REPUBLIC v. SANDIGANBAYAN G.R. No. 188881 (2014)

G.R. No. 188881 : April 21 2014

FACTS: Republic, through the Presidential Commission on Good Government, commenced a complaint for “reconveyance, reversion, accounting, restitution and damages” against Bienvenido R. Tantoco, Jr., Dominador R. Santiago, Ferdinand E. Marcos, Imelda, R. Marcos, Bienvenido R. Tantoco, Sr., Gliceria R. Tantoco, and Maria Lourdes Tantoco-Pineda. Instead of filing an Answer, respondents Tantoco and Santiago filed a “Motion To Strike Out Some Portions of the Complaint and For Bill of Particulars,” which were both denied. Thereafter, Tantoco and Santiago filed with the Sandiganbayan a pleading denominated “Interrogatories to Plaintiff.” A month later, they filed both an “Amended Interrogatories to Plaintiff” and a Motion for Production and Inspection of Documents. The Sandiganbayan admitted the Amended Interrogatories and granted the Motion for Production and Inspection of Documents. At the conclusion of the pre-trial, the temporary markings of Exhibits “A” to “LLL,” together with their sub-markings, were adopted. However, the PCGG produced and caused the pre-marking of additional documents, Exhibits “MMM” to “AAAAAAA” to which Tantoco and Santiago objected. Tantoco and Santiago filed a “Motion under Rule 29 of the Rules of Court,” claiming that the additional documents were never produced at the discovery proceedings and praying that petitioner be sanctioned for contempt. It was denied by the Sandiganbayan. Trial proceeded; however, new documents not shown at discovery were still being marked. Tantoco and Santiago again filed a “Motion to Ban Plaintiff From Offering Exhibits Not Earlier Marked During the Discovery Proceedings.” Again, it was denied. Petitioner filed its Formal Offer of Evidence. The Sandiganbayan ruled that with the exception of some documents, “all Exhibits… are denied admission. The due execution and authenticity of these documents remain challenged since the prosecution failed to show otherwise. Exhibits “MMM” to “AAAAAAA” were admitted. Respondents, in turn, filed their Motion for Reconsideration, to which the graft court issued a resolution stating that the plaintiff Republic must be prevented from offering in evidence all the documents that were not produced and exhibited at the time the plaintiff was under a directive to do so, i.e. Exhibits “MMM” to “AAAAAAA.”

ISSUE: Whether or not the documents due to petitioner’s own failure to produce them at the pre-trial should be excluded? Yes.

HELD: YES. Court finds that in excluding Exhibits “MMM” to “AAAAAAA,” the Sandiganbayan properly exercised its discretion over evidence formally offered by the prosecution. Petitioner failed to obey the mandate of G.R. No. 90478, which remains an important case on pre-trial and discovery measures to this day; the rationale of these rules, especially on the production of documents, must be constantly kept in mind by the bar: The message is plain. It is the duty of each contending party to lay before the court the facts in issue-fully and fairly; i.e., to present to the court all the material and relevant facts known to him, suppressing or concealing nothing, nor preventing another party, by clever and adroit manipulation of the technical rules of pleading and evidence, from also presenting all the facts within his knowledge. The truth is that “evidentiary matters” may be inquired into and learned by the parties before the trial. Indeed, it is the purpose and policy of the law that the parties – before the trial if not indeed even before the pre-trial – should discover or inform themselves of all the facts relevant to the action, not only those known to them individually, but also those known to adversaries; in other words, the desideratum is that civil trials should not be carried on in the dark; and the Rules of Court make this ideal possible through the deposition-discovery mechanism set forth in Rules 24 to 29.


