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There are three (3) important stages in a civil action.

Q: What are these three (3) stages? A: The following:

First stage: Issue Formulation Stage It is the stage in which we are trying to find out what are the issues we are quarreling about. This is done by filing a complaint, answer to know the defenses, counterclaim, answer to counterclaim, third party complaint. This is the stage of formulation of issues. After the last pleading is filed, we go to pre-trial where we will discuss the simplification of issues, advisability of amending the pleadings, etc. Therefore, during pre-trial we are still formulating issues to be tackled. When the pre-trial is terminated and there is no settlement, we proceed to stage 2:

Second stage: Stage of Proof (Rule 30 on Trial) We are now on trial where the parties will now offer their evidence. It is called the stage of proof. Plaintiff presents evidence to prove his claim. Defendant presents evidence to prove his defense. Parties present rebutting evidence. So this is the stage where the parties will prove their respective contentions. After the case has been tried and everything has been argued under Rule 30, the last stage is…. [sound plis… tadadadan!tadan!]

Third stage: Judgment Stage (Rule 36) This is the stage where the court will now decide and render judgment.

Q: Define Judgment. A: Judgment is the final consideration and determination by a court of the rights of the parties as those rights presently exists, upon matters submitted to it in an action or proceeding. (Gotamco vs. Chan Seng, 46 Phil. 542)

Q: What are the requisites of a valid judgment? A: There are five (5) requisites for a valid judgment:

the court rendering judgment must have jurisdiction over the subject matter;

the court rendering judgment must have jurisdiction over the person of the defendant, and in case the defendant is a non-resident, the court rendering judgment must have jurisdiction over the res;

the court rendering judgment must have jurisdiction over the issues, that is, the judgment shall decide only the issues raised by the parties in their pleadings;

the court rendering judgment must be validly constituted court and the judge thereof, a judge de jure or de facto; Thus, the court has not been abolished; the judge has been appointed and has not retired nor separated from service. That is why there is a rule even in criminal cases that if the judgment is promulgated after the judge has already retired, the judgment is void. There must be another promulgation.

EXAMPLE: Judge tries a case, prepares the decision and signs it. Before the decision is promulgated, the judge died or retired. In this case, any promulgation to be made cannot be valid. The next judge must be the one to promulgate it – write the decision again and sign it. What is important is the judge who rendered. ABC DAVAO AUTO SUPPLY vs. COURT OF APPEALS 284 SCRA 218 [January 16, 1998]

FACTS: The case was tried by a judge (Agton) who was temporarily assigned to Mati. He wrote the decision and had it released but by that time, he was already back in Mati. The losing party contended that the judgment was not valid.

HELD: The judgment is VALID because when the new judge denied the motion for reconsideration, he effectively adopted in toto the decision of the Mati judge. And besides, the Mati judge was still a judge when he rendered his decision. “The subsequent motion for reconsideration of Judge Agton's decision was acted upon by Judge Marasigan himself and his denial of the said motion indicates that he subscribed with and adopted in toto Judge Agton's decision. Any incipient defect was cured. Branches of the trial court are not distinct and separate tribunals from each other. Jurisdiction does not attach to the judge but to the court.”

the judgment must be rendered after lawful hearing, meaning that due process must be observed. (Busacay vs. Buenaventura, 50 O.G. 111, Jan. 1954; Rueda vs. Juan, L-13764, Jan. 30, 1960; Rojas vs. Villanueva, 57 O.G. 7339, Oct. 9, n1961; Rayray vs. Chae Kyung Lee, L-18176, Oct. 26, 1966) There must be a trial where both sides are given the chance to be heard. In case of a defaulted defendant, due process was observed because he was given the opportunity to defend himself. But he did not file an answer. The essence of due process is the fact that you are given the opportunity to be heard.



Rendition of judgments and final orders. - A judgment or final order determining the merits of the case shall be in writing personally and directly prepared by the judge, stating clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based, signed by him, and filed with the clerk of the court. (1a)

Q: What are the FORMAL requisites of a valid judgment? A: There are four (4) formal requisites:

The judgment shall be in writing; It shall be personally and directly prepared by the judge; It shall state clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based; and It shall be signed by the judge and filed with the clerk of court.

First formal requisite: THE JUDGMENT SHALL BE IN WRITING

There is no such thing as an oral judgment.

BAR QUESTION: After the parties presented their evidence, the judge asked the lawyers, “Are you going to argue?” The parties said, “No more, Your honor. We are waiving our right to argue.” So the judge dictated the decision to the clerk of court. The judgment was against the defendant. The defendant appealed next day. Do you count the period of appeal from that date when he heard the decision? ANSWER: NO. You still have to wait for the written decision. Presumably, what is dictated by the judge will be transcribed. From the time you receive it is the reckoning period for appeal, notwithstanding the hearing of such decision in open court. That is not yet the formal decision because under the law, there is no such thing as oral decision. The judgment must be in writing.

