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Republic of the Philippines succeeded him as bona fidetenant During the pendency of the case in

SUPREME COURT of the subject lots; that between the lower court, Mendoza of the
Manila July 7 to July 15, 1984, Olympio case in the lower court, Mendoza
SECOND DIVISION Mendoza, in conspiracy with the was in possession of the subject
other defendants, prevented her lots and had cultivated the same.
G.R. No. 96492 November 26, 1992 daughter Violeta and her workers Upon motion of plaintiff, the court
ROMEO REYES, ANGEL PARAYAO, and through force, intimidation, directed its Deputy Sheriff to
EMILIO MANANGHAYA, petitioners, strategy and stealth, from entering supervise the harvesting of the
vs. and working on the subject palay crops, to cause the threshing
THE COURT OF APPEALS, EUFROCINA DE premises; and that until the filing of thereof and to deposit the net
LA CRUZ and VIOLETA DELOS the instant case, defendants had harvest (after deducting from the
REYES, respondents. refused to vacate and surrender the expenses incurred), in a bonded
lots, thus violating her tenancy warehouse of the locality subject to
NOCON, J.: rights. Plaintiff therefore prayed for the disposition of the court. 3
Petitioners Romeo Reyes, Angel Parayao and Emilio judgment for the recovery of The respondent Court rendered judgment affirming
Mananghaya question the respondent Court's decision possession and damages with a writ the appealed agrarian court's decision with the
promulgated on November 22, 1990, 1 which of preliminary mandatory modification that Lot 106 is not covered by it.
affirmed with modification the agrarian court's injunction in the meantime. The dispositive portion of the appealed decision,
decision promulgated January 10, 1990, 2 which Defendants Reyes, Parayao, which was modified, states as follows:
ordered them and the other defendants therein to, Aguinaldo and Mananghaya, duly WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby
among others, restore possession of the disputed elected and/or appointed barangay rendered, in favor of plaintiff and
landholding to private respondent, Eufrocina Vda. officials of Bahay Pare, Candaba, against defendants:
dela Cruz. Said respondent court's decision is now Pampanga, denied interference in On the Mandatory Injunction:
final and executory as to Olympio Mendoza and the tenancy relationship existing 1. Ordering said defendants to
Severino Aguinaldo, the other petitioners in the between plaintiff and defendant restore possession of the
respondent court, since they did not appeal the same. Mendoza, particularly in the landholding subject of the action to
Since petitioners do not dispute the findings of fact of cultivation of the latter's farm lots. the plaintiff and enjoining said
the respondent Court, the same shall be quoted Claiming that they have always defendants and any person claiming
verbatim and are as follows: exercised fairness, equity, reason under them to desist from
It appears from the records that and impartiality in the discharge of molesting them or interfering with
Juan Mendoza, father of herein their official functions, they asked the possession and cultivation of
defendant Olympio Mendoza, is the for the dismissal of the case and the landholding descriptive in
owner of Farm Lots Nos. 46 and claimed moral damages and paragraph 3 of the complaint, to
106, Block 2, Psd-38453 of the attorney's fees in the total amount wit:
Bahay Pare Estate, Bahay Pare, of P165,000.00 (Answer with Farm Lots Nos.
Candaba, Pampanga, with an area Counterclaim, Records, pp. 48-51). 46 and 106,
of 23,000 square meters and 19,000 For his part, defendant Mendoza Block 2, Psd-
square meters, respectively. raised abandonment, sublease and 38453 of the
Devoted to the production of palay, mortgage of the farm lots without Bahay Pare
the lots were tenanted and his consent and approval, and non- Estate, Bahay
cultivated by Julian dela Cruz, payment of rentals, irrigation fees Pare, Candaba,
husband of plaintiff Eufrocina dela and other taxes due the Pampanga, with a
Cruz. Julian died on September 25, government, as his defenses. He total area of
1979. also demanded actual and 23,969 square
In her complaint, Eufrocina alleged exemplary damages, as well as meters, more or
that upon the death of Julian, she attorney's fees (Answer, pp. 77-78). less, owned by a
certain Juan [T]he lone issue of whether or not peaceful enjoyment of the farmlot as provided for in
Mendoza, and they can be held liable, jointly and Section 23 of the Agrarian Reform Law, should be
devoted severally, with the other compensated for the lost income by the petitioners
principally to the defendants, for the harvests of the who are solidarily liable with Olympio Mendoza and
production of litigated property, Lot No. 46, or Severino Aguinaldo. 11
palay, as the money equivalent thereof We find for the private respondents.
evidenced by a starting from the principal crop It is clear that petitioners are asking Us to re-examine
Certification years of 1984 and every harvest all the evidence already presented and evaluated by
from the Ministry time thereafter until the possession the trial court and re-evaluated again by the
of Agrarian and cultivation of the aforestated respondent appellate court. Said evidence served as
Reform issued on landholding are finally surrendered basis in arriving at the trial court and appellate court's
July 30, 1984. to the private respondent. 5 findings of fact. We shall not analyze such evidence
2. a) Ordering the defendants to It is the position of petitioners that they are not liable all over again but instead put finis to the factual
vacate the premises of the two jointly and severally with Olympio Mendoza and findings in this case. Settled is the rule that only
landholding in question and to Severino Aguinaldo because the present petition questions of law may be raised in a petition for
respect the tenancy rights of involves Lot No. 46, Block 2, Psd-38453 of the review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
plaintiff with respect to the same; bahay Pare Estate, bahay Pare, Candaba, Pampanga Court 12 absent the exceptions which do not obtain in
b) Ordering defendants, jointly and and not Lot No. 106 of the estate, which lot was the instant case. 13
severally to pay unto plaintiff 220 purchased by petitioner Romeo Reyes from Olympio We agree with the appellate court in its retiocination,
cavans of palay or its equivalent in Mendoza's father, Juan, and which he later donated to which We adopt, on why it has to dismiss the appeal.
cash of P33,000.00 from the the barangay Bahay Pare of Candaba, Pampanga, for Said the Court:
principal crop year of 1984, and the construction of the Bahay Pare Barangay High In her Complaint, plaintiff-appellee
every harvest time until defendants School. 6 As to their supposed participation in the alleged that she "is the tenant of
finally vacate and surrender dispossession of private respondent from the disputed Farm Lots Nos. 46 and 106 Block
possession and cultivation of the landholding, petitioners present the September 30, 2, Psd-38453 of the Bahay Pare
landholding in question to plaintiff. 1987 Resolution of Investigating Fiscal Jesus M. Estate, Bahay Pare, Candaba,
c) the prayer for moral damages, Pamintuan, as approved by Pampanga Provincial Pampanga, with a total area of
not having been sufficiently Fiscal Villamor I. Dizon, in I.S. No. 8576, 7 wherein 23,969 square meters, more or less
proved, the same is denied. private respondent's complaint against petitioners and . . ." (Complaint, Record, vol. 1,
d) Ordering defendants jointly and the other defendants in the agrarian court for p.1). However, during Violeta's
severally, to pay the costs of suit. violation of P.D. 583 8 was dismissed, to show that testimony, she clarified that
The awards herein provided should private respondent's "point is already settled and actually only Lot No. 106, which
first be satisfied from the deposits considered closed." 9 lastly, petitioners claim that contains an area of P19,000 square
of the harvests ordered by the Court they were included in the present controversy so that meters, is not included in this
from which the planting and their political career would be destroyed.10 controversy (T.S.N., August 10,
harvesting expenses have been paid Private respondents deny petitioners' allegations and 1989, p. 5; May 8, 1989, p. 12).
to defendant Olympio Mendoza; contend that it was petitioners who conspired with This statement was corroborated by
and if said net deposits with the Olympio Mendoza and Severino Aguinaldo in plaintiff's counsel, Atty. Arturo
Court or the warehouses as ordered ejecting them not only from Lot No. 46 but also from Rivera, who informed the court that
by the Court are insufficient, then Lot No. 106. They maintain that it was in Farmlot the 19,000 square meter lot is
the balance should be paid by No. 46 from where they were ejected and subject of a pending case before the
defendants, jointly and severally. 4 dispossessed, so much so that even if Farmlot No. MTC of Sta. Ana, Pampanga
Defendants who are the petitioners in this case, in a 106 was removed by the Court of Appeals from the (Ibid.,p. 15). The inconsistency
Petition for Review on Certiorari, present for the judgment, as Farmlot No. 46 was harvesting palay between the averment of the
consideration of the Court: worth at least P33,000.00 per year since 1989, private complaint and the testimony of the
respondents, who are entitled to the possession and witness should not only because
there was no showing that she 17, 1976 (Castro vs. CS, G.R. No.
intended to mislead defendants and 34613, January 26, 1989). In
even the trial court on the subject Bagsican vs. Hon. Court of
matter of the suit. It would in the Appeals, 141 SCRA 226, the
complaint since together with Lot Supreme Court defined what
106 had been include in the substantial evidence is:
complaint since together with Lot Substantial evidence does
46, it is owned by Olympio's father. not necessarily import
We also concur with the trial preponderant evidence, as
court's finding on the participation is required in an ordinary
of the other appellants in the civil case. It has been
dispossession of appellee. They not defined to be such relevant
only knew Olympio personally, evidence as a reasonable
some of them were even asked by mind might accept as
Olympio to help him cultivate the adequate to support a
land, thus lending credence to the conclusion and its absence
allegation that defendant Olympio, is not shown by stressing
together with his co-defendants, that there is contrary
prevented plaintiff and her workers evidence on record, direct
from entering the land through or circumstantial, for the
"strong arm methods". (Decision of appellate court cannot
RTC, records, vol. II p. 564). substitute its own
Finally, we rule that the trial court judgment or criteria for
did not err when it favorably that of the trial court in
considered the affidavits of determining wherein lies
Eufrocina and Efren Tecson the weight of evidence or
(Annexes "B" and "C") although what evidence is entitled
the affiants were not presented and to belief. 14
subjected to cross-examination. WHEREFORE, finding no reversible error in the
Section 16 of P.D. No. 946 decision appealed from, the petition is hereby
provides that the "Rules of Court DENIED for lack of merit. The decision of the Court
shall not be applicable in agrarian of Appeals promulgated on November 22, 1990 is
cases even in a suppletory AFFIRMED in toto. Costs against the petitioners.
character." The same provision SO ORDERED.
states that "In the hearing,
investigation and determination of
any question or controversy,
affidavits and counter-affidavits
may be allowed and are admissible
in evidence".
Moreover, in agrarian cases, the
quantum of evidence required is no
more than substantial evidence.
This substantial evidence rule was
incorporated in section 18, P.D.
No. 946 which took effect on June
THIRD DIVISION undergoing chemotherapy. On March 5, 2002, Fe and expressed willingness to consider any proposal to
[G.R. No. 162571. June 15, 2005] Martin sued Arnel for support.[6] settle the case.[11]
ARNEL L. AGUSTIN, petitioner, vs. HON. In his amended answer, Arnel denied having On July 23, 2002, Fe and Martin moved for the
COURT OF APPEALS AND MINOR sired Martin because his affair and intimacy with Fe issuance of an order directing all the parties to submit
MARTIN JOSE PROLLAMANTE, had allegedly ended in 1998, long before Martins themselves to DNA paternity testing pursuant to Rule
REPRESENTED BY HIS conception. He claimed that Fe had at least one other 28 of the Rules of Court.[12]
MOTHER/GUARDIAN FE ANGELA secret lover. Arnel admitted that their relationship Arnel opposed said motion by invoking his
PROLLAMANTE, respondents. started in 1993 but he never really fell in love with constitutional right against self-incrimination.[13] He
DECISION (Fe) not only because (she) had at least one secret also moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of cause
CORONA, J.: lover, a certain Jun, but also because she proved to be of action, considering that his signature on the birth
At issue in this petition for certiorari [1] is scheming and overly demanding and possessive. As a certificate was a forgery and that, under the law, an
whether or not the Court of Appeals (CA) gravely result, theirs was a stormy on-and-off affair. What illegitimate child is not entitled to support if not
erred in exercising its discretion, amounting to lack started as a romantic liaison between two consenting recognized by the putative father.[14] In his motion,
or excess of jurisdiction, in issuing a decision[2] and adults eventually turned out to be a case of fatal Arnel manifested that he had filed criminal charges
resolution[3] upholding the resolution and order of the attraction where (Fe) became so obsessed with for falsification of documents against Fe (I.S. Nos.
trial court,[4] which denied petitioners motion to (Arnel), to the point of even entertaining the idea of 02-5723 and 02-7192) and a petition for cancellation
dismiss private respondents complaint for support marrying him, that she resorted to various devious of his name appearing in Martins birth certificate
and directed the parties to submit themselves to ways and means to alienate (him) from his wife and (docketed as Civil Case No. Q-02-46669). He
deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) paternity testing. family. Unable to bear the prospect of losing his wife attached the certification of the Philippine National
Respondents Fe Angela and her son Martin and children, Arnel terminated the affair although he Police Crime Laboratory that his signature in the
Prollamante sued Martins alleged biological father, still treated her as a friend such as by referring birth certificate was forged.
petitioner Arnel L. Agustin, for support and potential customers to the car aircon repair The trial court denied the motion to dismiss the
support pendente lite before the Regional Trial Court shop[7] where she worked. Later on, Arnel found out complaint and ordered the parties to submit
(RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 106.[5] that Fe had another erstwhile secret lover. In May themselves to DNA paternity testing at the expense
In their complaint, respondents alleged that 2000, Arnel and his entire family went to the United of the applicants. The Court of Appeals affirmed the
Arnel courted Fe in 1992, after which they entered States for a vacation. Upon their return in June 2000, trial court.
into an intimate relationship. Arnel supposedly Arnel learned that Fe was telling people that he had Thus, this petition.
impregnated Fe on her 34th birthday on November 10, impregnated her. Arnel refused to acknowledge the In a nutshell, petitioner raises two issues: (1)
1999. Despite Arnels insistence on abortion, Fe child as his because their last intimacy was sometime whether a complaint for support can be converted to a
decided otherwise and gave birth to their child out of in 1998.[8] Exasperated, Fe started calling Arnels wife petition for recognition and (2) whether DNA
wedlock, Martin, on August 11, 2000 at the Capitol and family. On January 19, 2001, Fe followed Arnel paternity testing can be ordered in a proceeding for
Medical Hospital in Quezon City. The babys birth to the Capitol Hills Golf and Country Club parking support without violating petitioners constitutional
certificate was purportedly signed by Arnel as the lot to demand that he acknowledge Martin as his right to privacy and right against self-
father. Arnel shouldered the pre-natal and hospital child. According to Arnel, he could not get through incrimination.[15]
expenses but later refused Fes repeated requests for Fe and the discussion became so heated that he had The petition is without merit.
Martins support despite his adequate financial no alternative but to move on but without bumping or First of all, the trial court properly denied the
capacity and even suggested to have the child hitting any part of her body.[9] Finally, Arnel claimed petitioners motion to dismiss because the private
committed for adoption. Arnel also denied having that the signature and the community tax certificate respondents complaint on its face showed that they
fathered the child. (CTC) attributed to him in the acknowledgment of had a cause of action against the petitioner. The
On January 19, 2001, while Fe was carrying Martins birth certificate were falsified. The CTC elements of a cause of action are: (1) the plaintiffs
five-month old Martin at the Capitol Hills Golf and erroneously reflected his marital status as single primary right and the defendants corresponding
Country Club parking lot, Arnel sped off in his van, when he was actually married and that his birth year primary duty, and (2) the delict or wrongful act or
with the open car door hitting Fes leg. This incident was 1965 when it should have been 1964.[10] omission of the defendant, by which the primary right
was reported to the police. In July 2001, Fe was In his pre-trial brief filed on May 17, 2002, and duty have been violated. The cause of action is
diagnosed with leukemia and has, since then, been Arnel vehemently denied having sired Martin but determined not by the prayer of the complaint but by
the facts alleged.[16]
In the complaint, private respondents alleged putative or presumed parent, must prove his filiation some extent supported by our prior decisions.
that Fe had amorous relations with the petitioner, as a to the latter. We also said that it is necessary to allege Thus, we have held in numerous cases, and the
result of which she gave birth to Martin out of in the complaint that the putative father had doctrine must be considered well settled, that a
wedlock. In his answer, petitioner admitted that he acknowledged and recognized the illegitimate child natural child having a right to compel
had sexual relations with Fe but denied that he because such acknowledgment is essential to and is acknowledgment, but who has not been in fact
fathered Martin, claiming that he had ended the the basis of the right to inherit. There being no legally acknowledged, may maintain partition
relationship long before the childs conception and allegation of such acknowledgment, the action proceedings for the division of the inheritance
birth. It is undisputed and even admitted by the becomes one to compel recognition which cannot be against his coheirs x x x; and the same person may
parties that there existed a sexual relationship brought after the death of the putative father. intervene in proceedings for the distribution of the
between Arnel and Fe. The only remaining question The ratio decidendi in Paulino, therefore, is not the estate of his deceased natural father, or mother x x x.
is whether such sexual relationship produced the absence of a cause of action for failure of the In neither of these situations has it been thought
child, Martin. If it did, as respondents have alleged, petitioner to allege the fact of acknowledgment in the necessary for the plaintiff to show a prior decree
then Martin should be supported by his father Arnel. complaint, but the prescription of the action. compelling acknowledgment. The obvious reason is
If not, petitioner and Martin are strangers to each Applying the foregoing principles to the case at bar, that in partition suits and distribution proceedings the
other and Martin has no right to demand and although petitioner contends that the complaint filed other persons who might take by inheritance are
petitioner has no obligation to give support. by herein private respondent merely alleges that the before the court; and the declaration of heirship is
Preliminaries aside, we now tackle the main minor Chad Cuyugan is an illegitimate child of the appropriate to such proceedings. (Underscoring
issues. deceased and is actually a claim for inheritance, from supplied)
Petitioner refuses to recognize Martin as his the allegations therein the same may be considered as Although the instant case deals with support
own child and denies the genuineness and one to compel recognition. Further, that the two rather than inheritance, as in Tayag, the basis or
authenticity of the childs birth certificate which he causes of action, one to compel recognition and the rationale for integrating them remains the same.
purportedly signed as the father. He also claims that other to claim inheritance, may be joined in one Whether or not respondent Martin is entitled to
the order and resolution of the trial court, as affirmed complaint is not new in our jurisprudence. support depends completely on the determination of
by the Court of Appeals, effectively converted the As early as [1922] we had occasion to rule thereon filiation. A separate action will only result in a
complaint for support to a petition for recognition, in Briz vs. Briz, et al. (43 Phil. 763 [1922]) wherein multiplicity of suits, given how intimately related the
which is supposedly proscribed by law. According to we said: main issues in both cases are. To
petitioner, Martin, as an unrecognized child, has no The question whether a person in the position of the paraphrase Tayag, the declaration of filiation is
right to ask for support and must first establish his present plaintiff can in any event maintain a complex entirely appropriate to these proceedings.
filiation in a separate suit under Article 283[17] in action to compel recognition as a natural child and at On the second issue, petitioner posits that DNA
relation to Article 265[18] of the Civil Code and the same time to obtain ulterior relief in the character is not recognized by this Court as a conclusive means
Section 1, Rule 105[19] of the Rules of Court. of heir, is one which in the opinion of this court must of proving paternity. He also contends that
The petitioners contentions are without merit. be answered in the affirmative, provided always that compulsory testing violates his right to privacy and
The assailed resolution and order did not the conditions justifying the joinder of the two right against self-incrimination as guaranteed under
convert the action for support into one for recognition distinct causes of action are present in the particular the 1987 Constitution. These contentions have no
but merely allowed the respondents to prove their case. In other words, there is no absolute necessity merit.
cause of action against petitioner who had been requiring that the action to compel Given that this is the very first time that the
denying the authenticity of the documentary evidence acknowledgment should have been instituted and admissibility of DNA testing as a means for
of acknowledgement. But even if the assailed prosecuted to a successful conclusion prior to the determining paternity has actually been the focal
resolution and order effectively integrated an action action in which that same plaintiff seeks issue in a controversy, a brief historical sketch of our
to compel recognition with an action for support, additional relief in the character of heir. Certainly, past decisions featuring or mentioning DNA testing is
such was valid and in accordance with jurisprudence. there is nothing so peculiar to the action to compel called for.
