Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 44

EVIDENCE DIGESTS

Justice Bernabe

RULE 132 – PRESENTATION OF EVIDENCE (Additional Cases)

1. Bantolino et al v. Coca-Cola Bottlers

62 employees of Coca-Cola filed a complaint for unfair labor practice through illegal dismissal,
violation of security of tenure and implementation of the “cabo” system. 52 of the complaints
were dismissed for failure to prosecute and failure to attend the mandatory hearings. The point of
contention of the remaining 10 complaints is the existence of an employee-employee relationship
for being route helpers, bottle segregators and others to which basis the Coca-Cola Corporation
filed a motion to dismiss. The Labor Arbiter ruled that in contrast with the negative declarations
of Coca-Cola’s witnesses who, as district sales supervisors of the company denied knowing the
complainants personally, the testimonies of the complainants were more credible as they
sufficiently supplied every detail of their employment, specifically identifying who their
salesmen/drivers were, their places of assignment, aside from their dates of engagement and
dismissal. One of Coca-Cola’s arguments is that the affidavits of some of the complainants,
namely, Prudencio Bantolino, Nestor Romero, Nilo Espina, Ricardo Bartolome, Eluver Garcia,
Eduardo Garcia and Nelson Manalastas, should not have been given probative value for their
failure to affirm the contents thereof and to undergo cross-examination. The Court of Appeals
reversed the decision with respect to Bantolino et al for failure to affirm their contents in a cross-
examination. The main issue of the case is the propriety of giving evidentiary value to the
affidavits despite the failure of the affiants to affirm their contents and undergo the test of cross-
examination. In reversing the CA decision, the Supreme Court held that "the argument that the
affidavit is hearsay because the affiants were not presented for cross-examination is not
persuasive because the rules of evidence are not strictly observed in proceedings before
administrative bodies like the NLRC where decisions may be reached on the basis of
position papers only." A criminal prosecution requires a quantum of evidence different
from that of an administrative proceeding. Under the Rules of the Commission, the Labor
Arbiter is given the discretion to determine the necessity of a formal trial or hearing. Hence,
trial-type hearings are not even required as the cases may be decided based on verified
position papers, with supporting documents and their affidavits.

Copyright 1994-2012 CD Technologies Asia, Inc. Jurisprudence 1901 to 2011 1


SECOND DIVISION
[G.R. No. 153660. June 10, 2003.]
PRUDENCIO BANTOLINO, NESTOR ROMERO, NILO
ESPINA, EDDIE LADICA, ARMAN QUELING, ROLANDO
NIETO, RICARDO BARTOLOME, ELUVER GARCIA,
EDUARDO GARCIA and NELSON MANALASTAS, petitioners,
vs. COCA-COLA BOTTLERS PHILS., INC., respondent.
UST Legal Aid Clinic for petitioners.
Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz for respondent.
SYNOPSIS
Petitioners filed a complaint against respondent for illegal dismissal. The
Labor Arbiter ordered respondent to reinstate complainants to their former
positions and to pay their full back wages. On appeal, the National Labor
Relations Commission (NLRC) sustained the finding of the Labor Arbiter.
Respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA) which affirmed the finding of
the NLRC, but agreed with the respondent that the affidavits of some of the
complainants should not have been given probative value for failure to affirm the
contents thereof and to undergo cross-examination. As a consequence, the CA
dismissed their complaints for lack of sufficient evidence. Hence, this petition.
In granting the present petition, the Supreme Court ruled that administrative
bodies like the NLRC are not bound by the technical niceties of law and procedure
and the rules obtaining in courts of law. Indeed, the Revised Rules of Court and
prevailing jurisprudence may be given only stringent application, i.e., by analogy
or in suppletory character and effect. The submission by respondent, citing People
v. Sorrel, that an affidavit not testified to in a trial, is mere hearsay evidence and
has no real evidentiary value, cannot find relevance in the present case considering
that a criminal prosecution requires a quantum of evidence different from that of
an administrative proceeding. Under the Rules of the Commission, the Labor
Arbiter is given the discretion to determine the necessity of a formal trial or
hearing. Hence, trial-type hearings are not even required as the cases may be
decided based on verified position papers, with supporting documents and their
affidavits.
Copyright 1994-2012 CD Technologies Asia, Inc. Jurisprudence 1901 to 2011 2
SYLLABUS
1. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; AFFIDAVITS; GIVEN
EVIDENTIARY VALUE DESPITE FAILURE OF AFFIANTS TO UNDERGO
CROSS-EXAMINATION IN PROCEEDINGS BEFORE ADMINISTRATIVE
BODIES LIKE THE NLRC. — The oft-cited case of Rabago v. NLRC squarely
grapples a similar challenge involving the propriety of the use of affidavits without
the presentation of affiants for cross-examination. In that case, we held that "the
argument that the affidavit is hearsay because the affiants were not presented for
cross-examination is not persuasive because the rules of evidence are not strictly
observed in proceedings before administrative bodies like the NLRC where
decisions may be reached on the basis of position papers only." In Rase v. NLRC,
this Court likewise sidelined a similar challenge when it ruled that it was not
necessary for the affiants to appear and testify and be cross-examined by counsel
for the adverse party. To require otherwise would be to negate the rationale and
purpose of the summary nature of the proceedings mandated by the Rules and to
make mandatory the application of the technical rules of evidence.
2. ID.; ID.; RULES OF EVIDENCE PREVAILING IN COURTS OF
LAW DO NOT CONTROL PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE LABOR ARBITER
AND THE NLRC. — Southern Cotabato Dev. and Construction Co. v. NLRC
succinctly states that under Art. 221 of the Labor Code, the rules of evidence
prevailing in courts of law do not control proceedings before the Labor Arbiter
and the NLRC. Further, it notes that the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC are
authorized to adopt reasonable means to ascertain the facts in each case speedily
and objectively and without regard to technicalities of law and procedure, all in the
interest of due process. We find no compelling reason to deviate therefrom. To
reiterate, administrative bodies like the NLRC are not bound by the technical
niceties of law and procedure and the rules obtaining in courts of law. Indeed, the
Revised Rules of Court and prevailing jurisprudence may be given only stringent
application, i.e., by analogy or in a suppletory character and effect. The
submission by respondent, citing People v. Sorrel, that an affidavit not testified to
in a trial, is mere hearsay evidence and has no real evidentiary value, cannot find
relevance in the present case considering that a criminal prosecution requires a
quantum of evidence different from that of an administrative proceeding. Under
the Rules of the Commission, the Labor Arbiter is given the discretion to
determine the necessity of a formal trial or hearing. Hence, trial-type hearings are
not even required as the cases may be decided based on verified position papers,
with supporting documents and their affidavits.
3. CIVIL LAW; OBLIGATIONS AND CONTRACTS; WAIVERS
Copyright 1994-2012 CD Technologies Asia, Inc. Jurisprudence 1901 to 2011 3
AND QUITCLAIMS, WHEN VALID; CASE AT BAR. — As to whether
petitioner Nestor Romero should be properly impleaded in the instant case, we
only need to follow the doctrinal guidance set by Periquet v. NLRC which outlines
the parameters for valid compromise agreements, waivers and quitclaims — "Not
all waivers and quitclaims are invalid as against public policy. If the agreement
was voluntarily entered into and represents a reasonable settlement, it is binding
on the parties and may not later be disowned simply because of a change of mind.
It is only where there is clear proof that the waiver was wangled from an
unsuspecting or gullible person, or the terms of settlement are unconscionable on
its face, that the law will step in to annul the questionable transaction. But where it
is shown that the person making the waiver did so voluntarily, with full
understanding of what he was doing, and the consideration for the quitclaim is
credible and reasonable, the transaction must be recognized as a valid and binding
undertaking." In closely examining the subject agreements, we find that on their
face the Compromise Agreement and Release, Waiver and Quitclaim are devoid of
any palpable inequity as the terms of settlement therein are fair and just. Neither
can we glean from the records any attempt by the parties to renege on their
contractual agreements, or to disavow or disown their due execution.
Consequently, the same must be recognized as valid and binding transactions and,
accordingly, the instant case should be dismissed and finally terminated insofar as
concerns petitioner Nestor Romero. ISCDEA
DECISION
BELLOSILLO, J p:
This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
Court assailing the Decision of the Court of Appeals 1(1) dated 21 December 2001
which affirmed with modification the decision of the National Labor Relations
Commission promulgated 30 March 2001. 2(2)
On 15 February 1995 sixty-two (62) employees of respondent Coca-Cola
Bottlers, Inc., and its officers, Lipercon Services, Inc., People's Specialist Services,
Inc., and Interim Services, Inc., filed a complaint against respondents for unfair
labor practice through illegal dismissal, violation of their security of tenure and the
perpetuation of the "Cabo System." They thus prayed for reinstatement with full
back wages, and the declaration of their regular employment status. aSATHE
For failure to prosecute as they failed to either attend the scheduled
mandatory conferences or submit their respective affidavits, the claims of fifty-two
Copyright 1994-2012 CD Technologies Asia, Inc. Jurisprudence 1901 to 2011 4
(52) complainant-employees were dismissed. Thereafter, Labor Arbiter Jose De
Vera conducted clarificatory hearings to elicit information from the ten (10)
remaining complainants (petitioners herein) relative to their alleged employment
with respondent firm.
In substance, the complainants averred that in the performance of their
duties as route helpers, bottle segregators, and others, they were employees of
respondent Coca-Cola Bottlers, Inc. They further maintained that when respondent
company replaced them and prevented them from entering the company premises,
they were deemed to have been illegally dismissed.
In lieu of a position paper, respondent company filed a motion to dismiss
complaint for lack of jurisdiction and cause of action, there being no
employer-employee relationship between complainants and Coca-Cola Bottlers,
Inc., and that respondents Lipercon Services, People's Specialist Services and
Interim Services being bona fide independent contractors, were the real employers
of the complainants. 3(3) As regards the corporate officers, respondent insisted
that they could not be faulted and be held liable for damages as they only acted in
their official capacities while performing their respective duties.
On 29 May 1998 Labor Arbiter Jose De Vera rendered a decision ordering
respondent company to reinstate complainants to their former positions with all the
rights, privileges and benefits due regular employees, and to pay their full back
wages which, with the exception of Prudencio Bantolino whose back wages must
be computed upon proof of his dismissal as of 31 May 1998, already amounted to
an aggregate of P1,810,244.00. 4(4)
In finding for the complainants, the Labor Arbiter ruled that in contrast with
the negative declarations of respondent company's witnesses who, as district sales
supervisors of respondent company denied knowing the complainants personally,
the testimonies of the complainants were more credible as they sufficiently
supplied every detail of their employment, specifically identifying who their
salesmen/drivers were, their places of assignment, aside from their dates of
engagement and dismissal.
On appeal, the NLRC sustained the finding of the Labor Arbiter that there
was indeed an employer-employee relationship between the complainants and
respondent company when it affirmed in toto the latter's decision.
In a resolution dated 17 July 2001 the NLRC subsequently denied for lack
of merit respondent's motion for consideration.
Respondent Coca-Cola Bottlers appealed to the Court of Appeals which,
although affirming the finding of the NLRC that an employer-employee
Copyright 1994-2012 CD Technologies Asia, Inc. Jurisprudence 1901 to 2011 5
relationship existed between the contending parties, nonetheless agreed with
respondent that the affidavits of some of the complainants, namely, Prudencio
Bantolino, Nestor Romero, Nilo Espina, Ricardo Bartolome, Eluver Garcia,
Eduardo Garcia and Nelson Manalastas, should not have been given probative
value for their failure to affirm the contents thereof and to undergo
cross-examination. As a consequence, the appellate court dismissed their
complaints for lack of sufficient evidence. In the same Decision however,
complainants Eddie Ladica, Arman Queling and Rolando Nieto were declared
regular employees since they were the only ones subjected to cross-examination.
5(5) Thus —
. . . (T)he labor arbiter conducted clarificatory hearings to ferret out
the truth between the opposing claims of the parties thereto. He did not
submit the case based on position papers and their accompanying
documentary evidence as a full-blown trial was imperative to establish the
parties' claims. As their allegations were poles apart, it was necessary to give
them ample opportunity to rebut each other's statements through
cross-examination. In fact, private respondents Ladica, Quelling and Nieto
were subjected to rigid cross-examination by petitioner's counsel. However,
the testimonies of private respondents Romero, Espina, and Bantolino were
not subjected to cross-examination, as should have been the case, and no
explanation was offered by them or by the labor arbiter as to why this was
dispensed with. Since they were represented by counsel, the latter should
have taken steps so as not to squander their testimonies. But nothing was
done by their counsel to that effect. 6(6)
Petitioners now pray for relief from the adverse Decision of the Court of
Appeals; that, instead, the favorable judgment of the NLRC be reinstated.
In essence, petitioners argue that the Court of Appeals should not have
given weight to respondent's claim of failure to cross-examine them. They insist
that, unlike regular courts, labor cases are decided based merely on the parties'
position papers and affidavits in support of their allegations and subsequent
pleadings that may be filed thereto. As such, according to petitioners, the Rules of
Court should not be strictly applied in this case specifically by putting them on the
witness stand to be cross-examined because the NLRC has its own rules of
procedure which were applied by the Labor Arbiter in coming up with a decision
in their favor.
In its disavowal of liability, respondent commented that since the other
alleged affiants were not presented in court to affirm their statements, much less to
be cross-examined, their affidavits should, as the Court of Appeals rightly held, be
stricken off the records for being self-serving, hearsay and inadmissible in
evidence. With respect to Nestor Romero, respondent points out that he should not
Copyright 1994-2012 CD Technologies Asia, Inc. Jurisprudence 1901 to 2011 6
have been impleaded in the instant petition since he already voluntarily executed a
Compromise Agreement, Waiver and Quitclaim in consideration of P450,000.00.
Finally, respondent argues that the instant petition should be dismissed in view of
the failure of petitioners 7(7) to sign the petition as well as the verification and
certification of non-forum shopping, in clear violation of the principle laid down
in Loquias v. Office of the Ombudsman. 8(8)
The crux of the controversy revolves around the propriety of giving
evidentiary value to the affidavits despite the failure of the affiants to affirm their
contents and undergo the test of cross-examination.
The petition is impressed with merit. The issue confronting the Court is not
without precedent in jurisprudence. The oft-cited case of Rabago v. NLRC 9(9)
squarely grapples a similar challenge involving the propriety of the use of
affidavits without the presentation of affiants for cross-examination. In that case,
we held that "the argument that the affidavit is hearsay because the affiants were
not presented for cross-examination is not persuasive because the rules of evidence
are not strictly observed in proceedings before administrative bodies like the
NLRC where decisions may be reached on the basis of position papers only."
In Rase v. NLRC, 10(10) this Court likewise sidelined a similar challenge
when it ruled that it was not necessary for the affiants to appear and testify and be
cross-examined by counsel for the adverse party. To require otherwise would be to
negate the rationale and purpose of the summary nature of the proceedings
mandated by the Rules and to make mandatory the application of the technical
rules of evidence.
Southern Cotabato Dev. and Construction Co. v. NLRC 11(11) succinctly
states that under Art. 221 of the Labor Code, the rules of evidence prevailing in
courts of law do not control proceedings before the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC.
Further, it notes that the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC are authorized to adopt
reasonable means to ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively and
without regard to technicalities of law and procedure, all in the interest of due
process. We find no compelling reason to deviate therefrom.
To reiterate, administrative bodies like the NLRC are not bound by the
technical niceties of law and procedure and the rules obtaining in courts of law.
Indeed, the Revised Rules of Court and prevailing jurisprudence may be given
only stringent application, i.e., by analogy or in a suppletory character and effect.
The submission by respondent, citing People v. Sorrel, 12(12) that an affidavit not
testified to in a trial, is mere hearsay evidence and has no real evidentiary value,
cannot find relevance in the present case considering that a criminal prosecution
requires a quantum of evidence different from that of an administrative
Copyright 1994-2012 CD Technologies Asia, Inc. Jurisprudence 1901 to 2011 7
proceeding. Under the Rules of the Commission, the Labor Arbiter is given the
discretion to determine the necessity of a formal trial or hearing. Hence, trial-type
hearings are not even required as the cases may be decided based on verified
position papers, with supporting documents and their affidavits.
As to whether petitioner Nestor Romero should be properly impleaded in
the instant case, we only need to follow the doctrinal guidance set by Periquet v.
NLRC 13(13) which outlines the parameters for valid compromise agreements,
waivers and quitclaims —
Not all waivers and quitclaims are invalid as against public policy. If
the agreement was voluntarily entered into and represents a reasonable
settlement, it is binding on the parties and may not later be disowned simply
because of a change of mind. It is only where there is clear proof that the
waiver was wangled from an unsuspecting or gullible person, or the terms of
settlement are unconscionable on its face, that the law will step in to annul
the questionable transaction. But where it is shown that the person making
the waiver did so voluntarily, with full understanding of what he was doing,
and the consideration for the quitclaim is credible and reasonable, the
transaction must be recognized as a valid and binding undertaking.
In closely examining the subject agreements, we find that on their face the
Compromise Agreement 14(14) and Release, Waiver and Quitclaim 15(15) are
devoid of any palpable inequity as the terms of settlement therein are fair and just.
Neither can we glean from the records any attempt by the parties to renege on their
contractual agreements, or to disavow or disown their due execution.
Consequently, the same must be recognized as valid and binding transactions and,
accordingly, the instant case should be dismissed and finally terminated insofar as
concerns petitioner Nestor Romero.
We cannot likewise accommodate respondent's contention that the failure
of all the petitioners to sign the petition as well as the Verification and
Certification of Non-Forum Shopping in contravention of Sec. 5, Rule 7, of the
Rules of Court will cause the dismissal of the present appeal. While the Loquias
case requires the strict observance of the Rules, it however provides an escape
hatch for the transgressor to avoid the harsh consequences of non-observance.
Thus —
. . . . We find that substantial compliance will not suffice in a matter
involving strict observance of the rules. The attestation contained in the
certification on non-forum shopping requires personal knowledge by the
party who executed the same. Petitioners must show reasonable cause for
failure to personally sign the certification. Utter disregard of the rules
cannot justly be rationalized by harking on the policy of liberal construction
(Italics supplied).
Copyright 1994-2012 CD Technologies Asia, Inc. Jurisprudence 1901 to 2011 8
In their Ex Parte Motion to Litigate as Pauper Litigants, petitioners made a
request for a fifteen (15)-day extension, i.e., from 24 April 2002 to 8 May 2002,
within which to file their petition for review in view of the absence of a counsel to
represent them. 16(16) The records also reveal that it was only on 10 July 2002 that
Atty. Arnold Cacho, through the UST Legal Aid Clinic, made his formal entry of
appearance as counsel for herein petitioners. Clearly, at the time the instant
petition was filed on 7 May 2002 petitioners were not yet represented by counsel.
Surely, petitioners who are non-lawyers could not be faulted for the procedural
lapse since they could not be expected to be conversant with the nuances of the
law, much less knowledgeable with the esoteric technicalities of procedure. For
this reason alone, the procedural infirmity in the filing of the present petition may
be overlooked and should not be taken against petitioners.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of
Appeals is REVERSED and SET ASIDE and the decision of the NLRC dated 30
March 2001 which affirmed in toto the decision of the Labor Arbiter dated 29 May
1998 ordering respondent Coca-Cola Bottlers Phils., Inc., to reinstate Prudencio
Bantolino, Nilo Espina, Eddie Ladica, Arman Queling, Rolando Nieto, Ricardo
Bartolome, Eluver Garcia, Eduardo Garcia and Nelson Manalastas to their former
positions as regular employees, and to pay them their full back wages, with the
exception of Prudencio Bantolino whose back wages are yet to be computed upon
proof of his dismissal, is REINSTATED, with the MODIFICATION that herein
petition is DENIED insofar as it concerns Nestor Romero who entered into a valid
and binding Compromise Agreement and Release, Waiver and Quitclaim with
respondent company. ECTIcS
SO ORDERED.