Officially the decision is known to you on the date you received the written judgment. Not the date when he dictated it in your presence. There are judges before who could do that. Even now those judges in Manila who became justices today do practice such type of judgment. At present, judges no longer possess such skill. They are given 90 days to decide the issue and yet at times, they could not do so within the period mandated by law. How much more on the spot decision?


It is presumed that the judgment will be made by the judge himself.

Although sometimes it happens

otherwise. The judge should not delegate the writing to other people. There must be no ghost writer.


The most important – the decision should state clearly and distinctly, the facts and the law on which it is based. Meaning, there must be a justification for the dispositive portion. The judge must argue why the party won or lost.

Normally in the facts, either the facts presented by plaintiff are right and the facts presented by the defendant are wrong or vice-versa. If you think the facts as presented by the plaintiff are correct or not, you have to state why do you believe that it is correct or not, and also with the evidence of the defendant. The same thing with legal questions because the plaintiff or the defendant relies on the provisions of the laws or decided cases.

You have to state

why the position of the defendant is wrong, why is the law that he cited not applicable.

You have to state your facts and conclusions of law.

In the SCRA, the Supreme Court will discuss both sides, “According to the plaintiff like this…According to

so forth.” Then the decision will start by saying, “While the petitioner is correct…

the defendant like this…


or, “While the defendant is correct…

It is called the discussion of the facts and the law on which the decision is based. Constitution, Article VIII, Section 14:

It is a requirement in the

No decision shall be rendered by any court without

expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based. xxx (Article. VIII, 1987 Constitution)

Sec. 14.

If a judge will render a decision like this: “This is a civil action to collect an unpaid loan. According to the plaintiff: He borrowed money for the sum of P80,000.00 payable on this date and despite demands, he did not pay. According to the defendant in his answer: the obligation is fully paid. ISSUE: Whether the loan has been paid or not yet paid. Plaintiff, to prove his cause of action presented the following witnesses and evidence. On the other hand, the defendant, to prove his defense presented the following evidence. WHEREFORE, the court renders judgment dismissing the complaint.”

There is no basis of the dismissal of

the complaint. MY GOLLY! What kind of decision is that? There is no discussion on why is the evidence of the plaintiff believable and why is the position of the defendant is like that. So there is no discussion of the facts and the law on which it is based. That is a decision which violates the Constitution and Rule 36.

Such decision has no discussion on the findings of facts and the law.

Another Illustration:

In an action for sum of money, plaintiff is unpaid. Defendant claims the loan has been paid. The following is the evidence of the plaintiff and the following is the evidence of the defendant. Then the court now says: “After the meticulous study and analysis of the evidence offered by both sides, the court is of the opinion that plaintiff’s evidence is more logical, acceptable, probable and worthy of credit. THEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the defendant to pay the loan.”

Q: Is this decision correct? A: NO. It still violates the law. There are no findings of facts or conclusions of the law. Therefore, when the court said, “plaintiff’s evidence is more logical, acceptable, probable and worthy of credit” those are conclusions. They are not findings of facts. Meaning you have to argue – why is it logical, why is it acceptable, why is it probable, why is it worthy of credit. You must state it and rebut the other side.

If that is how decisions are prepared, you just recite what the plaintiff said or what the defendant said, and you will conclude, “Therefore, find the plaintiff is logical…”, then every nincompoop person is qualified to be a judge – everybody can write a decision.

It is just like asking questions in the examinations. You will not answer that “A is correct because his argument is correct (period!).” You have to state why he is correct. That is also the case in the decision. You must support your answer with details.

Now, every decision of every court must state the facts and the law on which it is based. It must be in every court, no exceptions, whether SC or an MTC. The Constitutional provision on this requirement applies to all courts from the highest to the lowest.

However, the Judiciary Law allows the appellate court to make a Memorandum Decision. If you are the appellate court (CA), you either affirm or reverse the decision of the lower court. If the CA will reverse the findings of the RTC, definitely the CA has to justify why the findings of the RTC is wrong.

But suppose the CA will affirm, so there is nothing wrong with the judgment of the RTC. Now, in order to shorten the period for waiting for the decision and in order to hasten it, Section 40 of BP 129 allows the appellate court to simply quote verbatim the findings and conclusion of the trial court and adopt it as its own.

This is what is called the Memorandum Decision. The concept of memorandum decision which is found in Section 40, BP 129 is now in Rule 51, Section 5 of the 1997 Rules, to wit:



Form of decision.- Every decision or final resolution of the court in appealed cases shall clearly and distinctly state the findings of fact and the conclusions of law on which it is based, which may be contained in the decision or final resolution itself, or adopted from those set forth in the decision, order, or resolution appealed from. (Sec. 40, BP Blg. 129) (n)

So the appellate court is now authorized to simply copy or refer the true findings of fact and conclusions at the trial court if it is affirming the latter’s decision. This is what we call memorandum decision. The SC said that it is only allowed in simple cases, not in complicated ones. Otherwise the CA will be very lazy – they will just affirm and affirm. Affirm para walang trabaho. Reverse, madami. To reverse means to argue for the opposite, rebut everything that the trial court said, it takes time to study, etc. Hence the limitation, which we will discuss later.

