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G.R. No. 94005. April 6, 1993.

LUISA LYON NUAL, herein represented by ALBERT NUAL, and ANITA NUAL HORMIGOS, petitioners,
vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS and EMMA LYON DE LEON in her behalf and as guardian ad litem of the minors HELEN
SABARRE and KENNY SABARRE, EDUARDO GUZMAN, MERCEDEZ LYON TAUPAN, WILFREDO GUZMAN,
MALLY LYON ENCARNACION and DORA LYON DELAS PEAS, respondents.
SYLLABUS
1. REMEDIAL LAW; CIVIL PROCEDURE; JUDGMENT; ONCE IT BECOMES FINAL, MAY NO LONGER BE
MODIFIED IN ANY RESPECT; EXCEPTIONS. In the case of Manning International Corporation v. NLRC, (195
SCRA 155, 161 [1991]) We held that ". . ., nothing is more settled in the law than that when a final judgment becomes
executory, it thereby becomes immutable and unalterable. The judgment may no longer be modified in any respect,
even if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous conclusion of fact or law, and
regardless of whether the modification is attempted to be made by the Court rendering it or by the highest Court of
land. The only recognized exceptions are the correction of clerical errors or the making of so-called nunc pro tunc
entries which cause no prejudice to any party, and, of course, where the judgment is void." Furthermore, "(a)ny
amendment or alteration which substantially affects a final and executory judgment is null and void for lack of
jurisdiction, including the entire proceedings held for that purpose."
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; REMEDY OF AGGRIEVED PARTY. In the case at bar, the decision of the trial court in Civil
Case No. 872 has become final and executory. Thus, upon its finality, the trial judge lost his jurisdiction over the case.
Consequently, any modification that he would make, as in this case, the inclusion of Mary Lyon Martin would be in
excess of his authority. The remedy of Mary Lyon Martin is to file an independent suit against the parties in Civil Case
No. 872 and all other heirs for her share in the subject property, in order that all the parties in interest can prove their
respective claims.
DECISION
CAMPOS, JR., J p:
This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision ** dated February 22, 1990 of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CV No. 14889 entitled "Emma Lyon de Leon, et al., plaintiffs-appellees versus Luisa Lyon Nual, now deceased
herein represented by Albert Nual, et al., defendants appellants," dismissing petitioners' appeal and affirming the
trial court's order *** dated January 9, 1987 for the inclusion of Mary Lyon Martin as one of the heirs who shall benefit
from the partition.
The facts as culled from the records of the case are as follows.
This case originated from a suit docketed as Civil Case No. 872 filed by Emma Lyon de Leon in her behalf and as
guardian ad litem of the minors Helen Sabarre and Kenny Sabarre, Eduardo Guzman, Mercedes Lyon Taupan,
Wilfredo Guzman, Mally Lyon Encarnacion and Dona Lyon de las Peas, (herein private respondents) against Luisa
Lyon Nual, now deceased and herein represented by her heirs, Albert Nual and Anita Nual Hormigos (herein
petitioners), for partition and accounting of a parcel of land located in Isabela, Basilan City. Subject parcel of land was
formerly owned by Frank C. Lyon and May Ekstrom Lyon, deceased parents of Helen, Dona, Luisa, Mary, Frank and
William James. Private respondents claimed that said parcel of land, formerly covered by Transfer Certificate of Title

No. 3141 in the name of Frank C. Lyon, has been in possession of petitioner Luisa Lyon Nual since 1946 and that
she made no accounting of the income derived therefrom, despite demands made by private respondents for the
partition and delivery of their shares.
On December 17, 1974, after trial and hearing, the then Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial court) rendered
its judgment in favor of private respondents and ordered the partition of the property but dismissing private
respondents' complaint for accounting. The dispositive portion of the judgment reads as follows:
"WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the partition of the land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title
No. 3141 among the plaintiffs and defendant. The parties shall make partition among themselves by proper
instruments of conveyance, subject to the Court's confirmation, should the parties be unable to agree on the partition,
the court shall appoint commissioners to make the partition, commanding them to set off to such party in interest
such part and proportion of the property as the Court shall direct. Defendant is further ordered to pay plaintiffs
attorney's fees in the sum of P2,000.00." 1
On July 30, 1982, the order of partition was affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 57265-R. The
case was remanded to the court of origin for the ordered partition. 2
On May 17, 1984, an order for the issuance of the writ of execution was issued by the court a quo. 3
On July 17, 1984, Mary Lyon Martin, daughter of the late Frank C. Lyon and Mary Ekstrom Lyon, assisted by her
counsel filed a motion to quash the order of execution with preliminary injunction. In her motion, she contends that
not being a party to the above-entitled case her rights, interests, ownership and participation over the land should not
be affected by a judgment in the said case; that the order of execution is unenforceable insofar as her share, right,
ownership and participation is concerned, said share not having been brought within the Jurisdiction of the court a
quo. She further invokes Section 12, Rule 69 of the Rules of Court. 4
On June 26, 1985, the trial court issued an order revoking the appointment of the three commissioners and in lieu
thereof, ordered the issuance of a writ of execution. 5
On February 4, 1986, the said court issued an order appointing a Board of Commissioners to effect the partition of
the contested property. 6
On May 28, 1986, the trial court dismissed the motion to quash order of execution with preliminary injunction filed by
Mary Lyon Martin and directed the partition of the property among the original party plaintiffs and defendants. 7
On September 24, 1986, the Commissioners manifested to the trial court that in view of the fact that the name of
Mary Lyon Martin also appears in the Transfer Certificate of Title, she could therefore be construed as one of the
heirs. A ruling from the trial court was then sought. 8
On September 29, 1986, the lower court issued an order directing the counsel of Emma Lyon de Leon to furnish the
court within five days from receipt thereof all the names the of heirs entitled to share in the partition of the subject
property. 9
On October 1, 1986, the petitioners filed a manifestation praying that the court issue an order directing the partition of
the property in consonance the decision dated December 17, 1974 of the trial court the order of said court dated May
28, 1986. 10

Without ruling on the manifestation, the lower court issued an order directing the Board of Commissioners to
immediately partition the said property. 11
On January 3, 1987, the private respondents filed motion for clarification as to whether the partition of property is to
be confined merely among the party plaintiffs and defendants, to the exclusion of Mary Lyon Martin. 12
On January 9, 1987, the lower court issued the assailed order directing the inclusion of Mary Lyon Martin as coowner with a share in the partition of the property, to wit:
"After a perusal of the decision of the Court of Appeals CA-G.R. No. 57265-R, where this case was appealed by the
unsatisfied parties, there is a finding that Mary now Mary Lyon Martin is one of the legitimate children of Frank C.
Lyon and Mary Ekstrom. (Page 3 of the decision).
In view of this finding, it would be unfair and unjust if she would be left out in the partition of this property now
undertaking (sic) by the said court appointed commissioners.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the court appointed commissioners is hereby directed to include Mary Lyon
Martin as co-owner in the said property subject of partition with the corresponding shares adjudicated to her.
SO ORDERED." 13
Petitioners' motion for reconsideration 14 of the aforesaid order was denied by the trial court. 15
On February 22, 1990 the Court of Appeals rendered its decision dismissing petitioners' appeal, the dispositive
portion of which reads as follows:
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, there being no legal impediment to the inclusion of Mary Lyon Martin by the
court-appointed Board of Commissioners as one of the heirs who shall benefit from the partition, the instant appeal is
DISMISSED for lack of merit.
NO COSTS.
SO ORDERED." 16
Petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied on June 6, 1990. 17
Petitioners filed this petition for review alleging that the Court of Appeals has decided questions of substance contrary
to law and the applicable decisions of this Court, for the following reasons:
"1.) BY SUSTAINING THE ORDER OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT DIRECTING THE COURT APPOINTED
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS TO INCLUDE MARY L. MARTIN TO SHARE IN THE PARTITION OF THE
PROPERTY IN LITIGATION DESPITE THE FACT, OVER WHICH THERE IS NO DISPUTE, THAT SHE HAS NOT
LITIGATED EITHER AS A PARTY PLAINTIFF OR DEFENDANT IN CIVIL CASE NO. 872, IT HAS REFUSED TO
RECOGNIZE THAT THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT HAS NO JURISDICTION TO AMEND OR MODIFY THE
JUDGMENT IN CIVIL CASE NO. 872 AND THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT'S ORDER DATED 28 MAY 1986 WHICH
HAS BECOME FINAL AND EXECUTORY.