2. State Prosecutor’s Vs. Muro

236 SCRA 505

FACTS:

The state prosecutors who are members of the DOJ Panel of Prosecution filed a complaint against
respondent Judge Muro on the ground of ignorance of the law, grave misconduct and violation of
the provisions in the Code of Judicial Conduct. The case at bar involves the prosecution of the 11
charges against Imelda Marcos in violation of the Central Bank Foreign Exchange Restriction in
the Central BankCircular 960. The respondent judge dismissed all 11 cases solely on the basis of
the report published from the 2 newspapers, which the judge believes to be reputable and of
national circulation, that the Pres. of the Philippines lifted all foreign exchange restrictions. The
respondent’s decision was founded on his belief that the reported announcement of the Executive
Department in the newspaper in effect repealed the CB 960 and thereby divested the court of its
jurisdiction to further hear the pending case thus motu propio dismissed the case. He further
contends that the announcement of the President as published in the newspaper has made such
fact a public knowledge that is sufficient for the judge to take judicial notice which is
discretionary on his part.
The complainants contend that the respondent judge erred in taking judicial notice on matters he
purported to be a public knowledge based merely on the account of the newspaper publication
that the Pres. has lifted the foreign exchange restriction. It was also an act of inexcusable ignorant
of the law not to accord due process to the prosecutors who were already at the stage of
presenting evidence thereby depriving the government the right to be heard. The judge also
exercised grave abuse of discretion by taking judicial notice on the published statement of the
Pres. In the newspaper which is a matter that has not yet been officially in force and effect of the
law.
ISSUE:

Whether or not the respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion in taking judicial notice
on the statement of the president lifting the foreign exchange restriction published in the
newspaper as basis for dismissing the case?

HELD:

The Supreme Court held the respondent judge guilty for gross ignorance of the law. It cannot
comprehend his assertion that there is no need to wait for the publication of the circular no. 1353
which is the basis of the President’s announcement in the newspaper, believing that the public
announcement is absolute and without qualification and is immediately effective and such matter
becomes a public knowledge which he can take a judicial notice upon in his discretion. It is a
mandatory requirement that a new law should be published for 15 days in a newspaper of general
circulation before its effectivity. When the President’s statement was published in the newspaper,
the respondent admitted of not having seen the official text of CB circular 1353 thus it was
premature for him to take judicial notice on this matter which is merely based on his personal
knowledge and is not based on the public knowledge that the law requires for the court to take
judicial notice of.

For the court to take judicial notice, three material requisites should be present:
(1) the matter must be one of common and general knowledge;
(2) it must be well and authoritatively settled and not doubtful or uncertain;
(3) it must be known to be within the limits of the jurisdiction of the court.

The fact that should be assumed as judicially known must be on such notoriety that such fact
cannot be disputed. Judicial notice is not judicial knowledge where the personal knowledge of the
judge does not amount to the judicial notice of the court. The common knowledge contemplated
by the law where the court can take judicial notice must come from the knowledge of men
generally in the course of ordinary experiences that are accepted as true and one that involves
unquestioned demonstration. The court ruled that the information he obtained from the newspaper
is one of hearsay evidence. The judge erred in taking cognizant of a law that was not yet in force
and ordered the dismissal of the case without giving the prosecution the right to be heard and of
due process. The court ordered for the dismissal of the judge from service for gross ignorance of
the law and grave abuse of discretion for dismissing the case motu proprio and for erring in
exercising his discretion to take judicial notice on matters that are hearsay and groundless with a
reminder the power to take judicial notice is to be exercised by the courts with caution at all
times.

3. Zalamea vs. Court of Appeals 288 SCRA 23 (1993)

FACTS:
Spouses Cesar and Suthira Zalamea, and their daughter, Liana Zalamea, purchased three (3)
airline tickets from the Manila agent of respondent TransWorld Airlines, Inc. (TWA) for a flight
from New York to Los Angeles on June 6, 1984. The tickets of the spouses were
purchased at a discount of 75% while that of their daughter was a full fare ticket. All three tickets
represented confirmed reservations.
While in New York, on June 4, 1984, the spouses Zalamea and their daughter received a notice of
reconfirmation of their reservations for said flight. On the appointed date, however, the spouses
Zalamea and their daughter checked in at 10:00 am, an hour earlier than the scheduled flight at
11:00 am but were placed on the wait-list because the number of passengers who checked in
before tem had already taken all the seats available on the flight.

Out of the 42 names on the wait-list, the first 22 names were eventually allowed to board the
flight to Los Angeles, including Cesar Zalamea. The two others, on the other hand, being ranked
lower than 22, were not able to fly. As it were, those holding full-fare ticket were given first
priority among the wait-listed passengers. Mr. Zalamea, who was holding the full-fare ticket of
his daughter, was allowed to board the plane; while his wife and daughter, who presented the
discounted tickets were denied boarding. Even in the next TWA flight to Los Angeles, Mrs.
Zalamea and her daughter, could not be accommodated because it was full booked. Thus, they
were constrained to book in another flight and purchased two tickets from American Airlines.

Upon their arrival in the Philippines, the spouses Zalamea filed an action for damages based on
breach of contract of air carriage before the RTC of Makati which rendered a decision in their
favor ordering the TWA to pay the price of the tickets bought from American Airlines together
with moral damages and attorney’s fees. On appeal, the CA held that moral damages are
recoverable in a damage suit predicated upon a breach of contract of carriage only where there is
fraud or bad faith. It further stated that since it is a matter of record that overbooking of flights is
a common and accepted practice of airlines in the United States and is specifically allowed under
the Code of Federal Regulations by the Civil Aeronautics Board, neither fraud nor bad faith could
be imputed on TWA.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the CA erred in accepting the finding that overbooking is specifically allowed by
the US Code of Federal Regulations and in holding that there was no fraud or bad faith on the
part of TWA ?

HELD:
The CA was in error. There was fraud or bad faith on the part of TWA when it did not allow Mrs.
Zalamea and her daughter to board their flight for Los Angeles in spite of confirmed tickets. The
US law or regulation allegedly authorizing overbooking has never been proved.

1.) Foreign laws do not prove themselves nor can the court take judicial notice of them. Like any
other fact, they must be alleged and proved. Written law may be evidenced by an official
publication thereof or by a copy attested by the officers having legal custody of the record, or by
his deputy and accompanied with a certificate that such officer has custody. The certificate may
be made by a secretary of an embassy or legation, consul-general, consul, vice-consul, or consular
agent or by any officer in the foreign service of the Phil. stationed in the foreign country in which
the record is kept and authenticated by the seal of his office. Here, TWA relied solely on the
testimony of its customer service agent in her deposition that the Code of Federal Regulations of
the Civil Aeronautic Board allows overbooking. Aside from said statement, no official publication
of said code was presented as evidence. Thus, the CA’s finding that overbooking is specifically
allowed by the US Code of Federal Regulations has no basis in fact.

"That there was fraud or bad faith on the part of respondent airline when it did not allow
petitioners to board their flight for Los Angeles in spite of confirmed tickets cannot be disputed.
The U.S. law or regulation allegedly authorizing overbooking has never been proved. Foreign
laws do not prove themselves nor can the courts take judicial notice of them. Like any other fact,
they must be alleged and proved. Written law may be evidenced by an official publication thereof
or by a copy attested by the officer having the legal custody of the record, or by his deputy, and
accompanied with a certificate that such officer has custody. The certificate may be made by a
secretary of an embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice-consul, or consular agent or by
any officer in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign country in which the
record is kept, and authenticated by the seal of his office.
Respondent TWA relied solely on the statement of Ms. Gwendolyn Lather, its customer service
agent, in her deposition dated January 27, 1986 that the Code of Federal Regulations of the Civil
Aeronautics Board allows overbooking. Aside from said statement, no official publication of said
code was presented as evidence. Thus, respondent court's finding that overbooking is specifically
allowed by the US Code of Federal Regulations has no basis in fact."