In Tayag v. Court of Appeals,[20] we allowed the acknowledgment as to require that a rule should be In the 1995 case of People v.
integration of an action to compel recognition with an here applied different from that generally applicable Teehankee[21] where the appellant was convicted of
action to claim ones inheritance: in other cases. x x x murder on the testimony of three eyewitnesses, we
In Paulino, we held that an illegitimate child, to be The conclusion above stated, though not heretofore stated as an obiter dictum that while eyewitness
entitled to support and successional rights from the explicitly formulated by this court, is undoubtedly to identification is significant, it is not as accurate and
authoritative as the scientific forms of identification subjected to various chemical processes to establish samples, whether proper standards and procedures
evidence such as the fingerprint or the DNA test their profile. were followed in conducting the tests, and the
result (emphasis supplied). A year later, in People v. Janson,[25] we qualification of the analyst who conducted the tests.
Our faith in DNA testing, however, was not acquitted the accused charged with rape for lack of In the case at bar, Dr. Maria Corazon Abogado de
quite so steadfast in the previous decade. In Pe Lim v. evidence because doubts persist(ed) in our mind as to Ungria was duly qualified by the prosecution as an
Court of Appeals,[22] promulgated in 1997, we who (were) the real malefactors. Yes, a complex expert witness on DNA print or identification
cautioned against the use of DNA because DNA, offense (had) been perpetrated but who (were) the techniques. Based on Dr. de Ungrias testimony, it
being a relatively new science, (had) not as yet been perpetrators? How we wish we had DNA or other was determined that the gene type and DNA profile
accorded official recognition by our courts. Paternity scientific evidence to still our doubts! of appellant are identical to that of the extracts
(would) still have to be resolved by such In 2004, in Tecson, et al. v. subject of examination. The blood sample taken from
conventional evidence as the relevant incriminating COMELEC[26] where the Court en banc was faced the appellant showed that he was of the following
acts, verbal and written, by the putative father. with the issue of filiation of then presidential gene types: vWA 15/19, TH01 7/8, DHFRP29/10 and
In 2001, however, we opened the possibility of candidate Fernando Poe Jr., we stated: CSF1PO 10/11, which are identical with semen taken
admitting DNA as evidence of parentage, as In case proof of filiation or paternity would be from the victims vaginal canal. Verily, a DNA match
enunciated in Tijing v. Court of Appeals:[23] unlikely to satisfactorily establish or would be exists between the semen found in the victim and the
A final note. Parentage will still be resolved using difficult to obtain, DNA testing, which examines blood sample given by the appellant in open court
conventional methods unless we adopt the modern genetic codes obtained from body cells of the during the course of the trial.
and scientific ways available. Fortunately, we have illegitimate child and any physical residue of the long Admittedly, we are just beginning to integrate these
now the facility and expertise in using DNA test for dead parent could be resorted to. A positive match advances in science and technology in the Philippine
identification and parentage testing. The University would clear up filiation or paternity. In Tijing vs. criminal justice system, so we must be cautious as we
of the Philippines Natural Science Research Institute Court of Appeals, this Court has acknowledged the traverse these relatively uncharted waters.
(UP-NSRI) DNA Analysis Laboratory has now the strong weight of DNA testing Fortunately, we can benefit from the wealth of
capability to conduct DNA typing using short tandem Moreover, in our en banc decision in People v. persuasive jurisprudence that has developed in other
repeat (STR) analysis. The analysis is based on the Yatar,[27] we affirmed the conviction of the accused jurisdictions. Specifically, the prevailing doctrine in
fact that the DNA of a child/person has two (2) for rape with homicide, the principal evidence for the U.S. has proven instructive.
copies, one copy from the mother and the other from which included DNA test results. We did a lengthy In Daubert v. Merrell Dow (509 U.S. 579 (1993);
the father. The DNA from the mother, the alleged discussion of DNA, the process of DNA testing and 125 L. Ed. 2d 469) it was ruled that pertinent
father and child are analyzed to establish parentage. the reasons for its admissibility in the context of our evidence based on scientifically valid principles
Of course, being a novel scientific technique, the use own Rules of Evidence: could be used as long as it was relevant and reliable.
of DNA test as evidence is still open to challenge. Deoxyribonucleic Acid, or DNA, is a molecule that Judges, under Daubert, were allowed greater
Eventually, as the appropriate case comes, courts encodes the genetic information in all living discretion over which testimony they would allow at
should not hesitate to rule on the admissibility of organisms. A persons DNA is the same in each cell trial, including the introduction of new kinds of
DNA evidence. For it was said, that courts should and it does not change throughout a persons lifetime; scientific techniques. DNA typing is one such novel
apply the results of science when competently the DNA in a persons blood is the same as the DNA procedure.
obtained in aid of situations presented, since to reject found in his saliva, sweat, bone, the root and shaft of Under Philippine law, evidence is relevant when it
said result is to deny progress. hair, earwax, mucus, urine, skin tissue, and vaginal relates directly to a fact in issue as to induce belief in
The first real breakthrough of DNA as and rectal cells. Most importantly, because of its existence or non-existence. Applying
admissible and authoritative evidence in Philippine polymorphisms in human genetic structure, no two the Daubert test to the case at bar, the DNA evidence
jurisprudence came in 2002 with our en individuals have the same DNA, with the notable obtained through PCR testing and utilizing STR
banc decision in People v. Vallejo[24] where the rape exception of identical twins. analysis, and which was appreciated by the court a
and murder victims DNA samples from the xxx xxx xxx quo is relevant and reliable since it is reasonably
bloodstained clothes of the accused were admitted in In assessing the probative value of DNA evidence, based on scientifically valid principles of human
evidence. We reasoned that the purpose of DNA courts should consider, inter alia, the following genetics and molecular biology.
testing (was) to ascertain whether an association factors: how the samples were collected, how they Significantly, we upheld the constitutionality of
exist(ed) between the evidence sample and the were handled, the possibility of contamination of the compulsory DNA testing and the admissibility of the
reference sample. The samples collected (were) samples, the procedure followed in analyzing the results thereof as evidence. In that case, DNA
samples from semen recovered from a rape victims proper safeguards that enhance public service and the filed. No further judicial or administrative
vagina were used to positively identify the accused common good. proceedings are required to ratify an unchallenged
Joel Kawit Yatar as the rapist. Yatar claimed that the Historically, it has mostly been in the areas of acknowledgment of paternity.
compulsory extraction of his blood sample for DNA legality of searches and seizures,[37] and the (b) An acknowledgment of paternity executed
testing, as well as the testing itself, violated his right infringement of privacy of communication[38] where pursuant to section one hundred eleven-k of the
against self-incrimination, as embodied in both the constitutional right to privacy has been critically social services law or section four thousand one
Sections 12 and 17 of Article III of the Constitution. at issue. Petitioners case involves neither and, as hundred thirty-five-b of the public health law may be
We addressed this as follows: already stated, his argument that his right against rescinded by either signators filing of a petition with
The contention is untenable. The kernel of the right is self-incrimination is in jeopardy holds no water. His the court to vacate the acknowledgment within the
not against all compulsion, but against testimonial hollow invocation of his constitutional rights elicits earlier of sixty days of the date of signing the
compulsion. The right against self-incrimination is no sympathy here for the simple reason that they are acknowledgment or the date of an administrative or a
simply against the legal process of extracting from not in any way being violated. If, in a criminal case, judicial proceeding (including a proceeding to
the lips of the accused an admission of guilt. It does an accused whose very life is at stake can be establish a support order) relating to the child in
not apply where the evidence sought to be excluded compelled to submit to DNA testing, we see no which either signator is a party. For purposes of this
is not an incrimination but as part of object evidence. reason why, in this civil case, petitioner herein who section, the "date of an administrative or a judicial
Over the years, we have expressly excluded does not face such dire consequences cannot be proceeding" shall be the date by which the
several kinds of object evidence taken from the ordered to do the same. respondent is required to answer the petition. After
person of the accused from the realm of self- DNA paternity testing first came to prominence the expiration of sixty days of the execution of the
incrimination. These include in the United States, where it yielded its first official acknowledgment, either signator may challenge the
photographs,[28]hair,[29] and other bodily results sometime in 1985. In the decade that acknowledgment of paternity in court only on the
substances.[30] We have also declared as followed, DNA rapidly found widespread general basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of fact,
constitutional several procedures performed on the acceptance.[39] Several cases decided by various State with the burden of proof on the party challenging the
accused such as pregnancy tests for women accused Supreme Courts reflect the total assimilation of DNA voluntary acknowledgment. Upon receiving a
of adultery,[31]expulsion of morphine from ones testing into their rules of procedure and evidence. partys challenge to an acknowledgment, the court
mouth[32] and the tracing of ones foot to determine its The case of Wilson v. Lumb[40] shows that DNA shall order genetic marker tests or DNA tests for
identity with bloody footprints.[33] In Jimenez v. testing is so commonly accepted that, in some the determination of the childs paternity and shall
Caizares,[34] we even authorized the examination of a instances, ordering the procedure has become a make a finding of paternity, if appropriate, in
womans genitalia, in an action for annulment filed by ministerial act. The Supreme Court of St. Lawrence accordance with this article. Neither signators legal
her husband, to verify his claim that she was County, New York allowed a party who had already obligations, including the obligation for child support
impotent, her orifice being too small for his penis. acknowledged paternity to subsequently challenge his arising from the acknowledgment, may be suspended
Some of these procedures were, to be sure, rather prior acknowledgment. The Court pointed out that, during the challenge to the acknowledgment except
invasive and involuntary, but all of them were under the law, specifically Section 516 of the New for good cause as the court may find. If a party
constitutionally sound. DNA testing and its results, York Family Court Act, the Family Court examiner petitions to rescind an acknowledgment and if the
per our ruling in Yatar,[35] are now similarly had the duty, upon receipt of the challenge, to order court determines that the alleged father is not the
acceptable. DNA tests:[41] father of the child, or if the court finds that an
Nor does petitioners invocation of his right to 516-a. Acknowledgment of paternity. (a) An acknowledgment is invalid because it was executed
privacy persuade us. In Ople v. Torres,[36] where we acknowledgment of paternity executed pursuant to on the basis of fraud, duress, or material mistake of
struck down the proposed national computerized section one hundred eleven-k of the social services fact, the court shall vacate the acknowledgment of
identification system embodied in Administrative law or section four thousand one hundred thirty-five- paternity and shall immediately provide a copy of the
Order No. 308, we said: b of the public health law shall establish the paternity order to the registrar of the district in which the
In no uncertain terms, we also underscore that the of and liability for the support of a child pursuant to childs birth certificate is filed and also to the putative
right to privacy does not bar all incursions into this act. Such acknowledgment must be reduced to father registry operated by the department of social
individual privacy. The right is not intended to stifle writing and filed pursuant to section four thousand services pursuant to section three hundred seventy-
scientific and technological advancements that one hundred thirty-five-b of the public health law two-c of the social services law. In addition, if the
enhance public service and the common good... with the registrar of the district in which the birth mother of the child who is the subject of the
Intrusions into the right must be accompanied by occurred and in which the birth certificate has been acknowledgment is in receipt of child support
services pursuant to title six-A of article three of the tests indicate at least a ninety-five percent In Greco v. Coleman,[45] the Michigan Supreme
social services law, the court shall immediately probability of paternity, the admission of such Court while ruling on the constitutionality of a
provide a copy of the order to the child support record or report shall create a rebuttable provision of law allowing non-modifiable support
enforcement unit of the social services district that presumption of paternity, and shall establish, if agreements pointed out that it was because of the
provides the mother with such services. unrebutted, the paternity of and liability for the difficulty of determining paternity before the advent
(c) A determination of paternity made by any other support of a child pursuant to this article and of DNA testing that such support agreements were
state, whether established through the parents article four of this act. necessary:
acknowledgment of paternity or through an (b) Whenever the court directs a genetic marker or As a result of DNA testing, the accuracy with which
administrative or judicial process, must be accorded DNA test pursuant to this section, a report made as paternity can be proven has increased significantly
full faith and credit, if and only if such provided in subdivision (a) of this section may be since the parties in this lawsuit entered into their
acknowledgment meets the requirements set forth in received in evidence pursuant to rule forty-five support agreement(current testing methods can
section 452(a)(7) of the social security act. hundred eighteen of the civil practice law and rules if determine the probability of paternity to 99.999999%
(emphasis supplied) offered by any party. accuracy). However, at the time the parties before us
DNA testing also appears elsewhere in the New (c) The cost of any test ordered pursuant to entered into the disputed agreement, proving
York Family Court Act:[42] subdivision (a) of this section shall be, in the first paternity was a very significant obstacle to an
532. Genetic marker and DNA tests; admissibility of instance, paid by the moving party. If the moving illegitimate child's access to child support. The first
records or reports of test results; costs of tests. party is financially unable to pay such cost, the court reported results of modern DNA paternity testing did
a) The court shall advise the parties of their right to may direct any qualified public health officer to not occur until 1985. ("In fact, since its first reported
one or more genetic marker tests or DNA tests and, conduct such test, if practicable; otherwise, the court results in 1985, DNA matching has progressed to
on the courts own motion or the motion of any party, may direct payment from the funds of the appropriate 'general acceptance in less than a decade'"). Of
shall order the mother, her child and the alleged local social services district. In its order of course, while prior blood-testing methods could
father to submit to one or more genetic marker or disposition, however, the court may direct that the exclude some males from being the possible father of
DNA tests of a type generally acknowledged as cost of any such test be apportioned between the a child, those methods could not affirmatively
reliable by an accreditation body designated by the parties according to their respective abilities to pay or pinpoint a particular male as being the father. Thus,
secretary of the federal department of health and be assessed against the party who does not prevail on when the settlement agreement between the present
human services and performed by a laboratory the issue of paternity, unless such party is financially parties was entered in 1980, establishing paternity
approved by such an accreditation body and by the unable to pay. (emphasis supplied) was a far more difficult ordeal than at present.
commissioner of health or by a duly qualified In R.E. v. C.E.W.,[43] a decision of the Contested paternity actions at that time were often no
physician to aid in the determination of whether the Mississippi Supreme Court, DNA tests were used to more than credibility contests. Consequently, in
alleged father is or is not the father of the child. No prove that H.W., previously thought to be an every contested paternity action, obtaining child
such test shall be ordered, however, upon a offspring of the marriage between A.C.W. and support depended not merely on whether the putative
written finding by the court that it is not in the C.E.W., was actually the child of R.E. with whom father was, in fact, the child's biological father, but
best interests of the child on the basis of res C.E.W. had, at the time of conception, maintained an rather on whether the mother could prove to a court
judicata, equitable estoppel, or the presumption of adulterous relationship. of law that she was only sexually involved with one
legitimacy of a child born to a married woman. In Erie County Department of Social Services man--the putative father. Allowing parties the option
The record or report of the results of any such genetic on behalf of Tiffany M.H. v. Greg G.,[44] the of entering into private agreements in lieu of proving
marker or DNA test ordered pursuant to this section 4th Department of the New York Supreme Courts paternity eliminated the risk that the mother would be
or pursuant to section one hundred eleven-k of the Appellate Division allowed G.G., who had been unable meet her burden of proof.
social services law shall be received in evidence by adjudicated as T.M.H.s father by default, to have the It is worth noting that amendments to
the court pursuant to subdivision (e) of rule forty-five said judgment vacated, even after six years, once he Michigans Paternity law have included the use of
hundred eighteen of the civil practice law and rules had shown through a genetic marker test that he was DNA testing:[46]
where no timely objection in writing has been made not the childs father. In this case, G.G. only requested 722.716 Pretrial proceedings; blood or tissue typing
thereto and that if such timely objections are not the tests after the Department of Social Services, six determinations as to mother, child, and alleged father;
made, they shall be deemed waived and shall not be years after G.G. had been adjudicated as T.M.H.s court order; refusal to submit to typing or
heard by the court. If the record or report of the father, sought an increase in his support obligation to identification profiling; qualifications of person
results of any such genetic marker or DNA test or her. conducting typing or identification profiling;
compensation of expert; result of typing or (6) Upon the establishment of the presumption of from obtaining a money judgment for the amount
identification profiling; filing summary report; paternity as provided in subsection (5), either party withheld from his wages.
objection; admissibility; presumption; burden of may move for summary disposition under the court In M.A.S. v. Mississippi Dept. of Human
proof; summary disposition. rules. this section does not abrogate the right of either Services,[50] another case decided by the Supreme
Sec. 6. party to child support from the date of birth of the Court of Mississippi, it was held that even if paternity
(1) In a proceeding under this act before trial, the child if applicable under section 7. (emphasis was established through an earlier agreed order of
court, upon application made by or on behalf of supplied) filiation, child support and visitation orders could still
either party, or on its own motion, shall order that In Rafferty v. Perkins,[47] the Supreme Court of be vacated once DNA testing established someone
the mother, child, and alleged father submit to Mississippi ruled that DNA test results showing other than the named individual to be the biological
blood or tissue typing determinations, which may paternity were sufficient to overthrow the father. The Mississippi High Court reiterated this
include, but are not limited to, determinations of presumption of legitimacy of a child born during the doctrine in Williams v. Williams.[51]
red cell antigens, red cell isoenzymes, human course of a marriage: The foregoing considered, we find no grave
leukocyte antigens, serum proteins, The presumption of legitimacy having been rebutted abuse of discretion on the part of the public
or DNAidentification profiling, to determine by the results of the blood test eliminating Perkins as respondent for upholding the orders of the trial court
whether the alleged father is likely to be, or is not, Justin's father, even considering the evidence in the which both denied the petitioners motion to dismiss
the father of the child. If the court orders a blood light most favorable to Perkins, we find that no and ordered him to submit himself for DNA testing.
or tissue typing or DNA identification profiling to reasonable jury could find that Easter is not Justin's Under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure,
be conducted and a party refuses to submit to the father based upon the 99.94% probability of paternity the remedy of certiorari is only available when any
typing or DNA identification profiling, in addition concluded by the DNA testing. tribunal, board or officer has acted without or in
to any other remedies available, the court may do In S.J.F. and J.C.F. v. R.C.W.,[48] the North excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse
either of the following: Dakota Supreme Court upheld an order for genetic of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
(a) Enter a default judgment at the request of the testing given by the Court of Appeals, even after trial jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, nor any plain,
appropriate party. on the merits had concluded without such order being speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course
(b) If a trial is held, allow the disclosure of the fact given. Significantly, when J.C.F., the mother, first of law.[52] In Land Bank of the Philippines v. the
of the refusal unless good cause is shown for not filed the case for paternity and support with the Court of Appeals[53] where we dismissed a special
disclosing the fact of refusal. District Court, neither party requested genetic testing. civil action for certiorari under Rule 65, we discussed
(2) A blood or tissue typing or DNA identification It was only upon appeal from dismissal of the case at length the nature of such a petition and just what
profiling shall be conducted by a person accredited that the appellate court remanded the case and was meant by grave abuse of discretion:
for paternity determinations by a nationally ordered the testing, which the North Dakota Supreme Grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and
recognized scientific organization, including, but not Court upheld. whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to
limited to, the American association of blood banks. The case of Kohl v. Amundson,[49] decided by lack of jurisdiction or, in other words, where the
xxx xxx xxx the Supreme Court of South Dakota, demonstrated power is exercised in an arbitrary manner by
(5) If the probability of paternity determined by that even default judgments of paternity could be reason of passion, prejudice, or personal hostility,
the qualified person described in subsection (2) vacated after the adjudicated father had, through and it must be so patent or gross as to amount to
conducting the blood or tissue typing DNA testing, established non-paternity. In this case, an evasion of a positive duty or to a virtual refusal
or DNA identification profiling is 99% or higher, Kohl, having excluded himself as the father of to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in
and theDNA identification profile and summary Amundsons child through DNA testing, was able to contemplation of law.
report are admissible as provided in subsection have the default judgment against him vacated. He The special civil action for certiorari is a remedy
(4), paternity is presumed. If the results of the then obtained a ruling ordering Amundson to designed for the correction of errors of jurisdiction
analysis of genetic testing material from 2 or more reimburse him for the amounts withheld from his and not errors of judgment. The raison detre for the
persons indicate a probability of paternity greater wages for child support. The Court said (w)hile rule is when a court exercises its jurisdiction, an error
than 99%, the contracting laboratory shall Amundson may have a remedy against the father of committed while so engaged does not deprive it of
conduct additional genetic paternity testing until the child, she submit(ted) no authority that require(d) the jurisdiction being exercised when the error is
all but 1 of the putative fathers is eliminated, Kohl to support her child. Contrary to Amundson's committed. If it did, every error committed by a court
unless the dispute involves 2 or more putative position, the fact that a default judgment was entered, would deprive it of its jurisdiction and every
fathers who have identical DNA. but subsequently vacated, (did) not foreclose Kohl erroneous judgment would be a void judgment. In
such a scenario, the administration of justice would
not survive. Hence, where the issue or question
involved affects the wisdom or legal soundness of the
decisionnot the jurisdiction of the court to render said
decisionthe same is beyond the province of a special
civil action for certiorari.
