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CONTEMPT POWER IS INHERENT IN COURTS

Lorenzo Shipping Corporation vs Distribution Management Association of the


Philippines
Aug 31, 2011. GR No. 155849

FACTS: Maritime Industry Authority issued a Letter-Resolution, advising respondent


Distribution Management Association of the Philippines that a computation of the
required freight rate adjustment by Marina was no longer required for freight rates
officially considered or declared deregulated in accordance with Marina memorandum
Circular no 153.

For clarity, Marina issued MC 153 pursuant to EO 213 entitled Deregulating Domestic
Shipping Rates. DMAP Challenged the constitutionality of EO213 and commenced in
CA a special civil action for certiorari and prohibition, with prayer for preliminary
mandatory injunction or temporary restraining order; these actions were subsequently
dismissed and such decision was upheld by the Court on appeal.

DMAP then held a general membership meeting where it reproduced the Sea Transport
update wherein it was averred among others that the Motion for Recon filed with the SC
was denied based on technicalities and not on the legal issue DMAP presented and SC
ruling issued in one month only, normal leadtime is at least 3 to 6 months.

ISSUE: Whether or not the publication of the Sea Transport updaete consititutes indirect
contempt.

RULING: No, the right of a lawyer or of any other person, for that matter, to be critical of
the courts and their judges as long as the criticism is made in respectful terms and
through legitimate channels have long recognized and respected. The test for criticizing
a judge’s decision is, therefore, whether or not the criticism is bona fide or done in good
faith, and does not spill over the walls of ddecency and propriety. Viewed through the
prism of the test, the Sea Transport update was not disrespectful, abusice or slanderous
and did not spill over the walls of decency and propriety.
Capitol Hills vs Sanchez

FACTS: The RTC ordered the defendants to strictly comply with the order to produce
several documents. Failure of the defendants to comply with all the requirements of the
order dated September 10,2002 will result in the court citing all the defendants solidarily
to pay a fine of P10,000.00 for very day of delay to comply with the order of September
10,2002 until the defendants shall have fully and completely complied with the said
order.

ISSUE: Whether or not indirect contempt may proceed due to above facts.

RULING: Chargers for indirect contempt shall be commenced by a verified petition with
supporting particulars and certified true copies of documents or papers involved therein,
and upon full compliance with the requirements of filing initiatyory pleadings for civil
actions in the court concerned. If the contempt charges arose out of or are related to a
principal action, pending in the court, the petition for contempt shall allege the fact but
said petition shall be docketed, heard, and decided separetly, unless the court in its
discretion orders the consolidation of the contempt charge and the principal action for
joint hearing and decision.
Esperida vs Jurado

FACTS: Jurado filed an Indirect contempt of Court against Esperida in the said petition,
respondent sought to declare herein petitioners guilty of indirect contempt of court within
the same court on the basis of their alleged acts of dishonesty, fraud, and falsification of
documents to mislead the CA to rule in their favor.

ISSUE: Whether or not indirect contempt was propery filed.

RULING: The contempt case against petitioners is still in the early stage of the
proceedings. The proceedings have not reached the stage wherein the court below has
set a hearing to provide petitioners with the opportunity to state their defenses. The
hearing affords the contemner the opportunity to adduce before the court documentarty
or testimonial evidence in his behalf. The hearing will also allow the court a more
thorough evaluation of the defense of the contemner, including the chance to observe
the accused present his side in open court and subject his defense to interrogation
from the complaints or the court itself.
Roxas and Heirs of Roxas vs Tipon

FACTS: The RTC initiated the contempt charge against the Heirs of Roxas. In the Order
dated January 9, 2002, petitioners were directed to appear in court and to show cause
why they should not be held in contempt of court for their refusal to allow Financial
Catalyst, Inc. to audit the books of HEVRI. Petitioners, filed an urgernt motion for
reconsideration claiming that said order was the subject of a pending petitioner before
the CA and that they can only be cited for contempt by the filing of a verified petition.
The RTC denied the motion and reiterated in its Orer on April 26, 2002 explaining that
its chose to initiate the contempt charge.

ISSUE: Whether or not ther isa need for a vefired petition with the RTC to declare the
petitioners in contempt.

RULING: No. It may be noted that a person may be charged with indirect contempt by
either of two alternative ways, namely: 1) by a verified petition, if initiated by a party, 2)
by an order or any other formal charge requiring the respondent to show cause why he
should not be punished for contempt, if made by a court against which the contempt is
committed. A charge of indirect contempt must be initiated throught a verified petition,
unless the charge is directly made by the court against which the contemptuous acts is
committed.The RTC acted on the basis of the unjustified refusal of petitioners to abide
by its lawful order. It is of no moment that private respondents may have filed several
pleasdings to urge the RTC to cite petitioners in contempt. Petitioners utterly violated an
order issued by the trial court which act is considered contemptuous.
Luy Ym vs Mahinay

FACTS: Petitioner was allowed to manage all the properties of Cayetano and was able
to convince his siblings and Gertrudes to execute an alleged simulated last will and
testamanet to evade payment of excessive inheritance tax. After the death of Cayetano,
the will was probated. Gertrudes and her children allegedly gave their consent thereto
because they were made to belive that the same was for the purpose of keeping the
properties intact. Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss but the respondent denied the
motion.

Petitioner elevated the case and on Feb 23, 2005. The Court held that the court a quoo
erref in deferring the resolution on the motion to dismiss and in not specifying which
among the grounds raised by petitioner require a full blown trial.

Since no TRO/Injunction was issued by the appellate courts, the proceedings before the
trial court continued. Petitioner was declared in default and plaintiffs were allowed to
present evidence ex parte. On March 16, 2005, respondent Judge rendered a decision
holding that the plaintiffs are entitled to their share in the properties of Cayetano; and for
which reason, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration praying that the March 16,
2005 decision of the trial court be set aside. Howeve, on May 20, 2005, respondent
Judge denied the motion for reconsideration.

Petitioner theorizes that when the Court ruled that the respondent Judge must rule on
the affirmative defenses in the motion to dismiss, it logically resulted in the nullification
of the trial and all other proceedings that transpired after the trial court’s denial of the
motion to dismiss. Petitoner thus argues that respondent Judge defied this Cour’s
decision when he rendered judgment on March 16, 2005 and denied petitioner’s motion
for reconsidereation on May 20, 2005, notwithstanding actual receipt on March 28, 2005
for the decision in GR No. 161309

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondents are guilty of indirect contempt.

RULING: No, Contempt of court is defined as a disobedience to the Court by acting in


opposition to its authority, justice and dignity. It signifies not only a willful disregard or
disobedience of the Court’s orders, but such conduct which tends to bring the authority
of the court and the administration of law into disrepute or in some manner to impede
the due administration of justice.

In the present case, the assailed acts of respondents do not constitute disobedience to,
or defiance of the decions in GR No 161309. The Court never stated therein that the
March 16,2005 decision of respondent Judge, or any judgment on the merits rendered
pending decision of the Court should be set aside. Note that no TRO or injunction was
issued to restrain the proceedings below. Unrestrained, the trial, presentation of
evidence and rendition of judgment would logically take their course, and respondent
Judge could not be faulted for proceeding with the rendition of judgment.