"Even if the claimed U.S. Code of Federal Regulations does exist, the same is not applicable to
the case at bar in accordance with the principle of lex loci contractus which require that the law of
the place where the airline ticket was issued should be applied by the court where the passengers
are residents and nationals of the forum and the ticket is issued in such State by the defendant
airline. Since the tickets were sold and issued in the Philippines, the applicable law in this case
would be Philippine law."

Other Issues:

2.) Even if the claimed US Code of Federal Regulations does exist, the same is not applicable to
the case at bar in accordance with the principle of lex loci contractus which requires that the law
of the place where the airline ticket was issued should be applied by the court where the
passengers are residents and nationals of the forum and the ticket is issued in such State by the
airline.

3.) Existing jurisprudence explicitly states that overbooking amounts to bad faith, entitling the
passengers concerned to an award of moral damages. Where an airline had deliberately
overbooked, it took the risk of having to deprive some passengers of their seats in case all of them
would show up for check in. for the indignity and inconvenience of being refused a confirmed
seat on the last minute, said passenger is entitled to an award of moral damages. This is so, for a
contract of carriage generates a relation attended with public duty --- a duty to provide public
service and convenience to its passengers which must be paramount to self-interest or
enrichment. Even on the assumption that overbooking is allowed, TWA is still guilty of bad faith
in not informing its passengers beforehand that it could breach the contract of carriage even if
they have confirmed tickets if there was overbooking. Moreover, TWA was also guilty of not
informing its passengers of its alleged policy of giving less priority to discounted tickets.
Evidently, TWA placed self-interest over the rights of the spouses Zalamea and their daughter
under their contract of carriage. Such conscious disregard make respondent TWA liable for moral
damages, and to deter breach of contracts by TWA in similar fashion in the future, the SC
adjudged TWA liable for exemplary damages, as well.

3. KAREN KRISTY FISHING INDUSTRY VS CA

4. Tabuena v. CA

The estate of Alfredo Tabernilla filed an action for recovery of a parcel of land in Aklan against
Jose Tabuena. Alfredo Tabernilla purchased the subject lot from Juan Peralta, Jr. while the two
were in the United States. When Tabernilla returned to the Philippines, per Juan’s instruction, the
latter’s mother, Damasa Timtiman, conveyed the land to Tabernilla with the request that she be
allowed to stay there. Tabernilla agreed with the request for as long as Damasa pays the real
estate taxes. When Damasa died, Jose who was her son and half-brother to Juan took possession
of it. The trial court ruled in favor of Alfredo and rejecting Jose’s contention that he was the
absolute owner of the land. Jose appealed to the CA alleging that in arriving at its factual
findings, the trial court motu proprio took cognizance of Exhibits "A", "B" and "C", which had
been marked by Alfredo but never formally submitted in evidence. The exhibits contained the
following: Exh. "A", letter dated October 4, 1921 addressed in Makato, Capis, Philippines; Exh.
"A-1", paragraph 2 of the letter indicating that the amount of P600.00 — the first P300.00 and
then another P300.00 as interest since October 4, 1921; Exh. "A-2", is paragraph 3 of the letter;
Exh. "B", a Spanish document; Exh. "C", deed of conveyance filed by Tomasa Timtiman and
Alfredo Tabernilla in 1923; and Exh. "C-1", paragraph 4 of Exh. "C". The CA held that, contrary
to the allegations of Jose, the said exhibits were in fact formally submitted in evidence as
disclosed by the transcript of stenographic notes. In reversing the CA decision, the Supreme
Court held that the exhibits submitted were not the above-described documents but Exhibits "X"
and "Y" and their sub-markings, which were the last will and testament of Alfredo Tabernilla and
the order of probate. It is not at all denied that the list of exhibits does not include Exhibits "A",
"B" and "C". In fact, the trial court categorically declared that "Exhibits 'A,' 'A-1,' 'A-2,' 'B,' 'C,'
and 'C-1,' were not among those documents or exhibits formally offered for admission by the
estate of Alfredo." This is a clear contradiction of the finding of the appellate court which seems
to have confused Exhibits "A," "B" and "C" with Exhibits "X" and "Y", the evidence mentioned
in the quoted transcript.

Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provides in Section 35 thereof as follows:

Sec. 35. Offer of evidence. — The court shall consider no evidence which has not been
formally offered. The purpose for which the evidence is offered must be specified.

The mere fact that a particular document is marked as an exhibit does not mean it has
thereby already been offered as part of the evidence of a party. It is true that Exhibits "A,"
"B" and "C" were marked at the pre-trial of the case below, but this was only for the
purpose of identifying them at that time. They were not by such marking formally offered
as exhibits. While even if there be no formal offer of an exhibit, it may still be admitted
against the adverse party if, 1) it has been duly identified by testimony duly recorded and,
2) it has itself been incorporated in the records of the case. But the Court does not find that
these requirements have been satisfied. Although one of the estate’s witnesses did testify and
was cross-examined, all she did was identify the documents. Nowhere in her testimony did the
Court find a recital of the contents of the exhibits

5. EDUARDO BUGHAW V TREASURE ISLAND INDUSTRIAL

FACTS:

-Eduardo Bughaw (Bughaw) was employed as production worker by Treasure Island Industrial
(TII), respondent.

-Erlito Loberanes (Loberanes), an employee of TII was caught in flagrante delicto by the police
officers while in possession of shabu.
-In the course of police investigation, Loberanes admitted the commission of the crime and
implicated petitioner, Bughaw, by stating that part of the money used for buying the illegal drugs
was given by Bughaw, and the illegal drugs purchased were for their consumption for the rest of
the month.

-TII sent a memo to Bughaw. The memo contains the ff: (1) notice of the 30-day preventive
suspension (2) An instruction requiring him to explain within 120 hours why no disciplinary
action should be imposed against him for his alleged involvement in illegal drug activities. (3) An
instruction requiring him to appear at the office of respondent's legal counsel for the hearing on
the matter.

-Bughaw failed to appear before the TII's legal counsel on the scheduled hearing date.

-TII sent a second letter to petitioner directing him to attend another administrative hearing but
petitioner once again failed to show up.
-In a third letter addressed to Bughaw, TII terminated the latter's employment for using illegal
drugs within company premises during working hours, and for refusal to attend the administrative
hearing and submit written explanation on the charges hurled against him.

-Thereafter, Bughaw filed a complaint for illegal dismissal against TII and its President,
Emmanuel Ong, before the Labor Arbiter. He argues that:

-He had been working for the respondent for 15 years and he was very conscientious with
his job.

-He was suspended for 30 days on the unfounded allegation of his co-worker that he used
illegal drugs within company premises.

-When he reported back to work after the expiration of his suspension, he was no longer
allowed by respondent to enter the work premises and was told not to report back to
work.

-LA: Rendered a Decision in favor of Bughaw based on the ff:

(1) TII failed to present substantial evidence to establish the charge leveled against the
Bughaw. Apart from Loberanes's statements on petitioner's alleged illegal drug use, no
other corroborating proof was offered by respondent to justify petitioner's dismissal.

(2)TII failed to comply with due process when it immediately suspended petitioner and
eventually dismissed him from employment. Bughaw’s immediate suspension was not
justified since no evidence was submitted by the TII to establish that Bughaw’s continued
employment pending investigation poses a serious and imminent threat to respondent's
life or property or to the life or property of petitioner's co-workers.

(3)The notices of hearing sent by TII to Bughaw were not duly received by the latter.

-NLRC: Affirmed the Labor Arbiter's Decision.

-CA: Reversed the Decisions of the Labor Arbiter and NLRC on the grounds of patent
misappreciation of evidence and misapplication of law. CA found that Bughaw was afforded the
opportunity to explain and defend himself from the accusations against him when TTI gave him
notices of hearing. The essence of due process in administrative proceedings is simply an
opportunity to explain one's side or to seek reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of.
Due process is not violated where one is given the opportunity to be heard but he chooses not to
explain his side

ISSUE:

WON Bughaw was illegally dimissed.

HELD:

No, but Bughaw is entitled to nominal damages.

RATIONALE:

- ART 282 provides:

An employer may terminate an employment for any of the following causes:

(a) Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders
of his employer or representative in connection with his work;

(b) Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties;

(c) Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer
or his duly authorized representative;

(d) Commission of a crime or offense by the employee against the person of his employer
or any immediate member of his family or his duly authorized representative; and

(e) Other causes analogous to the foregoing.

-The charge of drug abuse inside the company's premises and during working hours against
Bughaw constitutes serious misconduct, which is one of the just causes for termination.
Misconduct is improper or wrong conduct. It is the transgression of some established and definite
rule of action, a forbidden act, a dereliction of duty, wilful in character, and implies wrongful
intent and not merely an error in judgment. The misconduct to be serious within the meaning
of the Act must be of such a grave and aggravated character and not merely trivial or unimportant.
Such misconduct, however serious, must nevertheless, in connection with the work of the
employee, constitute just cause for his separation. This Court took judicial notice of scientific
findings that drug abuse can damage the mental faculties of the user. It is beyond question
therefore that any employee under the influence of drugs cannot possibly continue doing his
duties without posing a serious threat to the lives and property of his co-workers and even
his employer.

- In administrative proceedings, technical rules of procedure and evidence are not strictly applied
and administrative due process cannot be fully equated with due process in its strict judicial
sense. Hence, the statement of Loberanes that Bughaw was a shabu user is substantial
evidence which the latter failed to refute. Records show that the first and second letters
addressed to Bughaw were duly received by him.

- However, not only must the dismissal be for a just or authorized cause, the rudimentary
requirements of due process - notice and hearing - must, likewise, be observed before an
employee may be dismissed. There must also be observance of the requirements of due process,
otherwise known as the two-notice rule.

-The first notice, which may be considered as the proper charge, serves to apprise the employee
of the particular acts or omissions for which his dismissal is sought. The second notice on the
other hand seeks to inform the employee of the employer's decision to dismiss him. This decision,
however, must come only after the employee is given a reasonable period from receipt of the first
notice within which to answer the charge and ample opportunity to be heard and defend himself
with the assistance of a representative if he so desires. This is in consonance with the express
provision of the law on the protection to labor and the broader dictates of procedural due process.
Non-compliance therewith is fatal because these requirements are conditions sine qua non before
dismissal may be validly effected.

-There is no dispute that TII fully complied with the first-notice requirement apprising Bughaw of
the cause of his impending termination and giving him the opportunity to explain his side,
however, we find that it failed to satisfy the need for a second notice informing petitioner that he
was being dismissed from employment.

- The law mandates that it is incumbent upon the employer to prove the validity of the
termination of employment. The burden therefore is on TII to present clear and unmistakable
proof that Bughaw was duly served a copy of the notice of termination but he refused receipt.
There is nothing on record that would indicate that respondent even attempted to serve or tender
the notice of termination to Bughaw.

-The violation of the petitioners' right to statutory due process by the private respondent warrants
the payment of indemnity in the form of nominal damages. (cited Agabon v. NLRC) The amount
of such damages is addressed to the sound discretion of the court, taking into account the relevant
circumstances. Tthis form of damages would serve to deter employers from future violations of
the statutory due process rights of employees. At the very least, it provides a vindication or
recognition of this fundamental right granted to the latter under the Labor Code and its
Implementing Rules.

-
Conformably, the award of backwages by the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC should be deleted
and, instead, Bughaw should be indemnified in the amount of P30,000.00 as nominal damages.

6. Northwest Orient Airlines v. CA 241 SCRA 192 [1995]


FACTS
[In 1974, an International Passenger Sales Agency Agreement was entered into by plaintiff
Northwest Orient Airlines (Northwest) and defendant C.F. Sharp & Co. (Sharp), through its Japan
branch, whereby Northwest authorized Sharp to sell the former's airlines tickets.
Sharp failed to remit the proceeds of the ticket sales it made on behalf of Northwest under the
agreement which led the latter to sue in Tokyo for collection of the unremitted amount, with claim
for damages.

The Tokyo District Court of Japan issued a writ of summons against Sharp at its office in
Yokohama, Japan but the bailiff failed twice to serve the writs. Finally, the Tokyo District Court
decided to have the writs of summons served at Sharp's head office in Manila. Sharp accepted the
writs but despite such receipt, it failed to appear at the hearings. The District Court proceeded to
hear the complaint and rendered judgment ordering Sharp to pay Northwest the sum of
83,158,195 Yen plus damages. Sharp failed to appeal and the judgment became final and
executory.

Northwest failed to execute the decision in Japan, hence, it filed a suit for enforcement of the
judgment before the Regional Trial Court of Manila. Sharp filed its answer averring that the
judgment of the Japanese court is null and void and unenforceable in this jurisdiction having been
rendered without due and proper notice to Sharp.

The case for enforcement of judgment was tried on the merits. Sharp filed a Motion for Judgment
on a Demurrer to Evidence. The trial court granted the demurrer motion, holding that the foreign
judgment in the Japanese court sought to be enforced is null and void for want of jurisdiction over
the person of the defendant. Northwest appealed but the Court of Appeals sustained the trial
court, holding that the process of the court has no extraterritorial effect and no jurisdiction was
acquired over the person of the defendant by serving him beyond the boundaries of the state.
Hence, this appeal by Northwest.]

RULING
"A foreign judgment is presumed to be valid and binding in the country from which it comes,
until the contrary is shown. It is also proper to presume the regularity of the proceedings and the
giving of due notice therein.

