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. 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. 209057 : March 15, 2017

FACTS: A Petition seeking permission to perpetuate his testimony under Rule 24 of the Rules of Civil Procedure was filed by respondent before the RTC of Makati. He alleged that the taking of his deposition was necessary because of some personal circumstances. In his petition, he also named the expected adverse parties in the actions he anticipated would be filed. Petitioner thereafter filed a Comment/Opposition to the Petition on the ground that the filing of a separate action for the perpetuation of testimony was tantamount to forum shopping. The RTC granted the respondent’s Petition and ordered his deposition to be taken. Petitioner, along with other adverse parties, sought a reconsideration of the RTC Resolution, but the RTC denied the motions in open court. A hearing and cross-examination by adverse parties was then set. The hearing proceeded notwithstanding the absence of the petitioner and his counsel, and the direct examination of respondent was concluded. The RTC conducted confidence-building activities for respondent and his brother, Juan Miguel Ongsiako. The parties, however, failed to reach an agreement. The scheduled hearing was impeded by the withdrawal of appearance by the law firm representing Juan Miguel. The trial court reset the hearing and was announced to all parties present in the open court. For those who were absent during the hearing, such as the petitioner and his counsel, the RTC directed that copies of the written order be server upon them. RTC then received a copy of the Petition for Certiorari filed by petitioner with the CA. the Petition questioned its resolution. The cross examination of respondent finally proceeded, but both petitioner and his counsel were again absent at the hearing. The RTC noted, however, that petitioner had filed a Motion to Suspend Proceedings right before the start of the hearing. In his motion, he requested that the proceedings for the perpetuation of testimony be suspended pending the final resolution of the Petition for Certiorari earlier filed with the CA. Towards the end of the proceedings on August 18, 2010, the RTC issued an Order declaring that petitioner, together with Juan Miguel, had waived their right to cross-examine respondent.

ISSUE: Whether or not the CA correctly affirmed the RTC ruling that declared petitioner to have waived his right to cross-examination? No.

HELD: NO. The right to cross-examine opposing witnesses has long been considered a fundamental element of due process in both civil and criminal proceedings. In proceedings for the perpetuation of testimony, the right to cross­ examine a deponent is an even more vital part of the procedure. In fact, the Revised Rules on Evidence provide that depositions previously taken are only admissible in evidence against an adverse party who had the opportunity to cross-examine the witness.Because depositions are an exception to the general rule on the inadmissibility of hearsay testimony, the process of cross-examination is an important safeguard against false statements. IN THIS CASE, the conduct of petitioner cannot be construed as a waiver of his right to cross-examine respondent. the records of the case reveal that neither he nor his counsel was adequately informed of the new schedule for the cross-examination of respondent. While the RTC ordered that Notices of Hearing be sent to both petitioner and his counsel, they did not receive these processes in time for the hearing through no fault of their own. the absence of petitioner and his counsel at the hearing was clearly not due to their own fault. Hence, it would be unfair and unjust to consider the failure of petitioner to attend the hearing as signifying his intention to waive the right to cross-examine respondent.


G.R. No. 223679: September 27,2017: 818 Phil. 1021

Offense Involved: Robbery with Homicide

FACTS:  On June 1, 2001 in Dinalupihan, Bataan, accused-appellants had a shabu session together with the witness, Analiza Paule wherein they planned a hold-up against the victim, Victorino Paule. After the shabu session, accused-appellants introduced Analiza Paule to Victorino Paule and they agreed that the former will bring her to Benzi Lodge to have sex with her for a fee. After this, the witness and the accused-appellants instructed a tricycle driver-witness to bring all of them in their hide-out. Upon reaching a dark place, one of the accused instructed the driver to stop and he asked the victim to alight from the tricycle. After taking a few steps, the accused-appellants mugged and stabbed the victim to death and took his wallet and jewelry. Analiza Paule and the tricycle driver were threatened not to tell anyone or they will also get killed. Three days after, Analiza Paule reported the incident to the police. The accused-appellants were charged in the RTC with Robbery with Homicide with aggravating circumstance of treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength attended the commission of the crime. The accused-appellants pleaded not guilty and presented their defenses and alibis. The RTC ruled against the accused and sentenced them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. Aggrieved, the accused-appellants  elevated the case to the CA, to which the CA affirmed the decision of the RTC. Hence this case.


  1. Whether or not lower court erred in finding accused to be guilty of Robbery with Homicide?
  2. Whether or not lower court erred in finding that treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength were present in the commission of robbery with homicide? No.


  1. No. The lower court did not err in finding accused to be guilty of Robbery with Homicide. Accused-appellants are guilty beyond reasonable doubt of robbery with homicide. The prosecution was able to prove the existence of all the elements of the crime (Art. 294, par. 1) by virtue of the the accounts of the eyewitnesses, particularly Analiza Paule and the tricycle driver’s testimonies. This is because no evidence was adduced by the defense to refute it or to show why said witnesses would testify falsely against appellants.
  • No. The lower court did not err in finding that treachery, evident premeditation and abuse of superior strength were present in the commission of robbery with homicide The following aggravating circumstances were present in the commission of the crime: (a) treachery; (b) evident premeditation;  and (c) abuse of superior strength. The RTC was correct in appreciating the aggravating circumstance of treachery. Treachery was established through Analiza’s testimony that upon reaching the secluded place, Victorino was asked to alight from the tricycle and without any provocation on his part, was repeatedly stabbed and kicked by the accused-appellants. Here, Victorino was caught by surprise when he was immediately stabbed by Buan a few steps after they alighted from the tricycle. It shows that the victim was caught completely off-guard, which supports the existence of the first element of treachery, i.e., a sudden attack giving the victim no opportunity to defend himself or retaliate. The second element is likewise present as the accused-appellants consciously and deliberately stabbed the victim as evidenced by the fact that all of them had knives in their possession when the stabbing incident happened.