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G.R. No. L-26053 February 21, 1967 6. Laureano Dizo 35.00 2.80 22.

40
CITY OF MANILA, plaintiff-appellee,
vs. 7. Bernabe Ayuda 39.60 3.17 323.34
GERARDO GARCIA — CARMENCITA VILLANUEVA, MODESTA PARAYNO — NARCISO
PARAYNO, JUAN ASPERAS, MARIA TABIA — SIMEON DILIMAN, AQUILINO BARRIOS — 8. Isabelo Obaob 75.52 9.06 208.38
LEONORA RUIZ, LAUREANO DIZO, BERNABE AYUDA — LEOGARDA DE LOS SANTOS,
9. Jose Barrientos 39.53 4.74 744.18
ISABELO OBAOB — ANDREA RIPARIP, JOSE BARRIENTOS, URBANO RAMOS,1 ELENA
RAMOS, ESTEFANIA NEPACINA, MODESTA SANCHEZ, MARCIAL LAZARO, MARCIANA 10. Cecilia Manzano in Paid up to
ALANO, HONORIO BERIÑO — SEDORA ORAYLE, GLORIA VELASCO, WILARICO RICAMATA, lieu of Urbano Ramos (deceased) 46.65 5.60 Feb. 1962.
BENEDICTO DIAZ, ANA DEQUIZ — (MRS.) ALUNAN, LORENZO CARANDANG, JUAN PECAYO,
FELICIDAD MIRANDA — EMIGDIO EGIPTO, defendants-appellants. 11. Elena Ramos 34.80 2.78 186.26
SANCHEZ, J.:
12. Estefania Nepacina 41.80 3.34 504.34

Plaintiff City of Manila is owner of parcels of land, forming one compact area, bordering Kansas, 13. Modesta Sanchez 33.48 2.68 444.88
Vermont and Singalong streets in Malate, Manila, and covered by Torrens Titles Nos. 49763,
37082 and 37558. Shortly after liberation from 1945 to 1947, defendants entered upon these 14. Marcial Lazaro 22.40 1.79 688.32
premises without plaintiff's knowledge and consent. They built houses of second-class materials,
15. Marciana Alano 25.80 2.06 255.44
again without plaintiff's knowledge and consent, and without the necessary building permits
from the city. There they lived thru the years to the present. 16. Honorio Beriño 24.00 1.92 188.16

In November, 1947, the presence of defendants having previously been discovered, defendants 17. Gloria Velasco 32.40 2.59 56.98
Felicidad Miranda (Emigdio Egipto), Modesta C. Parayno, Benedicto Diaz, Laureano Dizo, Jose
18. Wilarico Ricamata 45.83 3.67 739.68
Barrientos, Elena Ramos, Estefania Nepacina, Modesta Sanchez, Honorio Beriño, Gloria Velasco,
Ana Dequis Alunan and Benedicto Ofiaza (predecessor of defendant Carandang) were given by Paid up to
Mayor Valeriano E. Fugoso written permits — each labeled "lease contract" — to occupy specific 19. Benedicto Diaz 40.20 4.82
March 1962.
areas in the property upon conditions therein set forth. Defendants Isabelo Obaob and Gerardo
Garcia (in the name of Marta A. Villanueva) received their permits from Mayor Manuel de la 20. Ana Dequis Alunan 64.26 7.71 30.84
Fuente on January 29 and March 18, respectively, both of 1948. The rest of the 23 defendants
21. Lorenzo Carandang 45.03 5.40 437.40
exhibited none.
22. Juan N. Pecayo 25.52 3.06 30.60
For their occupancy, defendants were charged nominal rentals.1äwphï1.ñët
23. Felicidad Miranda 48.02 5.76 132.48

Following are the rentals due as of February, 1962:


P7,580.69

Amt. due from


Area Monthly
NAME date of delinquency Epifanio de los Santos Elementary School is close, though not contiguous, to the property. Came
in sq.m. Rental
to Feb. 1962 the need for this school's expansion; it became pressing. On September 14, 1961, plaintiff's City
1. Gerardo Garcia 66.00 P7.92 P1,628.97
Engineer, pursuant to the Mayor's directive to clear squatters' houses on city property, gave each
of defendants thirty (30) days to vacate and remove his construction or improvement on the
2. Modesta C. Parayno 87.75 10.53 379.08 premises. This was followed by the City Treasurer's demand on each defendant, made in
February and March, 1962, for the payment of the amount due by reason of the occupancy and
3. Juan Asperas 39.00 4.68 9.36 to vacate in fifteen (15) days. Defendants refused. Hence, this suit to recover possession. 2
4. Maria Tabia 35.20 5.76 570.24
The judgment below directed defendants to vacate the premises; to pay the amounts heretofore
5. Aquilino Barrios indicated opposite their respective names; and to pay their monthly rentals from March, 1962,
54.00 4.32 99.36
(Leonora Ruiz) until they vacate the said premises, and the costs. Defendants appealed.
1. We are called upon to rule on the forefront question of whether the trial court sanitation. They are breeding places for crime. They constitute proof that respect for
properly found that the city needs the premises for school purposes. the law and the rights of others, even those of the government, are being flouted.
Knowingly, squatters have embarked on the pernicious act of occupying property
The city's evidence on this point is Exhibit E, the certification of the Chairman, whenever and wherever convenient to their interests — without as much as leave, and
Committee on Appropriations of the Municipal Board. That document recites that the even against the will, of the owner. They are emboldened seemingly because of their
amount of P100,000.00 had been set aside in Ordinance 4566, the 1962-1963 Manila belief that they could violate the law with impunity. The pugnaciousness of some of
City Budget, for the construction of an additional building of the Epifanio de los Santos them has tied up the hands of legitimate owners. The latter are thus prevented from
Elementary School. It is indeed correct to say that the court below, at the hearing, ruled recovering possession by peaceful means. Government lands have not been spared by
out the admissibility of said document. But then, in the decision under review, the trial them. They know, of course, that intrusion into property, government or private, is
judge obviously revised his views. He there declared that there was need for defendants wrong. But, then, the mills of justice grind slow, mainly because of lawyers who, by
to vacate the premises for school expansion; he cited the very document, Exhibit E, means, fair or foul, are quite often successful in procuring delay of the day of reckoning.
aforesaid. Rampancy of forcible entry into government lands particularly, is abetted by the apathy
of some public officials to enforce the government's rights. Obstinacy of these squatters
is difficult to explain unless it is spawned by official tolerance, if not outright
It is beyond debate that a court of justice may alter its ruling while the case is within its encouragement or protection. Said squatters have become insensible to the difference
power, to make it conformable to law and justice.3 Such was done here. Defendants' between right and wrong. To them, violation of law means nothing. With the result that
remedy was to bring to the attention of the court its contradictory stance. Not having squatting still exists, much to the detriment of public interest. It is high time that, in this
done so, this Court will not reopen the case solely for this purpose.4 aspect, sanity and the rule of law be restored. It is in this environment that we look into
the validity of the permits granted defendants herein.
Anyway, elimination of the certification, Exhibit E, as evidence, would not profit
defendants. For, in reversing his stand, the trial judge could well have taken — because These permits, erroneously labeled "lease" contracts, were issued by the mayors in
the was duty bound to take — judicial notice5 of Ordinance 4566. The reason being that 1947 and 1948 when the effects of the war had simmered down and when these
the city charter of Manila requires all courts sitting therein to take judicial notice of all defendants could have very well adjusted themselves. Two decades have now elapsed
ordinances passed by the municipal board of Manila.6 And, Ordinance 4566 itself since the unlawful entry. Defendants could have, if they wanted to, located permanent
confirms the certification aforesaid that an appropriation of P100,000.00 was set aside premises for their abode. And yet, usurpers that they are, they preferred to remain on
for the "construction of additional building" of the Epifanio de los Santos Elementary city property.
School.
Defendants' entry as aforesaid was illegal. Their constructions are as illegal, without
Furthermore, defendants' position is vulnerable to assault from a third direction. permits.8 The city charter enjoins the mayor to "safeguard all the lands" of the City of
Defendants have absolutely no right to remain in the premises. The excuse that they Manila.9
have permits from the mayor is at best flimsy. The permits to occupy are recoverable
on thirty days' notice. They have been asked to leave; they refused to heed. It is in this
factual background that we say that the city's need for the premises is unimportant. The Surely enough, the permits granted did not "safeguard" the city's land in question. It is
city's right to throw defendants out of the area cannot be gainsaid. The city's dominical our considered view that the Mayor of the City of Manila cannot legalize forcible entry
right to possession is paramount. If error there was in the finding that the city needs into public property by the simple expedient of giving permits, or, for that matter,
the land, such error is harmless and will not justify reversal of the judgment below.7 executing leases.

2. But defendants insist that they have acquired the legal status of tenants. They are Squatting is unlawful and no amount of acquiescence on the part of the city officials will
wrong. elevate it into a lawful act. In principle, a compound of illegal entry and official permit
to stay is obnoxious to our concept of proper official norm of conduct. Because, such
permit does not serve social justice; it fosters moral decadence. It does not promote
They entered the land, built houses of second-class materials thereon without the public welfare; it abets disrespect for the law. It has its roots in vice; so it is an infected
knowledge and consent of the city. Their homes were erected without city permits. bargain. Official approval of squatting should not, therefore, be permitted to obtain in
this country where there is an orderly form of government.
These constructions are illegal. In a language familiar to all, defendants are squatters:
We, accordingly, rule that the Manila mayors did not have authority to give permits,
Since the last global war, squatting on another's property in this country has become a written or oral, to defendants, and that the permits herein granted are null and void.
widespread vice. It was and is a blight. Squatters' areas pose problems of health,
3. Let us look into the houses and constructions planted by defendants on the premises.
They clearly hinder and impair the use of that property for school purposes. The courts
may well take judicial notice of the fact that housing school children in the elementary
grades has been and still is a perennial problem in the city. The selfish interests of
defendants must have to yield to the general good. The public purpose of constructing
the school building annex is paramount.10

In the situation thus obtaining, the houses and constructions aforesaid constitute public
nuisance per se. And this, for the reason that they hinder and impair the use of the
property for a badly needed school building, to the prejudice of the education of the
youth of the land.11 They shackle the hands of the government and thus obstruct
performance of its constitutionally ordained obligation to establish and maintain a
complete and adequate system of public education, and more, to "provide at least free
public primary instruction".12

Reason dictates that no further delay should be countenanced. The public nuisance
could well have been summarily abated by the city authorities themselves, even without
the aid of the courts.13

4. Defendants challenge the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of Manila. They
say that the case should have been started in the municipal court. They prop up their
position by the averment that notice for them to vacate was only served in September,
1961, and suit was started in July, 1962. Their legal ground is Section 1, Rule 70 of the
Rules of Court. We have reached the conclusion that their forcible entry dates back to
the period from 1945 to 1947. That entry was not legalized by the permits. Their
possession continued to remain illegal from incipiency. Suit was filed long after the one-
year limitation set forth in Section 1 of Rule 70. And the Manila Court of First Instance
has jurisdiction.14

Upon the premises, we vote to affirm the judgment under review. Costs against defendants-
appellants. So ordered.
G.R. No. L-28100 November 29, 1971 in the rather sketchy and in conclusive discussion in the six-page brief of applicant is that there
GABRIEL BAGUIO, plaintiff-Appellant, was no denial as to the truth of the statement made by Judge Gorospe that there was a previous
vs. dismissal the same plaintiff's complaint against the predecessor-in-interest of defendants, who
TEOFILA L. VDA. DE JALAGAT, for herself and in representation of her minor children, as expressly admitted by appellant was the deceased husband of one of them and father of the
DOMINADOR, LEA and TEONIFE all surnamed JALAGAT; ANABELLA JALAGAT and rest. There was no denial either of the property involved being the same and of the finality of the
EMMANUEL JALAGAT, defendants-appellees. decsion in the previous case which would show that appellant's claim was devoid of any support
FERNANDO, J.: in law. It would be therefore futile for the court to continue with the case as there had been such
a prior judgment certainly binding on appellant. What then was there for the lower court to do?
The specific legal question raised in this appeal from an order of dismissal by the Court of First Was there any sense in its being engaged in what was essentially a fruitless, endeavor as the
Instance of Misamis Oriental, presided by the Hon. Benjamin K. Gorospe, one which has not as outcome was predictible?
yet been the subject of a definitive ruling is whether or not on a motion to dismiss on the ground
of res judicata that the cause of action is barred by a prior judgment, a lower court may take Certainly, the law would lend itself to a well-deserved reproach if the Rules of Court would
judicial notice of such previous case decided by him resulting in the prior judgment relied upon. sanction such a proceeding distinguished by nothing but its futility. It ought to be clear even to
Judge Gorospe answered in the affirmative. So do we. An affirmance is thus called for. appellant that under the circumstances, the lower court certainly could take judicial notice of the
finality of a judgment in a case that was previously pending and thereafter decided by it. That
The case started with the complaint for the quieting of title to real property filed by plaintiff, now was all that was done by the lower court in decreeing the dismissal. Certainly such an order is
appellant, Gabriel Baguio, on February, 14, 1966. There was on March 7, 1966 a motion to dismiss not contrary to law. A citation from the comments of former Chief Justice Moran is relevant. Thus:
filed by defendants, now appellees, on the ground that the cause of action is barred by a prior "Courts have also taken judicial notice of previous cases to determine whether or not the case
judgment. This was the argument advanced: "The instant complaint or case, besides being clearly pending is a moot one, or whether or not a previous ruling is applicable in the case under
unfounded and malicious, is identical to or the same as that Civil Case No. 1574 filed by the same consideration."3
plaintiff and against Melecio alias Mening Jalagat, now deceased and whose legal heirs and
successors in interest are the very defendants in the instant complaint or Civil Case No. 2639. 2. There is another equally compelling consideration. Appellant undoubtedly had recourse to a
Said Civil Case No. 1574 was filed on October 7, 1958 for 'Recovery of Possession and Ownership remedy which under the law then in force could be availed of. It would have served the cause of
of Real Estate' and entitled Gabriel Baguio, plantiff, versus Melecio alias Mening Jalagat, justice better, not to mention the avoidance of needless expense on his part and the vexation to
defendant, involving practically the same property and practically the same parties as defendants which appellees were subjected if he did reflect a little more on the matter. Then the valuable
are the widow and the children, respectively, thus the legal or forced heirs of the deceased time of this Tribunal would not have been frittered away on a useless find hopeless appeal. It has,
Melecio Jalagat. That the said Case No. 1574, which is identical to or is the same case as the instant ever been the guiding principle from Alonso v. Villamor,4 a 1910 decision, that a litigant should
one, has already been duly and finally terminated as could be clear from [an] order of this not be allowed to worship at the altar of technicality. That is not to dispense justice according to
Honorable Court [dated December 6, 1965]."1 There was an opposition on the part of plaintiff law. Parties, and much more so their counsel, should ever keep such an imperative of our legal
made on March 26, 1966 on the ground that for prior judgment or res judicata to suffice as a basis system in mind.5
for dismissal it must be apparent on the face of the complaint. It was then alleged that there was
nothing in the complaint from which such a conclusion may be inferred. Then, on September 26, WHEREFORE, the order of dismissal of September 26, 1966 is hereby affirmed. With costs against
1966, came the order complained of worded thus: "Acting on the motion to dismiss filed by plaintiff.
counsel for the defendants under date of March 4, 1966, anchored on the ground that plaintiff's
cause of action is barred by a prior judgement which this Court finds to be well-founded as it has
already dismissed plaintiff's complaint in Civil Case No. 1574 against Melecio Jalagat alias Mening
Jalagat, defendants predecessor in interest from whom they have derived their rights, in an order
dated December 6, 1965, pursuant to Section 3 of Rule 17 of the new Rules of Court, which case
involved the same parcel of land as the one in the instant case, as prayed for, Civil Case No. 2639
should be as it is hereby [dismissed]. The Court's previous dismissal of Civil Case No. 1574 has
the effect of an adjudication upon the merits and consequently is a bar to and may be pleaded in
abatement of any subsequent action against the same parties over the same issues and the same
subject-matter by the same plaintiff. [So ordered]"2 Hence, this appeal.

The order of dismissal, as noted at the outset, must be sustained. It is in accordance with law.

1. The sole error assigned is that a bar by prior judgement cannot be raised in a motion to dismiss
when such ground does not appear on the face of the complaint. What immediately calls attention
G.R. No. L-17885 June 30, 1965 that the 157 square meters allegedly taken from his lot by virtue of said order be reconveyed to
GABRIEL P. PRIETO, plaintiff-appellant, him.
vs.
MEDEN ARROYO, JACK ARROYO, NONITO ARROYO and ZEFERINO ARROYO, Defendants moved to dismiss the complaint on the ground of res judicata. Plaintiff opposed, and
JR., defendants-appellees. on January 15, 1959 the court granted the motion. It is from the order of dismissal, plaintiff
MAKALINTAL, J.: having failed to secure its reconsideration, that the appeal has been taken.

Gabriel P. Prieto appealed to the Court of Appeals from the order of the Court of First Instance of Appellant maintains that the institution of Special Proceedings No. 900 was irregular and illegal
Camarines Sur dismissing his complaint in Civil Case No. 4280. Since only questions of law are mainly because he was not notified thereof and the same was instituted almost six years after
involved the appeal has been certified to this Court. the issuance of the decree and title sought to be corrected, and hence the order of the court dated
May 23, 1956 for the correction of the technical description in appellees' title is void ab initio.
In 1948 Zeferino Arroyo, Sr. filed in the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur a petition for
registration of several parcels of land, including Lot No. 2, Plan Psu-106730 (L.R.C. No. 144; The issue here, however, is not the validity of said Special Proceedings No. 900 but the propriety
G.L.R.O. No. 1025). After the proper proceedings Original Certificate of Title No. 39 covering said of the dismissal of appellant's complaint on the ground of res adjudicata. The validity of the said
lot was issued in his name. The same year and in the same Court Gabriel P. Prieto filed a petition proceedings was the issue in the first case he filed. But because of his failure and that of his
for registration of an adjoining parcel of land, described as Lot No. 3, Plan Psu-117522 (L.R.C. No. counsel to attend the hearing the court dismissed the case for failure to prosecute. Since no
173; G.L.R.O. No. 1474). As a result Original Certificate of Title No. 11 was issued in his name. appeal was taken from the order of dismissal it had the effect of an adjudication upon the merits,
the court not having provided otherwise (Rule 30, Section 3).
After the death of Zeferino Arroyo, Sr., Original Certificate of Title No. 39 was cancelled and in
lieu thereof Transfer Certificate of Title No. 227 was issued in the names of his heirs, the Appellant contends that said order could not have the effect of a judgment because the Court did
defendants in this case, namely Meden Jack, Joker, Nonito and Zeferino, Jr., all surnamed Arroyo. not acquire jurisdiction over the persons of the respondents therein, defendants-appellees here,
as they did not file any opposition or responsive pleading in that case. Appellees, on the other
On March 6, 1956 said heirs filed in the Court of First Instance of Camarines Sur a petition (L.R.C. hand, allege that they had voluntarily submitted to the court's jurisdiction after they were served
No. 144; G.L.R.O. No. 1025; Special Proceedings No. 900) in which they claimed that the technical copies of the petition. This allegation finds support in the record, particularly in the following
description set forth in their transfer certificate of title and in the original certificate of their statement of appellant in his brief:
predecessor did not conform with that embodied in the decision of the land registration court,
and was less in area by some 157 square meters. They therefore prayed that said description be This petition was originally set for hearing on December 8, 1956, but was postponed to
corrected pursuant to Section 112 of the Land Registration Act; that their certificate of title be January 14, 1957, due to lack of notice to the respondents. Upon motion for
cancelled and another one issued to them containing the correct technical description. The postponements of respondents, now defendants-appellees, the hearing of January 14,
petition was filed in the registration record but was docketed as Special Proceedings No. 900. 1957 was postponed to May 16, 1957. The hearing set for May 16, 1957 was again
postponed upon motion of the respondents to July 12, 1957.
On May 23, 1956 the court issued an order directing the Register of Deeds of Camarines Sur to
"change, upon payment of his fees, the description in Transfer Certificate of Title No. 227 of Lot Appellant next points out that the lower court should not have dismissed his first petition for
2 in Plan Psu-106730 so as to make it conform to that embodied in the decision of the Court on annulment because no "parole" evidence need be taken to support it, the matters therein alleged
March 8, 1950, and to correct therein the spelling of the name of one of the petitioners from being parts of the records of L.R.C. No. 144, G.L.R.O. No. 1025, and L.R.C. 173, G.L.R.O. No. 1474,
'Miden Arroyo' to 'Meden Arroyo'. which were well within the judicial notice and cognizance of the said court.

