Category: LATEST SUPREME COURT CASES


CASE 2000-0042: JESUS G. CRISOLOGO, NANETTE B. CRISOLOGO, JAMES IAN YEUNG, and MARLINA T. SHENG, VS. ALICIA HAO and GREGORIO HAO, (G.R. NO. 216151, DECEMBER 2, 2020, GAERLAN, J.) (BRIEF TITLE: CRISOLOGO ET AL VS HAO ET AL)

DISPOSITIVE:

“WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED. The Decision dated November 17, 2014 of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City, Branch 16, in Civil Case No. 33, 581-10, and its Order dated January 9, 2015 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, the Complaint dated November 18, 2010 filed by the respondents is hereby DISMISSED.

So Ordered.”

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

PETITIONERS WON  COLLECTIONS CASE AGAINST A LANDOWNER. THE DECISION BECAME FINAL. PROPERTY WAS LEVIED. BIDDING WAS HELD. PETITIONERS WERE HIGHEST BIDDERS. CERTIFICATES OF SALE WERE ISSUED IN THEIR FAVOR. RESPONDENTS HAVE ALSO COLLECTION CLAIM AGAINST THE PROPERTY. THEY FILED A CASE TO CANCEL THE CERTIFICATES OF SALE BECAUSE PETITIONERS DID NOT PAY IN CASH BUT ONLY APPLIED THE JUDGMENT AMOUNTS DUE THEM IN JUDGMENT. AND ALSO THE CERTIFICATES OF SALE DID NOT MENTION THEIR THIRD PARTY CLAIMS. RTC DECLARED THE CERTIFICATES OF SALE VOID. SUPREME COURT REVERSED RTC.

THE RULE STATES THAT JUDGMENT BIDDER NEED NOT PAY IN CASH EXCEPT IF THERE IS AN EXCESS IN CASE THERE IS NO  THIRD PARTY CLAIM. DOES THIS MEAN THAT IN CASE THERE IS A THIRD PARTY CLAIM SAID CREDITOR MUST PAY IN CASH?

NO BECAUSE THE RULE DOES NOT SAY SO. BASIC IS THE RULE IN STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION THAT WHERE THE WORDS OF THELAW OR RULE ARE CLEAR, PLAIN, AND FREE FROM AMBIGUITY, IT MUST BE GIVEN ITS LITERALMEANING AND APPLIED WITHOUT ATTEMPTED INTERPRETATION.

THE RULE READS:

Section 21. Judgment obligee as purchaser. – When the purchaser is the judgment obligee, and no third-party claim has been filed, he need not pay the amount of the bid if it does not exceed the amount of his judgment. If it does, he shall pay only the excess.

THE RULE ALSO SAYS THAT IF THERE IS A THIRD PARTY CLAIM THE SAME MUST BE STATED IN THE CERTICATE OF SALE. IN THIS CASE THE THIRD PARTY CLAIM IS NOT STATED IN THE CERTIFICATE OF SALE. IS THE CERTIFICATE OF SALE VOID?

NO BECAUSE THERE IS AN INDEMNITY BOND POSTED. THE PURPOSE OF THE RULE IS TO PROTECT THE THIRD PARTY CLAIMANT. THE INDEMNITY BOND PROVIDES SUCH PROTECTION. BESIDES,  RULES OF PROCEDURE ARE CREATED TO PROMOTE THE ENDS OF JUSTICE, AS SUCH,THEIR STRICT AND RIGID APPLICATION MUST ALWAYS BE ESCHEWED WHEN IT WOULD SUBVE1IITS PRIMARY OBJECTIVE.46 THE GENERAL POLICY OF THE LAW IS TO SUSTAIN THE VALIDITY OFEXECUTION SALES. AS THE FINAL STAGE IN LITIGATION, EXECUTION SHOULD NOT BEFRUSTRATED EXCEPT FOR SERIOUS REASONS DEMANDED BY JUSTICE AND EQUITY.

