#QOTD: It’s A Choice.

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ESLI vs BPI (G.R. No. 182864, January 12, 2015)

Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc., vs BPI/MS Insurance Corporation
G.R. No. 182864, January 12, 2015

Facts: A complaint for actual damages amounting to US$17,560.48 was filed by herein respondents against Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc., (ESLI) covering steel subject to its shipment. Petitioner insisted that it was through the management of the stevedore where the damages have been incurred. For failure to reach settlement on the legal issues it was submitted to trial and during the pre-trial several stipulations of facts were admitted. The trial court ruled in favor of the respondents. ESLI appealed disputing its liability as to the damaged goods and invoking further the validity of the contents of the bill of lading.

Issue: Whether or not admissions made during the pre-trial as to the validity of the bills of lading are binding.

Ruling: Yes. Judicial admissions are legally binding on the party making the admissions. Pre-trial admission in civil cases is one of the instances of judicial admissions explicitly provided for under Section 7, Rule 18 of the Rules of Court, which mandates that the contents of the pre-trial order shall control the subsequent course of the action, thereby, defining and limiting the issues to be tried. In Bayas v. Sandiganbayan, this Court emphasized that:

Once the stipulations are reduced into writing and signed by the parties and their counsels, they become binding on the parties who made them. They become judicial admissions of the fact or facts stipulated. Even if placed at a disadvantageous position, a party may not be allowed to rescind them unilaterally, it must assume the consequences of the disadvantage.

Moreover, in Alfelor v. Halasan, this Court declared that:

A party who judicially admits a fact cannot later challenge that fact as judicial admissions are a waiver of proof; production of evidence is dispensed with. A judicial admission also removes an admitted fact from the field of controversy. Consequently, an admission made in the pleadings cannot be controverted by the party making such admission and are conclusive as to such party, and all proofs to the contrary or inconsistent therewith should be ignored, whether objection is interposed by the party or not. The allegations, statements or admissions contained in a pleading are conclusive as against the pleader. A party cannot subsequently take a position contrary of or inconsistent with what was pleaded. (Citations omitted)

The admission having been made in a stipulation of facts at pre-trial by the parties, it must be treated as a judicial admission. Under Section 4, of Rule 129 of the Rules of Court, a judicial admission requires no proof.

Risos-Vidal vs COMELEC (G.R. No. 206666, January 21, 2015)

Risos-Vidal vs Commission on Elections
G.R. No. 206666, January 21, 2015

Facts: Former President Estrada was impeached and removed from presidency. He was convicted of the crime of plunder. During the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, she extended an absolute pardon to herein private respondent. Estrada filed a certificate of candidacy for the position of City Mayor of Manila which was questioned by petitioner Atty. Risos-Vidal alleging that his conviction disqualified him from running for public office. The COMELEC took discretionary judicial notice on Estrada’s pardon.

Issue: Whether or not the court properly took judicial notice on the pardon of former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada.

Ruling: Yes. On the other hand, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) for public respondent COMELEC, maintains that “the issue of whether or not the pardon extended to [former President Estrada] restored his right to run for public office had already been passed upon by public respondent COMELEC way back in 2010 via its rulings in SPA Nos. 09-024, 09-028 and 09-104, there is no cogent reason for it to reverse its standing pronouncement and declare [former President Estrada] disqualified to run and be voted as mayor of the City of Manila in the absence of any new argument that would warrant its reversal. To be sure, public respondent COMELEC correctly exercised its discretion in taking judicial cognizance of the aforesaid rulings which are known toit and which can be verified from its own records, in accordance with Section 2, Rule 129 of the Rules of Court on the courts’ discretionary power to take judicial notice of matters which are of public knowledge, or are capable of unquestionable demonstration, or ought to be known to them because of their judicial functions.”

