Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 8

Hyatt Industrial Manufacturing Corp. v. Ley Construction G.R. No.

147143, March 10, 2006 FACTS: Respondent LCDC filed a complaint for specific performance and damages against petitioner Hyatt claiming that Hyatt reneged in its obligation to transfer 40% of its share of a real property despite respondents full payment of the purchase price and that Hyatt failed to develop the said property in a joint venture, despite LCDC's payment of 40% of the pre-construction cost. Respondent filed an amended complaint impleading Princeton as additional defendant claiming that Hyatt sold the property in fraud of defendant. LCDC filed a second amended complaint adding as defendant Yu He Ching, alleging that LCDC paid to Hyatt through Yu. Responsive pleadings were filed and LCDC filed notices to take depositions. During the scheduled depositions, Hyatt and Yu prayed that all settings for depositions be disregarded and pre-trial be set instead, contending that the taking of depositions only delay the resolution of the case. RTC agreed and on the same day ordered all depositions cancelled and pre-trial to take place. LCDC moved for reconsideration, RTC denied. While pre-trial proceeded with the refusal of LCDC to enter in pre-trial, Hyatt, Yu and Princeton moved to declare LCDC non-suited, which the RTC granted. Defendant filed an appeal, which the CA granted. Hyatt and Princeton filed their respective motions for reconsideration which the CA denied, which leads to this petition for review on certiorari. ISSUE: Whether or not the CA erred in remanding the case to the trial court and order the deposition-taking to proceed. RULING: No. A deposition should be allowed, absent any showing that taking it would prejudice any party. It is accorded a broad and liberal treatment and the liberty of a party to make discovery is well-nigh unrestricted if the matters inquired into are otherwise relevant and not privileged, and the inquiry is made in good faith and within the bounds of law. It is allowed as a departure from the accepted and usual judicial proceedings of examining witnesses in open court where their demeanor could be observed by the trial judge, consistent with the principle of promoting just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding; and provided it is taken in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Court, i.e., with leave of court if summons have been served, and without such leave if an answer has been submitted; and provided further that a circumstance for its admissibility exists. The rules on discovery should not be unduly restricted, otherwise, the advantage of a liberal discovery procedure in ascertaining the truth and expediting the disposal of litigation would be defeated. Indeed, the importance of discovery procedures is well recognized by the Court. Trial courts are directed to issue orders requiring parties to avail of interrogatories to parties under Rule 45 and request for admission of adverse party under Rule 26 or at their discretion make use of depositions under Rule 23 or other measures under Rule 27 and 28 within 5 days from the filing of the answer. The parties are likewise required to submit, at least 3 days before the pretrial, pre-trial briefs, containing among others a manifestation of the parties of their having availed or their intention to avail themselves of discovery procedures or referral to commissioners. Deposition is chiefly a mode of discovery, the primary function of which is to supplement the pleadings for the purpose of disclosing the real matters of dispute between the parties and affording an adequate factual basis during the preparation for trial.

Sales v. Sabino G.R. No. 133154, December 9, 2005 FACTS: Respondent Cyril A. Sabino filed an amended complaint for damages against Jowel Sales, driver of the vehicle involved in the accident which ultimately caused the death of respondent's son, Elbert. Before any responsive pleading could be filed, plaintiff notified the defendants that he will take the deposition of one Buaneres Corral. The deposition on oral examination of Buaneres Corral was taken before the Clerk of Court of Pasig, in the presence and with the active participation of petitioner's counsel, Atty. Roldan Villacorta, who even lengthily cross-examined the deponent. In the course of trial, respondent had the deposition of Buaneres Corral. Upon conclusion of her evidentiary presentation, respondent made a Formal Offer of Exhibits. Petitioner opposed the admission of exhibits and even asked that they be expunged from the records on the ground that the jurisdictional requirements for their admission under Section 4, Rule 23 of the Rules of Court were not complied with. The trial court admitted the exhibits. Petitioner went on certiorari to the CA when the trial court denied his motion for reconsideration, which CA denied explaining that petitioner's active participation, through counsel, during the taking of subject deposition and adopting it as his own exhibits, has thereby estopped him from assailing the admissibility thereof as part of respondent's evidence. ISSUES: Whether or not the requirements of Section 3, Rule 24 of the Rules of Court, were satisfied by the respondent when it presented a certification attesting to the fact that deponent has left the country but silent as to whether or not at the time his deposition was offered in evidence is in the Philippines. RULING:

While depositions may be used as evidence in court proceedings, they are generally not meant to be a substitute for the actual testimony in open court of a party or witness. Stated a bit differently, a deposition is not to be used when the deponent is at hand. Indeed, any deposition offered during a trial to prove the facts therein set out, in lieu of the actual oral testimony of the deponent in open court, may be opposed and excluded on the ground of hearsay. However, depositions may be used without the deponent being called to the witness stand by the proponent, provided the existence of certain conditions is first satisfactorily established. Among the exceptions for the admissibility of a deposition is when the witness is out of the country. Trial court had determined that deponent Bueneres Corral was abroad when the offer of his deposition was made. This factual finding of absence or unavailability of witness to testify deserves respect, having been adequately substantiated. As it were, the certification by the Bureau of Immigration provides that evidentiary support. Accordingly, the attribution of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the trial court must be struck down. It has been said to be customary for courts to accept statements of parties as to the unavailability of a witness as a predicate to the use of depositions. Had deponent Buaneres Corral indeed returned to the Philippines subsequent to his departure, petitioner could have presented evidence to show that such was the case. As it is, however, the petitioner does not even assert the return as a fact, only offering it as a possibility since no contrary proof had been adduced.

Cariaga v CA FACTS:

Luis Miguel Aboitiz, then employed at DLPC, initiated a covert operation with the objectives to ascertain how DLPC material were being stolen, the frequency of thefts, who were perpetrating such and to catch at least one DLPC employee that may be involved. He sought the assistance of Sgt. Villasis, Chief of the Theft & Robbery Section of the San Pedro Patrol Station, Davao METRODISCOM. He also hired one Florencio Siton, a welder by occupation and a Civilian Home Defense Forces member, as his undercover agent under the pseudonym Canuto Duran, an electrician from Kabakan, Cotabato. Canuto struck an acquaintance with one Ricardo Cariaga, a private electrician at the Miguel Store. He told Ricardo that his boss ordered him to buy electrical materials. Ricardo offered to supply Canuto with electrical materials, saying that he has a cousin from whom he can procure the same. Canuto purchased small electrical wires which, according to Ricardo, came from his cousin, Jonathan Cariaga. Ricardo introduced Canuto to Jonathan at Miguel Store. It turned out that Jonathan was the assigned driver of DLPC Service Truck 'S-143' assigned to Work Gang 'Venus'. It turned out that the supplies were being pilfered from the truck, and properties of DLPC. The prosecution was unable to present Ricardo as its witness as the subpoena could not be personally served upon him as according to his wife he was in Sultan Kudarat and the date of his return to Davao City was not certain. RTC rendered judgment based on prosecutions evidence, with the statements in the extrajudicial confessions of Ricardo Cariaga implicative of the accused as the source of the stolen articles formidable compared to the mere puny denial of the accused. CA affirmed the decision on appeal by Jonathan Cariaga, hence the instant petition. ISSUE: Whether or not the trial court erred in admitting in evidence the sworn statement of Ricardo Cariaga. HELD: Yes. Court emphasized that "the preconditions set forth in Section 47, Rule 130 for the admission of testimony given by a witness out of court must be strictly complied with and that there is more reason to adopt such a strict rule in the case of Section 1(f) of Rule 115, for apart from being a rule of evidence with additional specific requisites to those prescribed by Section 47, more importantly, said provision is an implementing translation of the constitutional right of an accused person "to meet the witnesses (against him) face to face." In Tan vs. CA, it was ruled that "'unable to testify' or for that matter 'unavailability', does not cover the case of witnesses who were subpoenaed but did not appear. It may refer to inability proceeding from a grave cause, almost amounting to death, as when the witness is old and has lost the power of speech. It does not refer to tampering of witnesses." The threshold question then is the admissibility of the sworn statement of Ricardo Cariaga which was attached to DLPC's position paper in the labor case filed by Jonathan Cariaga against it for illegal dismissal. The records reveal that witness Ricardo Cariaga was subpoenaed only once and did not appear to testify in the criminal case against petitioner. Concededly, this witness was not deceased or out of the Philippines. In fact, the private prosecutor informed the court that he is in Sultan Kudarat, and previously, his wife informed the sheriff that he was in Sultan Kudarat which is in Cotabato, a mere four hours drive from Davao City. Against this backdrop, can this witness be categorized as one that cannot be found despite due diligence, unavailable or unable to testify. It must be emphasized that Sec. 47 of Rule 130 of the Rules on Evidence is strictly complied with in criminal cases, hence, "mere sending of subpoena and failure to appear is not sufficient to prove inability to testify. The Court must exercise its coercive power to arrest." In the instant case, no efforts were exerted to have the witness arrested which is a remedy available to a partylitigant in instances where witnesses who are duly subpoenaed fail to appear. On this score

