LEGAL NOTE 00044: WHAT IS QUESTION OF FACT? WHAT IS QUESTION OF LAW?

 

SOURCE: F.A.T. KEE COMPUTER SYSTEMS, INC. VS. ONLINE NETWORKS INTERNATIONAL, INC. (G.R. NO. 171238, 2 FEBRUARY 2011, LEONARDO – DE CASTRO, J.) SUBJECTS: FAILURE TO ATTACH TSNs TO PETITION; QUESTION OF FACT VIS A VIS QUESTION OF LAW. (BRIEF TITLE: F.A.T. KEE VS. ONLINE).

 

WHEN DOES QUESTION OF LAW ARISE?

 WHEN THERE IS DOUBT AS TO WHAT THE LAW IS ON A CERTAIN STATE OF FACTS. FOR A QUESTION TO BE ONE OF LAW, THE SAME MUST NOT INVOLVE AN EXAMINATION OF THE PROBATIVE VALUE OF THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED BY THE LITIGANTS OR ANY OF THEM.[63]

 

WHEN DOES QUESTON OF FACT ARISE?

WHEN THE DOUBT ARISES AS TO THE TRUTH OR FALSITY OF THE ALLEGED FACTS.

As to the substantive issues raised in the instant petition, the Court finds that, indeed, questions of fact are being invoked by FAT KEE.  A question of law arises when there is doubt as to what the law is on a certain state of facts, while there is a question of fact when the doubt arises as to the truth or falsity of the alleged facts.  For a question to be one of law, the same must not involve an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented by the litigants or any of them.[63]

 

WHAT MUST A PETITION FOR REVIEW ON CERTIORARI RAISE?

ONLY QUESTION OF LAW WHICH MUST BE DISTINCTLY SET FORTH.

 

IS THERE AN EXCEPTION?

YES, AS WHEN THE FINDINGS OF FACT OF THE CA AND RTC ARE CONFLICTING.

Rule 45, Section 1 of the Rules of Court dictates that a petition for review on certiorari “shall raise only questions of law, which must be distinctly set forth.”[64]  This rule is, however, subject to exceptions,[65] one of which is when the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals and the RTC are conflicting.  

 

HOW DOES IT APPLIES TO THE CASE ABOVE?

. . .  Said exception applies to the instant case.

Substantially, FAT KEE primarily argues there was neither any agreement to enter into a foreign currency-based transaction, nor to use a dollar exchange rate of P37:US$1.  The invoice receipts denominated in US dollars were unilaterally prepared by ONLINE.  Similarly, the Accounting Department of ONLINE required that the Purchase Order to be submitted by FAT KEE be denominated in US dollars and Frederick Huang, Jr. merely complied with the same upon the instructions of Payoyo.  Contrary to ONLINE’s claim, it issued the SOA dated December 9, 1997 with the alleged unpaid obligation of FAT KEE quoted in Philippine pesos.  FAT KEE also takes issue with the ruling of the Court of Appeals that it assented to the payment in US dollars of the transactions covered under Invoice Nos. 4680, 4838, 5090 and 5096.  Lastly, FAT KEE reiterates the ruling of the RTC that ONLINE was estopped from seeking payment in US dollars since the outstanding obligation of FAT KEE was denominated in Philippine pesos in the SOA dated December 9, 1997.  Claiming that the SOA was its only basis for payment, FAT KEE allegedly paid its obligations in accordance therewith and ONLINE duly accepted the payments.

After a meticulous review of the records, we resolve to deny the petition.


[1]               Rollo, pp. 11-31.

[2]               Id. at 32-42; penned by Associate Justice Josefina Guevara-Salonga with Associate Justices Delilah Vidallon-Magtolis and Fernanda Lampas-Peralta, concurring.

[3]               Id. at 129-135; penned by Judge Oscar B. Pimentel.

[4]               Records, pp. 1-7.

[5]               Id. at 100-103.

[6]               Id.

[7]               Id. at 3.

[8]               The total amount due as computed by ONLINE, plus 28% interest per annum for three months, was P3,012,636.17.  However, this is inaccurate.  The said amount is the result obtained upon the application of the 28% interest on the alleged unpaid balance of P2,943,944.14 for a period of one (1) month only.  A recomputation of the figures shows that the correct total amount should have been P3,150,020.23.      

[9]               Records, pp. 37-45.

[10]             Id. at 175.

[11]             TSN, July 29, 1999, p. 6.

[12]             Id. at 9.

[13]             Id. at 14-15.

[14]             Id. at 18.

[15]             Id. at 20.

[16]             Id. at 24.

[17]             Id. at 24-25.

[18]             Records, pp. 118-119.

[19]             TSN, July 29, 1999, p. 27.