Further, the OSG contends that “[w]hile at first glance, it is apparent that [former President Estrada’s] conviction for plunder disqualifies him from running as mayor of Manila under Section 40 of the [LGC], the subsequent grant of pardon to him, however, effectively restored his right to run for any public office.” The restoration of his right to run for any public office is the exception to the prohibition under Section 40 of the LGC, as provided under Section 12 of the OEC. As to the seeming requirement of Articles 36 and 41 of the Revised Penal Code, i.e., the express restoration/remission of a particular right to be stated in the pardon, the OSG asserts that “an airtight and rigid interpretation of Article 36 and Article 41 of the [RPC] x x x would be stretching too much the clear and plain meaning of the aforesaid provisions.” Lastly, taking into consideration the third Whereas Clause of the pardon granted to former President Estrada, the OSG supports the position that it “is not an integral part of the decree of the pardon and cannot therefore serve to restrict its effectivity.”

Alone But Not Alone

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*In a restaurant/food place*

Q: Table for?
A: 1.

or *sitting in the table, ordering for food or eating already all by him/herself*
Q: Are you waiting for someone?
A: No.

*In line at a ticket center*
Q: How many?
A: 1.

It has been a common situation, a stigma in this world that whenever a person eats out alone or goes to a concert, movie or anywhere without anyone with him/her, people asks that person (if they are brave enough) or have a mini discussion amongst themselves as to why that person is without anybody with him/her. Common reaction. 

Some would say – maybe he/she doesn’t have friends, that person is probably an emo, he/she is a bad person that’s why people don’t want to make friends with him/her, or people hate him/her.

Some prefer spending their quality (ME) time. Some don’t have anyone to share that moment with. Whichever the case is, R E S P E C T.

Sipping your cup of coffee on a weekend afternoon at your favorite coffee shop while reading a can’t-get-your-hands-off-that-book is precious.

Having no one beside you or with you does not always mean you are sad.

Yes, it is nice to be with someone especially if that person is one that’s special. However, you have to treasure every moment you can spend your time on your own. It will make you stronger. You will be more independent. There will be realizations that will come here and there. You will appreciate life more. You’ll even discover how beautiful the world is. You will meet new people you can develop a special relationship with.

There is nothing wrong with being alone BUT do not enjoy it that much (might sound contrary eh?) Haha. Anyway, it must be in moderation like everything else. You might enjoy it a little too much that people will have a hard time to penetrate in your life. Never shut yourself from the world…

Take away: As long as you enjoy it, do it.

REMINDER: You Are Strong!

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What you’re going through is real. It is not all in your head, it’s real. Your problems are not smaller than the others. Each individual’s problem is unique. Do not compare your struggle from that of another.

You can make it. I know you will. You are way stronger than what you think you are. You got this!

Marantan vs Diokno (G.R. No. 205956 February 12, 2014)

