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Lozada v. Arroyo, G.R. Nos.

184379-80, April 24, 2012


FACTS: Lozada petitioned the court for a writ of amparo and Subpoena
Ad Testificandum. Lozada is a witness in the graft case over the NBN-ZTE
deal between the Philippine Government and ZTE.
Lozada was allegedly detained to prevent his appearance in the senate
hearings which were investigating the deal. He said he was made to sign
a letter which requested for police protection.
On 12 September 2008, the CA rendered its Decision denying petitioners the
privilege of the Writ of Amparo and dismissing the Petition.[53] The CA found that
petitioners were unable to prove through substantial evidence that respondents
violated, or threatened with violation, the right to life, liberty and security of
Lozada.

ISSUE:

WON the court erred in dismissing the petition for the writ of amparo;
Whether the CA committed an error in denying petitioners’ Motion for the
Issuance of a Subpoena Ad Testificandum.

HELD:

Second issue: Denial of the issuance of a subpoena ad testificandum


This Court, in Roco v. Contreras,[72] ruled that for a subpoena to issue, it must first
appear that the person or documents sought to be presented are prima facie
relevant to the issue subject of the controversy, to wit:
A subpoena is a process directed to a person requiring him to attend and to testify
at the hearing or trial of an action or at any investigation conducted under the laws
of the Philippines, or for the taking of his deposition.

In this jurisdiction, there are two (2) kinds of subpoena, to wit: subpoena ad
testificandum and subpoena duces tecum. The first is used to compel a person to
testify, while the second is used to compel the production of books, records,
things or documents therein specified. As characterized in H.C. Liebenow vs. The
Philippine Vegetable Oil Company:
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.

Well-settled is the rule that before a subpoena duces tecum may issue, the court
must first be satisfied that the following requisites are present: (1) the books,
documents or other things requested must appear prima facie relevant to the issue
subject of the controversy (test of relevancy); and (2) such books must be
reasonably described by the parties to be readily identified (test of
definiteness).[73](Emphasis supplied.)

In the present case, the CA correctly denied petitioners’ Motion for the Issuance
of Subpoena Ad Testificandum on the ground that the testimonies of the witnesses
sought to be presented during trial were prima facie irrelevant to the issues of the
case. The court a quo aptly ruled in this manner:
The alleged acts and statements attributed by the petitioner to Neri and Abalos
are not relevant to the instant Amparo Petition where the issue involved is whether
or not Lozada’s right to life, liberty and security was threatened or continues to
be threatened with violation by the unlawful act/s of the respondents. Evidence,
to be relevant, must have such a relation to the fact in issue as to induce belief in
its existence or nonexistence. Further, Neri, Abalos and a certain driver “Jaime”
are not respondents in this Amparo Petition and the vague allegations averred in
the Motion with respect to them do not pass the test of relevancy. To Our mind,
petitioner appears to be embarking on a “fishing expedition”. Petitioner should
present the aggrieved party [Lozada], who has been regularly attending the
hearings, to prove the allegations in the Amparo Petition, instead of dragging the
names of other people into the picture. We have repeatedly reminded the parties,
in the course of the proceedings, that the instant Amparo Petition does not involve
the investigation of the ZTE- [NBN] contract. Petitioner should focus on the fact
in issue and not embroil this Court into said ZTE-NBN contract, which is now
being investigated by the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and the Office of the
Ombudsman.[74] (Emphasis supplied.)
All the references of petitioners to either Sec. Neri or Abalos were solely with
respect to the ZTE-NBN deal, and not to the events that transpired on 5-6
February 2008, or to the ensuing threats that petitioners purportedly received.
Although the present action is rooted from the involvement of Lozada in the said
government transaction, the testimonies of Sec. Neri or Abalos are nevertheless
not prima facie relevant to the main issue of whether there was an unlawful act or
omission on the part of respondents that violated the right to life, liberty and
security of Lozada. Thus, the CA did not commit any reversible error in denying
the Motion for the Issuance of Subpoena Ad Testificandum.