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1. State Prosecutors vs. Muro [A.M. No. RTJ-92-876.

September 19, 1994] and is not based on the public knowledge that the law requires for the court to take
judicial notice of.
FACTS:
1. The state prosecutors who are members of the DOJ Panel of Prosecution The doctrine of judicial notice rests on the wisdom and discretion of the courts. The
filed a complaint against respondent Judge Muro on the ground of ignorance power to take judicial notice is to be exercised by courts with caution; care must be
of the law, grave misconduct and violation of the provisions in the Code of taken that the requisite notoriety exists; and every reasonable doubt on the subject
Judicial Conduct. should be promptly resolved in the negative.
2. The case at bar involves the prosecution of the 11 charges against Imelda
Marcos in violation of the Central Bank Foreign Exchange Restriction in the Generally speaking, matters of judicial notice have three material requisites:
Central Bank Circular 960.
3. The respondent judge dismissed all 11 cases solely on the basis of the report (1) the matter must be one of common and general knowledge;
published from the 2 newspapers (Inquirer and Daily Globe), which the (2) it must be well and authoritatively settled and not doubtful or uncertain;
judge believes to be reputable and of national circulation, that the Pres. of and
the Philippines lifted all foreign exchange restrictions. (3) it must be known to be within the limits of the jurisdiction of the court.
4. The respondent’s decision was founded on his belief that the reported
announcement of the Executive Department in the newspaper in effect The principal guide in determining what facts may be assumed to be judicially
repealed the CB 960 and thereby divested the court of its jurisdiction to known is that of notoriety. Hence, it can be said that judicial notice is limited to facts
further hear the pending case thus motu propio dismissed the case. evidenced by public records and facts of general notoriety.
5. He further contends that the announcement of the President as published
in the newspaper has made such fact a public knowledge that is sufficient To say that a court will take judicial notice of a fact is merely another way of saying
for the judge to take judicial notice which is discretionary on his part. that the usual form of evidence will be dispensed with if knowledge of the fact can
6. Hence, the complainants contend that the respondent judge erred in taking be otherwise acquired. This is because the court assumes that the matter is so
judicial notice on matters he purported to be a public knowledge based notorious that it will not be disputed. But judicial notice is not judicial knowledge.
merely on the account of the newspaper publication that the Pres. has lifted  The mere personal knowledge of the judge is not the judicial knowledge of
the foreign exchange restriction. the court, and he is not authorized to make his individual knowledge of a
a. It was also an act of inexcusable ignorant of the law not to accord fact, not generally or professionally known, the basis of his action. Judicial
due process to the prosecutors who were already at the stage of cognizance is taken only of those matters which are “commonly” known.
presenting evidence (trial)thereby depriving the government the
right to be heard. Things of “common knowledge,” of which courts take judicial notice, may be matters
b. The judge also exercised grave abuse of discretion by taking judicial coming to the knowledge of men generally in the course of the ordinary experiences
notice on the published statement of the President in the of life, or they may be matters which are generally accepted by mankind as true and
newspaper which is a matter that has not yet been officially in force are capable of ready and unquestioned demonstration. Thus, facts which are
and effect of the law. universally known, and which may be found in encyclopedias, dictionaries or other
publications, are judicially noticed, provided they are of such universal notoriety
ISSUE: Did the respondent judge commit grave abuse of discretion in taking judicial and so generally understood that they may be regarded as forming part of the
notice on the statement of the president lifting the foreign exchange restriction common knowledge of every person.
published in the newspaper as basis for dismissing the case? YES
In this case, respondent judge, in the guise of exercising discretion and on the basis
HELD: of a mere newspaper account which is sometimes even referred to as hearsay
It is a mandatory requirement that a new law should be published for 15 days in a evidence twice removed, took judicial notice of the supposed lifting of foreign
newspaper of general circulation before its effectivity. When the President’s exchange controls, a matter which was not and cannot be considered of common
statement was published in the newspaper, the respondent judge admitted of not knowledge or of general notoriety. Worse, he took cognizance of an administrative
having seen the official text of CB circular 1353 thus it was premature for him to regulation which was not yet in force when the order of dismissal was issued.
take judicial notice on this matter which is merely based on his personal knowledge
Jurisprudence dictates that judicial notice cannot be taken of a statute before it
becomes effective. The reason is simple. A law which is not yet in force and hence,
still inexistent, cannot be of common knowledge capable of ready and
unquestionable demonstration, which is one of the requirements before a court
can take judicial notice of a fact.

Hence, it was impossible for Judge Muro and was improper for him to have taken
cognizance of the CB Circular No. 1353 when it was not yet in force at the time the
improvident order of dismissal was issued