On November 29, 1956 Prieto filed against the defendants in the Court of First Instance of In the first place, as a general rule, courts are not authorized to take judicial notice in the
Camarines Sur (in the original registration records of the two lots) a petition to annul the order adjudication of cases pending before them, of the contents of other cases, even when such cases
of May 23 in Special Proceedings No. 900. At the hearing of the petition on July 12, 1957 neither have been tried or are pending in the same court, and notwithstanding the fact that both cases
he nor his counsel appeared. Consequently, the trial court on the same day issued an order may have been tried or are actually pending before the same judge (Municipal Council of San
dismissing the petition for failure to prosecute. A motion for reconsideration of that order was Pedro, Laguna, et al. v. Colegio de San Jose, et al., 65 Phil. 318). Secondly, if appellant had really
denied on September 5, 1957. wanted the court to take judicial notice of such records, he should have presented the proper
request or manifestation to that effect instead of sending, by counsel, a telegraphic motion for
On September 2, 1958 Prieto filed against the same defendants the present action for annulment postponement of hearing, which the court correctly denied. Finally, the point raised by counsel
of Special Proceedings No. 900 and the order therein entered on May 23, 1956. He also prayed is now academic, as no appeal was taken from the order dismissing his first petition, and said
order had long become final when the complaint in the present action was filed.
The contention that the causes of action in the two suits are different is untenable.

Both are based on the alleged nullity of Special Proceedings No. 900; in both appellant seeks that
the order of correction of the title of appellees be set aside. Of no material significance is the fact
that in the complaint in the instant case there is an express prayer for reconveyance of some 157
square meters of land, taken from appellant as a result of such correction of title. For that area
would necessarily have reverted to appellant had his first petition prospered, the relief asked for
by him being that "the Register of Deeds of Camarines Sur be ordered to amend Certificate of
Title No. 332 by incorporating therein only and solely the description of Lot No. 2, plan Psu-
106730 as appearing in the Decree No. 5165 and maintaining consequently the description limits
and area of the adjoining land of the herein petitioner, Lot No. 3, plan Psu-117522, in accordance
with Decree No. 2301 of Land Registration No. 173." The claim for damages as well as for other
additional and alternative reliefs in the present case are not materially different from his prayer
for "such other remedies, just and equitable in the premises" contained in the former one.

There being identity of parties, subject matter and cause of action between the two cases, the
order of dismissal issued in the first constitutes a bar to the institution of the second.

The appealed order is affirmed, with costs against appellant.


G.R. No. L-55960 November 24, 1988 (1) Declaring petitioners Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy- Bernabe
YAO KEE, SZE SOOK WAH, SZE LAI CHO, and SY CHUN YEN, petitioners, and Rodolfo Sy acknowledged natural children of the deceased Sy Kiat with
vs. Asuncion Gillego, an unmarried woman with whom he lived as husband and
AIDA SY-GONZALES, MANUEL SY, TERESITA SY-BERNABE, RODOLFO SY, and HONORABLE wife without benefit of marriage for many years:
COURT OF APPEALS, respondents.
CORTES, J.: (2) Declaring oppositors Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Chu and Sze Chun Yen, the
acknowledged natural children of the deceased Sy Kiat with his Chinese wife
Sy Kiat, a Chinese national. died on January 17, 1977 in Caloocan City where he was then residing, Yao Kee, also known as Yui Yip, since the legality of the alleged marriage of Sy
leaving behind real and personal properties here in the Philippines worth P300,000.00 more or Mat to Yao Kee in China had not been proven to be valid to the laws of the
less. Chinese People's Republic of China (sic);

Thereafter, Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy-Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy filed a petition for (3) Declaring the deed of sale executed by Sy Kiat on December 7, 1976 in
the grant of letters of administration docketed as Special Proceedings Case No. C-699 of the then favor of Tomas Sy (Exhibit "G-1", English translation of Exhibit "G") of the
Court of First Instance of Rizal Branch XXXIII, Caloocan City. In said petition they alleged among Avenue Tractor and Diesel Parts Supply to be valid and accordingly, said
others that (a) they are the children of the deceased with Asuncion Gillego; (b) to their knowledge property should be excluded from the estate of the deceased Sy Kiat; and
Sy Mat died intestate; (c) they do not recognize Sy Kiat's marriage to Yao Kee nor the filiation of
her children to him; and, (d) they nominate Aida Sy-Gonzales for appointment as administratrix (4) Affirming the appointment by the lower court of Sze Sook Wah as judicial
of the intestate estate of the deceased [Record on Appeal, pp. 4-9; Rollo, p. 107.] administratrix of the estate of the deceased. [CA decision, pp. 11-12; Rollo, pp.
36- 37.]
The petition was opposed by Yao Kee, Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Cho and Sy Yun Chen who alleged
that: (a) Yao Kee is the lawful wife of Sy Kiat whom he married on January 19, 1931 in China; (b) From said decision both parties moved for partial reconsideration, which was however denied
the other oppositors are the legitimate children of the deceased with Yao Kee; and, (c) Sze Sook by respondent court. They thus interposed their respective appeals to this Court.
Wah is the eldest among them and is competent, willing and desirous to become the
administratrix of the estate of Sy Kiat [Record on Appeal, pp. 12-13; Rollo, p. 107.] After hearing,
the probate court, finding among others that: Private respondents filed a petition with this Court docketed as G.R. No. 56045 entitled "Aida Sy-
Gonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy-Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy v. Court of Appeals, Yao Kee, Sze Sook
Wah, Sze Lai Cho and Sy Chun Yen" questioning paragraphs (3) and (4) of the dispositive portion
(1) Sy Kiat was legally married to Yao Kee [CFI decision, pp. 12-27; Rollo, pp. of the Court of Appeals' decision. The Supreme Court however resolved to deny the petition and
49-64;] the motion for reconsideration. Thus on March 8, 1982 entry of judgment was made in G.R. No.
56045. **
(2) Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Cho and Sze Chun Yen are the legitimate children of
Yao Kee with Sy Mat [CFI decision, pp. 28-31; Rollo. pp. 65-68;] and, The instant petition, on the other hand, questions paragraphs (1) and (2) of the dispositive
portion of the decision of the Court of Appeals. This petition was initially denied by the Supreme
(3) Aida Sy-Gonzales, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy-Bernabe and Rodolfo Sy are the Court on June 22, 1981. Upon motion of the petitioners the Court in a resolution dated September
acknowledged illegitimate offsprings of Sy Kiat with Asuncion Gillego [CFI 16, 1981 reconsidered the denial and decided to give due course to this petition. Herein
decision, pp. 27-28; Rollo, pp. 64- 65.] petitioners assign the following as errors:

held if favor of the oppositors (petitioners herein) and appointed Sze Sook Wah as the I. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN DECLARING THE
administratrix of the intestate estate of the deceased [CFI decision, pp. 68-69; Rollo, pp. 105- MARRIAGE OF SY KIAT TO YAO YEE AS NOT HAVE (sic) BEEN PROVEN VALID
106.] IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAWS OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA.

On appeal the Court of Appeals rendered a decision modifying that of the probate court, the II. RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN DECLARING AIDA
dispositive portion of which reads: SY-GONZALES, MANUEL SY, TERESITA SY-BERNABE AND RODOLFO SY AS
NATURAL CHILDREN OF SY KIAT WITH ASUNCION GILLEGO. [Petition, p. 2;
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the decision of the lower Court is hereby Rollo, p. 6.]
MODIFIED and SET ASIDE and a new judgment rendered as follows:
I. Petitioners argue that the marriage of Sy Kiat to Yao Kee in accordance with Chinese law and her wedding with Sy Kiat, they lived immediately together as husband and wife,
custom was conclusively proven. To buttress this argument they rely on the following testimonial and from then on, they lived together; that Sy Kiat went to the Philippines
and documentary evidence. sometime in March or April in the same year they were married; that she went
to the Philippines in 1970, and then came back to China; that again she went
First, the testimony of Yao Kee summarized by the trial court as follows: back to the Philippines and lived with Sy Mat as husband and wife; that she
begot her children with Sy Kiat during the several trips by Sy Kiat made back
to China. [CFI decision, pp. 13-15; Rollo, pp. 50-52.]
Yao Kee testified that she was married to Sy Kiat on January 19, 1931 in
Fookien, China; that she does not have a marriage certificate because the
practice during that time was for elders to agree upon the betrothal of their Second, the testimony of Gan Ching, a younger brother of Yao Kee who stated that he was among
children, and in her case, her elder brother was the one who contracted or the many people who attended the wedding of his sister with Sy Kiat and that no marriage
entered into [an] agreement with the parents of her husband; that the certificate is issued by the Chinese government, a document signed by the parents or elders of
agreement was that she and Sy Mat would be married, the wedding date was the parties being sufficient [CFI decision, pp. 15-16; Rollo, pp.
set, and invitations were sent out; that the said agreement was complied with; 52-53.]
that she has five children with Sy Kiat, but two of them died; that those who
are alive are Sze Sook Wah, Sze Lai Cho, and Sze Chun Yen, the eldest being Third, the statements made by Asuncion Gillego when she testified before the trial court to the
Sze Sook Wah who is already 38 years old; that Sze Sook Wah was born on effect that (a) Sy Mat was married to Yao Kee according to Chinese custom; and, (b) Sy Kiat's
November 7, 1939; that she and her husband, Sy Mat, have been living in admission to her that he has a Chinese wife whom he married according to Chinese custom [CFI
FooKien, China before he went to the Philippines on several occasions; that decision, p. 17; Rollo, p. 54.]
the practice during the time of her marriage was a written document [is
exchanged] just between the parents of the bride and the parents of the Fourth, Sy Kiat's Master Card of Registered Alien issued in Caloocan City on October 3, 1972
groom, or any elder for that matter; that in China, the custom is that there is a where the following entries are found: "Marital status—Married"; "If married give name of
go- between, a sort of marriage broker who is known to both parties who spouses—Yao Kee"; "Address-China; "Date of marriage—1931"; and "Place of marriage—China"
would talk to the parents of the bride-to-be; that if the parents of the bride-to- [Exhibit "SS-1".]
be agree to have the groom-to-be their son in-law, then they agree on a date
as an engagement day; that on engagement day, the parents of the groom
would bring some pieces of jewelry to the parents of the bride-to-be, and then Fifth, Sy Kiat's Alien Certificate of Registration issued in Manila on January 12, 1968 where the
one month after that, a date would be set for the wedding, which in her case, following entries are likewise found: "Civil status—Married"; and, 'If married, state name and
the wedding date to Sy Kiat was set on January 19, 1931; that during the address of spouse—Yao Kee Chingkang, China" [Exhibit "4".]
wedding the bridegroom brings with him a couch (sic) where the bride would
ride and on that same day, the parents of the bride would give the dowry for And lastly, the certification issued in Manila on October 28, 1977 by the Embassy of the People's
her daughter and then the document would be signed by the parties but there Republic of China to the effect that "according to the information available at the Embassy Mr. Sy
is no solemnizing officer as is known in the Philippines; that during the Kiat a Chinese national and Mrs. Yao Kee alias Yui Yip also Chinese were married on January 19,
wedding day, the document is signed only by the parents of the bridegroom 1931 in Fukien, the People's Republic of China" [Exhibit "5".]
as well as by the parents of the bride; that the parties themselves do not sign
the document; that the bride would then be placed in a carriage where she These evidence may very well prove the fact of marriage between Yao Kee and Sy Kiat. However,
would be brought to the town of the bridegroom and before departure the the same do not suffice to establish the validity of said marriage in accordance with Chinese law
bride would be covered with a sort of a veil; that upon reaching the town of or custom.
the bridegroom, the bridegroom takes away the veil; that during her wedding
to Sy Kiat (according to said Chinese custom), there were many persons
present; that after Sy Kiat opened the door of the carriage, two old ladies Custom is defined as "a rule of conduct formed by repetition of acts, uniformly observed
helped her go down the carriage and brought her inside the house of Sy Mat; (practiced) as a social rule, legally binding and obligatory" [In the Matter of the Petition for
that during her wedding, Sy Chick, the eldest brother of Sy Kiat, signed the Authority to Continue Use of the Firm Name "Ozaeta, Romulo, de Leon, Mabanta and Reyes", July
document with her mother; that as to the whereabouts of that document, she 30, 1979, SCRA 3, 12 citing JBL Reyes & RC Puno, Outline of Phil. Civil Law, Fourth Ed., Vol. 1, p. 7.]
and Sy Mat were married for 46 years already and the document was left in The law requires that "a custom must be proved as a fact, according to the rules of evidence"
China and she doubt if that document can still be found now; that it was left in [Article 12, Civil Code.] On this score the Court had occasion to state that "a local custom as a
the possession of Sy Kiat's family; that right now, she does not know the source of right can not be considered by a court of justice unless such custom is properly
whereabouts of that document because of the lapse of many years and because established by competent evidence like any other fact" [Patriarca v. Orate, 7 Phil. 390, 395
they left it in a certain place and it was already eaten by the termites; that after (1907).] The same evidence, if not one of a higher degree, should be required of a foreign custom.
The law on foreign marriages is provided by Article 71 of the Civil Code which states that: Petitioners contend that contrary to the Court of Appeals' ruling they are not duty bound to prove
the Chinese law on marriage as judicial notice thereof had been taken by this Court in the case
Art. 71. All marriages performed outside the Philippines in accordance with the of Sy Joc Lieng v. Sy Quia [16 Phil. 137 (1910).]
laws in force in the country where they were performed and valid there as such,
shall also be valid in this country, except bigamous, Polygamous, or incestuous This contention is erroneous. Well-established in this jurisdiction is the principle that Philippine
marriages, as determined by Philippine law. (Emphasis supplied.) *** courts cannot take judicial notice of foreign laws. They must be alleged and proved as any other
fact [Yam Ka Lim v. Collector of Customs, 30 Phil. 46, 48 (1915); Fluemer v. Hix, 54 Phil. 610
Construing this provision of law the Court has held that to establish a valid foreign marriage two (1930).]
things must be proven, namely: (1) the existence of the foreign law as a question of fact; and (2)
the alleged foreign marriage by convincing evidence [Adong v. Cheong Seng Gee, 43 Phil. 43, 49 Moreover a reading of said case would show that the party alleging the foreign marriage
(1922).] presented a witness, one Li Ung Bieng, to prove that matrimonial letters mutually exchanged by
the contracting parties constitute the essential requisite for a marriage to be considered duly
In proving a foreign law the procedure is provided in the Rules of Court. With respect to solemnized in China. Based on his testimony, which as found by the Court is uniformly
an unwritten foreign law, Rule 130 section 45 states that: corroborated by authors on the subject of Chinese marriage, what was left to be decided was the
issue of whether or not the fact of marriage in accordance with Chinese law was duly proven [Sy
Joc Lieng v. Sy Quia, supra., at p. 160.]
SEC. 45. Unwritten law.—The oral testimony of witnesses, skilled therein, is
admissible as evidence of the unwritten law of a foreign country, as are also
printed and published books of reports of decisions of the courts of the foreign Further, even assuming for the sake of argument that the Court has indeed taken judicial notice
country, if proved to be commonly admitted in such courts. of the law of China on marriage in the aforecited case, petitioners however have not shown any
proof that the Chinese law or custom obtaining at the time the Sy Joc Lieng marriage was
celebrated in 1847 was still the law when the alleged marriage of Sy Kiat to Yao Kee took place
Proof of a written foreign law, on the other hand, is provided for under Rule 132 section 25, thus: in 1931 or eighty-four (84) years later.

