I. SUMMONS (Rule 14)
(1) Summons is a writ or process issued and served upon the defendant in a civil action for the purpose of securing his appearance therein.
(2) The service of summons enables the court to acquire jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. If there is no service of summons, any judgment rendered or proceedings had in a case are null and void, except in case of voluntary appearance (Echevarria vs. Parsons Hardware, 51 Phil. 980). The law requiring the manner of service of summons in jurisdictional (Toyota Cubao vs. CA, GR 126321, Oct. 23, 1997).
Nature and purpose of summons in relation to actions in personam, in rem and quasi in rem
(1) In an action in personam, the purpose of summons is not only to notify the defendant of the action against him but also to acquire jurisdiction over his person (Umandap vs. Sabio, Jr., 339 SCRA 243). The filing of the complaint does not enable the courts to acquire jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. By the filing of the complaint and the payment of the required filing and docket fees, the court acquires jurisdiction only over the person of the plaintiff, not over the person of the defendant. Acquisition of jurisdiction over the latter is accomplished by a valid service of summons upon him. Service of summons logically follows the filing of the complaint. Note further that the filing of the complaint tolls the running of the prescriptive period of the cause of action in accordance with Article 1155 of the Civil Code.
(2) In an action in rem or quasi in rem, jurisdiction over the defendant is not required and the court acquires jurisdiction over an action as long as it acquires jurisdiction over the res. The purpose of summons in these actions is not the acquisition of jurisdiction over the defendant but mainly to satisfy the constitutional requirement of due process (Gomez vs. CA, 420 SCRA 98).
(1) Voluntary appearance is any appearance of the defendant in court, provided he does not raise the question of lack of jurisdiction of the court (Flores vs. Zurbito, 37 Phil. 746; Carballo vs. Encarnacion, 92 Phil. 974). It is equivalent to service of summons (Sec. 20).
(2) An appearance is whatever form, without explicitly objecting to the jurisdiction of the court over the person, is a submission to the jurisdiction of the court over the person. It may be made by simply filing a formal motion, or plea or answer. If his motion is for any other purpose than to object to the jurisdiction of the court over his person, he thereby submits himself to the jurisdiction of the court (Busuego vs. CA, L-48955, June 30, 1987; La Naval Drug Corp. vs. CA, 54 SCAD 917).
(3) Voluntary appearance may be in form of:
(a) Voluntary appearance of attorney;
(b) A motion, by answer, or simple manifestation (Flores vs. Surbito);
(c) A telegraphic motion for postponement (Punzalan vs. Papica, Feb. 29, 1960);
(d) Filing a motion for dissolution of attachment;
(e) Failure to question the invalid service of summons (Navale vs. CA, GR 109957, Feb. 20, 1996);
(f) Filing a motion for extension of time to file an answer.
(1) It shall be served by handling a copy to the defendant in person, or if he refuses it, by tendering it to him (Sec. 6, Rule 14).
(1) If the defendant cannot be served within a reasonable time, service may be effected:
(a) By leaving copies of the summons at the defendant’s dwelling house or residence with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein; or
(b) By leaving copies at defendant’s office or regular place of business with some competent person in charge thereof (Sec. 7).
(2) It may be resorted to if there are justifiable causes, where the defendant cannot be served within a reasonable time (Sec. 7). An example is when the defendant is in hiding and resorted to it intentionally to avoid service of summons, or when the defendant refuses without justifiable reason to receive the summons (Navale vs. CA, 253 SCRA 705).
(3) In substituted service of summons, actual receipt of the summons by the defendant through the person served must be shown (Millennium Industrial Commercial Corp. vs. Tan, 383 Phil. 468). It further requires that where there is substituted service, there should be a report indicating that the person who received the summons in defendant’s behalf was one with whom petitioner had a relation of confidence ensuring that the latter would receive or would be notified of the summons issued in his name (Ang Ping vs. CA, 369 Phil. 609; Casimina vs. Hon. Legaspi, GR 147530, June 29, 2005).
(4) Substituted service is not allowed in service of summons on domestic corporations (Delta Motor Sales Corp. vs. Mangosing, 70 SCRA 598).
Constructive service (by publication)
(1) As a rule, summons by publication is available only in actions in rem or quasi in rem. It is not available as a means of acquiring jurisdiction over the person of the defendant in an action in personam.
(2) Against a resident, the recognized mode of service is service in person on the defendant under Sec. 6 Rule 14. In a case where the defendant cannot be served within a reasonable time, substituted service will apply (Sec. 7, Rule 14), but no summons by publication which is permissible however, under the conditions set forth in Sec. 14, Rule 14.
(3) Against a non-resident, jurisdiction is acquired over the defendant by service upon his person while said defendant is within the Philippines. As once held, when the defendant is a nonresident, personal service of summons in the state is essential to the acquisition of jurisdiction over him (Banco Do Brasil, supra). This is in fact the only way of acquiring jurisdiction over his person if he does not voluntarily appear in the action. Summons by publication against a nonresident in an action in personam is not a proper mode of service.
(4) Publication is notice to the whole world that the proceeding has for its object to bar indefinitely all who might be minded to make an objection of any sort against the right sought to be established. It is the publication of such notice that brings the whole world as a party in the case and vests the court with jurisdiction to hear and decide it (Alaban vs. CA, GR 156021, Sept. 23, 2005).
Service upon a defendant where his identity is unknown or where his whereabouts are unknown
(1) Where the defendant is designated as unknown, or whenever his whereabouts are unknown and cannot be ascertained despite a diligent inquiry, service may, with prior leave of court, be effected upon the defendant, by publication in a newspaper of general circulation. The place and the frequency of the publication is a matter for the court to determine (Sec. 14, Rule 14). The rule does not distinguish whether the action is in personam, in rem or quasi in rem. The tenor of the rule authorizes summons by publication whatever the action may be as long as the identity of the defendant is unknown or his whereabouts are unknown. Under the previous rulings, jurisdiction over the defendant in an action in personam cannot be acquired by the summons by publication (Pantaleon vs. Asuncion, 105 Phil. 761; Consolidated Plyware Industries vs. Breva, 166 SCRA 516).
Rules on Summons on Defendant
(a) Present in the Philippines
- Personal service (Rule 14, Sec. 6)
- Substituted service (Rule 14, Sec. 7)
- Publication, but only if
- his identity or whereabouts is unknown (Rule 14, Sec. 14); and
- the action is in rem or quasi in rem (Citizen Surety v. Melencio-Herrera, 38 SCRA 369 ).
(b) Absent from the Philippines
- Substituted service (Rule 14, Sec. 7)
- Extraterritorial service (Rule 14, Sec. 16 and 15); action need not be in rem or quasi in rem (Valmonte v. CA, 252 SCRA 92 )
- Present in the Philippines
- Personal service (Sec. 6, Rule 14)
- Substituted service (Sec. 7, Rule 14)
- Absent from the Philippines
- Action in rem or quasi in rem – only Extraterritorial service (Rule 14, Sec. 15)
- Action in personam, and judgment cannot be secured by attachment (e.g. action for injunction)
- Wait for the defendant to come to the Philippines and to serve summons then
- Bait the defendant to voluntarily appear in court (Rule 14, Sec. 20)
- Plaintiff cannot resort to extraterritorial service of summons (Kawasaki Port Services vs. Amores, 199 SCRA 230 ; Dial Corporation vs. Soriano, 161 SCRA 737 ).
Service upon residents temporarily outside the Philippines
(1) Service of summons upon a resident of the Philippines who is temporarily out of the country, may, by leave of court be effected out of the Philippines as under the rules on extraterritorial service in Sec. 15, Rule 14 by any of the following modes: (a) by personal service as in Sec. 6, (b) by publication in a news paper of general circulation together with a registered mailing of a copy of the summons and the order of the court to the last known address of the defendant, or (c) by any manner the court may deem sufficient under Sec. 16. Like in the case of an unknown defendant or one whose whereabouts are unknown, the rule affecting residents who are temporarily out of the Philippines applies in any action. Note also, that summons by publication may be effected against the defendant.
(2) The defendant may however, also be served by substituted service (Montalban vs. Maximo, 22 SCRA 1070). This is because even if he is abroad, he has a residence in the Philippines or a place of business and surely, because of his absence, he cannot be served in person within a reasonable time.
Extra-territorial service, when allowed
(1) Under Sec. 15, Rule 14, extraterritorial service of summons is proper only in four (4) instances namely:
(a) When the action affects the personal status of the plaintiffs;
(b) When the action relates to, or the subject of which is, property within the Philippines, in which the defendant has or claims a lien or interest, actual or contingent;
(c) When the relief demanded in such action consists, wholly or in part, in excluding the defendant from any interest in property located in the Philippines; and
(d) When the defendant non-resident’s property has been attached within the Philippines.
(2) Extraterritorial service of summons applies when the following requisites concur:
(a) The defendant is nonresident;
(b) He is not found in the Philippines; and
(c) The action against him is either in rem or quasi in rem.
(3) If the action is in personam, this mode of service will not be available. There is no extraterritorial service of summons in an action in personam. Hence, extraterritorial service upon a nonresident in an action for injunction which is in personam is not proper (Kawasaki Port Service Corp. vs. Amores, 199 SCRA 230; Banco Do Brasil vs. CA, 333 SCRA 545).
Service upon prisoners and minors
(1) On a minor. Service shall be made on him personally and on his legal guardian if he has one, or if none, upon his guardian ad litem whose appointment shall be applied for by the plaintiff, or upon a person exercising parental authority over him, but the court may order that service made on a minor of 15 or more years of age shall be sufficient (Sec. 10);
(2) On prisoners. It shall be made upon him by serving on the officer having the management of the jail or institution who is deemed deputized as a special sheriff for said purpose (Sec. 9).