Under Section 50, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, a judgment in an action in personam of a
tribunal of a foreign country having jurisdiction to pronounce the same is presumptive evidence
of a right as between the parties and their successors-in-interest by a subsequent title. The
judgment may, however, be assailed by evidence of want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the
party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. Also, under Section 3 of Rule 131, a court,
whether of the Philippines or elsewhere, enjoys the presumption that it was acting in the lawful
exercise of jurisdiction and has regularly performed its official duty.

Consequently, the party attacking a foreign judgment has the burden of overcoming the
presumption of its validity. Being the party challenging the judgment rendered by the Japanese
court, SHARP had the duty to demonstrate the invalidity of such judgment. In an attempt to
discharge that burden, it contends that the extraterritorial service of summons effected as its home
office in the Philippines was not only ineffectual but also void, and the Japanese Court did not,
therefore, acquire jurisdiction over it.
It is settled that matters of remedy and procedure such as those relating to the service of process
upon a defendant are governed by the lex fori or the internal law of the forum. In this case, it is
the procedural law of Japan where the judgment was rendered that determines the validity of the
extraterritorial service'of process on SHARP. As to what this law is is a question of fact, not of
law. It may not be taken judicial notice of and must be pleaded and proved like any other fact.
Sections 24 and 25, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provide that it may be evidenced by an
official publication or by a duly attested or authenticated copy thereof. It was then incumbent
upon SHARP to present evidence as to what that Japanese procedural law is and to show taat
under it, the assailed extraterritorial service is invalid. It did not. Accordingly, the presumption of
validity and regularity of the service of summons and the decision thereafter rendered by the
Japanese court must stand.

Alternatively, in the light of the absence of proof regarding Japanese law, the presumption of
identity or similarity or the so-called processual presumpcion may be invoked. Applying it, the
Japanese law on the matter is presumed to be similar with the Philippine law on service of
summons on a private foreign corporation doing business ir, the Philippines. Section 14 of the
Rules of Court provides that if the defendant is a foreign corporation doing business in the
Philippines, service may be made: 1) on its resident agent designated in accordance with law for
that purpose, or 2) if there is no such resident agent, on the government official designated by law
to that effect, or 3) on any of its officers or agents within the Philippines.

If the foreign corporation has designated an agent to receive summons, the designation is
exclusive, and service of summons is without force and gives the court no jurisdiction unless
made upon him.

Where the corporation has no such great agent, service shall be made on the government official
designated by law, to wit: (a) the Insurance Commissioner, in the case of a foreign insurance
company; (b) the Superintendent of Banks, in the case of a foreign banking corporation; and (c)
the Securities and Exchange Commission, in the case of other foreign corporations duly licensed
to do business in the Philippines. Whenever service of process is so made, the government office
or official served shall transmit by mail a copy of the summons or other legal process to the
corporation at its home or principal office. The sending of such copy is a necessary part of the
service.

Nowhere in its pleadings did SHARP profess to having had a resident agent authorized to receive
court processes in Japan. This silence could only mean, or at least create an impression, that it had
none. Hence, service on the designated government official or any of its officers or agents in
Japan could be availed of.

As found by the Court of Appeals, it was the Tokyo District Court which ordered that summons
for SHARP be served at its head office in the Philippines after the two attempts of service had
failed. The Tokyo District Court requested the Supreme Court of Japan to cause the delivery of
the summons and other legal documents to the Philippines. Acting on that request, the Supreme
Court of Japan sent the summons together with the other legal documents to the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs of Japan, which in turn, forwarded the same to the Japanese Embassy in Manila.
Thereafter, the court processes were delivered to the Ministry (now Department) of Foreign
Affairs of the Philippines then to the Executive Judge of the Court of First Instance (now
Regional Trial Court) of Manila, who forthwith ordered Deputy Sheriff Rolando Balingit to serve
the same on SHARP at its principal office in Manila. This service is equivalent to service on the
proper government official under Section 14, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court, in relation to Section
128 of the Corporation Code. Hence, SHARP's contention that such manner of service is not valid
under Philippine law holds no water.

Inasmuch as SHARP was admittedly doing business in Japan through its four registered branches
at the time the collection suit against it was filed, then in the light of the processual presumption,
SHARP may be deemed a resident of JAPAN, and, as such, was amenable to the jurisdiction of
the courts therein and may be deemed to have assented to the said courts' lawful methods of
serving process.
Accordingly, the extraterritorial service of summons on it by the Japanese Court was valid not
only under the processual presumption but also because of the presumption of regularity of
performance of official duty.

7. G.R. No. 110844 April 27, 2000

ALFREDO CHING vs. CA


FACTS:
In the Municipality of Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines, Chingexecuted a trust receipt
agreement in favor of Allied Banking Corporation which became due. Under the terms of which
the petitioner agreed to sell the same for cash with the express obligation to remit to the bank the
proceeds of the sale and/or to turn over the goods, if not sold, on demand. But Ching, once in
possession of said goods, far from complying with his obligation and with grave abuse of
confidence, did then and there, willfully, unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate, misapply
and convert to his own personal use and benefit the said goods and/or the proceeds of the sale
thereof, and despite repeated demands, failed and refused and still fails and refuses, to account for
and/or remit the proceeds of sale thereof to the Allied Banking Corporation to the damage and
prejudice of the said complainant bank.
Petitioner was charged before the Regional Trial Court of Makati with four counts of
estafa punishable under Article 315 par. 1(b) of the Revised Penal Code, in relation to Presidential
Decree 115, otherwise known as the "Trust Receipts Law.”
An "Omnibus Motion to Strike Out Information, or in the Alternative to Require Public
Prosecutor to Conduct Preliminary Investigation, and to Suspend in the Meantime Further
Proceedings in these Cases," was filed by the petitioner.
Later, petitioner Ching, together with Philippine Blooming Mills Co. Inc., filed a case
before the Regional Trial Court of Manila (RTC-Manila), Branch 53, for declaration of nullity of
documents and for damages.
The RTC-Makati issued an order which denied the petition for suspension and scheduled
the arraignment and pre-trial of the criminal cases. As a result, petitioner moved to reconsider the
order but the same was denied. Subsequent appeal was made to the CA but was again denied.
Notwithstanding the decision rendered by the Court of Appeals, the RTC-Manila (civil
case), in an order dated 19 November 1993 in Civil Case No. 92-60600, admitted petitioner's
amended complaint.
ISSUE:
When will allegations in a complaint cease to be judicial admission?
RULING:
Under the Rules, pleadings superseded or amended disappear from the record, lose their
status as pleadings and cease to be judicial admissions. While they may nonetheless be utilized
against the pleader as extrajudicial admissions, they must, in order to have such effect, be
formally offered in evidence. If not offered in evidence, the admission contained therein will not
be considered.
Consequently, the original complaint, having been amended, lost its character as a
judicial admission, which would have required no proof, and became merely an extrajudicial
admission, the admissibility of which, as evidence, required its formal offer.
In virtue thereof, the amended complaint takes the place of the original. The latter is
regarded as abandoned and ceases to perform any further function as a pleading. The original
complaint no longer forms part of the record.

8. PEOPLE VS AGRAVANTE

9. OFELIA HERRERA-FELIX vs. CA [G.R. No. 143736. August 11, 2004.] A voluntary
appearance is a waiver of the necessity of a formal notice. An appearance in whatever form,
without explicitly objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over the person, is a submission to the
jurisdiction of the court over the person. While the formal method of entering an appearance in a
cause pending in the courts is to deliver to the clerk a written direction ordering him to enter the
appearance of the person who subscribes it, an appearance may be made by simply filing a formal
motion, or plea or answer. This formal method of appearance is not necessary. He may appear
without such formal appearance and thus submit himself to the jurisdiction of the court. He may
appear by presenting a motion, for example, and unless by such appearance he specifically
objects to the jurisdiction of the court, he thereby gives his assent to the jurisdiction of the court
over his person. When the appearance is by motion objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over
his person, it must be for the sole and separate purpose of objecting to the jurisdiction of the
court. If his motion is for any other purpose than to object to the jurisdiction of the court over his
person, he thereby submits himself to the jurisdiction of the court.

HERRERA-FELIX v. CA
April 11, 2004 | Callejo, Sr., J. | Petition for Review on Certiorari | Judicial Admissions

PETITIONER: OFELIA HERRERA-FELIX represented by Jovita


Herrera-Sea
RESPONDENT: Court of Appeals and St. Joseph Resources
Development, Inc.

SUMMARY: Petitioner was adjudged liable for its unpaid obligation to


respondent. Petitioner contends that the judgment of the lower court is
void because of the defective service of summons since the writ was not
served personally but was served to her sister. The CA agreed that the trial
court acquired jurisdiction. The SC dismissed the petition and held that
jurisdiction was validly acquired as admitted by petitioner herself.

DOCTRINE: The admissions made in a motion are judicial admissions


which are binding on the party who made them. Such party is precluded
from denying the same unless there is proof of palpable mistake or that no
such admission was made.

FACTS:
1. On March 11, 1993, respondent filed a complaint for sum of money against the Spouses
Restituto and Ofelia Felix with a prayer for a writ of preliminary attachment. It was
alleged therein that the Felix Spouses purchased tubs of assorted fish. It was also alleged
that the Felix Spouses still had an outstanding obligation after deducting their total
payment from their aggregate purchases. Respondent prayed that judgment be rendered in
their favor ordering the spouses to pay them their unpaid obligation and attorney’s fees.
2. The trial court granted the prayer for a writ of preliminary attachment on a bond of
P1.13M. The Sheriff levied and took custody of some of the personal properties of the
Felix spouses and served a copy of the writ, summons, and complaint at their residence
through the sister of Ofelia Herrera-Felix, Ma. Luisa Herrera. According to the Sheriffs
Return, Ofelia Herrera-Felix was out of the country, as per the information relayed to him
by Ma. Luisa Herrera.
3. The Felix Spouses, through Atty. Celestino C. Juan, filed a motion praying for an
extension of time to file their answer to the complaint. Said motion was granted.
However, the spouses failed to file their answer to the complaint and were declared in
default. The court rendered a decision in favor of the respondent ordering the spouses to
pay their outstanding obligation.
4. The decision of the trial court became final and executory after the Felix Spouses failed
to appeal the same. The respondent filed a motion for a writ of execution. A copy was
served on the said spouses by registered mail, but they failed to oppose the motion. The
court issued an order granting the motion and directing the issuance of a writ of
execution. The counsel for the Felix Spouses received a copy of the said order.
Thereafter, several personal properties of the latter were levied upon and sold by the
sheriff at public auction for P83k to the respondent as the winning bidder.
5. Petitioner filed a petition with the CA under Rule 47 for the nullification of the trial
court’s judgment by default, the writ issued by the court, and the sale of her properties at
public auction. The petitioner alleged, inter alia, that the complaint and summons were
handed over to her sister, Ma. Luisa Herrera, who was merely a visitor in her house and,
as such, was not a valid substituted service under Rule 14, Section 7. She also alleged
that her husband Restituto Felix had died as early as April 23 as evidenced by his
Certificate of Death.
6. In its comment on the petition, respondent alleged that the substituted service of the
complaint and summons on the petitioner, who was then temporarily outside the
Philippines, through her sister Ma. Luisa Herrera, was valid and effective. The
respondent, likewise, averred that even if such substituted service on the petitioner was
defective, the defect was cured when the latter, through her counsel, Atty. Celestino C.
Juan, appeared in court and moved for an extension of time to file her responsive
pleading. The respondent also maintained that the petitioner and her counsel were served
with copies of the decision of the court a quo, but that the petitioner failed to appeal the
decision.
7. The CA rendered a decision finding that the trial court validly acquired jurisdiction over
the action and dismissed the petition absent any ground warranting the annulment of its
judgment.
8. Petitioner maintains that the latter was a mere visitor in her house, not a resident therein;
hence, the decision of the trial court is null and void. She further alleges that even
assuming the validity of the trial courts decision, such decision never became final and
executory since she was not served a copy of the same. As such, the writ of execution
issued by the trial court, the sale of her personal properties at public auction, as well as
the issuance of the Certificate of Sale, are null and void.

ISSUES:

WoN the decision of the trial court is void —NO


WoN petitioner was deprived of due process – NO

RULING: Petition DENIED.

RATIO:
1. The court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the defendant by service of the complaint
and summons on him, either by personal service or by substituted service or by extra-
territorial service thereof or by his voluntary personal appearance before the court or through
counsel. In this case, the petitioner appeared before the court, through counsel, and filed a
motion for extension of time to file her answer to the complaint which the trial court granted.
She even admitted in the said motion that she was served with a copy of the complaint as well
as the summons. By filing the said motion, through counsel, the petitioner thereby submitted
herself to the jurisdiction of the trial court.
2. Equally barren of factual basis is the claim of the petitioner that she was not served with a
copy of the decision of the trial court. The records show that aside from the copy of the
decision sent to her by the Branch Clerk of Court by registered mail, another copy of the
decision was served on her through her counsel, Atty. Celestino C. Juan, who received the
same. The service of the decision on the petitioner, through counsel, is binding on her,
conformably to Rule 13, Section 2.
3. The essence of due process is a reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit evidence in
support of ones defense. What the law proscribes, therefore, is the lack of opportunity to be
heard. A party who opts not to avail of the opportunity to answer cannot complain of
procedural due process. There can be no denial of due process where a party had the
opportunity to participate in the proceedings but failed to do so through his own fault.

10. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. RONNIE RULLEPA

G.R. No. 131516, March 5, 2003.

Facts:

On complaint of Cyra May Francisco Buenafe, accused-appellant Ronnie Rullepa y Guinto


was charged with Rape before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City.