G.R. No. 103922 : July 9 1996

FACTS: Petitioner served written interrogatories on respondent Komatsu Industries’ counsel.The interrogatories were not, however, answered by the respondent by reason of which petitioner SLDC filed a motion to dismiss the action with prejudice based on Sec. 5, Rule 29 of the Rules of Court. An opposition to the motion to dismiss was filed by respondent Komatsu Industries alleging inter alia that there was no valid service of the written interrogatories inasmuch as the service was made on the respondent’s counsel and not directly upon any of the respondent’s officers who were competent to testify in its behalf, pursuant to Sec. 1, Rule 25 of the Revised Rules of Court. In an order dated March 14, 1991, the trial court denied the motion to dismiss.Petitioner SLDC filed a motion for reconsideration but the same was denied. Petitioner SLDC filed a petition for review before this Court but it was referred to the Court of Appeals by resolution dated July 17, 1991. The CA ruled that that there was a valid service and the failure of the respondent to answer the interrogatories would warrant the dismissal of the case. The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition, hence, this petition for review before us. Petitioner SLDC now argues that the civil action should have been ordered dismissed with prejudice because of private respondent’s deliberate, knowing, and continued refusal to answer the written interrogatories. The respondent court, therefore, committed grave abuse of discretion and/or disregarded the usual course of judicial proceedings when it refused to order the dismissal of the civil case. Petitioner invokes Section 5, Rule 29 of the Rules of Court.

ISSUE: Whether or not the case should be dismissed for failure to answer the written interrogatories? Yes.

HELD: YES. While the case should be dismissed pursuant to Rule 29, nevertheless, such cannot be considered as grave abuse of discretion and therefore, correctable by certiorari. Certiorari is not available to correct errors of procedure or mistakes in the judge’s findings and conclusions and thatcertiorari will not be issued to cure errors in proceedings or to correct erroneous conclusions of law and fact. Furthermore, the denial of a motion to dismiss or to quash, being interlocutory, cannot be questioned by certiorari, it cannot be subject of appeal, until final judgment or order is rendered.


G.R. No. 186979 : August 11, 2010

FACTS: Spouses Francisco Odones and Arwenia Odones, filed a complaint for Annulment of Deed, Title and Damages against petitioners Socorro Limos, before the Regional Trial Court (RTC). They insisted that the Extrajudicial Succession of the Estate in their favor was valid. They maintained their standing as owners of the subject parcel of land and the nullity of the 1972 Absolute Deed of Sale, upon which respondents anchor their purported title.

To rebut the grounds presented by respondents, petitioners served upon respondents a Request for Admission. However, respondents failed to respond to the Request for Admission, prompting petitioners to file a Motion to Set for Preliminary Hearing on the Special and Affirmative Defenses, arguing that respondents’ failure to respond or object to the Request for Admission amounted to an implied admission pursuant to Section 2 of Rule 26 of the Rules of Court. As such, a hearing on the affirmative defenses had become imperative because petitioners were no longer required to present evidence on the admitted facts. Respondents filed a comment on the Motion, contending that the facts sought to be admitted by petitioners were not material and relevant to the issue of the case. Respondents emphasized that the only attendant issue was whether the 1972 Deed of Absolute Sale upon which petitioners base their TCTs is valid.

ISSUE: Whether or not the non-joinder of indispensable party is a ground for dismissal of the complaint? No.

HELD: NO. As to the alleged non-joinder of indispensable parties, it is settled that the non-joinder of indispensable parties is not a ground for the dismissal of an action. The remedy is to implead the non-party claimed to be indispensable. Parties may be added by order of the court on motion of the party or on its own initiative at any stage of the action and/or such times as are just. It is only when the plaintiff refuses to implead an indispensable party despite the order of the court, that the latter may dismiss the complaint. In this case, no such order was issued by the trial court.


G.R. No. 182738 : February 24 2014

FACTS: Respondent Sanchez, a stockholder of petitioner Capitol Hills Golf & Country Club, Inc. (Corporation), filed a petition for the nullification of the annual meeting of stockholder and the special meeting of stockholders. Petitioners, along with their co–defendants, filed an Answer with Counterclaims. A Motion for Preliminary Hearing of Defendants’ Affirmative Defenses was denied. Respondent’s Motion for Production and Inspection of Documents was granted. MR was filed by petitioners, but was denied, and considered respondent’s omnibus motion as a reiteration of his earlier motion for inspection and production of documents; thus, the immediate implementation of the Order. Petitioners elevated the Case to CA which was denied. MR was likewise denied. Supposed inspection did not push through as defendants again moved for its deferment. Corporate Secretary of the Corporation was, however, out of town, and Petitioner Roman showed no willingness to conform with the directive (Order). This was reported to trial court. When the inspection finally happened, the only document produced by the Acting Corporate Secretary was the Stock and Transfer Book of the Corporation. They alleged that they could not find from the corporate records the copies of the proxies submitted by the stockholders, including the tape recordings taken during the stockholders’ meetings, and that they needed more time to locate and find the list of stockholders which was in the bodega of the Corporation. This prompted respondent to file a Manifestation with Omnibus Motion praying that an order be issued in accordance with Section 3, Paragraphs (a) to (d) of Rule 29 of the Rules of Court, in relation to Section 4, Rule 3 of the Interim Rules of Procedure Governing Intra–Corporate Controversies under Republic Act No. 8799. The same was granted. The same was affirmed by CA.

