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SPECIAL CIVIL ACTIONS Special Civil Action1 is one type of civil action.

Its purpose is the same as that of the other type, called ordinary civil action, which is the enforcement or protection of a right, or the prevention or redress of a wrong. Although both types of actions are governed by the rules for ordinary civil actions, there are certain rules that are applicable only to specific special civil actions. The fact that an action is subject to special rules other than those applicable to ordinary civil actions is what makes a civil action special. Special Civil Actions and their respective rules are found under Rule 62 to Rule 71 of the Rules of Court. In this paper, two special civil actions are discussed: Interpleader and Contempt. RULE 62 INTERPLEADER DEFINITION Interpleader is a remedy whereby a person who has property, real or personal, in his possession, or an obligation to render wholly or partially, without claiming any right to either, comes to court and asks that the persons who claim the said property or demand compliance with the obligation, be required to litigate among themselves in order to determine finally who is entitled to the same. The essence of an interpleader, aside from disavowal of the interest in the property in litigation on the part of the petitioner, is the deposit of the property or funds in controversy with the court. It is a rule founded on justice and equity, in order that the plaintiff may not continue to benefit from the property or funds in litigation during the pendency of the suit at the expense of whoever will ultimately be decided as entitled thereto. Further, the remedy of interpleader has for its purpose to compel conflicting claimants to interplead and litigate their several claims among themselves and thus affording protection to a person not against double liability but against double vexation in respect of ones liability.2 REQUISITES Interpleader, as a special civil action, is governed by Rule 62 of the 1997 Rules of Court. Its subject matter includes property, whether personal or real, and an obligation to be rendered wholly or partially. For an action of interpleader to prosper3, it requires that:

Sec. 3[a], Rule 1, Rules of Court Beltran vs. Peoples Homesite G.R. No. L-25138, August 28, 1969 3 Section 1, Rule 62, Rules of Court
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1. The conflicting claims upon the same subject matter are, or may be made against the plaintiff who claims no interest in the subject matter or an interest (in whole or in part) which is not disputed by the claimants. 2. There are two or more claimants to the fund or thing in dispute through separate and different interest. 3. The claims must be adverse before relief can be granted and the parties sought to be interpleaded must be in a position to make effective claims. 4. The subject matter (fund, thing or duty) over which the parties assert adverse claims must be one and the same and derived from the same source. Thus, in an instance where a warehouseman is confronted with two or more claimants not having the same interests with regard to goods deposited in his warehouse, an action of interpleader can be given due course for the court to determine the rightful owner of the goods.4 Interpleader is likewise available in the following instances: (1) in an action of a lessee who does not know to whom to pay rentals due to conflicting claims on the property5; (2) in an action by a bank where the purchaser of a cashiers check claims it was lost and another has presented it for payment6; and (3) in an action by the sheriff being in doubt as to the priority of conflicting claims in order to determine the respective rights of the claimants.7 Moreover, the remedy is proper in search warrant cases. As held in Vlasons Ent. Corp. vs. Hon CA8, where personal property has been seized under a search warrant, and it appears reasonably definite that the seizure will not be followed by the filing of any criminal action for the prosecution of the offenses in connection with which the warrant was issued, the public prosecutors having pronounced the absence of basis therefore, and there are, moreover, conflicting claims asserted over the seized property, the appropriate remedy is the institution of an ordinary civil action by any interested party, or of a special civil action of interpleader by the Government itself, that action being cognizable not exclusively by the court issuing the search warrant but by any other competent court to which it may be assigned by raffle. PARTIES An interpleader may be brought by a disinterested person who has no claim of any right in the property or the obligation to be performed; or one who claims an interest, but which, in whole or in part, is not disputed by the conflicting claimants. The action is directed against two or more persons who claim the property in the possession of the plaintiff; or two or more persons who consider

Warehouse Receipts Law, Act No. 2137, Section 17 (1921) Pagkalinawan vs. Rodas, 1948 6 Mesina vs. IAC 1986 7 Sy-Quia vs. Sheriff G.R. No. L-22807, October 10, 1924 8 155 SCRA 186, October 28, 1987
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themselves entitled to demand compliance with the obligation against the plaintiff. In such action, the plaintiff asks the court that abovementioned defendants be required to litigate among themselves, in order to determine finally who is entitled to one or the other thing. AS DISTINGUISHED FROM INTERVENTION Interpleader has a concept almost similar to the action of intervention in that both remedies may involve at least three parties. However, the former actually differs from the latter. The following are the well-recognized distinctions: INTERPLEADER An original action Presupposes that plaintiff has no interest in the subject matter of the action OR has an interest therein in whole or in part which is not disputed by the other parties INTERVENTION Ancillary action Proper in any of the four situations: person having a) legal interest in the matter in litigation, or b) success of either of the parties, or c) an interest against both, or d) 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. (Rule 19, Sec.1) Defendants are original parties to the pending suits

Defendants are sued precisely to interplead them PROCEDURE A. COURT ORDER AND SUMMONS