From the testimonies of its witnesses, namely Cyra May, her mother Gloria Francisco
Buenafe, Dr. Cristina V. Preyra, and SPO4 Catherine Borda, the prosecution established the
following facts:
On November 20, 1995, as Gloria was about to set the table for dinner at her house in Quezon
City, Cyra May, then only three and a half years old, told her, “Mama, si Kuya Ronnie lagay niya
titi niya at sinaksak sa puwit at sa bibig ko.”

“Kuya Ronnie” is accused-appellant Ronnie Rullepa, the Buenafes’ house boy, who was
sometimes left with Cyra May at home.

Gloria asked Cyra May how many times accused-appellant did those things to her, to which
she answered many times. Pursuing, Gloria asked Cyra May what else he did to her, and Cyra
May indicated the room where accused-appellant slept and pointed at his pillow.

As on the night of November 20, 1995 accused-appellant was out with Gloria’s husband Col.
Buenafe, she waited until their arrival at past 11:00 p.m. Gloria then sent accused-appellant out
on an errand and informed her husband about their daughter’s plaint. Buenafe thereupon talked to
Cyra May who repeated what she had earlier told her mother Gloria.

When accused-appellant returned, Buenafe and Gloria verified from him whether what Cyra
May had told them was true. Ronnie readily admitted doing those things but only once, at 4:00
p.m. of November 17, 1995 or three days earlier. Unable to contain her anger, Gloria slapped
accused-appellant several times.

Since it was already midnight, the spouses waited until the following morning to bring
accused-appellant to Camp Karingal where he admitted the imputations against him, on account
of which he was detained. Gloria’s sworn statement was then taken.

Recalling what accused-appellant did to her, Cyra May declared at the witness stand:
“Sinaksak nya ang titi sa pepe ko, sa puwit ko, at sa bunganga” thus causing her pain and
drawing her to cry. She added that accused-appellant did these to her twice in his bedroom.

Dr. Ma. Cristina V. Preyra, the Medico-Legal Officer and Chief of the Biological Science
Branch of the. Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory who examined Crya May, came up
with her report dated November 21, 1995.

In her explanation, the abrasions, on the labia minora could have been caused by friction with
an object, perhaps an erect penis. She doubted if riding on a bicycle had caused the injuries.
The defense’s sole witness was accused-appellant, he denied having anything to do with the
abrasions found in Cyra May’s genitalia, and claimed that prior to the alleged incident, he used to
be ordered to buy medicine for Cyra May who had difficulty urinating. He further alleged that
after he refused to answer Gloria’s queries if her husband Buenafe, whom he usually
accompanied whenever he went out of the house, was womanizing, Gloria would always find
fault in him. He suggested that Gloria was behind the filing of the complaint. Finding for the
prosecution, Branch 96 of the Quezon City RTC rendered judgment finding accused RONNIE
RULLEPA y GUINTO guilty beyond reasonable doubt of rape, and he is accordingly sentenced
to death.

The accused is ordered to pay CYRA MAE BUENAFE the amount of P40,000.00 as civil
indemnity.

Hence, this case was elevated for automatic review.

Issue:

Whether or not appearance of the victim is admissible as object evidence in the absence
of any proof?

Ruling:

Yes. Because of the seemingly conflicting decisions regarding the sufficiency of evidence
of the victim’s age in rape cases, this Court, in the recently decided case of People v.
Pruna, established a set of guidelines in appreciating age as an element of the crime or as a
qualifying circumstance, to wit: 1. The best evidence to prove the age of the offended party is an
original or certified true copy of the certificate of live birth of such party. 2. In the absence of a
certificate of live birth, similar authentic documents such as baptismal certificate and school
records which show the date of birth of the victim would suffice to prove age. 3. If the certificate
of live birth or authentic document is shown to have been lost or destroyed or otherwise
unavailable, the testimony, if clear and credible, of the victim’s mother or a member of the family
either by affinity or consanguinity who is qualified to testify on matters respecting pedigree such
as the exact age or date of birth of the offended party pursuant to Section 40, Rule 130 of the
Rules on Evidence shall be sufficient under the following circumstances: a. If the victim is
alleged to be below 3 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that she is less than 7 years
old; b. If the victim is alleged to be below 7 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that
she is less than 12 years old; c. If the victim is alleged to be below 12 years of age and what is
sought to be proved is that she is less than 18 “years old. 4. In the absence of a certificate of live
birth, authentic document, or the testimony of the victim’s mother or relatives concerning the
victim’s age, the complainant’s testimony will suffice provided that it is expressly and clearly
admitted by the accused. 5. It is the prosecution that has the burden, of proving the age of the
offended party. The failure of the accused to object to the testimonial evidence regarding age shall
not be taken against him. 6. The trial court should always make a categorical finding as to the age
of the victim.

This is not to say that the process is not sanctioned by the Rules of Court; on the contrary,
it does. A person’s appearance, where relevant, is admissible as object evidence, the same being
addressed to the senses of the court. Section 1, Rule 130 provides: SECTION 1. Object as
evidence.—Objects as evidence are those addressed to the senses of the court. When an object is
relevant to the fact in issue, it may be exhibited to, examined or viewed by the court. “To be
sure,” one author writes, “this practice of inspection by the court of objects, things or persons
relevant to the fact in dispute, has its roots in ancient judicial procedure.” The author proceeds to
quote from another authority: “Nothing is older or commoner in the administration of law in all
countries than the submission to the senses of the tribunal itself, whether judge or jury, of objects
which furnish evidence. The view of the land by the jury, in real actions, of a wound by the judge
where mayhem was alleged, and of the person of one alleged to be an infant, in order to fix his
age, the inspection and comparison of seals, the examination of writings, to determine whether
they are (‘)blemished,(‘) the implements with which a crime was committed or of a person
alleged, in a bastardy proceeding, to be the child of another, are few illustrations of what may be
found abundantly in our own legal records and textbooks for seven centuries past.”

In fine, the crime committed by accused-appellant is not merely acts of lasciviousness but
statutory rape.

The two elements of statutory rape are (1) that the accused had carnal knowledge of a woman,
and (2) that the woman is below twelve years of age. As shown in the previous discussion, the
first element, carnal knowledge, had been established beyond reasonable doubt. The same is true
with respect to the second element.

The victim’s age is relevant in rape cases since it may constitute an element of the offense.
Article 335 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended by Republic Act No. 7659, 29 provides:
Art. 335. When and how rape is committed.—Rape is committed by having carnal knowledge of a
woman under any of the following circumstances:

x x x.

3. When the woman is under twelve years of age x x x.

x x x.

The crime of rape shall be punished by reclusion perpetua.

x x x.

Furthermore, the victim’s age may constitute a qualifying circumstance, warranting the
imposition of the death sentence. The same Article states:

The death penalty shall also be imposed if the crime of rape is committed with any of the
following attendant circumstances:

1. when the victim is under eighteen (18) years of age and the offender is a parent,
ascendant, step-parent, guardian, relative by consanguinity or affinity with the third civil
degree, or the common-law spouse of the parent of the victim.
x x x.
2. when the victim is x x x a child below seven (7) years old.

x x x.

Because of the seemingly conflicting decisions regarding the sufficiency of evidence of the
victim’s age in rape cases, this Court, in the recently decided case of People v. Pruna, established
a set of guidelines in appreciating age as an element of the crime or as a qualifying circumstance,
to wit:

1. The best evidence to prove the age of the offended party is an original or certified true
copy of the certificate of live birth of such party.
2. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, similar authentic documents such as baptismal
certificate and school records which show the date of birth of the victim would suffice
to prove age.

3. If the certificate of live birth or authentic document is shown to have been lost or
destroyed or otherwise unavailable, the testimony, if clear and credible, of the victim’s
mother or a member of the family either by affinity or consanguinity who is qualified to
testify on matters respecting pedigree such as the exact age or date of birth of the
offended party pursuant to Section 40, Rule 1 30 o f the Rules on Evidence shall be
sufficient under the following circumstances:

a. If the victim is alleged to be below 3 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that
she is less than 7 years old;
b. If the victim is alleged to be below 7 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that
she is less than 12 years old;

c. If the victim is alleged to be below 12 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that
she is less than 18 “years old.

4. In the absence of a certificate of live birth, authentic document, or the testimony of the
victim’s mother or relatives concerning the victim’s age, the complainant’s testimony will
suffice provided that it is expressly and clearly admitted by the accused.
5. It is the prosecution that has the burden, of proving the age of the offended party. The
failure of the accused to object to the testimonial evidence regarding age shall not be
taken against him.
6. The trial court should always make a categorical finding as to the age of the victim.

Applying the foregoing guidelines, this Court in the Pruna case held that the therein accused-
appellant could only be sentenced to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua since:

x x x no birth certificate or any similar authentic document, such as a baptismal certificate of


LIZETTE, was presented to prove her age. x x x.

x x x.

However, the Medico-Legal Report relied upon by the trial court does not in any way prove
the age of LIZETTE, for there is nothing therein which even mentions her age. Only testimonial
evidence was presented to establish LIZETTE’s age. Her mother, Jacqueline, testified (that the
victim was three years old at the time of the commission of the crime).

xxx

Likewise, LIZETTE testified on 20 November 1996, or almost two years after the incident,
that she was 5 years old. However, when the defense counsel asked her how old she was on 3
January 1995, or at the time of the rape, she replied that she was 5 years old. Upon further
question as to the date she was born, she could not answer.

The process by which the trier of facts judges a person’s age from his or her appearance
cannot be categorized as judicial notice. Judicial notice is based upon convenience and
expediency for it would certainly be superfluous, inconvenient, and expensive both to parties and
the court to require proof, in the ordinary way, of facts which are already known to
courts. As Tundag puts it, it “is the cognizance of certain facts which judges may properly take
and act on without proof because they already know them.” Rule 129 of the Rules of Court, where
the provisions governing judicial notice are found, is entitled “What Need Not Be Proved.” When
the trier of facts observes the appearance of a person to ascertain his or her age, he is not taking
judicial notice of such fact; rather, he is conducting an examination of the evidence, the evidence
being the appearance of the person. Such a process militates against the very concept of judicial
notice, the object of which is to do away with the presentation of evidence.

This is not to say that the process is not sanctioned by the Rules of Court; on the contrary, it
does. A person’s appearance, where relevant, is admissible as object evidence, the same being
addressed to the senses of the court. Section 1, Rule 130 provides:

SECTION 1. Object as evidence.—Objects as evidence are those addressed to the senses of the
court. When an object is relevant to the fact in issue, it may be exhibited to, examined or viewed
by the court.

“To be sure,” one author writes, “this practice of inspection by the court of objects, things
or persons relevant to the fact in dispute, has its roots in ancient judicial procedure.” The author
proceeds to quote from another authority:

“Nothing is older or commoner in the administration of law in all countries than the
submission to the senses of the tribunal itself, whether judge or jury, of objects which furnish
evidence. The view of the land by the jury, in real actions, of a wound by the judge where
mayhem was alleged, and of the person of one alleged to be an infant, in order to fix his age, the
inspection and comparison of seals, the examination of writings, to determine whether they are
(‘)blemished,(‘) the implements with which a crime was committed or of a person alleged, in a
bastardy proceeding, to be the child of another, are few illustrations of what may be found
abundantly in our own legal records and textbooks for seven centuries past.” (Emphasis
supplied.)

A person’s appearance, as evidence of age (for example, of infancy, or of being under


the age of consent to intercourse), is usually regarded as relevant; and, if so, the tribunal may
properly observe the person brought before it. Experience teaches that corporal appearances are
approximately an index of the age of their bearer, particularly for the marked extremes of old age
and youth. In every case such evidence should be accepted and weighed for what it may be in
each case worth. In particular, the outward physical appearance of an alleged minor may be
considered in judging his age; a contrary rule would for such an inference be pedantically
overcautious. Consequently, the jury or the court trying an issue of fact may be allowed to judge
the age of persons in court by observation of such persons. The formal offer of the person as
evidence is not necessary. The examination and cross-examination of a party before the jury are
equivalent to exhibiting him before the jury and an offer of such person as an exhibit is properly
refused.

There can be no question, therefore, as to the admissibility of a person’s appearance in


determining his or her age. As to the weight to accord such appearance, especially in rape
cases, Pruna laid down guideline no. 3, which is again reproduced hereunder:

3. If the certificate of live birth or authentic document is shown to have been lost or destroyed or
otherwise unavailable, the testimony, if clear and credible, of the victim’s mother or a member of
the family either by affinity or consanguinity who is qualified to testify on matters respecting
pedigree such as the exact age or date of birth of the offended party pursuant to Section 40, Rule
130 of the Rules on Evidence shall be sufficient under the following circumstances:

a. If the victim is alleged to be below 3 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that
she is less than 7 years old;
b. If the victim is alleged to be below 7 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that
she is less than 12 years old;
c. If the victim is alleged to be below 12 years of age and what is sought to be proved is that
she is less than 18 years old.

Under the above guideline, the testimony of a relative with respect to the age of the victim is
sufficient to constitute proof beyond reasonable doubt in cases (a), (b) and (c) above. In such
cases, the disparity between the allegation and the proof of age is so great that the court can easily
determine from the appearance of the victim the veracity of the testimony. The appearance
corroborates the relative’s testimony.

As the alleged age approaches the age sought to be proved, the person’s appearance, as object
evidence of her age, loses probative value. Doubt as to her true age becomes greater and,
following Agadas, supra, such doubt must be resolved in favor of the accused.

This is because in the era of modernism and rapid growth, the victim’s mere physical appearance
is not enough to gauge her exact age. For the extreme penalty of death to be upheld, nothing but
proof beyond reasonable doubt of every fact necessary to constitute the crime must be
substantiated. Verily, the minority of the victim should be not only alleged but likewise proved
with equal certainty and clearness as the crime itself. Be it remembered that the proof of the
victim’s age in the present case spells the difference between life and death. 47

In the present case, the prosecution did not offer the victim’s certificate of live birth or similar
authentic documents in evidence. The victim and her mother, however, testified that she was only
three years old at the time of the rape. Cyra May’s testimony goes:

Because of the vast disparity between the alleged age (three years old) and the age sought to
be proved (below twelve years), the trial court would have had no difficulty ascertaining the
victim’s age from her appearance. No reasonable doubt, therefore, exists that the second element
of statutory rape, i.e., that the victim was below twelve years of age at the time of the commission
of the offense, is present.

