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Bernardo v. CA and Honorable Oscar Leviste


G.R. No. 119010
September 5, 1997

TOPIC: Demurrer to Evidence

NATURE:

DOCTRINE: In fine, under the new rule on demurrer to evidence the accused
has the right to file a demurrer to evidence after the prosecution has rested its
case. If the accused obtained prior leave of court before filing his demurrer,
he can still present evidence if his demurrer is denied. However, if he
demurs without prior leave of court, or after his motion for leave is denied, he
waives his right to present evidence and submits the case for decision on the
basis of the evidence for the prosecution. This power to grant leave to the
accused to file a demurrer is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial
court. The purpose is to determine whether the accused in filing his demurrer
is merely stalling the proceedings

FACTS:

1. Paz T. Bernardo was originally charged with four (4) counts of violation of
B.P. Blg. 22 until private respondent, Florlita Ronquillo-Concepcion, executed
an Affidavit of Desistance which led to the dismissal of the last two cases.

2. After presenting its last witness, the prosecution rested its case and
formally offered its exhibits. However, instead of presenting their evidence, the
defense requested for a reset to file a demurrer to evidence, on the ground
that the prosecution failed to elicit the fact where the checks were issued and
where they were actually dishonored.

3. Which led to this:

COURT:
Alright, in view of the objections, and in
view of the manifestations of the private
prosecutor, the defense grounds for
demurrer, the same not being well taken
is hereby DENIED (underscoring supplied).
You will now present your evidence.

ATTY. MIRAVITE:
If your honor please, may we just ask for a
reconsideration (underscoring supplied)?

COURT:
If you will waive your right to present your
evidence, the Court will give you a period
to file a demurrer to evidence. And, if you
dont present your evidence now, you will
be considered to have waived your right to
present evidence (underscoring supplied).
xxxx

ATTY. MIRAVITE:
If your honor please, we would like to
reiterate our motion to file a demurrer to
evidence (underscoring supplied)?

COURT:
But you have already orally made that
demurrer which has been denied
(underscoring supplied).

ATTY. MIRAVITE:
In which case your honor, if there is no leave
of court, we will be filing our demurrer to
evidence, your honor (underscoring
supplied).

COURT:
That is tantamount to postpone (sic) this
case. The Court considers that motion
dilatory (underscoring supplied).

ATTY. MIRAVITE:
Your honor, I think within the option of the
parties to take remedies and at this point,
we did prepare for our purposes, that
instead of presenting the accused or
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presenting our witnesses, we would just
prefer to move for a demurrer to
evidence (underscoring supplied).

COURT:
You may include that in your motion for
reconsideration. Alright, the prosecution
having rested, and the defense having
been considered to have waived his right
to present his evidence, this case is
deemed submitted for decision. Set
the promulgation of this case to June 6,
1994 at 8:30 oclock in the morning

4. Petitioner assailed the Order of respondent judge hereinbefore immediately
quoted before the Court of Appeals by way of certiorari, prohibition and
mandamus. Petitioner argued that the trial court committed grave abuse of
discretion in considering her to have waived her right to present evidence after
the denial of her motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence.

5. CA: Directed the RTC for trial for reception of evidence for the petitioner.

ISSUE: Whether the trial courts denial of the motion is only a denial of the
motion for leave to file demurrer to evidence and not the demurrer to
evidence itself

HELD: NO. Petitioner is incorrect and the CA decision cannot be
affirmed because it is against the letter and spirit of Sec. 15, Rule 119, of
the Rules of Court

Chief Justice Andres R. Narvasa, Chairman of the Committee, suggested that
-
x x x there may be instances where it is very plain that the
evidence is insufficient, but there are also instances where the
court is in doubt x x x x it is the court that will now determine
whether a demurrer should be filed or not after getting the opinion of
both sides x x x x If the accused asks for leave of court and the court
supports it, it is good; but x x x if it finds the motion dilatory, then it
denies it. But x x x there should be no waiver if the demurrer
is with leave of court, because there may be a situation where the
court itself may want to dismiss the case x x x x If leave is denied,
and the accused still files the demurrer, then there is waiver


(underscoring supplied).

The Committee finally approved the following propositions of the Chief
Justice: (a) The court on its initiative can dismiss the case after giving
prior notice to the prosecution; (b) The accused can file a demurrer only
if he is granted prior leave of court; (c) If the motion for leave or the
demurrer is denied, the accused can present his evidence, and there is
no waiver; and, (d) If the accused files a demurrer without leave, his
right to present evidence is waived.

In fine, under the new rule on demurrer to evidence the accused has the right
to file a demurrer to evidence after the prosecution has rested its case. If the
accused obtained prior leave of court before filing his demurrer, he can still
present evidence if his demurrer is denied. However, if he demurs without
prior leave of court, or after his motion for leave is denied, he waives his right
to present evidence and submits the case for decision on the basis of the
evidence for the prosecution. This power to grant leave to the accused to file
a demurrer is addressed to the sound discretion of the trial court. The
purpose is to determine whether the accused in filing his demurrer is merely
stalling the proceedings.

In the case at bar, petitioner admits that in the hearing of 20 May 1994 the trial
court denied her motion for leave to file a demurrer to evidence. In such case,
the only right petitioner has under Sec. 15, Rule 119, of the Rules of Court
after having been denied leave to submit a demurrer is to adduce evidence in
her defense. However, even without express leave of the trial court, nay,
after her motion for leave was denied, petitioner insisted on filing a
demurrer instead of presenting evidence in her defense.

Judicial action to grant prior leave to file demurrer to evidence is discretionary
upon the trial court. But to allow the accused to present evidence after he
was denied prior leave to file demurrer is not discretionary. Once prior leave
is denied and the accused still files his demurrer to evidence or motion to
dismiss, the court no longer has discretion to allow the accused to present
evidence. The only recourse left for the court is to decide the case on the
basis of the evidence presented by the prosecution. And, unless there is
grave abuse thereof amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, which is not
present in the instant case, the trial courts denial of prior leave to file
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demurrer to evidence or motion to dismiss may not be disturbed. However,
any judgment of conviction by a trial court may still be elevated by the
accused to the appellate court.

WHEREFORE, the Petition to allow petitioner to file a demurrer to evidence is
DENIED.



Radiowealth Finance Co., v Del Rosario
G.R. No. 138739
July 6, 2000

Doctrine: The rule, however, imposes the condition by the same token that if
his demurrer is granted by the trial court, and the order of dismissal
is reversed on appeal, the movant losses his right to present evidence in his
behalf and he shall have been deemed to have elected to stand on the
insufficiency of plaintiffs case and evidence. In such event, the appellate
court which reverses the order of dismissal shall proceed to render judgment
on the merits on the basis of plaintiffs evidence.

Facts:
Vicente and Maria Sumilang del Rosario jointly and severally executed,
signed and delivered in favor of Radiowealth Finance Company a Promissory
Note for P138,948 without need of notice or demand, in instalments. Upon
default, the late payment, 2.5% penalty charge per month shall be added to
each unpaid installment from due date thereof until fully paid.

Radiowealth filed a complaint for the collection of a sum of money before the
Regional Trial Court of Manila. During the trial, Jasmer Famatico, the credit
and collection officer of Radiowealth, presented in evidence the Spouses
check payments, the demand letter dated July 12, 1991, Spouses customers
ledger card, another demand letter and Metropolitan Bank
dishonor slips. Famatico admitted that he did not have personal knowledge of
the transaction or the execution of any of these pieces of
documentary evidence, which had merely been endorsed to him.
TC: issued an Order terminating the presentation of evidence for the
petitioner.
[9]
Thus, the latter formally offered its evidence and exhibits and
rested its case on July 5, 1994.
Respondents filed Demurrer to Evidence
]
for alleged lack of cause of
action. DISMISSED. Ground: Failure of petitioner to substantiate its claims,
the evidence it had presented being merely hearsay.
CA: reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings
During the pretrial, through judicial admissions or the spouses admitted the
genuineness of thePromissory Note and demand letter dated July 12,
1991. Their only defense was the absence of an agreement on when
the installment payments were to begin

ISSUE:
W/N the spouses can still present evidence after the appellate courts reversal
of the dismissal on demurer of evidence?

HELD: NO
The old Rule 35 of the Rules of Court was reworded under Rule 33 of the
1997 Rules, but the consequence on appeal of a demurrer to evidence was
not changed. As amended, the pertinent provision of Rule 33 reads as
follows:
SECTION 1. Demurrer to evidence.After the plaintiff has completed the
presentation of his evidence, the defendant may move for dismissal on the
ground that upon the facts and the law the plaintiff has shown no right to
relief. If his motion is denied, he shall have the right to present evidence. If
the motion is granted but on appeal the order of dismissal is reversed he shall
be deemed to have waived the right to present evidence.
[14]

Explaining the consequence of a demurrer to evidence, the Court
in Villanueva Transit v. Javellana pronounced:
The rationale behind the rule and doctrine is simple and logical. The
defendant is permitted, without waiving his right to offer evidence in the event
that his motion is not granted, to move for a dismissal (i.e., demur to the
plaintiffs evidence) on the ground that upon the facts as thus established and
the applicable law, the plaintiff has shown no right to relief. If the trial
court denies the dismissal motion, i.e., finds that plaintiffs evidence is
sufficient for an award of judgment in the absence of contrary evidence, the
case still remains before the trial court which should then proceed to hear and
receive the defendants evidence so that all the facts and evidence of the
contending parties may be properly placed before it for adjudication as well as
before the appellate courts, in case of appeal. Nothing is lost. The doctrine is
but in line with the established procedural precepts in the conduct of trials that
the trial court liberally receive all proffered evidence at the trial to enable it to
render its decision with all possibly relevant proofs in the record, thus assuring
that the appellate courts upon appeal have all the material before them
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necessary to make a correct judgment, and avoiding the need of remanding
the case for retrial or reception of improperly excluded evidence, with the
possibility thereafter of still another appeal, with all the concomitant
delays. The rule, however, imposes the condition by the same token that if his
demurrer is granted by the trial court, and the order of dismissal is reversed
on appeal, the movant losses his right to present evidence in his behalf and
he shall have been deemed to have elected to stand on the insufficiency of
plaintiffs case and evidence. In such event, the appellate court which
reverses the order of dismissal shall proceed to render judgment on the merits
on the basis of plaintiffs evidence.
In other words, defendants who present a demurrer to the plaintiffs
evidence retain the right to present their own evidence, if the trial court
disagrees with them; if the trial court agrees with them, but on appeal, the
appellate court disagrees with both of them and reverses the dismissal order,
the defendants lose the right to present their own evidence. The appellate
court shall, in addition, resolve the case and render judgment on the merits,
inasmuch as a demurrer aims to discourage prolonged litigations.
In the case at bar, the trial court, acting on respondents demurrer to
evidence, dismissed the Complaint on the ground that the plaintiff had
adduced mere hearsay evidence. However, on appeal, the appellate court
reversed the trial court because the genuineness and the due execution of the
disputed pieces of evidence had in fact been admitted by defendants.
Applying Rule 33, Section 1 of the 1997 Rules of Court, the CA should
have rendered judgment on the basis of the evidence submitted by the
petitioner. While the appellate court correctly ruled that the documentary
evidence submitted by the [petitioner] should have been allowed and
appreciated xxx, and that the petitioner presented quite a number of
documentary exhibits xxx enumerated in the appealed order, we agree with
petitioner that the CA had sufficient evidence on record to decide the
collection suit. A remand is not only frowned upon by the Rules, it is also
logically unnecessary on the basis of the facts on record.



G.R. No. 186001 October 2, 2009
ANTONIO CABADOR, Petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE
PHILIPPINES, Respondent.

NATURE: Petition for review on certiorari

DOCTRINE: A demurrer to evidence can only be made after the prosecution
has rested its case.