SEC. 25. Proof of public or official record.—An official record or an entry Petitioners moreover cite the case of U.S. v. Memoracion [34 Phil. 633 (1916)] as being applicable
therein, when admissible for any purpose, may be evidenced by an official to the instant case. They aver that the judicial pronouncement in the Memoracion case, that the
publication thereof or by a copy attested by the officer having the legal testimony of one of the contracting parties is competent evidence to show the fact of marriage,
custody of the record, or by his deputy, and accompanied, if the record is not holds true in this case.
kept in the Philippines, with a certificate that such officer has the custody. If
the office in which the record is kept is in a foreign country, the certificate may
be made by a secretary of embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice The Memoracion case however is not applicable to the case at bar as said case did not concern a
consul, or consular agent or by any officer in the foreign service of the foreign marriage and the issue posed was whether or not the oral testimony of a spouse is
Philippines stationed in the foreign country in which the record is kept and competent evidence to prove the fact of marriage in a complaint for adultery.
authenticated by the seal of his office.
Accordingly, in the absence of proof of the Chinese law on marriage, it should be presumed that
The Court has interpreted section 25 to include competent evidence like the testimony of a it is the same as ours *** [Wong Woo Yiu v. Vivo, G.R. No. L-21076, March 31, 1965, 13 SCRA 552,
witness to prove the existence of a written foreign law [Collector of Internal Revenue v. Fisher 555.] Since Yao Kee admitted in her testimony that there was no solemnizing officer as is known
110 Phil. 686, 700-701 (1961) citing Willamette Iron and Steel Works v. Muzzal, 61 Phil. 471 here in the Philippines [See Article 56, Civil Code] when her alleged marriage to Sy Mat was
(1935).] celebrated [CFI decision, p. 14; Rollo, p. 51], it therefore follows that her marriage to Sy Kiat, even
if true, cannot be recognized in this jurisdiction [Wong Woo Yiu v. Vivo, supra., pp. 555-556.]
In the case at bar petitioners did not present any competent evidence relative to the law and
custom of China on marriage. The testimonies of Yao and Gan Ching cannot be considered as II. The second issue raised by petitioners concerns the status of private respondents.
proof of China's law or custom on marriage not only because they are
self-serving evidence, but more importantly, there is no showing that they are competent to Respondent court found the following evidence of petitioners' filiation:
testify on the subject matter. For failure to prove the foreign law or custom, and consequently,
the validity of the marriage in accordance with said law or custom, the marriage between Yao (1) Sy Kiat's Master Card of Registered Alien where the following are entered:
Kee and Sy Kiat cannot be recognized in this jurisdiction. "Children if any: give number of children—Four"; and, "Name—All living in
China" [Exhibit "SS-1";]
(2) the testimony of their mother Yao Kee who stated that she had five (b) the business name and premises ... shall be retained by
children with Sy Kiat, only three of whom are alive namely, Sze Sook Wah, Sze Sy Kiat. However, it shall be his obligation to give to
Lai Chu and Sze Chin Yan [TSN, December 12, 1977, pp. 9-11;] and, the aforenamed children an amount of One Thousand
Pesos ( Pl,000.00 ) monthly out of the rental of the two
(3) an affidavit executed on March 22,1961 by Sy Kiat for presentation to the doors of the same building now occupied by Everett
Local Civil Registrar of Manila to support Sze Sook Wah's application for a Construction.
marriage license, wherein Sy Kiat expressly stated that she is his daughter
[Exhibit "3".] xxx xxx xxx

Likewise on the record is the testimony of Asuncion Gillego that Sy Kiat told her he has three (5) With respect to the acquisition, during the existence of the
daughters with his Chinese wife, two of whom—Sook Wah and Sze Kai Cho—she knows, and one common-law husband-and-wife relationship between the parties, of the real
adopted son [TSN, December 6,1977, pp. 87-88.] estates and properties registered and/or appearing in the name of Asuncion
Gillego ... , the parties mutually agree and covenant that the said real estates
However, as petitioners failed to establish the marriage of Yao Kee with Sy Mat according to the and properties shall be transferred in equal shares to their children, namely,
laws of China, they cannot be accorded the status of legitimate children but only that of Aida Sy, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy, and Rodolfo Sy, but to be administered by
acknowledged natural children. Petitioners are natural children, it appearing that at the time of Asuncion Gillego during her lifetime ... [Exhibit "D".] (Emphasis supplied.)
their conception Yao Kee and Sy Kiat were not disqualified by any impediment to marry one
another [See Art. 269, Civil Code.] And they are acknowledged children of the deceased because xxx xxx xxx
of Sy Kiat's recognition of Sze Sook Wah [Exhibit "3"] and its extension to Sze Lai Cho and Sy Chun
Yen who are her sisters of the full blood [See Art. 271, Civil Code.] This compromise agreement constitutes a statement before a court of record by which a child
may be voluntarily acknowledged [See Art. 278, Civil Code.]
Private respondents on the other hand are also the deceased's acknowledged natural children
with Asuncion Gillego, a Filipina with whom he lived for twenty-five (25) years without the Petitioners further argue that the questions on the validity of Sy Mat's marriage to Yao Kee and
benefit of marriage. They have in their favor their father's acknowledgment, evidenced by a the paternity and filiation of the parties should have been ventilated in the Juvenile and Domestic
compromise agreement entered into by and between their parents and approved by the Court of Relations Court.
First Instance on February 12, 1974 wherein Sy Kiat not only acknowleged them as his children
by Asuncion Gillego but likewise made provisions for their support and future inheritance, thus:
Specifically, petitioners rely on the following provision of Republic Act No. 5502, entitled "An Act
Revising Rep. Act No. 3278, otherwise known as the Charter of the City of Caloocan', with regard
xxx xxx xxx to the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court:

2. The parties also acknowledge that they are common-law husband and wife SEC. 91-A. Creation and Jurisdiction of the Court.—
and that out of such relationship, which they have likewise decided to definitely
and finally terminate effective immediately, they begot five children, namely:
Aida Sy, born on May 30, 1950; Manuel Sy, born on July 1, 1953; Teresita Sy, born xxx xxx xxx
on January 28, 1955; Ricardo Sy now deceased, born on December 14, 1956; and
Rodolfo Sy, born on May 7, 1958. The provisions of the Judiciary Act to the contrary notwithstanding, the court
shall have exclusive original jurisdiction to hear and decide the following
3. With respect to the AVENUE TRACTOR AND DIESEL PARTS SUPPLY ... , the cases:
parties mutually agree and covenant that—
xxx xxx xxx
(a) The stocks and merchandize and the furniture and
equipments ..., shall be divided into two equal shares (2) Cases involving custody, guardianship, adoption, revocation of adoption,
between, and distributed to, Sy Kiat who shall own paternity and acknowledgment;
one-half of the total and the other half to Asuncion Gillego
who shall transfer the same to their children, namely, Aida (3) Annulment of marriages, relief from marital obligations, legal separation
Sy, Manuel Sy, Teresita Sy, and Rodolfo Sy. of spouses, and actions for support;
(4) Proceedings brought under the provisions of title six and title seven, SO ORDERED.
chapters one to three of the civil code;

xxx xxx xxx

and the ruling in the case of Bartolome v. Bartolome [G.R. No. L-23661, 21 SCRA 1324] reiterated
in Divinagracia v. Rovira [G.R. No. L-42615, 72 SCRA 307.]

With the enactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, otherwise known as the Judiciary
Reorganization Act of 1980, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts were abolished. Their
functions and jurisdiction are now vested with the Regional Trial Courts [See Section 19 (7), B.P.
Blg. 129 and Divinagracia v. Belosillo, G.R. No. L-47407, August 12, 1986, 143 SCRA 356, 360]
hence it is no longer necessary to pass upon the issue of jurisdiction raised by petitioners.

Moreover, even without the exactment of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 we find in Rep. Act No. 5502
sec. 91-A last paragraph that:

xxx xxx xxx

If any question involving any of the above matters should arise as an incident
in any case pending in the ordinary court, said incident shall be determined in
the main case.

xxx xxx xxx

As held in the case of Divinagracia v. Rovira [G.R. No. L42615. August 10, 1976, 72 SCRA 307]:

xxx xxx xxx

It is true that under the aforequoted section 1 of Republic Act No.


4834 **** a case involving paternity and acknowledgment may be ventilated as
an incident in the intestate or testate proceeding (See Baluyot vs. Ines Luciano,
L-42215, July 13, 1976). But that legal provision presupposes that such an
administration proceeding is pending or existing and has not been
terminated. [at pp. 313-314.] (Emphasis supplied.)

xxx xxx xxx

The reason for ths rule is not only "to obviate the rendition of conflicting rulings on the same
issue by the Court of First Instance and the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court" [Vda. de
Baluyut v. Luciano, G.R. No. L-42215, July 13, 1976, 72 SCRA 52, 63] but more importantly to
prevent multiplicity of suits. Accordingly, this Court finds no reversible error committed by
respondent court.

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED.


G.R. No. 85423 May 6, 1991 In sustaining the trial court, the respondent court held that, contrary to the allegations of the
JOSE TABUENA, petitioner, appellant, the said exhibits were in fact formally submitted in evidence as disclosed by the
vs. transcript of stenographic notes, which it quoted at length.2 The challenged decision also upheld
COURT OF APPEALS and EMILIANO TABERNILLA, JR., respondents. the use by the trial court of testimony given in an earlier case, to bolster its findings in the second
CRUZ, J.: case.

The petitioner faults the decision of the trial court, as affirmed by the respondent court, for lack We have examined the record and find that the exhibits submitted were not the above-described
of basis. It is argued that the lower courts should not have taken into account evidence not documents but Exhibits "X" and "T" and their sub-markings, which were the last will and
submitted by the private respondent in accordance with the Rules of Court. testament of Alfredo Tabernilla and the order of probate. It is not at all denied that the list of
exhibits does not include Exhibits "A", "B" and "C". In fact, the trial court categorically declared
The subject of the dispute is a parcel of residential land consisting of about 440 square meters that "Exhibits "A-1, "A-2", "B", "C" and "C-l," were not among those documents or exhibits
and situated in Poblacion, Makato, Aklan. In 1973, an action for recovery of ownership thereof formally offered for admission by plaintiff-administratrix." This is a clear contradiction of the
was filed in the Regional Trial Court of Aklan by the estate of Alfredo Tabernilla against Jose finding of the appellate court, which seems to have confused Exhibits "A," "B" and "C" with
Tabuena, the herein petitioner. After trial, judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiff and Exhibits "X" and "Y", the evidence mentioned in the quoted transcript.
the defendant was required to vacate the disputed lot.1
Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provides in Section 35 thereof as follows:
As the trial court found, the lot was sold by Juan Peralta, Jr. sometime in 1926 to Alfredo
Tabernilla while the two were in the United States. Tabernilla returned to the Philippines in 1934, Sec. 35. Offer of evidence.—The court shall consider no evidence which has not been
and Damasa Timtiman, acting upon her son Juan's instruction, conveyed the subject land to formally offered. The purpose for which the evidence is offered must be specified.
Tabernilla. At the same time, she requested that she be allowed to stay thereon as she had been
living there all her life. Tabernilla agreed provided she paid the realty taxes on the property, The mere fact that a particular document is marked as an exhibit does not mean it has thereby
which she promised to do, and did. She remained on the said land until her death, following which already been offered as part of the evidence of a party. It is true that Exhibits "A," "B" and "C"
the petitioner, her son and half-brother of Juan Peralta, Jr., took possession thereof. The were marked at the pre-trial of the case below, but this was only for the purpose of identifying
complaint was filed when demand was made upon Tabuena to surrender the property and he them at that time. They were not by such marking formally offered as exhibits. As we said
refused, claiming it as his own. in Interpacific Transit, Inc. vs. Aviles,3 "At the trial on the merits, the party may decide to formally
offer (the exhibits) if it believes they will advance its cause, and then again it may decide not to
The trial court rejected his defense that he was the absolute owner of the lot, which he inherited do so at all. In the latter event, such documents cannot be considered evidence, nor can they be
from his parents, who acquired it even before World War II and had been living thereon since given any evidentiary value."
then and until they died. Also disbelieved was his contention that the subject of the sale between
Peralta and Tabernilla was a different piece of land planted to coconut trees and bounded on Chief Justice Moran explained the rationale of the rule thus:
three sides by the Makato River.
. . . The offer is necessary because it is the duty of a judge to rest his findings of facts and
Tabuena appealed to the respondent court, complaining that, in arriving at its factual findings, his judgment only and strictly upon the evidence offered by the patties at the trial.4
the trial court motu proprio took cognizance of Exhibits "A", "B" and "C", which had been marked
by the plaintiff but never formally submitted in evidence. The trial court also erred when, to
resolve the ownership of the subject lot, it considered the proceedings in another case involving We did say in People vs. Napat-a5 that even if there be no formal offer of an exhibit, it may still be
the same parties but a different parcel of land. admitted against the adverse party if, first, it has been duly identified by testimony duly recorded
and, second, it has itself been incorporated in the records of the case. But we do not find that
these requirements have been satisfied in the case before us. The trial court said the said exhibits
The said exhibits are referred to in the pre-trial order as follows: could be validly considered because, even if they had not been formally offered, one of the
plaintiffs witnesses, Cunegunda Hernandez, testified on them at the trial and was even cross-
Plaintiff proceeded to mark the following exhibits: Exh. "A", letter dated October 4, 1921 examined by the defendant's counsel. We do not agree. Although she did testify, all she did was
addressed in Makato, Capiz, Philippines; Exh. "A-1", paragraph 2 of the letter indicating identify the documents. Nowhere in her testimony can we find a recital of the contents of the
that the amount of P600.00—the first P300.00 and then another P300.00 as interest exhibits.
since October 4, 1921; Exh. "A-2", is paragraph 3 of the letter; Exh. "B", a Spanish
document; Exh. "C", deed of conveyance filed by Tomasa Timtiman and Alfredo Thus, her interrogation on Exhibit "A" ran:
Tabernilla in 1923; and Exh. "C-1", paragraph 4 of Exh. "C".
LEGASPI: That is this Exh. "A" about ? Peralta, Jr. to Alfredo Tabernilla and not another property, as the petitioner contends. Even
assuming it was the same lot, there is no explanation for the sale thereof by Juan Peralta, Jr., who
A The translation of the letter. was only the son of Damasa Timtiman. According to the trial court, "there is no question that
before 1934 the land in question belonged to Damasa Timtiman." Juan Peralta, Jr. could not have
validly conveyed title to property that did not belong to him unless he had appropriate
Q What is the content of this Exh. "A", the letter of the sister of Juan Peralta to Alfredo authorization from the owner. No such authorization has been presented.
Tabernilla?
It is true that tax declarations are not conclusive evidence of ownership, as we have held in many
Court: The best evidence is the document. Proceed.6 cases.1âwphi1 However, that rule is also not absolute and yields to the accepted and well-known
exception. In the case at bar, it is not even disputed that the petitioner and his predecessors-in-
She also did not explain the contents of the other two exhibits. interest have possessed the disputed property since even before World War II. In light of this
uncontroverted fact, the tax declarations in their name become weighty and compelling evidence
The respondent court also held that the trial court committed no reversible error in taking of the petitioner's ownership. As this Court has held:
judicial notice of Tabuena's testimony in a case it had previously heard which was closely
connected with the case before it. It conceded that as a general rule "courts are not authorized to While it is true that by themselves tax receipts and declarations of ownership for
take judicial notice, in the adjudication of cases pending before them, of the contents of the taxation purposes are not incontrovertible evidence of ownership they become strong
records of other cases, even when such cases have been tried or are pending in the same court, evidence of ownership acquired by prescription when accompanied by proof of actual
and notwithstanding the fact that both cases may have been heard or are actually pending b possession of the property.9
before the same judge.7 Nevertheless, it applied the exception that:
It is only where payment of taxes is accompanied by actual possession of the land
. . . in the absence of objection, and as a matter of convenience to all parties, a court may covered by the tax declaration that such circumstance may be material in supporting a
properly treat all or any part of the original record of a case filed in its archives as read claim of ownership.10
into the record of a case pending before it, when, with the knowledge of the opposing
party, reference is made to it for that purpose, by name and number or in some other The tax receipts accompanied by actual and continuous possession of the subject
manner by which it is sufficiently designated; or when the original record of the former parcels of land by the respondents and their parents before them for more than 30
case or any part of it, is actually withdrawn from the archives by the court's direction, years qualify them to register title to the said subject parcels of land.11
at the request or with the consent of the parties, and admitted as a part of the record of
the case then pending.8
The Court can only wonder why, if Alfredo Tabernilla did purchase the property and
magnanimously allowed Damasa Timtiman to remain there, he did not at least require her to pay
It is clear, though, that this exception is applicable only when, "in the absence of objection," "with the realty taxes in his name, not hers. The explanation given by the trial court is that he was not
the knowledge of the opposing party," or "at the request or with the consent of the parties," the much concerned with the property, being a bachelor and fond only of the three dogs he had
case is clearly referred to or "the original or part of the records of the case are actually withdrawn bought from America. That is specious reasoning. At best, it is pure conjecture. If he were really
from the archives" and "admitted as part of the record of the case then pending." These that unconcerned, it is curious that he should have acquired the property in the first place, even
conditions have not been established here. On the contrary, the petitioner was completely as dacion en pago. He would have demanded another form of payment if he did not have the
unaware that his testimony in Civil Case No. 1327 was being considered by the trial court in the intention at all of living on the land. On the other hand, if he were really interested in the property,
case then pending before it. As the petitioner puts it, the matter was never taken up at the trial we do not see why he did not have it declared in his name when the realty taxes thereon were
and was "unfairly sprung" upon him, leaving him no opportunity to counteract. paid by Damasa Timtiman or why he did not object when the payments were made in her own
name.
The respondent court said that even assuming that the trial court improperly took judicial notice
of the other case, striking off all reference thereto would not be fatal to the plaintiff's cause In comparison, all the acts of Damasa Timtiman and Jose Tabuena indicate that they were the
because "the said testimony was merely corroborative of other evidences submitted by the owners of the disputed property. Damasa Timtiman and her forebears had been in possession
plaintiff." What "other evidences"? The trouble with this justification is that the exhibits it intends thereof for more than fifty years and, indeed, she herself stayed there until she died. 12 She paid
to corroborate, to wit, Exhibits "A", "B" and "C", have themselves not been formally submitted. the realty taxes thereon in her own name.13 Jose Tabuena built a house of strong materials on the
lot.14 He even mortgaged the land to the Development Bank of the Philippines and to two private
Considering the resultant paucity of the evidence for the private respondent, we feel that the persons who acknowledged him as the owner.15 These acts denote ownership and are not
complaint should have been dismissed by the trial court for failure of the plaintiff to substantiate consistent with the private respondent's claim that the petitioner was only an overseer with
its allegations. It has failed to prove that the subject lot was the same parcel of land sold by Juan mere possessory rights tolerated by Tabernilla.
It is the policy of this Court to accord proper deference to the factual findings of the courts below
and even to regard them as conclusive where there is no showing that they have been reached
arbitrarily. The exception is where such findings do not conform to the evidence on record and
appear indeed to have no valid basis to sustain their correctness. As in this case.

The conclusions of the trial court were based mainly on Exhibits "A", "B" and "C", which had not
been formally offered as evidence and therefore should have been totally disregarded,
conformably to the Rules of Court. The trial court also erred when it relied on the evidence
submitted in Civil Case No. 1327 and took judicial notice thereof without the consent or
knowledge of the petitioner, in violation of existing doctrine. Thus vitiated, the factual findings
here challenged are as an edifice built upon shifting sands and should not have been sustained
by the respondent court.