Whether the victim was below seven years old, however, is another matter. Here, reasonable
doubt exists. A mature three and a half-year old can easily be mistaken for an underdeveloped
seven-year old. The appearance of the victim, as object evidence, cannot be accorded much
weight and, following Pruna, the testimony of the mother is, by itself, insufficient.

As it has not been established with moral certainty that Cyra May was below seven years old
at the time of the commission of the offense, accused-appellant cannot be sentenced to suffer the
death penalty. Only the penalty of reclusion perpetua can be imposed upon him.

WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 96, is
AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION. Accused-appellant Ronnie Rullepa y Guinto is found
GUILTY of Statutory Rape, defined and punished by Article 335 (3) of the Revised Penal Code,
as amended.

SO ORDERED.

11. PEOPLE VS sacabin

12.
CITIBANK, N.A. (Formerly FirstNational
City Bank) and INVESTORS FINANCE
CORPORATION, doing business under
the name and style of FNCB Finance,
Petitioners,

- versus-

MODESTA R. SABENIANO,
Respondent.

Facts:

 Petitioner Citibank, N.A. (formerly known as the First National City Bank) is a banking
corporation duly authorized and existing under the laws of the United States of America
and licensed to do commercial banking activities and perform trust functions in the
Philippines.

 Petitioner Investors Finance Corporation, which did business under the name and style of
FNCB Finance, was an affiliate company of petitioner Citibank.

 Respondent Modesta R. Sabeniano was a client of both petitioners Citibank and FNCB
Finance. Regrettably, the business relations among the parties subsequently went awry.

 Respondent filed a Complaint (Accounting, Sum of Money and Damages ) [5] against
petitioners. Respondent claimed to have substantial deposits and money market
placements with the petitioners, as well as money market placements with the Ayala
Investment and Development Corporation (AIDC), the proceeds of which were
supposedly deposited automatically and directly to respondents accounts with petitioner
Citibank.

 In their joint Answer, petitioners admitted that respondent had deposits and money
market placements with them, including dollar accounts in the Citibank branch in
Geneva, Switzerland (Citibank-Geneva). Petitioners further alleged that the respondent
later obtained several loans from petitioner Citibank, for which she executed Promissory
Notes (PNs), and secured by (a) a Declaration of Pledge of her dollar accounts in
Citibank-Geneva, and (b) Deeds of Assignment of her money market placements with
petitioner FNCB Finance. When respondent failed to pay her loans despite repeated
demands by petitioner Citibank, the latter exercised its right to off-set or compensate
respondents outstanding loans with her deposits and money market placements, pursuant
to the Declaration of Pledge and the Deeds of Assignment executed by respondent in its
favor. Petitioner Citibank supposedly informed respondent Sabeniano of the foregoing
compensation through letters, dated 28 September 1979 and 31 October 1979. Petitioners
were therefore surprised when six years later, in 1985, respondent and her counsel made
repeated requests for the withdrawal of respondents deposits and money market
placements with petitioner Citibank, including her dollar accounts with Citibank-Geneva
and her money market placements with petitioner FNCB Finance. Thus, petitioners
prayed for the dismissal of the Complaint and for the award of actual, moral, and
exemplary damages, and attorneys fees.

RTC:
a. illegal, null and void the setoff effected by the defendant Bank [petitioner Citibank] of
plaintiffs [respondent Sabeniano] dollar deposit with Citibank, Switzerland, in the
amount of US$149,632.99, and ordering the said defendant [petitioner Citibank] to
refund the said amount to the plaintiff;
b. Declaring the plaintiff [respondent Sabeniano] indebted to the defendant Bank
[petitioner Citibank, however, without interest and penalty charges from the time the
illegal setoff was effected on 31 October 1979;

All the parties appealed the foregoing Decision of the RTC to the Court of Appeals. CA
ruled: AFFIRMED RTC decision with MODIFICATION, as follows:
a. (same with RTC);
b. As defendant-appellant Citibank failed to establish by competent evidence the
alleged indebtedness of plaintiff-appellant, the set-off of P1,069,847.40 in the
account of Ms. Sabeniano is hereby declared as without legal and factual basis;
c. As defendants-appellants failed to account the following plaintiff-appellants
money market placements, savings account and current accounts, the former is
hereby ordered to return the same, in accordance with the terms and conditions
agreed upon by the contending parties

Apparently, the parties to the case, namely, the respondent, on one hand, and the petitioners, on
the other, made separate attempts to bring the aforementioned Decision of the Court of Appeals,
dated 26 March 2002, before this Court for review.

G.R. No. 152985 (Modesta R. Sabeniano vs. Court of Appeals, et al). judgment sought to
be reviewed has become final and executory. Respondents failed to file, within the
reglementary period, a Motion for Reconsideration or an appeal of the Resolution of the
Court of Appeals

G.R. No. 156132 (Citibank vs CA, et al): affirmed with modification- deleted subparagraph 3 of
the assailed CA decision

Issues:
1. WON the Court of Appeals erred in not considering the photocopies and microfilm copies of
the PNs, MCs, and letters submitted by the petitioners to establish the existence of respondents
loans? YES
2. WON the Court of Appeals erred in not considering the Deeds of Assignment because of
petitioners failure to produce the original copies thereof in violation of the best evidence rule?
YES
2. WON the Best Evidence rule applies in cases where a document is assailed on the basis of
forgery? YES

Ruling:

(background lng sa best evidence rule)

Best evidence rule

This Court disagrees in the pronouncement made by the Court of Appeals summarily
dismissing the documentary evidence submitted by petitioners based on its broad and
indiscriminate application of the best evidence rule.
In general, the best evidence rule requires that the highest available degree of proof must
be produced. Accordingly, for documentary evidence, the contents of a document are best proved
by the production of the document itself, [113] to the exclusion of any secondary or substitutionary
evidence.[114]

The best evidence rule has been made part of the revised Rules of Court, Rule 130,
Section 3, which reads

SEC. 3. Original document must be produced; exceptions. When the


subject of inquiry is the contents of a document, no evidence shall be admissible
other than the original document itself, except in the following cases:
(a) When the original has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced
in court, without bad faith on the part of the offeror;
(b) When the original is in the custody or under the control of the party
against whom the evidence is offered, and the latter fails to produce it after
reasonable notice;
(c) When the original consists of numerous accounts or other documents
which cannot be examined in court without great loss of time and the fact sought
to be established from them is only the general result of the whole; and
(d) When the original is a public record in the custody of a public officer
or is recorded in a public office.

As the afore-quoted provision states, the best evidence rule applies only when the subject of the
inquiry is the contents of the document. The scope of the rule is more extensively explained thus

But even with respect to documentary evidence, the best evidence rule
applies only when the content of such document is the subject of the
inquiry. Where the issue is only as to whether such document was actually
executed, or exists, or on the circumstances relevant to or surrounding its
execution, the best evidence rule does not apply and testimonial evidence is
admissible (5 Moran, op. cit., pp. 76-66; 4 Martin, op. cit., p. 78). Any other
substitutionary evidence is likewise admissible without need for accounting for
the original.

Thus, when a document is presented to prove its existence or condition it


is offered not as documentary, but as real, evidence. Parol evidence of the fact of
execution of the documents is allowed (Hernaez, et al. vs. McGrath, etc., et al.,
91 Phil 565). x x x [115]
1. This Court did not violate the best evidence rule when it considered and weighed in
evidence the photocopies and microfilm copies of the PNs, MCs, and letters submitted by
the petitioners to establish the existence of respondents loans. The terms or contents of
these documents were never the point of contention in the Petition at bar. It was
respondents position that the PNs in the first set (with the exception of PN No. 34534)
never existed, while the PNs in the second set (again, excluding PN No. 34534) were
merely executed to cover simulated loan transactions. As for the MCs representing the
proceeds of the loans, the respondent either denied receipt of certain MCs or admitted
receipt of the other MCs but for another purpose. Respondent further admitted the letters
she wrote personally or through her representatives to Mr. Tan of petitioner Citibank
acknowledging the loans, except that she claimed that these letters were just meant to
keep up the ruse of the simulated loans. Thus, respondent questioned the documents as to
their existence or execution, or when the former is admitted, as to the purpose for which
the documents were executed, matters which are, undoubtedly, external to the documents,
and which had nothing to do with the contents thereof.

Alternatively, even if it is granted that the best evidence rule should apply to the evidence
presented by petitioners regarding the existence of respondents loans, it should be borne in mind
that the rule admits of the following exceptions under Rule 130, Section 5 of the revised Rules of
Court

SEC. 5. When the original document is unavailable. When the original


document has been lost or destroyed, or cannot be produced in court, the offeror,
upon proof of its execution or existence and the cause of its unavailability
without bad faith on his part, may prove its contents by a copy, or by a recital of
its contents in some authentic document, or by the testimony of witnesses in the
order stated.

The execution or existence of the original copies of the documents was established
through the testimonies of witnesses, such as Mr. Tan, before whom most of the documents were
personally executed by respondent. The original PNs also went through the whole loan booking
system of petitioner Citibank from the account officer in its Marketing Department, to the pre-
processor, to the signature verifier, back to the pre-processor, then to the processor for booking.
[117]
The original PNs were seen by Ms. Dondoyano, the processor, who recorded them in the
General Ledger. Mr. Pujeda personally saw the original MCs, proving respondents receipt of the
proceeds of her loans from petitioner Citibank, when he helped Attys. Cleofe and Fernandez, the
banks legal counsels, to reconstruct the records of respondents loans. The original MCs were
presented to Atty. Cleofe who used the same during the preliminary investigation of the case,
sometime in years 1986-1987. The original MCs were subsequently turned over to the Control
and Investigation Division of petitioner Citibank.[118]

It was only petitioner FNCB Finance who claimed that they lost the original copies of the
PNs when it moved to a new office. Citibank did not make a similar contention; instead, it
explained that the original copies of the PNs were returned to the borrower upon liquidation of
the loan, either through payment or roll-over. Petitioner Citibank proffered the excuse that they
were still looking for the documents in their storage or warehouse to explain the delay and
difficulty in the retrieval thereof, but not their absence or loss. The original documents in this
case, such as the MCs and letters, were destroyed and, thus, unavailable for presentation before
the RTC only on 7 October 1987, when a fire broke out on the 7 th floor of the office building of
petitioner Citibank. There is no showing that the fire was intentionally set. The fire destroyed
relevant documents, not just of the present case, but also of other cases, since the 7 th floor housed
the Control and Investigation Division, in charge of keeping the necessary documents for cases in
which petitioner Citibank was involved.

The foregoing would have been sufficient to allow the presentation of photocopies or
microfilm copies of the PNs, MCs, and letters by the petitioners as secondary evidence to
establish the existence of respondents loans, as an exception to the best evidence rule.

2. The Court of Appeals did not consider these Deeds of Assignment because of petitioners
failure to produce the original copies thereof in violation of the best evidence rule. This Court
again finds itself in disagreement in the application of the best evidence rule by the appellate
court.

To recall, the best evidence rule, in so far as documentary evidence is concerned, requires
the presentation of the original copy of the document only when the context thereof is the subject
of inquiry in the case. Respondent does not question the contents of the Deeds of
Assignment. While she admitted the existence and execution of the Deeds of Assignment, dated 2
March 1978 and 9 March 1978, covering PNs No. 8169 and 8167 issued by petitioner FNCB
Finance, she claimed, as defense, that the loans for which the said Deeds were executed as
security, were already paid. She denied ever executing both Deeds of Assignment, dated 25
August 1978, covering PNs No. 20138 and 20139. These are again issues collateral to the
contents of the documents involved, which could be proven by evidence other than the original
copies of the said documents.

Moreover, the Deeds of Assignment of the money market placements with petitioner
FNCB Finance were notarized documents, thus, admissible in evidence. Rule 132, Section 30 of
the Rules of Court provides that

SEC. 30. Proof of notarial documents. Every instrument duly


acknowledged or proved and certified as provided by law, may be presented in
evidence without further proof, the certificate of acknowledgement being prima
facie evidence of the execution of the instrument or document involved.
The rule on the evidentiary weight that must be accorded a notarized document is clear
and unambiguous. The certificate of acknowledgement in the notarized Deeds of Assignment
constituted prima facie evidence of the execution thereof. Thus, the burden of refuting this
presumption fell on respondent. She could have presented evidence of any defect or irregularity
in the execution of the said documents[125] or raised questions as to the verity of the notary publics
acknowledgment and certificate in the Deeds. [126] But again, respondent admitted executing the
Deeds of Assignment, dated 2 March 1978 and 9 March 1978, although claiming that the loans
for which they were executed as security were already paid. And, she assailed the Deeds of
Assignment, dated 25 August 1978, with nothing more than her bare denial of execution thereof,
hardly the clear and convincing evidence required to trounce the presumption of due execution of
a notarized document.

Petitioners not only presented the notarized Deeds of Assignment, but even secured
certified literal copies thereof from the National Archives. [127] Mr. Renato Medua, an archivist,
working at the Records Management and Archives Office of the National Library, testified that
the copies of the Deeds presented before the RTC were certified literal copies of those contained
in the Notarial Registries of the notary publics concerned, which were already in the possession
of the National Archives. He also explained that he could not bring to the RTC the Notarial
Registries containing the original copies of the Deeds of Assignment, because the Department of
Justice (DOJ) Circular No. 97, dated 8 November 1968, prohibits the bringing of original
documents to the courts to prevent the loss of irreplaceable and priceless documents.