2.) WHEN THE COURT OF APPEALS HAS CATEGORICALLY STATED THAT MARY L. MARTIN "NEVER
LITIGATED AS ONE OF THE PLAINTIFFS IN SAID CASE," AND HER ONLY PARTICIPATION THEREIN WAS
SIMPLY CONFINED "AS A WITNESS FOR DEFENDANT-SISTER LUISA LY ON NUAL," AND TO ALLOW HER TO
SHARE IN THE PARTITION THIS LATE WITHOUT REQUIRING A PROCEEDING WHERE THE PARTIES COULD
PROVE THEIR RESPECTIVE CLAIMS, IS TANTAMOUNT TO DENYING THE NUALS OF THEIR RIGHT TO DUE
PROCESS. 18
The crux of this case is whether of not the trial court may order the inclusion of Mary L. Martin as co-heir entitled to
participate in the partition of the property considering that she was neither a party plaintiff nor a party defendant in
Civil Case No. 872 for partition and accounting of the aforesaid property and that the decision rendered in said case
has long become final and executory.
Petitioners contend that the trial court's decision dated December 14, 1974 in Civil Case No. 872 ordering the
partition of the parcel of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3141 among plaintiffs and defendants has
long become final and executory. Hence the trial court has no jurisdiction to issue the questioned Order dated
January 9, 1987 ordering the Board of Commissioners to include Mary Lyon Martin to share in the partition of said
property despite the fact that she was not a party to the said case. Said Order, therefore, resulted in an amendment
or modification of its decision rendered in Civil Case No. 872.
We find merit in the instant petition.
In the ease of Manning International Corporation v. NLRC, 19 We held that ". . ., nothing is more settled in the law
than that when a final judgment becomes executory, it thereby becomes immutable and unalterable. The judgment
may no longer be modified in any respect, even if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an
erroneous conclusion of fact or law, and regardless of whether the modification is attempted to be made by the Court
rendering it or by the highest Court of land. The only recognized exceptions are the correction of clerical errors or the
making of so-called nunc pro tunc (to correct past clerical errors, or omissions made by the court, that may hinder the
efficient operation of the legal system, to correct errors or omissions to achieve the results intended by the court at
an earlier time) entries which cause no prejudice to any party, and, of course, where the judgment is void."
Furthermore, "(a)ny amendment. or alteration which substantially affects a final and executory judgment is null and
void for lack of jurisdiction, including the entire proceedings held for that purpose." 20
In the case at bar, the decision of the trial court in Civil Case No. 872 has become final and executory. Thus, upon its
finality, the trial judge lost his jurisdiction over the case. Consequently, any modification that he would make, as in this
case, the inclusion of Mary Lyon Martin would be in excess of his authority.
The remedy of Mary Lyon Martin is to file an independent suit against the parties in Civil Case No. 872 and all other
heirs for her share in the subject property, in order that all the parties in interest can prove their respective claims.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Order dated January 9, 1987 of the trial Court as affirmed by the Court
of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The decision of the trial court dated December 17, 1974 in Civil
Case No. 872 is hereby REINSTATED.
SO ORDERED.

ROMEO J. ORDOEZ, Petitioner, vs. THE HON. ALFREDO J. GUSTILO, in his capacity as presiding judge of
Regional Trial Court of Cavite, Branch XVI, Cavite City, Municipality of Rosario, Cavite, former Mayor Calixto
D. Enriquez of Rosario, Cavite, and Valeriano Espiritu of Mabolo, Bacoor, Cavite, Respondents.
DECISION
PARAS, J.:
This is a petition for Certiorari which seeks to annul, on the ground of grave abuse of discretion, the (1) Decision
dated May 24, 1985; (2) Order dated May 27, 1987 and (3) Order dated December 24, 1987, all issued in Civil Case
No. N-4367 of the Regional Trial Court of Cavite, Branch XVI, Cavite City entitled "Valeriano Espiritu v. Municipality of
Rosario, Province of Cavite and Hon. Calixto D. Enriquez in his capacity as Municipal Mayor of Rosario, Cavite.
The pertinent background facts are:
Valeriano Espiritu, herein private respondent filed on April 22, 1983, a complaint for Specific Performance and
Damages, against respondents Municipality of Rosario, Cavite and Calixto Enriquez, the latter in his capacity as
Mayor of said municipality, to enforce their agreement contained in a Reclamation Contract. In his complaint, Espiritu
prayed that the Municipality of Rosario, together with Enriquez, be ordered to convey to him 323,996 square meters
of the reclaimed portion of the foreshore land of the town. Espiritu filed the action in his capacity as the assignee of
the Salinas Development Corporation (SADECO), the entity which reclaimed the area in question by virtue of a
Reclamation Contract entered into between it and the Municipality of Rosario, represented by Enriquez as Municipal
Mayor. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. 4367 of the Regional Trial Court of Cavite, Fourth Judicial Region,
Branch XVI, Cavite City.
In its answer, defendant municipality resisted plaintiff's claim stating that it was barred by the statute of limitation; the
contract has been substantially amended, modified and supplemented; and plaintiff has not performed his reciprocal
obligation.- nad
The barangay captain of Tejeros Convention, Rosario, Cavite, herein petitioner Romeo J. Ordoez, together with
seven (7) other municipal and barangay officials intervened, and in their Answer-in-Intervention, they alleged that no
actual reclamation was done by the plaintiff and the area being claimed by the plaintiff came about by natural
accretion; the reclamation contract between the contractor and the municipality is either void, voidable or
disadvantageous to the defendant municipality.
The issues having been joined the trial court set the case for the mandatory pre-trial conference on November 15,
1984.
At this scheduled pre-trial conference, all the litigants including the intervenors, with their respective counsel, were
present. In said conference, plaintiff Espiritu and defendant municipality, manifested to the court that having arrived at
a satisfactory settlement, they would submit a compromise agreement at a latter date.
On the other hand, the intervenors asked the court that they be allowed to present their evidence to prove their
defense asserted in their answer-in-intervention. For the said purpose, hearing was held on December 13, 1984
wherein Ernesto Andico, vice-mayor testified. Another hearing was also held on January 24, 1985 where ViceGovernor Jose M. Ricafrente, Jr. of the Province of Cavite, and petitioner's counsel in the instant case, also testified.
On May 20, 1985, the principal litigants filed with respondent trial court their promised compromise agreement. The
parties agreed that 208,664 square meters of the reclaimed area were to be alloted to the plaintiff and 211,311
square meters thereof were to be given to defendant municipality.