THE RULE READS:

Section 26. Certificate of sale where property claimed by third person. – When a property sold by virtue of a writ of execution has been claimed by athird person, the certificate of sale to be issued by the sheriff pursuant tosections 23, 24 and 25 of this Rule shall make express mention of the existence of such third-party claim.

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CASE 2020-0041: PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES VS. TEODORO ANSANO CALLEJA, y (G.R. No. 232455, DECEMBER 2, 2020, CAGUIOA, J.) (BRIEF TITLE: PEOPLE VS CALLEJA)

DISPOSITIVE:

“WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the appeal is hereby GRANTED. The Decision dated February 20, 2017 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR-HC No. 08223 is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, accused-appellant Teodoro Ansano y Calleja is ACQUITTED of the crime charged on the ground of reasonable doubt, and is ORDERED IMMEDIATELY RELEASED from detention unless he is being lawfully held for another cause. Let an entry of final judgment be issued immediately.

Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Superintendent of New Bilibid Prisons for immediate implementation. The said Superintendent is ORDERED to REPORT to this Court within five (5) days from receipt of this Decision the action he has taken.

So Ordered.”

SUBJECTS/DOCTRINES/DIGEST:

WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE?

ACCUSED WAS CONVICTED OF RAPE BY RTC. AFFIRMED BY CA. SUPREME COURT ACQUITTED HIM ON THE GROUND THAT THE TESTIMONY OF THE VICTIM WAS UNABLE TO PASS THE EXACTING TEST OF MORAL CERTAINTY THAT THE LAW DEMANDS AND THE RULES REQUIRE TO SATISFY THE PROSECUTION’S BURDEN OF OVERCOMING APPELLANT’S PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE. RAPED HAPPENED IN APRIL 2005. THE VICTIM IDENTIFIED THE ACCUSED IN MARCH 2006. HER DESCRIPTION OF HIM IN 2005 VARY FROM HER DESCRIPTION IN 2006. SHE IDENTIFIED THE PHOTOGRAPH OF THE ACCUSED BUT ONLY ONE PHOTO WAS SHOWN. THE TEST EMPLOYED BY THE COURT WAS THE TOTALITY OF CIRCUMSTANCES  TEST.  SIGNIFICANT JURISPRUDENCE:

WHAT ARE THE FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED IN THE TOTALITY OF CIRCUMSTANCES TEST?

To reiterate, the totality of circumstances test requires the Court to look at the following factors in weighing the reliability of the out-of-court identification: (1) the witness’ opportunity to view the criminal at the time of the crime; (2) the witness’ degree of attention at that time; (3) the accuracy of any prior description given by the witness; (4) the length of time between the crime and the identification; ( 5) the level of certainty demonstrated by the witness at the identification; and (6) the suggestiveness of the identification procedure.

THE DEFENSE OF THE ACCUSED IS DENIAL AND ALIBI. ARE THESE NOT WEAK DEFENSES?

Also, while the defenses of denial and alibi are inherently weak, they are only so in the face of an effective identification64 which, as discussed, was not present in this case.

REMINDER OF THE COURT:

The Court thus takes this opportunity to remind courts that “[a] conviction for a crime rests on two bases: (I) credible and convincing testimony establishing the identity of the accused as the perpetrator of the crime; and (2) the prosecution proving beyond reasonable doubt that all elements of the crime are attributable to the accused.”62 “Proving the identity of the accused as the malefactor is the prosecution’s primary responsibility. Thus, in every criminal prosecution, the identity of the offender, like the crime itself, must be established by proof bey~md reasonable doubt. Indeed, the first duty of the prosecution is not to prove the crime but to prove the identity of the criminal, for even if the commission of the crime can be established, there can be no conviction without proof of identity of the criminal beyond reasonable doubt.”63

TO READ THE DECISION, JUST CLICK/DOWNLOAD THE FILE BELOW. IF FILE DOES NOT APPEAR ON SCREEN GO TO DOWNLOAD. IT IS THE FIRST ITEM. OPEN IT.