Marantan vs Diokno
G.R. No. 205956 February 12, 2014
 
Facts: Petitioner P/Supt. Hansel M. Marantan (Marantan) is the respondent in G.R. No. 199462, a petition filed on December 6, 2011, but already dismissed although the disposition is not yet final. Respondent Monique Cu-Unjieng La’O (La ‘O) is one of the petitioners in the said case, while respondent Atty. Jose Manuel Diokno (Atty. Diokno) is her counsel therein. G.R. No. 199462 relates to Criminal Case Nos. 146413-PSG, 146414-PSG and 146415-PSG, entitled “People of the Philippines v. P/SINSP Hansel M. Marantan, et al.,” pending before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 265 (RTC), where Marantan and his co-accused are charged with homicide. The criminal cases involve an incident which transpired on November 7, 2005, where Anton Cu-Unjieng (son of respondent La‘O), Francis Xavier Manzano, and Brian Anthony Dulay, were shot and killed by police officers in front of the AIC Gold Tower at Ortigas Center, which incident was captured by a television crew from UNTV 37 (Ortigas incident). In G.R. No. 199462, La‘O, together with the other petitioners, prayed, among others, that the resolution of the Office of the Ombudsman downgrading the charges from murder to homicide be annulled and set aside; that the corresponding informations for homicide be withdrawn; and that charges for murder be filed. In the meantime, on January 6, 2013, a shooting incident occurred in Barangay Lumutan, Municipality of Atimonan, Province of Quezon, where Marantan was the ground commander in a police-military team, which resulted in the death of thirteen (13) men (Atimonan incident). This encounter, according to Marantan, elicited much negative publicity for him. Marantan alleges that, riding on the unpopularity of the Atimonan incident, La‘O and her counsel, Atty. Diokno, and one Ernesto Manzano, organized and conducted a televised/radio broadcasted press conference. During the press conference, they maliciously made intemperate and unreasonable comments on the conduct of the Court in handling G.R. No. 199462, as well as contumacious comments on the merits of the criminal cases before the RTC, branding Marantan and his coaccused guilty of murder in the Ortigas incident. 
Issue: Whether or not the petition for contempt is meritorious.
Held: No. The sub judice rule restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to the judicial proceedings in order to avoid prejudging the issue, influencing the court, or obstructing the administration of justice. A violation of this rule may render one liable for indirect contempt under Sec. 3(d), Rule 71 of the Rules of Court,4 which reads: 
Section 3. Indirect contempt to be punished after charge and hearing. – x x x a person guilty of any of the following acts may be punished for indirect contempt: x x x 
(d) Any improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice.
The proceedings for punishment of indirect contempt are criminal in nature. This form of contempt is conduct that is directed against the dignity and authority of the court or a judge acting judicially; it is an act obstructing the administration of justice which tends to bring the court into disrepute or disrespect. Intent is a necessary element in criminal contempt, and no one can be punished for a criminal contempt unless the evidence makes it clear that he intended to commit it.
For a comment to be considered as contempt of court “it must really appear” that such does impede, interfere with and embarrass the administration of justice. What is, thus, sought to be protected is the all-important duty of the court to administer justice in the decision of a pending case. The specific rationale for the sub judice rule is that courts, in the decision of issues of fact and law should be immune from every extraneous influence; that facts should be decided upon evidence produced in court; and that the determination of such facts should be uninfluenced by bias, prejudice or sympathies.
The power of contempt is inherent in all courts in order to allow them to conduct their business unhampered by publications and comments which tend to impair the impartiality of their decisions or otherwise obstruct the administration of justice. As important as the maintenance of freedom of speech, is the maintenance of the independence of the Judiciary. The “clear and present danger” rule may serve as an aid in determining the proper constitutional boundary between these two rights.
The “clear and present danger” rule means that the evil consequence of the comment must be “extremely serious and the degree of imminence extremely high” before an utterance can be punished. There must exist a clear and present danger that the utterance will harm the administration of justice. Freedom of speech should not be impaired through the exercise of the power of contempt of court unless there is no doubt that the utterances in question make a serious and imminent threat to the administration of justice. It must constitute an imminent, not merely a likely, threat.

Diaz vs Sps Punzalan (G.R. No. 203075, March 16, 2016)

