A defendant who has been declared in default is precluded
petroleum products now the subject of the action below. He
from raising any other ground in his appeal from the
likewise presented various statements of account4 showing
judgment by default, since otherwise, he would then be
the petroleum products which Otero purchased from his
allowed to adduce evidence in his defense, which right he had
establishment. The said statements of account were prepared
lost after he was declared in default. Indeed, he is proscribed
and checked by a certain Lito Betache (Betache), apparently
in the appellate tribunal from adducing any evidence to
likewise an employee of Tan.
bolster his defense against the plaintiff's claim.
MTCC Decision: Ruled that Otero should pay Tan his
There are several defenses who may be available to a party
outstanding obligation in the amount of P270,818.01, as well
declared in default:
as attorney s fees and litigation expenses and costs in the
amounts of P15,000.00 and P3,350.00, respectively. The 1. The defendant in default, may, at any time after
MTCC opined that Otero s failure to file an answer despite discovery thereof and before judgment, file a motion
notice is a tacit admission of Tan s claim. under oath, to set aside the order of default on the
ground that his failure to answer was due to fraud,
RTC Decision: RTC rendered a Judgment affirming the MTCC
mistake, accident, or excusable neglect, and that he has
Decision dated February 14, 2007. The RTC held that the
meritorious defense;
2. If the judgment has already been rendered when the
defendant discovered the default, but before the same
has become final and executory, he may file a motion for
new trial (Rule 37);
3. If defendant has discovered the default after the
judgment has become final and executor, he may file a
petition for relief (Rule 38); or
4. He may also appeal from the judgment rendered against
him as contrary to the evidence or the law, even if no
petition to set aside the order of default has been
presented by him.

Otero availed of the last remedy. True indeed, it was

erroneous for the lower courts to rely on the statements of
account, as they were inadmissible in evidence. The
statements of account presented by Tan, which are private
documents, were merely hearsay as the genuineness and due
execution of the same were not established. Nevertheless,
Otero's obligation to pay was still proven by a preponderance
of evidence, through the direct testimonies of Tan's
employees. Hence, judgment of the CA is affirmed.