FACTS:
1. June 23, 2000 - the public prosecutor accused petitioner Antonio
Cabador before the RTC of Quezon City of murdering, in conspiracy
with others, Atty. Jun N. Valerio.
a. February 13, 2006 - after presenting only five witnesses over
five years of intermittent trial, the RTC declared at an end the
prosecutions presentation of evidence and required the
prosecution to make a written or formal offer of its
documentary evidence within 15 days from notice.
b. But the public prosecutor asked for three extensions of time,
the last of which was to end on July 28, 2006. Still, the
prosecution did not make the required written offer.
2. August 1, 2006 - petitioner Cabador filed a motion to dismiss the
case complaining of a turtle-paced proceeding in the case since his
arrest and detention in 2001 and invoking his right to a speedy trial.
Further, he claimed that in the circumstances, the trial court could not
consider any evidence against him that had not been formally offered.
He also pointed out that the prosecution witnesses did not have
knowledge of his alleged part in the crime charged.
3. Unknown to petitioner Cabador, however, four days earlier or on July
28, 2006 the prosecution asked the RTC for another extension of the
period for its formal offer, which offer it eventually made on August 1,
2006, the day Cabador filed his motion to dismiss.
4. RTC: issued an Order treating petitioner Cabadors August 1, 2006
motion to dismiss as a demurrer to evidence. And, since he filed
his motion without leave of court, the RTC declared him to have
waived his right to present evidence in his defense. The trial court
deemed the case submitted for decision insofar as he was concerned.
5. CA: affirmed RTC ruling.

ISSUE: whether or not petitioner Cabadors motion to dismiss before the trial
court was in fact a demurrer to evidence filed without leave of court, with the
result that he effectively waived his right to present evidence in his defense
and submitted the case for decision insofar as he was concerned.

HELD: NO! Petitioner Cabador filed a motion to dismiss on the ground of
violation of his right to speedy trial, not a demurrer to evidence. He cannot be
declared to have waived his right to present evidence in his defense. Petition
GRANTED. RTC is DIRECTED to resolve petitioner Antonio Cabadors
motion to dismiss based on the circumstances surrounding the trial in the
case.
5

1. The trial proper in a criminal case usually has two stages: first, the
prosecutions presentation of evidence against the accused
and, second, the accuseds presentation of evidence in his defense.
a. If, after the prosecution has presented its evidence, the same
appears insufficient to support a conviction, the trial court may
at its own initiative or on motion of the accused dispense with
the second stage and dismiss the criminal action. There is no
point for the trial court to hear the evidence of the accused in
such a case since the prosecution bears the burden of
proving his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The order of
dismissal amounts to an acquittal.
2. But because some have in the past used the demurrer in order to
delay the proceedings in the case, the remedy now carries a caveat.
When the accused files a demurrer without leave of court, he
shall be deemed to have waived the right to present evidence
and the case shall be considered submitted for judgment.
3. Enojas, Jr. v. Commission on Elections
:
To determine whether the
pleading filed is a demurer to evidence or a motion to dismiss, the
Court must consider (1) the allegations in it made in good faith; (2) the
stage of the proceeding at which it is filed; and (3) the primary
objective of the party filing it.
4. Reason why it is a MTD and not a Demurrer to Evidence: In criminal
cases, a motion to dismiss may be filed on the ground of denial
of the accuseds right to speedy trial. This denial is characterized
by unreasonable, vexatious, and oppressive delays without fault
of the accused, or by unjustified postponements that
unreasonably prolonged the trial. This was the main thrust of
Cabadors motion to dismiss and he had the right to bring this
up for a ruling by the trial court.
a. Cabador of course dropped a few lines in his motion to
dismiss in paragraphs "11 (sic)" and 12, saying that the trial
court "has no evidence to consider," "the charge has no leg to
stand on," and that "the witnesses x x x had no knowledge of
any connection with or any participation by the accused in the
incident." But these were mere conclusions, highlighting what
five years of trial had accomplished.
b. The fact is that Cabador did not even bother to do what is so
fundamental in any demurrer. He did not state what
evidence the prosecution had presented against him to
show in what respects such evidence failed to meet the
elements of the crime charged. His so-called "demurrer" did
not touch on any particular testimony of even one witness. He
cited no documentary exhibit. Indeed, he could not because,
he did not know that the prosecution finally made its formal
offer of exhibits on the same date he filed his motion to
dismiss. To say that Cabador filed a demurrer to evidence is
equivalent to the proverbial blind man, touching the side of an
elephant, and exclaiming that he had touched a wall.
5. Besides, a demurrer to evidence assumes that the prosecution has
already rested its case. Section 23, Rule 119 of the Revised Rules of
Criminal Procedure, reads:
Demurrer to evidence. After the prosecution rests its case, the court may
dismiss the action on the ground of insufficiency of evidence (1) on its own
initiative after giving the prosecution the opportunity to be heard or (2) upon
demurrer to the evidence filed by the accused with or without leave of court.
a. Here, after the prosecution filed its formal offer of exhibits on
August 1, 2006, the same day Cabador filed his motion to
dismiss, the trial court still needed to give him an
opportunity to object to the admission of those exhibits.
It also needed to rule on the formal offer. And only after
such a ruling could the prosecution be deemed to have
rested its case. Since Cabador filed his motion to dismiss
before he could object to the prosecutions formal offer,
before the trial court could act on the offer, and before the
prosecution could rest its case, it could not be said that he
had intended his motion to dismiss to serve as a
demurrer to evidence.
b. a demurrer to evidence shortens the proceedings in criminal
cases. Caution must, however, be exercised in view of its
pernicious consequence on the right of the accused to
present evidence in his defense, the seriousness of the crime
charged, and the gravity of the penalty involved.


People vs. Sumingwa
G.R. No. 183619
October 13, 2009

DOCTRINE: The order granting appellants demurrer to evidence was a
resolution of the case on the merits, and it amounted to an acquittal.

FACTS:
1. In 12 Informations, the prosecution charged Sumingwa with 2 counts
of Acts of Lasciviousness, 4 counts of Rape, 3 counts of Unjust
Vexation, 1 count of Other Light Threats, 1 count of Maltreatment and
1 count of Attempted Rape committed against his minor daughter
AAA. To which Sumingwa pleaded not guilty.
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a. Such stemmed from several incidents wherein Sumingwa
sexually molested his daughter AAA. Particularly, on
November 24, 2000, Sumingwa asked AAA to have sex with
him, when she refused, Sumingwa forcefully took off her
clothes and boxed her right buttock. As she resisted, he took
a bolo and poked at her. (Basis of Other Light Threats,
Attempted Rape, Unjust Vexation and Maltreatment)
2. AAA decided to report the sexual abuses to her grandmother, who
brought her to the NBI where she was physically examined. They
found that there were old, healed and incomplete hymenal
lacerations.
3. Sumingwa denied all accusations claiming that he was not at home
most of the time and was with his mistress.
4. Later on, AAA executed an Affidavit of Recantation claiming that while
appellant indeed committed lascivious acts against her, she
exaggerated accusations against him. She said that she was not
actually raped as there was no penetration.
5. RTC: Found Sumingwa guilty of 6 counts of acts of lasciviousness, 1
count of attempted rape and 1 account of unjust vexation on the basis
of the Demurrer to Evidence filed by Sumingwa.
a. The trial court gave credence to AAAs testimonies on the
alleged lascivious acts committed against her. In view of the
withdrawal of her earlier claim of the fact of penetration, the
court sustained the innocence of appellant on the rape
charges and concluded that the crime committed was only
Acts of Lasciviousness.
b. In Criminal Case No. 1651, the RTC found that appellant
committed all the acts of execution of the crime of Rape, but
failed to consummate it because of the arrival of AAAs
grandmother. Hence, he was convicted of attempted rape. In
embracing and kissing AAA in full view of the latters best
friend, appellant was convicted of Unjust Vexation.
6. CA: Affirmed the conviction, except that instead of Acts of
Lasciviousness, he was convicted of Qualified Rape.
a. Notwithstanding the Affidavit of Recantation, the prosecution
sufficiently established the commission of the crime of Rape,
as well as the qualifying circumstances of minority and
relationship.

ISSUE: Whether or not Sumingwa can be held liable for Other Light Threats,
Unjust Vexation and Maltreatment as these acts were alleged in the
Information for Attempted Rape for which he was convicted?

HELD: NO.

We cannot hold appellant liable for Other Light Threats for threatening AAA
with a bolo; for Unjust Vexation for undressing her without her consent,
causing disturbance, torment, distress, and vexation; nor for Maltreatment for
boxing the right side of AAAs buttocks. Although all of the above acts were
alleged in the Information for Attempted Rape in the Order dated September
24, 2004, Criminal Case Nos. 1650, 1652 and 1653 involving the above
crimes were dismissed for insufficiency of evidence based on the demurrer to
evidence filed by appellant.

The order granting appellants demurrer to evidence was a resolution of
the case on the merits, and it amounted to an acquittal. Any further
prosecution of the accused after an acquittal would violate the proscription on
double jeopardy.
61
Accordingly, appellants conviction of any of the above
crimes, even under Criminal Case No. 1651, would trench in his constitutional
right against double jeopardy.

The Court Affirms with Modification (Not Guilty of Attempted Rape)


G.R. No. 165496 February 12, 2007
HUN HYUNG PARK, Petitioner,
vs. EUNG WON CHOI, Respondent.

FACTS:
1.) Eung Won Choi, was charged for violation of BP 22, otherwise
known as the Bouncing Checks Law, for issuing PNB Check No.
0077133 postdated August 28, 1999 in the amount of P1,875,000
which was dishonored for having been drawn against insufficient
funds. He pleaded not guilty.
2.) After the prosecution rested its case, respondent filed a Motion for
Leave of Court to File Demurrer to Evidence to which he attached
his Demurrer, asserting that the prosecution failed to prove that he
received the notice of dishonor, hence, the presumption of the
element of knowledge of insufficiency of funds did not arise.
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3.) The MeTC of Makati, Branch 65 granted the demurrer and dismissed
the case.
4.) The prosecutions motion for reconsideration was denied. Park
appealed the civil aspect of the case to the RTC of Makati, contending
that the dismissal of the criminal case should not include its civil
aspect.
5.) The RTC held that while the evidence presented was insufficient to
prove Chois criminal liability, it did not altogether extinguish his civil
liability.
6.) It accordingly granted Parks appeal and ordered Choi to pay him
P1,875,000 with legal interest.
7.) Upon Chois motion for reconsideration, however, the RTC set aside
its decision and ordered the remand of the case to the MeTC for
further proceedings, so that Choi may adduce evidence on the civil
aspect of the case. Parks motion for reconsideration of the remand
of the case having been denied, he elevated the case to the CA which
dismissed his petition.

Issue:
Whether or not the CA was correct in denying the petition?

Held:
8.) Yes. When a demurrer to evidence is filed without leave of court, the
whole case is submitted for judgment on the basis of the evidence for
the prosecution as the accused is deemed to have waived the right to
present evidence.
29
At that juncture, the court is called upon to decide
the case including its civil aspect, unless the enforcement of the civil
liability by a separate civil action has been waived or reserved.
9.) If the filing of a separate civil action has not been reserved or priorly
instituted or the enforcement of civil liability is not waived, the trial
court should, in case of conviction, state the civil liability or damages
caused by the wrongful act or omission to be recovered from the
accused by the offended party, if there is any.
10.) For, in case of acquittal, the accused may still be adjudged civilly
liable. The extinction of the penal action does not carry with it the
extinction of the civil action where (a) the acquittal is based on
reasonable doubt as only preponderance of evidence is required; (b)
the court declares that the liability of the accused is only civil; and (c)
the civil liability of the accused does not arise from or is not based
upon the crime of which the accused was acquitted.
11.) The civil action based on delict may, however, be deemed
extinguished if there is a finding on the final judgment in the criminal
action that the act or omission from which the civil liability may arise
did not exist.
12.) In case of a demurrer to evidence filed with leave of court, the
accused may adduce countervailing evidence if the court denies the
demurrer.
34
Such denial bears no distinction as to the two aspects of
the case because there is a disparity of evidentiary value between the
quanta of evidence in such aspects of the case. In other words, a
court may not deny the demurrer as to the criminal aspect and at the
same time grant the demurrer as to the civil aspect, for if the evidence
so far presented is not insufficient to prove the crime beyond
reasonable doubt, then the same evidence is likewise not insufficient
to establish civil liability by mere preponderance of evidence.
13.) On the other hand, if the evidence so far presented is insufficient as
proof beyond reasonable doubt, it does not follow that the same
evidence is insufficient to establish a preponderance of evidence. For
if the court grants the demurrer, proceedings on the civil aspect of the
case generally proceeds. The only recognized instance when an
acquittal on demurrer carries with it the dismissal of the civil aspect is
when there is a finding that the act or omission from which the civil
liability may arise did not exist. Absent such determination, trial as to
8

the civil aspect of the case must perforce continue. Thus this Court,
in Salazar v. People,
35
held: If demurrer is granted and the accused is
acquitted by the court, the accused has the right to adduce evidence
on the civil aspect of the case unless the court also declares that the
act or omission from which the civil liability may arise did not exist. In
the instant case, the MeTC granted the demurrer and dismissed the
case without any finding that the act or omission from which the civil
liability may arise did not exist.
14.) Respondent did not assail the RTC order of remand. He thereby
recognized that there is basis for a remand.
15.) Indicatively, respondent stands by his defense that he merely
borrowed P1,500,000 with the remainder representing the interest,
and that he already made a partial payment of P1,590,000. Petitioner
counters, however, that the payments made by respondent pertained
to other transactions.
37
Given these conflicting claims which are
factual, a remand of the case would afford the fullest opportunity for
the parties to ventilate, and for the trial court to resolve the same.