Our own finding is that the private respondent, as plaintiff in the lower court, failed to prove his
claim of ownership over the disputed property with evidence properly cognizable under our
adjudicative laws. By contrast, there is substantial evidence supporting the petitioner's contrary
contentions that should have persuaded the trial judge to rule in s favor and dismiss the
complaint.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The appealed decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE, with
costs against the private respondent. It is so ordered.
G.R. Nos. 115908-09 March 29, 1995 madulas daw kayo. Dahil ayon daw kay Judge Gacott, base sa kanyang
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, interview sa Magandang Gabi Bayan, "Tagilid na raw and mundo. Maraming
vs. nagpapatunay daw dito, maski sa kapitolyo." Joke lang. Pero isang warning din
DANNY GODOY, accused-appellant. sa may mga nobya, na mag-ingat sa pag-break sa inyong girlfriend, dahil baka
JUDGE EUSTAQUIO Z. GACOTT, JR. complainant, mademanda kayo at masentensyahan ng double death penalty, lalo na kung kay
vs. Judge Gacott, dahil alam na ninyo, tagilid and laban diyan.
MAURICIO REYNOSO, JR. and EVA P. PONCE DE LEON, respondents.
RESOLUTION The complaint avers that the article tends to impede, obstruct, belittle, downgrade and degrade
the administration of justice; that the article contains averments which are disrespectful,
REGALADO, J.: discourteous, insulting, offensive and derogatory; that it does not only cast aspersions on the
integrity and honesty of complainant as a judge and on his ability to administer justice objectively
For separate resolution, as an incident arising from these criminal cases under automatic review and impartially, but is an imputation that he is biased and he prejudges the cases filed before
by the court, is a complaint1 filed by judge Eustaquio Z. Gacott, Jr. of the Regional Trial Court of him; and that the article is sub judice because it is still pending automatic review.
Palawan and Puerto Princesa City, Branch 47, to cite for indirect contempt Mauricio Reynoso, Jr.,
a columnist, and Eva P. Ponce de Leon, publisher and chairman of the editorial board, Respondent Mauricio Reynoso, Jr. contends in his Comment2 that his article does not intend to
respectively, of the Palawan Times. His Honor's plaint is based on an article written by impede nor obstruct the administration of justice because the same was published after
respondent Reynoso, Jr. in his column, "On the Beat," and published in the July 20, 1994 issue of complainant had promulgated his decision in the case; that such publication will not affect or
said newspaper which is of general circulation in Puerto Princesa City. influence the review by the Supreme Court of the criminal case, considering that the Palawan
Times is circulated only in the City of Puerto Princess and some parts of Palawan; that the
The pertinent portions of the article complained of are hereunder reproduced, with the alleged comments made therein were made in good faith and in the exercise of the freedom of expression
contemptuous statements italicized for ready identification as the particulars equivalent to and of the press; that while the article may contain unfavorable comments about complainant, it
the innuendo in a libel charge: cannot be considered as having the tendency to degrade or impede the administration of justice;
and that the complaint, which is for contempt of a judge of a regional trial court, was erroneously
Isang maalab na issues (sic) pa ay ang DEATH THREATS laban kono kay Judge filed with the Supreme Court contrary to Section 4, Rule 71 of the rules of Court.
Eustaquio Gacott, Jr. ng mga pamilya ng kanyang sinentensiyahan ng Double
Death Penalty. Sinabi ni Wilmar Godoy sa DWRM programa na wala silang Respondent Eva P. Ponce de Leon, in her Comment3 and Supplemental Comment,4 asserts that
pagbabantang ginawa umano, at hindi nila ito kailan man isinaisip. Umaasa na the article is merely in reaction to the television interview given by complainant in the show,
lamang sila sa magiging resulta ng review ng Korte Suprema. Ayon naman kay "Magandang Gabi Bayan," last June 18, 1994 wherein the latter defended his decision in Criminal
Gacott sa kanyang interview sa DYPR ay totoong pinagbabantaan siya ng mga Cases Nos. 11640-41, entitled "People vs. Godoy;" that the article is no longer sub judice as the
Godoy. Kaya ayon marami siyang Security na armado, in full battle gear. Kung same was published only after complainant had rendered his decision and had already lost
totoo ito, bakit hindi niya kasuhan ang mga ito? Ito rin ang katanungan ni Mr. jurisdiction over the case; that the article cannot be considered contemptuous and defamatory
Tony Omaga Diaz, ang station manager ng DYPR. O bale ba gumawa siya ng in the absence of a clear and present danger that it will tend directly or indirectly to impede,
sariling MULTO Pagkatapos ay takot na takot siya sa multong kanyang ginawa. obstruct, or ridicule the administration of justice; that it constitutes a valid exercise of the
constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press; that a reading of the subject article in its
Usap-usapan pa rin ang kaso ni Godoy. Ito raw ay isang open book maging sa entirety will show that the same does not constitute contempt but, at most, is merely a fair
kanyang mga co-teachers sa Pulot na nagli-live in si Godoy at ang babaing si criticism which did not intend to malign nor place him in disrepute in the performance of his
Mia Taha. Matagal na ang kanilang ugnayan. Meron ding "balita" ewan kung functions; and that respondent Ponce de Leon cannot be held liable for contempt because she did
totoo, na noong si Godoy daw ay nasa Provincial Jail pa ay dinadalaw siya ni not have either actual knowledge of, or Personal connection with, the authorship or publication
Taha At kumakain pa sila sa labas kasama ang isang Provincial Guard. Ito rin of the allegedly contemptuous article, since she had just returned from the United States when
ang dahilan kung bakit ipinagpilitan ni Judge Gacott na madala kaagad sa the same was published.
Muntinlupa sa National Bilibid Prisons si Godoy kahit na ang kaso ay naka-
apela pa. On the issue of whether the specified statements complained of are contumacious in nature, we
are inclined, based on an overall perusal and objective analysis of the subject article, to hold in
xxx xxx xxx the negative. We have read and reread the article in its entirety and we are fully convinced that
what is involved here is a situation wherein the alleged disparaging statements have been taken
out of context. If the statements claimed to be contumelious had been read with contextual care,
Pero mayroon payo si Atty. Telesforo Paredes, Jr. sa mga mamamayan ng there would have been no reason for this contempt proceeding.
Palawan, mag-ingat kayo sa paglalakad at baka kung hindi kayo madapa ay
In our aforestated evaluation, we were sufficiently persuaded to favorably consider the following "Malaking epekto ang desisyon ng Korte Suprema sa
explanation of respondent Ponce de Leon in her Supplemental Comment: dalawang tao, kay Danny Godoy at Judge Gacott. Kung
babaliktarin ng Supreme Court and decision ni Gacott,
On the other hand, a reading of the subject article in its entirety will show that lalaya si Godoy, si Gacott naman ang masisira, ang kanyang
the same does not constitute contempt, but at most, merely constitutes fair aspirations na maitaas sa Court of Appeals at eventually
criticism. makasama sa mga miyembro ng korte suprema ng bansa.
Kung papaboran naman Gacott ay sigurado na ang
kamatayan ni Godoy, at double pa pero si Gacott maitataas
The first portion of the article reads: pa ang puwesto. Tayo naman, hintay lamang tayo ng ano
mang magiging developments ng kaso."
"Isang maalab na issues (sic) pa ay ang DEATH THREATS
laban kono kay Judge Eustaquio Gacott, Jr. ng mga pamilya The foregoing is nothing more than a fair analysis. For indeed, if the Honorable
ng kanyang sinentensiyahan ng Double Death Penalty. Court affirms the Decision of Complainant, the accused Danny Godoy would
Sinabi ni Wilmar Godoy sa DWRM programa na wala silang be meted the death sentence. On the other hand, if the decision is reversed,
pagbabantang ginawa umano, at hindi nila ito kailan man this may adversely affect the aspirations of Complainant to be promoted to
isinaisip. Ayon naman kay Gacott sa kanyang interview sa the Court of Appeals, and eventually to the Honorable Court.
DYPR ay totoong pinagbabantaan siya ng mga Godoy. Kaya
ayon marami siyang Security na armado, in full battle gear.
Kung totoo ito, bakit hindi niya kasuhan ang mga ito? Ito Finally, the subject article reads:
rin ang katanungan ni Mr. Tony Omaga Diaz, ang station
manager ng DYPR. O bale ba gumawa siya ng sariling "Pero mayroon payo si Atty. Telesforo Paredes, Jr. sa mga
MULTO Pagkatapos ay takot na takot siya sa multong mamamayan ng Palawan, mag-ingat kayo sa paglalakad at
kanyang ginawa." baka kung hindi kayo madapa ay madulas daw kayo. Dahil
ayon daw kay Judge Gacott, base sa kanyang interview sa
The foregoing does not even deal with the merits of the case, but with the Magandang Gabi Bayan, 'Tagilid na raw and mundo.
public accusations being made by complainant that he is being given death Maraming nagpapatunay daw dito, maski sa kapitolyo.'
threats by the family of the accused, Danny Godoy. The article only makes a Joke lang. Pero isang warning din sa may mga nobya, na
justifiable query as to why Complainant does not file the appropriate charges mag-ingat sa pag-break sa inyong girlfriend, dahil baka
if his accusations are true. mademanda kayo at masentensyahan ng double death
penalty, lalo na kung kay Judge Gacott, dahil alam na ninyo,
tagilid and laban diyan."
"Usap-usapan pa rin ang kaso ni Godoy. Ito raw ay isang
open book maging sa kanyang mga co-teachers sa Pulot na
nagli-live in si Godoy at ang babaing si Mia Taha. Matagal Again, the subject article merely reports what Atty. Telesforo Paredes, Jr.
na ang kanilang ugnayan. Meron ding ‘balita’ ewan kung allegedly said. But more importantly, the foregoing is merely a reaction not so
totoo, na noong si Godoy daw ay nasa Provincial Jail pa ay much to Complainant's Decision, but to the public statements made by
dinadalaw siya ni Taha At kumakain pa sila sa labas Complainant in the national television show "Magandang Gabi Bayan."
kasama ang isang Provincial Guard. Ito rin ang dahilan
kung bakit ipinagpilitan ni Judge Gacott na madala kaagad Snide remarks or sarcastic innuendoes do not necessarily assume that level of contumely which
sa Muntinlupa sa National Bilibid Prisons si Godoy kahit na is actionable under Rule 71 of the Rules of Court. Neither do we believe that the publication in
ang kaso ay naka-apela pa." (Emphasis supplied) question was intended to influence this Court for it could not conceivably be capable of doing so.
The article has not transcended the legal limits for editorial comment and criticism. Besides, it
The foregoing is merely a report of rumors regarding the accused Danny has not been shown that there exists a substantive evil which is extremely serious and that the
Godoy. They are not presented as facts by respondent Mauricio Reynoso, Jr. degree of its imminence is so exceptionally high as to warrant punishment for contempt and
In fact, he even goes to the extent of acknowledging that he himself does not sufficient to disregard the constitutional guaranties of free speech and press.
know if the rumors are true or not.
It has been insightfully explained and suggested that a judge will generally and wisely pass
The subject article then offers the following analysis: unnoticed any mere hasty and unguarded expression of passion, or at least pass it with simply a
reproof. It is so that in every case where a judge decides for one party, he decides against another;
and oftentimes both parties are beforehand equally confident and sanguine. The disappointment, A criminal contempt, being directed against the dignity and authority of the court, is an offense
therefore, is great, and it is not in human nature that there should be other than a bitter feeling, against organized society and, in addition, is also held to be an offense against public justice
which often reaches to the judge as the cause of the supposed wrong. A judge, therefore, ought to which raises an issue between the public and the accused, and the proceedings to punish it are
be patient, and tolerate everything which appears as but the momentary outbreak of punitive. On the other hand, the proceedings to punish a civil contempt are remedial and for the
disappointment. A second thought will generally make a party ashamed of such, outbreak, and purpose of the preservation of the right of private persons. It has been held that civil contempt is
the dignity of the court will suffer none by passing it in silence.5 neither a felony nor a misdemeanor, but a power of the court.9

Prescinding from the foregoing adjudgment, the Court observes that there are two primary It has further been stated that intent is a necessary element in criminal contempt, and that no
issues presented in this incident which deserve a more extended disquisition, firstly, because of one can be punished for a criminal contempt unless the evidence makes it clear that he intended
their importance and frequent involvement in contempt proceedings filed in the courts, and, to commit it. On the contrary, there is authority indicating that since the purpose of civil
secondly, by reason of the fact that there are numerous and variant pronouncements on the contempt proceedings is remedial, the defendant's intent in committing the contempt is
subject of contempt which need to be clarified. The principal issues are (1) whether or not there immaterial. Hence, good faith or the absence of intent to violate the court's order is not a defense
can be contempt of court in case of post-litigation statements or publications; and (2) which court in civil contempt. 10
has jurisdiction over a contempt committed against the trial court while the case is pending on
appeal. Other cognate and related issues must also be discussed so as to provide judicial guidance B. As to the Purpose for which the Power is Exercised
on the present state of our statutory and case laws thereon.
A major factor in determining whether a contempt is civil or criminal is the purpose for which
Before we go into a more intensive analysis of said issues, however, it may be beneficial for the power is exercised. Where the primary purpose is to preserve the court’s authority and to
purposes thereof to preliminarily revisit and expound on the nature and implications of a special punish for disobedience of its orders, the contempt is criminal. Where the primary purpose is to
civil action for contempt or of any initiatory pleading therefor filed as an incident in the main provide a remedy for an injured suitor and to coerce compliance with an order, the contempt is
case. That exercise will further explain and justify our disposition of the contempt charge herein. civil. A criminal contempt involves no element of personal injury. It is directed against the power
and dignity of the court; private parties have little, if any, interest in the proceedings for
I punishment. Conversely, if the contempt consists in the refusal of a person to do an act that the
court has ordered him to do for the benefit or advantage of a party to an action pending before
Prefatorial Considerations the court, and the contemnor is committed until he complies with the order, the commitment is
in the nature of an execution to enforce the judgment of the court; the party in whose favor that
judgment was rendered is the real party in interest in the proceedings. Civil contempt
The exercise of the power to punish for contempt has a dual aspect, primarily, the proper proceedings look only to the future. And it is said that in civil contempt proceedings, the
punishment of the guilty party for his disrespect to the court, and, secondarily, his compulsory contemnor must be in a position to purge himself. 11
performance of some act or duty required of him by the court and which he refuses to perform.
Due perhaps to this two fold aspect of the exercise of the power to punish them, contempts are
classified as civil or criminal.6 However, the line of demarcation between acts constituting C. As to the Character of the Contempt Proceeding
criminal contempt, as distinguished from civil contempt, is quite indistinct. The confusion in
attempts to classify civil and criminal contempts is due to the fact that there are contempts in It has been said that the real character of the proceedings is to be determined by the relief sought,
which both elements appear; or there are contempts which are neither wholly civil nor or the dominant purpose, and the proceedings are to be regarded as criminal when the purpose
altogether criminal, but partake of the characteristics of both; or it is also possible that the same is primarily punishment, and civil when the purpose is primarily compensatory or remedial. 12
act may constitute both a civil and criminal contempt.
Criminal contempt proceedings are generally held to be in the nature of criminal or quasi-
A. As to the Nature of the Offense criminal actions. They are punitive in nature, and the Government, the courts, and the people are
interested in their prosecution. Their purpose is to preserve the power and vindicate the
A criminal contempt is conduct that is directed against the dignity and authority of the court or authority and dignity of the court, and to punish for disobedience of its orders. Strictly speaking,
a judge acting judicially; it is an act obstructing the administration of justice which tends to bring however, they are not criminal proceedings or prosecutions, even though the contemptuous act
the court into disrepute or disrespect.7 On the other hand, civil contempt consists in failing to do involved is also a crime. The proceeding has been characterized as sui generis, partaking of some
something ordered to be done by a court in a civil action for the benefit of the opposing party of the elements of both a civil and criminal proceeding, but really constituting neither. In general,
therein and is, therefore, an offense against the party in whose behalf the violated order is made.8 criminal contempt proceedings should be conducted in accordance with the principles and rules
applicable to criminal cases, in so far as such procedure is consistent with the summary nature
of contempt proceedings. So it has been held that the strict rules that govern criminal
prosecutions apply to a prosecution for criminal contempt, that the accused is to be afforded
many of the protections provided in regular criminal cases, and that proceedings under statutes In the case of In re Sotto, 17 this Court had the opportunity to define the relation between the
governing them are to be strictly construed. However, criminal proceedings are not required to courts and the press, quoting there in the statements made by Judge Holmes in U.S. vs.
take any particular form so long as the substantial rights of the accused are preserved. 13 Sullen, 18 thus:

Civil contempt proceedings are generally held to be remedial and civil in their nature; that is, The administration of justice and the freedom of the press, though separate
they are proceedings for the enforcement of some duty, and essentially a remedy for coercing a and distinct, are equally sacred, and neither should be violated by the other.
person to do the thing required. As otherwise expressed, a proceeding for civil contempt is one The press and the courts have correlative rights and duties and should
instituted to preserve and enforce the rights of a private party to an action and to compel cooperate uphold the principles of the Constitution and laws, from which the
obedience to a judgment or decree intended to benefit such a party litigant. So a proceeding is former receives its prerogative and the latter its jurisdiction. The right of
one for civil contempt, regardless of its form, if the act charged is wholly the disobedience, by one legitimate publicity must be scrupulously recognized and care taken at all
party to a suit, of a special order made in behalf of the other party and the disobeyed order may times to avoid impinging upon it. In a clear case where it is necessary in order
still be obeyed, and the purpose of the punishment is to aid in an enforcement of obedience. The to dispose of judicial business unhampered by publications which reasonably
rules of procedure governing criminal contempt proceedings, or criminal prosecutions, tend to impair the impartiality of verdicts, or otherwise obstruct the
ordinarily are inapplicable to civil contempt proceedings. It has been held that a proceeding for administration of justice, this Court will not hesitate to exercise its undoubted
contempt to enforce a remedy in a civil action is a proceeding in that action. Accordingly, where power to punish for contempt. This Court must be permitted to proceed with
there has been a violation of a court order in a civil action, it is not necessary to docket an the disposition of its business in an orderly manner free from outside
independent action in contempt or proceed in an independent prosecution to enforce the order. interference obstructive of its constitutional functions. This right will be
It has been held, however, that while the proceeding is auxiliary to the main case in that it insisted upon as vital to an impartial court, and, as a last resort, as an
proceeds out of the original case, it is essentially a new and independent proceeding in that it individual exercises the right of self-defense, it will act to preserve its
involves new issues and must be initiated by the issuance and service of new process. 14 existence as an unprejudiced tribunal.