ISSUE: Whether or not the procedure with respect to contempt cases was correctly followed? No.

HELD: NO. The proceedings for indirect contempt have not been initiated. To the Court’s mind, the September 3, 2007 Resolution could be treated as a mere reiteration of the September 10, 2002 Order. It is not yet a “judgment or final order of a court in a case of indirect contempt” as contemplated under the Rules. The penalty mentioned therein only serves as a reminder to caution petitioners of the consequence of possible non–observance of the long–overdue order to produce and make available for inspection and photocopying of the requested records/documents. In case of another failure or refusal to comply with the directive, the court or respondent could formally initiate the indirect contempt proceedings pursuant to the mandatory requirements of the Rules and existing jurisprudence.


G.R. No. 179786 : July 24, 2013

FACTS: Josielene filed before the RTC a petition for the declaration of nullity of her marriage to Johnny, the dissolution of their conjugal partnership of gains, and the award of custody of their children to her. During the pre-trial conference, Josielene pre-marked the Philhealth Claim Form that Johnny attached to his answer as proof that he was forcibly confined at the rehabilitation unit of a hospital. Following upon this point, Josielene filed with the RTC a request for the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum addressed to Medical City, covering Johnny’s medical records when he was there confined. The request was accompanied by a  motion to “be allowed to submit in evidence” the records sought by subpoena duces tecum. Johny opposed the motion, arguing that the medical records were covered by physician-patient relationship. The RTC denied Josielene’s motion. On appeal, the CA also denied Josielene’s petition ruling that if courts were to allow the production of medical records, then patients would be left with no assurance that whatever relevant disclosures they may have made to their physicians would be kept confidential.

ISSUE: Whether or not CA erred in ruling that the trial court correctly denied the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum? No.

HELD: NO. The Supreme Court held that is possible to treat Josielene’s motion for the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum covering the hospital records as a motion for production of documents, a discovery procedure available to a litigant prior to trial under Section 1, Rule 27 of the Rules of Civil procedure: Upon motion of any party showing good cause therefor, the court in which an action is pending may (a) order any party to produce and permit the inspection and copying or photographing, by or on behalf of the moving party, of any designated documents, papers, books, accounts, letters, photographs, objects or tangible things, not privileged, which constitute or contain evidence material to any matter involved in the action and which are in his possession, custody or control; or (b) order any party to permit entry upon designated land or other property in his possession or control for the purpose of inspecting, measuring, surveying, or photographing the property or any designated relevant object or operation thereon. The order shall specify the time, place and manner of making the inspection and taking copies and photographs, and may prescribe such terms and conditions as are just. But the above right to compel the production of documents has a limitation: the documents to be disclosed are “not privileged.” IN THIS CASE, To allow, however, the disclosure during discovery procedure of the hospital records—the results of tests that the physician ordered, the diagnosis of the patient’s illness, and the advice or treatment he gave him—would be to allow access to evidence that is inadmissible without the patient’s consent. Physician memorializes all these information in the patient’s records. Disclosing them would be the equivalent of compelling the physician to testify on privileged matters he gained while dealing with the patient, without the latter’s prior consent.