The proper recourse of the aggrieved party from a
decision of the CA is a petition for review on
certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of
Court. On the other hand, if the error subject of the
recourse is one of jurisdiction, or the act complained
of was perpetrated by a quasi-judicial officer or
agency with grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction, the proper remedy
available to the aggrieved party is a petition for
certiorari under Rule 65 of the said Rules. (emphasis
supplied)
In the instant case, the petitioner has in no way
shown any arbitrariness, passion, prejudice or
personal hostility that would amount to grave abuse
of discretion on the part of the Court of Appeals. The
respondent court acted entirely within its jurisdiction
in promulgating its decision and resolution, and any
error made would have only been an error in
judgment. As we have discussed, however, the
decision of the respondent court, being firmly
anchored in law and jurisprudence, was correct.
Epilogue
For too long, illegitimate children have been
marginalized by fathers who choose to deny their
existence. The growing sophistication of DNA testing
technology finally provides a much needed equalizer
for such ostracized and abandoned progeny. We have
long believed in the merits of DNA testing and have
repeatedly expressed as much in the past. This case
comes at a perfect time when DNA testing has finally
evolved into a dependable and authoritative form of
evidence gathering. We therefore take this
opportunity to forcefully reiterate our stand that DNA
testing is a valid means of determining paternity.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the
petition is hereby DENIED. The Court of Appeals
decision dated January 28, 2004 in CA-G.R. SP No.
80961 is hereby AFFIRMED in toto.
Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines A motion for reconsideration from petitioner was law nor previous decision of the
SUPREME COURT denied on 23 June 1992. Supreme Court.
Manila A petition for certiorari was then filed by petitioner 10.1 In affirming the
SECOND DIVISION in the Court of Appeals assailing the admission in questioned order of
evidence of the aforementioned cassette tapes. respondent judge, the Court of
G.R. No. 110662 August 4, 1994 On 10 June 1993, the Court of Appeals rendered Appeals has decided a
TERESITA SALCEDO-ORTANEZ, petitioner, judgment which is the subject of the present petition, question of substance not
vs. which in part reads: theretofore determined by the
COURT OF APPEALS, HON. ROMEO F. It is much too obvious that the petition will Supreme Court as the
ZAMORA, Presiding Judge, Br. 94, Regional have to fail, for two basic reasons: question of admissibility in
Trial Court of Quezon City and RAFAEL S. (1) Tape recordings are not inadmissible per evidence of tape recordings
ORTANEZ, respondents. se. They and any other variant thereof can has not, thus far, been
Oscar A. Inocentes & Associates Law Office for be admitted in evidence for certain purposes, addressed and decided
petitioner. depending on how they are presented and squarely by the Supreme
Efren A. Santos for private respondent. offered and on how the trial judge utilizes Court.
them in the interest of truth and fairness and 11. In affirming the questioned
PADILLA, J.: the even handed administration of justice. order of respondent judge, the
This is a petition for review under Rule 45 of the (2) A petition for certiorari is notoriously Court of Appeals has likewise
Rules of Court which seeks to reverse the inappropriate to rectify a supposed error in rendered a decision in a way not in
decision * of respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G. admitting evidence adduced during trial. The accord with law and with
R. SP No. 28545 entitled "Teresita Salcedo-Ortanez ruling on admissibility is interlocutory; applicable decisions of the
versus Hon. Romeo F. Zamora, Presiding Judge, Br. neither does it impinge on jurisdiction. If it Supreme Court.
94, Regional Trial Court of Quezon City and Rafael is erroneous, the ruling should be questioned 11.1 Although the questioned
S. Ortanez". in the appeal from the judgment on the order is interlocutory in
The relevant facts of the case are as follows: merits and not through the special civil nature, the same can still be
On 2 May 1990, private respondent Rafael S. Ortanez action of certiorari. The error, assuming [the] subject of a petition
filed with the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City a gratuitously that it exists, cannot be anymore for certiorari. 2
complaint for annulment of marriage with damages than an error of law, properly correctible by The main issue to be resolved is whether or not the
against petitioner Teresita Salcedo-Ortanez, on appeal and not by certiorari.Otherwise, we remedy of certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of
grounds of lack of marriage license and/or will have the sorry spectacle of a case being Court was properly availed of by the petitioner in the
psychological incapacity of the petitioner. The subject of a counterproductive "ping-pong" Court of Appeals.
complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. Q-90-5360 to and from the appellate court as often as a The extraordinary writ of certiorari is generally not
and raffled to Branch 94, RTC of Quezon City trial court is perceived to have made an error available to challenge an interlocutory order of a trial
presided over by respondent Judge Romeo F. in any of its rulings with respect to court. The proper remedy in such cases is an ordinary
Zamora. evidentiary matters in the course of trial. appeal from an adverse judgment, incorporating in
Private respondent, after presenting his evidence, This we cannot sanction. said appeal the grounds for assailing the interlocutory
orally formally offered in evidence Exhibits "A" to WHEREFORE, the petition order.
"M". for certiorari being devoid of merit, is However, where the assailed interlocutory order is
Among the exhibits offered by private respondent hereby DISMISSED. 1 patently erroneous and the remedy of appeal would
were three (3) cassette tapes of alleged telephone From this adverse judgment, petitioner filed the not afford adequate and expeditious relief, the Court
conversations between petitioner and unidentified present petition for review, stating: may allow certiorari as a mode of redress. 3
persons. Grounds for Allowance of the In the present case, the trial court issued the assailed
Petitioner submitted her Objection/Comment to Petition order admitting all of the evidence offered by private
private respondent's oral offer of evidence on 9 June 10. The decision of respondent respondent, including tape recordings of telephone
1992; on the same day, the trial court admitted all of [Court of Appeals] has no basis in conversations of petitioner with unidentified persons.
private respondent's offered evidence. These tape recordings were made and obtained when
private respondent allowed his friends from the question. Absent a clear showing that both parties to
military to wire tap his home telephone. 4 the telephone conversations allowed the recording of
Rep. Act No. 4200 entitled "An Act to Prohibit and the same, the inadmissibility of the subject tapes is
Penalize Wire Tapping and Other Related Violations mandatory under Rep. Act No. 4200.
of the Privacy of Communication, and for other Additionally, it should be mentioned that the above-
purposes" expressly makes such tape recordings mentioned Republic Act in Section 2 thereof imposes
inadmissible in evidence. The relevant provisions of a penalty of imprisonment of not less than six (6)
Rep. Act No. 4200 are as follows: months and up to six (6) years for violation of said
Sec. 1. It shall be unlawful Act. 5
for any person, not being We need not address the other arguments raised by
authorized by all the the parties, involving the applicability of American
parties to any private jurisprudence, having arrived at the conclusion that
communication or spoken the subject cassette tapes are inadmissible in evidence
word, to tap any wire or under Philippine law.
cable, or by using any WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals
other device or in CA-G. R. SP No. 28545 is hereby SET ASIDE.
arrangement, to secretly The subject cassette tapes are declared inadmissible
overhear, intercept, or in evidence.
record such SO ORDERED.
communication or spoken
word by using a device
commonly known as a
dictaphone or dictagraph
or detectaphone or walkie-
talkie or tape-recorder, or
however otherwise
described. . . .
Sec. 4. Any
communication or spoken
word, or the existence,
contents, substance,
purport, or meaning of the
same or any part thereof,
or any information therein
contained, obtained or
secured by any person in
violation of the preceding
sections of this Act shall
not be admissible in
evidence in any judicial,
quasi-judicial, legislative
or administrative hearing
or investigation.
Clearly, respondents trial court and Court of Appeals
failed to consider the afore-quoted provisions of the
law in admitting in evidence the cassette tapes in
Republic of the Philippines problem. (Exhibit 'D', tsn, April 22, (f) Allow Manuel Montebon to
SUPREME COURT 1982, pp. 4-5). continue teaching at the Don Bosco
Manila When complainant called up, Technical School;
SECOND DIVISION Laconico requested appellant to (g) Not to divulge the truth about
G.R. No. L-69809 October 16, 1986 secretly listen to the telephone the settlement of the Direct Assault
EDGARDO A. GAANAN, petitioner, conversation through a telephone Case to the mass media;
vs. extension so as to hear personally (h) P2,000.00 attorney s fees for
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and the proposed conditions for the Atty. Pintor. (tsn, August 26, 1981,
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. settlement. Appellant heard pp. 47-48).
complainant enumerate the Twenty minutes later, complainant
GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: following conditions for called up again to ask Laconico if
This petition for certiorari asks for an interpretation withdrawal of the complaint for he was agreeable to the conditions.
of Republic Act (RA) No. 4200, otherwise known as direct assault. Laconico answered 'Yes'.
the Anti-Wiretapping Act, on the issue of whether or (a) the P5,000.00 was no longer Complainant then told Laconico to
not an extension telephone is among the prohibited acceptable, and that the figure had wait for instructions on where to
devices in Section 1 of the Act, such that its use to been increased to P8,000.00. A deliver the money. (tsn, March 10,
overhear a private conversation would constitute breakdown of the P8,000.00 had 1983, pp. 2-12).
unlawful interception of communications between the been made together with other Complainant called up again and
two parties using a telephone line. demands, to wit: (a) P5,000.00 no instructed Laconico to give the
The facts presented by the People and narrated in the longer for the teacher Manuel money to his wife at the office of
respondent court's decision are not disputed by the Montebon, but for Atty. Pintor the then Department of Public
petitioner. himself in persuading his client to Highways. Laconico who earlier
In the morning of October 22, withdraw the case for Direct alerted his friend Colonel Zulueta
1975, complainant Atty. Tito Pintor Assault against Atty. Laconico of the Criminal Investigation
and his client Manuel Montebon before the Cebu City Fiscal's Service of the Philippine
were in the living room of Office; Constabulary, insisted that
complainant's residence discussing (b) Public apology to be made by complainant himself should receive
the terms for the withdrawal of the Atty. Laconico before the students the money. (tsn, March 10, 1982,
complaint for direct assault which of Don Bosco Technical High pp. 26-33). When he received the
they filed with the Office of the School; money at the Igloo Restaurant,
City Fiscal of Cebu against (c) Pl,000.00 to be given to the Don complainant was arrested by agents
Leonardo Laconico. After they had Bosco Faculty club; of the Philippine Constabulary.
decided on the proposed (d) transfer of son of Atty. Appellant executed on the
conditions, complainant made a Laconico to another school or following day an affidavit stating
telephone call to Laconico (tsn, another section of Don Bosco that he heard complainant demand
August 26, 1981, pp. 3-5). Technical High School; P8,000.00 for the withdrawal of the
That same morning, Laconico (e) Affidavit of desistance by Atty. case for direct assault. Laconico
telephoned appellant, who is a Laconico on the Maltreatment case attached the affidavit of appellant
lawyer, to come to his office and earlier filed against Manuel to the complainant for
advise him on the settlement of the Montebon at the Cebu City Fiscal's robbery/extortion which he filed
direct assault case because his Office, whereas Montebon's against complainant. Since
regular lawyer, Atty. Leon affidavit of desistance on the Direct appellant listened to the telephone
Gonzaga, went on a business trip. Assault Case against Atty. conversation without complainant's
According to the request, appellant Laconico to be filed later; consent, complainant charged
went to the office of Laconico appellant and Laconico with
where he was briefed about the
violation of the Anti-Wiretapping It shall be unlawful for any person, consideration in order to have his client withdraw a
Act. be he a participant or not in the act direct assault charge against Atty. Laconico filed
After trial on the merits, the lower court, in a decision or acts penalized in the next with the Cebu City Fiscal's Office if he knew that
dated November 22, 1982, found both Gaanan and preceeding sentence, to knowingly another lawyer was also listening. We have to
Laconico guilty of violating Section 1 of Republic possess any tape record, wire consider, however, that affirmance of the criminal
Act No. 4200. The two were each sentenced to one record, disc record, or any other conviction would, in effect, mean that a caller by
(1) year imprisonment with costs. Not satisfied with such record, or copies thereof, of merely using a telephone line can force the listener to
the decision, the petitioner appealed to the appellate any communication or spoken word secrecy no matter how obscene, criminal, or
court. secured either before or after the annoying the call may be. It would be the word of the
On August 16, 1984, the Intermediate Appellate effective date of this Act in the caller against the listener's.
Court affirmed the decision of the trial court, holding manner prohibited by this law; or to Because of technical problems caused by the
that the communication between the complainant and replay the same for any other sensitive nature of electronic equipment and the extra
accused Laconico was private in nature and, person or persons; or to heavy loads which telephone cables are made to carry
therefore, covered by Rep. Act No. 4200; that the communicate the contents thereof, in certain areas, telephone users often encounter what
petitioner overheard such communication without the either verbally or in writing, or to are called "crossed lines". An unwary citizzen who
knowledge and consent of the complainant; and that furnish transcriptions thereof, happens to pick up his telephone and who overhears
the extension telephone which was used by the whether complete or partial, to any the details of a crime might hesitate to inform police
petitioner to overhear the telephone conversation other person: Provided, that the use authorities if he knows that he could be accused
between complainant and Laconico is covered in the of such record or any copies thereof under Rep. Act 4200 of using his own telephone to
term "device' as provided in Rep. Act No. 4200. as evidence in any civil, criminal secretly overhear the private communications of the
In this petition for certiorari, the petitioner assails the investigation or trial of offenses would be criminals. Surely the law was never
decision of the appellate court and raises the mentioned in Section 3 hereof, intended for such mischievous results.
following issues; (a) whether or not the telephone shall not be covered by this The main issue in the resolution of this petition,
conversation between the complainant and accused prohibition. however, revolves around the meaning of the phrase
Laconico was private in nature; (b) whether or not an We rule for the petitioner. "any other device or arrangement." Is an extension of
extension telephone is covered by the term "device or We are confronted in this case with the interpretation a telephone unit such a device or arrangement as
arrangement" under Rep. Act No. 4200; (c) whether of a penal statute and not a rule of evidence. The would subject the user to imprisonment ranging from
or not the petitioner had authority to listen or issue is not the admissibility of evidence secured over six months to six years with the accessory penalty of
overhear said telephone conversation and (d) whether an extension line of a telephone by a third party. The perpetual absolute disqualification for a public officer
or not Rep. Act No. 4200 is ambiguous and, issue is whether or not the person called over the or deportation for an alien? Private secretaries with
therefore, should be construed in favor of the telephone and his lawyer listening to the conversation extension lines to their bosses' telephones are
petitioner. on an extension line should both face prison sometimes asked to use answering or recording
Section 1 of Rep. Act No. 4200 provides: sentences simply because the extension was used to devices to record business conversations between a
Section 1. It shall be unlawful for enable them to both listen to an alleged attempt at boss and another businessman. Would transcribing a
any person, not being authorized by extortion. recorded message for the use of the boss be a
all the parties to any private There is no question that the telephone conversation proscribed offense? or for that matter, would a "party
communication or spoken word, to between complainant Atty. Pintor and accused Atty. line" be a device or arrangement under the law?
tap any wire or cable or by using Laconico was "private" in the sense that the words The petitioner contends that telephones or extension
any other device or arrangement, to uttered were made between one person and another telephones are not included in the enumeration of
secretly overhear, intercept, or as distinguished from words between a speaker and a "commonly known" listening or recording devices,
record such communication or public. It is also undisputed that only one of the nor do they belong to the same class of enumerated
spoken word by using a device parties gave the petitioner the authority to listen to electronic devices contemplated by law. He maintains
commonly known as a dictaphone and overhear the caller's message with the use of an that in 1964, when Senate Bill No. 9 (later Rep. Act
or dictagraph or detectaphone or extension telephone line. Obviously, complainant No. 4200) was being considered in the Senate,
walkie-talkie or tape-recorder, or Pintor, a member of the Philippine bar, would not telephones and extension telephones were already
however otherwise described: have discussed the alleged demand for an P8,000.00
widely used instruments, probably the most popularly its parts. (see Commissioner of Customs v. Esso tapping, intercepting or recording a telephone
known communication device. Estandard Eastern, Inc., 66 SCRA 113,120). conversation.
