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MARIO J. MENDEZONA ,et al,petitioners, versus 2.

the evidence could not have been


JULIO H. OZAMIZ,et al, respondents discovered and produced during trial even
February 6, 2002 with the exercise of reasonable diligence;
and
Facts:
3. the evidence is material and not merely
A suit was instituted on September 25, 1991 by the corroborative, cumulative, or impeaching
petitioner spouses Mario J. Mendezona and Teresita and is of such weight that if admitted, would
M. Mendezona as initial plaintiff and in probably alter the result.
the amendedcomplaint filed on October 7, 1991,
herein co-petitioner spouses Luis J. Mendezona All 3 requisites must characterize the evidence
joined as co-plaintiff. In their compliant, the sought to be introduced at the new trial.
petitioners as plaintiff therein allegedthat petitioner
spouses Mario J. Mendezona and Teresita M. SC finds that the requirement of reasonable
Mendezona petitioner spouses Luis J. Mendezona diligence has not been met by the petitioners. As
and Maricar Mendezona own a parcel of land each early as the pre-trial of the case, the name Judge
in Lahug, Cebu city with similar areas 3462, 3466 Durias has already cropped up as a possible witness
and 3468 square meters covered and described in for the defendants, herein respondents. That the
TCT Nos 116834, 116835 and 116836. The respondent chose not to present his is not an indicia
petitioners ultimately traced their titles of ownership per se of suppression of evidence, since a party in a
over their respective properties from a deed civil case is free to choose who to present as his
of AbsoluteSale executed in their favor by Carmen witness. Neither can Judge Durias' testimony in
Ozamiz and in consideration of P 1,040,000. It another case be considered as newly discovered
appears than on January 15, 1991, the respondents evidence since the facts to be testified to by Judge
instituted the petition for guardianship with RTC Durias' which were existing before and during the
Oroquieta, City alleging that Carmen Ozamiz had trial, could have been presented by the petitioners at
become disoriented and could not recognize most of the trial The testimony of Judge Durias has been in
her friends and could no longer take care of her existence waiting only to be elicited from him by
properties by reason pf weak mind and questioning.
absentmindedness. As guardiansRoberto J. Factual findings of the appellate court are generally
Montalvan and Julio H. Ozamiz filed on August conclusive on the SC which is not a trier of facts. It is
6, 1991 with the guardianship court their Inventories not the function of the SC to analyze or weigh
and Accounts including the 10,369 square meters evidence all over again. However, this rule is not
Lahug property. Said Lahug property covered by without exception. If there is a showing that the
deed of Absolute Sale dated April 28, 1989 executed appellate court's findings of facts complained of are
by Carmen Ozamiz in favor of petitioners. In their totally devoid of support in the record or that they are
Answer, respondents opposed the claim of so glaringly erroneous as to constitute grave abuse
ownership of the Lahug property and alleged that the of discretion, the SC must discard such erroneous
titles issued to the petitioners are defective and findings of facts. SC finds that the exception applies
illegal and the ownership of said properties was in the case at bench.
acquired in bad faith and without value inasmuch as
the consideration for the sale is grossly inadequate Simulation is defined as :the declaration of a
and unconscionable. Respondents fictitious will, deliberately made by agreement of the
further alleged that on April 28, 1989 Carmen parties, in order to produce, for the purposes of
Ozamiz was already ailing and not in full possession deception, the appearances of a juridical act which
of her mental faculties; and that her properties does not exist or is different from that which was
having been placed in administration, she was really executed. The requisites of simulation are:
in effect incapacitated to contract with petitioners.
On September 23, 1992, the 1. an outward declaration of will different from
Trial court rendered decision in favor of petitioners. the will of the parties;
On appeal the Court of Appeal reversed 2. the false appearance must have been
its decision and ruled that the Absolute Sale dated intended by mutual agreement; and
April 28, 1989 was a simulated contract since the
petitioners failed to prove that the consideration was 3. the purpose is to deceive third persons.
actually paid. None of these were clearly shown to exist in
the case at bar.