An action for interpleader is commenced by the filing of a complaint and the payment of the docket and other lawful fees. The complaint should be filed within a reasonable time after a dispute has arisen without waiting to be sued by either of the contending claimants. Otherwise, the action may be barred by laches or undue delay. Under Section 2, Rule 62, the court shall then issue an order upon the filing of the complaint. The order requires the conflicting claimants to interplead with one another. The court may also direct that the subject matter be paid or delivered to the court if the interests of justice so require. It is necessary that there be a declaration to this effect before the defendants may litigate among themselves and file a complaint of interpleader. This procedure will do away with groundless suits, and will save the parties time,
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inconvenience, and unnecessary expenses.9 However, it was held in a much later case that the Order of the trial court requiring the parties to file their answers is to all intents and purposes an order to interplead, substantially and essentially and therefore in compliance with the provisions of Rule 62 of the Rules of Court.10 Thereafter, the following documents shall be served upon the conflicting claimants: (1) Summons, together with (2) Copy of the Complaint; and (3) Copy of the Order (Section 3, Rule 62). B. MOTION TO DISMISS11 Upon service of summons, each claimant has 15 days within which he must file his answer. Within such time, each claimant may file a motion to dismiss on the ground of: 1.) impropriety of the interpleader action; or 2.) other appropriate grounds specified in Rule 16. Upon filing of the motion to dismiss, the period to file the answer is suspended. If the motion is denied, the movant may file his answer within the remaining period, or at least 5 days, whichever is longer, to be reckoned from the receipt of the notice of denial. An interpleader action is said to be improper when not filed within a reasonable time. A party may no longer file for an application for interpleader when it has been formerly sued by one of the conflicting claimants and, instead of interpleading the other claimant, proceeded with the litigation.12 The party who initiates an interpleader action may file a motion to dismiss the same when there is no more need to pursue such cause of action. In the case of RCBC vs METROCON13, the reason for the interpleader action ceased when the MeTC judgment directed METROCAN to pay LEYCON whatever rentals due on the subject premises. When the decision became final and executory, METROCAN has no other alternative left but to pay the rentals to LEYCON. C. ANSWER AND OTHER PLEADINGS14 Upon the service of summons, each claimant has 15 days to file his answer. A copy of the answer must be served to the plaintiff and to each of the conflicting claimants. A reply may be filed within 10 days from such service by the other conflicting claimants. If a claimant fails to file his answer within the period prescribed (15 days or shorter if he has earlier filed a motion to dismiss which was denied), a party may file a motion to declare such claimant in default. The court will thereafter render judgment, barring him from any claim in respect to the subject matter.

Praxedes Alvarez, et al. vs. The Commonwealth of the Phil., 65 Phil. 302 Mesina vs IAC, 145 SCRA 497 (1986) 11 Section 4, Rule 62 12 Wack-Wack Golf & Country Club vs. Lee Won, L-23851, March 26, 1976 13 GR. No. 127913, September 13, 2001 14 Section 5, Rule 62
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The parties are also allowed to file counterclaims, cross-claims, thirdparty complaints and responsive pleadings thereto. In Arreza vs Diaz 15, the paragraph providing such rule is added to Section 5 to expressly authorize additional pleadings and claims enumerated therein, in the interest of a complete adjudication of the controversy and its incidents. Hence, a compulsory counterclaim not pleaded in the interpleader action bars the right of a defendant to raise it in a subsequent litigation. D. JUDGMENT After filing of the pleadings, a pre-trial shall be conducted. Thereafter, the court shall determine the respective rights and adjudicate their respective claims (Section 6, Rule 62). A writ of possession does not necessarily follow upon adjudication on an interpleader. In Maglente vs Padilla (2007), the Supreme Court held that the decision in the interpleader case merely resolved the question of who, between petitioners and respondents, had the right to purchase the property. The interpleader case did not delve into the issue of who has the right of possession over the property. The docket and other lawful fees shall be paid by the party who filed the complaint. Such fees as well as the costs and expenses of litigation shall however constitute a lien on the subject matter of the action unless the court shall order otherwise (Section 7, Rule 62).