G.R. No. 204700 : November 24 2014

FACTS: For resolution is respondent Cameron Granville 3 Asset Management, Inc.’s motion for reconsideration of  the Supreme Court’s decision, which reversed and set aside the CA’s resolutions and ordered respondent to produce the Loan Sale and Purchase Agreement (LSPA) dated April 7, 2006, including its annexes and/or attachments, if any, in order that petitioners may inspect or photocopy the same. The motion for reconsideration raises the following points: (1) The motion for production was filed out of time; (2) The production of the LSPA would violate the parol evidence rule; and (3) The LSPA is a privileged and confidential document under the Special Purpose Vehicle Act . Petitioners Eagleridge Development Corporation, Marcelo N. Naval, and Crispin I. Oben filed on June 7, 2013 their motion to admit attached opposition. Subsequently, respondent filed its reply and petitioners their motion to admit attached rejoinder.

ISSUE: Whether or not the discovery mode of production/inspection of document may be availed of even beyond the pre-trial upon a showing of good cause? Yes.

HELD: YES. The discovery mode of production/inspection of document may be availed of even beyond the pre-trial upon a showing of good cause. The availment of a motion for production, as one of the modes of discovery, is not limited to the pre-trial stage. Rule 27 does not provide for any time frame within which the discovery mode of production or inspection of documents can be utilized. The rule only requires leave of court “upon due application and a showing of due cause.” Rule 27, Section 1 of the 1997 Rules of Court. The LSPA is relevant and material to the issue on the validity of the deed of assignment raised by petitioners in the court a quo and allowing its production and inspection by petitioners would be more in keeping with the objectives of the discovery rules. We find no great practical difficulty, and respondent continuously fails to allege any, in presenting the document for inspection and copying of petitioners. On the other hand, to deny petitioners the opportunity to inquire into the LSPA would bar their access to relevant evidence and impair their fundamental right to due process.


G.R. No. 205045 : January 25, 2017

FACTS: Virgilio S. De Guzman, San Miguel Corporation’s Former Assistant Vice President for Finance, wrote the Bureau of Internal Revenue to request the registration of and authority to manufacture “San Mig Light.” This request was granted. Alfredo R. Villacorte, San Miguel Corporation’s Vice President and Manager of the Group Tax Services, wrote the Bureau of Internal Revenue to request information on the tax rate and classification of “San Mig Light” and another beer product named “Gold Eagle King.” The BIR confirmed that based on the submitted documents, San Miguel Corporation was allowed to register, manufacture, and sell “San Mig Light” as a new brand, had been paying its excise tax for a considerable length of time, and that the tax classification and rate of “San Mig Light” as a new brand were in order. However, issued a Notice of Discrepancy against San Miguel Corporation. The Notice stated that “San Mig Light” was a variant of its existing beer products, the San Miguel Pale Pilsen, and must, therefore, be subjected to the higher excise tax rate for variants. San Miguel filed a Protest/Request for Reconsideration but they were denied. San Miguel Corporation filed before the Court of Tax Appeals Petitions for Review, docketed as CTA Case Nos. 7052 and 7053, assailing the denials of its Protest/Request for Reconsiderations of the deficiency excise tax assessments. The Court of Tax Appeals granted the motion. Thereafter, the Commissioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration with Motion for Production of Documents praying that San Miguel Corporation be compelled to produce the following: (a) “Kaunlaran” publication for the months of October 1999 and January 2000; (b) 1999 Annual Report to stockholders; and (c) copies of the video footage of two (2) San Mig Light commercials as seen in its website. The Commissioner claimed “that the admission of said documents would lead to a better illumination of the outcome of the case but said motion was denied.

ISSUE: Whether the motion for production of documents and objects filed by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue may be availed of after the court has rendered judgment? No.

HELD: NO. The scope of discovery must be liberally construed, as a general rule, to serve its purpose of providing the parties with essential information to reach an amicable settlement or to expedite trial. Rule 27, Section 1 of the Rules of Court does not provide when the motion may be used. Hence, the allowance of a motion for production of document rests on the sound discretion of the court where the case is pending, with due regard to the rights of the parties and the demands of equity and justice. In this case, petitioner filed its Motion for Production of Documents after the Court of Tax Appeals Division had rendered its judgment. According to the Court of Tax Appeals Division, the documents sought to be produced were already discussed in the Commissioner’s Memorandum dated October 21, 2010 and were already considered by the tax court when it rendered its Decision. Under these circumstances, there was indeed no further need for the production of documents and objects desired by petitioner. These pieces of evidence could have served no useful purpose. On the contrary, the production of those documents after judgment defeats the purpose of modes of discovery in expediting case preparation and shortening trials. The court find no reversible error on the part of the Court of Tax Appeals En Banc in affirming the Division’s denial of petitioner’s Motion for Production of Documents.