HELD: Contrary to the erroneous conclusions of the


appellate court, a simulated contract cannot be
A MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL upon the ground of inferred from the mere non-production of the checks.
newly discovered evidence is properly granted only It was not the burden of the petitioners to prove so. It
where there is concurrence of the following is significant to note that the deed of absolute sale is
requisites: a notarized document duly acknowledged before a
1. the evidence had been discovered after trial; notary public. As such, it has in its favor the
presumption of regularity and it carries the
evidentiary weight conferred upon it with respect to defendant." In other words, the concept of due
its due execution. It is admissible in evidence without diligence has both a time component and a good
further proof of its authenticity and is entitled to full faith component. The movant for a new trial must not
faith and credit upon its face. only act in a timely fashion in gathering evidence in
support of the motion; he must act reasonably and in
CHUA VS PEOPLE GR 196853 dated July 13, good faith as well. Due diligence contemplates that
2015 the defendant acts reasonably and in good faith to
obtain the evidence, in light of the totality of the
TOPIC: Newly discovered evidence circumstances and the facts known to him.

FACTS: "Under the Rules of Court, the requisites for newly


discovered evidence are: (a) the evidence was
Chua and private complainant Philip See were long- discovered after trial; (b) such evidence could not
time friends and neighbors. On different dates from have been discovered and produced at the trial with
1992 until 1993, Chua issued several postdated PS reasonable diligence; and (c) it is material, not
Bank checks of varying amounts to See. However, merely cumulative, corroborative or impeaching, and
See claimed that when he deposited the checks, is of such weight that, if admitted, will probably
they were dishonored either due to insufficient funds change the judgment."
or closed account. Despite demands, Chua failed to
make good the checks. Hence, See filed a In this case, the Court holds that the demand letter
Complaint for violations of Batas Pambansa Blg.22 dated November 30, 1993 does not qualify as a
(BP 22). newly discovered evidence within the purview of the
law. Per See's statements in his affidavit, the said
The prosecution filed a Motion to Re-open evidence was already known to him at the time he
Presentation of Prosecution’s Evidence and Motion filed his complaint against Chua. It was also
to Allow Prosecution to Submit Additional Formal apparently available considering that it was just kept
Offer of Evidence dated March 28, 2003, intending in his house. Undeniably, had See exercised
to introduce the demand letter dated November 30, reasonable diligence, he could have promptly
1993 as a newly discovered evidence, stating that located the said demand letter and presented it
“despite diligent efforts to locate the demand letter x during trial. However, the circumstances suggest
x x, the same was not located until sometime in otherwise.
February 2002, when I was having our old
house/office cleaned and ready to be rented out;” Curiously, while See claims that the demand letter
dated November 30, 1993 was already existing at
ISSUE/S: the time he filed the complaint, the same was not
Whether or not the demand letter dated November mentioned therein. Only the demand letter dated
30, 1993 qualifies as a newly discovered evidence. December 10, 1993 was referred to in the complaint,
which per See's own allegations, was also not
RULING: actually received by Chua. In addition, the
prosecution failed to present the original copy of the
NO. The demand letter dated November 30, 1993 demand letter dated December 10, 1993 during trial.
deserves no weight and credence not only because Clearly on the basis of the demand letter dated
it does not qualify as a newly discovered evidence December 10, 1993 alone, the prosecution cannot
within the purview of law but also because of its possibly establish the existence of the second
doubtful character. element of the offense. Indeed, the surrounding
circumstances and the doubtful character of the
The question of whether evidence is newly demand letter dated November 30, 1993 make it
discovered has two aspects: a temporal one, i.e., susceptible to the conclusion that its introduction
when was the evidence discovered, and a predictive was a mere afterthought - a belated attempt to fill in
one, i.e., when should or could it have been a missing component necessary for the existence of
discovered. It is to the latter that the requirement of the second element of BP 22.
due diligence has relevance. We have held that in
order that a particular piece of evidence may be
properly regarded as newly discovered to justify new
trial, what is essential is not so much the time when PADILLA-RUMBAUA VS. RUMBAUA
the evidence offered first sprang into existence nor G.R. No. 166738 August 14, 2009
the time when it first came to the knowledge of the
party now submitting it; what is essential is that the TOPIC: New Trial; Pleadings and Practice;
offering party had exercised reasonable diligence in Attorneys;
seeking to locate such evidence before or during trial
but had nonetheless failed to secure it. FACTS:

The Rules do not give an exact definition of due The present petition traces its roots to the
diligence, and whether the movant has exercised petitioner’s complaint for the declaration of nullity of
due diligence depends upon the particular marriage against the respondent before the RTC.
circumstances of each case. Nonetheless, it has The petitioner alleged that the respondent was
been observed that the phrase is often equated with psychologically incapacitated to exercise the
"reasonable promptness to avoid prejudice to the essential obligations of marriage.
conduct of the proceedings in the trial court as a
The RTC nullified the parties’ marriage. The result of the ignorance, inexperience or
Republic, through the OSG, appealed the RTC incompetence of counsel do not qualify as a ground
decision to the CA. In its ruling, the CA observed for new trial. If such were to be admitted as valid
that the psychiatric report did not mention the cause reasons for re-opening cases, there would never be
of the respondent’s so-called “narcissistic personality an end to litigation so long as a new counsel could
disorder;” and failed to explain why petitioner came be employed to allege and show that the prior
to the conclusion that the respondent’s incapacity counsel had not been sufficiently diligent,
was “deep-seated” and “incurable.” experienced or learned. This will put a premium on
the willful and intentional commission of errors by
The CA held that Article 36 of the Family counsel, with a view to securing new trials in the
Code requires the incapacity to be psychological, event of conviction, or an adverse decision, as in the
although its manifestations may be physical. The instant case.
illness must be shown as downright incapacity or
inability, not a refusal, neglect, or difficulty to
perform. Hence, the petition to SC.
G.R. No. 192914
The petitioner maintains that vacating the
lower courts’ decisions and the remand of the case NAPOLEON D. SENIT, Petitioner,
to the RTC for further reception of evidence are vs.
procedurally permissible. She argues that the PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
inadequacy of her evidence during the trial was the
fault of her former counsel, Atty. Richard Tabago, DECISION
and asserts that remanding the case to the RTC REYES, J.:
would allow her to cure the evidentiary
insufficiencies. She posits in this regard that while Before the Court is a petition for review
mistakes of counsel bind a party, the rule should be on certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
liberally construed in her favor to serve the ends of assailing the Decision2dated November 20, 2009
justice. and the. Resolution3 dated June 17, 2010 of the
Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 00390-
ISSUE: Whether the case should be
MIN which affirmed with modification the
remanded back to the RTC;
Dedision4 dated April 26, 2006 of the Regional Trial
HELD: Court (RTC) of Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Branch
10, in Criminal Case No. 10717-00 convicting
NO. A remand of the case to the RTC for Napoleon D. Senit (petitioner) guilty beyond
further proceedings amounts to the grant of a new reasonable doubt of Reckless Imprudence resulting
trial that is not procedurally proper at this stage. to Multiple Serious Physical Injuries and Damage to
Section 1 of Rule 37 provides that an aggrieved Property.
party may move the trial court to set aside a
judgment or final order already rendered and to The Antecedents
grant a new trial within the period for taking an
The facts as narrated are culled from the
appeal. In addition, a motion for new trial may be
filed only on the grounds of (1) fraud, accident, Comments5 of the Office of the Solicitor General
mistake or excusable negligence that could not have (OSG) and from the assailed decision of the CA:
been guarded against by ordinary prudence, and by
In the morning of September 2, 2000, private
reason of which the aggrieved party’s rights have
complainant Mohinder Toor, Sr. was driving north
probably been impaired; or (2) newly discovered
evidence that, with reasonable diligence, the along Aglayan from the direction of Valencia on
aggrieved party could not have discovered and board his Toyota pick-up with his wife Rosalinda
produced at the trial, and that would probably alter Toor, their three-year-old son Mohinder Toor, Jr., and
the result if presented. househelper Mezelle Jane Silayan. He turned left
and was coming to the center of Aglayan when a
In the present case, the petitioner cites the speeding Super 5 bus driven by petitioner and
inadequacy of the evidence presented by her former coming from Malaybalay headed south towards
counsel as basis for a remand. She did not, Valencia, suddenly overtook a big truck from the
however, specify the inadequacy. That the RTC right side. Petitioner tried to avoid the accident by
granted the petition for declaration of nullity prima swerving to the right towards the shoulder of the
