G.R. No. 190408 : July 20, 2016

FACTS: A Memorandum of Agreement was executed between petitioner as first party-assignee; the Group as second-party assignor and S.C. Roque Group of Companies Holding Limited Corporation and S.C. Roque Foundation Incorporated as foundation-grantor. In an Amended Complaint for a Sum of Money with Damages filed before the RTC, petitioner claimed that the second-party assignor/respondent and the foundation-grantor have not paid and refused to pay their obligation under the MOA. During the pre-trial, there were facts that was stipulated. The RTC reconsidered its order issued a Writ of Attachment against respondent. In their Answer with Counterclaim, respondent argued that the MOA on which petitioner based its cause of action does not state that respondent is a party. Neither was respondent obligated to pay the amount of P4,624,705.00 for the European Tour of the Group nor did it consent to complying with the terms of the MOA. Respondent asserted that the thumbmark of Sr. Medalle was secured without her consent. Respondent maintained that since it was not a party to the MOA, it is not bound by the provisions stated therein. The RTC ruled in favor of petitioner. Respondent filed a notice of appeal. The CA relieved respondent of any liability for petitioner’s monetary claims. Aggrieved, petitioner elevated the case to this Court via a petition for review.

ISSUE: Whether or not the deposition conducted upon Sister Medalle is admissible? No.

HELD: NO. Petitioner claims that Sr. Medalle knew fully well the import of the MOA when she affixed her thumbmark therein while respondent alleges that fraud was employed to induce Sr. Medalle to affix her thumbmark. Between the two parties, credence is given to petitioner. First, the trial court did not give probative weight to the deposition of Sr. Medalle basically stating that respondent’s counsel failed to conform to Section 20, Rule 23 of the Rules of Court. Indeed, there is no record of any certification from Notary Public Romeo Juayno stating that the witness, Sr. Medalle in this case, was sworn to by him and that the deposition is a true record of the testimony given by Sr. Medalle. Furthermore, petitioner correctly noted that respondent’s counsel did not seek a leave of court to conduct a deposition in violation of Section 1, Rule 23 of the Rules of Court. In this case, respondent’s counsel filed a Notice of Deposition for the Taking of Deposition on 28 October 2002. The Answer with Counterclaim was only filed on 21 February 2005. In this instance, respondent should have asked for leave of court. Considering that the trial court has the discretion to decide whether a deposition may or may not be taken, it follows that it also has the discretion to disregard a deposition for noncompliance with the rules.

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