G.R. No. 190818 : June 5, 2013

FACTS: Respondent Liberty M. Toledo, as Treasurer of respondent City of Manila, assessed petitioners for their fourth quarter local business taxes. Consequently, petitioners paid the total assessed amount of P5,104,281.26 under protest. Petitioners informed the Office of the City Treasurer of Manila of the nature of the foregoing payment, assailing as well the unconstitutionality of Section 21 of the Manila Revenue Code. Petitioners’ protest was however denied. Petitioners then filed a case with the Regional Trial Court of Manila against respondents, reiterating their claim that Section 21 of the Manila Revenue Code is null and void. Accordingly, they sought the refund of the amount of local business taxes they previously paid. In their Motion to Dismiss and Answer, respondents averred that petitioners failed to file any written claim for tax refund or credit with the Office of the City Treasurer of Manila. Thereafter, petitioners sent respondents a Request for Admissions & Interrogatories which requested the admission of the fact that the former filed a written protest with the latter. Respondents did not respond to the said Request for Admission. The Regional Trial Court held that respondents’ assessment of local business tax under Section 21 of the Manila Revenue Code is null and void thereby, warranting the issuance of a tax refund, or tax credit in the alternative. On appeal, the Court of Tax Appeals reversed and set aside the RTC’s ruling and in effect, denied petitioners’ request for tax refund/credit. It held that petitioners failed to contest the denial of their protest before a court of competent jurisdiction within the period provided for under Section 195 of the Local Government Code, and thus, the assessment became conclusive and unappealable.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Court of Tax Appeals correctly gave due course to the respondents’ Petition for Review despite failure to comply with Rule 26? YES.

HELD: Yes. The scope of a request for admission and a party’s failure to comply with the same are governed by Rule 26 of the Rules of Court. Objections to any request for admission shall be submitted to the court by the party requested within the period for and prior to the filing of his sworn statement as contemplated in the preceding paragraph and his compliance therewith shall be deferred until such objections are resolved, which resolution shall be made as early as practicable. Once a party serves a request for admission regarding the truth of any material and relevant matter of fact, the party to whom such request is served is given a period of fifteen (15) days within which to file a sworn statement answering the same. Should the latter fail to file and serve such answer, each of the matters of which admission is requested shall be deemed admitted. The exception to this rule is when the party to whom such request for admission is served had already controverted the matters subject of such request in an earlier pleading. Otherwise stated, if the matters in a request for admission have already been admitted or denied in previous pleadings by the requested party, the latter cannot be compelled to admit or deny them anew, otherwise, it constitutes an utter redundancy and will be a useless, pointless process which petitioner should not be subjected to. In turn, the requesting party cannot reasonably expect a response to the request and thereafter, assume or even demand the application of the implied admission rule in Section 2, Rule 26. Records show that petitioners filed their Request for Admission with the RTC and also served the same on respondents, requesting that the fact that they filed a written claim for refund with the City Treasurer of Manila be admitted. Respondents, however, did not — and in fact, need not – reply to the same considering that they have already stated in their Motion to Dismiss and Answer that petitioners failed to file any written claim for tax refund or credit. In this regard, respondents are not deemed to have admitted the truth and veracity of petitioners’ requested fact.


