G.R. No. 156605 : August 28 2007

FACTS: A Complaint for recovery of ill-gotten wealth was filed by the Republic (through the PCGG) against Marcelo, Fabian Ver, and Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. The Republic alleged that the parties acquired the ill-gotten wealth through unlawful means. After several amendements, the Republic was able to implead sixteen corporations (16) corporations who were used by the defendants as dummies. Thereafter, the corporations filed their respective Answers, which contained these common allegations: they are not owned, controlled or were acquired by Marcello who is merely an officer/stockholder; and that their assets were acquired legally. Following the filing by the Republic of its Pre-Trial Brief, Marcelo and MFC submitted his own Pre-Trial Brief With Written Interrogatories and Request for Admission. Then, the petitioners filed three (3) separate Motion for Summary Judgment. The petitioners contend that they are entitled to a summary judgment on the ground that the Republic failed to answer the petitioner’s written interrogatories and request for written admission. In result the the matters set forth in their written interrogatories are deemed established. The Sandiganbayan denied the Motions for Summary Judgement. Hence, this petition.

ISSUE: Whether or not the failure of the Republic to answer the petitioner’s written interrogatories and request for written admissions is a ground for the dismissal of action? Yes.

HELD: YES.The Republic cannot plausibly evade the consequences of its failure to answer written interrogatories and requests for admission. If the plaintiff fails or refuses to answer the interrogatories, it may be a good basis for the dismissal of his complaint for non-suit unless he can justify such failure or refusal. To be sure, the Rules of Court prescribes the procedures and defines all the consequence/s for refusing to comply with the different modes of discovery. The case of Republic v. Sandiganbayan, 204 SCRA 213 (1991), a case for recovery of ill-gotten wealth where the defendants served upon the PCGG written interrogatories but the latter refused to make a discovery, is relevant.