Proof of service
(1) When the service has been completed, the server shall, within five (5) days therefrom, serve a copy of the return, personally or by registered mail, to the plaintiff’s counsel, and shall return the summons to the clerk who issued it, accompanied by proof of service (Sec. 4, Rule 14).
(2) After the completion of the service, a proof of service is required to be filed by the server of the summons. The proof of service of summons shall be made in writing by the server and shall set forth the manner, place and date of service; shall specify any papers which have been served with the process and the name of the person who received the same; and shall be sworn to when made by a person other than a sheriff or his deputy (Sec. 18).
II. MOTIONS (Rule 15)
Definition of Motion
(1) A motion is an application for relief other than by a pleading (Sec. 1, Rule 15).
Motions versus Pleadings
(1) A pleading is a written statement of the respective claims and defenses of the parties submitted to the court for appropriate judgment (Sec. 1, Rule 6). It may be in the form of a complaint, counterclaim, cross-claim, third-party complaint, or complaint-in-intervention, answer or reply (Sec. 2, Rule 6).
(2) A motion on the other hand is an application for relief other than a pleading (Sec. 1, Rule 15).
Contents and form of motions
(1) A motion shall state the order sought to be obtained, and the grounds which it is based, and if necessary shall be accompanied by supporting affidavits and other papers (Sec. 3).
(2) All motions must be in writing except those made in open court or in the course of a hearing or trial (Sec. 2).
Omnibus Motion Rule
(1) The rule is a procedural principle which requires that every motion that attacks a pleading, judgment, order or proceeding shall include all grounds then available, and all objections not so included shall be deemed waived (Sec. 8). Since the rule is subject to the provisions of Sec. 1, Rule 9, the objections mentioned therein are not deemed waived even if not included in the motion. These objections are: (a) that the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter, (b) that there is another action pending between the same parties for the same cause (litis pendencia), (c) that the action is barred by a prior judgment (res judicata), and (d) that the action is barred by the statute of limitations (prescription) (Sec. 1, par. 2, Rule 9).
(2) A motion to dismiss is a typical example of a motion subject to omnibus motion rule, since a motion to dismiss attacks a complaint which is a pleading. Following the omnibus motion rule, if a motion to dismiss is filed, then the motion must invoke all objections which are available at the time of the filing of said motion. If the objection which is available at the time is not included in the motion, that ground is deemed waived. It can no longer be invoked as affirmative defense in the answer which the movant may file following the denial of his motion to dismiss.
Litigated and ex parte motions
(1) A litigated motion is one which requires the parties to be heard before a ruling on the motion is made by the court. Sec. 4 establishes the general rule that every written motion is deemed a litigated motion. A motion to dismiss (Rule 16), a motion for judgment for the pleadings (Rule 34), and a summary judgment (Rule 35), are litigated motions.
(2) An ex parte motion is one which does not require that the parties be heard, and which the court may act upon without prejudicing the rights of the other party. This kind of motion is not covered by the hearing requirement of the Rules (Sec. 2). An example of an ex parte motion is that one filed by the plaintiff pursuant to Sec. 1, Rule 18, in which he moves promptly that the case be set for pre-trial. A motion for extension of time is an ex parte motion made to the court in behalf of one or the other of the parties to the action, in the absence and usually without the knowledge of the other party or parties. Ex parte motions are frequently permissible in procedural matters, and also in situations and under circumstances of emergency; and an exception to the rule requiring notice is sometimes made where notice or the resulting delay might tend to defeat the objective of the motion (Sarmiento vs. Zaratan, GR 167471, Feb. 5, 2007).
(1) The Court has consistently held that a motion which does not meet the requirements of Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 15 on hearing and notice of the hearing is a mere scrap of paper, which the clerk of court has no right to receive and the trial court has no authority to act upon. Service of a copy of a motion containing a notice of the time and the place of hearing of that motion is a mandatory requirement, and the failure of movants to comply with these requirements renders their motions fatally defective (Vette Industrial Sales vs. Cheng, GR 170232-170301, Dec. 5, 2006).
(2) A pro forma motion is one which does not satisfy the requirements of the rules and one which will be treated as a motion intended to delay the proceedings (Marikina Development Corporatoin vs. Flojo, 251 SCRA 87).
Motions for Bill of Particulars (Rule 12)
Purpose and when applied for
(1) A party’s right to move for a bill of particulars in accordance with Sec. 1, Rule 12 (doesn’t include matters evidentiary in nature, which are covered by Modes of Discovery) when the allegations of the complaint are vague and uncertain is intended to afford a party not only a chance to properly prepare a responsive pleading but also an opportunity to prepare an intelligent answer. This is to avert the danger where the opposing party will find difficulty in squarely meeting the issues raised against him and plead the corresponding defenses which if not timely raised in the answer will be deemed waived. The proper preparation of an intelligent answer requires information as to the precise nature, character, scope and extent of the cause of action in order that the pleader may be able to squarely meet the issues raised, thereby circumscribing them within determined confines and preventing surprises during the trial, and in order that he may set forth his defenses which may not be so readily availed of if the allegations controverted are vague, indefinite, uncertain or are mere general conclusions. The latter task assumes significance because defenses not pleaded (save those excepted in Sec. 2, Rule 9, and whenever appropriate, the defenses of prescription) in a motion to dismiss or in the answer are deemed waived (Republic vs. Sandiganbayan, GR 115748, Aug. 7, 1996).
(2) The purpose of the motion is to seek an order from the court directing the pleader to submit a bill of particulars which avers matters with ‘sufficient definitiveness or particularity’ to enable the movant to prepare his responsive pleading (Sec. 1, Rule 12), not to enable the movant to prepare for trial. The latter purpose is the ultimate objective of the discovery procedures from Rules 23 to 29 and ever of a pre-trial under Rule 18. In other words, the function of a bill of particulars is to clarify the allegations in the pleading so an adverse party may be informed with certainty of the exact character of a cause of action or a defense. Without the clarifications sought by the motion, the movant may be deprived of the opportunity to submit an intelligent responsive pleading.
(3) A motion for a bill of particulars is to be filed before, not after responding to a pleading (Sec. 1, Rule 12). The period to file a motion refers to the period for filing the responsive pleading in Rule 11. Thus, where the motion for bill of particulars is directed to a complaint, the motion should be filed within fifteen (15) days after service of summons. If the motion is directed to a counterclaim, then the same must be filed within ten (10) days from service of the counterclaim which is the period provided for by Sec. 4, Rule 11 to answer a counterclaim.
(4) In case of a reply to which no responsive pleading is provided for by the Rules, the motion for bill of particulars must be filed within ten (10) days of the service of said reply (Sec. 1, Rule 12).
Actions of the court
(1) Upon receipt of the motion which the clerk of court must immediately bring to the attention of the court, the latter has three possible options, namely: (a) to deny the motion outright, (b) to grant the motion outright or (c) to hold a hearing on the motion.
Compliance with the order and effect of non-compliance
(1) If a motion for bill of particulars is granted, the court shall order the pleader to submit a bill of particulars to the pleading to which the motion is directed. The compliance shall be effected within ten (10) days from notice of the order, or within the period fixed by the court (Sec. 3, Rule 12).
(2) In complying with the order, the pleader may file the bill of particulars either in a separate pleading or in the form or an amended pleading (Sec. 3, Rule 12). The bill of particulars submitted becomes part of the pleading for which it is intended (Sec. 6, Rule 12).
(3) If the order to file a bill of particulars is not obeyed, or in case of insufficient compliance therewith, the court may order (a) the striking out of the pleading (b) or the portions thereof to which the order was directed (c) or make such other order as it deems just (Sec. 4).
Effect on the period to file a responsive pleading
(1) A motion for bill of particulars is not a pleading hence, not a responsive pleading. Whether or not his motion is granted, the movant may file his responsive pleading. When he files a motion for BOP, the period to file the responsive pleading is stayed or interrupted. After service of the bill of particulars upon him or after notice of the denial of his motion, he may file his responsive pleading within the period to which he is entitled to at the time the motion for bill of particulars is filed. If he has still eleven (11) days to file his pleading at the time the motion for BOP is filed, then he has the same number of days to file his responsive pleading from the service upon him of the BOP. If the motion is denied, then he has the same number of days within which to file his pleading counted from his receipt of the notice of the order denying his motion. If the movant has less than five (5) days to file his responsive pleading after service of the bill of particulars or after notice of the denial of his motion, he nevertheless has five (5) days within which to file his responsive pleading.(Sec.5, Rule 12).
(2) A seasonable motion for a bill of particulars interrupts the period within which to answer. After service of the bill of particulars or of a more definite pleading, of after notice of denial of his motion, the moving party shall have the same time to serve his responsive pleading, if any is permitted by the rules, as that to which he was entitled at the time of serving his motion, but no less than five (5) days in any event (Tan vs. Sandigabayan, GR 84195, Dec. 11, 1989; Sec. 5).
Motion to Dismiss (Rule 16)
(1) A motion to dismiss is not a pleading. It is merely a motion. It is an application for relief other than by a pleading (Sec. 1, Rule 15). The pleadings allowed under the Rules are: (a) complaint, (b) answer, (c) counterclaim, (d) cross-claim, (e) third (fourth, etc.) –party complaint, (f) complaint in intervention (Sec. 2, Rule 6), and reply (Sec. 10, Rule 6). A motion is not one of those specifically designated as a pleading.