Q: Does the law require a particular style of writing a decision? A: NO, style is based on every individual, so long as the facts and the law are distinctively stated. That is the minimum requirement. The law does not care how you do it because the manner of presenting the facts and the law and the discussion is a matter of style. Every person has his own style, and whether it is good or bad does not matter as long as you comply with the law.

As a matter of fact, there are many instances where the SC commented on the writing styles of judges. The most vehement critics on sloppy style of decision writing is retired Justice Isagani Cruz, because he is a very effective writer. He is intolerant of poorly written decisions. Kaya from time to time although not necessary, he will criticize poorly written decisions. He makes sub-comments. Like in the cases of


HELD: “Kilometric decisions without much substance must be avoided, to be sure, but the other

extreme, where substance is also lost in the wish to be brief, is no less unacceptable either.” Too long is bad, too short is bad either. “The ideal decision is that which, with welcome economy of words, arrives at the factual findings, reaches the legal conclusions, renders its ruling and, having done so, ends.” This means, brief but comprehensive.


HELD: “Every judge has his own writing style, some tedious, some terse, some pedestrian, some elegant, depending upon his training and outlook. Each is acceptable as long as the factual and legal bases are clearly and distinctly stated therein.”


HELD: “The decision of the trial court is exceedingly long, without any effort to trim the fat and keep it lean. Judges are not stenographers transcribing the testimony of the witnesses word for word. Judges must know how to synthesize, to summarize, to simplify. Their failure to do so is one of the main reasons for the delay in the administration of justice. It also explains the despair of the public over the foot-dragging of many courts and their inability to get to the point and to get there fast.”

There is one MTC judge here, who is very fond of quoting the allegations of the parties: “An action for collection of money. Plaintiff filed a complaint quoted as follows….” Every paragraph is quoted. “Defendant filed an answer quoted as follows… Evidence of plaintiff, quoted as follows…” Then his decision is only one paragraph. My golly! How long will it take your stenographer to type it. Can it not be reduced to 3 pages? This is what we call writing with style.

One of the best writers in the SC right now is Justice Panganiban. As a matter of fact, in one of the latest volumes of the Lawyers Review, he has an article entitled, “My Style of Decision Writing.” Very nice. Every judge must read that. He is giving tips on how to write elegant decisions.

But of course what applies to decision writing also applies to answering questions in the Bar. Some elegant, some tedious. The same answer but different styles of presentation. Other get high scores, low scores because of style. So you must also know how to answer. Especially in the Bar exams where the corrector is correcting more than 4,000 notebooks and he has a deadline, your notebook must project itself as if your notebook is telling the corrector: Read me! Read me!!

Q: How do you distinguish a judgment from a decision? A: Actually, the decision is the entire written effort from the first sentence, “This is an action for a sum of money” until the end. It contains everything from the findings of facts, discussion of evidence. The judgment is usually the last paragraph – ‘yung “WHEREFORE” – the dispositive portion or the decretal portion. Sometimes it is called the fallo of the case.

The fallo is yung “WHEREFORE…” Iyung discussions, findings of facts, conclusion of law to justify the fallo is called the ratio decidendi – the reasoning. (Contreras vs. Felix, 78 Phil. 570)

Q: In case of conflict between judgment and decision, which shall prevail? A: The judgment shall prevail in case of such conflict, for it is an elementary rule of procedure that the resolution of the court in a given issue, as embodied in the dispositive part of the decision, is the controlling factor that determines and settles the rights of the parties and the issues presented therein. (Manalang vs. Rickards, 55 O.G. 5780, July 27, 1959)

ASIAN CENTER vs. NLRC 297 SCRA 727 [October 12, 1998]

FACTS: A vs. B. In the ratio decidendi, A is correct. Pero pagdating sa WHEREFOR (judgment), A’s action is dismissed! And there was no statement in favor of B. A appeals. B contended that the judgment prevails. Is B correct?

HELD: “The general rule is that where there is a conflict between the dispositive portion or the fallo and the body of the decision, the fallo controls. This rule rests on the theory that the fallo is the final order while the opinion in the body is merely a statement ordering nothing. However, where the inevitable conclusion from the body of the decision is so clear as to show that there was a mistake in the dispositive portion, the body of the decision will prevail.”