PHILIPPINE BANK OF COMMUNICATIONS, Petitioner,
vs.
SPOUSES JOSE C. GO and ELVY T. GO, Respondents.
G.R. No. 175514 February 14, 2011

Nature:
Petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 filed by petitioner
Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCom) seeking to set aside the July 28,
2006 Decision, and the November 27, 2006 Resolution of the Court of
Appeals (CA) in CA G.R. CV No. 77714. The CA decision reversed and set
aside the January 25, 2002 Decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 42,
Manila (RTC), which granted the motion for summary judgment and rendered
judgment on the basis of the pleadings and attached documents.

FACTS:
On September 30, 1999, respondent Jose C. Go (Go) obtained two loans
from PBCom, evidenced by two promissory notes, embodying his
commitment to pay P17,982,222.22 for the first loan, and P80 million for
the second loan, within a ten-year period from September 30, 1999 to
September 30, 2009.
To secure the two loans, Go executed two (2) pledge agreements, both
dated September 29, 1999, covering shares of stock in Ever Gotesco
Resources and Holdings, Inc. The first pledge, valued at P27,827,122.22,
was to secure payment of the first loan, while the second pledge, valued
at P70,155,100.00, was to secure the second loan.
Two years later, however, the market value of the said shares of stock
plunged to less than P0.04 per share. Thus, PBCom, as pledgee, notified
Go in writing on June 15, 2001, that it was renouncing the pledge
agreements.
Later, PBCom filed before the RTC a complaint for sum of money with
prayer for a writ of preliminary attachment against Go and his wife, Elvy T.
Go (Spouses Go), docketed as Civil Case No. 01-101190. PBCom
alleged that Spouses Go defaulted on the two (2) promissory notes,
having paid only three (3) installments on interest paymentscovering
the months of September, November and December 1999. Consequently,
the entire balance of the obligations of Go became immediately due and
demandable. PBCom made repeated demands upon Spouses Go for the
payment of said obligations, but the couple imposed conditions on the
payment, such as the lifting of garnishment effected by the Bangko
Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) on Gos accounts.
Spouses Go filed their Answer with Counterclaim denying the material
allegations in the complaint.
On September 28, 2001, PBCom filed a verified motion for summary
judgment.
PBCom contended that the Answer interposed no specific denials on the
material averments in paragraphs 8 to 11 of the complaint such as the
fact of default, the entire amount being already due and demandable by
reason of default, and the fact that the bank had made repeated demands
for the payment of the obligations.
Spouses Go opposed the motion for summary judgment arguing that they
had tendered genuine factual issues calling for the presentation of
evidence.
The RTC granted PBComs motion for summary judgment in its
Judgment dated January 25, 2002.
Spouses Go moved for a reconsideration but the motion was denied
in an order dated March 20, 2002.
In its Decision dated July 28, 2006, the CA reversed and set aside the
assailed judgment of the RTC, denied PBComs motion for summary
judgment, and ordered the remand of the records to the court of origin for
trial on the merits.
The CA could not agree with the conclusion of the RTC that Spouses Go
admitted paragraphs 3, 4 and 7 of the complaint. It found the supposed
admission to be insufficient to justify a rendition of summary judgment in
the case for sum of money, since there were other allegations and
9

defenses put up by Spouses Go in their Answer which raised genuine
issues on the material facts in the action.
The CA agreed with Spouses Go that paragraphs 3 and 4 of the
complaint merely dwelt on the fact that a contract of loan was entered into
by the parties, while paragraph 7 simply emphasized the terms of the
promissory notes executed by Go in favor of PBCom. The fact of default,
the amount of the outstanding obligation, and the existence of a prior
demand, which were all material to PBComs claim, were "hardly
admitted" by Spouses Go in their Answer and were, in fact, effectively
questioned in the other allegations in the Answer.
PBComs motion for reconsideration was denied in a resolution dated
November 27, 2006.
Thus, this petition for review.
PBCom anchors its arguments on the alleged implied admission by
Spouses Go resulting from their failure to specifically deny the material
allegations in the Complaint, citing as precedent Philippine Bank of
Communications v. Court of Appeals, and Morales v. Court of Appeals.
Spouses Go, on the other hand, argue that although admissions were
made in the Answer, the special and affirmative defenses contained
therein tendered genuine issues.

ISSUE:
WHETHER THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED OR ACTED IN GRAVE
ABUSE OF JURISDICTION [DISCRETION] IN HOLDING THAT ISSUES
WERE RAISED ABOUT THE FACT OF DEFAULT, THE AMOUNT OF THE
OBLIGATION, AND THE EXISTENCE OF PRIOR DEMAND.

HELD: No
The Court agrees with the CA that "[t]he supposed admission of
defendants-appellants on the x x x allegations in the complaint is clearly
not sufficient to justify the rendition of summary judgment in the case for
sum of money, considering that there are other allegations embodied and
defenses raised by the defendants-appellants in their answer which raise
a genuine issue as to the material facts in the action."
The CA correctly ruled that there exist genuine issues as to three material
facts, which have to be addressed during trial: first, the fact of default;
second, the amount of the outstanding obligation, and third, the existence
of prior demand.
Under the Rules, following the filing of pleadings, if, on motion of a party
and after hearing, the pleadings, supporting affidavits, depositions and
admissions on file show that, "except as to the amount of damages, there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and that the moving party is
entitled to a judgment as a matter of law," summary judgment may be
rendered.
Under Rule 35 of the 1997 Rules of Procedure, as amended, except as to
the amount of damages, when there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of
law, summary judgment may be allowed. Summary or accelerated
judgment is a procedural technique aimed at weeding out sham claims or
defenses at an early stage of litigation thereby avoiding the expense and
loss of time involved in a trial.
Under the Rules, summary judgment is appropriate when there are
no genuine issues of fact which call for the presentation of evidence
in a full-blown trial. Even if on their face the pleadings appear to
raise issues, when the affidavits, depositions and admissions show
that such issues are not genuine, then summary judgment as
prescribed by the Rules must ensue as a matter of law. The
determinative factor, therefore, in a motion for summary judgment, is
the presence or absence of a genuine issue as to any material fact.
A "genuine issue" is an issue of fact which requires the presentation of
evidence as distinguished from a sham, fictitious, contrived or false claim.
When the facts as pleaded appear uncontested or undisputed, then there
is no real or genuine issue or question as to the facts, and summary
judgment is called for. The party who moves for summary judgment has
the burden of demonstrating clearly the absence of any genuine issue of
fact, or that the issue posed in the complaint is patently unsubstantial so
as not to constitute a genuine issue for trial. Trial courts have limited
authority to render summary judgments and may do so only when there is
clearly no genuine issue as to any material fact. When the facts as
pleaded by the parties are disputed or contested, proceedings for
summary judgment cannot take the place of trial.
Juxtaposing the Complaint and the Answer discloses that the material
facts here are not undisputed so as to call for the rendition of a summary
judgment. While the denials of Spouses Go could have been phrased
more strongly or more emphatically, and the Answer more coherently and
logically structured in order to overthrow any shadow of doubt that such
denials were indeed made, the pleadings show that they did in fact
raise material issues that have to be addressed and threshed out in a
full-blown trial.
In this case Spouses Go are not disclaiming knowledge of the transaction
or the execution of the promissory notes or the pledge agreements sued
upon. The matters in contention are, as the CA stated, whether or not
respondents were in default, whether there was prior demand, and the
amount of the outstanding loan. These are the matters that the parties
disagree on and by which reason they set forth vastly different allegations
in their pleadings which each will have to prove by presenting relevant
and admissible evidence during trial.
Furthermore, in stark contrast to the cited cases where one of the parties
disclaimed knowledge of something so patently within his knowledge, in
this case, respondents Spouses Go categorically stated in the Answer
that there was no prior demand, that they were not in default, and that the
10

amount of the outstanding loan would have to be ascertained based on
official records.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.SO ORDERED



MARIO J. MENDEZONA and TERESITA M. MENDEZONA, LUIS J.
MENDEZONA and MARICAR L. MENDEZONA and TERESITA
ADAD VDA. DE MENDEZONA, petitioners, vs. JULIO H.
OZAMIZ, ROBERTO J. MONTALVAN, JOSE MA. OZAMIZ,
CARMEN H. OZAMIZ, PAZ O. MONTALVAN, MA. TERESA O.F.
ZARRAGA, CARLOS O. FORTICH, JOSE LUIS O. ROS,
PAULITA O. RODRIGUEZ, and LOURDES O. LON,
respondents.
GR NO. 143370. February 6, 2002

TOPIC: Grounds for Motion for New Trial

DOCTRINE: It has been held that a lack of diligence is exhibited where the
newly discovered evidence was necessary or proper under the
pleadings, and its existence must have occurred to the party in the
course of the preparation of the case, but no effort was made to
secure it; there is a failure to make inquiry of persons who were
likely to know the facts in question, especially where information
was not sought from co-parties; there is a failure to seek evidence
available through public records; there is a failure to discover
evidence that is within the control of the complaining party; there is
a failure to follow leads contained in other evidence; and, there is a
failure to utilize available discovery procedures.

NATURE: Petition for review on certiorari of the CA decision which reversed
and set aside the order of RTC in favor of the petitioners.