facie shows that the petitioner’s counsel had not road and applying the brakes, but he was moving
been negligent in handling the case. Granting too fast and could not avoid a collision with the pick-
arguendo that the petitioner’s counsel had been up. The bus crashed into the right side of private
negligent, the negligence that would justify a new
complainant’s pick-up at a right angle.
trial must be excusable, i.e. one that ordinary
diligence and prudence could not have guarded All passengers of the pick-up were injured and
against. The negligence that the petitioner immediately brought to Bethel Baptist Hospital,
apparently adverts to is that cited in Uy v. First Metro Sumpong, Malaybalay City. However, because of
Integrated Steel Corporation, 503 SCRA 704 (2006),
lack of medical facilities, they were transferred to the
where we explained: Blunders and mistakes in the
Bukidnon Doctor’s Hospital in Valencia City,
Bukidnon. Rosalinda Toor sustained an open MEZELLE JANE SILAYAN
fracture of the humerus of the right arm and
displaced, closed fracture of the proximal and distal = Frontal area swelling 20 vehicular accident
femur of the right lower extremity which required two to the damage and prejudice of the complainant
surgical operations. She was paralyzed as a result of victim in such amount that they are entitled to under
the accident and was unable to return to her job as the law.
the Regional Manager of COSPACHEM Product
Laboratories. Mohinder Toor, Sr. spent about CONTRARY TO and in Violation of Article 365 in
P580,000.00 for her treatment and P3,000.00 for relation to 263 of the Revised Penal Code. IN
Mezelle Jean Silayan, who suffered frontal area RELATION TO THE FAMILY CODE."6 (Citations
swelling as a result of the accident. Mohinder Toor, omitted)
Sr. suffered a complete fracture of the scapular bone
of his right shoulder while his son Mohinder Toor, Jr. Upon being arraigned on June 21, 2001, the
sustained abdominal injury and a wound on the area petitioner, with the assistance of his counsel,
of his right eye which required suturing. The damage pleaded not guilty to the Information in this case. 7
sustained by the pick-up reached P106,155.00. Trial ensued. However, after the initial presentation
Thus, on May 30, 2001, Carlo B. Mejia, City of evidence for the petitioner, he resigned from his
Prosecutor of Malaybalay City, charged petitioner employment and transferred residence. His
with Reckless Imprudence Resulting to Multiple whereabouts allegedly became unknown so he was
Serious Physical Injuries and Damage to Property in not presented as a witness by his new counsel.8
an Amended Information which was filed with Branch On April 26, 2006, the RTC rendered its Decision in
10 of the [RTC] in Malaybalay City. The information absentia convicting the petitioner of the crime
reads: charged. The fallo of the decision reads:
"That on or about September 2, 2000 in the morning WHEREFORE, premises considered and finding the
at [sic] Barangay Aglayan, Malaybalay City, Province accused NAPOLEON SENIT y Duhaylungsod guilty
of Bukidnon, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of beyond reasonable doubt of the crime as charged,
this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, did he is hereby sentenced to an imprisonment of an
then and there willfully, unlawfully, and criminally in indeterminate penalty of Four [4] months and One
violation of the Land Transportation and Traffic [1] day of Arresto Mayor maximum as minimum and
Code, in negligent, careless, imprudent manner and to Four [4] years and Two [2] months Prision
without precaution to prevent accident [to] life and Correc[c]ional medium as maximum. The accused is
property, drive a Super Five Nissan Bus, color further ordered to indemnify the private complainant
white/red bearing plate No. MVD-776 owned by the amount of Fifty Thousand [P50,000.00] Pesos as
PAUL PADAYHAG of Rosario Heights, Iligan City, as moral damages, the amount of Four Hundred Eighty
a result hit and bumped the [sic] motor vehicle, Thousand [P480,000.00] [Pesos] for the expenses
Toyota Pick-up color blue with plate No. NEF-266 incurred in the treatment and hospitalization of
driven and owned by MOHINDER S. TOO[R,] SR., Rosalinda Toor, Mohinder Toor, Jr[.] and Mezelle
and with his wife Rosalinda Toor, son Mohinder Toor, Jean Silayan and the amount of Eighty Thousand
Jr., 3 years old and househelp Mezelle Jane Silayan, [P80,000.00] [Pesos] for the expenses incurred in
17 years old, riding with him. The Toyota pick-up the repair of the damaged Toyota pick-up vehicle.
was damaged in the amount of [P]105,300.00 and
spouses Mohinder Toor[,] Sr. and Rosalinda Toor, SO ORDERED.9
Mohinder Toor[,] Jr[.] and Mezelle Jane Silayan
The RTC issued a Promulgation10 dated August 4,
sustained the following injuries to wit:
2006, which included an order for the arrest of the
MOHINDER TOOR[,] SR. petitioner.