On May 24, 1985, the trial court approved the compromise agreement and rendered a decision in accordance
therewith. The intervenors received their copy of the decision on September 19, 1985 thru Vice-Mayor Ernesto
Andico. The decision being already final, it was duly executed to the satisfaction of the principal litigants.
On October 17, 1985 and July 2, 1987 additional hearings were held where the intervenors presented three (3)
additional witnesses.
On June 24, 1987, the intervenors filed a motion to set aside the compromise agreement dated May 15, 1985. This
was denied by the trial court, thru respondent Judge Alfredo Gustilo (the former presiding judge, Judge Alejandro
Silapan having already retired) in its Order dated November 27, 1987, the pertinent portion of which reads as follows:
"It appears that on May 24, 1985, the former Presiding Judge of this Court approved the said Compromise
Agreement and rendered a judgment on the basis thereof. It is settled that a judgment approving a compromise
agreement is final and immediately executory. (Samonte v. Samonte, 64 SCRA 524). The motion in question
therefore cannot be granted as it has the effect of annulling the judgment of this Court which has already become
final and, according to the plaintiff, already executed.
"The Motion to Set Aside Compromise Agreement cannot even be considered as a motion for reconsideration
because the Court can no longer set aside, amend or modify its judgment which has become final. Neither can the
said motion be deemed as a petition for relief under Rule 38 of the Rules of Court, since to set aside a judgment
based upon a compromise agreement under the said Rule, the petition for relief must be filed not later than six (6)
months from the date it was rendered. (Bodiongan v. Ceniza, 102 Phil. 750). The decision of the Court based on the
Compromise Agreement was rendered on May 24, 1985. On the other hand, the present Motion to Set Aside
Compromise Agreement was filed only on June 24, 1987. Moreover, under Section 3 of Rule 38, the petition for relief
from judgment should be filed within 60 days after the petitioner learns of the judgment sought to be set aside. The
intervenor in this case received a copy of the decision based on the Compromise Agreement on September 19, 1985.
If the instant motion be construed as an independent action to annul a judgment, this Court would not have
jurisdiction over it inasmuch as under Section 9 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, the Judiciary Reorganization Act of
1980, an action for the annulment of a judgment of the Regional Trial Court falls under the exclusive original
jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals.chanrobles virtual law library
Additionally, the intervenors have not convincingly shown that defendant Mayor Enriquez was not authorized to sign
the Compromise Agreement in behalf of the Municipality of Rosario. On the contrary, the Mayor has in his favor the
presumption that official duty has been regularly performed. (Sec. 5 [m], Rule 131, Rules of Court.) Likewise, they
failed to sufficiently explain why and how the terms and conditions of the Compromise Agreement have contravened
the law, morals, good customs and public policy." (pp. 41-42, Rollo).
Meanwhile, on August 10, 1987, plaintiff Espiritu filed a manifestation and Motion praying that the proceedings be
terminated and that the case be considered closed, which motion respondent judge granted in his Order dated
December 24, 1987. The pertinent portion of the said Order reads
"In support of his motion to terminate the proceedings, the plaintiff argued that further trial in this case will be an
exercise in futility, considering that the issues raised by the intervenors have become moot and academic in view of
the decision of the Court based on the Compromise Agreement submitted by the plaintiff and the defendants.
"This contention appears to be well taken. The decision of the Court based on the Compromise Agreement has in
effect resolved the issues raised by the intervenors, i.e., whether the reclamation contract entered into between the
town of Rosario and the Salinas Development Corporation, the predecessors-in-interest of the plaintiff, is null and
void; and whether or not there was actual reclamation done by the said entity. This is so, for the decision of the Court
based on the Compromise Agreement has impliedly recognized the validity of the said reclamation contract and the
fact that the tract of land divided between the plaintiff and the defendant municipality of Rosario pursuant to the
Compromise Agreement was the product of the reclamation efforts undertaken by the Salinas Development
Corporation, which subsequently assigned its rights to the plaintiff.

"The continuation of the trial in this case will be useless. Should the intervenors fail to adduce evidence showing that
the reclamation contract was null and void and that no actual reclamation was undertaken by the Salinas
Development Corporation, the correctness and propriety of the decision of the Court based on the Compromise
Agreement would be strengthened. Even if they would succeed in proving that the reclamation contract was null and
void and that the area in question came into being through the natural action of the sea and not through the
reclamation done by the Salinas Development Corporation, still the said decision could no longer be set aside,
inasmuch as it has already become final and, according to the plaintiff, already executed. The continuation of the
reception of the evidence for the intervenors clearly appears to serve no purpose at all.
xxx
"WHEREFORE, the Manifestation and Motion dated August 6, 1987, filed by the plaintiff, is granted, and the
trial of this case is declared terminated and this case is considered closed.
"This order modifies the pre-trial order dated November 15, 1984 of this Court, insofar as the said order has
allowed the intervenors to adduce evidence in support of their contention that the land in question was not
reclaimed by the plaintiff or his predecessor-in-interest but the product of accretion, and that the reclamation
contract between the defendants and the Salinas Development Corporation was null and void.: rd
"SO ORDERED." (pp. 45-47, Rollo)
In assailing the aforementioned Decision and Orders of the trial court, petitioner Romeo Ordoez (one of the
intervenors, the other seven intervenors did not join him in this petition) raises the following issues, to wit:
1. Whether or not the lower court erred in stopping/preventing the intervenors from further presenting their evidence
in support of their Answer-in-Intervention.
2. Whether or not the lower court erred in approving the compromise agreement of May 20, 1985 and rendering a
decision based thereon dated May 24, 1985, inspite of the clear lack of authority on the part of respondent Calixto D.
Enriquez to bind the Municipality of Rosario because of the absence of an enabling ordinance from the Sangguniang
Bayan of Rosario, Cavite empowering him to enter into said compromise agreement.
We answer both issues in the negative.
Intervention is defined as a "proceeding in a suit or action by which a third person is permitted by the court to make
himself a party, either joining plaintiff in claiming what is sought by the complaint, or uniting with defendant in resisting
the claims of plaintiff, or demanding something adversely to both of them; the act or proceeding by which a third
person becomes a party in a suit pending between others; the admission, by leave of court, of a person not an
original party to pending legal proceedings, by which such person becomes a party thereto for the protection of some
right or interest alleged by him to be affected by such proceedings." (Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. v. the Presiding
Judge, RTC Manila, Branch 39, et al., G.R. No. 89909, September 21, 1990)
An intervention has been regarded as "merely collateral or accessory or ancillary to the principal action and not an
independent proceeding; an interlocutory proceeding dependent on or subsidiary to, the case between the original
parties." (Francisco, Rules of Court, Vol. 1) The main action having ceased to exist, there is no pending proceeding
whereon the intervention may be based. (Barangay Matictic v. Elbinias, 148 SCRA 83, 89).
As we recently ruled in Camacho v. Hon. Court of Appeals, et al., G.R. No. 79564, December 24, 1989
"There is no question that intervention is only collateral or ancillary to the main action. Hence, it was
previously ruled that the final dismissal of the principal action results in the dismissal of said ancillary
action." (Emphasis supplied)
A judgment approving a compromise agreement is final and immediately executory. (Samonte v. Samonte, 64 SCRA
524) All pending issues will become moot and academic once a compromise submitted by the parties is approved by
the trial court. (Berenguer v. Arcangel, 149 SCRA 164)