Whether or not listening over a telephone party line In the case of Empire Insurance Com any v. An extension telephone is an instrument which is
would be punishable was discussed on the floor of Rufino (90 SCRA 437, 443-444), we ruled: very common especially now when the extended unit
the Senate. Yet, when the bill was finalized into a Likewise, Article 1372 of the Civil Code does not have to be connected by wire to the main
statute, no mention was made of telephones in the stipulates that 'however general the terms of a telephone but can be moved from place ' to place
enumeration of devices "commonly known as a contract may be, they shall not be understood within a radius of a kilometer or more. A person
dictaphone or dictagraph, detectaphone or walkie to comprehend things that are distinct and should safely presume that the party he is calling at
talkie or tape recorder or however otherwise cases that are different from those upon which the other end of the line probably has an extension
described." The omission was not a mere oversight. the parties intended to agree.' Similarly, telephone and he runs the risk of a third party
Telephone party lines were intentionally deleted from Article 1374 of the same Code provides that listening as in the case of a party line or a telephone
the provisions of the Act. 'the various stipulations of a contract shall be unit which shares its line with another. As was held
The respondent People argue that an extension interpreted together, attributing to the doubtful in the case of Rathbun v. United States (355, U.S.
telephone is embraced and covered by the term ones that sense which may result from all of 107, 2 L Ed 2d 137-138):
"device" within the context of the aforementioned them taken jointly. Common experience tells us that a
law because it is not a part or portion of a complete xxx xxx xxx call to a particular telephone
set of a telephone apparatus. It is a separate device Consequently, the phrase 'all liabilities or number may cause the bell to ring
and distinct set of a movable apparatus consisting of obligations of the decedent' used in paragraph in more than one ordinarily used
a wire and a set of telephone receiver not forming 5(c) and 7(d) should be then restricted only to instrument. Each party to a
part of a main telephone set which can be detached or those listed in the Inventory and should not be telephone conversation takes the
removed and can be transferred away from one place construed as to comprehend all other risk that the other party may have
to another and to be plugged or attached to a main obligations of the decedent. The rule that an extension telephone and may
telephone line to get the desired communication 'particularization followed by a general allow another to overhear the
corning from the other party or end. expression will ordinarily be restricted to the conversation. When such takes
The law refers to a "tap" of a wire or cable or the use former' is based on the fact in human place there has been no violation of
of a "device or arrangement" for the purpose of experience that usually the minds of parties any privacy of which the parties
secretly overhearing, intercepting, or recording the are addressed specially to the may complain. Consequently, one
communication. There must be either a physical particularization, and that the generalities, element of 605, interception, has
interruption through a wiretap or though broad enough to comprehend other not occurred.
the deliberate installation of a device or arrangement fields if they stood alone, are used in In the same case, the Court further ruled that the
in order to overhear, intercept, or record the spoken contemplation of that upon which the minds conduct of the party would differ in no way if instead
words. of the parties are centered. (Hoffman v. of repeating the message he held out his hand-set so
An extension telephone cannot be placed in the same Eastern Wisconsin R., etc., Co., 134 Wis. 603, that another could hear out of it and that there is no
category as a dictaphone, dictagraph or the other 607, 115 NW 383, cited in Francisco, Revised distinction between that sort of action and permitting
devices enumerated in Section 1 of RA No. 4200 as Rules of Court (Evidence), 1973 ed, pp. 180- an outsider to use an extension telephone for the
the use thereof cannot be considered as "tapping" the 181). same purpose.
wire or cable of a telephone line. The telephone Hence, the phrase "device or arrangement" in Section Furthermore, it is a general rule that penal statutes
extension in this case was not installed for that 1 of RA No. 4200, although not exclusive to that must be construed strictly in favor of the accused.
purpose. It just happened to be there for ordinary enumerated therein, should be construed to Thus, in case of doubt as in the case at bar, on
office use. It is a rule in statutory construction that in comprehend instruments of the same or similar whether or not an extension telephone is included in
order to determine the true intent of the legislature, nature, that is, instruments the use of which would be the phrase "device or arrangement", the penal statute
the particular clauses and phrases of the statute tantamount to tapping the main line of a telephone. It must be construed as not including an extension
should not be taken as detached and isolated refers to instruments whose installation or presence telephone. In the case of People v. Purisima, 86
expressions, but the whole and every part thereof cannot be presumed by the party or parties being SCRA 542, 562, we explained the rationale behind
must be considered in fixing the meaning of any of overheard because, by their very nature, they are not the rule:
of common usage and their purpose is precisely for
American jurisprudence sets down and the government officials and the person in WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The
the reason for this rule to be the fact would have the right to tape record their decision of the then Intermediate Appellate Court
tenderness of the law of the rights conversation. dated August 16, 1984 is ANNULLED and SET
of individuals; the object is to Senator Tañada. In case of entrapment, it ASIDE. The petitioner is hereby ACQUITTED of the
establish a certain rule by would be the government. crime of violation of Rep. Act No. 4200, otherwise
conformity to which mankind Senator Diokno. In the same way, under this known as the Anti-Wiretapping Act.
would be safe, and the discretion of provision, neither party could record and, SO ORDERED.
the court limited. (United States v. therefore, the court would be limited to
Harris, 177 US 305, 44 L Ed 780, saying: "Okay, who is more credible, the
20 S Ct 609; Braffith v. Virgin police officers or the defendant?" In these
Islands (CA3) 26 F2d 646; Caudill cases, as experienced lawyers, we know that
v. State, 224 Ind 531, 69 NE2d; the Court go with the peace offices.
Jennings v. Commonwealth, 109 (Congressional Record, Vol. 111, No. 33, p.
VA 821,63 SE 1080, all cited in 73 628, March 12, 1964).
Am Jur 2d 452). The purpose is not xxx xxx xxx
to enable a guilty person to escape Senator Diokno. The point I have in mind is
punishment through a technicality that under these conditions, with an agent
but to provide a precise definition outside listening in, he could falsify the
of forbidden acts." (State v. testimony and there is no way of checking it.
Zazzaro, 20 A 2d 737, quoted in But if you allow him to record or make a
Martin's Handbook on Statutory recording in any form of what is happening,
Construction, Rev. Ed. pp. 183- then the chances of falsifying the evidence is
184). not very much.
In the same case of Purisima, we also ruled that on Senator Tañada. Your Honor, this bill is not
the construction or interpretation of a legislative intended to prevent the presentation of false
measure, the primary rule is to search for and testimony. If we could devise a way by which
determine the intent and spirit of the law. A perusal we could prevent the presentation of false
of the Senate Congressional Records will show that testimony, it would be wonderful. But what
not only did our lawmakers not contemplate the this bill intends to prohibit is the use of tape
inclusion of an extension telephone as a prohibited record and other electronic devices to
device or arrangement" but of greater importance, intercept private conversations which later on
they were more concerned with penalizing the act of will be used in court.
recording than the act of merely listening to a (Congressional Record, Vol. III, No. 33,
telephone conversation. March 12, 1964, p. 629).
xxx xxx xxx It can be readily seen that our lawmakers intended to
Senator Tañada. Another possible objection to discourage, through punishment, persons such as
that is entrapment which is certainly government authorities or representatives of
objectionable. It is made possible by special organized groups from installing devices in order to
amendment which Your Honor may introduce. gather evidence for use in court or to intimidate,
Senator Diokno.Your Honor, I would feel that blackmail or gain some unwarranted advantage over
entrapment would be less possible with the the telephone users. Consequently, the mere act of
amendment than without it, because with the listening, in order to be punishable must strictly be
amendment the evidence of entrapment would with the use of the enumerated devices in RA No.
only consist of government testimony as 4200 or others of similar nature. We are of the view
against the testimony of the defendant. With that an extension telephone is not among such
this amendment, they would have the right, devices or arrangements.
Republic of the Philippines ka, kasi hanggang 10:00 p.m., ina" sasabi-sabihin mo kamag-anak
SUPREME COURT kinabukasan hindi ka na pumasok. ng nanay at tatay mo ang mga
Manila Ngayon ako ang babalik sa 'yo, magulang ko.
FIRST DIVISION nag-aaply ka sa States, nag-aaply ESG — Wala na akong pakialam,
ka sa review mo, kung dahil nandito ka sa loob, nasa labas
G.R. No. 93833 September 28, 1995 kakailanganin ang certification mo, ka puwede ka ng hindi pumasok,
SOCORRO D. RAMIREZ, petitioner, kalimutan mo na kasi hindi ka sa okey yan nasaloob ka umalis ka
vs. akin makakahingi. doon.
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, and CHUCHI — Hindi M'am. Kasi ang CHUCHI — Kasi M'am,
ESTER S. GARCIA, respondents. ano ko talaga noon i-cocontinue ko binbalikan ako ng mga taga Union.
up to 10:00 p.m. ESG — Nandiyan na rin ako, pero
KAPUNAN, J.: ESG — Bastos ka, nakalimutan mo huwag mong kalimutan na hindi ka
A civil case damages was filed by petitioner Socorro na kung paano ka pumasok dito sa makakapasok kung hindi ako.
D. Ramirez in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon hotel. Magsumbong ka sa Union Kung hindi mo kinikilala yan okey
City alleging that the private respondent, Ester S. kung gusto mo. Nakalimutan mo na lang sa akin, dahil tapos ka na.
Garcia, in a confrontation in the latter's office, kung paano ka nakapasok dito "Do CHUCHI — Ina-ano ko m'am na
allegedly vexed, insulted and humiliated her in a you think that on your own utang na loob.
"hostile and furious mood" and in a manner offensive makakapasok ka kung hindi ako. ESG — Huwag na lang, hindi mo
to petitioner's dignity and personality," contrary to Panunumbyoyan na kita utang na loob, kasi kung baga sa
morals, good customs and public policy." 1 (Sinusumbatan na kita). no, nilapastangan mo ako.
In support of her claim, petitioner produced a CHUCHI — Itutuloy ko na M'am CHUCHI — Paano kita
verbatim transcript of the event and sought moral sana ang duty ko. nilapastanganan?
damages, attorney's fees and other expenses of ESG — Kaso ilang beses na akong ESG — Mabuti pa lumabas ka na.
litigation in the amount of P610,000.00, in addition to binabalikan doon ng mga no (sic) Hindi na ako makikipagusap sa 'yo.
costs, interests and other reliefs awardable at the trial ko. Lumabas ka na. Magsumbong ka. 3
court's discretion. The transcript on which the civil ESG — Nakalimutan mo na ba As a result of petitioner's recording of the event and
case was based was culled from a tape recording of kung paano ka pumasok sa hotel, alleging that the said act of secretly taping the
the confrontation made by petitioner. 2 The transcript kung on your own merit alam ko confrontation was illegal, private respondent filed a
reads as follows: naman kung gaano ka "ka bobo" criminal case before the Regional Trial Court of
Plaintiff Soccoro D. Ramirez mo. Marami ang nag-aaply alam Pasay City for violation of Republic Act 4200,
(Chuchi) — Good Afternoon kong hindi ka papasa. entitled "An Act to prohibit and penalize wire tapping
M'am. CHUCHI — Kumuha kami ng and other related violations of private
Defendant Ester S. Garcia (ESG) exam noon. communication, and other purposes." An information
— Ano ba ang nangyari sa 'yo, ESG — Oo, pero hindi ka papasa. charging petitioner of violation of the said Act, dated
nakalimot ka na kung paano ka CHUCHI — Eh, bakit ako ang October 6, 1988 is quoted herewith:
napunta rito, porke member ka na, nakuha ni Dr. Tamayo INFORMATION
magsumbong ka kung ano ang ESG — Kukunin ka kasi ako. The Undersigned Assistant City
gagawin ko sa 'yo. CHUCHI — Eh, di sana — Fiscal Accusses Socorro D.
CHUCHI — Kasi, naka duty ako ESG — Huwag mong ipagmalaki Ramirez of Violation of Republic
noon. na may utak ka kasi wala kang Act No. 4200, committed as
ESG — Tapos iniwan no. (Sic) utak. Akala mo ba makukuha ka follows:
CHUCHI — Hindi m'am, pero ilan dito kung hindi ako. That on or about the 22nd day of
beses na nila akong binalikan, CHUCHI — Mag-eexplain ako. February, 1988, in Pasay City
sabing ganoon — ESG — Huwag na, hindi ako mag- Metro Manila, Philippines, and
ESG — Ito and (sic) masasabi ko papa-explain sa 'yo, makaalala ka within the jurisdiction of this
sa 'yo, ayaw kung (sic) mag explain kung paano ka puma-rito. "Putang- honorable court, the above-named
accused, Socorro D. Ramirez not Petitioner vigorously argues, as her "main and recorder. The law makes no distinction as to whether
being authorized by Ester S. Garcia principal issue" 7 that the applicable provision of the party sought to be penalized by the statute ought
to record the latter's conversation Republic Act 4200 does not apply to the taping of a to be a party other than or different from those
with said accused, did then and private conversation by one of the parties to the involved in the private communication. The statute's
there willfully, unlawfully and conversation. She contends that the provision merely intent to penalize all persons unauthorized to make
feloniously, with the use of a tape refers to the unauthorized taping of a private such recording is underscored by the use of the
recorder secretly record the said conversation by a party other than those involved in qualifier "any". Consequently, as respondent Court of
conversation and thereafter the communication. 8 In relation to this, petitioner Appeals correctly concluded, "even a (person) privy
communicate in writing the avers that the substance or content of the to a communication who records his private
contents of the said recording to conversation must be alleged in the Information, conversation with another without the knowledge of
other person. otherwise the facts charged would not constitute a the latter (will) qualify as a violator" 13 under this
Contrary to law. violation of R.A. 4200. 9 Finally, petitioner agues that provision of R.A. 4200.
Pasay City, Metro Manila, R.A. 4200 penalizes the taping of a "private A perusal of the Senate Congressional Records,
September 16, 1988. communication," not a "private conversation" and moreover, supports the respondent court's conclusion
Upon arraignment, in lieu of a plea, petitioner filed a that consequently, her act of secretly taping her that in enacting R.A. 4200 our lawmakers indeed
Motion to Quash the Information on the ground that conversation with private respondent was not illegal contemplated to make illegal, unauthorized tape
the facts charged do not constitute an offense, under the said act. 10 recording of private conversations or
particularly a violation of R.A. 4200. In an order May We disagree. communications taken either by the parties
3, 1989, the trial court granted the Motion to Quash, First, legislative intent is determined principally from themselves or by third persons. Thus:
agreeing with petitioner that 1) the facts charged do the language of a statute. Where the language of a xxx xxx xxx
not constitute an offense under R.A. 4200; and that 2) statute is clear and unambiguous, the law is applied Senator Tañada: That qualified
the violation punished by R.A. 4200 refers to a the according to its express terms, and interpretation only "overhear".
taping of a communication by a person other than a would be resorted to only where a literal Senator Padilla: So that when it is
participant to the communication. 4 interpretation would be either impossible 11 or absurb intercepted or recorded, the
From the trial court's Order, the private respondent or would lead to an injustice. 12 element of secrecy would not
filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari with this Section 1 of R.A. 4200 entitled, " An Act to Prohibit appear to be material. Now,
Court, which forthwith referred the case to the Court and Penalized Wire Tapping and Other Related suppose, Your Honor, the recording
of Appeals in a Resolution (by the First Division) of Violations of Private Communication and Other is not made by all the parties but by
June 19, 1989. Purposes," provides: some parties and involved not
On February 9, 1990, respondent Court of Appeals Sec. 1. It shall be unlawfull for any criminal cases that would be
promulgated its assailed Decision declaring the trial person, not being authorized by all mentioned under section 3 but
court's order of May 3, 1989 null and void, and the parties to any private would cover, for example civil
holding that: communication or spoken word, to cases or special proceedings
[T]he allegations sufficiently tap any wire or cable, or by using whereby a recording is made not
constitute an offense punishable any other device or arrangement, to necessarily by all the parties but
under Section 1 of R.A. 4200. In secretly overhear, intercept, or perhaps by some in an effort to
thus quashing the information record such communication or show the intent of the parties
based on the ground that the facts spoken word by using a device because the actuation of the parties
alleged do not constitute an commonly known as a dictaphone prior, simultaneous even
offense, the respondent judge acted or dictagraph or detectaphone or subsequent to the contract or the act
in grave abuse of discretion walkie-talkie or tape recorder, or may be indicative of their intention.
correctible by certiorari. 5 however otherwise described. Suppose there is such a recording,
Consequently, on February 21, 1990, petitioner filed The aforestated provision clearly and unequivocally would you say, Your Honor, that
a Motion for Reconsideration which respondent makes it illegal for any person, not authorized by all the intention is to cover it within
Court of Appeals denied in its Resolution 6 dated June the parties to any private communication to secretly the purview of this bill or outside?
19, 1990. Hence, the instant petition. record such communication by means of a tape
Senator Tañada: That is covered by damaging statements against his an individual made a secret recording of a private
the purview of this bill, Your own interest, well, he cannot communication by means of a tape recorder would
Honor. complain any more. But if you are suffice to constitute an offense under Section 1 of
Senator Padilla: Even if the record going to take a recording of the R.A. 4200. As the Solicitor General pointed out in his
should be used not in the observations and remarks of a COMMENT before the respondent court: "Nowhere
prosecution of offense but as person without him knowing that it (in the said law) is it required that before one can be
evidence to be used in Civil Cases is being taped or recorded, without regarded as a violator, the nature of the conversation,
or special proceedings? him knowing that what is being as well as its communication to a third person should
Senator Tañada: That is right. This recorded may be used against him, be professed." 14
is a complete ban on tape recorded I think it is unfair. Finally, petitioner's contention that the phrase
conversations taken without the xxx xxx xxx "private communication" in Section 1 of R.A. 4200
authorization of all the parties. (Congression Record, Vol. III, No. does not include "private conversations" narrows the
Senator Padilla: Now, would that 31, p. 584, March 12, 1964) ordinary meaning of the word "communication" to a
be reasonable, your Honor? Senator Diokno: Do you point of absurdity. The word communicate comes
Senator Tañada: I believe it is understand, Mr. Senator, that under from the latin word communicare, meaning "to share
reasonable because it is not Section 1 of the bill as now or to impart." In its ordinary signification,
sporting to record the observation worded, if a party secretly records communication connotes the act of sharing or
of one without his knowing it and a public speech, he would be imparting signification, communication connotes the
then using it against him. It is not penalized under Section 1? Because act of sharing or imparting, as in a conversation, 15 or
fair, it is not sportsmanlike. If the the speech is public, but the signifies the "process by which meanings or thoughts
purpose; Your honor, is to record recording is done secretly. are shared between individuals through a common
the intention of the parties. I Senator Tañada: Well, that system of symbols (as language signs or
believe that all the parties should particular aspect is not gestures)" 16 These definitions are broad enough to
know that the observations are contemplated by the bill. It is the include verbal or non-verbal, written or expressive
being recorded. communication between one person communications of "meanings or thoughts" which are
Senator Padilla: This might reduce and another person — not between likely to include the emotionally-charged exchange,
the utility of recorders. a speaker and a public. on February 22, 1988, between petitioner and private
Senator Tañada: Well no. For xxx xxx xxx respondent, in the privacy of the latter's office. Any
example, I was to say that in (Congressional Record, Vol. III, doubts about the legislative body's meaning of the
meetings of the board of directors No. 33, p. 626, March 12, 1964) phrase "private communication" are, furthermore, put
where a tape recording is taken, xxx xxx xxx to rest by the fact that the terms "conversation" and
there is no objection to this if all The unambiguity of the express words of the "communication" were interchangeably used by
the parties know. It is but fair that provision, taken together with the above-quoted Senator Tañada in his Explanatory Note to the bill
the people whose remarks and deliberations from the Congressional Record, quoted below:
observations are being made should therefore plainly supports the view held by the It has been said that innocent
know that the observations are respondent court that the provision seeks to penalize people have nothing to fear from
being recorded. even those privy to the private communications. their conversations being
Senator Padilla: Now, I can Where the law makes no distinctions, one does not overheard. But this statement
understand. distinguish. ignores the usual nature
Senator Tañada: That is why when Second, the nature of the conversations is immaterial of conversations as well the
we take statements of persons, we to a violation of the statute. The substance of the undeniable fact that most, if not all,
say: "Please be informed that same need not be specifically alleged in the civilized people have some aspects
whatever you say here may be used information. What R.A. 4200 penalizes are the acts of of their lives they do not wish to
against you." That is fairness and secretly overhearing, intercepting or expose. Free conversations are
that is what we demand. Now, in recording private communications by means of the often characterized by
spite of that warning, he makes devices enumerated therein. The mere allegation that exaggerations, obscenity, agreeable
falsehoods, and the expression of
anti-social desires of views not
intended to be taken seriously. The
right to the privacy of
communication, among others, has
expressly been assured by our
Constitution. Needless to state here,
the framers of our Constitution
must have recognized the nature
of conversations between
individuals and the significance of
man's spiritual nature, of his
feelings and of his intellect. They
must have known that part of the
pleasures and satisfactions of life
are to be found in the unaudited,
and free exchange
of communication between
individuals — free from every
unjustifiable intrusion by whatever
means. 17
In Gaanan vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 18 a case
which dealt with the issue of telephone wiretapping,
we held that the use of a telephone extension for the
purpose of overhearing a private conversation
without authorization did not violate R.A. 4200
because a telephone extension devise was neither
among those "device(s) or arrangement(s)"
enumerated therein, 19 following the principle that
"penal statutes must be construed strictly in favor of
the accused." 20 The instant case turns on a different
note, because the applicable facts and circumstances
pointing to a violation of R.A. 4200 suffer from no
ambiguity, and the statute itself explicitly mentions
the unauthorized "recording" of private
communications with the use of tape-recorders as
among the acts punishable.