alone, the sworn statement of Ricardo Cariaga should not have been admitted as evidence for the prosecution, and we shall no longer delve into the other aspects of this rule. The trial judge who sees and hears witnesses testify has exceptional opportunities to form a correct conclusion as to the degree of credit which should be accorded their testimonies. The rule has also always been that the contradictions between the contents of an affiant's affidavit and his testimony on the witness stand do not always militate against the witness' credibility because we have long taken judicial notice that affidavits, which are usually taken ex parte, are often incomplete and inaccurate. Indeed, a sworn statement taken ex parte is generally considered to be inferior to a testimony given in open court as the latter is subject to the test of crossexamination. There is no rule of evidence to the effect that omission of certain particulars in a sworn statement would estop an affiant from making an elaboration thereof or from correcting inaccuracies during the trial.

Dulay v Dulay FACTS: In a complaint for recovery of his bank deposit with prayer for a writ of attachment and damages, Rodrigo S. Dulay, a naturalized American citizen, alleged that upon his petition his brother Godofredo Sr. and nephew Pfeger immigrated to the United States of America. The two stayed with him in his house at Claremont, Massachusetts. Godofredo, however, decided to return to the Philippines because he could not endure the weather. Pfeger stayed behind to take care of Rodrigo. Having nurtured affection, love and trust for his nephew Pfeger, Rodrigo opened a trust account with the Bank of Boston naming Pfeger as trustee thereof. Five months later, Pfeger left Rodrigo's house allegedly to join his girlfriend in California. Rodrigo learned only later that Pfeger actually went back to the Philippines. Pfeger returned to the United States, but after a brief stay returned again to the Philippines where he went on a spending binge. Upon knowing this, Rodrigo verified the status of his account with the Bank of Boston, and to his shock and dismay discovered that Pfeger had already emptied the account. Rodrigo additionally claimed that Pfeger used the money from said account to buy several vehicles, loan money to several people, open bank accounts for his siblings, and buy a house and lot and jewelry for his wife. Whatever was left of the account was allegedly transferred to Pfeger's father, Godofredo. Denying the accusations, respondent claimed that the money deposited in the name of Pfeger was his own money and not Rodrigo's. They assailed the admissibility of the statement of account and the supporting affidavit attached to the complaint. For his part, Pfeger asserted that he spent his own money. Rodrigo filed a petition for the issuance of letters rogatory in order to get the depositions of several witnesses residing abroad. Petitioners, on the other hand, moved to be allowed to file crossexamination questions to respondent's written interrogatories, which the trial court granted. Petitioners filed a motion to dismiss the complaint which was denied, which instead Rodrigo to complete his depositions. As it turned out, however, the depositions could not be taken before the Clerk of Court of Massachusetts, but were taken instead before a notary public in New York. The trial court directed respondent to have the written and cross interrogatories taken by the notary public authenticated by the consulate. Thus, respondent filed a motion to withdraw the answers so that he could have them authenticated by a Philippine consul in the United States. ISSUE: Whether or not the documents submitted by respondent were violaitve of Sections 11, 12, and 14 of Rule 23 of the Rules of Court.