(1) Under Sec. 1, Rule 16, a motion to dismiss may be filed on any of the following grounds:
(a) The court has no jurisdiction over the person of the defending party;
(b) The court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the claim;
(c) The venue is improperly laid;
(d) The plaintiff has no legal capacity to sue;
(e) There is another action pending between the same parties and for the same cause (lis pendens);
(f) The cause of action is barred by a prior judgment (res judicata) or by the statute of limitations (prescription);
(g) The pleading asserting the claim states no cause of action;
(h) The claim or demand set forth in the plaintiff’s pleading has been paid, waived, abandoned, or otherwise extinguished;
(i) The claim on which the action is founded is unenforceable under the provisions of the statute of frauds; and
(j) A condition precedent for filing the action has not been complied with.
(2) The language of the rule, particularly on the relation of the words “abandoned” and “otherwise extinguished” to the phrase “claim or demand deemed set forth in the plaintiff’s pleading” is broad enough to include within its ambit the defense of bar by laches. However, when a party moves for the dismissal of the complaint based on laches, the trial court must set a hearing on the motion where the parties shall submit not only their arguments on the questions of law but also their evidence on the questions of fact involved. Thus, being factual in nature, the elements of laches must be proved or disproved through the presentation of evidence by the parties (Pineda vs. Heirs of Eliseo Guevara, GR 143188, Feb. 14, 2007).
Resolution of motion
(1) After the hearing, the court may dismiss the action or claim, deny the motion, or order the amendment of the pleading. The court shall not defer the resolution of the motion for the reason that the ground relied upon is not indubitable. In every case, the resolution shall state clearly and distinctly the reasons therefor (Sec. 3).
(2) Options of the court after hearing – but not to defer the resolution of the motion for the reason that the ground relied upon is not indubitable:
(1) dismiss the action or claim;
(2) deny the motion to dismiss; or
(3) order amendment of the pleading.
Remedies of plaintiff when the complaint is dismissed
(1) If the motion is granted, the complaint is dismissed. Since the dismissal is final and not interlocutory in character, the defendant has several options:
(a) Refile the complaint, depending upon the ground for the dismissal of the action. For instance, if the ground for dismissal was anchored on improper venue, the defendant may file the action in the proper venue.
(b) Appeal from the order of dismissal where the ground relied upon is one which bars the refiling of the complaint like res judicata, prescription, extinguishment of the obligation or violation of the statute of frauds (Sec. 5, Rule 16). Since the complaint cannot be refiled, the dismissal is with prejudice. Under Sec. 1[h], Rule 41, it is an order dismissing an action without prejudice which cannot be appealed from. Conversely, where the dismissal is with prejudice, an appeal from the order of dismissal is not precluded. However, where the ground for dismissal for instance, is the failure of the complaint to state cause of action, the plaintiff may simply file the complaint anew; but since the dismissal is without prejudice to its refilling, the order of dismissal cannot be appealed from under the terms of Sec. 1[h], Rule 41.
(c) Petition for certiorari is availed of if the court gravely abuses its discretion in a manner amounting to lack of jurisdiction and is the appropriate remedy in those instances when the dismissal is without prejudice (Sec. 1, Rule 41).
Remedies of the defendant when the motion is denied
(1) File answer within the balance of the period prescribed by Rule 11 to which he was entitled at the time of serving his motion, but not less than five (5) days in any event (Sec. 4, Rule 16). As a rule, the filing of an answer, going through the usual trial process, and the filing of a timely appeal from an adverse judgment are the proper remedies against a denial of a motion to dismiss. The filing of an appeal from an order denying a motion to dismiss is not the remedy prescribed by existing rules. The order of denial, being interlocutory is not appealable by express provision of Sec 1[c], Rule 41.
(2) Civil action under Rule 65. This remedy however is predicated upon an allegation and a showing that the denial of the motion was tainted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Without such showing, Rule 65 cannot be availed of as a remedy.
(3) The general rule is that the denial of a motion to dismiss cannot be questioned in a special civil action for certiorari which is a remedy designed to correct errors of jurisdiction and not errors of judgment. Neither can a denial of a motion to dismiss be the subject of an appeal unless and until a final judgment or order is rendered. In order to justify the grant of the extraordinary remedy of certiorari, the denial of the motion to dismiss must have been tainted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction (Douglas Lu Ym vs. Gertrudes Nabua, Gr 161309, Feb. 23, 2005).
(4) File an appeal, because by the clear language of Sec. 5, the dismissal is subject to the right of appeal. This remedy is appropriate in the instances where the defendant is barred from refiling the same action of claim if the dismissal is based on the following grounds:
(a) The cause of action is barred by a prior judgment
(b) The cause of action is barred by the statute of limitations
(c) The claim or demand has been paid, waived, abandoned or otherwise extinguished
(d) The claim on which the action is founded is unenforceable under the provisions of the statute of frauds.
(5) The denial of a motion to dismiss is interlocutory, hence, the remedy is to file an answer, proceed to trial, and await judgment before interposing an appeal. The denial should be raised as an error of the trial court on appeal. Certiorari is not the proper remedy. A writ of certiorari is not intended to correct every controversial interlocutory ruling: It is resorted to only to correct a grave abuse of discretion or a whimsical exercise of judgment equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. Its function is limited to keeping an inferior court within its jurisdiction and to relieve persons from arbitrary acts, acts which courts or judges have no power or authority in law to perform. It is not designed to correct erroneous findings and conclusions made by the courts (Bonifacio Construction Management Corp. vs. Hon. Estela Bernabe, GR 148174, June 30, 2005).
Effect of dismissal of complaint on certain grounds
(1) Failure to state cause of action – defendant hypothetically admits all the averments thereof. The test of sufficiency of the facts found in a complaint as constituting a cause of action is whether or not admitting the facts alleged, the court can render a valid judgment upon the same in accordance with the prayer thereof. The hypothetical admission extends to the relevant and material facts well pleaded in the complaint and inferences fairly deducible therefrom. Hence, if the allegations in the complaint can be maintained, the same should not be dismissed regardless of the defense that may be assessed by the defendant (Davao Light and Power Co. vs.Hon. Judge, Davao City RTC, GR 147058, March 10, 2005).
(2) When the complaint is dismissed on the grounds of prior judgment or by the statute of limitations, or payment, waiver, abandonment or extinguishment of the claim or unenforceability of the cause of action under the statute of frauds, the dismissal shall bar the refiling of the same action or claim, but this is without prejudice to the right of the other party to appeal from the order of dismissal because such dismissal is a final order, not merely interlocutory (Sec. 5).
When grounds pleaded as affirmative defenses
(1) If no motion to dismiss has been filed, any of the grounds provided for dismissal may be pleaded as an affirmative defense in the answer and, in the discretion of the court, a preliminary hearing may be had thereon as if a motion to dismiss has been filed (Sec. 6, Rule 16).
(2) Implied under Sec. 6, Rule 16 is that the grounds for a motion to dismiss are not waived even if the defendant fails to file a motion to dismiss because he may still avail of the defenses under Rule 16 as affirmative defenses in his answer.
(3) The preliminary hearing authorized on the affirmative defenses raised in the answer, applies only if no motion to dismiss has been filed. As a rule, a preliminary hearing is not authorized when a motion to dismiss has been filed. An exception previously carved out as if the trial court had not categorically resolved the motion to dismiss. Another exception would be justified under the liberal construction rule as when it is evident that the action is barred by res judicata. A strict application of Sec. 6 would accordingly lead to absurdity when an obviously barred complaint continues to be litigated. The denial of a motion to dismiss does not preclude any future reliance on the grounds relied thereupon (Sps. Rasdas vs. Sps. Villa, GR 157605, Dec. 13, 2005).
Bar by dismissal
(1) Res judicata as a ground for dismissal is based on two grounds, namely: (a) public policy and necessity, which makes it to the interest of the State that there should be an end to litigation (republicae ut sit litium); and (b) the hardship on the individual of being vexed twice for the same cause (nemo debet bis vexari et eadem causa). Accordingly, courts will simply refuse to reopen what has been decided. They will not allow the same parties or their privies to litigate anew a question once it has been considered and decided with finality. Litigations must end and terminate sometime and somewhere. The effective and efficient administration of justice requires that once a judgment has become final, the prevailing party should not be deprived of the fruits of the verdict by subsequent suits on the same issues filed by the same parties (Fells, Inc. vs. Prov. of Batangas, GR 168557, Feb. 19, 2007).
(2) Res judicata comprehends two distinct concepts: (a) bar by a former judgment, and (b) conclusiveness of judgment (Heirs of Wenceslao Tabia vs.CA, GR 129377 & 129399, Feb. 22, 2007). The first concept bars the prosecution of a second action upon the same claim, demand or cause of action. The second concept states that a fact or question which was in issue in a former suit and was there judicially passed upon and determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, is conclusively settled by the judgment therein as far as the parties to that action and persons in privity with them are concerned and cannot be again litigated in any future action between such parties or their privies, in the same court or any other court of concurrent jurisdiction on either the same or different cause of action, while the judgment remains unreversed by proper authority (Moraga vs. Spouses Somo, GR 166781, Sept. 5, 2006).
(3) Grounds for dismissal that bar refiling
(a) cause of action is barred by a prior judgment;
(b) cause of action is barred by the statute of limitations;
(c) claim or demand set forth in the plaintiff’s pleading has been paid, waived, abandoned, or otherwise extinguished;
(d) claim is unenforceable under the statute of frauds.