In the case at bar, the compromise agreement submitted by the plaintiff and the defendants and the decision
approving the same recognized the validity of the Reclamation Contract and the fact that the tract of land involved
was the result of the reclamation done by SADECO. In their answer-in-intervention, petitioner alleges that there was
no reclamation undertaken by SADECO, that the land in question was the result of accretion from the sea and that
the Reclamation Contract is null and void. Clearly then, the compromise agreement and the decision had in effect
resolved the aforementioned issues raised by the intervenors. As aptly observed by the trial court, the continuation of
the reception of the intervenors' evidence would serve no purpose at all. Should intervenors fail to prove that the
Reclamation Contract is null and void and that no actual reclamation was made, the correctness and propriety of the
decision based on the compromise agreement would be strengthened. Upon the other hand, should they succeed in
proving that the contract is null and void, and that the area in question came into being through the natural action of
the sea, still the decision of the lower court could no longer be set aside, inasmuch as it has already become final
and executed.:-cralaw
There is, therefore, no merit to the claim of petitioner that the lower court "unceremoniously terminated the
proceedings" even "without the intervenors completing their evidence." (Memorandum for Petitioner, p. 140, 143,
Rollo) Precisely, the court a quo gave credence and weight to the compromise agreement and denied the claims of
the intervenors which were controverting the theories of the plaintiff and the defendants. In other words, due process
had been accorded the intervenors. It would have been different had the court not taken into consideration the claims
of the intervenors.
The petitioner cannot claim ignorance of the filing of the compromise agreement. As can be gleaned from the pre-trial
order, the intervenors were represented during the pre-trial conferences, where the plaintiff and the defendants
intimated that they would submit a compromise agreement. The intervenors did not interpose any opposition to the
manifestation of the plaintiff and defendants that they would be amicably settling their dispute. The compromise
agreement was filed in court on May 20, 1985. It was approved by the lower court on May 24, 1986. Before its
approval no opposition had been filed questioning its legality. The intervenors received their copy of the decision on
September 19, 1985. They did not file any motion for reconsideration to suspend its finality. It was only on June 24,
1987, or after the lapse of almost two (2) years when they filed a motion to set aside the compromise agreement. It
should be emphasized at this juncture that the decision based on the compromise agreement had long been
executed.
Anent the other issue raised whether or not respondent mayor needed another authority from the Sangguniang
Bayan to sign the compromise agreement, suffice it to state that the mayor need not secure another authority from
the Sandiganbayan under Section 141 (c) and (i) of the Local Government Code, which state that
"Section 141. (1) The Mayor shall be the Chief Executive of the municipal government and shall exercise
such powers, duties and functions as provided in this code and other laws. (2) He shall:
xxx
'(c) Represent the municipality in its business transactions and sign on its behalf all contracts,
obligations and official documents made in accordance with law or ordinance.: rd
'(i) Direct the formulation of municipal development plans and programs, and once approved by the
Sangunian Bayan, supervise and direct the execution and implementation thereof.'" (p. 115, Rollo)
because the execution of the Compromise Agreement is but an act implementing the reclamation contract duly
approved by the Sangguniang Bayan.
Further, the terms and conditions of the compromise agreement are beneficial to the municipality because the share
of Espiritu has been reduced considerably from the 80% agreed upon in the reclamation contract.
WHEREFORE, for lack of merit, the petition is DISMISSED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.

.R. No. 89909 September 21, 1990


METROPOLITAN
BANK
AND
TRUST
COMPANY, petitioner,
vs.
THE PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, Manila Branch 39, RAYCOR AIRCONTROL SYSTEM, INC.
and COURT OF APPEALS,* respondent.
Balane, Barican, Cruz, Alampay Law Office for petitioner.
Bito, Lozada, Ortega & Castillo for private respondent.

REGALADO, J.:
Before the Court for review on certiorari is the decision of respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 17341,
dated July 19, 1989, 1 dismissing petitioner's original action for certiorari and mandamus which seeks to set aside the
order of the trial court dated June 2, 1988, allowing the intervention suit therein to proceed, and its order of January
11, 1989, admitting the amended complaint in intervention.
The proceedings in the court below from which this appeal arose, as found by respondent Court of Appeals, are as
follows:
Petitioner Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. (Metropolitan) in whose favor a deed of chattel
mortgage was executed by Good Earth Emporium, Inc. (GEE) over certain air conditioning units
installed in the GEE building, filed a complaint for replevin against Uniwide Sales, Inc. (Uniwide, for
brevity) and the BPI Investment Corporation and several other banks collectively called BPIConsortium, for the recovery of the possession of the air-conditioning units or in the event they may
not be recovered, for the defendants which acquired the GEE building in an auction sale, (to) be
required, jointly and severally, to pay the plaintiff the unpaid obligations on the units.
Per paragraph 3.11.3 of its complaint, plaintiff Metrobank alleged that the air-conditioning units
were installed on a loan of P4,900,000.00 it extended to Good Earth Emporium & Supermarket,
Inc. in its building located at Rizal Avenue, Sta. Cruz, Manila, after the land and building had been
foreclosed and purchased on June 3, 1983 at public auction by the defendants, except Uniwide,
and in order to secure repayment of the loan, a deed of chattel mortgage was constituted over the
personal properties listed in the deed which included the airconditioning units.
It also alleged in par. 3.11.2 of the complaint, that '(T)he loan proceeds were used by GEE to
finance the acquisition of airconditioning equipment from Reycor (sic) Air Control System, Inc.
(amounting to P4,250,000.00 and installation costs of P650,000.00) under an Agreement of Sale
dated 29 June 1984' (Annex A, Petition, Id., pp. 23-24).
The defendants filed their Answer, Uniwide on July 25, 1986 (Annex B, Petition, Id., pp. 32-48) and
the defendants (presumably the rest of the defendants), on July 14, 1986 (Annex C, Petition, Id.,
pp. 3949).

On July 17, 1986, Raycor Air Control Systems, Inc. filed a motion for leave to intervene alleging' it
has a direct and immediate interest on the subject matter of the litigation such that it will either gain
or lose by the direct legal operation and effect of the judgment' and attached the 'Intervention
Complaint'(Annex D, Petition, Id., pp. 49-52). There was no opposition to the motion and the
intervention complaint was admitted by the lower court per its order dated August 8, 1986.
Metrobank on November 19, 1986, filed its Answer To The Intervention Complaint (Annex E,
Petition,Id., pp. 53-59).
On August 3, 1987, the lower court set the case for trial on the merits on September 15, 1987 but
before the date of the trial, on September 7, 1987, plaintiff Metrobank and the defendants Uniwide
and BPI Consortium, filed a motion for postponement of the scheduled hearing on September 15,
1987 and asked for thirty (30) days from September 15 within which to submit a compromise
agreement. On March 15, 1988, plaintiff Metrobank and defendants BPI Consortium filed a joint
motion to dismiss the complaint and on March 18, 1988, the lower court issued the order
dismissing the complaint with prejudice (Annex D to Comment of Raycor Air Control System, Inc.,
Rollo, p. 108).
On April 19, 1988, private respondent filed a motion for reconsideration of the order dismissing the
complaint with prejudice, claiming it was not furnished with copy of the joint motion for dismissal
and that it received the order of dismissal only on April 4, 1988. On June 2, 1988, the respondent
court issued the order granting the motion for reconsideration filed by the intervenor (Annex I,
Petition, Id., p. 67) which order is now subject of present petition for certiorari.
On August 2, 1988, private respondent (Raycor) filed a motion to admit amended complaint (Annex
F, Intervenor's Comment, Id., p. 110) and attached the Amended Intervention Complaint (Annex J,
Petition, Id., pp. 68-73) to the motion. To this motion, plaintiff Metrobank filed an opposition (Annex
K, Petition, Id., pp. 71-76) and after the intervenor had filed their Reply (Annex L, Petition, Id., pp.
77-81) and the plaintiff a Rejoinder (Annex M, Petition, Id., pp. 82-87), on January 11, 1989, the
respondent court issued the order admitting the amended complaint in intervention (Annex N,
Petition, Id., p. 88). This is the other order which is subject of the petition for certiorari.
On February 9, 1989, plaintiff Metrobank filed a motion for extension for 15 days or until February
24, 1988 within which to file its answer to the amended complaint in intervention and the intervenor
on February 17, 1989 filed an opposition to Metrobank's motion and at the same time moved that
Metrobank be declared in default on the amended complaint in intervention. The respondent court
granted Metrobank's motion and on February 18, 1989, Metrobank filed its Answer to the Amended
Complaint in Intervention with Counterclaim. 2
On April 14, 1989, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus with respondent Court of Appeals contending
that the lower court committed a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction in allowing, per its order of
June 2, 1988, the intervention suit to survive despite the dismissal of the main action and also in admitting, per its
order of January 11, 1989, the amended complaint in intervention. 3
As earlier stated, the Court of Appeals found no merit in the petition and dismissed the same on July 19, 1989.
Petitioner is now before us raising the same issues and arguments. We agree with the Court of Appeals that the
lower court was innocent of any grave abuse of discretion in issuing the orders complained of.