Sin Perjuicio judgment Conditional judgment Incomplete judgement Nunc pro tunc judgment Judgment upon a compromise or Judgment upon an amicable settlement Judgment upon a confession


Q: What is an SIN PERJUICIO judgment? A: A sin perjuicio is one which contains only the dispositive portion of the decision and reserves the making of findings of fact and conclusions of law in a subsequent judgment. (Dir. of Lands vs. Sanz, 45 Phil. 117) So, there is a “WHEREFORE” without a ratio decidendi. It does not state how the court arrived at a certain decision.

Q: Is a SIN PERJUICIO judgment valid? A: A sin perjuicio judgment is a VOID judgment for it violates the constitutional provision that “no decision shall be rendered by any court of record without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based” (Sec. 14, Art. VIIII), and the provision of the Rules of Court that the judgment shall state “clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based. (Rule 36, Section 1)


Q: What is a CONDITIONAL judgment? A: A conditional judgment is one which is subject to the performance of a condition precedent and is not final until the condition is performed. (Jaucian vs. Querol, 38 Phil. 707)

EXAMPLE: A sued B. Then the court said: “The A is correct because so and so…. However, there is another case now pending before the SC where the same issue is being raised. In the meantime, A is correct. But in the event that SC decision comes out and is not favorable to A, then this decision should also be automatically changed in favor of B.” So, this is a conditional judgment. Is it a valid judgment?

Q: Is a conditional judgment valid? A: It is NOT valid. In truth, such judgment contains no disposition at all and is a mere anticipated statement of what the court shall do in the future when a particular event should happen. For this reason, as a general rule, judgments of such kind, conditioned upon a contingency, are held to be NULL and VOID. (Cu Unjieng y Hijos vs. Mabalacat Sugar Co., 70 Phil. 380)


Q: What is an INCOMPLETE judgment? What is its effect?

A: An incomplete judgment is one which leaves certain matters to be settled in a subsequent proceeding. (Ignacio vs. Hilario, 76 Phil. 605) There is a decision but there is still other matters to be incorporated later in such decision. Parang interlocutory judgment.

EXAMPLE: There is judgment against B for a damage suit, “Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered ordering defendant to indemnify the plaintiff, moral and exemplary damages (period!).” It does not state how much. Mamaya na natin malaman kung magkano. So kulang pa ang decision.

My golly! What is there to execute? You do not even know how much is the award. It does not settle any question that may be the subject of execution. (Araneta, Inc. vs. Tuason, 49 O.G. 45) The judgment can never become final, it having left certain matters to be settled for its completion in a subsequent proceeding. (Ignacio vs. Hilario, 76 Phil. 605) So, the judgment is again defective.


Q: (Bar Question) What is a judgment NUNC PRO TUNC and what is its function? A: A judgment nunc pro tunc literally means a ’judgment now for then.’ Its function is to record some act of the court done at a former time which was then carried into the record. And the power to make such entries is restricted to placing upon the record evidence of judicial action which has actually been taken. It may be used to make the record speak the truth, but not to make it speak what it did not speak but ought to have spoken. (Lichauco vs. Tan Pho, 51 Phil. 862)

Example: When a judge renders a decision, he must base his findings on what happened on the trial or on the evidence presented. Normally, the judge cites facts as bases for his findings. Suppose, the judge, in his hurry, made some findings but forgot to incorporate all those other important matters which can support his findings. Na-overlook ba! He rendered his decision which was lacking in something – inadvertently omitted. The judge may now amend his judgment by including the matters missed – such matters that have been admitted on record. Then, the judge now has an improved decision – the judgment now is NUNC PRO TUNC. What are to be added are things which really happened. The judge has no power to include something which did not actually happen. That would be irregular. How could you quote something which never transpired during the trial.

So it is an amended judgment where certain matters which are contained in the records and transpired in court were not incorporated. So when you made the decision, parang kulang. So in order to make it clearer, we will incorporate those matters which should have been incorporated in the amended decision. That is known as judgment nunc pro tunc. But you can only place there matters which transpired, not matters which did not transpire.

Q: In what cases is a judgment nunc pro tunc NOT proper? A: A judgment nunc pro tunc is not proper in the following instances:

It cannot remedy errors or omission in an imperfect or improper judgment. (Lichauco vs. Tan Pho, 51 Phil. 862) It cannot change the judgment in any material respect. (Henderson vs. Tan, 87 Phil. 466) and It cannot correct judicial errors, however flagrant and glaring they may be. (Henderson vs. Tan, 87 Phil. 466)


Q: What is a JUDGMENT UPON A COMPROMISE? A: A judgment upon a compromise is a judgment rendered with the consent of the parties for the purpose of effecting a compromise or settlement of an action. (31 Am. Jur. 105-108)

This is the type of judgment which the law encourages because it is a judgment with the consent of the parties

for the purpose of effecting a compromise or settlement. Usually mga collection cases ito – tawaran – like i- condone ang interests, or half of the amount na lang, etc. The court will render judgment copying word for word what the parties say. So the compromise agreement becomes the judgment and for a as long as the agreement is not contrary to law, the court will approve it.