Distinguished from Demurrer to Evidence (Rule 33)
(1) Demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss filed by the defendant after the plaintiff had rested his case on the ground of insufficiency of evidence. It may be filed after the plaintiff has completed the presentation of his evidence. It is an aid or instrument for the expeditious termination of an action similar to a motion to dismiss, which the court or tribunal may either grant or deny.
(a) A motion to dismiss is usually filed before the service and filing of the answer; a demurrer to evidence is made after the plaintiff rests his case;
(b) A motion to dismiss is anchored on many grounds; a demurrer is anchored on one ground—plaintiff has no right to relief; and
(c) If a motion to dismiss is denied, the defendant may file his responsive pleading; in a demurrer, the defendant may present his evidence.
III. DISMISSAL OF ACTIONS (Rule 17)
Dismissal upon notice by plaintiff
(1) Before the service of an answer or the service of a motion for summary judgment, a complaint may be dismissed by the plaintiff by filing a notice of dismissal. Upon the filing of the notice of dismissal, the court shall issue an order confirming the dismissal. (Sec. 1, Rule 17).
(2) it is not the order confirming the dismissal which operates to dismiss the complaint. As the name of the order implies, said order merely confirms a dismissal already effected by the filing of the notice of dismissal. The court does not have to approve the dismissal because it has no discretion on the matter. Before an answer or a motion for summary judgment has been served upon the plaintiff, the dismissal by the plaintiff by the filing of the notice is a matter of right. The dismissal occurs as of the date of the notice is filed by the plaintiff and not the date the court issues the order confirming the dismissal.
(3) Under the clear terms of Sec. 1, Rule 17, the dismissal as a matter of right ceases when an answer or a motion for summary judgment is served on the plaintiff and not when the answer or the motion is filed with the court. Thus, if a notice of dismissal is filed by the plaintiff even after an answer has been filed in court but before the responsive pleading has been served on the plaintiff, the notice of dismissal is still a matter of right.
(1) The two-dismissal rule applies when the plaintiff has (a) twice dismissed actions, (b) based on or including the same claim, (c) in a court of competent jurisdiction. The second notice of dismissal will bar the refiling of the action because it will operate as an adjudication of the claim upon the merits. In other words, the claim may only be filed twice, the first being the claim embodied in the original complaint. Since as a rule, the dismissal is without prejudice, the same claim may be filed. If the refilled claim or complaint is dismissed again through a second notice of dismissal, that second notice triggers the application of the two-dismissal rule and the dismissal is to be deemed one with prejudice because it is considered as an adjudication upon the merits.
Dismissal upon motion by plaintiff
(1) Once either an answer or motion for summary judgment has been served on the plaintiff, the dismissal is no longer a matter of right and will require the filing of a motion to dismiss, not a mere notice of dismissal. The motion to dismiss will now be subject to the approval of the court which will decide on the motion upon such terms and conditions as are just (Sec. 2, Rule 17). The dismissal under Sec. 2 is no longer a matter of right on the part of the plaintiff but a matter of discretion upon the court.
Effect of dismissal upon existing counterclaim
(1) If a counterclaim has already been pleaded by the defendant prior to the service upon him of the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss, and the court grants said motion to dismiss, the dismissal “shall be limited to the complaint” (Sec. 2, Rule 17). The phraseology of the provision is clear: the counterclaim is not dismissed, whether it is a compulsory or a permissive counterclaim because the rule makes no distinction. The defendant if he so desires may prosecute his counterclaim either in a separate action or in the same action. Should he choose to have his counterclaim resolved in the same action, he must notify the court of his preference within fifteen (15) days from the notice of the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss. Should he opt to prosecute his counterclaim in a separate action, the court should render the corresponding order granting and reserving his right to prosecute his claim in a separate complaint.
(2) A similar rule is adopted in Sec. 6, Rule 16 and Sec. 3, Rule 17, wherein the dismissal of the counterclaim does not carry with it the dismissal of the counterclaim. The same provision also grants the defendant a choice in the prosecution of his counterclaim.
Dismissal due to the fault of plaintiff
(1) A complaint may be dismissed even if the plaintiff has no desire to have the same dismissed. The dismissal is this case will be through reasons attributed to his fault. Sec. 2, Rule 17 provides the following grounds for dismissal:
(a) Failure of the plaintiff, without justifiable reasons, to appear on the date on the date of the presentation of his evidence in chief;
(b) Failure of the plaintiff to prosecute his action for an unreasonable length of time;
(c) Failure of the plaintiff to comply with the Rules of Court; or
(d) Failure of the plaintiff to obey any order of the court.
(2) The dismissal due to the fault of the plaintiff may be done by the court motu propio or upon a motion filed by the defendant (Sec. 2, Rule 17). The court may dismiss an action motu propio:
(a) Failure to prosecute for unreasonable length of time;
(b) Failure to appear at the trial;
(c) Failure to comply with the rules;
(d) Failure to comply with the order of the court; and
(e) Lack of jurisdiction.
Dismissal of counterclaim, cross-claim or third-part complaint
(1) The rule on the dismissal of a complaint applies to the dismissal of any counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim. A voluntary dismissal by the claimant alone by notice pursuant to Sec. 1, Rule 17 shall be made before a responsive pleading or a motion for summary judgment is served or, if there is none, before the introduction of evidence at the trial or hearing (Sec. 4).
IV. PRE-TRIAL (Rule18)
Concept of pre-trial
(1) After the last pleading has been served and filed, it shall be the duty of the plaintiff to promptly move ex parte that the case be set for pre-trial.
Nature and purpose
(1) The conduct of a pre-trial is mandatory. Pre-trial is a procedural device intended to clarify and limit the basic issues between the parties. It thus paves the way for a less cluttered trial and resolution of the case. Its main objective is to simplify, abbreviate and expedite trial, or totally dispense with it (Abubakar vs. Abubakar, 317 SCRA 264). It is a basic precept that the parties are bound to honor the stipulations made during the pre-trial (Interlining Corp. vs. Phil. Trust Co., GR 144190, March 6, 2002).
(2) Pre-trial is a procedural device held prior to the trial for the court to consider the following purposes:
(a) The possibility of an amicable settlement or a submission to alternative modes of dispute resolution;
(b) Simplification of issues;
(c) Necessity or desirability of amendments to the pleadings;
(d) Possibility of obtaining stipulations or admissions of facts and of documents to avoid unnecessary proof;
(e) Limitation of the number of witnesses;
(f) Advisability of a preliminary reference of issues to a commissioner;
(g) Propriety of rendering judgment on the pleadings, or summary judgment, or of dismissing the action should a valid ground therefor be found to exist;
(h) Advisability or necessity of suspending the proceedings; and
(i) Other matters as may aid in the prompt disposition of the action (Sec. 2, Rule 18).
Notice of pre-trial
(1) The notice of pre-trial shall be served on the counsel of the party if the latter is represented by counsel. Otherwise, the notice shall be served on the party himself. The counsel is charged with the duty of notifying his client of the date, time and place of the pre-trial (Sec. 3, Rule 18).
(2) Notice of pre-trial is so important that it would be grave abuse of discretion for the court for example, to allow the plaintiff to present his evidence ex parte for failure of the defendant to appear before the pre-trial who did not receive through his counsel a notice of pre-trial. Accordingly, there is no legal basis for a court to consider a party notified of the pre-trial and to consider that there is no longer a need to send notice of pre-trial merely because it was his counsel who suggested the date of pre-trail (Agulto vs. Tucson, 476 SCRA 395).
Appearance of parties; effect of failure to appear
(1) It shall be the duty of both the parties and their counsels to appear at the pre-trial (Sec. 4, Rule 18).
(2) The failure of the plaintiff to appear shall be cause for the dismissal of the action. This dismissal shall be with prejudice except when the court orders otherwise (Sec. 5, Rule 18). Since the dismissal of the action shall be with prejudice, unless otherwise provided, the same shall have the effect of an adjudication on the merits thus, final. The remedy of the plaintiff is to appeal from the order of dismissal. An order dismissing an action with prejudice is appealable. Under the Rules, it is only when the order of dismissal is without prejudice, that appeal cannot be availed of (Sec. 1[h], Rule 41). Since appeal is available, certiorari is not the remedy because the application of a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 is conditioned upon the absence of appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy (Sec. 1, Rule 65).
(3) The failure of the defendant to appear shall be cause to allow the plaintiff to present his evidence ex parte and for the court to render judgment on the basis of the evidence presented by the plaintiff (Sec. 5, Rule 18). The order of the court allowing the plaintiff to present his evidence ex parte does not dispose of the case with finality. The order is therefore, merely interlocutory; hence, not appealable. Under Sec. 1(c) of Rule 41, no appeal may be taken from an interlocutory order. The defendant who feels aggrieved by the order may move for the reconsideration of the order and if the denial is tainted with grave abuse of discretion, he may file a petition for certiorari.
Pre-trial brief; effect of failure to file
(1) The parties shall file with the court their respective pre-trial briefs which shall be received at least three (3) days before the date of the pre-trial. This pre-trial brief shall be served on the adverse party (Sec. 6, Rule 18).
(2) The pre-trial brief shall contain the following matters:
(a) A statement of their willingness to enter into an amicable settlement or alternative modes of dispute resolution, indicating the desired terms thereof;
(b) A summary of admitted facts and proposed stipulation of facts;
(c) The issues to be tried or resolved;
(d) The documents or exhibits to be presented, stating the purposes thereof;
(e) A manifestation of their having availed of or their intention to avail of discovery procedures or referral to commissioners; and
(f) The number and names of the witnesses, and the substance of their respective testimonies (Sec.6, Rule 18).