The contention of petitioner that the order of the lower court, dated June 2, 1988, has the effect of allowing the
intervention suit to prosper despite the dismissal of the main action obviously cannot be upheld.
There is here no final dismissal of the main case. The aforementioned order of the lower court has the effect not only
of allowing the intervention suit to proceed but also of vacating its previous order of dismissal. The reinstatement of
the case in order to try and determine the claims and rights of the intervenor is proper. The joint motion of therein
plaintiff and the original defendants to dismiss the case, without notice to and consent of the intervenor, has the effect
of putting to rest only the respective claims of the said original parties inter se but the same cannot in any way affect
the claim of private respondent which was allowed by the court to intervene without opposition from the original
parties. A resume of pertinent rulings on the matter would be in order.
Intervention is defined as "a proceeding in a suit or action by which a third person is permitted by the court to make
himself a party, either joining plaintiff in claiming what is sought by the complaint, or uniting with defendant in resisting
the claims of plaintiff, or demanding something adversely to both of them; the act or proceeding by which a third
person becomes a party in a suit pending between others; the admission, by leave of court, of a person not an
original party to pending legal proceedings, by which such person becomes a party thereto for the protection of some
right of interest alleged by him to be affected by such proceedings." 4
Any person who has or claims an interest in the matter in litigation, in the success of either of the parties to an action,
or against both, may intervene in such action, and when he has become a party thereto it is error for the court to
dismiss the action, including the intervention suit on the basis of an agreement between the original parties to the
action. Any settlement made by the plaintiff and the defendant is necessarily ineffective unless the intervenor is a
party to it. 5
By the very definition of "intervention," the intervenor is a party to the action as the original parties and to make his
right effectual he must necessarily have the same power as the original parties, subject to the authority of the court
reasonably to control the proceedings in the case. 6
Having been permitted to become a party in order to better protect his interests, an intervenor is entitled to have the
issues raised between him and the original parties tried and determined. 7 He had submitted himself and his cause of
action to the jurisdiction of the court and was entitled to relief as though he were himself a party in the action. 8
After the intervenor has appeared in the action, the plaintiff has no absolute right to put the intervenor out of court by
the dismissal of the action. The parties to the original suit have no power to waive or otherwise annul the substantial
rights of the intervenor. When an intervening petition has been filed, a plaintiff may not dismiss the action in any
respect to the prejudice of the intervenor. 9
It has even been held that the simple fact that the trial court properly dismissed plaintiff s action does not require
dismissal of the action of the intervenor. 10 An intervenor has the right to claim the benefit of the original suit and to
prosecute it to judgment. The right cannot be defeated by dismissal of the suit by the plaintiff after the filing of the
petition and notice thereof to the other parties. A person who has an interest in the subject matter of the action has
the right, on his own motion, to intervene and become a party to the suit, and even after the complaint has been
dismissed, may proceed to have any actual controversy established by the pleadings determined in such action. The
trial court's dismissal of plaintiffs action does not require dismissal of the action of the intervenor. 11
The intervenor in a pending case is entitled to be heard like any other party. 12 A claim in intervention that seeks
affirmative relief prevents a plaintiff from taking a voluntary dismissal of the main action. 13 Where a complaint in

intervention was filed before plaintiff's action had been expressly dismissed, the intervenor's complaint was not
subject to dismissal on the ground that no action was pending, since dismissal of plaintiffs action did not affect the
rights of the intervenor or affect the dismissal of intervenor's complaint. 14 An intervenor's petition showing it to be
entitled to affirmative relief will be preserved and heard regardless of the disposition of the principal action. 15
As we ruled in Camacho vs. Hon. Court of Appeals, et al., 16 the rationale whereof is clearly applicable to the present
controversyThere is no question that intervention is only collateral or ancillary to the main action. Hence, it was
previously ruled that the final dismissal of the principal action results in the dismissal of said
ancillary action. The main action having ceased to exist, there is no pending proceeding whereon
the intervention may be based. In the case at bar, however, there was no such final or complete
dismissal but rather an approval of a compromise agreement which was embodied in what was
specifically designated as a 'Partial Decision' affecting only the interests of herein petitioner and the
defendant in said case but not those of her co-plaintiff municipality and the intervenor. The clear
intent of the court below in making the partial decision is to make a reservation to determine the
rights of the intervenor and, presumably, the plaintiff municipality. There may be nothing much left
to be done with respect to the main case but as far as the proceedings in the trial court are
concerned, the controversy therein has not been fully settled and the disposition of the case is
definitely incomplete.
Moreover, to require private respondent to refile another case for the settlement of its claim will result in unnecessary
delay and expenses and will entail multiplicity of suits and, therefore, defeat the very purpose of intervention which is
to hear and determine at the same time all conflicting claims which may be made on the subject matter in litigation,
and to expedite litigation and settle in one action and by a single judgment the whole controversy among the persons
involved. 17
On the propriety of the order dated January 11, 1988, admitting private respondent's amended complaint in
intervention, we sustain respondent Court of Appeals in upholding the same. Incidentally, it will be recalled that
petitioner was granted the opportunity to file, as it did file, its answer to the amended complaint in intervention and it
even interposed a counterclaim in the process.
Now, the granting of leave to file an amended pleading is a matter particularly addressed to the sound discretion of
the trial court and that discretion is broad, subject only to the limitations that the amendments should not substantially
change the cause of action or alter the theory of the case or that it was made to delay the action. 18Once exercised,
that discretion will not be disturbed on appeal, except in case of abuse thereof. 19
In the case at bar, a reading of the amended complaint in intervention shows that it merely supplements an
incomplete allegation of the cause of action stated in the original complaint so as to submit the real matter in dispute.
Contrary to petitioner's contention, it does not substantially change intervenor's cause of action or alter the theory of
the case, hence its allowance is in order.
As aptly stated by the Court of Appeals:
In both the Intervention Complaint and the Amended Complaint in Intervention, the private
respondent seeks the payment to it of the amount of P150,000.00 which should have been paid to
it from out of the P650,000.00 which the petitioner as plaintiff in CC 86-3618 had referred to in

pars. 3.11.2 and 3.11.3 of its complaint as cost of installation of the airconditioning units under the
agreement of sale (between plaintiff Metrobank and GEE Inc). dated June 29, 1984 and so
basically, the Amended Complaint In Intervention did not really detract or depart from that basic
claim. 20
In determining whether a different cause of action is introduced by amendments to the complaint, what is to be
ascertained is whether the defendant shall be required to answer for a liability or legal obligation wholly different from
that which was stated in the original complaint. An amendment will not be considered as stating a new cause of
action if the facts alleged in the amended complaint show substantially the same wrong with respect to the same
transaction, or if what are alleged refer to the same matter but are more fully and differently stated, or where
averments which were implied are made in expressed terms, and the subject of the controversy or the liability sought
to be enforced remains the same. 21
The courts should be liberal in allowing amendments to pleadings to avoid multiplicity of suits and in order that the
real controversies between the parties are presented, their rights determined and the case decided on the merits
without unnecessary delay. 22 This liberality is greatest in the early stages of a lawsuit, 23 especially in this case where
the amendment to the complaint in intervention was made before trial of the case thereby giving petitioner all the time
allowed by law to answer and to prepare for trial.
On the issue regarding the propriety of the intervention, suffice it to state that petitioner's failure to interpose a timely
objection when the motion for leave to intervene was filed by private respondent bars the former from belatedly
questioning the validity of the same on appeal. In any event, the trial court duly considered the circumstances and
granted the motion, which order was not seasonably questioned by petitioner thus evincing its approval of the court's
action.
WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error, the petition is DENIED and the judgment of respondent Court of Appeals
is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Melencio-Herrera (Chairman) and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.
Padilla, J., took no part.
Paras, J., is on leave.
G.R. No. L-13463

November 9, 1918

H.
C.
vs.
THE PHILIPPINE VEGETABLE OIL COMPANY, defendant-appellee.
Kincaid
&
Hartigan & Welch for appellee.

Perkins

LIEBENOW, plaintiff-appellant,

for

appellant.