WHEREFORE, because the law, as applied to the
case at bench is clear and unambiguous and leaves us
with no discretion, the instant petition is hereby
DENIED. The decision appealed from is
AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines entitled to the benefits of he said Amnesty against persons aiding in the war effort of
SUPREME COURT Proclamation, on the ground that inasmuch as neither the enemy, and committed during the period
Manila Barrioquinto nor Jimenez have admitted having from December 8, 1941 to the date when
EN BANC committed the offense, because Barrioquinto alleged each particular area of the Philippines was
G.R. No. L-1278 January 21, 1949 that it was Hipolito Tolentino who shot and killed the actually liberated from the enemy control
LORETO BARRIOQUINTO and NORBERTO victim, they cannot invoke the benefits of amnesty. and occupation. This amnesty shall not
JIMENEZ, petitioners, The Amnesty Proclamation of September 7, 1946, apply to crimes against chastity or to acts
vs. issued by the President with the concurrence of committed from purely personal motives.
ENRIQUE A. FERNANDEZ, ANTONIO Congress of the Philippines, reads in part as follows: It is further proclaimed and declared that in
BELMONTE and FELICISIMO OCAMPO, as WHEREAS, since the inception of the war order to determine who among those against
Commissioners of the Fourteenth Guerrilla until the liberation of the different areas whom charges have been filed before the
Amnesty Commission, respondents. comprising the territory of the Philippines, courts of the Philippines or against whom
Roseller T. Lim for petitioners. volunteer armed forces of Filipinos and for charges may be filed in the future, come
Antonio Belmonte for respondents. of other nationalities operated as guerrillas within the terms of this amnesty, Guerrilla
FERIA, J.: and other patriotic individuals and groups Amnesty Commissions, simultaneously to
This is a special action of mandamus instituted by the pursued activities in opposition to the forces be established , shall examine the facts and
petitioners against the respondents who composed the and agents of the Japanese Empire in the circumstance surrounding each case and, if
14th Guerrilla Amnesty Commission, to compel the invasion and occupation of the Philippines; necessary, conduct summary hearings of
latter to act and decide whether or not the petitioners WHEREAS, members of such forces, in witnesses both for the complainant and the
are entitled to the benefits of amnesty. their determined efforts to resist the enemy, accused. These Commissions shall decided
Petitioners Norberto Jimenez and Loreto and to bring about his ultimate defeat, each case and, upon finding that it falls
Barrioquinto were charged with the crime of murder. committed acts penalized under the Revised within the terms of this proclamation, the
As the latter had not yet been arrested the case Penal Code; Commissions shall so declare and this
proceeded against the former, and after trial Court of WHEREAS, charges have been presented in amnesty shall immediately be effective as to
First Instance of Zamboanga sentenced Jimenez to the courts against many members of these the accused, who shall forthwith be released
life imprisonment. Before the period for perfecting an resistance forces, for such acts; or discharged.
appeal had expired, the defendant Jimenez became WHEREAS, the fact that such acts were The theory of the respondents, supported by the
aware of the Proclamation No. 8, dated September 7, committed in furtherance of the resistance to dissenting opinion, is predicated on a wrong
1946, which grants amnesty in favor of all persons the enemy is not a valid defense under the conception of the nature or character of an amnesty.
who may be charged with an act penalized under the laws of the Philippines; Amnesty must be distinguished from pardon.
Revised Penal Code in furtherance of the resistance WHEREAS, the persons so accused should Pardon is granted by the Chief Executive and as such
to the enemy or against persons aiding in the war not be regarded as criminals but rather as it is a private act which must be pleaded and proved
efforts of the enemy, and committed during the patriots and heroes who have rendered by the person pardoned, because the courts take no
period from December 8, 1941, to the date when invaluable service to the nation; and notice thereof; while amnesty by Proclamation of the
particular area of the Philippines where the offense WHEREAS, it is desirable that without the Chief Executive with the concurrence of Congress,
was actually committed was liberated from enemy least possible delay, these persons be freed and it is a public act of which the courts should take
control and occupation, and said Jimenez decided to form the indignity and the jeopardy to which judicial notice. Pardon is granted to one after
submit his case to the Guerrilla Amnesty they are now being subjected; conviction; while amnesty is granted to classes of
Commission presided by the respondents herein, and NOW, THEREFORE, I Manuel Roxas, persons or communities who may be guilty of
the other petitioner Loreto Barrioquinto, who had President of the Philippines in accordance political offenses, generally before or after the
then been already apprehended, did the same. with the provisions of Article VII, section institution of the criminal prosecution and sometimes
After a preliminary hearing had started, the Amnesty 10, paragraph 6 of the Constitution, do after conviction. Pardon looks forward and relieves
Commission, prescribed by the respondents, issued hereby declare and proclaim an amnesty inn the offender from the consequences of an offense of
on January 9, 1947, an order returning the cases of favor of al persons who committed any act which he has been convicted, that is, it abolished or
the petitioners to the Court of First Instance of penalized under the Revised Penal Code in forgives the punishment, and for that reason it does
Zamboanga, without deciding whether or not they are furtherance of the resistance to the enemy or ""nor work the restoration of the rights to hold public
office, or the right of suffrage, unless such rights be Commissions created thereby should take notice of colored by the interest he may have to suit his
expressly restored by the terms of the pardon," and it the terms of said Proclamation and apply the benefits defense or the purpose for which he intends to
"in no case exempts the culprit from the payment of granted therein to cases coming within their province achieve with such declaration. Hence it does not
the civil indemnity imposed upon him by the or jurisdiction, whether pleaded or claimed by the stand to reason and logic to say, as the dissenting
sentence" article 36, Revised Penal Code). while person charged with such offenses or not, if the opinion avers, that unless the defendant admits at the
amnesty looks backward and abolishes and puts into evidence presented show that the accused is entitled investigation or hearing having committed the
oblivion the offense itself, it so overlooks and to said benefits. offense with which he is charged, and states that he
obliterates the offense with which he is charged that The right to the benefits of amnesty, once established did it in furtherance of the resistance to the enemy,
the person released by amnesty stands before the law by the evidence presented either by the complainant and not for purely personal motive, it is impossible
precisely as though he had committed no offense. or prosecution, or by the defense, can not be waived, for the court of Commission to verify the motive for
(section 10[6], Article VII, Philippine Constitution; because it is of public interest that a person who is the commission of the offense, because only the
State vs. Blalock, 62 N.C., 242, 247; In re Briggs, regarded by the Amnesty Proclamation which has the accused could explain of the offense, because only
135 N.C., 118; 47 S.E. 402., 403; Ex parte Law, 35 force of a law, not only as innocent, for he stands in the accused could explain his belief and intention or
GA., 285, 296; State ex rel Anheuser—Busch the eyes of the law as if he had never committed any the motive of committing the offense.
Brewing Ass'n. vs. Eby, 170 Mo., 497; 71 S.W 52, punishable offense because of the amnesty, but as a There is no necessity for an accused to admit his
61; Burdick vs United States, N.Y., 35 S. Ct., 267; patriot or hero, can not be punishment as a criminal. responsibility for the commission of a criminal act
271; 236 U.S., 79; 59 Law. ed., 476.) Just as the courts of justice can not convict a person before a court of Amnesty Commission may
In view of the foregoing, we are of the opinion and so who, according to the evidence, has committed an act investigate and extend or not to him the benefits of
hold that, in order to entitle a person to the benefits of not punishable by law, although he confesses being amnesty. The fact that he pleads not guilty or that he
the Amnesty Proclamation of September 7, 1946, it is guilty thereof, so also and a fortiori they can not has not committed the act with which he is charged,
not necessary that he should, as a condition precedent convict a person considered by law not a criminal, does not necessarily prove that he is not guilty
or sine qua non, admit having committed the criminal but as a patriot and hero, for having rendered thereof. Notwithstanding his denial, the evidence for
act or offense with which he is charged and allege the invaluable services to the nation inn committing such the prosecution or complainant may show the
amnesty as a defense; it is sufficient that the evidence an act. contrary, as it is generally the case in criminal
either of the complainant or the accused, shows that While it is true that the evidence must show that the proceedings, and what should in such a case be
the offense committed comes within the terms of said offense charged was against chastity and was determined is whether or not the offense committed
Amnesty Proclamation. Hence, it is not correct to say committed in furtherance of the resistance against the is of political character. The plea of not having
that "invocation of the benefits of amnesty is in the enemy, for otherwise, it is to be naturally presumed committed the offense made by an accused simply
nature of a plea of confession and avoidance." that is has been committed for purely personal means that he can not be convicted of the offense
Although the accused does not confess the imputation motive, it is nonetheless true that though the motive charged because he is not guilty thereof, and, even if
against him, he may be declared by the courts or the as a mental impulse is state of mind or subjective, it the evidence would show that he is, because he has
Amnesty Commissions entitled to the benefits. For, need not be testified to be the defendant himself at committed it in furtherance of the resistance to the
whether or not he admits or confesses having his arraignment or hearing of the case. Generally the enemy or against persons a ding in the war efforts of
committed the offense with which he is charged, the motive for the commission of an offense is the enemy, and not for purely political motives.
Commissions should, if necessary or requested by the established by the testimony of witnesses on the acts According to Administrative Order No. 11 of
interested party, conduct summary hearing of the or statements of the accused before or immediately October 2, 1946, creating the Amnesty Commissions,
witnesses both for the complainants and the accused, after the commission of the offense, deeds or words issued by the President of the Philippines, cases
on whether he has committed the offense in hat may express it or from which his motive or pending in the Courts of First Instance of the
furtherance of the resistance to the enemy, or against reason for committing it may be inferred. The province in which the accused claims the benefits of
persons aiding in the war efforts of the enemy, and statement of testimony of a defendant at the time of Amnesty Proclamation, and cases already decided by
decide whether he is entitled to the benefits of arraignment or the hearing of the case about said said courts but not yet elevated on appeal to the
amnesty and to be "regarded as a patriot or hero who motive, can not generally be considered and relied appellate courts, shall be passed upon and decided by
have rendered invaluable services to the nation,," or on, specially if there is evidence to the contrary, as the respective Amnesty Commission, and cases
not, in accordance with the terms of the Amnesty the true expression of the reason o motive he had at pending appeal shall be passed upon by the Seventh
Proclamation. since the Amnesty Proclamation is a the time of committing the offense. Because such Amnesty Commission. Under the theory of the
public act, the courts as well as the Amnesty statements or testimony may be an afterthought or respondents and the writer oft he dissenting opinion,
the Commissions should refuse to comply with the or against persons aiding in the war efforts of the Commission only the following elements are
directive of said Administrative Order, because is enemy. essential: First, that he is charged or may be charged
almost all cases pending in the Court of First Wherefore, the respondents are hereby ordered to with ab offense penalized under the Revised Penal
Instance, and all those pending appeal form the immediately proceed to hear and decide the Code, except those against chastity or for purely
sentence of said courts, the defendants must not have application for amnesty of petitioners Barrioquinto personal motives; second, that he committed the
pleaded guilty or admitted having committed the and Jimenez, unless amnesty of petitioners offense in furtherance of the resistance to the enemy;
offense charged for otherwise, they would not or Barrioquinto and Jimenez, unless the courts have in and third, that it was committed during the period
could not have appealed from the judgment of the the meantime already decided, expressly and finally, from December 8, 1941, to the date when the area
Courts of First Instance. To hold that a Amnesty the question whether or not they are entitled to the where the offense was committed was actually
Commission should not proceed to the investigation benefits of the Amnesty Proclamation No. 8 of liberated from enemy control and occupation.
and act and decide whether the offense with which an September 7, 1946. So ordered. If these three elements are present in a case brought
accused was charged comes within the Amnesty Moran, C. J., Paras, Bengzon, and Briones, before a Guerrillas Amnesty Commission, the latter
Proclamation if he does not admit or confess having JJ., concur. cannot refuse to hear and decide it under the
committed it would be to defeat the purpose for proclamation. There is nothing in the proclamation to
which the Amnesty Proclamation was issued and the even hint that the applicant for amnesty must first
Amnesty Commission were established. If the courts Separate Opinions admit having executed the acts constituting the
have to proceed to the trail or hearing of a case and PERFECTO, J., concurring: offense with which he is charged or be charged.
decide whether the offense committed by the An information for the crime of murder was filed Upon the facts in this case, petitioners are entitled to
defendant comes within the terms of the Amnesty against petitioners with the Court of First Instance of have their applications for amnesty heard and decided
Proclamation although the defendant has plead not Zamboanga. Because Barrioquinto was then at large, by respondent 14th Guerrilla Amnesty Commission.
guilty, there is no reason why the Amnesty the information was dismissed and a separate With the revocation of its order of January 9, 1947,
Commissions can not do so. Where a defendant to criminal case was instituted against him. Jimenez was respondent 14th Guerrilla Amnesty Commission is
admit or confess having committed the offense or tried with other accused and sentenced to life ordered to immediately proceed to hear and decide
being responsible therefor before he can invoke the imprisonment. Within the time for appeal, Jimenez the applications for amnesty of petitioners
benefit of amnesty, as there is no law which makes became aware of Proclamation No. 8, date September Barrioquinto and Jimenez.
such admission or confession not admissible as 7, 1946, granting amnesty to all persons who have
evidence against him in the courts of justices in case committed offenses in furtherance of the resistance
the Amnesty Commission finds that the offense does against the Japanese, and decided to submit his case
not come within the terms of the Amnesty to the 14th Guerrilla Amnesty Commission.
Proclamation, nobody or few would take the risk of Barrioquinto, having been apprehended, did the
submitting their case to said Commission. same.
Besides, in the present case, the allegation of Loreto After the preliminary hearing had started, the
Barrioquinto that the offended party or victim was Commission issued on January 9, 1947, an order for
shot and killed by Agapito Hipolito , does not the return of the cases of petitioners to the Court of
necessarily bar the respondents from finding, after First Instance of Zamboanga, without deciding
the summary hearing of the witnesses for the whether or not they are entitled to amnesty, because
complaints and the accused, directed in the said Barrioquinto sated in his testimony that it was
Amnesty Proclamation and Administrative Order No. Hipolito Tolentino who fired at and killed the
11, that the petitioners are responsible for the killing offended party. The Commission issued the order
of the victim, either as principals by cooperation, upon the thesis that, for any person to invoke the
inducement or conspiration, or as accessories before benefits of the Amnesty Proclamation, it is required
as well as after the fact, but that they are entitled to that he should first admit having committed the
the benefits of amnesty, because they were members offensive act for which he is prosecuted.
of the same group of guerrilleros who killed the The next of the Amnesty Proclamation fails to
victim in furtherance of the resistance to the enemy support the thesis. To entitle a person to have his case
heard and decided by a Guerrilla Amnesty
Republic of the Philippines The facts of the case cover three generations. The Tanza, Cavite. The last installment, however, was
SUPREME COURT propositus, Margarita Torres, during the Spanish paid on December 17, 1936, or three (3) years after
Manila regime, was married to Claro Santillan. Vicente and his death.
FIRST DIVISION Antonina were begotten of this union. Claro died On August 25, 1933, twenty (20) days before his
G.R. No. L-37420 July 31, 1984 leaving Margarita a widow. Antonina married and death, Leon Arbole sold and transferred in a notarial
MACARIA A. TORRES, petitioner, had six children, namely: Alfredo, Salud (married to deed all his rights and interest to the one-half (1/2)
vs. Baldomero Buenaventura), Demetria (married to portion of Lot No. 551 in favor of petitioner, for the
COURT OF APPEALS, VICENTE SANTILLAN, Leonardo Quinto), Adelina (married to Cesario sum of P300.00. 3
ALFREDO NARCISO, TOMAS NARCISO, Punzalan), Tomas and Amado all surnamed Narciso, On June 6, 1953, Vicente Santillan executed an
AMADO NARCISO, SALUD NARCISO, who, together with Vicente Santillan, are the private Affidavit claiming possession of Lot No. 551 and
DEMETRIA NARCISO and ADELINA respondents. Antonina died before the institution of asking for the issuance of title in his name, which he
NARCISO, respondents. the cases while Vicente died on June 4, filed with the Bureau of Lands. Based thereon, the
G.R. No. L-37421 July 31, 1984 1957, 2 during the pendency of the cases in the Trial Bureau of Lands issued the corresponding patent in
MACARIA A. TORRES, petitioner, Courts, without progeny . the name of the legal heirs of Margarita Torres.
vs. After the death of her husband, Margarita Torres Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-6804 was
COURT OF APPEALS, VICENTE SANTILLAN, cohabited with Leon Arvisu Arbole, without benefit eventually issued by the Register of Deeds of Cavite
ALFREDO NARCISO, SALUD NARCISO, of marriage. Out of their cohabitation, petitioner on November 7, 1957, also in the name of said heirs.
BALDOMERO BUENAVENTURA, DEMETRIA Macaria Torres (later married to Francisco Bautista) On June 3, 1954, private respondents filed a
NARCISO, LEONARDO QUINTO, ADELINA was born on June 20, 1898, and baptized on June 26, complaint against petitioner for Forcible Entry, with
NARCISO, CESARIO PUNZALAN, TOMAS 1898. In a Certificate of Baptism issued by the Parish the Justice of the Peace Court of Tanza, Cavite,
NARCISO and AMADO NARCISO, respondents. Priest of Tanza, Cavite, Leon Arvisu Arbole and alleging that petitioner had entered a portion of Lot
Juan R. Liwag for petitioner. Margarita Torres were named as father and mother of No. 551 without their consent, constructed a house.
Cesar Nocon for respondents. petitioner whose name was listed as Macaria Arvisu", and refused to vacate upon demand. For her part,
(Exhibit "C" Another Baptismal Certificate, however, petitioner claimed that she is a co-owner of the lot in
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J.: listed her name as Macaria Torres, while her father's question, being one of the daughters of Margarita
This Petition for Review on Certiorari, treated as a name was left blank (Exhibit "4"). Subsequently, or Torres. The ejectment case was decided against
special civil action. 1 prays that the judgment on June 7, 1909, Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres petitioner and the latter appealed to the then Court of
rendered by the then Court of Appeals in the were married (Exhibit "A"). Petitioner lived with and First Instance of Cavite, where it was docketed as
consolidated cases, CA-G.R. NO. 34998-R entitled was reared by her parents. Margarita, the mother, Civil Case No. 5547 (Ejectment Case).
"Macaria A. Torres, plaintiff-appellee vs. Vicente died on December 20, 1931 (Exhibit "D"), while On June 8, 1954, petitioner instituted an action for
Santillan, et al., defendants-appellants",and CA-G.R. Leon, the father, passed away on September 14, 1933 partition of Lot No. 551 before the then Court of First
No. 34999-R entitled "Vicente Santillan, et al., (Exhibit " E "). Instance of Cavite, docketed as Civil Case No. 5505
plaintiffs-appellants vs. Macaria A. Bautista, et al., Lot No. 551, an urban lot with an area of 1,622 sq. (Partition Case), alleging that said lot was conjugal
defendants-appellees and the Resolution denying the ms., more or less, had been leased temporarily by the property of the spouses Margarita Torres and Leon
Motion for Reconsideration and Petition for New Government (Lease No. 17) to Margarita Torres who Arbole, and that she is their legitimated child. Private
Trial, be set aside; and that, instead, The Order of the was the actual occupant of the lot. The date of the respondents filed an Answer alleging that the lot
Court of First Instance of August 7, 1963 be lease cannot be determined with exactitude from the belonged exclusively to Margarita Torres; that they
affirmed, or, in the alternative, that the case be records. On December 13, 1910, the Government, are her only heirs, and that the complaint for partition
remanded to it for new trial. through the Director of Lands, issued to Margarita should be dismissed.