3. Lastly, respondent denied that it was her signature on the Declaration of Pledge. She
claimed that the signature was a forgery. When a document is assailed on the basis of
forgery, the best evidence rule applies

Basic is the rule of evidence that when the subject of inquiry is the
contents of a document, no evidence is admissible other than the original
document itself except in the instances mentioned in Section 3, Rule 130
of the Revised Rules of Court. Mere photocopies of documents are
inadmissible pursuant to the best evidence rule. This is especially true
when the issue is that of forgery.

As a rule, forgery cannot be presumed and must be proved by clear, positive


and convincing evidence and the burden of proof lies on the party alleging forgery.
The best evidence of a forged signature in an instrument is the instrument itself
reflecting the alleged forged signature. The fact of forgery can only be established by a
comparison between the alleged forged signature and the authentic and genuine signature
of the person whose signature is theorized upon to have been forged. Without the original
document containing the alleged forged signature, one cannot make a definitive
comparison which would establish forgery. A comparison based on a mere xerox copy or
reproduction of the document under controversy cannot produce reliable results. [135]

Respondent made several attempts to have the original copy of the pledge produced
before the RTC so as to have it examined by experts. Yet, despite several Orders by the RTC,
[136]
petitioner Citibank failed to comply with the production of the original Declaration of
Pledge. It is admitted that Citibank-Geneva had possession of the original copy of the
pledge. While petitioner Citibank in Manila and its branch in Geneva may be separate and
distinct entities, they are still incontestably related, and between petitioner Citibank and
respondent, the former had more influence and resources to convince Citibank-Geneva to return,
albeit temporarily, the original Declaration of Pledge. Petitioner Citibank did not present any
evidence to convince this Court that it had exerted diligent efforts to secure the original copy of
the pledge, nor did it proffer the reason why Citibank-Geneva obstinately refused to give it back,
when such document would have been very vital to the case of petitioner Citibank. There is thus
no justification to allow the presentation of a mere photocopy of the Declaration of Pledge in lieu
of the original, and the photocopy of the pledge presented by petitioner Citibank has nil probative
value.[137] In addition, even if this Court cannot make a categorical finding that respondents
signature on the original copy of the pledge was forged, it is persuaded that petitioner Citibank
willfully suppressed the presentation of the original document, and takes into consideration the
presumption that the evidence willfully suppressed would be adverse to petitioner Citibank if
produced.[138]

Without the Declaration of Pledge, petitioner Citibank had no authority to demand the remittance
of respondents dollar accounts with Citibank-Geneva and to apply them to her outstanding
loans. It cannot effect legal compensation under Article 1278 of the Civil Code since, petitioner
Citibank itself admitted that Citibank-Geneva is a distinct and separate entity. As for the dollar
accounts, respondent was the creditor and Citibank-Geneva is the debtor; and as for the
outstanding loans, petitioner Citibank was the creditor and respondent was the debtor. The parties
in these transactions were evidently not the principal creditor of each other.

Therefore, this Court declares that the remittance of respondents dollar accounts from Citibank-
Geneva and the application thereof to her outstanding loans with petitioner Citibank was illegal,
and null and void. Resultantly, petitioner Citibank is obligated to return to respondent the amount
of US$149,632,99 from her Citibank-Geneva accounts, or its present equivalent value in
Philippine currency; and, at the same time, respondent continues to be obligated to petitioner
Citibank for the balance of her outstanding loans which, as of 5 September 1979, amounted
to P1,069,847.40.

13. People v Malimit

DOCTRINE: The non-disclosure by the witness to the police officers of appellant's identity
immediately after the occurrence of the crime is not entirely against human experience. In fact the
natural reticence of most people to get involved in criminal prosecutions against immediate
neighbors, as in this case, is of judicial notice.

FACTS:
 At 8 pm, Onofre Malaki(victim) was attending to his store. Malaki's houseboy Edilberto
Batin, was busy cooking supper at the kitchen located at the back of the store
 Florencio Rondon, a farmer, arrived at the store of Malaki. to purchase chemical for his rice
farm
 Batin had just finished cooking, he proceeded directly to the store to ask Malaki if supper is
to be prepared. As Batin stepped inside the store, he saw accused Ercarnacion “Manolo”
Malimit coming out of the store with a bolo while his boss, bathed in his own blood, was
sprawled on the floor struggling for his life
 Rondon, who was outside and barely five (5) meters away from the store, also saw accused
Malimit rushing out through the front door of Malaki's store with a blood-stained bolo
o Aided by the illumination coming from a pressure lamp inside the store, Rondon
clearly recognized Malimit
 Both Batin and Rondon rushed to the nearby house of Malaki's brother-in-law Eutiquio Beloy
and informed Beloy of the tragic incident which befell Malaki.
 Batin, along with Beloy, went back to the store. Inside, they saw the lifeless body of Malaki
in a pool of blood lying prostrate at the floor. Beloy readily noticed that the store's drawer
was opened and ransacked and the wallet of Malaki was missing from his pocket

TC: Convicted accused for the special complex crime of robbery with homicide

One of the contentions of accused Malimit in this appeal is that the trial court erred in giving
credence to the testimonies of Rondon and Batin. He questions the credibility of the 2 witnesses
because they only revealed that they have knowledge of the crime and identified the accused as
the perpetrator, 5 months after the incident.
Date of the crime: April 15, 1991
Witnesses pointed at accused: September 17, 1991

ISSUE:
WON the testimonies of the witnesses may be appreciated by the court? YES
HELD:

Accused haphazardly concluded that Rondon and Batin implicated the appellant to this gruesome
crime only on September 17, 1991. The aforementioned date however, was merely the date when
Rondon and Batin executed their respective affidavits, narrating that they saw the appellant on the
night of April 15, 1991 carrying a bolo stained with blood and rushing out of Malaki's store.

As to his claim of delay, suffice it to state that extant from the records are ample testimonial
evidence negating his assertion, to wit:
1. After having discovered the commission of the crime, Rondon and Batin immediately
looked for Eutiquio Beloy, Malaki's brother-in-law, and informed him that appellant was
the only person they saw running away from the crime scene;
2. Beloy and Batin reported the crime with the CAFGU detachment in their barangay where
Batin declared that it was appellant who robbed Malaki on that fateful night; and
3. Batin again made a similar statement later at the Silago Police Station.

Even assuming arguendo that Rondon and Batin identified the appellant only on September 15,
1991, or after the lapse of five months from commission of the crime, this fact alone does not
render their testimony less credible.

The non-disclosure by the witness to the police officers of appellant's identity immediately after
the occurrence of the crime is not entirely against human experience. In fact the natural reticence
of most people to get involved in criminal prosecutions against immediate neighbors, as in this
case, is of judicial notice.

At any rate, the consistent teaching of our jurisprudence is that the findings of the trial court with
regard to the credibility of witnesses are given weight and the highest degree of respect by the
appellate court. This is the established rule of evidence, as the matter of assigning values to the
testimony of witnesses is a function best performed by the trial court which can weigh said
testimony in the light of the witness" demeanor, conduct and attitude at the trial. And although the
rule admits of certain exceptions, namely: (1) when patent inconsistencies in the statements of
witnesses are ignored by the trial court, or (2) when the conclusions arrived at are clearly
unsupported by the evidence, we found none in this case.

Additional info:
The non-presentation by the prosecution of the police blotter which could prove if accused was
indeed implicated right away by Batin to the crime was not necessary for the prosecution to
present as evidence. Entries in the police blotter are merely corroborative evidence of the
uncontroverted testimony of Batin that he identified the appellant as the perpetrator of the crime
before the Silago police. As such, its presentation as evidence is not indispensable. Besides, if
appellant believed that he was not identified therein, then he should have secured a copy thereof
from the Silago Police Station and utilized the same as controverting evidence to impeach Batin's
credibility as witness. Having failed to do so, appellant cannot now pass the blame on the
prosecution for something which appellant himself should have done.

14. Concepcion Chua Gaw v. Suy Ben Chua


Spouses Chua Chin and Chan Chi were founders of Hagonoy Lumber, Capitol Sawmill
Corporation and Columbia Wood Industries. When Chua Chin died, he left his wife Chan Chi and
their 7 children as his only heirs. The surviving heirs executed a Deed of Extra-Judicial Partition
and Renunciation of Hereditary Rights in Favor of a Co-Heir (Deed of Partition for brevity) to
settle shares in Hagonoy Lumber, where half went to Chan Chi on account of the conjugal
partnership and the other half will be divided in equal shares among Chan Chi and the 7 children.
Chan Chi and 6 of the children renounced their shares to Hagonoy Lumber in favor of their
coheir,
Chua Sioc Huan. Concepcion Chua Gaw, one of the seven children, along with her husband
Antonio Gaw, asked Suy Ben Chua, again one of the seven, to lend them P200,000, payable in 6
months, which they will use to construct their house. Chua agreed and issued a check for the
amount. Chua Sioc Huan sold all her interests in Hagonoy Lumber to Chua. The Gaw spouses
failed to pay the debt despite repeated demands by Chua causing the latter to file a Complaint for
Sum of Money. The spouses contend that the 200,000 was not a loan but their share in the profits
of Hagonoy Lumber and that they also allege that they are entitled to 1/6 of Hagonoy Lumber.
Chua, on the other hand, argues that it was Chua Sioc Huan who solely owned Hagonoy Lumber
and that he bought it from her. He also pointed out that the documents which the Gaws presented
evidencing their claim of ownership over Hagonoy Lumber were not true and valid agreements
and do not express the real intention of the parties. The RTC ruled in favor of Chua and ordered
the spouses to pay 200,000. The RTC also stated that although Chua failed to produce the
originals of the Deed of Partition and the Deed of Sale, Gaw judicially admitted the due execution
of the Deed of Partition and even acknowledged her signature, thus constitutes an exception to
the best evidence rule, and as regards the Deed of Sale, since its contents have not been put in
issue, the non-presentation of the original document is not fatal as to affect its authenticity as well
as the truth of its contents. The CA affirmed the RTC’s decision. Among Gaw’s arguments was
Karl Vincent B. Raso – ALS D-2012
Page 2 of 12
that the RTC erred in admitting in evidence a mere copy of the Deed of Partition and the Deed of
Sale in violation of the best evidence rule. In affirming the RTC and the CA’s decision, the
Supreme Court stated that:
The “best evidence rule” as encapsulated in Rule 130, Section 3, of the Revised Rules of
Procedure applies only when the content of such document is the subject of the inquiry.
Where the issue is only as to whether such document was actually executed, or exists, or
on the circumstances relevant to or surrounding its execution, the best evidence rule does
not apply and testimonial evidence is admissible. Any other substitutionary evidence is
likewise admissible without need to account for the original. Moreover, production of the
original may be dispensed with, in the trial court’s discretion whenever the opponent does
not bona fide dispute the contents of the document and no other useful purpose will be
served by requiring production.
The Court pointed out that there was no dispute as to the terms of either deed and that Gaw
never denied the their due execution and admitted that she signed the Deed of Partition. Also,
Gaw in effect, admitted the genuineness and due execution of the Deed of Sale when she failed
to specifically deny it as required by the rules.

15. Concepcion Chua Gaw v. Suy Ben Chua


Spouses Chua Chin and Chan Chi were founders of Hagonoy Lumber, Capitol Sawmill
Corporation and Columbia Wood Industries. When Chua Chin died, he left his wife Chan Chi and
their 7 children as his only heirs. The surviving heirs executed a Deed of Extra-Judicial Partition
and Renunciation of Hereditary Rights in Favor of a Co-Heir (Deed of Partition for brevity) to
settle shares in Hagonoy Lumber, where half went to Chan Chi on account of the conjugal
partnership and the other half will be divided in equal shares among Chan Chi and the 7 children.
Chan Chi and 6 of the children renounced their shares to Hagonoy Lumber in favor of their
coheir,
Chua Sioc Huan. Concepcion Chua Gaw, one of the seven children, along with her husband
Antonio Gaw, asked Suy Ben Chua, again one of the seven, to lend them P200,000, payable in 6
months, which they will use to construct their house. Chua agreed and issued a check for the
amount. Chua Sioc Huan sold all her interests in Hagonoy Lumber to Chua. The Gaw spouses
failed to pay the debt despite repeated demands by Chua causing the latter to file a Complaint for
Sum of Money. The spouses contend that the 200,000 was not a loan but their share in the profits
of Hagonoy Lumber and that they also allege that they are entitled to 1/6 of Hagonoy Lumber.
Chua, on the other hand, argues that it was Chua Sioc Huan who solely owned Hagonoy Lumber
and that he bought it from her. He also pointed out that the documents which the Gaws presented
evidencing their claim of ownership over Hagonoy Lumber were not true and valid agreements
and do not express the real intention of the parties. The RTC ruled in favor of Chua and ordered
the spouses to pay 200,000. The RTC also stated that although Chua failed to produce the
originals of the Deed of Partition and the Deed of Sale, Gaw judicially admitted the due execution
of the Deed of Partition and even acknowledged her signature, thus constitutes an exception to
the best evidence rule, and as regards the Deed of Sale, since its contents have not been put in
issue, the non-presentation of the original document is not fatal as to affect its authenticity as well
as the truth of its contents. The CA affirmed the RTC’s decision. Among Gaw’s arguments was
Karl Vincent B. Raso – ALS D-2012
Page 2 of 12
that the RTC erred in admitting in evidence a mere copy of the Deed of Partition and the Deed of
Sale in violation of the best evidence rule. In affirming the RTC and the CA’s decision, the
Supreme Court stated that:
The “best evidence rule” as encapsulated in Rule 130, Section 3, of the Revised Rules of
Procedure applies only when the content of such document is the subject of the inquiry.
Where the issue is only as to whether such document was actually executed, or exists, or
on the circumstances relevant to or surrounding its execution, the best evidence rule does
not apply and testimonial evidence is admissible. Any other substitutionary evidence is
likewise admissible without need to account for the original. Moreover, production of the
original may be dispensed with, in the trial court’s discretion whenever the opponent does
not bona fide dispute the contents of the document and no other useful purpose will be
served by requiring production.
The Court pointed out that there was no dispute as to the terms of either deed and that Gaw
never denied the their due execution and admitted that she signed the Deed of Partition. Also,
Gaw in effect, admitted the genuineness and due execution of the Deed of Sale when she failed
to specifically deny it as required by the rules.