STREET, J.:
This action was instituted by the plaintiff, H. C. Liebenow, on May 11, 1917, in the Court of First Instance of the city of
Manila against the defendant, the Philippine Vegetable Oil Company, a corporation engaged in the manufacture of
coconut oil in the city of Manila. The purpose of the proceeding is to recover a sum of money to which the plaintiff
considers himself entitled by way of a bonus in addition to the salary earned by him while in the employment of the
defendant company as superintendent of its factory in the district of Nagtahan, city of Manila. At the hearing in the
Court of First Instance judgment was entered against the plaintiff, absolving the defendant from the complaint, and
the plaintiff has appealed.
The contract under which the plaintiff rendered the service to which reference has been made is expressed in a letter
of March 17, 1914, written by the president of the Philippine Vegetable Oil Company to Liebenow as follows:
We hereby confirm conversation had on yesterday by our Mr. Vorster and yourself to the effect that this
company engages your services as superintendent of its factory at Nagtahan for the period of one year from
April 1st, 1914, at a monthly compensation of P500 (five hundred pesos) and living quarters and such
further amount in the way of bonus as the board of directors may see fit to grant you.
In conformity with this agreement, the plaintiff entered upon the discharge of his duties as superintendent of the
factory aforesaid on April 1, 1914, and continued to render service in this capacity not only for the period of one year
specified in the contract, but for an additional period of four months, or until August 1, 1916, when his services
terminated. At some time during the course of this employment, the exact date of which does not appear, the monthly
salary of P500 was raised to P750, but the contract was not otherwise changed. After the employment ceased the
defendant company continued to deliver to the plaintiff each month a check for P750, the equivalent of the salary he
had been receiving. These payments were continued until the total sum of P4,500 had been thus paid.
The plaintiff alleges in his complaint that by reason of his skill and ability the defendant's plant was made much more
productive and its profits thereby enormously increased. It is not denied that the service rendered was satisfactory to
the company, and the court found that during the time the plaintiff was employed as superintendent the output of the
plant had increased and the cost of operation had diminished, with consequent profit to the defendant company.
It is the plaintiff's contention that the stipulation contained in the letter of March 17, 1914, to the effect that the plaintiff
should receive such further amount in the way of bonus, over and above salary, as the board of directors might see fit
to grant has not been satisfied. The P4,500, which he received in the form of a monthly check of P750 for six
successive months after the termination of his services, seems to be considered by the plaintiff purely in the light of a
free gift, and it is insisted that this money was not paid to him in satisfaction, in whole or in part, of the stipulated
bonus. We cannot concur in this suggestion. It is true that the directors did not by anticipation declare that these
payments should be considered in the light of a "bonus;" and a resolution to this effect was not adopted by them until
after the trial in the Court of First Instance had commenced. This circumstance we consider unimportant. The money
thus paid was in addition to salary; and it came from the same source and was paid by the same authority as any
bonus that might have been awarded to him. The fact that the money was not so labelled is immaterial.
The plaintiff, however, contends that he is entitled to a bonus to be fixed by the court as a reasonable participation in
the increased profits of the factory under his care, taking into consideration his technical skill and the greater output
resulting therefrom. He believes that the increased profits of the enterprise due directly to this efficiency amounted to
at least P100,000; and he suggests, as the lowest proper minimum that he should be awarded an amount sufficient
to raise his salary for the whole period to the sum of P12,000 per annum, the amount supposedly paid to his

predecessor. This last suggestion is based on the circumstance that, upon a certain occasion, he talked to the
company's manager about the amount of the bonus which he would expect to receive and informed the manager that
he would not be satisfied with less than his predecessor had been accustomed to receive. The manager, so the
plaintiff says, expressed his conformity with this idea.
The solution of the case makes it necessary to consider the legal effect of the stipulation inserted in the contract in
question to the effect that the plaintiff should be entitled to such further amount in the way of bonus as the board of
directors might see fit to grant.
We see no reason to doubt that a promise of this character creates a legal obligation binding upon the promisor,
although in its actual results it may not infrequently prove to be illusory. Such a promise is not, in our opinion,
nugatory, under article 1115 of the Civil Code, as embodying a condition dependent exclusively upon the will of the
obligor. Nor can it be held invalid under article 1256 of the same Code, which declares that the validity and
performance of a contract cannot be left to the will of one of the contracting parties. The uncertainty of the amount to
be paid by way of bonus is also no obstacle to the validity of the contract (article 1273, Civil Code); since the contract
itself specifies the manner in which the amount payable is to be determined, namely, by the exercise of the judgment
and discretion of the employer.
The validity of the promise being conceded, the question which arises next is: What is necessary to satisfy it? Upon
this point it must be obvious that the obligation can only be satisfied when something has been paid as a bonus by or
with the approval of the boar of directors. In the case before us the promise to pay a bonus is absolute and
unconditional. The payment is not conditioned upon satisfactory service, nor upon the duration of the service, nor
upon the profits which may accrue to the employer from the efficiency of the employee. All these elements might and
naturally would operate upon the minds and discretion of the directors in fixing the amount of the bonus, but they are
wholly unconnected with the legal right of the plaintiff to receive something as a bonus.itc@a1f
The amount of the bonus, it will be observed, is left by the contract to the discretion of the board of directors. Now,
when that discretion has once been exercised and a bonus has been pa by the directors or by the officers of the
company, with the approval, express or implied, of the directors, can that discretion be judicially reviewed? We are of
the opinion that it cannot. The parties stipulate that the discretion to be exercised was the discretion of the directors;
and there would be a very manifest infringement of the contract, if we were to substitute in place of the discretion of
the directors the discretion of any other person or body whomsoever.
Practical considerations point to the same conclusion. An employer, in determining what amount to award as a
bonus, naturally and properly considers many things a court could not well take into account, as for instance, the
personal peculiarities which make one man more acceptable or more serviceable in the employment than another. In
the complex enterprises of modern industry, especially, would it be difficult for a court to undertake to say just what
any particular employee might be entitled to. The best course, we think, in such a case as this, is to recognize that
the contracting parties have placed the discretion to determine the amount of the bonus in the hands of the employer,
and to hold them bound by than.
But it is suggested that where a contract of service provides for a salary in a fixed sum and an additional sum to be
paid by way of bonus, the whole contract is to be taken together, and it is to be considered as having about the same
effect as if the parties, recognizing the inadequacy of the amount fixed as salary, had agreed that a further bonus
should be paid sufficient to raise the amount to what should be considered adequate upon the basis of aquantum
meruit. A more reasonable construction and in our opinion one which approximates more closely to the evident
intention of the parties is to hold that the fixed salary was adjusted with a view to compensate the employee so far