= complete fracture of superior scapular bone right The petitioner then filed a motion for new
shoulder trial via registered mail on the ground that errors of
law or irregularities have been committed during trial
MOHINDER TOOR[,] JR. that are allegedly prejudicial to his substantial rights.
= MPI secondary to MVA r/o Blunt abdominal injury He claimed that he was not able to present evidence
during trial because he was not notified of the
= Saturing [sic] right eye area schedule. Likewise, he mistakenly believed that the
case against him has been dismissed as private
ROSALINDA TOOR complainant Mohinder Toor, Sr. (Toor, Sr.)
= Fracture, open type 11, supracondylar, humerus purportedly left the country.11
right On September 22, 2006, the public prosecutor
= Fracture, closed, Complete, displaced, opposed the motion for new trial filed by the
subtrochanter petitioner.12

= and supracondylar femur right On October 26, 2006, the motion for new trial was
denied by the lower court pronouncing that notices
have been duly served the parties and that the I. WHETHER OR NOT THE RTC AND THE CA
reason given by the petitioner was self-serving.13 ERRED IN DENYING THE MOTION FOR NEW
TRIAL OR TO RE-OPEN THE SAME IN ORDER TO
Dissatisfied with the RTC decision, the petitioner ALLOW THE PETITIONER TO PRESENT
filed his Notice of Appeal dated November 6, 2006 EVIDENCE ON HIS BEHALF; AND
by registered mail to the CA, on both questions of
facts and laws.14 II. WHETHER OR NOT THE RTC ERRED IN
CONVICTING THE PETITIONER DESPITE THE
Ruling of the CA APPARENT FAILURE ON THE PART OF THE
On November 20, 2009, the CA affirmed the PROSECUTION TO PROVE THE GUILT OF THE
decision of the RTC with modification as to the PETITIONER BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT. 20
penalty imposed, the dispositive portion thereof Ruling of the Court
reads:
The petition lacks merit.
ACCORDINGLY, with MODIFICATION that [the
petitioner] should suffer the penalty of three (3) The RTC and CA did not err in denying the
months and one (1) day of arresto mayor, the Court petitioner’s motion for new trial or to re-open the
AFFIRMS in all other respects the appealed 26 April same.
2006 Decision of the [RTC] of Malaybalay City,
Branch 10, in Criminal Case No. 10717-00. The Court finds that no errors of law or irregularities,
prejudicial to the substantial rights of the petitioner,
No pronouncement as to costs. have been committed during trial.