In general, civil contempt proceedings should be instituted by an aggrieved party, or his Hence, a person charged with contempt of court for making certain utterances or publishing
successor, or someone who has a pecuniary interest in the right to be protected. In criminal writings which are clearly opprobrious may not, ordinarily, escape liability therefor by merely
contempt proceedings, it is generally held that the State is the real prosecutor. 15 invoking the constitutional guaranties of freedom of speech and press. Liberty of speech and the
press must not be confused with an abuse of such liberties. Obstructing, by means of the spoken
Contempt is not presumed. In proceedings for criminal contempt, the defendant is presumed or written word, the administration of justice by the courts has been described as an abuse of the
innocent and the burden is on the prosecution to prove the charges beyond reasonable doubt. In liberty of speech or the press such as will subject the abuser to punishment for contempt of court.
proceedings for civil contempt, there is no presumption, although the burden of proof is on the
complainant, and while the proof need not be beyond reasonable doubt, it must amount to more Guaranties of free speech and a free press, as they appear in the Constitution, are frequently
than a mere preponderance of evidence. It has been said that the burden of proof in a civil couched so as to impute responsibility for any abuse of the privilege, and it is sometimes
contempt proceeding lies somewhere between the criminal "reasonable doubt" burden and the recognized that with respect to whether an allegedly scandalous publication or utterance is to be
civil "fair preponderance" burden. 16 treated as a contempt, a line must be drawn between those speeches or writings which are
protected by the privilege of free speech and a free press and those which constitute an abuse of
On the basis of the foregoing legal principles which are now well settled, it can be safely it.
concluded that under paragraph (d) of Section 3, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court on indirect
contempt, any improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade The right of freedom of the press is only a specific instance of the general right of freedom of
the administration of justice, constitutes criminal contempt. speech; persons engaged in the newspaper business cannot claim any other or greater right than
that possessed by persons not in that business. 19
II
B. Different Doctrines or Schools of Thought
Whether or not Post-Litigation Publications can be the Subject of Contempt
Proceedings In the case of In re Francisco Brillantes, 20 Justice Perfecto explained in his dissenting opinion
that "as to whether contempt may be committed for criticizing a tribunal after the same has
A. Effect of Freedom of Speech and Press Guaranties rendered decision or taken final action on a matter which is the subject of criticism, there are two
schools of thought represented, respectively, by what we may call the English doctrine and the
American doctrine, the first for the affirmative and the last one for the negative. The question
now is to determine which of the two doctrines is more conformable to reason and justice and, such an order would be contempt punishable by attachment. Upon what
therefore, should be, adopted and applied by our tribunals." principle? For striking a judge in walking along the streets would not be a
contempt of the court. The reason, therefore, must be, that he is in the exercise
1. The English Doctrine of his office, and discharging the function of a judge of this court; and, if his
person is under this protection, why should not his character be under the
same protection? It is not for the sake of the individual, but for the sake of the
According to Justice Perfecto, the rule in England is that there can be contempt of court even after public, that his person is under such protection; and, in respect of the public,
the case has been terminated. He then proceeded to ramify: the imputing of corruption and the perversion of justice to him, in an order
made by him at his chambers, is attended with much more mischievous
In England comments upon the court's action in a concluded case, where consequences than a blow; and therefore the reason of proceeding in this
libelous or calculated to bring the court into disrepute, were freely punishable summary manner applies with equal, if not superior, force, to one case as well
as contempt under the early common law. Distinction between pending and as the other. There is no greater obstruction to the execution of justice from
concluded matters does not seem to have been made. Any comment impairing the striking a judge than from the abusing him, because his order lies open to
the dignity of the court was punishable as contempt regardless of the time at be enforced or discharged, whether the judge is struck or abused for making
which made. it.

xxx xxx xxx 2. The American Doctrine

The whole theory of the early common law of contempt is admirably delivered In American jurisprudence, the general rule is that defamatory comments on the conduct of a
by Wilmot, J., in King vs. Almon, . . . . The publication there complained of was judge with respect to past cases or matters finally disposed of do not constitute contempt, even
a volume containing a diatribe against Lord Mansfield for allowing an though libelous and reflecting on the integrity of the judge and the court. 21 It has been said that
amendment of pleading as of course, and apparently from corrupt motives, in the power to punish as a contempt a criticism concerning a case made after its termination is
a concluded case, and further charging him with having introduced a practice denied under the theory that such a power is not necessary as a safeguard to the proper
to defeat the efficacy of the writ of habeas corpus. It is there said: "The functioning of the court as a judicial tribunal. And it has been said that comments, however
arraignment of the justice of the judges is arraigning the King's justice; it is an stringent, relating to judicial proceedings which are past and ended are not contempt of court
impeachment of his wisdom and goodness in the choice of his judges, and even though they may be a libel against the judge or some other officer of the court. There is even
excites in the mind of the people a general dissatisfaction with all judicial the view that when a case is finished, the courts and judges are subject to the same criticisms as
determinations, and indisposes their minds to obey them; and, whenever other people and that no comment published in connection with a completed case,
men's allegiance to the laws is so fundamentally shaken, it is the most fatal however libelous or unjust, is punishable as contempt of court. Thus it is said that the remedies
and most dangerous obstruction of justice, and, in my opinion, calls for a more of a judge who suffers abuse at the hands of the press, not amounting to contempt, are the same
rapid and immediate redress than any other obstruction whatever — not for as those available to persons outside the judiciary. 22
the sake of the judges as private individuals, but because they are the channels
by which the Kings' justice is conveyed to the people. To be impartial, and to To the same effect was the holding in People ex rel. Supreme Court vs. Albertson, 23 where it was
be universally thought so, are both absolutely necessary for giving justice that declared that —
free, open, and uninterrupted current which it has for many ages found all
over this Kingdom, and which so eminently distinguishes and exalts it above
all nations upon the earth . . . . The constitution has provided very apt and The great weight of authority is to the effect that — in so far as proceedings to
proper remedies for correcting and rectifying the involuntary mistakes of punish for contempt are concerned — comment upon the behavior of the
judges, and for punishing and removing them for any voluntary perversions court in cases fully determined in the particular court criticized is unrestricted
of justice. But, if their authority is to be trampled upon by pamphleteers and under our constitutional guaranty of liberty of the press and free speech,
newswriters, and the people are to be told that the power given to the judges especially in the absence of a statute of direct application to the contrary. This
for their protection is prostituted to their destruction, the court may retain its view in brief is based upon the theory
power some little time; but I am sure it will instantly lose all its authority, and that — keeping our constitutional guaranties in mind — libelous publications
the power of the court will not long survive the authority of it: Is it possible to which bear upon the proceedings of a court while they are pending may in
stab that authority more fatally than by charging the court, and more some way affect their correct determination, and are properly the subject of
particularly the chief justice, with having introduced a rule to subvert the contempt proceedings. On the other hand, such publications or oral
constitutional liberty of the people? A greater scandal could not be published utterances of entirely retrospective bearing come within the sphere of
. . . . It is conceded that an act of violence upon his person when he was making authorized comment unless they affect a judge personally, when he has his
remedy in an action of libel or slander, as does any other individual thus 3. The Philippine Doctrine
offended. He has the right to bring an action at law before a jury of his peers.
In the Philippine setting, as we have noted, there are conflicting views on this issue which have
Along similar lines, in Ex Parte Mcleod, 24 the court ruled that: to be analyzed and, if possible, reconciled. On that exordial indication, we have digressed into
these aspects of the law on contempt and seized upon this incident in the criminal cases at bar in
The right of a court to punish, as for contempts, criticisms of its acts, or even order to essay a rapprochement of such views into what we may call the Philippine doctrine.
libels upon its officers, not going to the extent, by improper publications, of
influencing a pending trial, . . . would not only be dangerous to the rights of In the early cases decided by this Court involving contempts through newspaper publications,
the people, but its exercise would drag down the dignity and moral influence the rule was that contemptuous publications were actionable only if committed with respect to
of these tribunals. Such criticism is the right of the citizen, and essential not pending suits. Apparently, the weight of authority then was to the effect that criticism of the
only to the proper administration of justice, but to the public tranquility and conduct of a judge or a court with regard to matters finally disposed of does not constitute
contentment. Withdrawing power from courts to summarily interfere with contempt, even though it may be libelous.
such exercise of the right of the press and freedom of speech deprives them of
no useful power. That rule first found application in the case of In re Lozano, et al. 28 and was reiterated in the
subsequent cases of In re Abistado, 29 and People vs. Alarcon, et al, 30 where this Court, speaking
Likewise, the State Supreme Court of Montana in State ex rel. Metcalf vs. District Court, 25 pointed through Justice Malcolm, tersely stated:
out that the legal proceeding involved therein was not pending when the alleged libelous article
was published, then referred to the guaranty of freedom of speech and the press, and eventually The rule is well established that newspaper publications tending to impede,
held that the publication involved was not punishable as contempt. It declared that so long as the obstruct, embarrass, or influence the courts in administering justice in a
published criticism does not impede the due administration of the law, it is better to maintain pending suit proceeding constitute criminal contempt which is summarily
the guaranty of the Constitution than to undertake to compel respect or punish libel by the punishable by the courts. The rule is otherwise after the cause is ended. . . . (6
summary process of contempt. R.C.L., pp. 508-515).

Finally, in holding that persons who had published newspaper articles alleging that a designated It will be noted that the aforequoted conclusion was arrived at after a short discourse presented
judge had been intentionally partial and corrupt in the trial of certain causes which had been by the ponente on the existing divergence of opinions on the matter between the English and
decided and were not pending when the publication occurred could not be punished as for American courts. But the learned justice, notwithstanding his preference for and application of
contempt the court, in State ex rel. Attorney General vs. Circuit Court, 26 cited a number of cases the American doctrine, nonetheless thereafter made the recommendatory observation that
supporting the view that libelous newspaper comments upon the acts of a court in actions past "(w)ith reference to the applicability of the above authorities, it should be remarked first of all
and ended do not constitute contempt. It pointed out that some of such decisions took the that this court is not bound to accept any of them absolutely and unqualifiedly. What is best for
position that to punish such publications would constitute a serious invasion of constitutional the maintenance of the judiciary in the Philippines should be the criterion."
guaranties of free speech and a free press.
It seems that this view was shared by then Associate Justice Moran when he dissented from the
It ratiocinated in this manner: "Important as it is that courts should perform their grave public majority opinion in the aforecited case of People vs. Alarcon, et al., which upheld the doctrine
duties unimpeded and unprejudiced by illegitimate influences, there are other rights guaranteed enunciated in Lozano and Abistado, in this wise: "I know that in the United States, publications
to all citizens by our Constitution and form of government, either expressly or impliedly, which about courts, after the conclusion of a pending case, no matter how perverse or scandalous, are
are fully as important, and which must be guarded with an equally zealous care. These rights are in many instances brought within the constitutional protection of the liberty of the press. But
the rights of free speech and of free publication of the citizens' sentiments on all subjects. It seems while this rule may find justification in that country, considering the American temper and
clear to us that so extreme a power as to punish for contempt because of libelous publications as psychology and the stability of its political institutions, it is doubtful whether here a similar
to past litigation, is inconsistent with, and would materially impair, the constitutional rights of toleration of gross misuse of liberty of the press would, under our circumstances, result in no
free speech and free press." untoward consequences to our structure of democracy yet in the process of healthful
development and growth."
However, even under American jurisprudence, as shall hereafter be demonstrated, the aforesaid
rulings are not without exceptions. There is ample authority that, under proper circumstances, Such perception could have probably impelled Justice Moran to deviate from the then accepted
constitutional guaranties of freedom of speech and liberty of the press do not protect doctrine, with this rationalization:
contemptuous publications relating to court proceedings even though such publications are not
made until after the pendency of the litigation in question.27
Contempt, by reason of publications relating to courts and to court indiferente si versa sobre un asunto o negociacion totalmente terminada o no;
proceedings, are of two kinds. A publication which tends to impede, obstruct, el desacato existe entonces y debe ser castigado.
embarrass or influence the courts in administering justice in a pending suit or
proceeding, constitutes criminal contempt which is summarily punishable by . . . Se trata simplemente de la facultad inherente en los tribunales de reprimir
courts. This is the rule announced in the cases relied upon by the majority. A y castigar todo acto que tiende a ambarazarles y obstruirles en su funcion de
publication which tends to degrade the courts and to destroy public administrar justicia, . . . .
confidence in them or that which tends to bring them in any way into
disrepute, constitutes likewise criminal contempt, and is equally punishable
by courts. In the language of the majority, what is sought, in the language of The rationale for making a qualification to the rule generally considered as the American
the majority, what is sought, in the first kind of contempt, to be shielded doctrine, which rule as herein qualified we now adopt and refer to as the Philippine doctrine on
against the influenced of newspaper comments, is the all-important duty of this issue, is profoundly and eloquently explicated by Justice Moran in Alarcon, to wit:
the courts to administer justice in the decision of a pending case. In the second
kind of contempt, the punitive hand of justice is extended to vindicate the It is true that the Constitution guarantees the freedom of speech and of the
courts from any act or conduct calculated to bring them into disfavor or to press. But license or abuse of that freedom should not be confused with
destroy public confidence in them. In the first, there is no contempt where freedom in its true sense. Well-ordered liberty demands no less unrelaxing
there is no action pending, as there is no decision which might in any way be vigilance against abuse of the sacred guaranties of the Constitution than the
influenced by the newspaper publication. In the second, the contempt exists, fullest protection of their legitimate exercise. As important as is the
with or without a pending case, as what is sought to be protected is the court maintenance of a free press and the free exercise of the rights of the citizens
itself and its dignity. Courts would lose their utility if public confidence in is the maintenance of a judiciary unhampered in its administration of justice
them is destroyed. and secure in its continuous enjoyment of public confidence. "The
administration of justice and freedom of the press, though separate and
That dissenting opinion was impliedly adopted in the subsequent case of In re Brillantes, 31 where distinct are equally sacred, and neither should be violated by the other. The
the editor of the Manila Guardian was declared in contempt of court for publishing an editorial, press and the courts have correlative rights and duties and should cooperate
stating that the 1944 Bar Examinations were conducted in a farcical manner, even after the case to uphold the principles of the Constitution and the laws, from which the
involving the validity of said examinations had been terminated. This was followed by In re former receives its prerogatives and the latter its jurisdiction." (U.S. vs. Su
Almacen 32 where the Court stated categorically that the rule that bars contempt after a judicial liens, 38 Fed., 2d., 230.) Democracy cannot long endure in a country where
proceeding has terminated had lost much of its validity, invoking therein the ruling liberty is grossly misused any more than where liberty is illegitimately
in Brillantes and quoting with approval the dissenting opinion in Alarcon. abridged.

It appears, therefore, that in the two latest cases decided by this Court, the general rule that there xxx xxx xxx
can be no contempt in post-litigation publications is not necessarily all-embracing under certain
situations. From the shift in judicial approach in Brillantes to the position announced in Almacen, If the contemptuous publication made by the respondent herein were
it can inevitably be concluded that the termination of the case is not a guaranty of immunity from directed to this Court in connection with a case already decided, the effect of
a contempt charge for publications or utterances which are defamatory or libelous, depending the rule laid down by the majority is to deny this court the power to vindicate
on the purpose and effects thereof. In other words, one may still be cited for contempt of court its dignity. The mischievous consequences that will follow from the situation
even after a case has ended, where such punitive action is necessary to protect the court and its thus sought to be permitted, are both too obvious and odious to be stated. The
dignity and to vindicate it from acts or conduct intended or calculated to degrade, ridicule or administration of Justice, no matter how righteous, may be identified with all
bring the court into disfavor and thereby erode or destroy public confidence in that court. sorts of fancied scandal and corruption. Litigants, discontented for having lost
their cases, will have every way to give vent to their resentment. Respect and
This qualified distinction is not without justification and, in fact, was also foreshadowed by the obedience to Law will ultimately be shattered, and, as a consequence, the
concurring opinion of Justice Briones in Brillantes wherein, after noting the conflicting views on utility of the courts will completely disappear.
the amenability of the contemnor during the pendency or after the termination of the judicial
proceeding in the court involved as illustrated by the English and American doctrines thereon, It may be said that respect to courts cannot be compelled and that public
he advanced the proposition that — confidence should be a tribute to judicial worth, virtue and intelligence. But
compelling respect to courts is one thing and denying the courts the power to
. . . esta distincion no tiene mucha importancia. Lo importante para mi es ver vindicate themselves when outraged is another. I know of no principle of law
si la critica lanzada por el recurrido es falsa y esta concebida en terminos tales that authorizes with impunity a discontented citizen to unleash, by
que "tiende directamente a degradar la administracion de justicia," . . . es newspaper publications, the avalanche of his wrath and venom upon courts
and judges. If he believes that a judge is corrupt and that justice has those which constitute an abuse thereof, in determining whether an allegedly scurrilous
somewhere been perverted, law and order require that he follow the publication or statement is to be treated as contempt of court. But to find the line where the
processes provided by the Constitution and the statutes by instituting the permissible right of free speech ends and its reprehensible abuse begins is not always an easy
corresponding proceedings for impeachment or otherwise. As Mr. Justice task. In contempt proceedings, it was held that this line must usually be defined by the courts
Palmer, in speaking of the duty of courts and court officers, has wisely said: themselves, and in such cases its location is to be established with special care and caution. 33

Would it be just to the persons who are called upon to In so doing, it becomes necessary to give the subject that careful examination commensurate with
exercise these powers to compel them to do so, and at the its importance, mindful that, on the one hand, the dignity and authority of the courts must be
same time allow them to be maltreated or libeled because maintained, while, on the other, free speech, a free press, and the liberty of the citizen must be
they did so? How would a suitor like a juryman trying his preserved. Both are equally valuable rights. If the court is shorn of its power to punish for
case who might expect he would be assaulted, beaten, his contempt in all proper cases, it cannot preserve its authority, so that even without any
property destroyed, or his reputation blasted, in case he constitutional or statutory guaranty this power is inherent in the court. But the Constitution
decided against his opponent? Apply the same thing to itself, in the Bill of Rights, guarantees free speech and liberty of the press. Of course, it was never
judges, or the sheriff, and how long could organized society intended, under the guise of these constitutional guaranties, that the power of the court should
hold together? With reference to a judge, if he has acted be trenched upon. 34
corruptly, it is worse than a mere contempt. But it is
apparent it would not be right that the court of which he is How to determine whether an act or utterance is covered by the protective mantle of the
a member should determine this, and consequently the law constitutional guaranty of liberty of the press or whether it is already outside or an abuse thereof,
has provided a plain and easy method of bringing him to is an altogether different matter. We have perforce to draw from tenets in American
justice by a petition to Parliament; but, while the law jurisprudence, although with discriminating choice, since after all our present doctrines on
authorizes this, it does not allow infamous charges to be contempt vis-a-vis constitutional limitations trace their roots in the main to the lessons laid down
made against him by persons, either in the newspapers or and born of the social and judicial experience in that jurisdiction.
otherwise, with reference to how he has or shall discharge
the duties of his office. It must be apparent to all right
thinking men that, if such were allowed to be indulged in, The liberty of the press consists in the right to publish with impunity the truth, with good motives
it must end in the usefulness of the court itself being and for justifiable ends, whether it respects governments individuals; the right freely to publish
destroyed, however righteous its judges may act. From whatever the citizen may please and to be protected against any responsibility for so doing,
what I have said it must not be supposed that I think that except in so far as such publications, from their blasphemy, obscenity, or scandalous character,
the decisions of the court, or the actions of the judges, or may be a public offense, are as by their falsehood and malice they may injuriously affect the
other persons composing the court, are not to be standing, reputation, or pecuniary interests of individuals. The true liberty of the press is amply
discussed; on the contrary, I would allow the freest secured by permitting every man to publish his opinion; but it is due to the peace and dignity of
criticism of all such acts if done in a fair spirit, only society to inquire into the motives of such publications, and to distinguish between those which
stopping at what must injure or destroy the court itself and are meant for use and reformation, and with an eye solely to the public good, and those which
bring the administration of the law into disrepute, or be an are intended merely to delude and defame. To the latter description, it is impossible that any
outrage on the persons whose acts are discussed, or when good government should afford protection and impunity.
such discussion would interfere with the right decision of
the cause before the court. The liberty of the press means that anyone can publish anything he pleases, but he is liable for
the abuse of this liberty. If he does this by scandalizing the courts of his country, he is liable to be
We do not hesitate to hereby give our imprimatur to the aforequoted opinion which, we fully punished for contempt. In other words, the abuse of the privilege consists principally in not
believe, conforms to basic dogmatic teachings on judicial and professional conduct requiring telling the truth. There is a right to publish the truth, but no right to publish falsehood to the
respect for and the giving of due deference to the judicial system and its members — ethical injury of others with impunity. It, therefore, does not include the right to malign the courts, to
standards which this Court has, time and again, been trying to inculcate in the minds of every libel and slander and utter the most flagrant and indecent calumnies about the court and its
member of the Bar and the public in general. officers, nor to invade the sanctuaries of the temples. Such practices and such miscreants ought
to be condemned, and the courts would deserve condemnation and abolition if they did not
vigorously and fearlessly punish such offenders. Such practices are an abuse of the liberty of the
4. Cautela on the Balancing of Interests press, and if the slander relates to the courts, it concerns the whole public and is consequently
punishable summarily as a criminal contempt. It is therefore the liberty of the press that is
On the bases of the foregoing authorities, it is evident that a line has to be drawn between those guaranteed, not the licentiousness. It is the right to speak the truth, not the right to bear false
utterances or writings which are protected by the privileges of free speech and a free press and witness against your neighbor. 35
This brings to fore the need to make a distinction between adverse criticism of the court's instrument and must not be permitted to destroy or impair the efficiency of the courts or the
decision after the case is ended and "scandalizing the court itself." The latter is not criticism; it is public respect therefor and the confidence therein. 41
personal and scurrilous abuse of a judge as such, in which case it shall be dealt with as a case of
contempt. 36 Thus, in State vs. Morril, 42 the court said that any citizen has the right to publish the proceedings
and decisions of the court, and if he deems it necessary for the public good, to comment upon
It must be clearly understood and always borne in mind that there is a vast difference between them freely, discuss their correctness, the fitness or unfitness of the judges for their stations, and
criticism or fair comment on the one side and defamation on the other. Where defamation the fidelity with which they perform the important public trusts reposed in them; but he has no
commences, true criticism ends. True criticism differs from defamation in the following right to attempt, by defamatory publications, to degrade the tribunal, destroy public confidence
particulars; (1) Criticism deals only with such things as invite public attention or call for public in it, and dispose the community to disregard and set at naught its orders, judgments and decrees.
comment. (2) Criticism never attacks the individual but only his work. In every case the attack is Such publications are an abuse of the liberty of the press; and tend to sap the very foundation of
on a man's acts, or on some thing, and not upon the man himself. A true critic never indulges in good order and well-being in society by obstructing the course of justice. Courts possess the
personalities. (3) True criticism never imputes or insinuates dishonorable motives, unless justice power to punish for contempt libelous publications regarding their proceedings, present or past,
absolutely requires it, and then only on the clearest proofs. (4) The critic never takes advantage upon the ground that they tend to degrade the tribunals, destroy public confidence and respect
of the occasion to gratify private malice, or to attain any other object beyond the fair discussion for their judgments and decrees, so essentially necessary to the good order and well-being of
of matters of public interest, and the judicious guidance of the public taste. 37 society, and most effectually obstruct the free course of justice.