as those elements are concerned which could properly be taken into consideration in fixing aquantum meruit and that
the bonus was intended to be a mere gratuity the amount of which should be determined exclusively in the discretion
of the employer.
If, as supposed, the contracting parties are really bound by the stipulation which leaves the determination of the
amount of the bonus to the employer, two consequences necessarily follow. The first is that where something or other
is paid by way of a bonus upon such a contract, even though only a nominal amount, the obligation is satisfied. The
other is that, if nothing at all is paid, the employee can recover in a legal action only nominal damages. Such a
contract contains nothing which could serve as the basis of a title to special damages and affords no measure by
which the amount of such damages could be ascertained.
It therefore becomes a matter of little or no practical importance whether the sum of P4,500, which was paid to the
plaintiff after he quit work for the defendant, was paid as a bonus or not; for even if it were not so paid, the plaintiff
could in this action recover no more than mere nominal damages.
A question which we consider of much importance is presented in an assignment of error directed to the action of the
trial court with reference to a subpoena duces tecum which the plaintiff caused to be issued a few days prior to the
hearing in the Court of First Instance. Said subpoena was directed to the managing director of the Philippine
Vegetable Oil Company and commanded him to produce in court upon the day set for the hearing of the cause the
following documents. records, and papers relative to the company's business, to wit:
(1) All Daily Mill reports showing daily output of oil and cake and consumption of copra of the P. V. O. Co.,
from April 1, 1913, to March 31, 1915, both inclusive.
(2) All shipping reports of oil said company for the same period.
(3) All records showing cost of all shipments of oil made by said company, both in bulk and barrels for the
same period.
(4) All records of all demurrage charges on said shipments for the same period.
(5) All records of receipts, expenses and profits from operation of the company's mill and all operating
charges and costs of said mill for the same period.
(6) All records and vouchers showing the salary and all other sums paid to Mr. Thompson, the company's
mill superintendent, or mill manager, during the entire period of his employment as well as all sums paid to
him thereafter.lawphil.net
When the case was called for hearing the attorney for the defendant moved the court to vacate this subpoena on the
ground that the plaintiff was not entitled to require the production of the documents called for. The court reserved the
matter for later determination and in the end ruled that the evidence which the plaintiff sought to elicit was irrelevant.
The witness was therefore excused from producing the papers mentioned in the subpoenaduces tecum and the
plaintiff duly excepted.
According to the plaintiff's theory of the case, he was entitled to a bonus the amount of which should be determined
by the court with a view to the usefulness and efficiency which he had exhibited in the course of his employment; and
he insists that the profits earned by the defendant during the time he was employed as superintendent of the

Nagtahan factory are relevant in determining the amount to be thus awarded. For reasons already stated, this
contention is untenable; and we are of the opinion that the court committed no error in refusing to compel the
production of the documents and records in question. The right to the bonus was wholly independent of the profits,
and the amount of the profits could not properly be taken into consideration by the court at all.
The subpoena duces tecum is, in all respects, like the ordinary subpoena ad testificandum, with the exception that it
concludes with an injunction that the witness shall bring with him and produce at the examination the books,
documents, or things described in the subpoena. It is issued in the same manner as the ordinary subpoena, and is
procurable from the clerk as of course without application to the court. Section 402 of the Code of Civil Procedure
says that the subpoena duces tecum may be used to compel the witness to bring any book, document, or other thing
under his control, which he is bound by law to produce in evidence. The words "which he is bound by law to produce
in evidence" indicate a limitation upon the exigency of the writ; and it is evident that there is this difference between
the ordinary subpoena to testify an the subpoena duces tecum, namely, that while the person to whom the subpoena
to testify is directed is bound absolutely and without qualification to appear in response to the subpoena, the person
to whom the subpoena duces tecum is directed is bound only in so far as he is required by law to produce the
documents in evidence.
It results therefore that, if the case is such as to make it doubtful whether the documents to be produced are such
that the witness is bound by law to produce them, the witness is entitled to have the court pass upon this question;
and where a subpoena duces tecum is improperly issued to enforce the production of documents which the witness
is not bound to produce, a proper remedy is by motion to vacate or set aside the subpoena. Such was the procedure
adopted in this case.
The power to require the production of books, documents, and papers by means of the subpoena duces tecum is one
which is undoubtedly capable of abuse and one which, if improperly used, causes great annoyance, not to say,
expense to the person against whom it is directed. If the use of the subpoena duces tecum were in practice confined
to the office of compelling the production of documents and papers which are directly related to the issues in a case,
occasions for complaint would be infrequent. However, in modern business it is sometimes necessary for litigants to
have access to voluminous materials. Journals, ledgers, cashbooks, invoice books, and account books pertaining to
the business of large enterprises may have to be examined. To enforce the production of these great piles of material
unconditionally in court would in many cases operate with unreasonable hardship on the party against whom the
subpoena is issued and not infrequently the step would be barren of results to the person seeking to examine them.
Such procedure is not to be encouraged; and it is the duty of the court, in such a situation, to control the process so
as to make it conformable to law and justice. (Subsection 7, section 11, Code of Civil Procedure.) The motion to
vacate or set aside the subpoena gives the court the requisite opportunity to examine the issues raised by the
pleadings in the cause and to consider not only the relevancy of the evidence which is to be elicited but also to
consider whether an order for the production of the document would constitute an unlawful invasion of privacy.
In determining whether the production of the documents described in a subpoena duces tecum should be enforced
by the court, it is proper to consider, first, whether the subpoena calls for the production of specific documents, or
rather for specific proof, and secondly, whether that proof is prima facie sufficiently relevant to justify enforcing its
production. A general inquisitorial examination of all the books, papers, and documents of an adversary, conducted
with a view to ascertain whether something of value may not show up, will not be enforced. (Street, Federal Equity
Practice, vol. 2, sec. 1844.) No court, it is needless to say, would punish a witness for contempt in refusing to obey a
subpoena duces tecum the issuance of which has been procured with such end in view.

We observe in conclusion that where a party has any legitimate reason for inspecting the voluminous documents of
an adversary, it is usually more to the purpose to ask the court, before the hearing, for an order requiring such
adversary to submit his books and records for examination under such reasonable condition as the court may
specify. If necessary, an expert can then be set to work; and the result of his examination can be submitted to the
court in a form at once intelligible and helpful. In the case before us if the documents called for had been produced in
the court room, both the court and the attorneys alike would have been helpless to discover from the unsystematized
mass the particular facts intended to be proved by them; and in the end it would have been necessary to adjourn the
hearing and call in an accountant to make the needed examination. While we do not wish to be understood as
attempting to lay down any hard and fast rule upon such a matter, we merely suggest that it is an abuse of legal
process to use the subpoena duces tecum to produce in court material which cannot be properly utilized by the court
in determining the issues of the case; and in cases of this kind the litigant should be required to resort to some other
procedure in order properly to place before the court the evidence upon which the case should be decided.
The judgment is affirmed, with costs. So ordered.
Torres, Johnson, Malcolm, Avancea and Fisher, J
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
HON. GREGORIO D. MONTEJO, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Zamboanga City, and FELIX WEE
SIT, respondentst.
Pascual
S.
City Fiscal of Zamboanga City for respondents.

Atilano

for

petitioner.