FACTS:
1. September 25, 1991- Civil Case suit for quieting of title filed petitioner
spouses Mendezona as initial plaintiffs and later joined by others as
co-plaintiffs in the amended complaints and in the amended
complaint.
a. Petitioner spouses owned a parcel land, which they
purchased from Carmen Ozamis.
b. Initiated the suit to remove a cloud on their said
respective titles caused by the inscription thereon of a
notice of lis pendens, which came about as a result of an
incident in Special Proceeding of guardianship over the
lands of Ozamis inititiated by respondents.
c. It appears that on January 15, 1991, the respondents
instituted the petition for guardianship alleging therein that
Carmen Ozamiz, then 86 years old, after an illness in July
1987, had become disoriented and could not recognize most
of her friends; that she could no longer take care of herself
nor manage her properties by reason of her failing health,
weak mind and absent-mindedness.
d. Agreed that Ozamis needed a guardians, guardians filed their
inventories and accounts listing Ozamis assets including the
subject property which transferred to the petitioner spouses
by virtue of the Deed of Sale. Respondents caused the
inscription on the titles of petitioners a notice of lis penden
thus giving rise to the suit for quieting of title filed by herein
petitioners.
2. Respondents answer: opposed the petitioners claim of ownership of
the Lahug property and alleged that the titles issued in the petitioners
names are defective and illegal, and the ownership of the said
property was acquired in bad faith and without value inasmuch as the
consideration for the sale is grossly inadequate and unconscionable.
Respondents further alleged that at the time of the sale on April 28,
1989 Carmen Ozamiz was already ailing and not in full possession of
her mental faculties; and that her properties having been placed in
administration, she was in effect incapacitated to contract with
petitioners.
3. RTC- in favor of the petitioners
a. The property described in the complaint was sold, with
reservation of usufructuary rights by Carmen Ozamiz to the
plaintiffs under a valid contract, voluntarily and deliberately
entered into while she was of sound mind, for sufficient and
good consideration, and without fraud, force, undue influence
or intimidation having been exercised upon her, and
consequently, the Court orders the defendants herein to
acknowledge and recognize the plaintiffs title to the
aforecited property and to refrain from further clouding the
same
b. The Notice of Lis Pendens affecting the property should be
eliminated from the record and the Register of Deeds of Cebu
City is ordered to expunge the same.
4. CA-reversed- sale null and void and cancellation of certification
11

of title issued to petitioners
a. Sale was simulated failed to prove that the consideration was
actually paid, and, furthermore, that at the time of the
execution of the contract the mental faculties of Carmen
Ozamiz were already seriously impaired.
5. Petitioners filed a MR then filed a motion for a new trial and/or
for reception of evidence.
a. They contended, among other things, that the appellate court
totally ignored the testimony of Judge Teodorico Durias
regarding the mental condition of Carmen Ozamiz a month
before the execution of the Deed of Absolute Sale in
question. The said testimony was taken in the Special
Proceeding. However, Judge Durias was not presented as a
witness in Civil Case.Petitioners alleged that Judge
Duriass testimony is a newly-discovered evidence which
could not have been discovered prior to the trial in the
court below by the exercise of due diligence.
b. CA- denied both motions

ISSUE: Whether the testimony of J udge Durias be considered as newly
discovered evidence as ground for the motion for new trial

HELD: NO. We find that the requirement of reasonable diligence has not
been met by the petitioners.
A motion for new trial upon the ground of newly discovered
evidence is properly granted only where there is concurrence of
the following requisites, namely:
o (a) the evidence had been discovered after trial;
o (b) the evidence could not have been discovered and
produced during trial even with the exercise of
reasonable diligence; and
o (c) the evidence is material and not merely corroborative,
cumulative or impeaching and is of such weight that if
admitted, would probably alter the result.
All three (3) requisites must characterize the evidence sought to
be introduced at the new trial.
We find that the requirement of reasonable diligence has not
been met by the petitioners.
o As early as the pre-trial of the case at bar, the name of Judge
Durias has already cropped up as a possible witness for the
defendants, herein respondents. That the respondents chose
not to present him is not an indicia per se of suppression of
evidence, since a party in a civil case is free to choose who to
present as his witness. Neither can Judge Durias testimony
in another case be considered as newly discovered evidence
since the facts to be testified to by Judge Durias which were
existing before and during the trial, could have been
presented by the petitioners at the trial below. The testimony
of Judge Durias has been in existence waiting only to be
elicited from him by questioning.
o It has been held that a lack of diligence is exhibited
where the newly discovered evidence was necessary or
proper under the pleadings, and its existence must have
occurred to the party in the course of the preparation of
the case, but no effort was made to secure it; there is a
failure to make inquiry of persons who were likely to
know the facts in question, especially where information
was not sought from co-parties; there is a failure to seek
evidence available through public records; there is a
failure to discover evidence that is within the control of
the complaining party; there is a failure to follow leads
contained in other evidence; and, there is a failure to
utilize available discovery procedures.
o Thus, the testimony of Judge Durias cannot be
considered as newly discovered evidence to warrant a
new trial.



ROWENA PADILLA-RUMBAUA, v. EDWARD RUMBAUA,
G.R. No. 166738 August 14, 2009

DOCTRINE: A remand of the case to the RTC for further proceedings amounts to the
grant of a new trial that is not procedurally proper at this stage. Section 1 of Rule 37 provides
that an aggrieved party may move the trial court to set aside a judgment or final
order already rendered and to grant a new trial within the period for taking an appeal. In
addition, a motion for new trial may be filed only on the grounds of (1) fraud,
accident, mistake or excusable negligence that could not have been guarded
against by ordinary prudence, and by reason of which the aggrieved partys
rights have probably been impaired; or (2) newly discovered evidence that,
with reasonable diligence, the aggrieved party could not have discovered and
produced at the trial, and that would probably alter the result if presented.
Granting arguendo that the petitioners counsel had been negligent, the
negligence that would justify a new trial must be excusable, i.e. one that
ordinary diligence and prudence could not have guarded against.


NATURE: Petition for Review on Certiorari
12

FACTS:
1. The petitioner alleged that the respondent was psychologically
incapacitated to exercise the essential obligations of marriage as
shown by the following circumstances: the respondent reneged on his
promise to live with her under one roof after finding work; he failed to
extend financial support to her; he blamed her for his mothers death;
he represented himself as single in his transactions; and he
pretended to be working in Davao, although he was cohabiting with
another woman.
a. She and the respondent were childhood neighbors and
became sweethearts but the respondents family did not
approve of their relationship. After graduation from college,
the respondent promised to marry the petitioner as soon as
he found a job. The job came in 1993, when the Philippine Air
Lines (PAL) accepted the respondent as a computer
engineer. The respondent proposed to the petitioner that
they first have a secret marriage in order not to antagonize
his parents. The petitioner agreed; they were married in
1993. The petitioner and the respondent, however, never
lived together.
b. For the first 6 months, they saw each other every da but
respondent refused to live with her for fear that his application
for a PAL scholarship would be affected if known to public.
Seven months into their marriage, the couples daily meetings
became occasional and they would have sexual trysts in
motels. Later that year, the respondent lost his employment
with PAL.
c. Their respective families discovered their marriage. The
respondents mother tried to convince him to go to the United
States, but he refused. To appease his mother, he continued
living separately from the petitioner. The respondent forgot to
greet the petitioner during her birthday in 1992 and likewise
failed to send her greeting cards on special occasions. The
respondent indicated as well in his visa application that he
was single.
d. In April 1995, the respondents mother died to which he
blamed petitioner, associating his mothers death to the pain
that the discovery of his secret marriage brought.
e. In 1997, respondent informed the petitioner that he had found
a job in Davao. A year later, the petitioner and her mother
went to the respondents house in Novaliches and found him
cohabiting with another woman. Their communication ceased
thereafter.
2. Summons was served on the respondent through substituted service,
as personal service proved futile.
3. The Republic of the Philippines (Republic), through the office of the
Solicitor General (OSG), opposed the petition.
4. Aside from her oral testimony, the petitioner also presented a certified
true copy of their marriage contract; and the testimony, curriculum
vitae, and psychological report of clinical psychologist Dr. Nedy
Lorenzo Tayag.
5. The RTC nullified the parties marriage in its decision of April 19,
2002. The trial court saw merit in the testimonies of the petitioner and
Dr. Tayag
a. Respondent in this case, is revealed to operate in
a very self-centered manner as he believes that
the world revolves around him. His egocentrism
made it so easy for him to deceitfully use others for
his own advancement with an extreme air of
confidence and dominance. He would do actions
without any remorse or guilt feelings towards
others especially to that of petitioner.
b. It would appear that the foregoing narration are the
attendant facts in this case which show the
psychological incapacity of respondent, at the time
of the celebration of the marriage of the parties, to
enter into lawful marriage and to discharge his
marital responsibilities (See Articles 68 to 71,
Family Code). This incapacity is declared grave,
severe and incurable.
6. The Republic, through the OSG, appealed the RTC
decision to the CA. The CA reversed and set aside the
RTC decision, and denied the nullification of the parties
marriage
a. the evidence presented must show that the
incapacitated party was mentally or physically ill so
that he or she could not have known the marital
obligations assumed, knowing them, could not
have assumed them.
7. The petitioner moved to reconsider the decision, but the CA denied
her motion in its resolution. Petitioner prays that the RTCs and the
CAs decisions be reversed and set aside, and the case be remanded
to the RTC for further proceedings; in the event or, that the CAs
decision be set aside and the RTCs decision be reinstated.
8. The Republic maintained in its comment that: (a) A.M. No. 02-11-10-
SC (removed the necessity for a certification stating the reasons of
the Republics agreement or opposition the petition to annul) was
applicable although it took effect after the promulgation of Molina; (b)
invalidating the trial courts decision and remanding the case for
further proceedings were not proper; and (c) the petitioner failed to
establish respondents psychological incapacity

13

ISSUE: WON the lower courts decisions and the remand of the case to the RTC for
further reception of evidence are procedurally permissible

HELD: NO. A remand of the case to the RTC for further proceedings amounts to the grant
of a new trial that is not procedurally proper at this stage. Section 1 of Rule 37 provides that
an aggrieved party may move the trial court to set aside a judgment or final
order already rendered and to grant a new trial within the period for taking an appeal. In
addition, a motion for new trial may be filed only on the grounds of (1) fraud,
accident, mistake or excusable negligence that could not have been guarded
against by ordinary prudence, and by reason of which the aggrieved partys
rights have probably been impaired; or (2) newly discovered evidence that,
with reasonable diligence, the aggrieved party could not have discovered and
produced at the trial, and that would probably alter the result if presented.

In the present case, the petitioner cites the inadequacy of the evidence
presented by her former counsel as basis for a remand. She did not,
however, specify the inadequacy. That the RTC granted the petition for
declaration of nullity prima facie shows that the petitioners counsel had not
been negligent in handling the case. Granting arguendo that the petitioners
counsel had been negligent, the negligence that would justify a new trial must
be excusable, i.e. one that ordinary diligence and prudence could not have
guarded against.

Blunders and mistakes in the conduct of the
proceedings in the trial court as a result of the
ignorance, inexperience or incompetence of counsel do
not qualify as a ground for new trial. If such were to be
admitted as valid reasons for re-opening cases, there
would never be an end to litigation so long as a new
counsel could be employed to allege and show that the
prior counsel had not been sufficiently diligent,
experienced or learned. This will put a premium on the
willful and intentional commission of errors by counsel,
with a view to securing new trials in the event of
conviction, or an adverse decision, as in the instant
case.

We do not blame the petitioner for the move to secure a remand of this case
to the trial courts for the introduction of additional evidence; the petitioners
evidence in its present state is woefully insufficient to support the conclusion
that the petitioners marriage to the respondent should be nullified on the
ground of the respondents psychological incapacity.

As we ruled in Molina, however, it is not enough to prove that a spouse
failed to meet his responsibility and duty as a married person; it is
essential that he must be shown to be incapable of doing so due to
some psychological illness. The psychological illness that must afflict a
party at the inception of the marriage should be a malady so grave and
permanent as to deprive the party of his or her awareness of the duties
and responsibilities of the matrimonial bond he or she was then about to
assume.

WHEREFORE, in view of these considerations, we DENY the petition and
AFFIRM the decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals dated June 25,
2004 and January 18, 2005, respectively, in CA-G.R. CV No. 75095. SO
ORDERED.



SPOUSES MICHAELANGELO and GRACE MESINA, petitioners, vs.
HUMBERTO D. MEER, respondent.

G.R. No. 146845 July 2, 2002 Puno, J .

Doctrine:
Relief from judgment is an equitable remedy and is allowed only
under exceptional circumstances and only if fraud, accident, mistake, or
excusable negligence is present. Where the defendant has other available or
adequate remedy such as a motion for new trial or appeal from the adverse
decision, he cannot avail himself of this remedy.

Facts:

1. Respondent Humberto Meer is a registered owner of a parcel of land (with
TCT) located at Lot 15, Block 5, Pandacan, Manila.

2. Sometime in June 1993, he applied for a loan to construct a house
thereon. However, he discovered that his certificate of title has been cancelled
and a new one was issued in the name of spouses Sergio and Lerma
Bunquin.

3. The Spouses Bunquin acquired said property by virtue of a deed of sale
dated June 3, 1985 purportedly executed by respondent (Meer) in their favor.

14

4. On January 12, 1994, respondent sought the cancellation of this second
TCT with the MTC of Manila.

> On the same day, a notice of lis pendens was annotated at the back of TCT
No. 166074.