Generally, criticism of a court's rulings or decisions is not improper, and may not be restricted Then, in In re Hayes, 43 it was said that publishers of newspapers have the right, but no higher
after a case has been finally disposed of and has ceased to be pending. So long as critics confine right than others, to bring to public notice the conduct of the courts, provided the publications
their criticisms to facts and base them on the decisions of the court, they commit no contempt no are true and fair in spirit. The liberty of the press secures the privilege of discussing in a decent
matter how severe the criticism may be; but when they pass beyond that line and charge that and temperate manner the decisions and judgments of a court of justice; but the language should
judicial conduct was influenced by improper, corrupt, or selfish motives, or that such conduct be that of fair and honorable criticism, and should not go to the extent of assigning to any party
was affected by political prejudice or interest, the tendency is to create distrust and destroy the or the court false or dishonest motives. There is no law to restrain or punish the freest
confidence of the people in their courts. 38 expressions of disapprobation that any person may entertain of what is done in or by the courts.
Under the right of freedom of speech and of the press the public has a right to know and discuss
Moreover, it has been held that criticism of courts after a case is finally disposed of, does not all judicial proceedings, but this does not include the right to attempt, by wanton defamation,
constitute contempt and, to this effect, a case may be said to be pending so long as there is still groundless charges of unfairness and stubborn partisanship, to degrade the tribunal and impair
something for the court to do therein. But criticism should be distinguished from insult. A its efficiency.
criticism after a case has been disposed of can no longer influence the court, and on that ground
it does not constitute contempt. On the other hand, an insult hurled to the court, even after a case Finally, in Weston vs. Commonwealth, 44 it was ruled that the freedom of speech may not be
is decided, can under no circumstance be justified. Mere criticism or comment on the correctness exercise in such a manner as to destroy respect for the courts, the very institution which is the
or wrongness, soundness or unsoundness of the decision of the court in a pending case made in guardian of that right. The dignity of the courts and the duty of the citizens to respect them are
good faith may be tolerated; but to hurl the false charge that the Supreme Court has been necessary adjuncts to the administration of justice. Denigrating the court by libelous attacks
committing deliberately so many blunders and injustices would tend necessarily to undermine upon judicial conduct in an ended case, as well as one which is pending before it, may seriously
the confidence of the people in the honesty and integrity of its members, and consequently to interfere with the administration of justice. While such an attack may not affect the particular
lower or degrade the administration of justice, and it constitutes contempt. 39 litigation which has been terminated, it may very well affect the course of justice in future
litigation and impair, if not destroy, the judicial efficiency of the court or judge subjected to the
The Philippine rule, therefore, is that in case of a post-litigation newspaper publication, fair attack.
criticism of the court, its proceedings and its members, are allowed. However, there may be a
contempt of court, even though the case has been terminated, if the publication is attended by Anent the second ground, the rule in American jurisprudence is that false and libelous utterances
either of these two circumstances: (1) where it tends to bring the court into disrespect or, in present a clear and present danger to the administration of justice. 45 To constitute contempt,
other words, to scandalize the court; 40 or (2) where there is a clear and present danger that the criticism of a past action of the court must pose a clear and present danger to a fair administration
administration of justice would be impeded. And this brings us to the familiar invocation of of justice, that is, the publication must have an inherent tendency to influence, intimidate,
freedom of expression usually resorted to as a defense in contempt proceedings. impede, embarrass, or obstruct the court's administration of justice. 46 It is not merely a private
wrong against the rights of litigants and judges, but a public wrong, a crime against the State, to
On the first ground, it has been said that the right of free speech is guaranteed by the Constitution undertake by libel or slander to impair confidence in the judicial functions. 47
and must be sacredly guarded, but that an abuse thereof is expressly prohibited by that
Elucidating on the matter, this Court, in Cabansag vs. Fernandez, clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that
et al., 48 held as follows: congress has a right to prevent. It is a question of proximity and degree. . . .

. . . The first, as interpreted in a number of cases, means that the evil Although Cabansag involved a contempt committed during the pendency of a case, no compelling
consequence of the comment or utterance must be ''extremely serious and the reason exists why the doctrines enunciated therein should not be made applicable to vituperative
degree of imminence extremely high" before the utterance can be punished. publications made after the termination of the case. Whether a case is pending or not, there is
The danger to be guarded against is the "substantive evil" sought to be the constant and ever growing need to protect the courts from a substantive evil, such as
prevented. And this evil is primarily the "disorderly and unfair administration invective conduct or utterances which tend to impede or degrade the administration of justice,
of justice." This test establishes a definite rule in constitutional law. It or which calumniate the courts and their judges. At any rate, in the case of In re Bozorth, 49it was
provides the criterion as to what words may be published. Under this rule, the there expressly and categorically ruled that the clear and present danger rule equally applies to
advocacy of ideas cannot constitutionally be abridged unless there is a clear publications made after the determination of a case, with the court declaring that a curtailment
and present danger that such advocacy will harm the administration of of criticism of the conduct of finally concluded litigation, to be justified, must be in terms of some
Justice. serious substantive evil which it is designed to avert.

xxx xxx xxx Adverting again to what was further said in State vs. Shepherd, supra, let it here be emphasized
that the protection and safety of life, liberty, property and character, the peace of society, the
Thus, speaking of the extent and scope of the application of this rule, the proper administration of justice and even the perpetuity of our institutions and form of
Supreme Court of the United States said: "Clear and present danger of government, imperatively demand that everyone — lawyer, layman, citizen, stranger,
substantive evils as a result of indiscriminate publications regarding judicial newspaperman, friend or foe — shall treat the courts with proper respect and shall not attempt
proceedings justifies an impairment of the constitutional right of freedom of to degrade them, or impair the respect of the people, or destroy the faith of the people in them.
speech and press only if the evils are extremely serious and the degree of When the temples of justice become polluted or are not kept pure and clean, the foundations of
imminence extremely high. . . . The possibility of engendering disrespect for free government are undermined, and the institution itself threatened.
the judiciary as a result of the published criticism of a judge is not such a
substantive evil as will justify impairment of the constitutional right of III
freedom of speech and press." . . .
Jurisdiction in Contempt Proceedings where the Alleged Contumely is Committed
No less important is the ruling on the power of the court to punish for Against a Lower Court while the Case is Pending in the Appellate or Higher Court
contempt in relation to the freedom of speech and press. We quote: "Freedom
of speech and press should not be impaired through the exercise of the power In whatever context it may arise, contempt of court involves the doing of an act, or the failure to
to punish for contempt of court unless there is no doubt that the utterances in do an act, in such a manner as to create an affront to the court and the sovereign dignity with
question are a serious and imminent threat to the administration of justice. A which it is clothed. As a matter of practical judicial administration, jurisdiction has been felt
judge may not hold in contempt one who ventures to publish anything that properly to rest in only one tribunal at a time with respect to a given controversy. Partly because
tends to make him unpopular or to belittle him. The vehemence of the of administrative considerations, and partly to visit the full personal effect of the punishment on
language used in newspaper publications concerning a judge's decision is not a contemnor, the rule has been that no other court than the one contemned will punish a given
alone the measure of the power to punish for contempt . The fires which it contempt. 50
kindles must constitute an imminent, not merely a likely, threat to the
administration of justice." . . .
The rationale that is usually advanced for the general rule that the power to punish for contempt
rests with the court contemned is that contempt proceedings are sui generis and are triable only
And in weighing the danger of possible interference with the courts by by the court against whose authority the contempt are charged; 51 the power to punish for
newspaper criticism against the free speech to determine whether such may contempt exists for the purpose of enabling a court to compel due decorum and respect in its
constitutionally be punished as contempt, it was ruled that "freedom of public presence and due obedience to its judgments, orders and processes: 52 and in order that a court
comment should in borderline instances weigh heavily against a possible may compel obedience to its orders, it must have the right to inquire whether there has been any
tendency to influence pending cases." . . . disobedience thereof, for to submit the question of disobedience to another tribunal would
operate to deprive the proceeding of half its efficiency. 53
The question in every case, according to Justice Holmes, is whether the words
used are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create a There are, however, several jurisprudentially and statutorily recognized exceptions to the
general rule, both under Philippine and American jurisprudence, viz.:
1. Indirect contempt committed against inferior court may also be tried by the proper regional or otherwise unavailable and an order is entered by another judge and made returnable to the
trial court, regardless of the imposable penalty. 54 proper court, the regular judge may punish for violations of orders so entered. 62

2. Indirect contempt against the Supreme Court may be caused to be investigated by a 9. Where the same act is a contempt against two or more courts, it is no bar to contempt
prosecuting officer and the charge may be filed in and tried by the regional trial court, or the case proceedings in one of them that there is also a contempt against the other. 63
may be referred to it for hearing and recommendation where the charge involves questions of
fact. 55 10. While professional disciplinary proceedings have been resorted to as a punishment for
contempt, the more recent view is that punishment is of secondary importance to the need to
3. In People vs. Alarcon, et al., supra, this Court ruled that "in the interrelation of the different protect the courts and the people from improper professional practice. To the substantial extent
courts forming our integrated judicial system, one court is not an agent or representative of that disciplinary action remains a punishment, disciplinary measures imposed by another court
another and may not, for this reason, punish contempts in vindication of the authority and than the one contemned furnish an exception to the rule against punishing for contempt of
decorum which are not its own. The appeal transfers the proceedings to the appellate court , and another court. 64
this last court becomes thereby charged with the authority to deal with contempts committed
after the perfection of the appeal." The apparent reason is that both the moral and legal effect of 11. Some contemptuous acts are also crime, usually misdemeanors, which are often punishable
a punishment for contempt would be missed if it were regarded as the resentment of personal in other courts than those against which the contemptuous act was done. 65
affronts offered to judges. Contempts are punished as offenses against the administration of
justice, and the offense of violating a judicial order is punishable by the court which is charged
with its enforcement, regardless of the court which may have made the order. 56 However, the 12. Finally, a conviction for contempt against another court has been allowed to stand on the
rule presupposes a complete transfer of jurisdiction to the appellate court, and there is authority basis that the failure of the defendant to make timely objection operated as a waiver of the right
that where the contempt does not relate to be tried before the court actually contemned. 66
to the subject matter of the appeal, jurisdiction to punish remains in the trial court. 57
The rule, as now accepted and deemed applicable to the present incident, is that where the entire
4. A court may punish contempts committed against a court or judge constituting one of its parts case has already been appealed, jurisdiction to punish for contempt rests with the appellate court
or agencies, as in the case of a court composed of several coordinate branches or divisions. 58 where the appeal completely transfers the proceedings thereto or where there is a tendency to
affect the status quo or otherwise interfere with the jurisdiction of the appellate court.
Accordingly, this Court having acquired jurisdiction over the complaint for indirect contempt
5. The biggest factor accounting for the exceptions is where the singular jurisdiction of a given against herein respondents, it has taken judicial cognizance thereof and has accordingly resolved
matter has been transferred from the contemned court to another court. One of the most the same.
common reasons for a transfer of jurisdiction among courts is improper venue. The cases
involving venue deal primarily with the question whether a change of venue is available after a
contempt proceeding has been begun. While generally a change of venue is not available in a IV
contempt proceeding, some jurisdictions allow such a change in proper circumstances. 59
Appropriate Remedies where the Alleged Contemptuous Statement is also Claimed to
6. A new court wholly replacing a prior court has jurisdiction to punish for violations of orders be Libelous
entered by its predecessor, although where the successor court is created by a statute which does
not extinguish jurisdiction in the predecessor, an affirmative transfer of jurisdiction before the Under the American doctrine, to repeat, the great weight of authority is that in so far as
contempt occurs is necessary to empower the successor court to act. 60 proceedings to punish for contempt are concerned, critical comment upon the behavior of the
court in cases fully determined by it is unrestricted, under the constitutional guaranties of the
7. Transfers of jurisdiction by appellate review have produced numerous instances where liberty of the press and freedom of speech. Thus, comments, however stringent, which have
contempt against the trial court has been punished in the appellate court, and vice versa. Some relation to judicial proceedings which are past and ended, are not contemptuous of the authority
appellate courts have taken the view that a contempt committed after an appeal is taken is of the court to which reference is made. Such comments may constitute a libel against the judge,
particularly contemptuous of the appellate court because of the tendency of such contempts to but it cannot be treated as in contempt of the court's authority.
upset the status quo or otherwise interfere with the jurisdiction of such court. 61
On this score, it is said that prosecution for libel is usually the most appropriate and effective
8. A judge may disqualify himself, or be disqualified, on a contempt hearing or in the main case, remedy. 67 The force of American public opinion has greatly restrained the courts in the exercise
which circumstance may require a transfer of jurisdiction, but where a judge is disqualified only of the power to punish one as in contempt for making disrespectful or injurious remarks, and it
in the main case, because of matters which do not disqualify him in a contempt proceeding, the has been said that the remedy of a judge is the same as that given to a private citizen. 68 In such a
regular judge should sit in the contempt proceeding. Likewise, where the regular judge, is absent case, therefore. the remedy of a criminal action for libel is available to a judge who has been
derogated in a newspaper publication made after the termination aid a case tried by him, since V
such publication can no longer be made subject of contempt proceedings.
Whether or not the Same Contemptuous Conduct of a Member of the Bar can be the
The rule, however, is different in instances under the Philippine doctrine earlier discussed Subject of both a Contempt Proceeding and an Administrative Disciplinary Action
wherein there may still be a contempt of court even after a case has been decided and terminated.
In such case, the offender may be cited for contempt for uttering libelous remarks against the With the foregoing discussion of the appropriate remedies available to a judge, we feel that this
court or the judge. The availability, however, of the power to punish for contempt does not and issue with respect to proper remedies against an erring member or the Bar should
will not prevent a prosecution for libel, either before, during, or after the institution of contempt consequentially be addressed, by way of reiteration, since conflicting and erroneous remedies
proceedings. In other words, the fact that certain contemptuous conduct likewise constitutes an are sometimes resorted to by aggrieved tribunals or parties.
indictable libel against the judge of the court contemned does not necessarily require him to
bring a libel action, rather than relying on contempt Proceedings. 69
The basic rule here is that the power to punish for contempt and the power to disbar are separate
and distinct, and that the exercise of one does not exclude the exercise of the other. 75 A contempt
The fact that an act constituting a contempt is also criminal and punishable by indictment. or proceeding for misbehavior in court is designed to vindicate the authority of the court; on the
other method of criminal prosecution does not prevent the outraged Court from punishing the other hand, the object of a disciplinary proceeding is to deal with the fitness of the court's officer
contempt. 70 This principle stems from the fundamental doctrine that an act may be punished as to continue in that office, to preserve and protect the court and the public from the official
a contempt even though it has been punished as a criminal offense. 71 The defense of having once ministrations of persons unfit or unworthy to hold such
been in jeopardy, based on a conviction for the criminal offense, would not lie in bar of the office. 76 The principal purpose of the exercise of the power to cite for contempt is to safeguard
contempt proceedings, on the proposition that a contempt may be an offense against the dignity the functions of the court and should thus be used sparingly on a preservative and not, on the
of a court and, at the same time, an offense against the peace and dignity of the people of the vindictive principle. 77 The principal purpose of the exercise of disciplinary authority by the
State. 72 But more importantly. adherence to the American doctrine by insisting that a judge Supreme Court is to assure respect for orders of such court by attorneys who, as much as judges,
should instead file an action fur libel will definitely give rise to an absurd situation and may even are responsible for the orderly administration of justice. 78
cause more harm than good.
Moreover, it has been held that the imposition a fine as a penalty in a contempt proceeding is not
Drawing also from American jurisprudence, to compel the judge to descend from the plane of his considered res judicata to a subsequent charge for unprofessional conduct. 79 In the same
judicial office to the level of the contemnor, pass over the matter of contempt, and instead attack manner an attorney's conviction for contempt was not collaterally estopped by reason of a
him by a civil action to satisfy the judge in damages for a libel, would be a still greater humiliation subsequent disbarment proceeding in which the court found in his favor on essentially the same
of a court. That conduct would be personal; the court is impersonal. In our jurisdiction, the facts leading to conviction. 80 It has likewise been the rule that a notice to a lawyer to show cause
judicial status is fixed to such a point that our courts and the judges thereof should be protected why he should not be punished for contempt cannot be considered as a notice to show cause why
from the improper consequences of their discharge of duties so much so that judicial officers he should not be suspended from the practice of law, considering that they have distinct objects
have always been shielded, on the highest considerations of the public good, from being called and for each of them a different procedure is established. Contempt of court is governed by the
for questioning in civil actions for things done in their judicial capacity. procedures laid down under Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, whereas disciplinary actions in the
Practice of law are governed by file 138 and 139 thereof. 81
Whenever we subject the established courts of the and to the degradation of private prosecution,
we subdue their independence, and destroy their authority. instead of being venerable before Although apparently different in legal bases, the authority to punish for contempt and to
the public, they become contemptible; and we thereby embolden the licentious to trample upon discipline lawyers are both inherent in the Supreme Court and are equally incidents of the court's
everything sacred in society, and to overturn those institutions which have hitherto been deemed basic power to oversee the proper administration of justice and the orderly discharge of judicial
the best guardians of civil liberty. 73 functions. As was succinctly expounded in Zaldivar vs.Sandiganbayan, et al.: 82

Hence, the suggestion that judges who are unjustly attacked have a remedy in an action for libel, There are, in other words, two (2) related powers which come into play in
has been assailed as being without rational basis in principle. In the first place, the outrage is not cases like that before us here: the Court's inherent power to discipline
directed to the judge as a private individual but to the judge as such or to the court as an organ attorneys and the contempt power. The disciplinary authority of the Court
of the administration of justice. In the second place, public interests will gravely suffer where the over members of the Bar is broader than the power to punish for contempt.
judge, as such, will, from time to time, be pulled down and disrobed of his judicial authority to Contempt of court may be committed both by lawyers and non-lawyers, both
face his assailant on equal grounds and prosecute cases in his behalf as a private individual. The in and out of court. Frequently, where the contemnor is a lawyer, the
same reasons of public policy which exempt a judge from civil liability in the exercise of his contumacious conduct also constitutes professional misconduct which calls
judicial functions, most fundamental of which is the policy to confine his time exclusively to the into play the disciplinary authority of the Supreme Court. Where the
discharge of his public duties, applies here with equal, if not superior, force. 74 respondent is a lawyer, however, the Supreme Court's disciplinary authority
over lawyers may come into play whether or not the misconduct with which
the respondent is charged also constitutes contempt of court. The power to
punish for contempt of court does not exhaust the scope of disciplinary
authority of the Court over lawyers. The disciplinary authority of the Court
over members of the Bar is but corollary to the court's exclusive power of
admission to the bar. A lawyer is not merely a professional but also an officer
of the court and as such, he is called upon to share in the task and
responsibilities of dispensing justice and resolving disputes in society. Any act
on his part which visibly tends to obstruct, pervert, or impede and degrade
the administration of justice constitutes both professional misconduct calling
for the exercise of disciplinary action against him, and contumacious conduct
warranting application of the contempt power.