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4 CASES DECIDED IN 2020 FOR BAR REVIEW 

CASE 2000-0036: FELIX VS. VITRIOLO (G.R. No. 237129, 09 DEC 2020): VITRIOLO WAS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF CHED. PETITIONER, A FACULTY MEMBER OF PLM, WROTE LETTERS TO RESPONDENT REQUESTING RESPONDENT TO INVESTIGATE  ALLEGED DIPLOMA MILL OPERATIONS OF PLM. RESPONDENT FAILED TO ANSWER SAID LETTERS AND CONDUCT INVESTIGATION. OMBUDSMAN RULED HIS OMISSION  CONSTITUTES GROSS NEGLECT OF DUTY. HE WAS DISMISSED FROM THE SERVICE. ON APPEAL CA RULED RESPONDENT COMMITTED ONLY SIMPLE NEGLECT OF DUTY AND IMPOSED 30 DAYS SUSPENSION. EVIDENCE SHOWS HE REFERRED MATTER TO VARIOUS UNITS OF CHED. BUT SUPREME COURT REVERSED CA AND AFFIRMED OMBUDSMAN RULING. THE FACT IS RESPONDENT FAILED TO PROMPTLY ANSWERED PETITIONER’S LETTERS AND THE FACT THAT AFTER SO MANY YEARS THERE WAS NO RESULT OF INVESTIGATION SHOWS RESPONDENT DID NOT PERFORM HIS DUTY.  SIGNIFICANT RULING:

“Worse, in Vitriolo’s reply dated July 11, 4014 to Felix’s June 30, 2014 letter, he only gave the lame excuse that the one assigned for investigation has retired without turning over his findings. Vi riol◊ even admitted that as late as August 3, 2015, he was still making referrals for the investigation of the matter to different CHED offices. If Vitriolo truly ordered an investigation of the alleged diploma-mill operations of PLM and considering that five long years has passed since Felix first wrote the letters to Vitriolo regarding the matter, a definite finding should have already been arrived at.

What is apparent in Vitriolo’s actions is that he did not take the allegations of Felix seriously. His flagrant and culpable refusal or unwillingness to perform his official duties could have allowed the continuation of PLM’s illegal academic programs.

All told, Vitriolo’s failure to reply to the two letters sent by Felix is not a simple violation of Section 5 (a) ofR.A. No. 6713 but an omission that gave rise to a more serious problem of the possible continuation of the illegal programs and diploma-mill operations of PLM. Because of Vitriolo’s gross neglect of duty, the investigation was not undertaken and the possible administrative liabilities of those involved were not determined.”

CASE 2020-0037-MONTEHERMOSO VS BATUTO (G.R. NO. 246553, 02 DEC 2020). DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE RTC JUDGMENT HAS BECOME FINAL AND EXECUTORY PETITIONERS FILED SEVERAL PETITIONS IN VARIOUS FORA TO OVERTURN THE RTC JUDGMENT. THE SC DID NOT LOOK WITH FAVOR ON PETITIONERS’ ACTS AND WARNED PETITIONERS AND THEIR COUNSEL THAT ANY FURTHER ATTEMPT TO REVIVE THIS CASE IN WHATEVER FORM AND BEFORE ANY FORUM WILL BE SEVERELY SANCTIONED. SIGNIFICANT RULING:

“Spouses Aguilar v. The Manila Banking Corporation12 aptly held:

It is an important fundamental principle in the judicial system that every litigation must come to an end. Access to the courts is guaranteed. But there must be a limit thereto. Once a litigant’s rights have been adjudicated in a valid and final judgment of a competent court, he should not be granted an unbridled license to come back for another try. The prevailing party should not be harassed by subsequent suits. For, if endless litigations were to be encouraged, then unscrupulous litigants will multiply to the detriment of the administration of justice.”