Q: In a compromise judgment, is the court required to make findings of fact and conclusions of law? Why? A: In a compromise judgment, the court is not required to make findings of fact and conclusions of law. In contemplation of law, the court is deemed to have adopted the statement of facts and conclusions of law made and resolved by the parties themselves in their compromise agreement; and their consent has made it both unnecessary and improper for the court to make a preliminary adjudication of the matters thereunder covered. (Palarca vs. Anzon, L-14780, Nov. 29, 1960)

Q: How do you define a compromise? A: Under Article 2028 of the New Civil Code:

Art. 2028. A compromise is a contract whereby the parties, by making reciprocal concessions, avoid a litigation or put an end to one already commenced. (Civil Code)

So the essence of compromise is reciprocal concessions – give and take. It is a mutual concession to avoid litigation or, if there is already, that which will put an end. There are other definitions given by the SC although the essence or substance is the same. In the case of


197 SCRA 201

HELD: “A compromise is an agreement between two (2) or more persons who, in order to forestall or put an end to a law suit, adjust their differences by mutual consent, an adjustment which every one of them prefers to the hope of gaining more, balanced by the danger of losing more.”

If we go to trial, well, winner take all – either the plaintiff wins or the defendant wins. If you are not sure of your position, then you might as well get something out of it rather than risk losing everything.

EXAMPLE: You sue me for P1 million. Then I say, “I would like to offer a settlement”. You would say, “How much do you offer? Well, my complaint is 1 million, so you pay me P1 million.” That is not compromise, that is surrender. Kaya nga umaareglo ako para makatawad. And if you will not receive anything less than a million, you are not asking for a compromise, you are demanding total surrender. If that is so then, let us go to court and find out if you will get your P1 million and let us find out how many years from now you can get your money.

Kaya in a compromise agreement, there are no winners and there are no losers.


226 SCRA 314

FACTS: This is a case involving a compromise between the government and Benedicto, a crony of President Marcos. He entered into a compromise with the PCGG and the Supreme Court approved it. HELD: “Any compromise has its very essence reciprocal concessions, one must give and one must take. If only one takes all, then one must first win. But in a compromise, all win by taking some and giving some.”

Let’s go back to the law on Obligations and Contracts. There are four (4) types of defective contracts: (a) void; (b) voidable; (3) rescissible; and (4) unenforceable. Under the Civil Code, if one party enters into a contract

where he lacks the requisite authority, the contract is unenforceable but it is a valid agreement.

Q: What is the effect of a compromise agreement entered into by a lawyer, without any special authority from his client? Is it a null and void agreement? A: A lawyer cannot, without special authority, compromise his client’s litigation. A judgment upon a compromise entered by the court, not subscribed by the party sought to be bound by the compromise agreement, and in the absence of a special authority to the lawyer to bind his client in the said agreement, is UNENFORCEABLE. (Dungo vs. Lopena, L-18377, Dec. 29, 1962)

Q: Suppose in the above case, the client learned about what his lawyer did and he did not reject the agreement, as a matter of fact he complied with it, what is now the effect on such agreement? A: The agreement is now perfectly VALID and ENFORCEABLE because the party himself did not question his lawyer’s authority. When it appears that the client, on becoming aware of the compromise and the judgment, failed to repudiate promptly the action of his lawyer, he will not afterwards be heard to contest it. (Banco Español-Filipino vs. Palanca, 37 Phil. 921)

Q: What are the legal effects of a judgment based upon a compromise agreement? A: A judgment upon a compromise agreement produces the following legal effects:

The compromise judgment is not appealable and it is immediately executory. (Reyes vs. Ugarte, 75 Phil. 505; Serrano vs. Miave, L-14687, March 31, 1965)

It cannot be annulled unless it is vitiated with error, deceit, violence or forgery of documents. (Morales vs. Fontanos, 64 Phil. 19; Article 2038, Civil Code)

It constitutes res adjudicata. (Art. 2037, Civil Code; Sabino vs. Cuba, L-18328, Dec. 17, 1966) Meaning, the same subject matter or cause of action can no longer be reopened in the future in another litigation.

Q: Suppose you enter into a compromise agreement and there is a judgment. You want to escape from the compromise judgment on the ground that your consent was vitiated by mistake, error, deceit, violence. How do you question it? What is your remedy?

A: There are so many conflicting answers here. Some say you file a motion to set aside the compromise judgment because your consent was vitiated. And if the motion is denied, you appeal from the order denying your motion to set aside. But definitely, you cannot appeal from the compromise judgment because it is not appealable. You appeal from the order denying your motion to set aside the compromise judgment. However, under the new rules, you cannot anymore appeal an order denying a motion to set aside a judgment by consent, confession or compromise on the ground of fraud, mistake, or duress or any other ground vitiating consent (Section 1, Rule 41)

So an order denying a motion to set aside a judgment by compromise on the ground of fraud, mistake, or duress or any other ground vitiating consent is not appealable. Therefore, whatever the answers before are not anymore true now. So what is the REMEDY now?