5. On June 15, 1994, while the case was pending, the TCT of the Spouses
Bunquin was cancelled and replaced by another issued in the name of the
petitioners, spouses Michaelangelo and Grace Mesina.

6. It appears that the subject property has been conveyed to the petitioners
on September 28, 1993, even prior to the annotation of lis pendens.

> The Absolute Deed of Sale evidencing the conveyance was notarized on
the same day, including the payment of taxes appurtenant thereto.

> The transfer of the title from Lerma Bunquin to petitioners was effected only
on June 15, 1994 because of some requirements imposed by the National
Housing Authority.

7. Due to the foregoing developments, Meer impleaded petitioners as
additional party defendants.

8. Defendant-spouses Bunquin never appeared during the hearings, leading
the court to declare them in default.

> Petitioners, however, participated actively in defense of their position.

9. In its Decision dated February 16, 1998, the trial court ruled that the
alleged sale between Meer and Banquin was fraudulent.

> However, petitioners were adjudged buyers in good faith and thus were
entitled to the possession of the subject property.

> While the Defendant spouses Sergio and Lerma Bunquin were ordered: a.
To pay plaintiff the value of the subject property based on the prevailing price
on the date of the decision; b. To pay the plaintiff exemplary damages in the
amount of P20, 0000.00; c. To pay attorneys fees in the amount of P30,
000.00.

10. Respondent Meer filed an MR against the said Decision but the trial court
denied the same.

11. Respondent thereafter filed an Appeal with the RTC.

> the RTC reversed the decision of the MeTC and ruled that petitioners were
not purchasers in good faith, reasoning that it is the registration of the Deed of
Sale, and not the date of its consummation that will confer title to the property.
Since the Deed of Sale was registered subsequent to the annotation of the lis
pendens, petitioners were bound by the outcome of the case

12. Petitioners appealed to the CA, which affirmed the ruling of the RTC.

13. On July 17, 2000 and after reglementary period for appeal had lapsed,
petitioners filed a Petition for Relief from Judgment and prayed that the
CA set aside its resolution for the following reasons: (a) extrinsic fraud
was committed which prevented petitioners from presenting his case to
the court and/or was used to procure the judgment without fair
submission of the controversy; (b) mistake and excusable negligence
has prevented the petitioner from taking an appeal within the prescribed
period; and (c) petitioner has good and substantial defense in his action.

> On the first ground, petitioners argued that there has been collusion
between the respondent and the Bunquins during the trial of the case at the
Metropolitan Trial Court. Had the Bunquins testified in court as to the validity
of the Deed of Sale as well as the authenticity of the respondents signature,
petitioners argued that the result would have been in their favor.

> Anent the second ground, petitioners averred that their failure to file the
requisite appeal on time was largely due to the delay of counsel of record to
produce the requested documents of the case.

> Finally, petitioners claim that they have good and substantial defense.

> CA: "As aptly pointed out by the respondent, the first ground raised by the
petitioner spouses should have been filed before the court of origin, the
Metropolitan Court of Manila, pursuant to Section 1, Rule 38 of the 1997
Revised Rules of Civil Procedure as amended. As to the second ground, the
petitioner spouses who were the prevailing party before the Metropolitan Trial
Court of Manila, did not mention the alleged extrinsic fraud when the case was
on appeal before the Regional Trial Court. Petitioners cannot now challenge
the decision of this Court for the fraud allegedly perpetrated in the court of
origin.
Besides, it is extremely doubtful that the remedy of a petition for relief
under Rule 38 may be availed of from a judgment of the CA in the exercise of
its appellate jurisdiction.

14. Petitioners MR was denied, hence, this Petition for Review.



15

Issue:

Is a Petition for Relief under Rule 38 available as a remedy against the
judgment of the CA promulgated in the exercise of its appellate
jurisdiction? No!!!

If so, whether or not the grounds relied on by the petitioners are sufficient to
give due course to the petition? No.


Held:
After careful examination of the case, we resolve to deny the petition.

Relief from judgment is an equitable remedy and is allowed only
under exceptional circumstances and only if fraud, accident, mistake, or
excusable negligence is present. Where the defendant has other
available or adequate remedy such as a motion for new trial or appeal
from the adverse decision, he cannot avail himself of this remedy.

Under the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, the petition for
relief must be filed within sixty (60) days after the petitioner learns of the
judgment, final order or other proceeding to be set aside and must be
accompanied with affidavits showing the fraud, accident, mistake, or
excusable negligence relied upon, and the facts constituting the
petitioners good and substantial cause of action or defense, as the case
may be. Most importantly, it should be filed with the same court which
rendered the decision, viz:

"Section 1. Petition for relief from judgment, order, or other
proceedings.- When a judgment or final order is entered, or any
other proceeding is thereafter taken against a party in any court
through fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence, he may file
a petition in such court and in the same case praying that the
judgment, order or proceeding be set aside.
As revised, Rule 38 radically departs from the previous rule as it now
allows the Metropolitan or

Municipal Trial Court which decided the case or issued the order to
hear the petition for relief. Under the old rule, petition for relief from the
judgment or final order of municipal trial courts should be filed with the
regional trial court, viz:

"Section 1. Petition to Court of First Instance for Relief from
Judgment of inferior court.- When a judgment is rendered by an
inferior court on a case, and a party thereto by fraud, accident,
mistake, or excusable negligence, has been unjustly deprived of a
hearing therein, or has been prevented from taking an appeal, he may
file a petition in the Court of First Instance of the province in which the
original judgment was rendered, praying that such judgment be set
aside and the case tried upon its merits.

Section 2. Petition to Court of First Instance for relief from the
judgment or other proceeding thereof.- When a judgment order is
entered, or any other proceeding is taken against a party in a Court of
First Instance through fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable
negligence, he may file a petition in such court and in the same cause
praying that the judgment, order or proceeding be set aside."

Petitioners argue that apart from this change, the present Rule
extends the remedy of relief to include judgments or orders of the Court of
Appeals since the Rule uses the phrase "any court". We disagree.

The procedural change in Rule 38 is in line with Rule 5, prescribing
uniform procedure for municipal and regional trial courts and designation of
municipal/metropolitan trial courts as courts of record. While Rule 38 uses the
phrase "any court", it refers only to municipal/metropolitan and regional trial
courts.

The procedure in the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court
are governed by separate provisions of the Rules of Court and may,
from time to time, be supplemented by additional rules promulgated by
the Supreme Court through resolutions or circulars. As it stands, neither
the Rules of Court nor the Revised Internal Rules of the Court of
Appeals allow the remedy of petition for relief in the Court of Appeals.

Petitioners beg this Court, on equitable grounds, not to strictly
construe the Rules, arguing that their "only earthly possession" is at
stake. Indeed, in certain occasions, this Court has, in the interest of
substantial justice and in exercise of its equity jurisdiction, construed the
Rules of Court with liberality.

Nevertheless, the circumstances obtaining in the present case do not
convince this Court to take exception.

As correctly pointed out by the Court of Appeals, the petitioners
allegation of extrinsic fraud should have been brought at issue in the
Metropolitan Trial Court. If they truly believe that the default of the spouses
Mesina prejudiced their rights, they should have questioned this from the
beginning. Yet, they chose to participate in the proceedings and actively
presented their defense. And their efforts were rewarded as the Metropolitan
Trial Court ruled in their favor.

16

When the respondent appealed the case to the Regional Trial Court,
they never raised this issue. Even after the Regional Trial Court reversed the
finding of the MeTC, and the Court of Appeals sustained this reversal,
petitioners made no effort to bring this issue for consideration. This Court will
not allow petitioners, in guise of equity, to benefit from their own negligence.

The same is true with regard to the defenses forwarded by the
petitioners in support of their petition. These contentions should have been
raised in the MeTC, as they have been available to them since the beginning.

Finally, it is a settled rule that relief will not be granted to a party who
seeks to be relieved from the effects of the judgment when the loss of the
remedy at law was due to his own negligence, or a mistaken mode of
procedure; otherwise, the petition for relief will be tantamount to reviving the
right of appeal which has already been lost either because of inexcusable
negligence or due to mistaken mode of procedure by counsel. Petitioners,
however, place the blame on their counsel and invoke honest mistake of law.
They contend that they lack legal education, hence, were not aware of the
required period for filing an appeal.

In exceptional cases, when the mistake of counsel is so palpable that
it amounts to gross negligence, this Court affords a party a second opportunity
to vindicate his right. But this opportunity is unavailing in the instant case,
especially since petitioners have squandered the various opportunities
available to them at the different stages of this case. Public interest demands
an end to every litigation and a belated effort to reopen a case that has
already attained finality will serve no purpose other than to delay the
administration of justice.

IN VIEW WHEREOF, this petition is DENIED for lack of merit and the
assailed Resolutions of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED. SO
ORDERED.


MA. PATRICIA GARCIA, BELEN G. GUTIERREZ, NICANOR GUTIERREZ,
GRACE M.B. GUTIERREZ, CAROLYN M.B. GUTIERREZ, GERWIN
GARCIA, GERSON GARCIA, and GILMER GARCIA vs. COURT OF
APPEALS, HON. PEDRO M. ICAMINA, Judge of the Regional Trial Court,
6th Judicial Region, Branch 9, Kalibo, Aklan; RURAL BANK OF SARA,
INC., RAFAEL C. DINGLASAN, JR., MARIA ELENA I. DINGLASAN,
ANTHONY CABUGSO and LEDA SUELLO [G.R. No. 117032. July 27,
2000]

Nature of Action:
Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking
to annul and set aside the CA decision dated August 31, 1994, in CA-G.R. SP.
No. 31231, sustaining the RTC Orderdenying petitioners' motion for
summary judgment.

Doctrine:
(On Motion for Summary Judgment) A summary judgment is one
granted upon motion by a party for an expeditious settlement of the
case, there appearing from the pleadings, depositions, admissions, and
affidavits that there are no important questions or issues of fact posed
(except as to the amount of damages) and therefore, the moving party is
entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. But this rule does not vest in
the trial court jurisdiction to summarily try the issues on depositions
and affidavits but gives it limited authority to render summary judgment
only when there is no genuine issue of material fact at bar. In the case
under consideration, the pleadings and exhibits on record reveal that
there exist genuine issues on material or pertinent facts sufficient to
preclude a rendition of summary judgment

FACTS:
1. On October 5, 1987, Florencio Junior Garcia, representing himself as
attorney in fact of the petitioners, brought in the name of the latter, an action
for collection of sum of money, against the private respondents, docketed as
Civil Case No. 3777 before Branch 9, Regional Trial Court of Kalibo, Aklan.
2. The said complaint:
a) That on Feb. 11, 1986, plaintiffs through their then Attorney in
fact, (Florencio Junior Garcia) went to defendant Rural Bank, for
the purpose of surrendering said Time Deposit Certificates, and to
receive the payment from defendants of the amounts therein
stated totaling P283,788, plus interest thereon at 17% per annum
for 731 days or two years, the interest then amounting to
P96,487.92 as of Feb. 11, 1986, for a total of P380,275.92 as of
Feb. 11, 1986;
b) That defendants acting through Anthony Casugbo and Leda
Suello, Manager and Cashier respectively of defendant Rural
Bank, refused to pay, and told plaintiffs' attorney in fact, to return
after one month, which said attorney in fact did, not only one
month thereafter, but on several other occasions thereafter either
by himself (attorney in fact), or through other authorized
representatives; on all of these occasions the promises to pay the
time deposits and interest thereon were not fulfilled;
c) That impatient at waiting, plaintiffs, on August 27, 1987, through
counsel, sent a letter of demand to defendants, giving to
defendants 30 days from receipt within which to pay the Time
Deposit plus the interest increments thereof, which letter (Annex I)
was received by them on Sept. 4, 1987 (Annex I-1);
d) However, until the date of the filing of this complaint, which is
more than 30 days from Sept. 4, 1987 defendants have not even
17

bothered to reply or to make any arrangements acceptable to
plaintiffs;x x x"
3. Respondent Rural Bank of Sara, Inc., Anthony Cabugso, and Leda
Suello, (manager and cashier, respectively, of respondent bank), filed their
answer contending by way of special and affirmative defenses that:
a) The Complaint states no cause of action against the defendants
as the attorney-in-fact, Florencio Junior Garcia is neither
empowered nor authorized to transact with the defendant bank as
regards the time deposit certificationsthere was no reason at all
to allow alleged attorney-in-fact, Florencio Junior Garcia, who
never was properly authorized, to transact for and in behalf of
said depositors;
b) The herein attorney-in-fact, Florencio Junior Garcia, has no
capacity to sue and be sued, being not the real party interest
4. The respondent spouses, DINGLASAN, likewise filed their answer
contending by way of special and affirmative defenses, that:
a) The complaint states no cause of action against defendants;
b) There is no privity of contract between plaintiffs and defendants;
c) Attorney-in-Fact Florencio Junior Garcia has no apparent
authority from plaintiffs to file the instant complaint."
5. What the petitioners did was to present a Motion for Summary
Judgment, asseverating that they are entitled to a judgment as a matter of
law, since the pleadings and supporting affidavits submitted are barren of any
genuine issue which may be controverted.
6. TRIAL COURT: denied the motion for summary judgment.
7. Dissatisfied, petitioners went to the Court of Appeals, theorizing that
the trial court gravely abused its discretion in denying their subject motion.
COURT OF APPEALS: upheld the lower court decision. Hence this
present petition.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the petitioners' motion for summary judgment should
have been granted?