With this rounding out of the subordinate and principal issues in resolving the incident, we feel
that the guidelines we have laid down will provide assertive references for the lower courts in
disciplinary matters arising before them. Coming back to the incident fore resolution, arising as
a spin-off from the criminal cases at bar, we reiterate what we have declared at the outset,
absolving judge for the reasons therein stated.

WHEREFORE, on the foregoing premises, the complaint for indirect contempt against herein
respondents Mauricio Reynoso, Jr. and Eva P. Ponce de Leon is hereby DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 122480 April 12, 2000 1989 Tax Credit P112,491.00
BPI-FAMILY SAVINGS BANK, Inc., petitioner, TOTAL AMOUNT P297,492.00
vs.
COURT OF APPEALS, COURT OF TAX APPEALS and the COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REFUNDABLE
REVENUE,respondents.
PANGANIBAN, J.:
It appears from the foregoing 1989 Income Tax Return that petitioner had a
total refundable amount of P297,492 inclusive of the P112,491.00 being
If the State expects its taxpayers to observe fairness and honesty in paying their taxes, so must it claimed as tax refund in the present case. However, petitioner declared in the
apply the same standard against itself in refunding excess payments. When it is undisputed that same 1989 Income Tax Return that the said total refundable amount of
a taxpayer is entitled to a refund, the State should not invoke technicalities to keep money not P297,492.00 will be applied as tax credit to the succeeding taxable year.
belonging to it. No one, not even the State, should enrich oneself at the expense of another.
On October 11, 1990, petitioner filed a written claim for refund in the amount
The Case of P112,491.00 with the respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue
alleging that it did not apply the 1989 refundable amount of P297,492.00
Before us is a Petition for Review assailing the March 31, 1995 Decision of the Court of (including P112,491.00) to its 1990 Annual Income Tax Return or other tax
Appeals1 (CA) in CA-GR SP No. 34240, which affirmed the December 24, 1993 Decision 2 of the liabilities due to the alleged business losses it incurred for the same year.
Court of Tax Appeals (CTA). The CA disposed as follows:
Without waiting for respondent Commissioner of Internal Revenue to act on
WHEREFORE, foregoing premises considered, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for the claim for refund, petitioner filed a petition for review with respondent
lack of merit.3 Court of Tax Appeals, seeking the refund of the amount of P112,491.00.

On the other hand, the dispositive portion of the CTA Decision affirmed by the CA reads as The respondent Court of Tax Appeals dismissed petitioner's petition on the
follows: ground that petitioner failed to present as evidence its corporate Annual
Income Tax Return for 1990 to establish the fact that petitioner had not yet
WHEREFORE, in [view of] all the foregoing, Petitioner's claim for refund is hereby credited the amount of P297,492.00 (inclusive of the amount P112,491.00
DENIED and this Petition for Review is DISMISSED for lack of merit.4 which is the subject of the present controversy) to its 1990 income tax
liability.
Also assailed is the November 8, 1995 CA Resolution5 denying reconsideration.
Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, however, the same was denied
by respondent court in its Resolution dated May 6, 1994.6
The Facts
As earlier noted, the CA affirmed the CTA. Hence, this Petition.7
The facts of this case were summarized by the CA in this wise:
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
This case involves a claim for tax refund in the amount of P112,491.00 representing
petitioner's tax withheld for the year 1989.
In affirming the CTA, the Court of Appeals ruled as follows:
In its Corporate Annual Income Tax Return for the year 1989, the following items are
reflected: It is incumbent upon the petitioner to show proof that it has not credited to
its 1990 Annual income Tax Return, the amount of P297,492.00 (including
P112,491.00), so as to refute its previous declaration in the 1989 Income Tax
Income P1,017,931,831.00 Return that the said amount will be applied as a tax credit in the succeeding
Deductions P1,026,218,791.00 year of 1990. Having failed to submit such requirement, there is no basis to
Net Income (Loss) (P8,286,960.00) grant the claim for refund. . . .
Taxable Income (Loss) (P8,286,960.00)
Less:
1988 Tax Credit P185,001.00 Tax refunds are in the nature of tax exemptions. As such, they are regarded as
in derogation of sovereign authority and to be construed strictissimi
juris against the person or entity claiming the exemption. In other words, the P112,491 "has not been and/or will not be automatically credited/offset against any succeeding
burden of proof rests upon the taxpayer to establish by sufficient and quarters' income tax liabilities for the rest of the calendar year ending December 31, 1990." Also
competent evidence its entitlement to the claim for refund.8 presented were the quarterly returns for the first two quarters of 1990.

Issue The Bureau of Internal Revenue, for its part, failed to controvert petitioner's claim. In fact, it
presented no evidence at all. Because it ought to know the tax records of all taxpayers, the CIR
In their Memorandum, respondents identify the issue in this wise: could have easily disproved petitioner's claim. To repeat, it did not do so.

The sole issue to be resolved is whether or not petitioner is entitled to the refund of More important, a copy of the Final Adjustment Return for 1990 was attached to petitioner's
P112,491.90, representing excess creditable withholding tax paid for the taxable year Motion for Reconsideration filed before the CTA. 12 A final adjustment return shows whether a
1989.9 corporation incurred a loss or gained a profit during the taxable year. In this case, that Return
clearly showed that petitioner incurred P52,480,173 as net loss in 1990. Clearly, it could not have
applied the amount in dispute as a tax credit.
The Court's Ruling
Again, the BIR did not controvert the veracity of the said return. It did not even file an opposition
The Petition is meritorious. to petitioner's Motion and the 1990 Final Adjustment Return attached thereto. In denying the
Motion for Reconsideration, however, the CTA ignored the said Return. In the same vein, the CA
Main Issue: did not pass upon that significant document.

Petitioner Entitled to Refund True, strict procedural rules generally frown upon the submission of the Return after the
trial.1âwphi1 The law creating the Court of Tax Appeals, however, specifically provides that
It is undisputed that petitioner had excess withholding taxes for the year 1989 and was thus proceedings before it "shall not be governed strictly by the technical rules of evidence." 13 The
entitled to a refund amounting to P112,491. Pursuant to Section 69 10 of the 1986 Tax Code which paramount consideration remains the ascertainment of truth. Verily, the quest for orderly
states that a corporation entitled to a refund may opt either (1) to obtain such refund or (2) to presentation of issues is not an absolute. It should not bar courts from considering undisputed
credit said amount for the succeeding taxable year, petitioner indicated in its 1989 Income Tax facts to arrive at a just determination of a controversy.
Return that it would apply the said amount as a tax credit for the succeeding taxable year, 1990.
Subsequently, petitioner informed the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) that it would claim the In the present case, the Return attached to the Motion for Reconsideration clearly showed that
amount as a tax refund, instead of applying it as a tax credit. When no action from the BIR was petitioner suffered a net loss in 1990. Contrary to the holding of the CA and the CTA, petitioner
forthcoming, petitioner filed its claim with the Court of Tax Appeals. could not have applied the amount as a tax credit. In failing to consider the said Return, as well
as the other documentary evidence presented during the trial, the appellate court committed a
The CTA and the CA, however, denied the claim for tax refund. Since petitioner declared in its reversible error.
1989 Income Tax Return that it would apply the excess withholding tax as a tax credit for the
following year, the Tax Court held that petitioner was presumed to have done so. The CTA and It should be stressed that the rationale of the rules of procedure is to secure a just determination
the CA ruled that petitioner failed to overcome this presumption because it did not present its of every action. They are tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice. 14 But there can be
1990 Return, which would have shown that the amount in dispute was not applied as a tax credit. no just determination of the present action if we ignore, on grounds of strict technicality, the
Hence, the CA concluded that petitioner was not entitled to a tax refund. Return submitted before the CTA and even before this Court. 15 To repeat, the undisputed fact is
that petitioner suffered a net loss in 1990; accordingly, it incurred no tax liability to which the
We disagree with the Court of Appeals. As a rule, the factual findings of the appellate court are tax credit could be applied. Consequently, there is no reason for the BIR and this Court to
binding on this Court. This rule, however, does not apply where, inter alia, the judgment is withhold the tax refund which rightfully belongs to the petitioner.
premised on a misapprehension of facts, or when the appellate court failed to notice certain
relevant facts which if considered would justify a different conclusion. 11 This case is one such Public respondents maintain that what was attached to petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration
exception. was not the final adjustment Return, but petitioner's first two quarterly returns for 1990. 16 This
allegation is wrong. An examination of the records shows that the 1990 Final Adjustment Return
In the first place, petitioner presented evidence to prove its claim that it did not apply the amount was attached to the Motion for Reconsideration. On the other hand, the two quarterly returns for
as a tax credit. During the trial before the CTA, Ms. Yolanda Esmundo, the manager of petitioner's 1990 mentioned by respondent were in fact attached to the Petition for Review filed before the
accounting department, testified to this fact. It likewise presented its claim for refund and a CTA. Indeed, to rebut respondents' specific contention, petitioner submitted before us its
certification issued by Mr. Gil Lopez, petitioner's vice-president, stating that the amount of
Surrejoinder, to which was attached the Motion for Reconsideration and Exhibit "A" thereof, the WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby GRANTED and the assailed Decision and Resolution of the
Final Adjustment Return for 1990. 17 Court of Appeals REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Commissioner of Internal Revenue is ordered
to refund to petitioner the amount of P112,491 as excess creditable taxes paid in 1989. No
CTA Case No. 4897 costs.1âwphi1.nêt

Petitioner also calls the attention of this Court, as it had done before the CTA, to a Decision SO ORDERED.
rendered by the Tax Court in CTA Case No. 4897, involving its claim for refund for the year 1990.
In that case, the Tax Court held that "petitioner suffered a net loss for the taxable year 1990 . . .
." 18 Respondent, however, urges this Court not to take judicial notice of the said case. 19

As a rule, "courts are not authorized to take judicial notice of the contents of the records of other
cases, even when such cases have been tried or are pending in the same court, and
notwithstanding the fact that both cases may have been heard or are actually pending before the
same judge." 20

Be that as it may, Section 2, Rule 129 provides that courts may take judicial notice of matters
ought to be known to judges because of their judicial functions. In this case, the Court notes that
a copy of the Decision in CTA Case No. 4897 was attached to the Petition for Review filed before
this Court. Significantly, respondents do not claim at all that the said Decision was fraudulent or
nonexistent. Indeed, they do not even dispute the contents of the said Decision, claiming merely
that the Court cannot take judicial notice thereof.

To our mind, respondents' reasoning underscores the weakness of their case. For if they had
really believed that petitioner is not entitled to a tax refund, they could have easily proved that it
did not suffer any loss in 1990. Indeed, it is noteworthy that respondents opted not to assail the
fact appearing therein — that petitioner suffered a net loss in 1990 — in the same way that it
refused to controvert the same fact established by petitioner's other documentary exhibits.

In any event, the Decision in CTA Case No. 4897 is not the sole basis of petitioner's case. It is
merely one more bit of information showing the stark truth: petitioner did not use its 1989
refund to pay its taxes for 1990.

Finally, respondents argue that tax refunds are in the nature of tax exemptions and are to be
construed strictissimi juris against the claimant. Under the facts of this case, we hold that
petitioner has established its claim. Petitioner may have failed to strictly comply with the rules
of procedure; it may have even been negligent. These circumstances, however, should not compel
the Court to disregard this cold, undisputed fact: that petitioner suffered a net loss in 1990, and
that it could not have applied the amount claimed as tax credits.

Substantial justice, equity and fair play are on the side of petitioner. Technicalities and legalisms,
however exalted, should not be misused by the government to keep money not belonging to it
and thereby enrich itself at the expense of its law-abiding citizens. If the State expects its
taxpayers to observe fairness and honesty in paying their taxes, so must it apply the same
standard against itself in refunding excess payments of such taxes. Indeed, the State must lead by
its own example of honor, dignity and uprightness.
G.R. No. L-8200 March 17, 1914 Any doubt, however, as to the character of this transaction is removed by the agreement entered
LEONARD LUCIDO, plaintiff-appellee, into between Lucido and calupitan on the same day. In this document it is distinctly stipulated
vs. that the right to redeem the property is preserved to Lucido, to be exercised after the expiration
GELASIO CALUPITAN, ET AL., defendants-appellants. of three years. The right to repurchase must necessary imply a former ownership of the property.
TRENT, J.:
Further indication that Calupitan himself considered this transaction as a sale with the right to
In this case it appears that some chattels and real estate belonging to the plaintiff, Lucido, were conventional redemption is to be found in his original answer to the complaint. This original
regularly sold at an execution sale on February 10, 1903, to one Rosales, who the text day answer was introduced in evidence by the plaintiff over the objection of the defendant. Its
transferred a one-half interest in the property of Zolaivar. On March 30, 1903, a public document admission was proper, especially in view of the fact that it was signed by Calupitan himself, who
was executed and signed by all of the above parties and the defendant, Gelasio Calupitan, wherein was the time acting as his own attorney.
it was stated that Rosales and Zolaivar, with the consent of Lucido, sold all their rights had
obligation pertaining to the property in question to Calupitan for the amount of the purchase Jones on evidence (secs. 272, 273), after remarking that the earlier cases were not in harmony
price together with 1 per cent per month interest thereon up to the time of redemption, or 1,687 on the point, says:
Mexican dollars, plus 33.74 Mexican dollars, the amount of the interest. It will be observed that
the computation of the transfer price is in accordance with section 465 of the Code of Civil
Procedure. On the same day Lucido and Calupitan executed the following document: Many of the cases holding that pleadings inadmissible as admissions were based on the
theory that most of the allegations were merely pleader's matter -- fiction stated by
counsel and sanctioned by the courts. The whole modern tendency is to reject this view
I, Gelasio Calupitan y Agarao, married, certify that I have delivered this statement to and to treat pleadings as statements of the real issues in the cause and hence as
Leonardo Lucido y Vidal to witness that his lands, which appear in the instrument I hold admissions of the parties, having weight according to the circumstances of each case.
from the deputy sheriff and for which he has accepted money from me, I have ceded to But some of the authorities still hold that if the pleading is not signed by the party there
him all the irrigated lands until such time as he may repurchase all said lands from me should be some proof that he has authorized it.
(not only he irrigated ones), as also the Vienna chairs, the five-lamp chandelier, a lamp
stand, two wall tables, and a marble table; no coconut tree on said irrigated land is
included. Apart from this, our real agreement is to permit three (3) whole year to On the same principles where amended pleadings have been filed, allegations in the
elapse, reckoned from the date of this instrument, which has been drawn up n duplicate, original pleadings are held admissible, but in such case the original pleadings can have
before he may redeem or repurchase them from me. no effect, unless formally offered in evidence.

The lower court held that this document constituted a sale with the right to conventional In this original answer it was expressly stated that the transaction was one of sale with the right
redemption set forth in articles 1507 et seq. of the Civil Code. The present action not having been to repurchase governed by the provisions of articles 1507 et seq. of the Civil Code.
instituted until February 17, 1910, the fur the question arose as to whether the redemption
period had expired, which the lower court decided in the negative. The lower court further found It further appears from the uncontradicted testimony of the plaintiff that he furnished $20
as a fact that Lucido had prior to the institution of the action offered the redemption price to the Mexican of the account necessary to redeem the property from the execution purchasers. It
defendant, who refused it, and that this offer was a sufficient compliance with article 1518 of the therefore appears beyond dispute that the redemption of the property from the execution
Civil Code. The decision of the lower court was that the property in question should be returned purchasers was made by the plaintiff himself by means of a loan furnished by the defendant
to the plaintiff. From this judgment the defendant appealed, and all three of the above rulings of Calupitan, who took possession of the major portion of the land as his security for its redemption.
the court are assigned as errors. The ruling of the lower court the transaction between Lucido and Calupitan was one of purchase
and sale with the right to redeem was therefore correct.
1. Considerable doubt might arise as to the correctness of the ruling of the lower court upon the
first question, if the document executed by the execution purchasers and the parties to this action 2. By the terms of his agreement with Calupitan the plaintiff could not exercise his right to redeem
stood alone. In that document it appears that Calupitan acquired the rights and obligations of the the property within three years from March 30, 1903; and the lower court arrived at the date
execution purchasers pertaining to the property in question. These rights and obligations are upon which the right to redeem expired by computing five years from March 30, 1906, on the
defined in the Code of Civil Procedure to be the ownership of the property sold, subject only to ground that there was no express agreement as to how long the right to repurchase, once
the right of redemption on the part of the judgment debtor or a redemptioner, within one year available, should continue. Counsel for the appellant admits in his brief that the complaint was
from the date of the sale. (Secs. 463-465, Code Civ. Proc.) Were this the nature of the transaction filed forty-three days before the expiration of this period. In accordance with our decision
between the parties, however, the intervention of Lucido in the transfer would be wholly in Rosales vs. Reyes and Ordoveza (25 Phil. Rep., 495), we hold that this ruling of the court was
unnecessary. Hence, the fact that he intervened as an interested party is at least some indication correct.
that the parties intended something more or different by the document in question than a simple
assignment of the rights and obligations of the execution purchasers to a third person.
3. The court held that the plaintiff had actually tendered the redemption price to the defendant For the foregoing reasons, judgment will be entered directing the defendants Calupitan and
Calupitan. After an examination of the evidence of record as to this finding of fact, we concur Dorado to deliver the possession of the land in question to the plaintiff upon the plaintiff's
therein. We discussed the legal sufficiency of such tender in the above-cited case of Rosales vs. depositing with the clerk of the court the sum of P1,600.74, to be disposed of in the manner above
Reyes and Ordoveza, and held that it was sufficient. This assignment of error must therefore be set forth. In all other respects the judgment appealed from is affirmed with costs against the
held to be unfounded. appellants Calupitan and Dorado.

4. The defendants Oreta and Bueno have no interest in the subject matter of this action. it appears
that the defendant Dorado purchased the land from his codefendant Calupitan subsequent to the
tender of the redemption price to the latter by the plaintiff. It does not appear that the property
was ever registered by any one, nor was the document of sale with the right to repurchase
registered by either Calupitan or Lucido. No evidence of the purchase of the land from Calupitan
by Dorado is of record with the exception of the oral testimony although it may be taken as
established that such a sale actually took place, since all the parties interested agree on this point.
Dorado himself testified that he purchased the property with the knowledge that Calupitan had
purchased the property from Lucido subject to the right of redemption and insists that he
purchased with the knowledge and consent of Lucido. Lucido denies that he was aware of the
sale of Dorado until after it had taken place. Upon this state on facts, it is clear that the following
provisions of article 1510 of the Civil Code are applicable:

The vendor may bring his action against every possessor whose right arises that of the
vendee, even though in the second contract no mention should have been made of the
conventional redemption; without prejudice to the provisions of the Mortgage Law
with regard to third persons.