[20]             The Purchase Order was dated November 26, 1997; records, p. 120.

[21]             TSN, August 5, 1999, p. 7.

[22]             Records, p. 121.

[23]             TSN, August 5, 1999, pp. 12-13.

[24]             Id. at 20-22.

[25]             Id. at 26.

[26]             TSN, September 7, 1999, p. 7.

[27]             Id. at 9-10.

[28]             Id. at 12-13.

[29]             Id. at 14-15.

[30]             Id. at 17.

[31]             Id. at 21.

[32]             The amount stated in Invoice No. 4680 was $66,954.70, while the amount in Invoice No. 4838 was $44,177.45.

[33]             By dividing the amounts in Philippine pesos by the amounts in US dollars.

[34]             TSN, November 11, 1999, pp. 18-20.

[35]             The amount stated in Invoice No. 5090 was $11,297.28, while the amount in Invoice No. 5096 was $13,720.00.

[36]             TSN, February 23, 2000, pp. 13-14.

[37]             Id. at 16.

[38]             Id. at 17.

[39]             Id. at 20-21.

[40]             Id. at 22.

[41]             TSN, May 11, 2000, p. 20.

[42]             Id. at 21-22.

[43]             TSN, June 15, 2000, p. 5.

[44]             Id. at 7-9.

[45]             Id. at 9-10.

[46]             Id. at 13-14.

[47]             Id. at 15-16.

[48]             Id. at 18-20.

[49]             Id. at 29.

[50]             Rollo, pp. 132-134.

[51]             Records, pp. 265-287.

[52]             Id. at 311-312.

[53]             Id. at 313-316.

[54]             Rollo, p. 36.

[55]             Id. at 36-39.

[56]             Id. at 39-40.

[57]             Id. at 40-42.

[58]             CA rollo, pp. 201-208.

[59]             SEC. 4. Contents of petition. – The petition shall be filed in eighteen (18) copies, with the original copy intended for the court being indicated as such by the petitioner, and shall (a) state the full name of the appealing party as the petitioner and the adverse party as respondent, without impleading the lower courts or judges thereof either as petitioners or respondents; (b) indicate the material dates showing when notice of the judgment or final order or resolution subject thereof was received, when a motion for new trial or reconsideration, if any, was filed and when notice of the denial thereof was received; (c) set forth concisely a statement of the matters involved, and the reasons or arguments relied on for the allowance of the petition; (d) be accompanied by a clearly legible duplicate original, or a certified true copy of the judgment or final order or resolution certified by the clerk of court of the court a quo and the requisite number of plain copies thereof, and such material portions of the record as would support the petition; and (e) contain a sworn certification against forum shopping as provided in the last paragraph of section 2, Rule 42. (Emphasis ours.)

[60]             SEC. 7. Pleadings and documents that may be required; sanctions. – For purposes of determining whether the petition should be dismissed or denied pursuant to section 5 of this Rule, or where the petition is given due course under section 8 hereof, the Supreme Court may require or allow the filing of such pleadings, briefs, memoranda or documents as it may deem necessary within such periods and under such conditions as it may consider appropriate, and impose the corresponding sanctions in case of non-filing or unauthorized filing of such pleadings and documents or non-compliance with the conditions therefor.

[61]             See Grand Boulevard Hotel v. Genuine Labor Organization of Workers in Hotel, Restaurant and Allied Industries (GLOWHRAIN), 454 Phil. 463 (2003).

[62]             Rules of Court, Rule 1, Section 6.

[63]             Tirazona v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 169712, March 14, 2008, 548 SCRA 560, 581.

[64]             SEC. 1. Filing of petition with Supreme Court. – A party desiring to appeal by certiorari from a judgment, final order or resolution of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Court of Tax Appeals, the Regional Trial Court or other courts, whenever authorized by law, may file with the Supreme Court a verified petition for review on certiorari. The petition may include an application for a writ of preliminary injunction or other provisional remedies and shall raise only questions of law, which must be distinctly set forth. The petitioner may seek the same provisional remedies by verified motion filed in the same action or proceeding at any time during its pendency. (As amended by A.M. No. 07-7-12-SC.)

[65]             The exceptions are: (1) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or conjectures; (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of facts are conflicting; (6) when in making its findings the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case, or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee; (7) when the findings are contrary to the trial court; (8) when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner’s main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent; (10) when the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record; and (11) when the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties, which, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion. (Insular Life Assurance Company, Ltd. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 126850, April 28, 2004, 428 SCRA 79, 85-86.)

[66]             G.R. No. 163583, August 20, 2008, 562 SCRA 511.

[67]             Id. at 536-537.

[68]             338 Phil. 274 (1997).

[69]             Id. at 286-287.

[70]             Records, pp. 104-111.