HELD:
No! Petition is devoid of merit.
A summary judgment is one granted upon motion by a party for an
expeditious settlement of the case, there appearing from the pleadings,
depositions, admissions, and affidavits that there are no important
questions or issues of fact posed (except as to the amount of damages)
and therefore, the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of
law.
But this rule does not vest in the trial court jurisdiction to summarily try
the issues on depositions and affidavits but gives it limited authority to
render summary judgment only when there is NO genuine issue of
material fact at bar. In the case under consideration, the pleadings and
exhibits on record reveal that THERE EXIST genuine issues on material
or pertinent facts sufficient to preclude a rendition of summary
judgment

Sections 1 and 3, Rule 34, of the Rules of Court provide:
"SECTION 1. Summary judgment for claimant. - A party seeking to recover
upon a claim, counterclaim, or cross-claim or to obtain a declaratory relief
may, at any time after the pleading in answer thereto has been served, move
with supporting affidavits for a summary judgment in his favor upon all or any
part thereof."
"SEC. 3. Motion and proceedings thereon. - The motion shall be served at
least ten (10) days before the time specified for the hearing. The adverse
party prior to the day of hearing may serve opposing affidavits. After the
hearing, the judgment sought shall be rendered forthwith if the pleading,
depositions, and admissions on file together with the affidavits, show that,
except as to the amount of damages, there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of
law."

As correctly found by the Court of Appeals, the pleadings submitted below by
the parties raise the following issues:
"1. Whether or not Florencio Junior Garcia is properly authorized to file the
complaint for the plaintiffs named in the title of the complaint.
xxx....xxx....xxx
2. Whether or not defendants (private respondents) spouses Dinglasan may
be held jointly and severally liable with their co-defendant (co-private
respondent) rural bank."

GENUINE ISSUES ON PERTINENT FACTS SUFFICIENT TO PRECLUDE
RENDITION OF SUMMARY JUDGMENT:
(A) There is a need to find out whether Florencio Junior Garcia
was duly authorized by the plaintiffs named in Civil Case No.
3777 to file the complaint against the private respondents.
It is worthy to note that while the complaint states that the
plaintiffs therein mentioned empowered Florencio Junior Garcia to
collect the sums due them from the respondent bank, the
records on hand show that only four of the eight plaintiffs
executed a special power of attorney authorizing Florencio
Junior Garcia to deal with respondent bank.
But the undeniable fact, however, is that not one of the plaintiffs
verified the contents of the complaint; and neither was there in the
records a special power of attorney authorizing Florencio Junior
Garcia to institute the present case against private respondents.
Thus the issue of whether or not the plaintiffs named in Civil Case
No. 3777, constituted Florencio Junior Garcia as their attorney in
fact with authority to bring subject suit for collection of sum of
18

money against the private respondents.
(B) Then too, the issue of whether or not petitioners have a cause
of action against the spouses, Rafael Dinglasan and Maria Elena
Dinglasan, calls for a trial on the merits.
While the said respondent spouses insist that there is no privity of
contract between them and the petitioners, the latter claim that
the former "prevailed upon them" to time deposit their money with
the respondent bank. Indeed, it is only upon presentation of
evidence during the trial can it be determined whether the
respondent spouses may be held jointly and severally liable with
respondent bank.



PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, appellee, vs. LI KA KIM alias
ED, appellant.
[G.R. No. 148586. May 25, 2004 VITUG, J .:]

TOPIC: New Trial
DOCTRINE: Not one of the requisites of newly discovered evidence in order
to justify a new trial are attendant in the present case:
a. the evidence is discovered after trial;
b. such evidence could not have been discovered and
produced at the trial even with the exercise of reasonable
diligence; and
c. the evidence is material, not merely cumulative,
corroborative, or impeaching, and of such weight that, if
admitted, would likely change the judgment.
FACTS:
1. Li Ka Kim alias Ed was charged with violation of Section 15, Article
III, of Republic Act No. 6425, as so amended by Republic Act 7659
(Anti-Drugs Law)
2. Ed did not enter any plea during his arraignment so the court entered
a plea of not guilty in his behalf.
3. RTC found Ed guilty with the following reasons:
a. it hard to believe that Ed would be singled out by the police
officers from scores of people at the mall where he was
arrested and later indicted for selling shabu.
b. a certain Tan Eng Hong, did not appear in court to
corroborate his testimony.
c. the car, as well as the license plate, used by Ed had been
stolen, and that Ed was an undocumented alien as so shown
by the letter, dated 13 October 2000,
[6]
of then Commissioner
on Immigration and Deportation Rufus B. Rodriguez, to State
Prosecutor Reynaldo J. Lugtu.
4. RTC convicted appellant and decreed the penalty of death
considering the use of a motor vehicle to be an aggravating
circumstance
5. 04 October 2002: Fernandez, Pacheco & Dizon Law Offices filed its
entry of appearance as being the new counsel for appellant only to
be substituted later by Guzman, Tanedo, &Acain Law Offices.
6. 01 September 2003: Ed filed a motion to remand the case for new
trial.
a. He attempted to overturn his conviction or, at the very least,
to be given a chance for a new trial, citing Section 14, Rule
121, of the Rules on Criminal Procedure, because of newly
discovered evidence
i. NEW EVIDENCE: his passport which would
establish his true identity as Huang Xiao Wei, a
Chinese National, and as having entered the
Philippines as a tourist.
ii. Ed also invoked his constitutional right to an effective
counsel, appellant chides his former counsel for
having failed to secure and present his travel
documents.

ISSUE: Whether his passport can be treated as new discovered evidence to
grant the Motion for New Trial.

HELD: No. Judgment of conviction against appellant Li Ka Kim, a.k.a. Ed, is
AFFIRMED with modification in that the penalty of DEATH imposed by the
trial court is hereby reduced to RECLUSION PERPETUA.
2. The requisites of newly discovered evidence in order to justify a new
trial are that
a. the evidence is discovered after trial;
b. such evidence could not have been discovered and
produced at the trial even with the exercise of reasonable
diligence; and
c. the evidence is material, not merely cumulative,
corroborative, or impeaching, and of such weight that, if
admitted, would likely change the judgment.
3. Not one of the requisites mentioned is attendant.
a. Eds passport could have easily been presented and
produced during the trial.
i. the presentation of Eds passport, would hardly be
material to the outcome of the case since he was
positively identified by the prosecution witnesses as
being the perpetrator of the crime.
ii. Ed even identified himself as Li Ka Kim at the trial
and not as Huang Xiao Wei, that bolsters the
19

conclusion that appellant deliberately concealed his
true identity in the nefarious enterprise.
4. On the issue of Death Penalty: The quantity of the drugs seized
from appellant, which is 994.773 grams of shabu, warrants the
application of the penalty under Section 16, in relation to Section 17,
of Republic Act No. 7659, otherwise also known as An Act to Impose
the Death Penalty on Certain Heinous Crimes, of reclusion
perpetua to death and a fine ranging from five hundred thousand
pesos to ten million pesos. Applying the provisions of Article 63 of the
Revised Penal Code, the lesser penalty should be imposed, there
being neither mitigating nor aggravating circumstances that can be
considered, for the commission of the offense


MERCURY DRUG CORPORATION, petitioner
vs.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, and the SPOUSES EDUARDO
AND CARMEN YEE, respondents.
G.R. No. 138571 July 13, 2000

TOPIC: Relief from Judgment

DOCTRINE: A petition for relief from judgment (Rule 38) is an equitable
remedy that is allowed only in exceptional cases when there is no other
available or adequate remedy. When a party has another remedy available to
him, which may be either a motion for new trial or appeal from an adverse
decision of the trial court, and he was not prevented by fraud, accident,
mistake or excusable negligence from filing such motion or taking such
appeal, he cannot avail himself of this petition.

FACTS:
1. Private Respondents (Yees) filed a complaint in the RTC against
petitioner (Mercury Drug) for annulment and/or reformation of contract
of lease covering (5) twos-storey units of a commercial building owned by
Yees.
2. The complaint prayed that the contract be either annulled or the rentals
be increased.
3. Yees demand for increase of rentals had been refused Petitioner lessee
Mercury Drug Corporation on the ground that there was no official
devaluation of the peso thus no basis for a rental increase.
4. On 28 February 1995, the lower court rendered in favour of petitioner
Mercury Drug dismissing the complaint for annulment and/or reformation
of contract was not supported by law and jurisprudence.
5. The former counsel for the Respondent (Yees) Atty. Willkom received a
copy of the decision on 3 March 1995 but did not inform petitioners nor
take any step to protect the interests of his clients by presenting a motion
for reconsideration or taking an appeal.
6. Petitioners learned of the judgment only on 24 March 1995 when they
visited his office. The 15-day period within which to appeal lapsed. On 15
May 1995 petitioners filed thru their present counsel a petition for
relief from judgment under Rule 38
RTC - The lower court denied the petition. It ruled that considering the rule of
notice to counsel as notice to client it becomes evidently clear that the
requirements fixed by law and jurisprudence on petitioner for relief from
judgment have not been met by the respondent Yees, ergo the petition must
fail.
7. Respondents MR was denied. Hence, they appealed to the CA.
CA - granted the petition and set aside the riling of the RTC. It held
inapplicable the general rule that notice to counsel is notice to client. The
Court of Appeals considered that it was precisely the inaction of the counsel of
the YEES in not informing them of the decision which resulted in the lapse of
the period to appeal forcing them to file their petition for relief through another
lawyer.
8. MR was likewise denied. Hence, Petitioner filed petition for review on
certiorari.
Petitioners Contention: it contended that the respondents petition for relief
from judgment failed to comply with the requirements of the Rules inasmuch
as the petition was filed more than sixty days from the receipt by their lawyer
of the decision of the RTC. Petitioner argues that it is long established by
jurisprudence that notice to the counsel is binding upon the client and that the
client is bound by the mistakes of his lawyer. The failure of the YEES lawyer
to inform them of the decision resulting in the failure to appeal therefrom is not
the accident, mistake or excusable negligence referred to in the Rules that
would warrant the granting of the petition for relief.

ISSUE:
WON Private respondents (Yees) timely filed their petition for relief under
Rule 38.

HELD:
NO. A petition for relief from judgment (Rule 38) is an equitable remedy
that is allowed only in exceptional cases when there is no other available
or adequate remedy. When a party has another remedy available to him,
which may be either a motion for new trial or appeal from an adverse
20

decision of the trial court, and he was not prevented by fraud, accident,
mistake or excusable negligence from filing such motion or taking such
appeal, he cannot avail himself of this petition.