The provisions of the Mortgage Law with regard to third persons are clearly not applicable to
Dorado. (Manresa, vol., 10, p. 317.)

5. The lower court ordered the redelivery of the land to the plaintiff upon his payment to
Calupitan of P1,600, plus the costs entailed in the execution of the document of repurchase. The
amount paid to the purchaser at the execution sale for the redemption of the property was
$1,720.74 Mexican. Of this amount the plaintiff furnished $120 Mexican, and Calupitan the
balance of $1,600.74 Mexican. No amount is fixed in the document of purchase and sale above set
forth, but the amount borrowed from Calupitan to redeem the land from the execution sale being
thus clearly established no objection can be or is made to the plaintiff's paying this amount. In
ordering the payment of this amount to the defendant the lower court failed to reduce it to
Philippine currency. On this appeal plaintiff alleges that this amount in Mexican currency exceeds
the amount he actually owes to the defendant by about P100, but that rather than spend the time
and incur the expense attendant to new trial for the purpose of determining the equivalent of his
amount in Philippine currency he is agreeable to pay the defendant P1,600.74 Philippine
currency, as the redemption price of the property. In view of this offer and in case it is accepted
by the defendant it will be unnecessary to go through formality of a new trial for the purpose of
ascertaining the amount of the fact that it is claimed that Calupitan has sold the land in question
to his codefendant, Macario Dorado, and it not clearly appearing to whom the plaintiff should pay
the P1.600.74, we think this amount should be turned over to the clerk of the Court of First
Instance of the Province of Laguna to be held by him until it is determined in the proper manner
who is the owner of this amount, Calupitan for Dorado.
G.R. No. L-37420 July 31, 1984 Lot No. 551, an urban lot with an area of 1,622 sq. ms., more or less, had been leased temporarily
MACARIA A. TORRES, petitioner, by the Government (Lease No. 17) to Margarita Torres who was the actual occupant of the lot.
vs. The date of the lease cannot be determined with exactitude from the records. On December 13,
COURT OF APPEALS, VICENTE SANTILLAN, ALFREDO NARCISO, TOMAS NARCISO, AMADO 1910, the Government, through the Director of Lands, issued to Margarita Torres, Sale Certificate
NARCISO, SALUD NARCISO, DEMETRIA NARCISO and ADELINA NARCISO, respondents. No. 222 (Exhibit "B") over the said lot at the price of P428.80, payable in 20 annual installments
G.R. No. L-37421 July 31, 1984 of P20.00 each. The rental/s previously paid of P17.40 was credited to the purchase price.
MACARIA A. TORRES, petitioner, Testimonial evidence is to the effect that Leon Arbole paid the installments out of his earnings as
vs. a water tender at the Bureau of Lands, Tanza, Cavite. The last installment, however, was paid on
COURT OF APPEALS, VICENTE SANTILLAN, ALFREDO NARCISO, SALUD NARCISO, December 17, 1936, or three (3) years after his death.
BALDOMERO BUENAVENTURA, DEMETRIA NARCISO, LEONARDO QUINTO, ADELINA
NARCISO, CESARIO PUNZALAN, TOMAS NARCISO and AMADO NARCISO, respondents. On August 25, 1933, twenty (20) days before his death, Leon Arbole sold and transferred in a
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.: notarial deed all his rights and interest to the one-half (1/2) portion of Lot No. 551 in favor of
petitioner, for the sum of P300.00.3
This Petition for Review on Certiorari, treated as a special civil action. 1 prays that the judgment
rendered by the then Court of Appeals in the consolidated cases, CA-G.R. NO. 34998-R entitled On June 6, 1953, Vicente Santillan executed an Affidavit claiming possession of Lot No. 551 and
"Macaria A. Torres, plaintiff-appellee vs. Vicente Santillan, et al., defendants-appellants", and CA- asking for the issuance of title in his name, which he filed with the Bureau of Lands. Based
G.R. No. 34999-R entitled "Vicente Santillan, et al., plaintiffs-appellants vs. Macaria A. Bautista, et thereon, the Bureau of Lands issued the corresponding patent in the name of the legal heirs of
al., defendants-appellees and the Resolution denying the Motion for Reconsideration and Petition Margarita Torres. Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-6804 was eventually issued by the Register
for New Trial, be set aside; and that, instead, The Order of the Court of First Instance of August 7, of Deeds of Cavite on November 7, 1957, also in the name of said heirs.
1963 be affirmed, or, in the alternative, that the case be remanded to it for new trial.
On June 3, 1954, private respondents filed a complaint against petitioner for Forcible Entry, with
Involved in this controversy are the respective claims of petitioner and private respondents over the Justice of the Peace Court of Tanza, Cavite, alleging that petitioner had entered a portion of
Lot No. 551 of the Sta. Cruz de Malabon Estate (part of the friar lands) in Tanza, Cavite, with an Lot No. 551 without their consent, constructed a house. and refused to vacate upon demand. For
area of approximately 1,622 square meters. covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-6804 her part, petitioner claimed that she is a co-owner of the lot in question, being one of the
issued in the name of the legal heirs of Margarita Torres. daughters of Margarita Torres. The ejectment case was decided against petitioner and the latter
appealed to the then Court of First Instance of Cavite, where it was docketed as Civil Case No.
The facts of the case cover three generations. The propositus, Margarita Torres, during the 5547 (Ejectment Case).
Spanish regime, was married to Claro Santillan. Vicente and Antonina were begotten of this
union. Claro died leaving Margarita a widow. Antonina married and had six children, namely: On June 8, 1954, petitioner instituted an action for partition of Lot No. 551 before the then Court
Alfredo, Salud (married to Baldomero Buenaventura), Demetria (married to Leonardo Quinto), of First Instance of Cavite, docketed as Civil Case No. 5505 (Partition Case), alleging that said lot
Adelina (married to Cesario Punzalan), Tomas and Amado all surnamed Narciso, who, together was conjugal property of the spouses Margarita Torres and Leon Arbole, and that she is their
with Vicente Santillan, are the private respondents. Antonina died before the institution of the legitimated child. Private respondents filed an Answer alleging that the lot belonged exclusively
cases while Vicente died on June 4, 1957, 2 during the pendency of the cases in the Trial Courts, to Margarita Torres; that they are her only heirs, and that the complaint for partition should be
without progeny . dismissed.

After the death of her husband, Margarita Torres cohabited with Leon Arvisu Arbole, without The Ejectment Case and the Partition Case were jointly tried and decided on November 20, 1958
benefit of marriage. Out of their cohabitation, petitioner Macaria Torres (later married to with a finding that Lot No. 551 is the paraphernal property of Margarita Torres and adjudicating
Francisco Bautista) was born on June 20, 1898, and baptized on June 26, 1898. In a Certificate of to private respondents two-thirds (2/3) of the property in equal shares, and to petitioner a one-
Baptism issued by the Parish Priest of Tanza, Cavite, Leon Arvisu Arbole and Margarita Torres third (1/3) portion. 4 Petitioner moved for reconsideration, which private respondents opposed.
were named as father and mother of petitioner whose name was listed as Macaria Arvisu", Pending its resolution, the Provincial Capitol of Cavite was burned, resulting in the complete
(Exhibit "C" Another Baptismal Certificate, however, listed her name as Macaria Torres, while destruction of the records of the two cases, which, however, were later partially reconstituted.
her father's name was left blank (Exhibit "4"). Subsequently, or on June 7, 1909, Leon Arbole and
Margarita Torres were married (Exhibit "A"). Petitioner lived with and was reared by her
parents. Margarita, the mother, died on December 20, 1931 (Exhibit "D"), while Leon, the father, On August 7, 1963, the then Court of First Instance of Cavite, Branch 1, issued an Order granting
passed away on September 14, 1933 (Exhibit " E "). reconsideration and amending the Decision of November 20, 1958. The positive portion thereof
reads as follows:

Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered in Civil Case No. .5505:


(1) Declaring Macaria A. Torres as the legitimated child of the spouses Leon (3) Adjudicating one-half (1/2) of Lot No. 551 of S.C. de Malabon Estate to
Arbole and Margarita Torres; Macaria Torres, and the other half (1/2) in equal shares to Alfredo, Tomas,
Amado, Salud, Demetria and Adelina, an surnamed Narciso, legitimate
(2) Declaring that Lot No. 551 of the Sta. Cruz de Malabon Estate is a conjugal children and heirs of Antonina Santillan, since Vicente Santillan is already
partnership property of the spouses Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres; dead. The parties may make the partition among themselves by proper
instruments of conveyance, subject to confirmation by the Court. In fairness,
however, to the parties, each party should be alloted that portion of the lot
(3) Adjudicating four-sixths (4/6th of Lot No. 551 of S.C. de Malabon Estate to where his or her house has been constructed, as far as this is possible. In case
Macaria Torres, and two-sixths (2/6th) in equal shares to Alfredo, Tomas, the parties are unable to agree upon the partition, the Court shall appoint
Amado, Salud, Demetria and Adelina, all surnamed Narciso, legitimate three commissioners to make the partition.
children and heirs of the deceased Antonina Santillan, since Vicente Santillan
is already dead. The parties may make the partition among themselves by
proper instruments of conveyance, subject to confirmation by the Court. In As to Civil Case No. 5547, the same is hereby dismissed.
fairness, however, to the parties, each party should be alloted that portion of
the lot where his or her house has been constructed, as far as this is possible. Without costs in both cases. 8
In case the parties are unable to agree upon the partition, the Court shall
appoint three commissioners to make the partition. The Appellate Court was of the opinion that:

As to Civil Case No. 5547, the same is hereby dismissed. Macaria A. Torres is not a legitimated daughter of Leon Arvisu Arbole and
Margarita Torres, the former not having been legally acknowledged before or
Without costs in both cases. 5 after the marriage of her parents. As correctly pointed out by the appellants
in their brief, the fact that she was taken cared of, brought up and reared by
In concluding that petitioner is a legitimated child, the Trial Court opined: her parents until they died, and that the certificate of baptism (Exhibit "C")
shows that she was given the family name of Arvisu did not bestow upon her
the status of an acknowledged natural child.
It is undisputed that when Macaria A. Torres was born on June 20, 1898, her
parents, Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres, had the capacity to marry each
other. There was no legal impediment for them to marry It has also been Under Article 121 of the old Civil Code, the governing law on the matter,
established that Macaria A. Torres had been taken care of, brought up and children shall be considered legitimated by subsequent marriage only when
reared by her parents until they died. The certificate of baptism (Exh. "G") also they have been acknowledged by the parents before or after the celebration
shows that Macaria Torres was given the family name of Arvisu, which is also thereof, and Article 131 of the same code provides that the acknowledgement
the family name of her father, Leon Arbole, and that her father is Leon Arvisu of a natural child must be in the record of birth, in a will or in some public
and her mother is Margarita Torres. Such being the case, Macaria A. Torres document. Article 131 then prescribed the form in which the
possessed the status of an acknowledged natural child. And when her parents acknowledgment of a natural child should be made. The certificate of baptism
were married on June 7, 1909, she became the legitimated daughter of on of Macaria A. Torres (Exhibit "C") is not the record of birth referred to in
Arbole and Margarita Torres. 6 Article 131. This article of the old Civil Code 'requires that unless the
acknowledgement is made in a will or other public document, it must be made
in the record of birth, or in other words, in the civil register (Samson vs.
Private respondents appealed. On April 2, 1973, the then Court of Appeals 7 rendered the Corrales Tan, 48 PhiL 406). 9
judgment sought to be set aside herein, the decretal part of which states:
A Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial, dated April 16, 1973, was filed by petitioner. In
Wherefore, judgment is hereby rendered in Civil Case No. 5505: support thereof, petitioner submitted a typewritten Sworn Statement, dated March 5, 1930, of
spouses Leon Arvisu (Arbole) and Margarita Torres,10 reading in full as follows:
(1) Declaring that Macaria A. Torres is not the legitimated child of the spouses
Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres; SWORN STATEMENT

(2) Declaring that Lot No. 551 of the Sta Cruz de Malabon Estate is a conjugal
partnership property of the spouses Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres; and
We, Leon Arvisu and Margarita Torres husband and wife respectively, of Witness my hand and seal of office on the date and place aforesaid.
majority age, and residents of the Municipality of Tanza, Province of Cavite,
P.I., after being duly sworn to according to law depose and say CONSTANCIO T. VELASCO

That Macaria de Torres is our legitimized daughter she being born out of Notary Public, Cavite Province
wedlock on the 26 th of June 1898 all Tanza, Cavite, but as stated she was Until Dec. 31, 1930.
legitimized by our subsequent marriage.
Not. Reg. No. 56
That at the time of her birth or conception, we, her parents could have married P. No. 2
without dispensation had we desired. Book No. III Series of 1930. 11

That as natural child our aforesaid daughter was surnamed de Torres after The reason given for the non-production of the notarial document during trial was that the same
that of her mother's at the time she was baptized as per record on file in the was only found by petitioner's daughter, Nemensia A. Bautista, among the personal belongings
Church. of private respondent, Vicente Santillan, an adverse party, after his death and who may have
attempted to suppress it. Private respondents, for their part, argued against new trial, and
That as a legitimized daughter she should now be surnamed Arvisu after her contended that it is not newly discovered evidence which could not have been produced during
father's family name. the trial by the exercise of due diligence.

Wherefore, it is respectfully requested to anybody concerned that proper The Decision of the Appellate Court was rendered by a Division of three, composed of Justices
remedy be made for the change of the surname of said Macaria de Torres as Jesus Y. Perez, Jose N. Leuterio and Luis B. Reyes, ponente. When the Motion for Reconsideration
desired. and New Trial was considered, there was disagreement, possibly as to whether or not new trial
should be granted in respect of the sworn statement of March 5, 1930. A Special Division of five
In testimony hereof, we hereunto signed out names at Tanza, Cavite, this 5th was then formed, composed of Justices Antonio Lucero Magno S. Gatmaitan, Lourdes P. San Diego,
day of March 1930. Jose N. Leuterio and Luis B. Reyes (Justice Perez having retired or having disqualified himself).
In a minute resolution of August 24, 1973, the Division of five, by a vote of three or two, denied
both reconsideration and new trial.

To warrant review, petitioner, has summarized her submission based on two assignments of
(Thumbmarked) (Thumbmarked) error. The first was expressed as follows:
LEON ARVISU MARGARITA TORRES
Although the Court of Appeals is correct in declaring that Macaria A. Torres is
Signed in the prsence of: not the legitimated child of the spouses Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres, it has
overlooked to include in its findings of facts the admission made by Vicente
(Sgd.) Illegible (Sgd.) Macaria Bautista Santillan and the heirs of Antonina Santillan (herein respondents) that
Macaria A. Torres and Vicente Santillan and Antonina Santillan are brother
x----------------------------------------------------x and sisters with a common mother Margarita Torres and they are the legal
heirs and nearest of relatives of Margarita Torres, and as a consequence
thereof, the Court of Appeals had drawn an incorrect conclusion in
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ) adjudicating the entire share of Margarita Torres in the conjugal property
PHILIPPINE ISLANDS ) solely to Vicente Santillan and the heirs of Antonina Santillan. (emphasis
MUNICIPALITY OF TANZA ) ss supplied)
PROVINCE OF CAVITE )
As we understand it, petitioner has conceded, with which we concur, that, without taking account
Subscribed and sworn to before me this 5th day of March 1930. The affiant of the sworn statement of March 5, 1930, she cannot be considered a legitimated child of her
Leon Arvisu exhibited to me no cedula certificate being exempt on account of parents. Continuous possession of the status of a natural child, fact of delivery by the mother, etc.
going over 60 years of age and Margarita Torres having exhibited no cedula will not amount to automatic recognition, but an action for compulsory recognition is still
certificate being exempt on account of her sex.
necessary, which action may be commenced only during the lifetime of the putative parents, prescribed in Article 131 of the old Civil Code; 15 (2) whether or not it conforms to an act of
subject to certain exceptions. 12 acknowledgment by the parents after the celebration of their marriage as required by Article 121
of the same code; 16 and (3) whether or not petitioner's signature as a witness to said document
The admission adverted to appears in paragraph 3 of private respondents' original complaint in was the equivalent of the consent necessary for acknowledgment of an adult person under Article
the Ejectment Case reading: 133 of that Code. 17 Affirmative answers would confer upon petitioner the status of a legitimated
child of her parents, and would entitle her to enjoy hereditary rights to her mother's estate.
the plaintiffs and the defendant Macaria A. Bautista are the legal heirs and
nearest of kins of Margarita Torres, who died in Tanza, Cavite on December Private respondents stress that since petitioner signed as a witness to the document she should
20, 1931. (Emphasis supplied). be chargeable with knowledge of its existence, and, therefore, the Sworn Statement was not
newly discovered evidence. In our view, the document can reasonably qualify as newly
discovered evidence, which could not have been produced during the trial even with the exercise
The statement, according to petitioner, is an admission of her legitimation and is controlling in of due diligence; specially if it really had been in the possession of Vicente Santillan, an adverse
the determination of her participation in the disputed property. party who, it was alleged, suppressed the document.

We are not persuaded. In the Amended Complaint filed by private respondents in the same In the interest of judicial expediency, the new trial can be conducted by respondent Appellate
Ejectment Case, the underlined portion was deleted so that the statement simply read: Court, now empowered to do so under Section 9 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129.

That the plaintiffs are the legal heirs and nearest of kin of Margarita Torres, WHEREFORE, this case is hereby remanded to the now Intermediate Appellate Court for new
who died at Tanza, Cavite, on December 20, 1931. trial, and depending on its outcome, said Court shall also resolve the respective participation of
the parties in the disputed property, inclusive of the estate of the deceased Vicente Santillan. No
In virtue thereof, the Amended Complaint takes the place of the original. The latter is regarded costs.
as abandoned and ceases to perform any further function as a pleading. The original complaint
no longer forms part of the record. 13 SO ORDERED.

If petitioner had desired to utilize the original complaint she should have offered it in evidence.
Having been amended, the original complaint lost its character as a judicial admission, which
would have required no proof, and became merely an extrajudicial admission, the admissibility
of which, as evidence, required its formal offer. Contrary to petitioner's submission, therefore
there can be no estoppel by extrajudicial admission made in the original complaint, for failure to
offer it in evidence. 14

It should be noted that in the Partition Case private respondents, in their Answer (parag. 4),
denied the legitimacy of petitioner.

The second error attributed to the Appellate Court has been pleaded as follows:

Also, the Court of Appeals has gravely abused its discretion when it denied the
petition for new trial, knowing as it does that the judgment is clearly
erroneous in view of the evidence which is offered and no amount of diligence
on the part of the petitioner could it be produced in court at any time before
it was offered as it was found from the personal belongings of Vicente
Santillan, an adverse party, after his death.

It is our considered opinion that new trial was warranted to prevent a possible miscarriage of
justice. Assuming that the genuineness and due execution of the Sworn Statement of March 5,
1930 is established in accordance with procedural due process, a new trial would resolve such
vital considerations as (1) whether or not said Sworn Statement qualifies as the public document