16. PACIFICO B. ARCEO, JR. vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES

G.R. No. 142641

(no need to present check to sustain a conviction under B.P. 22; inapplicability of best evidence
rule)

FACTS

Pacifico Arceo obtained loans from Josefino Cenizal in the total amount of P150,000.00. For
payment, Arceo issued a post-dated check to Cenizal which was later dishonored because of
insufficient funds. Cenizal’s lawyer wrote demand letters to pay the amount of the check.

Executing an affidavit at and presenting the check and return slips to a prosecutor, a case for
violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. (B.P.) 22 was filed against Arceo last March 27, 1992. Later,
the dishonored check and the return slip were lost by Cenizal in a fire that occurred near his
residence on September 16, 1992. Cenizal executed an Affidavit of Loss regarding the loss of the
check in question and the return slip.

ISSUE

Whether the presentation of the check in evidence is a condition for conviction under B.P. 22

HELD

No. Petitioner’s insistence on the presentation of the check in evidence as a condition sine qua
non for conviction under BP 22 is wrong. Rule 130, Section 3, of the Rules of Court, otherwise
known as the best evidence rule, applies only where the content of the document is the subject of
the inquiry. Where the issue is the execution or existence of the document or the circumstances
surrounding its execution, the best evidence rule does not apply and testimonial evidence is
admissible.

The fact in issue is the act of drawing and issuing a worthless check. Hence, the subject of the
inquiry is the fact of issuance or execution of the check, not its content. Although the check and
the return slip were among the documents lost, Cenizal was nevertheless able to adequately
establish the due execution, existence and loss of the check and the return slip in an affidavit of
loss as well as in his testimony during the trial of the case.

Moreover, Arceo himself admitted that he issued the check. He never denied that the check was
presented for payment to the drawee bank and was dishonored for having been drawn against
insufficient funds.

PACIFICO B. ARCEO, JR. vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES| Corona

G.R. No. 142641 July 17, 2006|

FACTS

 Arceo obtained a loan from Cenizal, initially for P100,000 and several weeks thereafter for an
additional P50,000. Arceo then issued in favor of Cenizal, Bank of the Philippine Islands
[(BPI)] Check No. 163255, postdated August 4, 1991, for P150,000.00. Despite demands,
Arceo failed to pay and upon deposit of the check, the same bounced due to insufficiency of
funds.
 Hence a case for violation of BP22 was instituted against Arceo, on which both trial court and
CA found him guilty.

ISSUES & ARGUMENTS

Whether or not the courts erred in convicting him despite failure of the prosecution to
present the dishonored check?
Petitioner: Presentation of the check is sine qua non for a conviction under BP22 based on the
rule on best evidence under Rule 130, Sec3 of the Rules of Court

HOLDING & RATIO DECIDENDI

NO. Where the issue is the execution or existence of the document or the circumstances
surrounding its execution, the best evidence rule does not apply and testimonial evidence is
admissible.

 Petitioner’s insistence on the presentation of the check in evidence as a condition sine qua
non for conviction under BP 22 is wrong. Petitioner anchors his argument on Rule 130,
Section 3, of the Rules of Court, otherwise known as the best evidence rule. However, the
rule applies only where the content of the document is the subject of the inquiry. Where
the issue is the execution or existence of the document or the circumstances surrounding
its execution, the best evidence rule does not apply and testimonial evidence is
admissible.
 The gravamen of the offense is the act of drawing and issuing a worthless check. Hence, the
subject of the inquiry under BP22 is the fact of issuance or execution of the check, not its
content.
 Here, the due execution and existence of the check were sufficiently established. Cenizal
testified that he presented the originals of the check, the return slip and other pertinent
documents before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City when he executed his
complaint-affidavit during the preliminary investigation. The City Prosecutor found a prima
facie case against petitioner for violation of BP 22 and filed the corresponding information
based on the documents. Although the check and the return slip were among the documents
lost by Cenizal in a fire that occurred near his residence on September 16, 1992, he was
nevertheless able to adequately establish the due execution, existence and loss of the check
and the return slip in an affidavit of loss as well as in his testimony during the trial of the
case.
 Moreover, petitioner himself admited that he issued the check. He never denied that the check
was presented for payment to the drawee bank and was dishonored for having been drawn
against insufficient funds.

17. HEIRS OF SABANPAN v. COMORPOSA


This case arose from a complaint for unlawful detainer filed in the MTC by petitioners against
respondents involving possession of a parcel of petitioner’s land by respondents. Respondents
argue that they have acquired just and valid ownership of the premises and that the Regional
Director of the DENR has already upheld their possession over the land in question when it ruled
that they were the rightful claimants and possessors. MTC ifo petitioners. RTC reversed, ruled ifo
Respondents. CA affirmed RTC.

CA Ruling: Although not yet final, the Order issued by the DENR Regional Director remained in
full force and effect. The certification that the DENR's community environment and natural
resources (CENR) officer issued was proof that when the cadastral survey was conducted, the
land was still alienable and was not yet allocated to any person. Respondents had the better right
to possess alienable and disposable land of the public domain, because they have sufficiently
proven their actual, physical, open, notorious, exclusive, continuous and uninterrupted possession
thereof since 1960. Hence, SC petition.

ISSUE (related to Evidence): Did the CA gravely abuse its discretion and err in sustaining the
RTCs ruling giving weight to the CENR Officer's Certification, which only bears the facsimile of
the alleged signature of a certain Jose F. Tagorda and, that it is a new matter raised for the first
time on appeal?

SC Held: Petition has no merit.

Ratio: Petitioners contend that the CENR Certification dated July 22, 1997 is a sham document,
because the signature of the CENR officer is a mere facsimile. In support of their argument, they
cite Garvida v. Sales Jr. and argue that the Certification is a new matter being raised by
respondents for the first time on appeal.

In Garvida, the Court held: "A facsimile or fax transmission is a process involving the
transmission and reproduction of printed and graphic matter by scanning an original copy, one
elemental area at a time, and representing the shade or tone of each area by a specified amount of
electric current."

Pleadings filed via fax machines are not considered originals and are at best exact copies. As
such, they are not admissible in evidence, as there is no way of determining whether they are
genuine or authentic.

The Certification, on the other hand, is being contested for bearing a facsimile of the signature of
CENR Officer Jose F. Tagorda. The facsimile referred to is not the same as that which is alluded
to in Garvida. The one mentioned here refers to a facsimile signature, which is defined as a
signature produced by mechanical means but recognized as valid in banking, financial, and
business transactions

Note that the CENR officer has not disclaimed the Certification. In fact, the DENR regional
director has acknowledged and used it as reference in his Order dated April 2, 1998.

If the Certification were a sham as petitioner claims, then the regional director would not have
used it as reference in his Order. Instead, he would have either verified it or directed the CENR
officer to take the appropriate action, as the latter was under the former's direct control and
supervision.
Petitioners' claim that the Certification was raised for the first time on appeal is incorrect. As
early as the pretrial conference at the Municipal Trial Court (MTC), the CENR Certification had
already been marked as evidence for respondents as stated in the Pre-trial Order. The Certification
was not formally offered, however, because respondents had not been able to file their position
paper.

Neither the rules of procedure nor jurisprudence would sanction the admission of evidence that
has not been formally offered during the trial. But this evidentiary rule is applicable only to
ordinary trials, not to cases covered by the rule on summary procedure -- cases in which no full-
blown trial is held.
18. Consider the issue of whether or not a SPA if executed abroad needs to be authenticated
before the Philippine consulate to be admissible in court.

In the 1987 decision in Lopez v. Court of Appeals (December 29, 1987), the SC through Justice
Gancayco said, “… when the special power of attorney is executed and acknowledged before a
notary public or other competent official in a foreign country, it cannot be admitted in evidence
unless it is certified as such in accordance with the foregoing provision of the rules (referring to
Sec. 25, Rule 132) by a secretary of embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice consul, or
consular agent or by any officer in the foreign service of the Philippines stationed in the foreign
country in which the record is kept of said public document and authenticated by the seal of his
office.”

In Lopez, the plaintiff who is a Filipino residing in Norway executed a SPA in favor of Ty
authorizing the latter to file a complaint for ejectment. The SPA was notarized before a city judge-
notary public of Oslo, Norway and was admitted by the MeTC of Manila. The case was then
decided in favor of the plaintiff. However on appeal, the RTC said that the SPA is inadmissible in
evidence unless its due execution and authenticity is first proved. The CA made a similar ruling
saying that the due execution of the SPA was not established.

The Lopez case was decided by the SC before the amendments in the Rules on Evidence. It
declared that the SPA executed before a city judge-notary public in a foreign country without the
certification or authentication required under Sec. 25, Rule 132 of the Rules is not admissible in
evidence in Philippine courts. It then concluded that the proceedings before the MeTC, the RTC
and the CA are null and void for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the real party in interest.

Justice Regalado in his Remedial Law Compendium, 2008 edition, cited the Lopez case in
explaining Sec. 25, now Sec. 24, Rule 132.

The case of the Heirs of the deceased spouses Arcilla v. Teodoro (August 11, 2008) involved an
application for land registration filed in 1995. Through oversight and inadvertence, the applicant
failed to include in her application a verification and certificate against forum shopping. The
MTC nonetheless admitted the same and eventually granted the application despite the opposition
of the Arcillas who claimed ownership of the property. The RTC and the CA affirmed the decision
and dismissed the appeal of the Arcillas.
Before the SC, one of the issues raised by the Arcillas was the certification of non-forum
shopping which appears to have been executed by the applicant in Maryland and notarized before
a notary public in Maryland. The Arcillas invoked the Lopez decision.

According to Justice Austria-Martinez of the Third Division of the SC, the ruling in Lopez is
inapplicable to the present case because the Rules of Evidence which were in effect at that time
were the old Rules prior to their amendment in 1989. The rule applied in Lopez was based on
Section 25, Rule 132 and spoke of “an official record or an entry therein.” When the Rules of
Evidence were amended in 1989, Sec. 25, Rule 132 became Section 24, Rule 132 and the
amendment consisted in the deletion of the introductory phrase “an official record or an entry
therein,” which was substituted by the phrase, “The record of public documents referred to in
paragraph (a) of Section 19.”

Sec. 19 refers to classes of documents and sub-paragraph (a) refers to “written official acts or
records of the official acts of the sovereign authority, official bodies and tribunals, and public
officers whether of the Philippines or of a foreign country.

Thus, Justice Austria-Martinez said that the required certification of an officer in the foreign
service under Sec. 24 refers only to the documents referred in Sec. 19 (a). In Lopez, the
requirements of then Sec. 25, Rule 132 were made applicable to all public or official records
without any distinction because the old rule did not distinguish.

She agreed with the position of the Court of Appeals penned by Justice Buenaventura J. Guerrero
with concurrence of Justices Andres B. Reyes Jr. and Regalado E. Maambong that Sec. 24 of
Rule 132 does not include documents acknowledge before a notary public abroad and explicitly
refers only to paragraph (a) of Sec. 19. If the rule comprehends to cover notarial documents, the
rule could have included the same.

The Arcilla case was decided by the Third Division on August 11, 2008 composed of Justices
Austria-Martinez (the ponente), Ynares-Santiago, Chico-Nazario, Nachura and Reyes.

Three months later, the Third Division was confronted with the same issue in the case of Heirs of
Gorgonio Medina v. Natividad (November 27, 2008). The case before the trial court involved an
amended complaint for the annulment of a TCT and damages. Attached to the complaint was a
SPA dated September 21, 2001 allegedly executed by the plaintiff in the State of Washington,
USA and acknowledged before Phyllis Perry, a Notary Public of the State of Washington, USA.

The RTC eventually decided the case in favor of the plaintiff. As regards the SPA, the trial court
said that it was convinced that the attorney-in-fact was authorized to represent the plaintiff by
virtue of a notarized SPA. He said that the document was a public document as defined under Sec.
20, par. (a) of Rule 132, the same having been notarized by a notary public for the State of
Washington, USA. In the absence of any evidence to show that the said SPA was falsified, it was
sufficient authority for the attorney-in-fact to represent the plaintiff.

The CA agreed with the findings of the trial court and said that the argument that the SPA was not
properly authenticated before a consular officer is to put a premium on technicalities at the
expense of substantial justice.

Is the SPA supposedly authorizing the attorney-in-fact to file the case in behalf of the plaintiff
admissible in evidence? Justice Chico-Nazario of the Third Division applied the Lopez decision
and said that the SPA executed in a foreign country should have been authenticated as required by
Sec. 25 now Sec. 24 of the Rule 132. Non-compliance therewith will render the SPA not
admissible in evidence. Thus, the Third Division concluded that the proceedings before the RTC
and the CA were void since the court never acquired jurisdiction over the person of the plaintiff.

Justice Austria-Martinez who earlier wrote that the Lopez decision is no longer applicable under
the present rules concurred with Justice Chico-Nazario together with Justices Ynares-Santiago,
Nachura, and Reyes.

Riano in his book cites Lopez decision and Medina v. Natividad with no mention of the Arcilla
case. Which now is the controlling doctrine?

It’s either that I have misread or misinterpreted the decisions above cited or that the Justices of
the SC do not bother to review their decisions.