It would seem that the correct remedy based on the new rules in relation to some new cases, among which was the case of:


HELD: The correct remedy is for the party to file an action for annulment of judgment before the Court of Appeals pursuant to Section 9, par. 2, of the Judiciary Law. (now incorporated in Rule 47) “A compromise may however be disturbed and set aside for vices of consent or forgery. Hence, where an aggrieved party alleges mistake, fraud, violence, intimidation, undue influence, or falsity in the execution of the compromise embodied in a judgment, an action to annul it should be brought

before the Court of Appeals, in accordance with Section 9(2) of Batas Pambansa Bilang 129, which gives that court (CA) exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgments of regional trial courts.”


Q: What is a judgment upon a confession? A: A judgment upon a confession is a one entered against a person upon his admission or confession of liability without the formality, time and expense involved in an ordinary proceeding. (Natividad vs. Natividad, 51 Phil. 613)

A judgment upon a confession is also known as “cognovit” judgment. (Pronounced as konyuvit)

EXAMPLE: You file a case against me. Without filing an answer, I simply appeared in court and tell the court that I am not contesting the claim. I am admitting the complaint to be true and I am willing to have judgment rendered against me. Or, I can also file my answer kunwari lang ba, and then in court I will admit my liability. That would be the basis of the judgment upon a confession.

As distinguished from judgment on the pleadings (Rule 34), in judgment on the pleadings you have to go through the process of filing an answer but actually your answer puts up no defense. In judgment upon a confession, I may not even file an answer. Hindi talaga ako maglaban. Upon receiving the complaint, I just say that I am admitting liability. So there is no need of a default order. In American Law, they call it no lo contendere, meaning no contest. Sa criminal case pa, I am pleading “guilty.”

Judgment upon a confession, Judgment upon the pleadings, Default judgment – Magkahawig sila. Only they vary a little bit. In default judgment, the defendant failed to file an answer. So, he is declared in default. In judgment upon the pleadings, defendant filed an answer but the answer contains no defense. In judgment upon a confession, he will not file an answer but will tell the court that he is admitting liability. So, lahat will end up on the same thing: There will be a judgment rendered against the defendant.

Now, during the commonwealth era, there were many American lawyers who practiced law in the Philippines. Many judges were Americans, even Justices of the Supreme Court – many of them were Americans. American lawyers brought to the Philippines types of agreements in American contracts. There was one particular agreement known as “Warrant of Attorney to Confess Judgment.” That is a standard clause in American contracts.

EXAMPLE: I am a bank. You borrow money from me and you sign a promissory note which contains stipulations normally to the advantage and in favor of the bank. They usually insert the American clause “Warrant of Attorney to Confess Judgment” that in the event that the bank will sue you on this promissory note, you are entering into a confession judgment immediately. Meaning, I am not going to defend myself and I am immediately confessing judgment to the court. And who will confess judgment to the court? The debtor will say “I hereby appoint the bank as my representative to confess judgment to the court in my behalf.” Parang Special Power of Attorney ba. The bank will go to the court and say, “Under this paragraph, I represent the defendant- debtor because he appointed me as his attorney-in-fact. And in behalf of the defendant, I am confessing.”

The Supreme Court ruled that such stipulation is null and void in the old case of:


HELD: Such type of clause is null and void for being contrary to public policy because the defendant waives his right in advance to defend himself. That is unfair because even before you are sued, you have already waived your right to defend yourself. But the judgment of confession is still allowed but one has to do it himself, and must not be done in advance. Meaning, it must not be done like the above acts of American lawyers as such is against

public policy. One must be first be given a chance for defense which right be later on waived through voluntary confession.

Q: Distinguish a judgment upon a COMPROMISE from a judgment upon a CONFESSION. A: The following are the distinctions:

In a judgment upon a COMPROMISE, the liability of the defendant is to be determined in accordance with the terms of the agreement of the parties; whereas In a judgment upon a CONFESSION, the defendant confesses the action and consents to the judgment that the court may render in accordance with the compromise and the prayer therein (31 Am. Jur. 108); and

In a judgment upon a COMPROMISE, there is give and take; the parties haggle, bargain and agree on the terms of the judgment; there is mutual or reciprocal concessions; whereas A judgment upon a CONFESSION is unilateral. It comes from the defendant who admits his liability and accepts that judgment be rendered against him.