(3) Failure to file the pre-trial brief shall have the same effect as failure to appear at the pre-trial (Sec. 6, Rule 18). Hence, if it is the plaintiff who fails to file a pre-trial brief, such failure shall be cause for dismissal of the action. If it is the defendant who fails to do so, such failure shall be cause to allow the plaintiff to present his evidence ex parte. A pre-trial brief is not required in a criminal case.
Distinction between pre-trial in civil case and pre-trial in criminal case
(1) The pre-trial in a civil case is set when the plaintiff moves ex parte to set the case for pre-trial (Sec.1, Rule 18). The pre-trial in criminal case is ordered by the court and no motion to set the case for pre-trial is required from either the prosecution or the defense (Sec. 1, Rule 118).
(2) The motion to set the case for pre-trial in a civil case is made after the last pleading has been served and filed (Sec. 1, Rule 18). In a criminal case, the pre-trial is ordered by the court after arraignment and within thirty (30) days from the date the court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the accused (Sec. 1, Rule 118).
(3) The pre-trial in a civil case considers the possibility of an amicable settlement as an important objective (Sec. 2[a], Rule 18). The pre-trial in a criminal case does not include the considering of the possibility of amicable settlement of criminal liability as one of its purposes (Sec.1, Rule 118).
(4) In a civil case, the agreements and admissions made in the pre-trial are not required to be signed by the parties and their counsels. They are to be contained in the record of pre-trial and the pre-trial order (Sec. 7, Rule 18). In a criminal case, all agreements or admissions made or entered during the pre-trial conference shall be reduced in writing and signed by the accused and counsel; otherwise, they cannot be used against the accuse (Sec. 2, Rule 118).
(5) The sanctions for non-appearance in a pre-trial are imposed upon the plaintiff or the defendant in a civil case (Sec. 4, Rule 18). The sanctions in a criminal case are imposed upon the counsel for the accused or the prosecutor (Sec. 3, Rule 118).
|Presence of defendant and counsel mandatory||Accused need not be present, but his counsel must be present, otherwise he may be sanctioned|
|Amicable settlement is discussed||Amicable settlement is not discussed, unless the criminal case is covered by summary procedure|
|Agreement included in pre-trial order need not be in writing||Agreements or admissions must be written and signed by the accused and counsel to be admissible against him.|
|Can have proffer of evidence||Proffer of evidence only after trial|
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)
(1) If the case has already filed a complaint with the trial court without prior recourse to arbitration, the proper procedure to enable an arbitration panel to resolve the parties’ dispute pursuant to the contract is for the trial court to stay the proceedings. After the arbitration proceeding has already been pursued and completed, then the trial court may confirm the award made by the arbitration panel (Fiesta World Mall Corp. vs. Linberg Phils. Inc., GR 152471, Aug. 18, 2006).
(2) A party has several judicial remedies available at its disposal after the Arbitration Committee denied its Motion for Reconsideration:
(a) It may petition the proper RTC to issue an order vacating the award on the grounds provided for under Sec. 24 of the Arbitration Law;
(b) File a petition for review under Rule 43 with the Court of Appeals on questions of fact, of law, or mixed questions of fact and law (Sec. 41, ADR);
(c) File a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 on the ground that the Arbitration Committee acted without or in excess of its jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction (Insular Savings Bank vs. Far East Bank and Trust Co., GR 141818, June 22, 2006).
V. INTERVENTION (Rule 19)
(1) Intervention is a legal proceeding by which a person who is not a party to the action is permitted by the court to become a party by intervening in a pending action after meeting the conditions and requirements set by the Rules. This third person who intervenes is one who is not originally impleaded in the action (First Philippine Holdings Corp. Sandiganbayan, 253 SCRA 30; Rule 19).
(2) Intervention is merely a collateral or accessory or ancillary to the principal action ad not an independent proceeding. With the final dismissal of the original action, the complaint in intervention can no longer be acted upon.
Requisites for intervention
(1) The following requisites must be complied with before a non-party may intervene in a pending action:
(a) There must be a motion for intervention filed before rendition of judgment by the trial court (Sec. 1, Rule 19). A motion is necessary because leave of court is required before a person may be allowed to intervene.
(b) The movant must show in his motion that he has:
(1) A legal interest in the matter in litigation, the success of either of the parties in the action, or against both parties;
(2) That the movant is so situated as to be adversely affected by a distribution or other disposition of property in the custody of the court or of an officer thereof; and
(3) That the intervention must not only unduly delay or prejudice the adjudication of the rights of the original parties and that the intervenor’s rights may not be fully protected in a separate proceeding (Mabayo Farms, Inc. vs. CA, GR 140058, Aug. 1, 2002).
Time to intervene
(1) The motion to intervene may be filed at any time before the rendition of judgment by the trial court (Sec. 2, Rule 18). Intervention after trial and decision can no longer be permitted (Yau vs. Manila Banking Corp., GR 126731, July 11, 2002).
Remedy for the denial of motion to intervention
(1) The remedy of the aggrieved party is appeal. Mandamus will not lie except in case of grave abuse of discretion.
VI. SUBPOENA (Rule 21)
(1) Subpoena is a process directed to a person requiring him to attend and to testify at the hearing or the trial of an action, or at any investigation conducted under the laws of the Philippines, or for taking of his deposition (Sec. 1, Rule 21).
(2) Subpoena duces tecum is a process directed to a person requiring him to bring with him at the hearing or trial of an action any books, documents, or other things under his control.
(3) Subpoena ad testificandum is a process by which the court, at the instance of a party, commands a witness who has in his possession or control some document or paper that is pertinent to the issues of a pending controversy to produce it as the trial (Black’s Law Disctionary, 5th Ed.).
Service of subpoena
(1) It shall be made in the same manner as personal or substituted service of summons. The original shall be exhibited and a copy thereof delivered to the person on whom it is served, tendering to him the fees for one day’s attendance and the kilometrage allowed by the Rules, except that when a subpoena is issued by or on behalf of the Republic, or an officer or agency thereof, the tender need not be made. The service must be made so as to allow the witness a reasonable time for preparation and travel to the place of attendance. If the subpoena is duces tecum, the reasonable cost of producing the books, documents or things demanded shall alsp be tendered.
(2) Service of a subpoena shall be made by the sheriff, by his deputy, or by any other person specially authorized, who is not a party and is not less than eighteen (18) years of age (Sec. 6, Rule 21).
Compelling attendance of witnesses; Contempt
(1) In case of failure of a witness to attend, the court or judge issuing the subpoena, upon proof of the service thereof and of the failure of the witness, may issue a warrant to the sheriff of the province, or his deputy, to arrest the witness and bring him before the court or officer where his attendance is required, and the cost of such warrant and seizure of such witness shall be paid by the witness if the court issuing it shall determine that his failure to answer the subpoena was willful and without just cause (Sec. 8).
(2) Failure by any person without adequate cause to obey a subpoena served upon him shall be deemed a contempt of the court from which the subpoena is issued. If the subpoena was not issued by a court, the disobedience thereto shall be punished in accordance with the applicable law or Rule (Sec. 9).
Quashing of subpoena
(1) The court may quash a subpoena duces tecum upon motion promptly made and, in any event, at or before the time specified therein: (a) if it is unreasonable and oppressive, or (b) the relevancy of the books, documents or things does not appear, or (c) if the person is whose behalf the subpoena is issued fails to advance the reasonable cost of the production thereof (Sec. 4).
(2) Subpoena ad testificandum may be quashed on the ground that the witness is not bound thereby. In either case, the subpoena may be quashed on the ground that the witness fees and kilometrage allowed by the Rules were not tendered when the subpoena was served (Sec. 4).
VII. MODES OF DISCOVERY (Rules 23-28)
(1) Modes of discovery:
(a) Depositions pending action (Rule 23);
(b) Depositions before action or pending appeal (Rule 24);
(c) Interrogatories to parties (Rule 25)
(d) Admission by adverse party (Rule 26);
(e) Production or inspection of documents and things (Rule 27); and
(f) Physical and mental examination of persons (Rule 28).
(2) The importance of the rules of discovery is that they shorten the period of litigation and speed up adjudication. The evident purpose is to enable the parties, consistent with recognized principles, to obtain the fullest possible knowledge of the facts and issues before civil trials and thus prevent said trials from being carried on in the dark. The rules of discovery serve as (a) devices, along with the pre-trial hearing under Rule 18, to narrow and clarify the basis issues between the parties; and (b) devices for ascertaining the facts relative to those issues (Republic vs. Sandiganbayan, 204 SCRA 212).
(3) The basic purposes of the rules of discovery are:
(a) To enable a party to obtain knowledge of material facts within the knowledge of the adverse party or of third parties through depositions;
(b) To obtain knowledge of material facts or admissions from the adverse party through written interrogatories;
(c) To obtain admissions from the adverse party regarding the genuineness of relevant documents or relevant matters of fact through requests for admissions;
(d) To inspect relevant documents or objects, and lands or other property in the possession and control of the adverse party; and
(e) To determine the physical or mental condition of a party when such is in controversy (Koh vs. IAC, 144 SCRA 259).
Depositions Pending Action (Rule 23)
Depositions before action or pending appeal
Meaning of Deposition
(1) A deposition is the taking of the testimony of any person, whether he be a party or not, but at the instance of a party to the action. This testimony is taken out of court. It may be either by oral examination, or by a written interrogatory (Sec. 1, Rule 23).