In order for a petition for relief to be entertained by the court, the petitioner
must satisfactorily show that he has faithfully and strictly complied with the
provisions of Rule 38.
It is also incumbent upon the petitioner to show that the said petition was
filed within the reglementary period specified in Section 3, Rule 38 (within
sixty (60) days after the petitioner learns of the judgment, final order, or
other proceeding to be set aside, and not more than six (6) months after
such judgment or final order was entered, or such proceeding was
taken). And the rule is that the reglementary period is reckoned from the
time the partys counsel receives notice of the decision for notice to
counsel of the decision is notice to the party for purposes of Section 3 of
Rule 38.
In the present case, the YEES were served a copy of the judgment of the
lower court through their counsel, Attorney Ralph Lou I. Willkom on March
3, 1995. Thus, the YEES are considered to have received notice on
March 3, 1995 when their counsel was served notice and not on March
24, 1995 when they actually learned of the adverse decision.
Consequently, their petition for relief, which was filed on May 15, 1995 or
over sixty days from notice of their counsel, was filed out of time.
The SC has consistently held that the failure of a partys counsel to notify
him on time of the adverse judgment to enable him to appeal therefrom is
negligence, which is not excusable. However, notice sent to counsel of
record is binding upon the client and the neglect or failure of counsel to
inform him of an adverse judgment resulting in the loss of his right to
appeal is not a ground for setting aside a judgment valid and regular on its
face.
Petition is GRANTED. RTC decision reinstated.


G.R. No. 141973 June 28, 2005
PHILIPPINE PHOSPHATE FERTILIZER CORPORATION, petitioner,
vs.
COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, respondent.

Doctrine:
The "mistake" that is allowable in Rule 37 is one which ordinary
prudence could not have guarded against. Negligence to be "excusable" must
also be one which ordinary diligence and prudence could not have guarded
against and by reason of which the rights of an aggrieved party have probably
been impaired.53 The test of excusable negligence is whether a party has
acted with ordinary prudence while transacting important business.

FACTS:
1. Philippine Phosphate Fertilizer Corporation (Philphos) is a domestic
corporation registered with the Export Processing Zone Authority
(EPZA).
2. It manufactures fertilizers for domestic and international distribution
and as such, utilizes fuel, oil and other petroleum products which it
procures locally from Petron Philippines Corporation (Petron).
3. Petron initially pays the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the
Bureau of Customs the taxes and duties imposed upon the
petroleum products. Petron is then reimbursed by petitioner
when Petron sells such petroleum products to the petitioner.
4. In a letter dated August 28, 1995, petitioner sought a refund of
specific taxes paid on the purchases of petroleum products from
Petron for the period of September 1993 to December 1994 in the
total amount of P602,349.00 which claim is pursuant to the incentives
it enjoyed by virtue of its EPZA registration.
5. Since the two-year period within which petitioner could file a case for
tax refund before the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA) was about to expire
and no action had been taken by the BIR, petitioner instituted a
petition for review before the CTA against the Commissioner of
Internal Revenue (CIR).
6. During the trial, to prove that the duties imposed upon the petroleum
products had been duly paid for by petitioner, petitioner presented:
a. a Certification from Petron dated August 17, 1995;
b. a schedule of petroleum products sold and delivered to
petitioner detailing the volume of sales and the excise taxes
paid thereon;
c. photocopies of Authority to Accept Payment for Excise Taxes
issued by the CIR pertaining to petroleum products
purchased;
d. as well as the testimony of Sylvia Osorio, officer of Petron, to
attest to the summary and certification presented.
7. The CIR did not present any evidence to controvert the ones
presented by petitioner, nor did it file an opposition to petitioners
formal offer of evidence.
8. On August 11, 1998, the CTA promulgated its Decision finding that
while petitioner is exempt from the payment of excise taxes because
petitioner is a EPZA registered entity, it failed to sufficiently prove that
it is entitled to refund in this particular case since it did not submit
invoices to support the summary of petroleum products sold and
delivered to it by Petron.
21

a. (Petitioner is entitled to refund from certain local taxes as an
EPZA entity as a general rule. Its just that petitioner did not
submit invoices to prove the amount of refund, if any. Thats
why the CTA ruled against petitioner, because of lack of proof
to the refund.)
9. On August 31, 1998, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration
alleging that it failed to submit invoices because it thought that the
presentation of said invoices was not necessary to prove the
claim for refund, since petitioners previous claims, in CTA Case Nos.
4654, 4993 and 4994, involving similar facts, were granted by the
CTA even without the presentation of invoices.
a. It then prayed that the CTA decision be reconsidered and its
claim for refund be allowed, or in the alternative, allow
petitioner to present and offer the invoices in evidence to
present its claim.
10. The CTA denied the motion for reconsideration on January 6, 1999,
explaining that:
a. CTA Circular No. 1-95, beginning January 25, 1995, was not
yet in effect at the time of the previous CTA cases;
b. In the instant case, the Petition for Review was filed on
September 1, 1995;
c. The said CTA Circular No. 1-95 stated that for voluminous
documents to be presented in the CTA, (a) a Summary
containing the total amount/s of the tax account or tax paid for
the period involved and a chronological or numerical list of the
numbers, dates and amounts covered by the invoices or
receipts; and (b) a Certification of an independent Certified
Public Accountant attesting to the correctness of the contents
of the summary after making an examination and evaluation
of the voluminous receipts and invoices;
d. No such summary or Accountants certificate was presented
before the CTA; and that
e. The prayer to present additional evidence partakes of the
nature of a motion for new trial under Section 1 Rule 37 of the
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. It has already been
emphasized in several cases that failure to present evidence
already existing at the time of trial does not warrant the grant
of a new trial because said evidence can no longer be
considered newly discovered but is more in the nature of
forgotten evidence. Neither can such inadvertence on the part
of the counsel to present said evidence qualify as excusable
negligence.
11. CTA Presiding Judge Ernesto D. Acosta dissented with the view that
in the interest of justice, petitioner should be given a chance to prove
its case by allowing it to present the invoices of its purchases, stating
that the ground stated by petitioner in his motion for reconsideration
could easily fall under the phrase "mistake or excusable negligence"
as a ground for new trial under Sec. 1(a) of Rule 37 and not under the
phrase "newly discovered evidence" as stated in our said resolution.
12. On January 25, 1999, petitioner filed another motion for
reconsideration with motion for new trial praying that it be allowed to
present an additional witness and to have invoices and receipts pre-
marked in accordance with CTA Circular No. 1-95.13, which the CTA
denied for the reason that it found no convincing reason to reverse its
earlier decision and the motion for new trial was filed beyond the
period prescribed by Sec. 1, Rule 37 of the Rules of Court as well as
for appeals as provided under Sec. 4, Rule 43.
13. Petitioner then went to the Court of Appeals (CA) which dismissed the
appeal because the affidavit of non-forum shopping was not signed by
the petitioner but by counsel.
14. MR was denied.

ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the Court of Appeals should have given due course to
the Petition for Review? Yes!

2. Whether or not the Court of Tax Appeals should have granted
petitioners claim for refund? REMANDED FOR ACCEPTANCE OF
INVOICE EVIDENCES.

HELD:
Issue #1
1. The primary question that has to be resolved is whether an Affidavit of
Non-Forum Shopping, erroneously signed by counsel, may be cured
by subsequent compliance.
2. Generally, subsequent compliance with the requirement of affidavit of
non-forum shopping does not excuse a party from failure to comply in
the first instance.
3. There are instances, however, when we treated compliance with
the rule with relative liberality, especially when there are
circumstances or compelling reasons making the strict
application of the rule clearly unjustified.
a. (Lots of cases cited but basically, relaxing of the rules
depends on substantial justice and special circumstance)
4. Here, the affidavit of non-forum shopping was signed by petitioners
counsel. Upon receipt of the resolution of the CA, however, which
dismissed its petition for non-compliance with the rules on affidavit of
non-forum shopping, petitioner submitted, together with its motion for
reconsideration, an affidavit signed by petitioners president in
compliance with the said rule.
5. We deem this to be sufficient especially in view of the merits of the
case, which may be considered as a special circumstance or a
22

compelling reason that would justify tempering the hard consequence
of the procedural requirement on non-forum shopping.

Issue #2:
1. If the State expects its taxpayers to observe fairness and honesty in
paying their taxes, so must it apply the same standards against itself
in refunding excessive payments. When it is undisputed that a
taxpayer is entitled to a refund, the State should not invoke
technicalities to keep money not belonging to it. No one, not even
the State, should enrich oneself at the expense of another.
2. The general rule is that claimants of tax refunds bear the burden of
proving the factual basis of their claims.
a. This is because tax refunds are in the nature of tax
exemptions, the statutes of which are construed strictissimi
juris against the taxpayer and liberally in favor of the taxing
authority.
3. In this case, there is no dispute that petitioner is entitled to exemption
from the payment of excise taxes by virtue of its being an EPZA
registered enterprise.
4. As stated by the CTA, the only thing left to be determined is whether
or not petitioner is entitled to the amount claimed for refund.
5. Petitioners entire claim for refund, however, was denied for
petitioners failure to present invoices allegedly in violation of CTA
Circular No. 1-95
a. Nowhere in said Circular is it stated that invoices are
required to be presented in claiming refunds. What is says
is:
b. 1. The party who desires to introduce as evidence such
voluminous documents must present: (a) Summary
containing the total amount/s of the tax account or tax paid for
the period involved and a chronological or numerical list of the
numbers, dates and amounts covered by the invoices or
receipts; and (b) a Certification of an independent Certified
Public Accountant attesting to the correctness of the contents
of the summary after making an examination and evaluation
of the voluminous receipts and invoices. Such summary and
certification must properly be identified by a competent
witness from the accounting firm. (Emphasis supplied)
6. The CTA in denying petitioners motion for reconsideration, also
mentioned for the first time that petitioners failure to present "a
certification of an independent CPA" is another ground that justified
the denial of its claim for refund.
a. The certification of an independent CPA is not another
mandatory requirement under the Circular which petitioner
failed to comply with.
b. It is rather a requirement that must accompany the invoices
should one decide to present invoices under the Circular.
7. Since CTA Circular No. 1-95 did not make it mandatory to present
invoices, coupled with the previous cases of petitioner where the
certifications issued by Petron sufficed, it is understandable that
petitioner did not think it necessary to present invoices and the
accompanying certifications when it filed the present case for refund
before the CTA.
8. Even then, petitioner, in its motion for reconsideration, asked the CTA
for an opportunity to present invoices to substantiate its claims. But
this was denied by the CTA explaining that its prayer to present
additional evidence partakes of the nature of a motion for new trial
under Section 1, Rule 37 of the Rules of Court.
a. The CTA held that under such rule, failure to present
evidence already existing at the time of trial does not warrant
the grant of a new trial because such evidence is not newly
discovered but is more in the nature of forgotten evidence
which is not excusable.
9. On this point, we agree with the dissenting opinion of CTA
Presiding Judge Ernesto D. Acosta who stated that the reason
could easily fall under the phrase "mistake or excusable
negligence" as a ground for new trial under Sec. 1(a) of Rule 37
and not under the phrase "newly discovered evidence" as stated
in our said resolution.
10. Sec. 1, Rule 37 of the Rules of Court provides as follows:

SECTION 1. Grounds of and period for filing motion for new
trial or reconsideration.--- Within the period for taking an
appeal, the aggrieved party may move the trial court to set
aside the judgment or final order and grant a new trial for one
or more of the following causes materially affecting the
substantial rights of said party:

(a) Fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence
which ordinary prudence could not have guarded
against and by reason of which such aggrieved party
has probably been impaired in his rights; or

(b) Newly discovered evidence, which could not, with
reasonable diligence, have discovered and produced
at the trial, and which if presented would probably
alter the result.
23