Involved in this controversy are the respective claims Torres, Sale Certificate No. 222 (Exhibit "B") over The Ejectment Case and the Partition Case were
of petitioner and private respondents over Lot No. the said lot at the price of P428.80, payable in 20 jointly tried and decided on November 20, 1958 with
551 of the Sta. Cruz de Malabon Estate (part of the annual installments of P20.00 each. The rental/s a finding that Lot No. 551 is the paraphernal property
friar lands) in Tanza, Cavite, with an area of previously paid of P17.40 was credited to the of Margarita Torres and adjudicating to private
approximately 1,622 square meters. covered by purchase price. Testimonial evidence is to the effect respondents two-thirds (2/3) of the property in equal
Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-6804 issued in the that Leon Arbole paid the installments out of his shares, and to petitioner a one-third (1/3)
name of the legal heirs of Margarita Torres. earnings as a water tender at the Bureau of Lands, portion. 4 Petitioner moved for reconsideration, which
private respondents opposed. Pending its resolution, In concluding that petitioner is a legitimated child, Demetria and Adelina, an
the Provincial Capitol of Cavite was burned, resulting the Trial Court opined: surnamed Narciso, legitimate
in the complete destruction of the records of the two It is undisputed that when Macaria children and heirs of Antonina
cases, which, however, were later partially A. Torres was born on June 20, Santillan, since Vicente Santillan is
reconstituted. 1898, her parents, Leon Arbole and already dead. The parties may
On August 7, 1963, the then Court of First Instance Margarita Torres, had the capacity make the partition among
of Cavite, Branch 1, issued an Order granting to marry each other. There was no themselves by proper instruments
reconsideration and amending the Decision of legal impediment for them to marry of conveyance, subject to
November 20, 1958. The positive portion thereof It has also been established that confirmation by the Court. In
reads as follows: Macaria A. Torres had been taken fairness, however, to the parties,
Wherefore, judgment is hereby care of, brought up and reared by each party should be alloted that
rendered in Civil Case No. .5505: her parents until they died. The portion of the lot where his or her
(1) Declaring Macaria A. Torres as certificate of baptism (Exh. "G") house has been constructed, as far
the legitimated child of the spouses also shows that Macaria Torres was as this is possible. In case the
Leon Arbole and Margarita Torres; given the family name of Arvisu, parties are unable to agree upon the
(2) Declaring that Lot No. 551 of which is also the family name of partition, the Court shall appoint
the Sta. Cruz de Malabon Estate is her father, Leon Arbole, and that three commissioners to make the
a conjugal partnership property of her father is Leon Arvisu and her partition.
the spouses Leon Arbole and mother is Margarita Torres. Such As to Civil Case No. 5547, the
Margarita Torres; being the case, Macaria A. Torres same is hereby dismissed.
(3) Adjudicating four-sixths (4/6th possessed the status of an Without costs in both cases. 8
of Lot No. 551 of S.C. de Malabon acknowledged natural child. And The Appellate Court was of the opinion that:
Estate to Macaria Torres, and two- when her parents were married on Macaria A. Torres is not a
sixths (2/6th) in equal shares to June 7, 1909, she became the legitimated daughter of Leon
Alfredo, Tomas, Amado, Salud, legitimated daughter of on Arbole Arvisu Arbole and Margarita
Demetria and Adelina, all and Margarita Torres. 6 Torres, the former not having been
surnamed Narciso, legitimate Private respondents appealed. On April 2, 1973, the legally acknowledged before or
children and heirs of the deceased then Court of Appeals 7 rendered the judgment sought after the marriage of her parents.
Antonina Santillan, since Vicente to be set aside herein, the decretal part of which As correctly pointed out by the
Santillan is already dead. The states: appellants in their brief, the fact
parties may make the partition Wherefore, judgment is hereby that she was taken cared of,
among themselves by proper rendered in Civil Case No. 5505: brought up and reared by her
instruments of conveyance, subject (1) Declaring that Macaria A. parents until they died, and that the
to confirmation by the Court. In Torres is not the legitimated child certificate of baptism (Exhibit "C")
fairness, however, to the parties, of the spouses Leon Arbole and shows that she was given the
each party should be alloted that Margarita Torres; family name of Arvisu did not
portion of the lot where his or her (2) Declaring that Lot No. 551 of bestow upon her the status of an
house has been constructed, as far the Sta Cruz de Malabon Estate is a acknowledged natural child.
as this is possible. In case the conjugal partnership property of the Under Article 121 of the old Civil
parties are unable to agree upon the spouses Leon Arbole and Margarita Code, the governing law on the
partition, the Court shall appoint Torres; and matter, children shall be considered
three commissioners to make the (3) Adjudicating one-half (1/2) of legitimated by subsequent marriage
partition. Lot No. 551 of S.C. de Malabon only when they have been
As to Civil Case No. 5547, the Estate to Macaria Torres, and the acknowledged by the parents
same is hereby dismissed. other half (1/2) in equal shares to before or after the celebration
Without costs in both cases. 5 Alfredo, Tomas, Amado, Salud, thereof, and Article 131 of the
same code provides that the she was baptized as per record on respondent, Vicente Santillan, an adverse party, after
acknowledgement of a natural child file in the Church. his death and who may have attempted to suppress it.
must be in the record of birth, in a That as a legitimized daughter she Private respondents, for their part, argued against
will or in some public document. should now be surnamed Arvisu new trial, and contended that it is not newly
Article 131 then prescribed the after her father's family name. discovered evidence which could not have been
form in which the acknowledgment Wherefore, it is respectfully produced during the trial by the exercise of due
of a natural child should be made. requested to anybody concerned diligence.
The certificate of baptism of that proper remedy be made for the The Decision of the Appellate Court was rendered by
Macaria A. Torres (Exhibit "C") is change of the surname of said a Division of three, composed of Justices Jesus Y.
not the record of birth referred to in Macaria de Torres as desired. Perez, Jose N. Leuterio and Luis B. Reyes, ponente.
Article 131. This article of the old In testimony hereof, we hereunto When the Motion for Reconsideration and New Trial
Civil Code 'requires that unless the signed out names at Tanza, Cavite, was considered, there was disagreement, possibly as
acknowledgement is made in a will this 5th day of March 1930. to whether or not new trial should be granted in
or other public document, it must respect of the sworn statement of March 5, 1930. A
be made in the record of birth, or in (Thumbmarked) (Thumbmarked) Special Division of five was then formed, composed
other words, in the civil register LEON ARVISU MARGARITA of Justices Antonio Lucero Magno S. Gatmaitan,
(Samson vs. Corrales Tan, 48 PhiL TORRES Lourdes P. San Diego, Jose N. Leuterio and Luis B.
406). 9 Signed in the prsence of: Reyes (Justice Perez having retired or having
A Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial, (Sgd.) Illegible (Sgd.) Macaria disqualified himself). In a minute resolution of
dated April 16, 1973, was filed by petitioner. In Bautista August 24, 1973, the Division of five, by a vote of
support thereof, petitioner submitted a typewritten x----------------------- three or two, denied both reconsideration and new
Sworn Statement, dated March 5, 1930, of spouses ------------------------- trial.
Leon Arvisu (Arbole) and Margarita ----x To warrant review, petitioner, has summarized her
Torres, 10 reading in full as follows: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA submission based on two assignments of error. The
SWORN STATEMENT ) first was expressed as follows:
We, Leon Arvisu and Margarita PHILIPPINE ISLANDS ) Although the Court of Appeals is
Torres husband and wife MUNICIPALITY OF TANZA ) ss correct in declaring that Macaria A.
respectively, of majority age, and PROVINCE OF CAVITE ) Torres is not the legitimated child
residents of the Municipality of Subscribed and sworn to before me of the spouses Leon Arbole and
Tanza, Province of Cavite, P.I., this 5th day of March 1930. The Margarita Torres, it has
after being duly sworn to according affiant Leon Arvisu exhibited to me overlooked to include in its
to law depose and say no cedula certificate being exempt findings of facts the admission
That Macaria de Torres is our on account of going over 60 years made by Vicente Santillan and the
legitimized daughter she being born of age and Margarita Torres having heirs of Antonina Santillan (herein
out of wedlock on the 26 th of June exhibited no cedula certificate respondents) that Macaria A.
1898 all Tanza, Cavite, but as being exempt on account of her Torres and Vicente Santillan and
stated she was legitimized by our sex. Antonina Santillan are brother and
subsequent marriage. Witness my hand and seal of office sisters with a common mother
That at the time of her birth or on the date and place aforesaid. Margarita Torres and they are the
conception, we, her parents could . Reg. No. 56 legal heirs and nearest of relatives
have married without dispensation P. No. 2 of Margarita Torres, and as a
had we desired. Book No. III Series of 1930. 11 consequence thereof, the Court of
That as natural child our aforesaid The reason given for the non-production of the Appeals had drawn an incorrect
daughter was surnamed de Torres notarial document during trial was that the same was conclusion in adjudicating the
after that of her mother's at the time only found by petitioner's daughter, Nemensia A. entire share of Margarita Torres in
Bautista, among the personal belongings of private the conjugal property solely to
Vicente Santillan and the heirs of evidence, required its formal offer. Contrary to therefore, the Sworn Statement was not newly
Antonina Santillan. (emphasis petitioner's submission, therefore there can be no discovered evidence. In our view, the document can
supplied) estoppel by extrajudicial admission made in the reasonably qualify as newly discovered evidence,
As we understand it, petitioner has conceded, with original complaint, for failure to offer it in which could not have been produced during the trial
which we concur, that, without taking account of the evidence. 14 even with the exercise of due diligence; specially if it
sworn statement of March 5, 1930, she cannot be It should be noted that in the Partition Case private really had been in the possession of Vicente
considered a legitimated child of her parents. respondents, in their Answer (parag. 4), denied the Santillan, an adverse party who, it was alleged,
Continuous possession of the status of a natural child, legitimacy of petitioner. suppressed the document.
fact of delivery by the mother, etc. will not amount to The second error attributed to the Appellate Court In the interest of judicial expediency, the new trial
automatic recognition, but an action for compulsory has been pleaded as follows: can be conducted by respondent Appellate Court,
recognition is still necessary, which action may be Also, the Court of Appeals has now empowered to do so under Section 9 of Batas
commenced only during the lifetime of the putative gravely abused its discretion when Pambansa Blg. 129.
parents, subject to certain exceptions. 12 it denied the petition for new trial, WHEREFORE, this case is hereby remanded to the
The admission adverted to appears in paragraph 3 of knowing as it does that the now Intermediate Appellate Court for new trial, and
private respondents' original complaint in the judgment is clearly erroneous in depending on its outcome, said Court shall also
Ejectment Case reading: view of the evidence which is resolve the respective participation of the parties in
the plaintiffs and the defendant offered and no amount of diligence the disputed property, inclusive of the estate of the
Macaria A. Bautista are the legal on the part of the petitioner could it deceased Vicente Santillan. No costs.
heirs and nearest of kins of be produced in court at any time SO ORDERED.
Margarita Torres, who died in before it was offered as it was
Tanza, Cavite on December 20, found from the personal belongings
1931. (Emphasis supplied). of Vicente Santillan, an adverse
The statement, according to petitioner, is an party, after his death.
admission of her legitimation and is controlling in the It is our considered opinion that new trial was
determination of her participation in the disputed warranted to prevent a possible miscarriage of
property. justice. Assuming that the genuineness and due
We are not persuaded. In the Amended Complaint execution of the Sworn Statement of March 5, 1930
filed by private respondents in the same Ejectment is established in accordance with procedural due
Case, the underlined portion was deleted so that the process, a new trial would resolve such vital
statement simply read: considerations as (1) whether or not said Sworn
That the plaintiffs are the legal Statement qualifies as the public document
heirs and nearest of kin of prescribed in Article 131 of the old Civil
Margarita Torres, who died at Code; 15 (2) whether or not it conforms to an act of
Tanza, Cavite, on December 20, acknowledgment by the parents after the celebration
1931. of their marriage as required by Article 121 of the
In virtue thereof, the Amended Complaint takes the same code; 16 and (3) whether or not petitioner's
place of the original. The latter is regarded as signature as a witness to said document was the
abandoned and ceases to perform any further function equivalent of the consent necessary for
as a pleading. The original complaint no longer forms acknowledgment of an adult person under Article 133
part of the record. 13 of that Code. 17 Affirmative answers would confer
If petitioner had desired to utilize the original upon petitioner the status of a legitimated child of her
complaint she should have offered it in evidence. parents, and would entitle her to enjoy hereditary
Having been amended, the original complaint lost its rights to her mother's estate.
character as a judicial admission, which would have Private respondents stress that since petitioner signed
required no proof, and became merely an as a witness to the document she should be
extrajudicial admission, the admissibility of which, as chargeable with knowledge of its existence, and,
Republic of the Philippines parents, who acquired it even before World War II or exhibits formally offered for admission by
SUPREME COURT and had been living thereon since then and until they plaintiff-administratrix." This is a clear contradiction
Manila died. Also disbelieved was his contention that the of the finding of the appellate court, which seems to
FIRST DIVISION subject of the sale between Peralta and Tabernilla have confused Exhibits "A," "B" and "C" with
G.R. No. 85423 May 6, 1991 was a different piece of land planted to coconut trees Exhibits "X" and "Y", the evidence mentioned in the
JOSE TABUENA, petitioner, and bounded on three sides by the Makato River. quoted transcript.
vs. Tabuena appealed to the respondent court, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court provides in Section 35
COURT OF APPEALS and EMILIANO complaining that, in arriving at its factual findings, thereof as follows:
TABERNILLA, JR., respondents. the trial court motu proprio took cognizance of Sec. 35. Offer of evidence.—The court shall
Ramon Dimen for petitioner. Exhibits "A", "B" and "C", which had been marked consider no evidence which has not been
Dionisio A. Hernandez for private respondent. by the plaintiff but never formally submitted in formally offered. The purpose for which the
evidence. The trial court also erred when, to resolve evidence is offered must be specified.
the ownership of the subject lot, it considered the The mere fact that a particular document is marked as
CRUZ, J.: proceedings in another case involving the same an exhibit does not mean it has thereby already been
The petitioner faults the decision of the trial court, as parties but a different parcel of land. offered as part of the evidence of a party. It is true
affirmed by the respondent court, for lack of basis. It The said exhibits are referred to in the pre-trial order that Exhibits "A," "B" and "C" were marked at the
is argued that the lower courts should not have taken as follows: pre-trial of the case below, but this was only for the
into account evidence not submitted by the private Plaintiff proceeded to mark the following purpose of identifying them at that time. They were
respondent in accordance with the Rules of Court. exhibits: Exh. "A", letter dated October 4, not by such marking formally offered as exhibits. As
The subject of the dispute is a parcel of residential 1921 addressed in Makato, Capiz, we said in Interpacific Transit, Inc. vs. Aviles, 3 "At
land consisting of about 440 square meters and Philippines; Exh. "A-1", paragraph 2 of the the trial on the merits, the party may decide to
situated in Poblacion, Makato, Aklan. In 1973, an letter indicating that the amount of formally offer (the exhibits) if it believes they will
action for recovery of ownership thereof was filed in P600.00—the first P300.00 and then another advance its cause, and then again it may decide not to
the Regional Trial Court of Aklan by the estate of P300.00 as interest since October 4, 1921; do so at all. In the latter event, such documents
Alfredo Tabernilla against Jose Tabuena, the herein Exh. "A-2", is paragraph 3 of the letter; Exh. cannot be considered evidence, nor can they be given
petitioner. After trial, judgment was rendered in favor "B", a Spanish document; Exh. "C", deed of any evidentiary value."
of the plaintiff and the defendant was required to conveyance filed by Tomasa Timtiman and Chief Justice Moran explained the rationale of the
vacate the disputed lot. 1 Alfredo Tabernilla in 1923; and Exh. "C-1", rule thus:
As the trial court found, the lot was sold by Juan paragraph 4 of Exh. "C". . . . The offer is necessary because it is the
Peralta, Jr. sometime in 1926 to Alfredo Tabernilla In sustaining the trial court, the respondent court held duty of a judge to rest his findings of facts
while the two were in the United States. Tabernilla that, contrary to the allegations of the appellant, the and his judgment only and strictly upon the
returned to the Philippines in 1934, and Damasa said exhibits were in fact formally submitted in evidence offered by the patties at the trial. 4
Timtiman, acting upon her son Juan's instruction, evidence as disclosed by the transcript of We did say in People vs. Napat-a 5 that even if there
conveyed the subject land to Tabernilla. At the same stenographic notes, which it quoted at length. 2 The be no formal offer of an exhibit, it may still be
time, she requested that she be allowed to stay challenged decision also upheld the use by the trial admitted against the adverse party if, first, it has been
thereon as she had been living there all her life. court of testimony given in an earlier case, to bolster duly identified by testimony duly recorded and,
Tabernilla agreed provided she paid the realty taxes its findings in the second case. second, it has itself been incorporated in the records
on the property, which she promised to do, and did. We have examined the record and find that the of the case. But we do not find that these
She remained on the said land until her death, exhibits submitted were not the above-described requirements have been satisfied in the case before
following which the petitioner, her son and half- documents but Exhibits "X" and "T" and their sub- us. The trial court said the said exhibits could be
brother of Juan Peralta, Jr., took possession thereof. markings, which were the last will and testament of validly considered because, even if they had not been
The complaint was filed when demand was made Alfredo Tabernilla and the order of probate. It is not formally offered, one of the plaintiffs witnesses,
upon Tabuena to surrender the property and he at all denied that the list of exhibits does not include Cunegunda Hernandez, testified on them at the trial
refused, claiming it as his own. Exhibits "A", "B" and "C". In fact, the trial court and was even cross-examined by the defendant's
The trial court rejected his defense that he was the categorically declared that "Exhibits "A-1, "A-2", counsel. We do not agree. Although she did testify,
absolute owner of the lot, which he inherited from his "B", "C" and "C-l," were not among those documents all she did was identify the documents. Nowhere in
her testimony can we find a recital of the contents of and "admitted as part of the record of the case then While it is true that by themselves tax
the exhibits. pending." These conditions have not been established receipts and declarations of ownership for
Thus, her interrogation on Exhibit "A" ran: here. On the contrary, the petitioner was completely taxation purposes are not incontrovertible
LEGASPI: That is this Exh. "A" about ? unaware that his testimony in Civil Case No. 1327 evidence of ownership they become strong
A The translation of the letter. was being considered by the trial court in the case evidence of ownership acquired by
Q What is the content of this Exh. "A", the then pending before it. As the petitioner puts it, the prescription when accompanied by proof of
letter of the sister of Juan Peralta to Alfredo matter was never taken up at the trial and was actual possession of the property. 9
Tabernilla? "unfairly sprung" upon him, leaving him no It is only where payment of taxes is
Court: The best evidence is the document. opportunity to counteract. accompanied by actual possession of the
Proceed. 6 The respondent court said that even assuming that the land covered by the tax declaration that such
She also did not explain the contents of the other two trial court improperly took judicial notice of the other circumstance may be material in supporting
exhibits. case, striking off all reference thereto would not be a claim of ownership. 10
The respondent court also held that the trial court fatal to the plaintiff's cause because "the said The tax receipts accompanied by actual and
committed no reversible error in taking judicial testimony was merely corroborative of other continuous possession of the subject parcels
notice of Tabuena's testimony in a case it had evidences submitted by the plaintiff." What "other of land by the respondents and their parents
previously heard which was closely connected with evidences"? The trouble with this justification is that before them for more than 30 years qualify
the case before it. It conceded that as a general rule the exhibits it intends to corroborate, to wit, Exhibits them to register title to the said subject
"courts are not authorized to take judicial notice, in "A", "B" and "C", have themselves not been formally parcels of land. 11
the adjudication of cases pending before them, of the submitted. The Court can only wonder why, if Alfredo
contents of the records of other cases, even when Considering the resultant paucity of the evidence for Tabernilla did purchase the property and
such cases have been tried or are pending in the same the private respondent, we feel that the complaint magnanimously allowed Damasa Timtiman to remain
court, and notwithstanding the fact that both cases should have been dismissed by the trial court for there, he did not at least require her to pay the realty
may have been heard or are actually pending b before failure of the plaintiff to substantiate its allegations. It taxes in his name, not hers. The explanation given by
the same judge. 7 Nevertheless, it applied the has failed to prove that the subject lot was the same the trial court is that he was not much concerned with
exception that: parcel of land sold by Juan Peralta, Jr. to Alfredo the property, being a bachelor and fond only of the
. . . in the absence of objection, and as a Tabernilla and not another property, as the petitioner three dogs he had bought from America. That is
matter of convenience to all parties, a court contends. Even assuming it was the same lot, there is specious reasoning. At best, it is pure conjecture. If
may properly treat all or any part of the no explanation for the sale thereof by Juan Peralta, he were really that unconcerned, it is curious that he
original record of a case filed in its archives Jr., who was only the son of Damasa Timtiman. should have acquired the property in the first place,
as read into the record of a case pending According to the trial court, "there is no question that even as dacion en pago. He would have demanded
before it, when, with the knowledge of the before 1934 the land in question belonged to Damasa another form of payment if he did not have the
opposing party, reference is made to it for Timtiman." Juan Peralta, Jr. could not have validly intention at all of living on the land. On the other
that purpose, by name and number or in conveyed title to property that did not belong to him hand, if he were really interested in the property, we
some other manner by which it is unless he had appropriate authorization from the do not see why he did not have it declared in his
sufficiently designated; or when the original owner. No such authorization has been presented. name when the realty taxes thereon were paid by
record of the former case or any part of it, is It is true that tax declarations are not conclusive Damasa Timtiman or why he did not object when the
actually withdrawn from the archives by the evidence of ownership, as we have held in many payments were made in her own name.
