G.R. No. 197122 : June 15 2016

FACTS: Cleary, an American citizen with office address in California, filed a Complaint for specific performance and damages against Miranila Land Development Corporation (petitioner is included) before RTC of Cebu. he Complaint involved shares of stock of Miranila Land Development Corporation, for which Cleary paid 191K USD. He expressed his intent in availing himself “of the modes of discovery under the rules.” Cleary moved for court authorization to take deposition. He prayed that his deposition be taken before the Consulate-General of the Philippines in Los Angeles and be used as his direct testimony Santamaria and Boza opposed, stating that he deprived the court and the parties the opportunity to observe his demeanor and directly propound questions on him. The trial court denied Cleary’s Motion for Court Authorization to Take Deposition in the Order, for depositions are not meant to be a substitute for actual testimony in open court. Cleary elevated the case to the Court of Appeals. Court of Appeals granted Cleary’s Petition for Certiorari and reversed the trial court’s ruling.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Motion for Court Authorization to Take Deposition should be granted? Yes.

HELD: YES. Jurisprudence has discussed how “under the concept adopted by the new Rules, the deposition serves the double function of a method of discovery — with use on trial not necessarily contemplated — and a method of presenting testimony.” The taking of depositions has been allowed as a departure from open-court testimony. Petitioners argue that the deposition sought by respondent is not for discovery purposes as he is the plaintiff himself. To support their contention, they cite Northwest v. Cruz, where it was ruled that the examination of witnesses in open court — should be observed since the deposition was only to accommodate the petitioner’s employee who was in the United States, and not for discovery purposes. In keeping with the principle of promoting the just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding, depositions are allowed as a “departure from the accepted and usual judicial proceedings of examining witnesses in open court where their demeanor could be observed by the trial judge.” Depositions are allowed, provided they are taken in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Court, that is, with leave of court if the summons have been served, without leave of court if an answer has been submitted; and provided, further, that a circumstance for their admissibility exists.