(2) Kinds of depositions:
(a) Deposition de bene esse – one taken pending action (Sec. 1, Rule 23); and
(b) Deposition in perpetua rei memoriam – one taken prior to the institution of an apprehended or intended action (Rule 134).
(1) A deposition may be sought for use in a future action (Rule 24), during a pending action (Rule 23), or for use in a pending appeal (Rule 24). If the deposition is for use during a pending action, it is commonly called a deposition benne esse and is governed by Rule 23. If it is to perpetuate a testimony for use in future proceedings as when it is sought before the existence of an action, or for cases on appeal, it is called a deposition in perpetuam rei memoriam. Any or all of the deposition, so far as admissible under the rules of evidence, may be used (a) against any party who was present or represented at the taking of the deposition, or (b) against one who had due notice of the deposition (Sec. 4, Rule 23).
(2) The deposition may be used for the following purposes:
(a) For contradicting or impeaching the testimony of the deponent as a witness;
(b) For any purpose by the adverse party where the deponent is a party;
(c) For any purpose by any party, where the deponent is a witness if the court finds that:
(1) The witness is dead;
(2) The witness resides more than 100 kilometers from the place of trial or hearing, or is out of the Philippines, unless it appears that his absence was procured by the party offering the deposition;
(3) That the witness is unable to attend or testify because of age, sickness, infirmity, or imprisonment; or
(4) That the party offering the deposition has been unable to procure the attendance of witnesses by subpoena; or
(5) When exceptional circumstances exist (Sec. 4, Rule 23).
Scope of examination
(1) Unless otherwise ordered by the court as provided by Sec. 16 or 18, the deponent may be examined regarding any matter not privileged, which is relevant to the pending action, whether relating to the claim or defense of any other party, including the existence, description, nature, custody, condition, and location of any books, documents, or other tangible things and the identity and location of persons having knowledge of relevant facts (Sec. 2).
When may Objections to Admissibility be Made
(1) Subject to the provisions of Sec. 29, objection may be made at the trial or hearing to receiving in evidence any deposition or part thereof for any reason which would require the exclusion of the evidence if the witness were then present and testifying (Sec. 6).
When may taking of deposition be terminated or its scope limited
(1) At any time during the taking of the deposition, on motion or petition of any party or of the deponent and upon showing that the examination is being conducted in bad faith or in such manner as reasonably to annoy, embarrass, or oppress the deponent or party, the court in which the action is pending or the RTC of the place where the deposition is being taken may order the officer conducting the examination to cease forthwith from taking the deposition, or may limit the scope and manner of the taking of the deposition, as provided in Sec. 16, Rule 23. If the order made terminates the examination, it shall be resumed thereafter only upon the order of the court in which the action is pending. Upon demand of the objecting party or deponent, the taking of the deposition shall be suspended for the time necessary to make a notice for an order. In granting or refusing such order, the court may impose upon either party or upon the witness the requirement to pay such costs or expenses as the court may deem reasonable (Sec. 18).
Written interrogatories to adverse parties
Consequences of refusal to answer
(1) If a party or other deponent refuses to answer any question upon oral examination, the examination may be completed on other matters or adjourned as the proponent of the question may prefer. The proponent may thereafter apply to the proper court of the place where the deposition is being taken, for an order to compel an answer. The same procedure may be availed of when a party or a witness refuses to answer any interrogatory submitted under Rules 23 or 25.
If the application is granted, the court shall require the refusing party or deponent to answer the question or interrogatory and if it also finds that the refusal to answer was without substantial justification, it may require the refusing party or deponent or the counsel advising the refusal, or both of them, to pay the proponent the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred in obtaining the order, including attorney’s fees.
If the application is denied and the court finds that it was filed without substantial justification, the court may require the proponent or the counsel advising the filing of the application, or both of them, to pay to the refusing party or deponent the amount of the reasonable expenses incurred in opposing the application, including attorney’s fees (Sec. 1, Rule 29).
(2) If a party or other witness refuses to be sworn or refuses to answer any question after being directed to do so by the court of the place in which the deposition is being taken, the refusal may be considered a contempt of that court (Sec. 2, Rule 29).
(3) If any party or an officer or managing agent of a party refuses to obey an order made under section 1 of this Rule requiring him to answer designated questions, or an order under Rule 27 to produce any document or other thing for inspection, copying, or photographing or to permit it to be done, or to permit entry upon land or other property, or an order made under Rule 28 requiring him to submit to a physical or mental examination, the court may make such orders in regard to the refusal as are just, and among others the following:
(a) An order that the matters regarding which the questions were asked, or the character or description of the thing or land, or the contents of the paper, or the physical or mental condition of the party, or any other designated facts shall be taken to be established for the purposes of the action in accordance with the claim of the party obtaining the order;
(b) An order refusing to allow the disobedient party to support or oppose designated claims or defenses or prohibiting him from introducing in evidence designated documents or things or items of testimony, or from introducing evidence of physical or mental condition;
(c) An order striking out pleadings or parts thereof, or staying further proceedings until the order is obeyed, or dismissing the action or proceeding or any part thereof, or rendering a judgment by default against the disobedient party; and)
(d) In lieu of any of the foregoing orders or in addition thereto, an order directing the arrest of any party or agent of a party for disobeying any of such orders except an order to submit to a physical or mental examination (Sec. 3, Rule 29).
Effect of failure to serve written interrogatories
(1) A party not served with written interrogatories may not be compelled by the adverse party to give testimony in open court, or to give deposition pending appeal, unless allowed by the court or to prevent a failure of justice (Sec. 6, Rule 25). This provision encourages the use of written interrogatories although a party is not compelled to use this discovery procedure, the rule imposes sanctions for his failure to serve written interrogatories by depriving him of the privilege to call the adverse party as a witness or to give a deposition pending appeal.
Request for admission (Rule 26)
(1) A party, although not compelled by the Rules, is advised to file and serve a written request for admission on the adverse party of those material and relevant facts at issue which are, or ought to be, within the personal knowledge of said adverse party. The party who fails to file and serve the request shall not be permitted to present evidence on such facts (Sec. 5, Rule 26).
Implied admission by adverse party
(1) Each of the matters of which an admission is requested shall be deemed admitted unless, within a period designated in the request, which shall not be less than fifteen (15) days after service thereof, or within such further time as the court may allow on motion, the party to whom the request is directed files and serves upon the party requesting the admission a sworn statement either denying specifically the matters of which an admission is requested or setting forth in detail the reasons why he cannot truthfully either admit or deny those matters (Sec. 2, par. 1).
(2) Objections to any request for admission shall be submitted to the court by the party requested within the period for and prior to the filing of his sworn statement as contemplated in the preceding paragraph and his compliance therewith shall be deferred until such objections are resolved, which resolution shall be made as early as practicable (Sec. 2, par. 2).
Consequences of failure to answer request for admission
(1) The facts or documents are deemed admitted. Under the Rules, each of the matters of which an admission is requested shall be deemed admitted unless within a period designated in the request which shall not be less than 15 days after service thereof, or within such further time as the court may allow on motion, the party to whom the request is directed files and serves upon the party requesting the admission a sworn statement either denying specifically the matter of which an admission is requested or setting forth in detail the reason why he cannot truthfully either admit or deny those matters.
Effect of admission
(1) Any admission made by a party pursuant to such request is for the purpose of the pending action only and shall not constitute an admission by him for any other purpose nor may the same be used against him in any other proceeding (Sec. 3).
Effect of failure to file and serve request for admission
(1) A party who fails to file and serve a request for admission on the adverse party of material and relevant facts at issue which are, or ought to be, within the personal knowledge of the latter, shall not be permitted to present evidence on such facts (Sec. 5).
Production of inspection of documents or things (Rule 27)
(1) Upon motion of any party showing good cause therefor, the court in which an action is pending may:
(a) Order any party to produce and permit the inspection and copying or photographing, by or on behalf of the moving party, of any designated documents, papers, books, accounts, letters, photographs, objects or tangible things, not privileged, which constitute or contain evidence material to any matter involved in the action and which are in his possession, custody or control; or
(b) Order any party to permit entry upon designated land or other property in his possession or control for the purpose of inspecting, measuring, surveying, or photographing the property or any designated relevant object or operation thereon. The order shall specify the time, place and manner of making the inspection and taking copies and photographs, and may prescribe such terms and conditions as are just.
(2) Requirements for the production or inspection of documents or things:
(a) A motion must be filed by a party showing good cause therefor;
(b) The motion must sufficiently describe the document or thing sought to be produced or inspected;
(c) The motion must be given to all the other parties;
(d) The document or thing sought to be produced or inspected must constitute or contain evidence material to the pending action;
(e) The document or thing sought to be produced or inspected must not be privileged; and
(f) The document or thing sought to be produced or inspected must be in the possession of the adverse party or, at least under his control (Sec. 1, Rule 27; Lime Corp. vs. Moran, 59 Phil. 175)
Physical and mental examination of persons (Rule 28)
(1) Requirements of physical and mental examination of persons:
(a) The physical or mental condition of a party must be in controversy in the action;
(b) A motion showing good cause must be filed; and
(c) Notion of the motion must be given to the party to be examined and to all the other parties (Secs. 1 and 2).