RULING: No. In our jurisdiction, depositions in foreign countries may be taken: (a) on notice before a secretary of embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice consul, or consular agent of the Republic of the Philippines; (b) before such person or officer as may be appointed by commission or under letters rogatory; or (c) before any person authorized to administer oaths as stipulated in writing by the parties. While letters rogatory are requests to foreign tribunals, commissions are directives to officials of the issuing jurisdiction. Generally, a commission is an instrument issued by a court of justice, or other competent tribunal, directed to a magistrate by his official designation or to an individual by name, authorizing him to take the depositions of the witnesses named therein, while a letter rogatory is a request to a foreign court to give its aid, backed by its power, to secure desired information. Commissions are taken in accordance with the rules laid down by the court issuing the commission, while in letters rogatory, the methods of procedure are under the control of the foreign tribunal. Leave of court is not required when the deposition is to be taken before a secretary of embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice-consul or consular agent of the Republic of the Philippines and the defendant's answer has already been served. However, if the deposition is to be taken in a foreign country where the Philippines has no secretary of embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice-consul or consular agent, it may be taken only before such person or officer as may be appointed by commission or under letters rogatory. In the instant case, the authentication made by the consul was a ratification of the authority of the notary public who took the questioned depositions. The deposition was, in effect, obtained through a commission, and no longer through letters rogatory. It must be noted that this move was even sanctioned by the trial court by virtue of its order. With the ratification of the depositions in issue, there is no more impediment to their admissibility. Besides, the allowance of the deposition can not be said to have caused any prejudice to the adverse party. They were given the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses through their cross-interrogatories, which were in turn answered by the deponents. Save for the complaint of delay in the proceedings, petitioners were unable to point out any injury they suffered as a result of the trial court's action.

Heirs of Pedro Pasag v Sps. Parocha FACTS:

Petitioners filed a Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Documents and Titles, Recovery of Possession and Ownership, Reconveyance, Partition and Damages filed by against respondents. Petitioners alleged a share over three properties owned by respondents, which formed part of the estate of petitioners' deceased grandparents, Benito and Florentina Pasag. They averred that their grandparents died intestate, thus, leaving behind all their properties to their eight children Pedro, Isidro, Basilio, Severino, Bonifacio, Maria, Juanita, and Fortunata. However, Severino, the predecessor of respondents, claimed in an affidavit of self-adjudication that he is the sole, legal, and compulsory heir. Consequently, he was able to appropriate to himself the properties. Thereafter, Severino executed a deed of absolute sale over the said properties in favor of his daughter, respondent Florentina Parocha. Moreover, petitioners alleged that Severino used the same affidavit of self-adjudication to secure a free patent over an