SO ORDERED.15 The petitioner anchors his motion for new trial on


Rule 121, Section 2(a) of the Revised Rules of
In affirming with modification the decision of the Criminal Procedure, to wit:
RTC, the CA ratiocinated as follows: first, the
evidence presented by OSG overwhelmingly points Sec. 2. Grounds for a new trial. – The Court shall
to the petitioner as the culprit. A scrutiny of the grant a new trial on any of the following grounds:
records further reveals that the pictures taken after
the accident and the Traffic Investigation Report all (a) That errors of law or irregularities prejudicial
coincide with the testimonies of the prosecution to the substantial rights of the accused have
witnesses, which are in whole consistent and been committed during the trial;
believable thus, debunking the claim of the petitioner (b) That new and material evidence has been
that he was convicted on the mere basis of allegedly discovered which the accused could not with
biased and hearsay testimonies which do not reasonable diligence have discovered and produced
establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. In at the trial and which if introduced and admitted
addition, there was no existing evidence to show that would probably change the judgment. (Emphasis
there was an improper motive on the part of the ours)
eyewitnesses.16
To sum up the claims of the petitioner, he theorizes
Second, it found the arguments of the petitioner to that there was an error of law or irregularities
move for a new trial as baseless.17 committed when the RTC promulgated a decision in
Lastly, it rendered that the proper imposable penalty absentia and deemed that he had waived his right to
is the maximum period of arresto mayor in its present evidence resulting to denial of due process,
minimum and medium periods that is – a one-sided decision by the RTC, and a strict and
imprisonment for three (3) months and one (1) day rigid application of the Revised Rules of Criminal
of arresto mayor since the petitioner has, by Procedure against him.
reckless imprudence, committed an act which, had it First, it must be noted that the petitioner had already
been intentional, would have constituted a less been arraigned and therefore, the court a quo had
grave felony, based on the first paragraph of Article already acquired jurisdiction over him. In fact, there
365 in relation to Article 48 of the Revised Penal was already an initial presentation of evidence for
Code (RPC).18 the defense when his whereabouts became
The petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration unknown.
which was denied by the CA, in its The petitioner’s claims that he had not testified
Resolution19 dated June 17, 2010. because he did not know the schedule of the
As a final recourse, the petitioner filed the petition for hearings, and mistakenly believed that the case had
review before this Court, praying that the applicable already been terminated with the departure of Toor,
law on the matter be reviewed, and the gross Sr., do not merit our consideration.21
misappreciation of facts committed by the court a The holding of trial in absentia is authorized under
quo and by the CA be given a second look. Section 14(2), Article III of the 1987 Constitution
The Issues which provides that after arraignment, trial may
proceed notwithstanding the absence of the accused
provided that he has been duly notified and his
failure to appear is unjustifiable.22 It is established case at bar that the counsel of the petitioner was
that notices have been served to the counsel of the grossly negligent in failing to inform him of the
petitioner and his failure to inform his counsel of his notices served, the Court cannot find anyone to
whereabouts is the reason for his failure to appear blame but the petitioner himself in not exercising
on the scheduled date. Thus, the arguments of the diligence in informing his counsel of his
petitioner against the validity of the proceedings and whereabouts.
promulgation of judgment in absentia for being in
violation of the constitutional right to due process are The Court also agrees with the Comment of the
doomed to fail.23 OSG that there is neither rule nor law which
specifically requires the trial court to ascertain
In Estrada v. People,24 the Court ruled that: whether notices received by counsel are sufficiently
communicated with his client.28
Due process is satisfied when the parties are
afforded a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain In GCP-Manny Transport Services, Inc. v. Judge
their respective sides of the controversy. Principe,29 the Court held that:

In the present case, petitioner was afforded such [W]hen petitioner is at fault or not entirely blameless,
opportunity. The trial court set a hearing on May 14, there is no reason to overturn well-settled
1997 for reception of defense evidence, notice of jurisprudence or to interpret the rules liberally in its
which was duly sent to the addresses on record of favor. Where petitioner failed to act with prudence
petitioner and her counsel, respectively. When they and diligence, its plea that it was not accorded the
failed to appear at the May 14, 1997 hearing, they right to due process cannot elicit this Court’s
later alleged that they were not notified of said approval or even sympathy. It is petitioner’s duty, as
setting. Petitioner’s counsel never notified the court a client, to be in touch with his counsel so as to be
of any change in her address, while petitioner gave a constantly posted about the case. x x x.30 (Citations
wrong address from the very beginning, eventually omitted)
jumped bail and evaded court processes. Clearly,
therefore, petitioner and her counsel were given all Even if the Court assumed that the petitioner
the opportunities to be heard. They cannot now anchors his claim on Section 2(b) of Rule 121 of the
complain of alleged violation of petitioner’s right to Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, the argument
due process when it was by their own fault that they still has no merit.
lost the opportunity to present evidence.25 (Citation "A motion for new trial based on newly-discovered
omitted) evidence may be granted only if the following
Similarly in the present case, the petitioner clearly requisites are met: (a) that the evidence was
had previous notice of the criminal case filed against discovered after trial; (b) that said evidence could
him and was given the opportunity to present not have been discovered and produced at the trial
evidence in his defense. The petitioner was not in even with the exercise of reasonable diligence; (c)
any way deprived of his substantive and that it is material, not merely cumulative,
constitutional right to due process as he was duly corroborative or impeaching; and (d) that the
accorded all the opportunities to be heard and to evidence is of such weight that, if admitted, it would
present evidence to substantiate his defense, but he probably change the judgment. It is essential that the
forfeited this right, through his own negligence, by offering party exercised reasonable diligence in
not appearing in court at the scheduled hearings.26 seeking to locate the evidence before or during trial
but nonetheless failed to secure it."31 The Court
The negligence of the petitioner in believing that the agrees with the CA in its decision which held that "a
case was already terminated resulting to his failure new trial may not be had on the basis of evidence
to attend the hearings, is inexcusable. The Court has which was available during trial but was not
ruled in many cases that: presented due to its negligence. Likewise, the
purported errors and irregularities committed in the
It is petitioner’s duty, as a client, to be in touch with course of the trial against [the petitioner’s]
his counsel so as to be constantly posted about the substantive rights do not exist."32
case. It is mandated to inquire from its counsel about
the status and progress of the case from time to time In Lustaña v. Jimena-Lazo,33 the Court ruled that:
and cannot expect that all it has to do is sit back,
relax and await the outcome of the case. It is also its Rules of procedure are tools designed to promote
responsibility, together with its counsel, to devise a efficiency and orderliness as well as to facilitate
system for the receipt of mail intended for attainment of justice, such that strict adherence
them.27 (Citations omitted) thereto is required. Their application may be relaxed
only when rigidity would result in a defeat of equity
The Court finds that the negligence exhibited by the and substantial justice, which is not present here.
petitioner, towards the criminal case against him in Utter disregard of the Rules cannot just be
which his liberty is at risk, is not borne of ignorance rationalized by harking on the policy of liberal
of the law as claimed by his counsel rather, lack of construction.34 (Citations omitted and italics in the
concern towards the incident, and the people who original)
suffered from it. While there was no showing in the
In the instant case, the Court finds no reason to along Aglayan when it was hit at a right angle
waive the procedural rules in order to grant the position by a Super 5 bus driven by the petitioner.
motion for new trial of the petitioner. There is just no He noted skid marks made by the bus and explained
legal basis for the grant of the motion for new trial. that the petitioner was overtaking but was not able to
The Court believes that the petitioner was given the do so because of the pick-up. The petitioner could
opportunity to be heard but he chose to put this not swerve to the left to avoid the pick-up because
opportunity into waste by not being diligent enough there was a ten-wheeler truck. He swerved to the
to ask about the status of the criminal case against right instead and applied breaks to avoid the
him and inform his counsel of his whereabouts. accident. The investigator clearly testified that, on
the basis of data gathered, the collision was due to
The RTC did not err in convicting the petitioner. the error of the bus driver who was driving too fast,
The law applicable to the case at bar is Article 365 of as evinced by the distance from the skid marks
the RPC, which provides that: towards the axle.37