11. It is true that petitioner could not move for new trial on the basis of
newly discovered evidence because in order to have a new trial on
the basis of newly discovered evidence, it must be proved that:
a. (a) the evidence was discovered after the trial;
b. (b) such evidence could not have been discovered and
produced at the trial with reasonable diligence;
c. (c) it is material, not merely cumulative, corroborative or
impeaching; and
d. (d) it is of such weight that, if admitted, will probably change
the judgment.
12. This does not mean however, that petitioner is altogether barred
from having a new trial.
a. As pointed out by Judge Acosta, the reasons put forth by
petitioner could fall under mistake or excusable negligence.
b. The "mistake" that is allowable in Rule 37 is one which
ordinary prudence could not have guarded against.
c. Negligence to be "excusable" must also be one which
ordinary diligence and prudence could not have guarded
against and by reason of which the rights of an aggrieved
party have probably been impaired.
d. The test of excusable negligence is whether a party has acted
with ordinary prudence while transacting important business.
13. Respondent also argues that petitioners motion for new trial was filed
out of time and should therefore be dismissed in view of Sec. 1, Rule
37 and Sec. 4, Rule 43 of the Rules of Court.
a. Sec 1, Rule 37: Within the period for taking an appeal, the
aggrieved party may move the trial court to set aside the
judgment or final order and grant a new trial
b. Sec. 4, Rule 43: 15 days from time of judgement to appeal,
extendible for another 15 days upon proper motion and the
payment of the full amount of the docket fee before the
expiration of the reglementary period, but only in the most
meritorious cases.
14. It is borne by the records however that in its first motion for
reconsideration duly filed on time, petitioner had already prayed
that it be allowed to present and offer the pieces of evidence
deemed lacking by the CTA in its Decision dated August 11,
1998.
a. Thus, while it named its pleading as a Motion for New Trial
only in its motion dated January 25, 1999, petitioner should
not be deemed to have moved for new trial only at such time.
15. In cases before tax courts, Rules of Court applies only by analogy or
in a suppletory character and whenever practicable and convenient
shall be liberally construed in order to promote its objective of
securing a just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action
and proceeding.
a. Since it is not disputed that petitioner is entitled to tax
exemption, it should not be precluded from presenting
evidence to substantiate the amount of refund it is claiming on
mere technicality especially in this case, where the failure to
present invoices at the first instance was adequately
explained by petitioner.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed resolution is SET
ASIDE and the case REMANDED to the Court of Tax Appeals for the
reception of evidence, particularly invoices supporting the schedules of
petroleum products sold and delivered to petitioner by Petron and the
corresponding certification of an independent Certified Public Accountant, for
the proper and immediate determination of the amount to be refunded to
petitioner.

SO ORDERED.


[G.R. No. 115813. October 16, 2000]
EDUARDO FERNANDEZ, TERESITA FERNANDEZ-CAVA, LETICIA
FERNANDEZ-TORREA, ADOLFO FERNANDEZ, GLORIA FERNANDEZ-
HUGONIN, ZENAIDA FERNANDEZ-ILEDAN, and ESMERNA FERNANDEZ-
LEGASPI, AS HEIRS OF PRUDENCIO FERNANDEZ, petitioners,
vs. COURT OF APPEALS (FORMER ELEVENTH DIVISION), JESUS
CIOCON, CIRILO CIOCON, VICENTE URBANOZO, ALFONSO JARDENIL
and ANUNCIACION JOVER, LEVITA LLERA (ACCOMPANIED BY HER
HUSBAND ANTONIO BERLIZO), JOEL LLERA, FEBE LLERA
(ACCOMPANIED BY HER HUSBAND LUCIANO LIM), SALVACION N.
VDA. DE LLERA, HOSPICIO PEDRINA, RUFO CALVEZ, and MONSERRAT
VILLABA, respondents

NATURE: Petition for Review

FACTS:
1. This petition involves Lot 435 of the Bacolod cadastre originally titled to
petitioners predecessor-in-interest, Prudencio Fernandez.

2. After Fernandez acquired ownership of the lot, he tried to eject private
respondent Jesus Ciocon and some other occupants off the property.

24

3. Allegedly, Ciocon asked Fernandez that he be given a last chance to
repurchase the lot. Fernandez refused.

4. After this rejection, Ciocon instituted against Fernandez Civil Case No.
7687 before the RTC of Negros Occidental for reconveyance of the land or
what remains of it after deducting portions already sold to others.

5. Ciocon claimed he had paid for the full reconveyance price to Fernandez on
for which Fernandez signed a receipt. Fernandez through his guardian ad
litem denied receiving any money from Ciocon and averred that Ciocons
receipt was a forgery.

6. There are several intervenors in said suit who claimed that they had
purchased portions of Lot 435 from Ciocon. Those civil case were eventually
consolidated.

7. RTC: ordered private respondent Ciocon and the intervenors to deliver
immediate possession of Lot No. 435 to the heirs of Fernandez

8. RTC issued an Order requiring the parties to state in writing within 15 days
whether or not they agree to have the records transmitted to the CA with
incomplete transcripts of stenographic notes, and if they should fail to reply
after 15 days from receipt of the order, the court would consider the parties
silence as conformity and order the transmittal of the extant records to the CA.

9. CA noted the incompleteness of the records and ordered the re-taking and
completion of missing testimonies. CA granted the Motion to have Above-
Entitled Cases Decided Anew by Ciocon on the ground that since the cases
were decided on the basis of the records taken by his predecessor, and
without the testimony of Roberto Tolentino, the handwriting expert who
testified on the alleged forgery of Fernandez signature, granting the motion
was in the best interest of justice.

10. RTC rendered a second decision setting aside the judgment because CA,
after receiving the notices of appeal and the incomplete records, remanded
the case and ordered the re-taking of the testimonies of witnesses Ciocon and
Tolentino.

11. Ciocon moved for execution pending appeal which was granted
canceeling the TCT in the name of Fernandez and a new TCT was issued in
the name of respondent Ciocon.

12. Ciocon filed a motion asking that the Register of Deeds of Bacolod City be
directed to cancel entries in TCT. Entry No. 178073, the notice of lis
pendens involved in Civil Case No. 7687 and 7723, was not among the
entries listed in the motion.

13. It was only on April 20, 1992, at 3:45 P.M., that Entry No. 178073 was
annotated on TCT T-164785. RTC ordered the cancellation of the entries of
the notices of lis pendens listed in the aforementioned motion.

14. Ciocon then sold the subject property to one Eduardo Gargar, resulting in
the issuance of TCT Gargars name. Entry No. 178073 was one of the entries
carried over in TCT No. T-165298. Gargar immediately mortgaged the
property to the Rizal Commercial and Banking Corporation to secure a loan
for P2,000,000.00.
15. Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus with
application for preliminary injunction under Rule 65 to annul and set aside the
Order, of the RTC cancelling the lis pendens notations in the TCT, and its
original decision for having been issued without jurisdiction.

16. CA dismissed the petition and ordered the judge-designate to desist from
further proceeding with Civil Cases No. 7687 and No. 7723, and to elevate the
records for consideration on appeal.


ISSUE:
WON The cancellation of said notice of lis pendens is a patent nullity
because no motion for the cancellation of the notice (Entry No. 178073)
was filed.

HELD: YES

RATIO:

Petitioners contention: Petitioners contend that in promulgating its assailed
decision, and denying the corrective writ of certiorari against the RTC, the
Court of Appeals refused to recognize that, at the very least, the cancellation
25

by the RTC of the notice of lis pendens, particularly Entry No. 178073,upon a
mere ex parte motion is already grave abuse of discretion, and even graver
abuse since Entry No. 178073 was not even subject of the motion at
all. Petitioners stress that respondent Ciocon prayed for cancellation only of
certain entries appearing on the TCT but not Entry No. 178073.Petitioners
point out that at the time Ciocon asked for cancellation of the other entries,
there was no Entry No. 178073 yet. This entry was made more than a month
after Ciocon filed his motion for cancellation of certain entries. Petitioners
contend that without a motion for cancellation of Entry No. 178073, no hearing
on it could be conducted. Without notice and hearing, there was manifest
denial of petitioners right to due process.

Respondents contention: In their opposition and comment to the petition,
private respondents claim, with respect to the cited notice of lis pendens, that
the order cancelling the annotation of the notice was within the discretion of
the RTC and that there was no abuse of discretion on its part because the
RTC could determine on its own if a notice was for the purpose of molesting
the adverse party or was not necessary to protect the rights of the party who
caused its annotation. They contend that since the determination of the basis
for cancellation of the notice is factual, the Supreme Court is already bound by
such determination by the RTC.

While the trial court has inherent power to cancel a notice of lis pendens, such
power is exercised under express provisions of law. A notice of lis
pendens is an announcement to the whole world that a particular real
property is in litigation. Such announcement is founded upon public
policy and necessity, the purpose of which is to keep the properties in
litigation within the power of the court until the litigation is terminated
and to prevent the defeat of the judgment or decree by subsequent
alienation. Under Sec. 24, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court, now Sec. 14 of Rule
13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, a notice of lis pendens may be
canceled only after proper showing that the purpose of its annotation is
for molesting the adverse party, or that it is not necessary to protect the
rights of the party who caused it to be annotated.

We have scrutinized the records but found no showing that the
annotation was caused by petitioners merely to molest private
respondents, nor that it was not needed to protect petitioners
rights. The peculiar and exceptional circumstances of the case, as in the
rendering of two conflicting decisions by the same judge, indubitably manifest
that the annotation was not merely to molest the other party but was needed
to protect petitioners interest from any hasty transfer of the property to
another, making recovery of the property extremely complicated. This is
exactly what happened in this case when the notice of lis pendens was
cancelled.

Further, the trial courts inherent power to cancel a notice of lis pendens is
exercised only under exceptional circumstances, such as: where such
circumstances are imputable to the party who caused the annotation; where
the litigation was unduly prolonged to the prejudice of the other party because
of several continuances procured by petitioner; where the case which is the
basis for the lis pendens notation was dismissed for non-prosequitur on the
part of the plaintiff; or where judgment was rendered against the party who
caused such a notation. In such instances, said notice is deemed ipso
facto cancelled.
[27]
These exceptional circumstances are not present in this
case. It will be noted that although the case took long to resolve, it was not
due to petitioners. Petitioners had in fact been adjudged owners of the lot in
the first decision and it was private respondents who filed a motion that the
case be decided anew, despite a timely notice of appeal from the first
decision. Furthermore, it was the Court of Appeals which ordered the re-taking
of the lost testimonies, which the trial court erroneously took as a remand of
the case, resulting in a second decision which was also timely appealed. The
records mentioned no such order to remand by the Court of Appeals. The
cancellation of the lis pendens notations should not have been ordered since
there had been no final judgment yet, the decisions having been timely
appealed.

More significantly, a notice of lis pendens cannot be ordered cancelled
on an ex parte motion, much less without any motion at all. There
should be notice to the party who caused the annotation so that he may
be heard to object to the cancellation of his notice and show to the court
that the notice of lis pendens is necessary to protect his rights and is
not merely to molest the other party.

As the records of this case reflect, private respondent Ciocons motion dated
March 17, 1992, to cancel certain notices of lis pendens did not include a
request to cancel Entry No. 178073 in particular, and it certainly could not
have been included since the entry was annotated in the TCT only a month
after the filing of the motion, on April 20, 1992.However, Judge Jocsons order
of cancellation included Entry No. 178073.
[29]

26


Neither can a notice of lis pendens be ordered cancelled upon the mere filing
of a bond by the party on whose title the notice is annotated. The ultimate
purpose of the annotation which is to keep the properties in litigation within the
power of the court and to prevent the defeat of the judgment by subsequent
alienation will be rendered meaningless if private respondents are allowed to
file a bond, regardless of the amount, in substitution of said notice.
[30]
As it
happened in this case, Ciocon sold the property to Gargar who encumbered
the property as security for a loan. We are, therefore, constrained to conclude
that, contrary to private respondents stand, the Court could not be bound by
the trial courts determination of the bases of the cancellation of the cited
notice. Further, we find the trial courts order injudicious and erroneous.

The cancellation order of the notice of lis pendens in this case, Entry No.
178073, should be set aside for three reasons. First, it was granted ex
parte. Petitioners were deprived of their right to be heard on notice. Second,
there was no showing that the annotation of the notice was for the purpose of
molesting the adverse party, nor that it was not necessary to protect the rights
of those who sought the annotation. And third, at the time of the order of
cancellation of the notice, the trial court no longer had jurisdiction.