Sec. 2. Entry of judgments and final orders. - If no appeal or

motion for new trial or reconsideration is filed within the time

provided in

forthwith be entered by the clerk in the book of entries of


shall be deemed to be the date of its entry. The record shall contain the dispositive part of the judgment or final order and shall be signed by the clerk, with a certificate that such judgment or final order has become final and executory. (2a, 10,


judgment or final order shall

these Rules,


The date of finality of the judgment or final order

I can either appeal within the time provided by the Rules. Or,

within the same period, I will file a motion for a new trial or a motion for reconsideration. In any case, the finality of the judgment will be stopped.

If you lose a case, what are your options?

Q: Suppose the prescribed period has lapsed, there is no appeal, no motion for new trial or reconsideration, what happens to the judgment? A: The judgment now becomes final and executory.

According to Section 2, once the judgment has become final, it shall be entered by the clerk of court in the Book of Entries of Judgments. If you go to the office of the RTC, you will find an official book which contains a chronological arrangement of cases, based on the date of filing. Malaking libro yan.

Now, the second sentence is new and its effects are also significant, “…the date of the finality of judgment or final order shall be deemed to be the date of its entry.” The rule is, when does a judgment become final? After the lapse of the period to appeal and no appeal is filed.

EXAMPLE: Today, March 4, the lawyer for the defendant received a copy of the judgment. The last day to appeal is March 19. Suppose there is no appeal, then March 20 is the date of finality. On March 20 or immediately thereafter, the clerk of court should know the judgment became final on March 20. Suppose the clerk of court placed it in the book on March 30. So, the date of finality is March 20 but the date of entry is March 30.

Sometimes the clerk of court forgets to make the date of entry. That is why under the old rules, the date of finality of judgment does not coincide with the date of entry of judgment because the clerk of court may do that thing months later. This creates a lot of trouble. So to cure the discrepancy, the second sentence is now inserted by the new law: “the date of finality of judgment shall be deemed to be the date of its entry.”

Meaning, the judgment became final on March 20 although the clerk of court noted it on March 30. Under the new rules, the date of entry (March 30) retroacts to March 20. That is the significance of the second sentence, they will automatically coincide. Kahit i-enter pa yan next month, everything will retroact to the date of finality. It is simplier now.

Q: When the judgment becomes final and executory, what are the effects? A: The finality of a judgment produces three (3) effects, to wit:

The prevailing party is entitled to have the judgment executed as a matter of right and the issuance of the corresponding writ of execution becomes a ministerial duty of the court (Rule 39);

The court rendering the judgment loses jurisdiction over the case so that it can no longer correct the judgment in substance, except to make corrections of clerical errors and omissions plainly due to inadvertence or negligence. (Locsin vs. Paredes, 63 Phil. 87; Manaois vs. Natividad, L-13927, Feb. 28, 1960; Maramba vs. Lozano, L-21533, June 29, 1967)

If after the judgment is rendered, you file a motion for reconsideration or new trial, there is a possibility for the court to change its mind and its judgment. But once the judgment has become final, the court has no more power to change its judgment substantially. The error will also become final, you can no longer change anything substantial.

EXCEPTION: There is one type of judgment which can be changed substantially even long after it became final as an exception to this rule. In the study of Persons, Judgment for Support. The judgment for support, which can be modified at any time because the obligation to give support depends not only on the resources of the obligor, but also on the ever-changing needs of the obligee. (Malabana vs. Abeto, 74 Phil. 13)

EXAMPLE: The father refuses to support his minor child. After trial, the court orders the father to support the child at P1,000 per month. Four years later, the father is already well-off and the child is already in nursery or kindergarten. So the child tells his lawyer that the amount for support must be increased from P1,000 to P5,000. The father says, “the court said P1,000 and if you change that to P5,000, that would be substantial.” The father is wrong. The amount for support can be changed anytime. In the same manner. The amount can also be lowered, as when the father loses his job.

Res Adjudicata supervenes. (NLU vs. CIR, L-14975, May 15, 1962)

The same cause of action between the same parties can never be the subject matter of another litigation in the future. Any subsequent case is barred by prior judgment.

Sec. 3. Judgment for or against one or more of several parties. - Judgment may be given for or against one or more of several plaintiffs, and for or against one or more of several defendants. When justice so demands, the court may require the parties on each side to file adversary pleadings as between themselves and determine their ultimate rights and obligations. (3)

Q: Suppose there are 2 plaintiffs A and B, can the court render judgment in favor of plaintiff A and against plaintiff B? Or, is it possible that in one case, one defendant will win and the other defendant will lose? A: YES, especially when the causes of action or defenses are not the same. One may invoke a defense that is only applicable to him but not applicable to others.

Sec. 4. Several judgments. - In an action against several defendants, the court may, when a several judgment is proper,

render judgment against one or more of them, leaving the action to proceed against the others. (4)

Same concept. When there are 2 or more defendants, normally the court renders judgment sabay-sabay. That is possible.