In this petition for certiorari and mandamus with preliminary injunction, the novel question presented is whether
respondent Judge, in denying a motion for the arrest of a material witness, in a criminal case, or in the alternative, to
cite him for contempt, relying on Section 9 of Rule 23 of the Rules of Court to the effect that a witness is not bound to
attend as such before any court, judge or other officer out of the province in which he resides unless the distance be
less than 50 kilometers from his place of residence to the place of trial by the usual course, acted with grave abuse of
discretion.
In a petition dated February 4, 1965, it was alleged by the City Fiscal of Zamboanga, as counsel for the People of the
Philippines, that on September 23, 1963, Criminal Case No. 3225 was filed in the Court of First Instance of
Zamboanga City against a certain Felix Wee Sit for double homicide and serious physical injuries thru reckless
imprudence, the trial of the case having commenced on November 7, 1963, and thereafter continued
subsequently.1 After which, it was stated that a certain Ernesto Uaje y Salvador, "a permanent resident of Montalban,
Rizal," then a patrolman in the Montalban Police Department, "is a material and important witness in the case" his
affidavit having served as the basis for filing the information as he "happened to be an eye-witness during the traffic
incident wherein a Private Jeep bearing Plate No. J-6172 driven recklessly by the accused Felix Wee Sit on August
15, 1963, turned turtle in the public highway in Zamboanga City causing the death of two (2) prominent young girls
and serious physical injuries to four (4) equally prominent young girls, who are all students of a local religious
institution."2
It was then alleged that at the time the case against the accused was called for trial in the Court of First Instance of
Zamboanga City, then presided by respondent Judge, the witness had returned to Montalban, Rizal; that pursuant to
a formal request of the City Fiscal, respondent Judge issued a subpoena to patrolman Uaje addressed at his known

address at Montalban, Rizal, for him to appear at the trial of the case set for continuation on February 1, 1965; that
such subpoena was served on Uaje the return showing that he had received it on January 19, 1965, at Montalban,
Rizal; that when the case was called for continuation on February 1, 1965, he did not appear "and forthwith the
undersigned City Fiscal formally moved for an order of arrest" or in the alternative "to cite him for contempt for willful
failure to appear at the trial of the case as a material witness. . . ."3Such a motion was formally presented on
February 3, 1965 and denied on the same day by the respondent Judge in the Order sought to be annulled in this
petition. Then came a motion for reconsideration which was likewise denied for not being "well-founded". In addition
to the plea to declare void such order refusing to have the witness either arrested or cited for contempt, there was the
further prayer that respondent Judge be required to grant the aforesaid motion.
The petition was given due course, with preliminary injunction issued. Respondent Judge and the other respondent,
the accused in Criminal Case No. 3225, were required to answer. In their answer filed on March 4, 1965, there was a
denial of the allegation that Uaje was "a material, much less an important, witness," such denial being based on the
very affidavit executed by him which as noted in the answer admitted "that the said witness did not see how the
accident had occurred and was, therefore, not an eye-witness. . . . "There was an admission that respondent Judge
was "poised to order the immediate continuation of the trial of the case upon the insistence of the accused who relies
upon his constitutional right to a speedy trial but denied that the prosecution is entitled to compulsory process" for
under the Rules of Court it is the defendant, not the prosecution, that is conferred such a right, alleging further that
the issuance of compulsory process is, under the Constitution, a right granted to the accused "only and exclusively",
no corresponding provision being made for the prosecution. As a First and Special Affirmative Defense, they relied on
the aforesaid Section 9 of Rule 23 contending that if a witness was not bound by a subpoena since his residence was
admittedly not less than 50 kilometers from the place of trial, the failure to obey the same or to comply with it could
not in any manner whatsoever constitute contempt of court. Respondent Judge therefore did not commit any error;
nor did he abuse his discretion in refusing to issue an order of arrest or to cite said witness for contempt. There are
other special and affirmative defenses but they are not decisive of the question presented. The prayer was for the
lifting of the preliminary injunction and the denial of the petition.
Thus was the issue joined. Instead of relying on an oral argument, the parties preferred to file memoranda, and the
petition was submitted for decision.
That the question is novel admits of no doubt. It is true in two (2) cases, Cruz v. Sison,4 and Cruz v.
Rabanera,5decided jointly, one of the errors assigned was that the lower court erred in holding that the above
provision of the Rules of Court applies to both civil and criminal cases. This Court, however, speaking through Justice
Makalintal, did not deem it necessary to pass on the above question as "the petitions for contempt were prematurely
filed and hence their dismissal was in order." Moreover, this Court further noted "that the subpoenas were issued so
that they could give evidence in Criminal Case No. 47152, 'People of the Philippines v. Secretary of Jaime
Hernandez,' which was then already pending trial before a branch of the Court of First Instance of Manila. The power
of the City Fiscal of Manila to issue subpoenas extends to cases pending investigation before him, but not where the
complaint or information has been filed in court, in which case it is the court that should issue the necessary
processes (Concepcion v. Gonzales, L-15638, April 26, 1962)."
How did petitioner sustain its stand that respondent Judge was called upon to compel the attendance of a witness
living in Montalban, Rizal, to testify at a trial in Zamboanga City, or in the alternative to cite him for contempt? Its
counsel, the City Fiscal of Zamboanga City, cited, without incorporating the terms thereof, the following legal
provisions: Section 1687 of the Revised Administrative Code and Republic Act No. 1799, Section 19 (g) of
Commonwealth Act 39, the City Charter of Zamboanga, and Section 3, Rule 135 of the Rules of Court. A perusal of
each of the above legal prescriptions yields no support for petitioner's theory.

Section 1687 of the Revised Administrative Code as amended by Republic Act No. 1799, 6 which was approved and
took effect on June 21, 1957, speaks of the authority of a Provincial Fiscal and Assistant Fiscal and Special Counsel
to conduct investigation in criminal matters. All that the City Charter of Zamboanga 7 provides is that its Fiscal "may
conduct investigations in respect to crimes, misdemeanors, and violations of ordinances by taking oral evidence of
reputable witnesses, and for this purpose may, by subpoena, summon witnesses to appear and testify under oath
before him, and the attendance of an absent or recalcitrant witness may be enforced by application to the Municipal
Court or the Court of First Instance of the Province of Zamboanga." The particular rule cited provides process issued
from a superior court "in which a case is pending to bring in a defendant, or for the arrest of any accused person, or
to execute any order or judgment of the court, may be enforced in any part of the Philippines." 8 It is obvious then that
the argument of counsel for the City of Zamboanga based on the above legal provision is, to put it at its mildest, far
from persuasive.
Counsel for respondent, Atty. Rosauro Alvarez, did, in his thorough and exhaustive memorandum, stress anew that
the first and decisive question is whether a Court of First Instance possesses authority in a criminal case "to compel
by subpoena the attendance of the witness who, as in this case, resides hundreds of miles away from the place of
trial." According to him, "an examination of the placement on Section 9 of Rule 23 discloses to us that it is found
under the topic Procedure in Courts of First Instance which unquestionably would include both criminal and civil
cases. It will be noted further that the provision of Section 9, Rule 23 above quoted makes no distinction between a
criminal or civil case and it is a fundamental rule or statutory construction that where the law makes no distinction it is
not proper for the interpreter to make any such distinction." After which counsel invoked the Constitution as well as
the Rules of Court,9 particularly the provisions contained therein granting to the accused in a criminal case the right to
have compulsory process issued to secure the attendance of witnesses in his behalf, which right was not conferred
on the prosecution. Thus, he would sustain the actuations of respondent Judge not only as free from error but as
correct and proper.
While not lacking in plausibility, this contention of respondents failed to enlist the assent of a majority of the Court. It
is loathe to clip what undoubtedly is the inherent power of the Court to compel the attendance of persons to testify in
a case pending therein.10 Section 9 of Rule 23 is thus interpreted to apply solely to civil cases. A recognition of such
power in a court of first instance conducting the trial of an accused may be gleaned from principle that justifies it
when satisfied "by proof or oath, that there is reason to believe that a material witness for the prosecution will not
appear and testify when required," to order that he "give bail in sum as [it] may deem proper for such appearance.
Upon refusal to give bail, the court must commit him to prison until he complies or is legally discharged."11
Under the circumstances, in view of the serious handicap to which the prosecution would thus be subjected in
proving its case, the order of respondent judge denying the motion for an order of arrest or a citation for contempt in
the alternative, based on a clear misapprehension of the Rules of Court, could be viewed as amounting to grave
abuse of discretion. It would follow then that respondent Judge should decide said motion without taking into
consideration Section 9 of Rule 23.
WHEREFORE, the preliminary injunction is lifted, the orders of February 3, 1961 set aside, and respondent Judge
ordered to pass upon the aforesaid motion of petitioner. Without costs.
Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Dizon, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro and Angeles, JJ., concur.
Makalintal, J., took no part.