(2) Rules governing the rights of parties on the report of the examining physician regarding the physical or mental condition of party examined:
(a) The person examined shall, upon request, be entitled to a copy of the detailed written report of the examining physician setting out his findings and conclusions;
(b) The party causing the examination to be made shall be entitled upon request to receive from the party examined, a like report of any examination previously or thereafter made, of the same physical or mental condition;
(c) If the party examined refuses to deliver such report, the court on motion and notice may make an order requiring delivery;
(d) If a physician fails or refuses to make such report, the court may exclude his testimony if offered at the trial;
(e) The party examined who obtains a reports of the examination or takes the deposition of the examiner waives any privilege he may have in that action or any other action involving the same controversy, regarding the testimony of every other person who has examined or may thereafter examine him in respect of the same mental or physical examination (Sec. 4).
Consequences of refusal to comply with modes of discovery (Rule 29)
(1) The following are the consequences of a plaintiff’s refusal to make discovery:
(a) The examining party may complete the examination on the other matters or adjourn to the same (Sec. 1);
(b) Thereafter, on reasonable notice to all persons affected thereby, he may apply to the court of the province where the deposition is being taken for an order compelling answer;
(c) If the court finds that the refusal was without substantial justification, it may order the refusing party or the attorney advising him or both of them to pay the examining party the amount of reasonable attorney’s fees;
(d) The refusal to answer may be considered as contempt of court (Sec. 2);
(e) The court may order that the facts sought to be established by the examining party shall e taken to be established for the purpose of the action in accordance with the claim of the party obtaining the order (Sec. 3[a]);
(f) The court may issue an order refusing to allow the disobedient party to support or oppose designated claims or defenses or prohibiting him from introducing in evidence designated documents or things or items of testimony (Sec. 3[b]);
(g) The court may order the striking out of pleadings or party thereof (Sec. 3[c]);
(h) The court may stay further proceedings until the order is obeyed;
(i) The court may dismiss the action or proceeding or any party thereof, or render judgment by default against the disobedient party (Sec. 5);
(j) The court may order the arrest of any party who refuses to admit the truth of any matter of fact or the genuineness of any document to pay the party who made the request and who proves the truth of any such matters or the genuineness of such document, reasonable expenses incurred in making such proof, including reasonable attorney’s fees (Sec. 4).
VIII. TRIAL (Rule 30)
(1) A trial is the judicial process of investigating and determining the legal controversies, starting with the production of evidence by the plaintiff and ending with his closing arguments (Acosta vs. People, 5 SCRA 774).
Adjournments and postponements
(1) The general rule is that a court may adjourn a trial from day to day, and to any stated time, as the expeditious and convenient transaction of business may require (Sec. 2).
(2) The court has no power to adjourn a trial for a period longer than one month from each adjournment, nor more than three (3) months in all, except when authorized in writing by the Court Administrator. A motion for postponement should not be filed on the last hour especially when there is no reason why it could not have been presented earlier (Republic vs. Sandiganbayan, 301 SCRA 237).
(3) Postponement is not a matter of right. It is addressed to the sound discretion of the court (Garces vs. Valenzuela, 170 SCRA 745).
Requisites of motion to postpone trial for absence of evidence
(1) Trial may be postponed on the ground of absence of evidence upon compliance with the following:
(a) A motion for postponement must be filed;
(b) The motion must be supported by an affidavit or sworn certification showing (1) the materiality or relevancy of the evidence, and (2) that due diligence has been used to procure it (Sec. 3).
(2) If the adverse party admits the facts given in evidence, the trial shall not be postponed even if he reserves the right to object to the admissibility of the evidence (Sec. 3).
Requisites of motion to postpone trial illness of party or counsel
(1) A motion for postponement must be filed;
(2) The motion must be supported by an affidavit or sworn certification showing that (a) the presence of the party or counsel at the trial is indispensable, and (b) that the character of his illness is such as to render his non-attendance excusable (Sec. 4).
Agreed statements of facts
(1) If the parties agree, in writing, on the facts involved in the action, they may then ask the court to render judgment thereon without the introduction of evidence. If the agreement of facts is partial, trial shall be held as to others (Sec. 6). The agreed statement of facts is conclusive on the parties, as well as on the court. Neither of the parties may withdraw from the agreement, nor may the court ignore the same (McGuire vs. Manufacturers Life Ins., 87 Phil. 370).
Order of trial
(1) Subject to the provisions of Sec. 2, Rule 31, and unless the court for special reasons otherwise directs, the trial shall be limited to the issues stated in the pre-trial order and shall proceed as follows:
(a) The plaintiff shall adduce evidence in support of his complaint;
(b) The defendant shall then adduce evidence in support of his defense, counterclaim, cross-claim and third party complaint;
(c) The third party defendant, if any, shall adduce evidence of his defense, counterclaim, cross-claim and fourth-party complaint;
(d) The fourth party, and so forth, if any, shall adduce evidence of the material facts pleaded by them;
(e) The parties against whom any counterclaim or cross-claim has been pleaded, shall adduce evidence in support of their defense, in the order to be prescribed by the court;
(f) The parties may then respectively adduce rebutting evidence only, unless the court, for good reasons and in the furtherance of justice, permits them to adduce evidence upon their original case; and
(g) Upon admission of the evidence, the case shall be deemed submitted for decision, unless the court directs the parties to argue or to submit their respective memoranda or any further pleadings.
If several defendants or third party defendants and so forty having separate defenses appear by different counsel, the court shall determine the relative order of presentation of their evidence (Sec. 5)
Consolidation or Severance of hearing or trial (Rule 31)
(1) Consolidation. When actions involving a common question of law or facts are pending before the court, it may order a joint hearing or trial of any or all the matters in issue in the actions; it may order all the actions consolidated; and it may make such orders concerning proceedings therein as may tend to avoid unnecessary costs or delay (Sec. 1).
(2) Severance (Separate) Trials. The court, in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice, may order a separate trial of any claim, cross-claim, counterclaim, or third party complaint, or of any separate issue or of any number of claims, cross-claims, counterclaim, third party complaints or issue (Sec. 2).
Delegation of reception of evidence
(1) The judge of the court where the case is pending shall personally receive the evidence to be adduced by the parties. Reception of the evidence may nevertheless be delegated to the clerk of court who is a member of the bar, in any of the following cases:
(a) In default hearings;
(b) In ex parte hearings; or
(c) In any case by written agreement of the parties (Sec. 9).
Trial by commissioners (Rule 32)
(1) Commissioner includes a referee, an auditor and an examiner (Sec. 1)
Reference by consent
(1) By written consent of both parties, the court may order any or all of the issues in a case to be referred to a commissioner to be agreed upon by the parties or to be appointed by the court (Sec. 1).
Reference ordered on motion
(1) When the parties do not consent, the court may, upon the application of either or on its own motion, direct a reference to a commissioner in the following cases:
(a) When the trial of an issue of fact requires the examination of a long account on either side, in which case the commissioner may be directed to hear and report upon the whole issue or any specific question involved therein;
(b) When the taking of an account is necessary for the information of the court before judgment, or for carrying a judgment or order into effect;
(c) When a question of fact, other than upon the pleadings, arises upon motion or otherwise, in any stage of a case, or for carrying a judgment or order into effect (Sec. 2).
Powers of commissioner
(1) Under the Rules, the court’s order may specify or limit the powers of the commissioner. Hence, the order may direct him to:
(a) Report only upon particular issues;
(b) Do or perform particular acts; or
(c) Receive and report evidence only.
(2) The order may also fix the date for beginning and closing of the hearings and for the filing of his report.
(3) Subject to such limitations stated in the order, the commissioner:
(a) Shall exercise the power to regulate the proceedings in every hearing before him;
(b) Shall do all acts and take all measures necessary or proper for the efficient performance of his duties under the order’
(c) May issue subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum, and swear witnesses; and
(d) Rule upon the admissibility of evidence, unless otherwise provided in the order of reference (Sec. 3, Rule 32).
Commissioner’s report; notice to parties and hearing on the report
(1) Upon completion of the trial or hearing or proceeding before the commissioner, he shall file with the court his report in writing upon the matters submitted to him by the order of reference. When his powers are not specified or limited, he shall set forth his findings of fact and conclusions or law in his report. He shall attach in his report all exhibits, affidavits, depositions, papers and the transcript, if any, of the evidence presented before him (Sec. 9).
(2) The commissioner’s report is not binding upon the court which is free to adopt, modify, or reject, in whole or in part, the report. The court may receive further evidence or recommit the report with instructions (Sec. 11, Rule 32; Baltazar vs. Limpin, 49 Phil. 39).
(3) Notice of the filing of the report must be sent to the parties for the purpose of giving them an opportunity to present their objections (Santos vs. Guzman, 45 Phil. 646). The failure to grant the parties, in due form, this opportunity to object, may, in some instances, constitute a serious error in violation of their substantial rights (Govt. vs. Osorio, 50 Phil. 864).
The rule, however, is not absolute. In Manila Trading and Supply Co. vs. Phil. Labor Union, 71 Phil. 539, it was ruled that although the parties were not notified of the filing of the commissioner’s reports, and the court failed to set said report for hearing, if the parties who appeared before the commissioner were duly represented by counsel and given an opportunity to be heard, the requirement of due process has been satisfied, and a decision on the basis of such report, with the other evidence of the case is a decision which meets the requirements of fair and open hearing.
(4) In the hearing to be conducted on the commissioner’s report, the court will review only so much as may be drawn in question by proper objections. It is not expected to rehear the case upon the entire record (Kreidt vs. McCullough and Co., 37 Phi. 474).
IX. DEMURRER TO EVIDENCE (Rule 33)
(1) Demurrer to evidence is a motion to dismiss filed by the defendant after the plaintiff had rested his case on the ground of insufficiency of evidence (Ballentine’s Law Dictionary).