Diaz vs Spouses Punzalan
G.R. No. 203075, March 16, 2016
Facts: Petitioners alleged that their mother, Rufina Vda. de Catacutan, who died on November 17, 2005, had acquired a parcel of land in Mapanique, Candaba, Pampanga, consisting of 3,272 square meters, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 3169. They contend that respondents spouses Gaudencio and Teresita Punzalan (Spouses Punzalan) constructed their house on a portion of said lot without their consent and knowledge. But petitioners allowed them to stay, thinking that they would vacate once their need for the property arises. However, when they made a demand, the Spouses Punzalan refused to vacate. Thus; on April 9, 2008, petitioners wrote the spouses a formal demand letter to vacate. Still, they refused to leave the property. On August 22, 2008, petitioners filed a Complaint for unlawful detainer with the MCTC of Sta. Ana-Candaba, Pampanga. 
MCTC rendered a decision in favor of the plaintiffs.
RTC affirmed the MCTC decision.
CA reversed the decision of the RTC and held that MCTC lacks jurisdiction.
Issues: Whether or not the remedy of petitioners for an unlawful detainer is proper.
Whether or not the judgement rendered by the lower courts entitled the petitioners any right.
Held: No. Well settled is the rule that jurisdiction of the court in ejectment cases is determined by the allegations of the complaint and the character of the relief sought. The complaint should embody such statement of facts as to bring the party clearly within the class of cases under Section 1, Rule 70 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended. 
SECTION 1. Who may institute proceedings, and when. – Subject to the provisions of the next succeeding section, a person deprived of the possession of any land or building by force, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth, or a lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person against whom the possession of any land or building is unlawfully withheld after the expiration or termination of the right to hold possession, by virtue of any contract, express or implied, or the legal representatives or assigns of any such lessor, vendor, vendee, or other person, may, at any time within one (1) year after such unlawful deprivation or withholding of possession, bring an action in the proper Municipal Trial Court against the person or persons unlawfully withholding or depriving of possession, or any person or persons claiming under them, for the restitution of such possession, together with damages and costs. 
Under the aforequoted rule, there are two (2) entirely distinct and different causes of action, to wit: (1) a case for forcible entry, which is an action to recover possession of a property from the defendant whose occupation thereof is illegal from the beginning as he acquired possession by fierce, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth; and (2) a case for unlawful detainer, which is an action for recovery of possession from the defendant whose possession of the property was lawful at the inception by virtue of a contract with the plaintiff, be it express or implied, but subsequently became illegal when he continued his possession despite the termination of his right or authority.
A complaint sufficiently alleges a cause of action for unlawful detainer if it recites the following:
(1) the defendant’s initial possession of the property was lawful, either by contract with or by tolerance of the plaintiff;
(2) eventually, such possession became illegal upon the plaintiffs notice to the defendant of the termination of the latter’s right of possession;
(3) thereafter, the defendant remained in possession and deprived the plaintiff of the enjoyment of the property; and
(4) the plaintiff instituted the complaint for ejectment within one (1) year from the last demand to vacate the property.
On the other hand, in an action for forcible entry, the following requisites are essential for the MTC to acquire jurisdiction over the case.:
(1) the plaintiff must allege prior physical possession of the property;
(2) the plaintiff was deprived of possession by force, intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth; and
(3) the action must be filed within one (1) year from the date of actual entry on the land, except that when the entry is through stealth, the one (1)-year period is counted from the time the plaintiff-owner or legal possessor learned of the deprivation of the physical possession of the property.
It is not necessary, however, for the complaint to expressly use the exact language of the law. For as long as it is shown that^the dispossession took place under said conditions, it is considered as sufficient compliance with the requirements.
Contrary to petitioners’ contention that none of the means to effectuate forcible entry was alleged in the complaint, the Court finds that the allegations actually make up a case of forcible entry. They claimed in their Complaint that the Spouses Punzalan constructed their dwelling house on a portion of petitioners’ lot, without the latter’s prior consent and knowledge. This clearly falls under stealth, which is defined as any secret, sly or clandestine act to avoid discovery and to gain entrance into, or to remain within residence of another without permission. Here, the evidence clearly reveal that the spouses’ possession was illegal at the inception and not merely tolerated, considering that they started to occupy the subject lot and thereafter built a house on the same without the permission and consent of petitioners. The spouses’ entry into the land was, therefore, effected clandestinely, without the knowledge of the owners. Consequently, it is categorized as possession by stealth which is forcible entry.
The allegation that the Spouses Punzalan entered the subject property and constructed their house on a portion of the same without petitioners’ knowledge and consent is more consistent with an action for forcible entry, which should have been filed within a year from the discovery of said illegal entry. Instead, petitioners allowed them to stay, thinking that they would simply accede if asked to vacate the premises. Certainly, petitioners’ kind tolerance came, not from the inception, as required to constitute unlawful detainer, but only upon learning of the unlawful entry. 
No. Indeed, a void judgment for lack of jurisdiction is no judgment at all. It cannot be the source of any right neither can it be the creator of any obligation. All acts performed pursuant to it and all claims emanating from it have no legal effect. The same can never become final and any writ of execution based on it will be void.
Verily, to vest the court jurisdiction to effect the ejectment of an occupant, it is necessary that the complaint should embody such a statement of facts as brings the party clearly within the class of cases for which the statutes provide a remedy, as these proceedings are summary in nature. The complaint must show enough on its face to give the court jurisdiction without having to resort to parol testimony.
In the instant case, the allegations in the complaint do not contain any averment of fact that would substantiate petitioners’ claim that they permitted or tolerated the occupation of the property by the Spouses Punzalan right from the start. This failure of petitioners to allege the key jurisdictional facts constitutive of unlawful detainer is fatal. Since the complaint did not satisfy the jurisdictional requirement of a valid cause for unlawful detainer, the MCTC corollarily failed to acquire jurisdiction over the case.