agricultural land that had long been under the possession of Benito and Florentina Pasag. In denying the material allegations in the Complaint, respondents averred in their Answer that the properties left behind by the spouses Pasag had already been partitioned among their eight surviving children. They claimed that the parcels of land are Bonifacio's share of which he later on renounced in a Quitclaim Deed in favor of his brother, Severino. As regards another parcel of land covered by respondents asserted that the held that petitioners failed to prove their claim by a preponderance of evidence. said land had been in Severino's possession and occupation since 1940, thus, giving him the right to apply for and be granted a free patent over it. Having complied with the requirements of law, Severino's title had now become indefeasible. The trial of the case commenced, petitioners rested their case and were granted ten days within which to submit their formal offer of documentary exhibits. However they failed to submit the said pleading within the required period. Petitioners asked for extension to submit their offer of evidence but failed to submit and moved for another extension but still failed to submit. Consequently, trial court demed waived petitioners right to make their formal offer of evidence. Petitioners moved for the admission of their offer of evidence but the trial court denied. Petitioners appealed the case to the CA, which held that petitioners failed to prove their claim by a preponderance of evidence. ISSUE: Whether or not CA erred in ruling that petitioners waived their right to offer of documentary evidence. RULING: The Rules of Court provides that the court shall consider no evidence which has not been formally offered. A formal offer is necessary because judges are mandated to rest their findings of facts and their judgment only and strictly upon the evidence offered by the parties at the trial. Its function is to enable the trial judge to know the purpose or purposes for which the proponent is presenting the evidence. On the other hand, this allows opposing parties to examine the evidence and object to its admissibility. The Court ruled that the formal offer of one's evidence is deemed waived after failing to submit it within a considerable period of time. Court cannot admit an offer of evidence made after a lapse of three (3) months because to do so would "condone an inexcusable laxity if not non-compliance with a court order which, in effect, would encourage needless delays and derail the speedy administration of justice." The trial court had reasonable ground to consider that petitioners had waived their right to make a formal offer of documentary or object evidence. Despite several extensions of time to make their formal offer, petitioners failed to comply with their commitment and allowed almost five months to lapse before finally submitting it. Petitioners' failure to comply with the rule on admissibility of evidence is anathema to the efficient, effective, and expeditious dispensation of justice. Under the Rule on guidelines to be observed by

trial court judges and clerks of court in the conduct of pre-trial and case of deposition and discovery measures, it is provided that: on the last hearing day allotted for each party, he is required to make his formal offer of evidence after the presentation of his last witness and the opposing party is required to immediately interpose his objection thereto. Thereafter the judge shall make the ruling on the offer of evidence in open court. However, the judge has the discretion to allow the offer of evidence in writing. On the other hand, Section 35 of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provides that "documentary and object evidence shall be offered after the presentation of a party's testimonial evidence." It requires that "such offer shall be done orally unless allowed by the Court to be done in writing." The pre-trial guidelines and Sec. 35 of Rule 132 jointly considered, it is made clear that the party who terminated the presentation of evidence must make an oral offer of evidence on the very day the party presented the last witness. Otherwise, the court may consider the party's documentary or object evidence waived. While Sec. 35 of Rule 132 says that the trial court may allow the offer to be done in writing, this can only be tolerated in extreme cases where the object evidence or documents are large in number say from 100 and above, and only where there is unusual difficulty in preparing the offer. HTDcCE Both parties should obtain, gather, collate, and list all their respective pieces of evidence whether testimonial, documentary, or object even prior to the preliminary conference before the clerk of court or at the latest before the scheduled pre-trial conference. Otherwise, pieces of evidence not identified or marked during the pre-trial proceedings are deemed waived and rendered inutile. The parties should strictly adhere to the principle of "laying one's cards on the table." In the light of these issuances and in order to obviate interminable delay in case processing, the parties and lawyers should closely conform to the requirement that the offer of evidence must be done orally on the day scheduled for the presentation of the last witness. Trial court is bound to consider only the testimonial evidence presented and exclude the documents not offered. Documents which may have been identified and marked as exhibits during pre-trial or trial but which were not formally offered in evidence cannot in any manner be treated as evidence. Neither can such unrecognized proof be assigned any evidentiary weight and value. It must be stressed that there is a significant distinction between identification of documentary evidence and its formal offer. The former is done in the course of the pre-trial, and trial is accompanied by the marking of the evidence as an exhibit; while the latter is done only when the party rests its case. The mere fact that a particular document is identified and marked as an exhibit does not mean that it has already been offered as part of the evidence. It must be emphasized that any evidence which a party desires to submit for the consideration of the court must formally be offered by the party; otherwise, it is excluded and rejected.