Q. Is it possible that more than one judgment will arise in a civil action?

A. YES. There’s a judgment in favor of the plaintiff against the defendant and the trial still continues with

respect to other defendants. That would involve more than one decision. Judgment in favor of one defendant is rendered already but the trial will continue with respect to other defendants is possible under Section 4.

EXAMPLE: There was a case where the government filed a case for expropriation against several landowners. The lands are adjoining each other and the government would like to expropriate all these properties. The government had to file on complaint against several landowners. One landowner asked that his case be tried ahead of the others. He was allowed under Rule 31 on Separate Trial. His case was tried ahead. After trial, the court rendered judgment against him. His land was ordered expropriated. Now, what happened to the other defendants? The Supreme Court said let the case continue against the other landowners. But there would be a judgment in so far as one defendant is concerned. (Municipality of Biñan vs. Garcia, 108 SCRA 576)

Sec. 5. Separate judgments. - When more than one claim for relief is presented in an action, the court, at any stage, upon a determination of the issues material to a particular claim and all counterclaims arising out of the transaction or occurrence which is the subject matter of the claim, may render a separate judgment disposing of such claim. The judgment shall terminate the action with respect to the claim so disposed of and the action shall proceed as to the remaining claims. In case a separate judgment is rendered, the court by order may stay its enforcement until the rendition of a subsequent judgment or judgments and may prescribe such conditions as may be necessary to secure the benefit thereof to the party in whose favor the judgment is rendered. (5a)

Section 5 is also similar to Section 4.

Q: Can there be judgments at periods or stages of proceedings? A: YES. There can be judgment insofar as one cause of action and the proceedings will continue as to other causes of action.

Let us go back to Rule 30 on Order of Trial. You will notice that there is order of trial when there are several claims in one action.

EXAMPLE: Plaintiff files a complaint against several defendants. One defendant files a cross-claim against another defendant. Two defendants file permissive counterclaims against the plaintiff. One defendant will file a third-party complaint against a third-party defendant. The court renders judgment. It may render judgment as far as complaint is concerned, then the decision for the cross-claim, then for the counterclaim.

The normal procedure is you try the case, tapusin mo lahat, then you render one judgment disposing of the complaint, counterclaim, cross-claim and third-party complaint. Yet, separate judgments is also permissive under Section 5. If there are separate trials for all these (counterclaim, cross-claim, etc), it is also possible that there would be separate trials.


Section 3 – refers to an action by several parties Section 4 – refers to an action against several defendants Section 5 – refers to several claims for relief in an action

Sec. 6. Judgment against entity without juridical personality. - When judgment is rendered against two or more persons sued as an entity without juridical personality, the judgment shall set out their individual or proper names, if known. (6a)

Does that sound familiar?

Two or more persons sued as an entity without juridical personality.

back to Rule 3 Section 15 and Rule 14 Section 8.

Let’s go

PROBLEM: Three people are members of an entity without juridical personality. They transact business with Mr. Alama. Mr. Alama has no idea who are really the members of the said entity. He wanted to sue the members of an entity. Q1: How will he do it? A: Rule 3, Section 15 – Mr. Alama will file a case against the defendants by using the name of the entity they are using.

Q2: How should summons served to these defendants? A: Rule 14, Section 8 – Summons may be served on anyone of them or to the person in charge of the place of business.

Q3: How should judgment be rendered against them? A: Rule 36, Section 6 – when judgment is rendered, the judgment shall set out their individual and proper names.


published by

LAKAS ATENISTA 1997 – 1998: FOURTH YEAR: Anna Vanessa Angeles • Glenda Buhion • Joseph Martin Castillo • Aaron Philip Cruz • Pearly Joan Jayagan • Anderson Lo • Yogie Martirizar • Frecelyn Mejia • Dorothy Montejo • Rowena Panales • Regina Sison • Ruby Teleron • Marilou Timbol • Maceste Uy • Perla Vicencio • Liberty Wong • Jude Zamora • Special Thanks to: Marissa Corrales and July Romena

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LAKAS ATENISTA 2001–2002: REVISION COMMITTEE: Melissa Suarez • Jessamyn Agustin

Judee Uy • Janice Joanne Torres • Genie Salvania • Pches Fernandez • Riezl Locsin • Kenneth Lim • Charles Concon • Roy Acelar • Francis Ampig • Karen Cacabelos • Maying Dadula • Hannah Examen • Thea Guadalope • Myra Montecalvo • Paul Ongkingco • Michael Pito • Rod Quiachon • Maya Quitain • Rina Sacdalan • Lyle Santos • Joshua Tan • Thaddeus Tuburan • John Vera Cruz • Mortmort


Rules on Civil Procedure



Edition <draft copy. pls. check for

Rule 36 – Judgments, Final Orders And Entry Thereof




Lakas Atenista Ateneo de Davao University College of Law