CASE 2020-0038: VILLAMOR VS ATTY. JUMAO-AS (A.C. No. 8111, 09 DEC 2020) ATTY. JUMAO-AS ORGANIZED A LENDING CORPORATION FOR VILLAMOR. HE ARRANGED FOR A LOAN FOR SUCH LENDING CORP FROM A CERTAIN YU. LATER ATTY JUMAO-AS PUT UP A SINGLE PROPRIETORSHIP LENDING COMPANY FOR YU AND TOLD COLLECTORS OF VILLAMOR’S CORP TO TURN OVER THEIR COLLECTIONS TO YU’S COMPANY BECAUSE OF YU’S LOAN TO VILLAMOR’S CORP. THEN ATTY. JUMAO-AS SENT DEMAND LETTER TO VILLAMOR FOR PAYMENT OF HER COMPANY’S DEBT TO YU. VILLAMOR FILED ADMIN CASE AGAINST ATTY. JUMAO-AS. SC ADOPTED IBP RECOMMENDATION THAT ATTY JUMAO-AS BE SUSPENDED FROM THE PRACTICE OF LAW FOR TWO YEARS. HE VIOLATED THE RULE ON CONFLICT OF INTEREST. SIGNIFICANT RULING:

“In Hornilla v. Salunat, the Court explained the concept of conflict of interest in this wise:

There is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents inconsistent interests of two or more opposing parties. The test is “whether or not in behalf of one client, it is the lawyer’s duty to fight for an issue or claim, but it is his duty to oppose it for the other client. In brief, if he argues for one client, this argument will be opposed by him when he argues for the other client………”

CASE 2020-0039:         BUENAVENTURA VS ATTY. GILLE (A.C. No. 7446, 20 DEC 2020) ATTY GILLE BORROWED MONEY FROM HIS CLIENT MICHELLE BUENAVENTURA USING FAKE TITLE AS COLLATERAL. LATER HE ISSUED CHECK AS PAYMENT WHICH BOUNCED. COMPLAINT WAS FILED AT IBP. ATTY GILLE FAILED TO FILE ANSWER AND POSITION PAPER. IBP RECOMMENDED THAT HE BE SUSPENDED FOR TWO YEARS. SC DISBARRED HIM. SIGNIFICANT RULINGS:

BY BORROWING MONEY FROM HIS CLIENT WHAT RULE DID ATTY GILLE VIOLATE?

“Atty. Gille violated Rule 16.04, Canon 16 of the CPR, which prohibits a lawyer from borrowing money from his client unless the client’s interests are fully protected, to wit:

CANON 16-A LAWYER SHALL HOIJ,D IN TRUST ALL MONIES AND PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENTS T AIT MAY COME INTO HIS POSSESSION.

Rule 16.04 -A lawyer shall not borrow money from his client unless the client’s interests are fully protected by t e nature of the case or by independent advice. Neither shall a lawyer lefd money to a client except, when in the interest of justice, he has to advance! necessary expenses in a legal matter he is handling for the client.

It is undisputed that Atty. Gille secured a loan from Michelle. The mere act of borrowing money from his client is confidered unethical and an abuse of the latter’s confidence reposed upon him. I In doing so, Atty. Gille took advantage of his influence over his client Mi’rhelle. 10 Further, Michelle was at a disadvantage because of respondent’s abilit~ to use all the legal maneuverings to evade his obligation. 11”

BY GIVING AS COLLATERAL A FAKE TITLE AND BY ISSUING BOUNCED CHECK WHAT RULE DID ATTY GILLE VIOLATE?

“Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the CPR provides that “A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral, or deceitful conduct.” The “conduct” under the Rule does not pertain solely to a lawyer’s performance of professional duties. 15 It has long been settled that “[a] lawyer may be disciplined for misconduct committed either in his or her professional or private capacity. The test is whether [a lawyer’s conduct manifests his or her wanting] in moral character, honesty, probity, and good demeanor, or [unworthiness] to continue as an officer of the court.”