(2) The provision of the Rules governing demurrer to evidence does not apply to an election case (Gementiza vs. COMELEC, 353 SCRA 724).
(1) The only ground for demurrer to evidence is that the plaintiff has no right to relief.
Effect of denial; Effect of grant
(1) In the event his motion is denied, the defendant does not waive his right to offer evidence. An order denying a demurrer to evidence is interlocutory and is therefore, not appealable. It can however be the subject of a petition for certiorari in case of grave abuse of discretion or an oppressive exercise of judicial authority.
(2) If the motion is granted and the order of dismissal is reversed on appeal, the movants loses his right to present the evidence on his behalf. In the case of reversal, the appellate court shall render judgment for the plaintiff based on the evidence alone.
(3) It is not correct for the appellate court reversing the order granting the demurrer to remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings. The appellate court should, instead of remanding the case, render judgment on the basis of the evidence submitted by the plaintiff (Radiowealth Finance Corp. vs. Del Rosario, 335 SCRA 288).
Waiver of right to present evidence
(1) If the demurrer is granted but on appeal the order of dismissal is reversed, the defendant is deemed to have waived his right to present evidence.
Demurrer to evidence in a civil case versus demurrer to evidence in a criminal case
(1) In a civil case, leave of court is not required before filing a demurrer. In a criminal case, leave of court is filed with or without leave of court (Sec. 23, Rule 119).
(2) In a civil case, if the demurrer is granted, the order of dismissal is appealable—since the motion is interlocutory. In a criminal case, the order of dismissal is not appealable because of the constitutional policy against double jeopardy—denial is tantamount to acquittal, final and executory.
(3) In civil case, if the demurrer is denied, the defendant may proceed to present his evidence. In a criminal case, the accused may adduce his evidence only if the demurrer is filed with leave of court. He cannot present his evidence if he filed the demurrer without leave of court (Sec. 23, Rule 119).
X. JUDGMENTS AND FINAL ORDERS (Rules 34 – 36)
Judgment without trial
(1) The theory of summary judgment is that although an answer may on its face appear to tender issues—requiring trial—yet if it is demonstrated by affidavits, depositions, or admissions that those issues are not genuine, but sham or fictitious, the Court is justified in dispensing with the trial and rendering summary judgment for plaintiff. The court is expected to act chiefly on the basis of the affidavits, depositions, admissions submitted by the movants, and those of the other party in opposition thereto. The hearing contemplated (with 10-day notice) is for the purpose of determining whether the issues are genuine or not, not to receive evidence on the issues set up in the pleadings. A hearing is not thus de riguer. The matter may be resolved, and usually is, on the basis of affidavits, depositions, admissions. Under the circumstances of the case, a hearing would serve no purpose, and clearly unnecessary. The summary judgment here was justified, considering the absence of opposing affidavits to contradict the affidavits (Galicia vs. Polo, L-49668, Nov. 14, 1989; Carcon Devt. Corp. vs. CA, GR 88218, Dec. 17, 1989).
Contents of a judgment
(1) Judgment has two parts: (a) the body of the judgment or the ratio decidendi, and (b) the dispositive portion of the judgment or fallo. The body of the decision (ratio decidendi) is not the part of the judgment that is subject to execution but the fallo because it is the latter which is the latter which is the judgment of the court. The importance of fallo or dispositive portion of a decision should state whether the complaint or petition is granted or denied, the specific relief granted, and the costs (Morales vs. CA, 461 SCRA 34). It is the dispositive part of the judgment that actually settles and declares the rights and obligations of the parties, finally, definitively, and authoritatively (Light Rail Transit Authority vs. CA, 444 SCRA 125).
(2) The general rule is that where there is a conflict between the fallo and the ratio decidendi, the fallo controls. This rule rests on the theory that the fallo is the final order while the opinion in the body is merely a statement ordering nothing. Where the inevitable conclusion from the body of the decision is so clear that there was a mere mistake in the dispositive portion, the body of the decision prevails (Poland Industrial Limited vs. National Development Company, 467 SCRA 500).
Judgment on the pleadings (Rule 34)
(1) Where an answer fails to tender an issue, or otherwise admits the material allegations of the adverse party’s pleading, the court may, on motion of that party, direct judgment on such pleading. However, in actions for declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage or for legal separation (or for unliquidated damages, or admission of the truth of allegation of adverse party), the material facts alleged in the complaint shall always be proved (Sec. 1).
Summary judgments (Rule 35)
(1) A summary judgment or accelerated judgment is a procedural technique to promptly dispose of cases where the facts appear undisputed and certain from the pleadings, depositions, admissions and affidavits on record, of for weeding out sham claims or defenses at an early stage of the litigation to avoid the expense and loss of time involved in a trial. Its object is to separate what is formal or pretended denial or averment from what is genuine and substantial so that only the latter may subject a party-in-interest to the burden of trial. Moreover, said summary judgment must be premised on the absence of any other triable genuine issues of fact. Otherwise, the movants cannot be allowed to obtain immediate relief. A genuine issue is such issue of fact which requires presentation of evidence as distinguished from a sham, fictitious, contrived or false claim (Monterey Foods Corp. vs. Eserjose, GR 153126, Sept. 11, 2003).
(2) The requisites are: (a) there must be no genuine issue as to any material fact, except for the amount of damages; and (b) the party presenting the motion for summary judgment must be entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.
For the claimant
(1) A party seeking to recover upon a claim, counterclaim, or cross-claim or to obtain a declaratory relief may, at any time after the pleading in answer thereto has been served, move with supporting affidavits, depositions or admissions for a summary judgment in his favor upon all or any part thereof (Sec. 1).
For the defendant
(1) A party against whom a claim, counterclaim, or cross-claim is asserted or a declaratory relief is sought may, at any time, move with supporting affidavits, depositions or admissions for a summary judgment in his favor as to all or any part thereof (Sec. 2).
When the case not fully adjudicated
(1) If on motion, judgment is not rendered upon the whole case of for all the reliefs sought and a trail is necessary, the court at the hearing of the motion, by examining the pleadings and the evidence before it and by interrogating counsel shall ascertain what material facts exist without substantial controversy and what are actually and in good faith controverted. It shall thereupon make an order specifying the facts that appear without substantial controversy, including the extent to which the amount of damages or other relief is not in controversy, and directing such further proceedings in the action as are just. The facts so specified shall be deemed established, and the trial shall be conducted on the controverted facts accordingly (Sec. 4, Rule 35).
Affidavits and attachments
(1) Supporting and opposing affidavits shall be made on personal knowledge, shall set forth such facts as would be admissible in evidence, and shall show affirmatively that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters stated therein. Certified true copies of all papers or parts thereof referred to in the affidavit shall be attached thereto or served therewith (Sec. 5).
(2) Should it appear to its satisfaction at any time that any of the affidavits presented pursuant to the Rules are presented in bad faith, or solely for the purpose of delay, the court shall forthwith order the offending party or counsel to pay to the other party the amount of the reasonable expenses which the filing of the affidavits caused him to incur, including attorney’s fees. It may, after hearing, further adjudge the offending party or counsel guilty of contempt (Sec. 6).
Judgments on the pleadings versus summary judgments
(1) In the judgment on the pleadings, the answer does not tender an issue; in summary judgment, there is an issue tendered in the answer, but it is not genuine or real issue as may be shown by affidavits and depositions that there is no real issue and that the party is entitled to judgment as a matter of right;
(2) In judgment on the pleadings, the movants must give a 3-day notice of hearing; while in summary judgment, the opposing party is given 10 days notice;
(3) In judgment on the pleadings, the entire case may be terminated; while in summary judgment, it may only be partial;
(4) In judgment on the pleadings, only the plaintiff or the defendants as far as the counterclaim, cross-claim or third-party complaint is concerned can file the same; while in summary judgment, either the plaintiff or the defendant may file it.
Rendition of judgments and final orders
(1) Rendition of judgment is the filing of the same with the clerk of court. It is not the pronouncement of the judgment in open court that constitutes the rendition. Even if the judgment has already been put in writing and signed, it is still subject to amendment if it has not yet been filed with the clerk of court and before its filing does not yet constitute the real judgment of the court (Ago vs. CA, 6 SCRA 530). It is not the writing of the judgment or its signing which constitutes rendition of the judgment (Castro vs. Malazo, 99 SCRA 164).
(2) A judgment or final order determining the merits of the case shall be in writing personally and directly prepared by the judge, stating clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based, signed by him, and filed with the clerk of the court (Sec. 1, Rule 36).
Entry of judgment and final order
(1) If no appeal or motion for new trial or reconsideration is filed within the time provided in the Rules, the judgment or final order shall forthwith be entered by the clerk in the book of entries of judgments. The date of finality of the judgment or final order shall be deemed the date of its entry. The record shall contain the dispositive part of the judgment or final order and shall be signed by the clerk, with a certificate that such judgment or final order has become final and executor (Sec. 2).
(2) The entry of judgment refers to the physical act performed by the clerk of court in entering the dispositive portion of the judgment in the book of entries of judgment and after the same has become final and executor. The record shall contain the dispositive portion of the judgment or final order and shall be signed by the clerk of court, with a certificate by said clerk that the judgment has already become final and executor (Sec. 2, Rule 36).
(3) There are some proceedings the filing of which is reckoned from the date of the entry of judgment: (a) the execution of a judgment by motion is within five (5) years from the entry of the judgment (Sec. 6, Rule 39); (b) the filing of a petition for relief has, as one of its periods, not more than six (6) months from the entry of the judgment or final order (Sec. 3, Rule 38).