court's direction, at the request or with the cases.1âwphi1However, that rule is also not absolute In comparison, all the acts of Damasa Timtiman and
consent of the parties, and admitted as a part and yields to the accepted and well-known exception. Jose Tabuena indicate that they were the owners of
of the record of the case then pending. 8 In the case at bar, it is not even disputed that the the disputed property. Damasa Timtiman and her
It is clear, though, that this exception is applicable petitioner and his predecessors-in-interest have forebears had been in possession thereof for more
only when, "in the absence of objection," "with the possessed the disputed property since even before than fifty years and, indeed, she herself stayed there
knowledge of the opposing party," or "at the request World War II. In light of this uncontroverted fact, the until she died. 12 She paid the realty taxes thereon in
or with the consent of the parties," the case is clearly tax declarations in their name become weighty and her own name. 13 Jose Tabuena built a house of
referred to or "the original or part of the records of compelling evidence of the petitioner's ownership. As strong materials on the lot. 14 He even mortgaged the
the case are actually withdrawn from the archives" this Court has held: land to the Development Bank of the Philippines and
to two private persons who acknowledged him as the
owner. 15 These acts denote ownership and are not
consistent with the private respondent's claim that the
petitioner was only an overseer with mere possessory
rights tolerated by Tabernilla.
It is the policy of this Court to accord proper
deference to the factual findings of the courts below
and even to regard them as conclusive where there is
no showing that they have been reached arbitrarily.
The exception is where such findings do not conform
to the evidence on record and appear indeed to have
no valid basis to sustain their correctness. As in this
case.
The conclusions of the trial court were based mainly
on Exhibits "A", "B" and "C", which had not been
formally offered as evidence and therefore should
have been totally disregarded, conformably to the
Rules of Court. The trial court also erred when it
relied on the evidence submitted in Civil Case No.
1327 and took judicial notice thereof without the
consent or knowledge of the petitioner, in violation of
existing doctrine. Thus vitiated, the factual findings
here challenged are as an edifice built upon shifting
sands and should not have been sustained by the
respondent court.
Our own finding is that the private respondent, as
plaintiff in the lower court, failed to prove his claim
of ownership over the disputed property with
evidence properly cognizable under our adjudicative
laws. By contrast, there is substantial evidence
supporting the petitioner's contrary contentions that
should have persuaded the trial judge to rule in s
favor and dismiss the complaint.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The
appealed decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE,
with costs against the private respondent. It is so
ordered.
Republic of the Philippines deceased Melecio Jalagat. That the said Case No. and father of the rest. There was no denial either of
SUPREME COURT 1574, which is identical to or is the same case as the the property involved being the same and of the
Manila instant one, has already been duly and finally finality of the decsion in the previous case which
EN BANC terminated as could be clear from [an] order of this would show that appellant's claim was devoid of any
Honorable Court [dated December 6, 1965]." 1 There support in law. It would be therefore futile for the
G.R. No. L-28100 November 29, 1971 was an opposition on the part of plaintiff made on court to continue with the case as there had been such
GABRIEL BAGUIO, plaintiff-Appellant, March 26, 1966 on the ground that for prior judgment a prior judgment certainly binding on appellant. What
vs. or res judicata to suffice as a basis for dismissal it then was there for the lower court to do? Was there
TEOFILA L. VDA. DE JALAGAT, for herself and in must be apparent on the face of the complaint. It was any sense in its being engaged in what was
representation of her minor children, DOMINADOR,
then alleged that there was nothing in the complaint essentially a fruitless, endeavor as the outcome was
LEA and TEONIFE all surnamed JALAGAT;
ANABELLA JALAGAT and EMMANUEL from which such a conclusion may be inferred. Then, predictible?
JALAGAT, defendants-appellees. on September 26, 1966, came the order complained Certainly, the law would lend itself to a well-
of worded thus: "Acting on the motion to dismiss deserved reproach if the Rules of Court would
FERNANDO, J.: filed by counsel for the defendants under date of sanction such a proceeding distinguished by nothing
The specific legal question raised in this appeal from March 4, 1966, anchored on the ground that but its futility. It ought to be clear even to appellant
an order of dismissal by the Court of First Instance of plaintiff's cause of action is barred by a prior that under the circumstances, the lower court
Misamis Oriental, presided by the Hon. Benjamin K. judgement which this Court finds to be well-founded certainly could take judicial notice of the finality of a
Gorospe, one which has not as yet been the subject of as it has already dismissed plaintiff's complaint in judgment in a case that was previously pending and
a definitive ruling is whether or not on a motion to Civil Case No. 1574 against Melecio Jalagat alias thereafter decided by it. That was all that was done
dismiss on the ground of res judicata that the cause Mening Jalagat, defendants predecessor in interest by the lower court in decreeing the dismissal.
of action is barred by a prior judgment, a lower court from whom they have derived their rights, in an order Certainly such an order is not contrary to law. A
may take judicial notice of such previous case dated December 6, 1965, pursuant to Section 3 of citation from the comments of former Chief Justice
decided by him resulting in the prior judgment relied Rule 17 of the new Rules of Court, which case Moran is relevant. Thus: "Courts have also taken
upon. Judge Gorospe answered in the affirmative. So involved the same parcel of land as the one in the judicial notice of previous cases to determine whether
do we. An affirmance is thus called for. instant case, as prayed for, Civil Case No. 2639 or not the case pending is a moot one, or whether or
The case started with the complaint for the quieting should be as it is hereby [dismissed]. The Court's not a previous ruling is applicable in the case under
of title to real property filed by plaintiff, now previous dismissal of Civil Case No. 1574 has the consideration." 3
appellant, Gabriel Baguio, on February, 14, 1966. effect of an adjudication upon the merits and 2. There is another equally compelling consideration.
There was on March 7, 1966 a motion to dismiss consequently is a bar to and may be pleaded in Appellant undoubtedly had recourse to a remedy
filed by defendants, now appellees, on the ground abatement of any subsequent action against the same which under the law then in force could be availed of.
that the cause of action is barred by a prior judgment. parties over the same issues and the same subject- It would have served the cause of justice better, not to
This was the argument advanced: "The instant matter by the same plaintiff. [So ordered]" 2 Hence, mention the avoidance of needless expense on his
complaint or case, besides being clearly unfounded this appeal. part and the vexation to which appellees were
and malicious, is identical to or the same as that Civil The order of dismissal, as noted at the outset, must be subjected if he did reflect a little more on the matter.
Case No. 1574 filed by the same plaintiff and against sustained. It is in accordance with law. Then the valuable time of this Tribunal would not
Melecio alias Mening Jalagat, now deceased and 1. The sole error assigned is that a bar by prior have been frittered away on a useless find hopeless
whose legal heirs and successors in interest are the judgement cannot be raised in a motion to dismiss appeal. It has, ever been the guiding principle
very defendants in the instant complaint or Civil Case when such ground does not appear on the face of the from Alonso v. Villamor, 4 a 1910 decision, that a
No. 2639. Said Civil Case No. 1574 was filed on complaint. What immediately calls attention in the litigant should not be allowed to worship at the altar
October 7, 1958 for 'Recovery of Possession and rather sketchy and in conclusive discussion in the six- of technicality. That is not to dispense justice
Ownership of Real Estate' and entitled Gabriel page brief of applicant is that there was no denial as according to law. Parties, and much more so their
Baguio, plantiff, versus Melecio alias Mening to the truth of the statement made by Judge Gorospe counsel, should ever keep such an imperative of our
Jalagat, defendant, involving practically the same that there was a previous dismissal the same legal system in mind. 5
property and practically the same parties as plaintiff's complaint against the predecessor-in- WHEREFORE, the order of dismissal of September
defendants are the widow and the children, interest of defendants, who as expressly admitted by 26, 1966 is hereby affirmed. With costs against
respectively, thus the legal or forced heirs of the appellant was the deceased husband of one of them plaintiff.
THIRD DIVISION In its Corporate Annual Income "Without waiting for respondent
[G.R. No. 122480. April 12, 2000] Tax Return for the year 1989, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue
BPI-FAMILY SAVINGS BANK, Inc., petitioner, following items are reflected: to act on the claim for refund,
vs. COURT OF APPEALS, COURT OF TAX Income.............................P1,017,93 petitioner filed a petition for review
APPEALS and the COMMISSIONER OF 1,831.00 with respondent Court of Tax
INTERNAL REVENUE, respondents. Deductions........................P1,026,2 Appeals, seeking the refund of the
DECISION 18,791.00 amount of P112,491.00.
PANGANIBAN, J.: Net Income "The respondent Court of Tax
If the State expects its taxpayers to observe fairness (Loss).................(P8,286,960.00) Appeals dismissed petitioners
and honesty in paying their taxes, so must it apply the Taxable Income petition on the ground that
same standard against itself in refunding excess (Loss).............P8,286,960.00 petitioner failed to present as
payments. When it is undisputed that a taxpayer is Less: evidence its Corporate Annual
entitled to a refund, the State should not invoke 1988 Tax Income Tax Return for 1990 to
technicalities to keep money not belonging to it. No Credit...............P establish the fact that petitioner had
one, not even the State, should enrich oneself at the 185,001.00 not yet credited the amount of
expense of another. 1989 Tax P297,492.00 (inclusive of the
Credit...............P amount P112,491.00 which is the
The Case 112,491.00 subject of the present controversy)
Before us is a Petition for Review assailing the TOTAL to its 1990 income tax liability.
March 31, 1995 Decision of the Court of AMOUNT......................P297,492. "Petitioner filed a motion for
Appeals[1] (CA) in CA-GR SP No. 34240, which 00 reconsideration, however, the same
affirmed the December 24, 1993 Decision[2] of the REFUNDABLE was denied by respondent court in
Court of Tax Appeals (CTA). The CA disposed as "It appears from the foregoing 1989 its Resolution dated May 6,
follows: Income Tax Return that petitioner 1994."[6]
"WHEREFORE, foregoing had a total refundable amount of As earlier noted, the CA affirmed the CTA. Hence,
premises considered, the petition is P297,492 inclusive of the this Petition.[7]
hereby DISMISSED for lack of P112,491.00 being claimed as tax
merit."[3] refund in the present case. Ruling of the Court of Appeals
On the other hand, the dispositive portion of the CTA However, petitioner declared in the In affirming the CTA, the Court of Appeals ruled as
Decision affirmed by the CA reads as follows: same 1989 Income Tax Return that follows:
"WHEREFORE, in [view of] all the said total refundable amount of "It is incumbent upon the petitioner
the foregoing, Petitioners claim for P297,492.00 will be applied as tax to show proof that it has not
refund is hereby DENIED and this credit to the succeeding taxable credited to its 1990 Annual income
Petition for Review is DISMISSED year. Tax Return, the amount of
for lack of merit."[4] "On October 11, 1990, petitioner P297,492.00 (including
Also assailed is the November 8, 1995 CA filed a written claim for refund in P112,491.00), so as to refute its
Resolution[5] denying reconsideration. the amount of P112,491.00 with the previous declaration in the 1989
respondent Commissioner of Income Tax Return that the said
The Facts Internal Revenue alleging that it amount will be applied as a tax
The facts of this case were summarized by the CA in did not apply the 1989 refundable credit in the succeeding year of
this wise: amount of P297,492.00 (including 1990. Having failed to submit such
"This case involves a claim for tax P112,491.00) to its 1990 Annual requirement, there is no basis to
refund in the amount Income Tax Return or other tax grant the claim for refund. x x x
of P112,491.00 representing liabilities due to the alleged "Tax refunds are in the nature of
petitioners tax withheld for the year business losses it incurred for the tax exemptions. As such, they are
1989. same year. regarded as in derogation of
sovereign authority and to be because it did not present its 1990 Return, which Return. In the same vein, the CA did not pass upon
construed strictissimi juris against would have shown that the amount in dispute was not that significant document.
the person or entity claiming the applied as a tax credit. Hence, the CA concluded that True, strict procedural rules generally frown upon the
exemption. In other words, the petitioner was not entitled to a tax refund. submission of the Return after the trial. The law
burden of proof rests upon the We disagree with the Court of Appeals. As a rule, the creating the Court of Tax Appeals, however,
taxpayer to establish by sufficient factual findings of the appellate court are binding on specifically provides that proceedings before it "shall
and competent evidence its this Court. This rule, however, does not apply not be governed strictly by the technical rules of
entitlement to the claim for where, inter alia, the judgment is premised on a evidence."[13] The paramount consideration remains
refund."[8] misapprehension of facts, or when the appellate court the ascertainment of truth. Verily, the quest for
failed to notice certain relevant facts which if orderly presentation of issues is not an absolute. It
Issue considered would justify a different should not bar courts from considering undisputed
In their Memorandum, respondents identify the issue conclusion.[11] This case is one such exception. facts to arrive at a just determination of a
in this wise: In the first place, petitioner presented evidence to controversy.
"The sole issue to be resolved is prove its claim that it did not apply the amount as a In the present case, the Return attached to the Motion
whether or not petitioner is entitled tax credit. During the trial before the CTA, Ms. for Reconsideration clearly showed that petitioner
to the refund of P112,491.00, Yolanda Esmundo, the manager of petitioners suffered a net loss in 1990. Contrary to the holding of
representing excess creditable accounting department, testified to this fact. It the CA and the CTA, petitioner could not have
withholding tax paid for the taxable likewise presented its claim for refund and a applied the amount as a tax credit. In failing to
year 1989."[9] certification issued by Mr. Gil Lopez, petitioners consider the said Return, as well as the other
vice-president, stating that the amount of P112,491 documentary evidence presented during the trial, the
The Courts Ruling "has not been and/or will not be automatically appellate court committed a reversible error.
The Petition is meritorious. credited/offset against any succeeding quarters It should be stressed that the rationale of the rules of
income tax liabilities for the rest of the calendar year procedure is to secure a just determination of every
Main Issue: Petitioner Entitled to Refund ending December 31, 1990." Also presented were the action. They are tools designed to facilitate the
It is undisputed that petitioner had excess quarterly returns for the first two quarters of 1990. attainment of justice.[14] But there can be no just
withholding taxes for the year 1989 and was thus The Bureau of Internal Revenue, for its part, failed to determination of the present action if we ignore, on
entitled to a refund amounting to P112,491. Pursuant controvert petitioners claim. In fact, it presented no grounds of strict technicality, the Return submitted
to Section 69[10] of the 1986 Tax Code which states evidence at all. Because it ought to know the tax before the CTA and even before this Court.[15] To
that a corporation entitled to a refund may opt either records of all taxpayers, the CIR could have easily repeat, the undisputed fact is that petitioner suffered a
(1) to obtain such refund or (2) to credit said amount disproved petitioners claim. To repeat, it did not do net loss in 1990; accordingly, it incurred no tax
for the succeeding taxable year, petitioner indicated so. liability to which the tax credit could be applied.
in its 1989 Income Tax Return that it would apply the More important, a copy of the Final Adjustment Consequently, there is no reason for the BIR and this
said amount as a tax credit for the succeeding taxable Return for 1990 was attached to petitioners Motion Court to withhold the tax refund which rightfully
year, 1990. Subsequently, petitioner informed the for Reconsideration filed before the CTA.[12] A final belongs to the petitioner.
Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) that it would claim adjustment return shows whether a corporation Public respondents maintain that what was attached
the amount as a tax refund, instead of applying it as a incurred a loss or gained a profit during the taxable to petitioners Motion for Reconsideration was not the
tax credit. When no action from the BIR was year. In this case, that Return clearly showed that final adjustment Return, but petitioners first two
forthcoming, petitioner filed its claim with the Court petitioner incurred P52,480,173 as net loss in 1990. quarterly returns for 1990.[16] This allegation is
of Tax Appeals. Clearly, it could not have applied the amount in wrong. An examination of the records shows that the
The CTA and the CA, however, denied the claim for dispute as a tax credit. 1990 Final Adjustment Return was attached to the
tax refund. Since petitioner declared in its 1989 Again, the BIR did not controvert the veracity of the Motion for Reconsideration. On the other hand, the
Income Tax Return that it would apply the excess said return. It did not even file an opposition to two quarterly returns for 1990 mentioned by
withholding tax as a tax credit for the following year, petitioners Motion and the 1990 Final Adjustment respondent were in fact attached to the Petition for
the Tax Court held that petitioner was presumed to Return attached thereto. In denying the Motion for Review filed before the CTA. Indeed, to rebut
have done so. The CTA and the CA ruled that Reconsideration, however, the CTA ignored the said respondents specific contention, petitioner submitted
petitioner failed to overcome this presumption before us its Surrejoinder, to which was attached the
Motion for Reconsideration and Exhibit "A" thereof, Under the facts of this case, we hold that petitioner
the Final Adjustment Return for 1990.[17] has established its claim. Petitioner may have failed
CTA Case No. 4897 to strictly comply with the rules of procedure; it may
Petitioner also calls the attention of this Court, as it have even been negligent. These circumstances,
had done before the CTA, to a Decision rendered by however, should not compel the Court to disregard
the Tax Court in CTA Case No. 4897, involving its this cold, undisputed fact: that petitioner suffered a
claim for refund for the year 1990. In that case, the net loss in 1990, and that it could not have applied
Tax Court held that "petitioner suffered a net loss for the amount claimed as tax credits.
the taxable year 1990 x x x."[18] Respondent, Substantial justice, equity and fair play are on the
however, urges this Court not to take judicial notice side of petitioner. Technicalities and legalisms,
of the said case.[19] however exalted, should not be misused by the
As a rule, "courts are not authorized to take judicial government to keep money not belonging to it and
notice of the contents of the records of other cases, thereby enrich itself at the expense of its law-abiding
even when such cases have been tried or are pending citizens. If the State expects its taxpayers to observe
in the same court, and notwithstanding the fact that fairness and honesty in paying their taxes, so must it
both cases may have been heard or are actually apply the same standard against itself in refunding
pending before the same judge." [20] excess payments of such taxes. Indeed, the State must
Be that as it may, Section 2, Rule 129 provides that lead by its own example of honor, dignity and
courts may take judicial notice of matters ought to be uprightness.
known to judges because of their judicial functions. WHEREFORE, the Petition is
In this case, the Court notes that a copy of the hereby GRANTED and the assailed Decision and
Decision in CTA Case No. 4897 was attached to the Resolution of the Court of
Petition for Review filed before this Court. Appeals REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
Significantly, respondents do not claim at all that the Commissioner of Internal Revenue is ordered to
said Decision was fraudulent or nonexistent. Indeed, refund to petitioner the amount of P112,491 as excess
they do not even dispute the contents of the said creditable taxes paid in 1989. No costs.
Decision, claiming merely that the Court cannot take SO ORDERED.
judicial notice thereof.
To our mind, respondents reasoning underscores the
weakness of their case. For if they had really believed
that petitioner is not entitled to a tax refund, they
could have easily proved that it did not suffer any
loss in 1990. Indeed, it is noteworthy that
respondents opted not to assail the fact appearing
therein -- that petitioner suffered a net loss in 1990 in
the same way that it refused to controvert the same
fact established by petitioners other documentary
exhibits.
In any event, the Decision in CTA Case No. 4897 is
not the sole basis of petitioners case. It is merely one
more bit of information showing the stark truth:
petitioner did not use its 1989 refund to pay its taxes
for 1990.
Finally, respondents argue that tax refunds are in the
nature of tax exemptions and are to be
construed strictissimi juris against the claimant.
THIRD DIVISION It is the proposition of the [p]etitioner that for the it difficult to determine whether such excess tax
[G.R. No. 151857. April 28, 2005] year 1995, several of its clients withheld taxes from payments were utilized in 1996.
CALAMBA STEEL CENTER, INC. (formerly JS their income payments to [p]etitioner and remitted Hence, this Petition.[5]
STEEL CORPORATION), petitioner, the same to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) in The Issue
vs. COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL the sum of P3,159,687.00. Petitioner further alleged Petitioner raises this sole issue for our
REVENUE, respondent. that due to its income/loss positions for the three consideration:
DECISION quarters of 1996, it was unable to use the excess tax Whether the Court of Appeals gravely erred when,
PANGANIBAN, J.: paid for and in its behalf by the withholding agents. while purportedly requiring petitioner to submit its
A tax refund may be claimed even beyond the Thus, an administrative claim was filed by the 1996 annual income tax return to support its claim for
taxable year following that in which the tax credit [p]etitioner on April 10, 1997 for the refund refund, nonetheless ignored the existence of the tax
arises. Hence, excess income taxes paid in 1995 that of P3,159,687.00 representing excess or unused return extant on the record the authenticity of which
have not been applied to or used in 1996 may still be creditable withholding taxes for the year 1995. The has not been denied or its admissibility opposed by
the subject of a tax refund in 1997, provided that the instant petition was subsequently filed on April 18, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue.[6]
claim for such refund is filed with the internal 1997. The Courts Ruling
revenue commissioner within two years after Respondent, in his Answer, averred, among others, The Petition is partly meritorious.
payment of said taxes. As a caveat, the Court stresses that: Sole Issue:
that the recognition of the entitlement to a tax refund 1) Petitioner has no cause of action; Entitlement to Tax Refund
does not necessarily mean the automatic payment of 2) Petitioner failed to comply with the procedural Section 69 of the National Internal Revenue
the sum claimed in the final adjustment return of the requirements set out in Section 5 of Revenue Code (NIRC)[7] provides:
taxpayer. The amount of the claim must still be Regulations No. [(RR)] 12-94; Sec. 69. Final adjustment return. -- Every corporation
proven in the normal course. 3) It is incumbent upon [p]etitioner to prove by liable to tax under Section 24 shall file a final
The Case competent and sufficient evidence that the tax refund adjustment return covering the total taxable income
Before us is a Petition for Review[1] under Rule or tax credit being sought is allowed under the for the preceding calendar or fiscal year. If the sum of
45 of the Rules of Court, assailing the January 10, National Internal Revenue Code and its the quarterly tax payments made during the said
2002 Decision[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA- implementing rules and regulations; and taxable year is not equal to the total tax due on the
GR SP No. 58838. The assailed Decision disposed as 4) Claims for tax refund or tax credit are construed entire taxable net income of that year the corporation
follows: strictly against the taxpayer as they partake the nature shall either:
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the of tax exemption. (a) Pay the excess tax still due; or
instant petition is DISMISSED and the assailed To buttress its claim, [p]etitioner presented (b) Be refunded the excess amount paid, as the case
Decision and Resolution are AFFIRMED. Costs documentary and testimonial evidence. Respondent, may be.
against Petitioner.[3] on the other hand, presented the [r]evenue [o]fficer In case the corporation is entitled to a refund of the
The Facts who conducted the examination of [p]etitioners claim excess estimated quarterly income taxes paid, the
Quoting the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA), the and found petitioner liable for deficiency value added refundable amount shown on its final adjustment
CA narrated the antecedents as follows: tax. Petitioner also presented rebuttal evidence. return may be credited against the estimated quarterly
Petitioner is a domestic corporation engaged in the The sole issue submitted for [o]ur determination is income tax liabilities for the taxable quarters of the
manufacture of steel blanks for use by manufacturers whether or not [p]etitioner is entitled to the refund succeeding taxable year.
of automotive, electrical, electronics in industrial and of P3,159,687.00 representing excess or overpaid Tax Refund
household appliances. income tax for the taxable year 1995.[4] Allowed by NIRC
Petitioner filed an Amended Corporate Annual Ruling of the Court of Appeals A perusal of this provision shows that a taxable
Income Tax Return on June 4, 1996 declaring a net In denying petitioners refund, the CA reasoned corporation is entitled to a tax refund when the sum
taxable income of P9,461,597.00, tax credits out that no evidence other than that presented before of the quarterly income taxes it paid during a taxable
of P6,471,246.00 and tax due in the amount the CTA was adduced to prove that excess tax year exceeds its total income tax due also for that
of P3,311,559.00. payments had been made in 1995. From the inception year. Consequently, the refundable amount that is
Petitioner also reported quarterly payments for the of the case to the formal offer of its evidence, shown on its final adjustment return may be credited,
second and third quarters of 1995 in the amounts petitioner did not present its 1996 income tax return at its option, against its quarterly income tax
of P2,328,747.26 and P1,082,108.00, respectively. to disclose its total income tax liability, thus making liabilities for the next taxable year.
Petitioner is a corporation liable to pay income but a tax refund. Therefore, the statutory limitation refund/credit of his excess expanded withholding tax
taxes under Section 24 of the NIRC. Hence, it is does not apply. credits.
a taxable corporation. In 1995, it reported that it had Income Payments Merely That petitioner filed its amended 1995 income
excess income taxes that had been paid for and on its Declared Part of Gross Income tax return in 1996 is uncontested. In addition, the
behalf by its withholding agents; and that, applying Second, to be able to claim a tax refund, a resulting investigation by the BIR on August 15,
the above-quoted Section 69, this excess should be taxpayer only needs to declare the income payments 1997, reveals that the income accounts were correctly
credited against its income tax liabilities for 1996. it received as part of its gross income and declared based on the existing supporting
However, it claimed in 1997 that it should get a to establish the fact of withholding. documents.[9] Therefore, there is no need for
refund, because it was still unable to use the Section 5 of RR 12-94[8] states: petitioner to show again the income payments it
excess income taxes paid in 1995 against its tax xxxxxxxxx received in 1995 as part of its gross income in 1996.
liabilities in 1996. Is this possible? Stating the (a) Claims for Tax Credit or Refund of income tax That petitioner filed its 1996 final adjustment
argument otherwise, may excess income taxes paid in deducted and withheld on income payments shall be return in 1997 is the crux of the controversy.
1995 that could not be applied to taxes due in 1996 given due course only when it is shown on the return However, as will be demonstrated shortly, the lack of
be refunded in 1997? that the income payment received has been declared such a return will not defeat its entitlement to a
The answer is in the affirmative. Here are the as part of the gross income and the fact of refund.
reasons: withholding is established by a copy of the Tax Refund Provisions:
Claim of Tax Refund Beyond the Withholding Tax Statement duly issued by the payor Question of Law
Succeeding Taxable Year to the payee showing the amount paid and the amount Third, it is a cardinal rule that only legal issues
First, a tax refund may be claimed even beyond of tax withheld therefrom. may be raised[10] in petitions for review under Rule
the taxable year following that in which the tax (b) Excess Credits. -- A taxpayer's excess expanded 45.[11]
credit arises. withholding tax credits for the taxable quarter/taxable The proper interpretation of the provisions
No provision in our tax law limits the year shall automatically be allowed as a credit for on tax refund is a question of law that does not call
entitlement to such a refund, other than the purposes of filing his income tax return for the for an examination of the probative value of the
requirement that the filing of the administrative claim taxable quarter/taxable year immediately succeeding evidence presented by the parties-litigants.[12] Having
for it be made by the taxpayer within a two-year the taxable quarter/taxable year in which the been unable to use the excess income taxes paid in
prescriptive period. Section 204(3) of the NIRC aforesaid excess credit arose, provided, however, he 1995 against its other tax liabilities in 1996,
states that no refund of taxes shall be allowed unless submits with his income tax return a copy of his petitioner clearly deserves a refund. It cannot by any
the taxpayer files in writing with the Commissioner income tax return for the aforesaid previous taxable sweeping denial be deprived of what rightfully
[the] claim for x x x refund within two years after the period showing the amount of his aforementioned belongs to it.
payment of the tax. excess withholding tax credits. The truth or falsity of the contents of or entries
Applying the aforequoted legal provisions, if If the taxpayer, in lieu of the aforesaid automatic in the 1996 final adjustment return, which has not
the excess income taxes paid in a given taxable application of his excess credit, wants a cash refund been formally offered in evidence and examined by
year have not been entirely used by a taxable or a tax credit certificate for use in payment of his respondent, involves, however, a question of fact.
corporation against its quarterly income tax liabilities other national internal tax liabilities, he shall make a This Court is not a trier of facts. Neither is it a
for the next taxable year, the unused amount of the written request therefor. Upon filing of his request, collection agency for the government. Although we
excess may still be refunded, provided that the taxpayer's income tax return showing the excess rule that petitioner is entitled to a tax refund, the
the claim for such a refund is made within two years expanded withholding tax credits shall be examined. amount of that refund is a matter for the CTA to
after payment of the tax. Petitioner filed its claim in The excess expanded withholding tax, if any, shall be determine judiciously based on the records that
1997 -- well within the two-year prescriptive period. determined and refunded/credited to the taxpayer- include its own copy of petitioners 1996 final
Thus, its unused tax credits in 1995 may still be applicant. The refund/credit shall be made within a adjustment return.
refunded. period of sixty (60) days from date of the taxpayer's Liberal Construction
Even the phrase succeeding taxable year in the request provided, however, that the taxpayer- of Rules
second paragraph of the said Section 69 is a applicant submitted for audit all his pertinent Fourth, ordinary rules of procedure frown upon
limitation that applies only to a tax credit, not a tax accounting records and that the aforesaid records the submission of final adjustment returns after trial
refund. Petitioner herein does not claim a tax credit, established the veracity of his claim for a has been conducted. However, both the CTA law and
jurisprudence mandate that the proceedings before
the tax court shall not be governed strictly by at the request or with the consent of the parties, and second (1996) taxable year, and because the claim
technical rules of evidence.[13] As a rule, its findings admitted as a part of the record of the case then for the refund of those credits had been filed during
of fact[14] (as well as that of the CA) are final, binding pending.[24] the third (1997) taxable year. Its final adjustment
and conclusive[15] on the parties and upon this Court; Prior to rendering its Decision on January 12, return was instead attached to its Reply to Comment
however, as an exception, such findings may be 2000, the CTA was already well-aware of the filed before the CA.
reviewed or disturbed on appeal[16] when they are not existence of another case pending before it, involving Moreover, in BPI-Family Savings Bank,
supported by evidence.[17] the same subject matter, parties and causes of petitioner was able to show the undisputed fact: that
Our Rules of Court apply by analogy or in a action.[25] Because of the close connection of that petitioner had suffered a net loss in 1990 x x x.[32] In
suppletory[18] character and whenever practicable and case with the matter in controversy, the CTA could the instant case, there is no such undisputed fact as
convenient[19] and shall be liberally construed in have easily taken judicial notice[26] of the contested yet. The mere admission into the records of
order to promote their objective of securing a just, document attached in that other case. petitioners 1996 final adjustment return is not a
speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action Furthermore, there was no objection raised to sufficient proof of the truth of the contents of or
and proceeding.[20] After all, [t]he paramount the inclusion of the said 1996 final adjustment entries in that return.
consideration remains the ascertainment of truth.[21] return in petitioners Reply to Comment before the In addition, the BIR in BPI-Family Savings
In the present case, the 1996 final adjustment CA. Despite clear reference to that return, a reference Bank did not controvert the veracity of the return or
return was attached as Annex A to the Reply to made with the knowledge of respondent, the latter file an opposition to the Motion and the return.
Comment filed by petitioner with the CA.[22] The still failed to controvert petitioners claim. The Despite the fact that the return was ignored by both
return shows a negative amount for its taxable appellate court should have cast aside strict the CA and the CTA, the latter even declared in
income that year. Therefore, it could not have applied technicalities[27] and decided the case on the basis of another case (CTA Case No. 4897) that petitioner had
or used the excess tax credits of 1995 against its tax such uncontested return. Verily, it had the authority suffered a net loss for taxable year 1990. When
liabilities in 1996. to take judicial notice of its records and of the facts attached to the Petition for Review filed before this
Judicial Notice [that] the record establishes.[28] Court, that Decision was not at all claimed by the
of Attached Return Section 2 of Rule 129 provides that courts may BIR to be fraudulent or nonexistent. The Bureau
Fifth, the CA and CTA could have taken take judicial notice of matters x x x ought to be merely contended that this Court should not take
judicial notice of the 1996 final adjustment known to judges because of their judicial judicial notice of the said Decision.
return which had been attached in CTA Case No. functions.[29] If the lower courts really believed that In this case, however, the BIR has not been
5799. Judicial notice takes the place of proof and is petitioner was not entitled to a tax refund, they could given the chance to challenge the veracity of
of equal force.[23] have easily required respondent to ascertain its petitioners final adjustment return. Neither has the
As a general rule, courts are not authorized to veracity and accuracy[30] and to prove that petitioner CTA decided any other case categorically declaring
take judicial notice of the contents of records in other did not suffer any net loss in 1996. a net loss for petitioner in taxable year 1996. After
cases tried or pending in the same court, even when Contrary to the contention of petitioner, BPI- this return was attached to petitioners Reply to
those cases were heard or are actually pending before Family Savings Bank v. CA[31] (on which it rests its Comment before the CA, the appellate court should
the same judge. However, this rule admits of entire arguments) is not on all fours with the facts of have required the filing of other responsive pleadings
exceptions, as when reference to such records is this case. from respondent, as was necessary and proper for it
sufficiently made without objection from the While the petitioner in that case also filed a to rule upon the return.
opposing parties: written claim for a tax refund, and likewise failed to Admissibility Versus Weight
. . . [I]n the absence of objection, and as a matter of present its 1990 corporate annual income tax return, Indeed, [a]dmissibility x x x is one thing,
convenience to all parties, a court may properly treat it nonetheless offered in evidence its top-ranking weight is another.[33] To admit evidence and not to
all or any part of the original record of a case filed in officials testimony and certification pertaining to believe it are not incompatible with each other x x
its archives as read into the record of a case pending only two taxable years (1989 and 1990). The said x.[34] Mere allegations by petitioner of the figures in
before it, when, with the knowledge of the opposing return was attached only to its Motion for its 1996 final adjustment return are not a sufficient
party, reference is made to it for that purpose, by Reconsideration before the CTA. proof of the amount of its refund entitlement. They
name and number or in some other manner by which Petitioner in this case offered documentary and do not even constitute evidence[35] adverse to
it is sufficiently designated; or when the original testimonial evidence that extended beyond two respondent, against whom they are being
record of the former case or any part of it, is actually taxable years, because the excess credits in the first presented.[36]
withdrawn from the archives by the court's direction, (1995) taxable year had not been used up during the
While it seems that the [non-production] of a upon them by law.[43] Only after it is shown that if
document which courts almost invariably expect will something is received when there is no right to
be produced unavoidably throws a suspicion over the demand it, and it was duly delivered through mistake,
cause,[37] this is not really the conclusion to be arrived the obligation to return it arises.]44[
at here. When petitioner purportedly filed its In brief, we hold that petitioner is entitled to a
administrative claim for a tax refund on April 10, refund; however, the amount must still be proved in
1997, the deadline for filing the 1996 final proper proceedings before the CTA.
adjustment return was not yet over. Hence, it could WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby PARTLY
not have attached this return to its claim. GRANTED, and the assailed Decision SET ASIDE.
For reasons unknown even to this Court, The case is REMANDED to the Court of Tax Appeals
petitioner failed to offer such return as evidence for the proper and immediate determination of the
during the trial phase of this case. For its negligence, amount to be refunded to petitioner on the basis of
petitioner cannot be allowed to seek refuge in a the latters 1996 final adjustment return. No
liberal application of the [r]ules[38] by giving it a pronouncement as to costs.
blanket approval of the total refund it claims. While SO ORDERED.
in certain instances, we allow a relaxation in the
application of the rules, we never intend to forge a
weapon for erring litigants to violate the rules with
impunity. The liberal interpretation and application of
rules apply only in proper cases of demonstrable
merit and under justifiable causes and
circumstances.[39]
It would not be proper to allow petitioner to
simply prevail and compel a refund in the amount it
claims, without affording the government a
reasonable opportunity to contest the formers
allegations.[40] Negligence consisting of the
unexplained failure to offer the exhibit should not be
rewarded with undeserved leniency. Petitioner still
bears the burden of proving the amount of its claim
for tax refund. After all, [t]ax refunds are in the
nature of tax exemptions]41[ and are to be
construed strictissimi juris against the taxpayer.
Finally, even in the absence of a final
adjustment return or any claim for a tax refund,
respondent is authorized by law to examine any book,
paper, record or other data that may be relevant or
material to such inquiry.[42] Failure to make an
assessment of petitioners proper tax liability or to
contest the return could be errors or omissions of
administrative officers that should never be allowed
to jeopardize the governments financial position.
Verily, the officers of the Bureau of Internal
Revenue should receive the support of the courts
when these officers attempt to perform in a
conscientious and lawful manner the duties imposed