Art. 365. Imprudence and negligence. – x x x. Albert Alon testified that he saw Toor, Sr.’s pick-up
turn left along Aglayan. He also saw a big truck and
xxxx a Super 5 bus both coming from Malaybalay. The
truck was running slowly while the Super 5 bus was
Reckless imprudence consists in voluntary, but running fast and overtaking the big truck from the
without malice, doing or failing to do an act from right side. The bus crashed into the pick-up and
which material damage results by reason of pushed the smaller vehicle due to the force of the
inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the impact. He went nearer the area of collision and saw
person performing or failing to perform such act, that the four passengers of the pick-up were
taking into consideration his employment or unconscious.38
occupation, degree of intelligence, physical condition
and other circumstances regarding persons, time Mezelle Jane Silayan testified that while moving
and place. towards the center of Aglayan on board her
employer’s pick-up, she saw a Super 5 bus
xxxx overtaking a big truck from the right side. Their
The elements of reckless imprudence are: (1) that vehicle was hit by the bus. She was thrown out of
the offender does or fails to do an act; (2) that the the pick-up and hit her head on the ground.39
doing or the failure to do that act is voluntary; (3) that Toor, Sr. testified that while he was driving his pick-
it be without malice; (4) that material damage results up at the corner of the center of Aglayan, a Super 5
from the reckless imprudence; and (5) that there is bus, moving fast, overtook a big truck from the right
inexcusable lack of precaution on the part of the side. The bus then hit the pick up, injuring him and
offender, taking into consideration his employment or all his passengers.40
occupation, degree of intelligence, physical
condition, and other circumstances regarding Taken all together, the testimonies of the witnesses
persons, time, and place.35 conclusively suggest that: (1) the Super 5 bus was
moving fast; (2) the bus overtook a big truck which
All elements for the crime of reckless imprudence was moving slowly from the right side; and (3) when
have been established in the present case. the petitioner saw the pick-up truck turning left, he
The petitioner questions the credibility of the applied the brakes but because he was moving fast,
prosecution witnesses and claims that their the collision became inevitable.
testimonies are biased. He also claims that Toor, Sr. "Well-entrenched is the rule that the trial court’s
is the real culprit when he turned left without looking assessment of the credibility of witnesses is entitled
for an incoming vehicle, thus violating traffic rules to great weight and is even conclusive and binding, if
resulting to the mishap. not tainted with arbitrariness or oversight of some
The Court believes that the RTC and CA correctly fact or circumstance of significance and influence.
appreciated the evidence and testimonies presented This rule is based on the fact that the trial court had
in the instant case. the opportunity to observe the demeanor and the
conduct of the witnesses."41 The Court finds in the
The Court agrees with the OSG that not only were instant case that there is no reason for this Court to
the witnesses’ narrations of the accident credible deviate from the rule.
and worthy of belief, their accounts were also
consistent and tallied on all significant and The Court finds the testimonies of the witnesses not
substantial points.36 These witnesses’ testimonies biased. There was no evidence of ill motive of the
are as follows: witnesses against the petitioner.

PO3 Jesus Delfin testified that he investigated the Lastly, the petitioner claims that Toor, Sr. committed
accident at Aglayan. He made the following findings a traffic violation and thus, he should be the one
in his accident report: the pick-up owned and driven blamed for the incident. The Court finds this without
by Toor, Sr., together with his family and a merit.1âwphi1
househelper as his passengers, was turning left
The prosecution sufficiently proved that the Super 5
bus driven by the petitioner recklessly drove on the
right shoulder of the road and overtook another
south-bound ten-wheeler truck that slowed at the
intersection, obviously to give way to another vehicle
about to enter the intersection. It was impossible for
him not to notice that the ten-wheeler truck in front
and traveling in the same direction had already
slowed down to allow passage of the pick-up, which
was then negotiating a left turn to Aglayan public
market. Seeing the ten-wheeler truck slow down, it
was incumbent upon the petitioner to reduce his
speed or apply on the brakes of the bus in order to
allow the pick-up to safely make a left turn. Instead,
he drove at a speed too fast for safety, then chose to
swerve to the right shoulder of the road and overtake
the truck, entering the intersection and directly
smashing into the pick-up. In flagrantly failing to
observe the necessary precautions to avoid inflicting
injury or damage to other persons and things, the
petitioner was recklessly imprudent in operating the
Super 5 bus.42

In Dumayag v. People,43 the Court held:

Section 37 of R.A. No. 4136, as amended, mandates


all motorists to drive and operate vehicles on the
right side of the road or highway. When overtaking
another, it should be made only if the highway is
clearly visible and is free from oncoming vehicle.
Overtaking while approaching a curve in the
highway, where the driver's view is obstructed, is not
allowed. Corollarily, drivers of automobiles, when
overtaking another vehicle, are charged with a
high degree of care and diligence to avoid
collision. The obligation rests upon him to see to
it that vehicles coming from the opposite
direction are not taken unaware by his presence
on the side of the road upon which they have the
right to pass.44 (Citations omitted and emphasis
ours)

Thus, the petitioner cannot blame Toor, Sr. for not


noticing a fast-approaching bus, as the cited law
provides that the one overtaking on the road has the
obligation to let other cars in the opposite direction
know his presence and not the other way around as
the petitioner suggests.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. Accordingly,


the Decision dated November 20, 2009 and the
Resolution dated June 17, 2010 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 00390-MIN
are AFFIRMED.