G.R. No. 213027 : January 18, 2017

FACTS: Present consolidated petitions emanated from Civil Case No. 0141, when Republic filed Motion for Partial Summary Judgment with respect to another property listed in the 1991 Petition. By way of that motion, the Republic asked the Sandiganbayan to render judgment declaring the pieces of jewelry, known as the Malacañang Collection and specifically mentioned under paragraph 9 (6) of the 1991 Petition, as ill-gotten; and to subsequently cause this collection of jewelry to be declared forfeited in favor of the Republic. To support the Motion, Republic cited May 2009 letter sent to the PCGG by Imelda Marcos, through counsel, demanding “the immediate return of all her pieces of jewelry (i) taken by PCGG from Malacañang Palace and (ii) those turned over to PCGG by the U.S. Government.” The Republic argued that the letter proved the claim of the Marcoses that they owned the Malacañang Collection, including the Hawaii Collection. It further argued that in the 1991 Petition, they were deemed to have admitted the allegations regarding the pieces of jewelry. The Republic said that the words or stock phrases they used in their Answer had been declared by this Court in the Swiss deposits case as a “negative pregnant” and, as such, amounted to an admission if not squarely denied. Republic also filed a Request for Admission, addressed to the Marcoses, the admission of certain facts under oath. Republic submitted a Supplement to Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, as it restated that the object of the motion covered only the Malacañang Collection. The Marcoses stated that the Request for Admission was inconsistent with the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment and the Supplement thereto and further reserved their right to present additional arguments or comments on the Motion and the Supplement. Sandiganbayan ruled in favor of the Republic.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Sandiganbayan correctly granted the Motion for Summary Judgment of the Republic? Yes.

HELD: YES. A request for admission can be the basis for the grant of summary judgment. The request can be the basis therefor when its subject is deemed to have been admitted by the party and is requested as a result of that party’s failure to respond to the court’s directive to state what specifically happened in the case. The resort to such a request as a mode of discovery rendered all the matters contained therein as matters that have been deemed admitted pursuant to Rule 26, Section 2 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. On the basis of respondent Imelda Marcos’s letter dated 25 May 2009; respondents’ Answer to the 1991 Petition, which was considered to be a “negative pregnant” in Republic v. Sandiganbayan; and respondents’ failure to timely respond to petitioner’s Request for Admission, the Sandiganbayan thus correctly granted the Motion for Summary Judgment of the Republic. The Marcoses filed numerous pleadings, but none of these was made in response to the Request for Admission as required by Rule 26, Section 2149 of the Rules of Court until the Sandiganbayan eventually issued the Partial Summary Judgment dated 13 January 2014 and the Resolution dated 11 June 2014. In this case, when the Sandiganbayan required the Marcoses to file and serve their sworn answer to the Request for Admission but none was made. Hence, the Motion for partial Summary judgment was proper.


G.R. No. 176570 : July 18, 2012

FACTS: A Complaint for a Sum of Money and Damages against petitioners was filed by respondents before RTC Cavite. In their Answer to Complaint, petitioners admitted having made purchases from respondent, but alleged that they do not remember the exact amount thereof as no copy of the documents evidencing the purchases were attached to the complaint. The respondent filed a Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings contending that petitioners were deemed to have admitted in their Answer that they owed respondent the amount of P259,809.50 when they claimed that they made partial payments amounting to P130,301.80. Respondent filed a Request for Admission asking that petitioners admit the genuineness of various documents, such as statements of accounts, delivery receipts, invoices and demand letter attached thereto as well as the truth of the allegations set forth therein. The RTC ruled that the “Comments on the Request for Admission” dated 04 June 1996 is expunged from the record for being contrary to the Rules of Court. The CA dismissed the appeal. Hence, this petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not CA erred in denying petitioner’s motion for a summary judgment? NO.

HELD: NO. The CA was correct because the petition lacks merit. Summary judgment is a procedural device resorted to in order to avoid long drawn out litigations and useless delays.25 Such judgment is generally based on the facts proven summarily by affidavits, depositions, pleadings, or admissions of the parties. In the present case, it bears to note that in its original Complaint, as well as in its Amended Complaint, respondent did not allege as to how petitioners’ partial payments of P110,301.80 and P20,000.00 were applied to the latter’s obligations. In fact, there is no allegation or admission whatsoever in the said Complaint and Amended Complaint that such partial payments were made. Petitioners, on the other hand, were consistent in raising their affirmative defense of partial payment in their Answer to the Complaint and Answer to Amended Complaint. Having pleaded a valid defense, petitioners, at this point, were deemed to have raised genuine issues of fact. On the basis of the foregoing, petitioners’ defense of partial payment in their Answer to Second Amended Complaint, in effect, no longer raised genuine issues of fact that require presentation of evidence in a full-blown trial. Hence, the summary judgment of the RTC in favor of respondent is proper.