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364 SCRA 88

DIGESTS OF CASES UNDER RULE 62 WACK WACK GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB, INC VS. WON GR L-23851, March 26, 1976 Facts: Wack Wack Golf and Country Club Inc. (the Corporation), a non-stock, civic and athletic corporation, filed a complaint of interpleader against Lee e. Won and Bienvenido Tan. It alleged that both Won and Tan claim ownership of the same membership fee certificate 201; Won by virtue of a decision rendered in a civil case and the issuance of the certificate by the clerk of court pursuant to the order in the said case, and Tan, by virtue of an assignment made in his favor by the original owner and holder of the membership fee certificate. The court, upon motion of the defendants, dismissed the complaint upon grounds of res judicata. The Corporation appealed, contending that there was no identity of parties, subject matter and cause of action between the former civil case and the present action to constitute res judicata. Ruling: The interpleader suit cannot prosper because the corporation has already been made independently liable in the former civil case filed by Won, therefore its present application for interpleader would in effect be a collateral attack upon the final judgment in the said civil case. The Corporation was aware of the conflicting claims of the appellees long before filing the present interpleader suit. It recognized Tan as the lawful owner yet when Won sued the corporation, it chose to not to interplead Tan but proceeded with the litigation. Final judgment has been rendered against it. It is therefore too late to invoke the remedy of interpleader. A stakeholder (person entrusted with the custody of property or money that is subject of litigation or of contention between rival claimants in which the holder claims no right or property interest) should use reasonable diligence to hale the contending claimants to court. He need not await actual institution of independent suits against him before filing a bill of interpleader. He should file an action of interpleader within a reasonable time after a dispute has arisen without waiting to be sued by either of the contending claimants. Otherwise, he may be barred by laches or undue delay. But where he acts with reasonable diligence in view of the environmental circumstances, the remedy is not barred. RCBC vs. METROCON G.R. No. 127913, September 13, 2001 Facts: Ley Construction Corporation (LEYCON) obtained a loan from RCBC, with a real estate mortgage as security. LEYCON failed to pay its dues, prompting RCBC to institute extrajudicial foreclosure. RCBC was the highest bidder. Subsequently, LEYCON filed an action to nullify the extrajudicial foreclosure.
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Meanwhile, RCBC, by virtue of the consolidation of the title of the property in its name, demanded rental payments from Metro Container Corporation (METROCON), which was leasing the property from LEYCON. LEYCON, as lessor, also filed an unlawful detainer action against METROCON, causing METROCON to file an action for interpleader. In the unlawful detainer case, the MeTC court held METROCON liable to pay LEYCON whatever rentals due on the subject premises. This decision became final and executory. Thereafter, METROCON moved to dismiss the interpleader action for being moot and academic due to the decision of the MeTC. The motion was granted. Ruling: The reason for the interpleader action ceased when the MeTC rendered judgment in the Unlawful Detainer case. While RCBC, not being a party to such case, could not be bound therein, METROCAN is bound by the MeTC decision. When such decision became final and executor METROCAN has no other alternative left but to pay the rentals to LEYCON. Arreza vs Diaz 364 SCRA 88 (2001) Facts: Bliss Development Corporation (Bliss) is the owner of a housing unit in Quezon City. A civil case was ongoing between Arreza and Diaz Jr involving a conflict of ownership regarding the housing unit. Because of such, Bliss filed a complaint for interpleader. The trial court resolved the conflict in favor of Arreza. The decision became final and executory. Subsequently. Diaz filed a complaint against Blis and Arreza, asking them to be liable for the cost of his acquisition and improvements on the subject property. Arreza moved to dismiss the case on the grounds of res adjudicate in the interpleader case. Ruling: Pursuant to Rule 62, Section 5, Diaz should have filed his claims against Arreza in the interpleader action. Having asserted his rights as a buyer in good faith in his answer, and praying relief therefor, respondent Diaz should have crystallized his demand into specific claims for reimbursement by petitioner Arreza. Having failed to set up his claim for reimbursement, said claim of respondent Diaz being in the nature of a compulsory counterclaim is now barred. As stated by the Court of Appeals, the court in a complaint for interpleader shall determine the rights and obligations of the parties and adjudicate their respective claims. Such rights, obligations, and claims could only be adjudicated if put forward by the aggrieved party in assertion of his rights.

Maglente vs Padilla GR 148182 March 7, 2007 Facts: Philippine Realty Corporation (PRC) owned a parcel of land which was leased to Maglente. In the contract of lease, it stated that if PRC were to sell the property, Maglente would be given the first priority to buy it. The property was subleased by Maglente to the respondents. When the contract was about to expire, PRC offered to sell the property to Maglente, which Maglente accepted. Subsequently, PRC received a letter from respondents, expressing their desire to purchase said property. PRC filed a complaint for interpleader to determine who among the claimants has the right to purchase the property. The trial court ruled in favor of the petitioners. A deed of sale was executed by PRC. The petitioners then filed a write of possession, but respondents objected on the ground that the trial courts decision on the interpleader case merely resolved petitioners right to purchase the property but not declare them as owners entitled to possession. Ruling: The trial courts decision in the interpleader case (affirmed by both the CA and the SC) merely resolved the question of who, between petitioners and respondents, had the right to purchase PRCs property. The directive was o nly for PRC to execute the necessary contract in favor of petitioners as the winning parties, nothing else. A writ of possession complements the writ of execution only when the right of possession or ownership has been validly determined in a case directly relating to either. The interpleader case obviously did not delve into that issue. Petitioners cannot recover possession of the property via a mere motion. They must file the appropriate action in court against respondents to recover possession.

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RULE 71 CONTEMPT DEFINITION Contempt of court is a defiance of the authority, justice or dignity of the court; such conduct as tends to bring the authority and administration of the law into disrespect or to interfere with or prejudice parties-litigant or their witnesses during litigation.16 PURPOSE The power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts. Such power is essential for the preservation of order in judicial proceedings and to the enforcement of judgments, orders, and mandates of the court, and consequently to the due administration of justice. The exercise of the power to punish for contempt has a two-fold aspect17, namely: 1) The proper punishment of the guilty party for his disrespect to the court or its order; 2) To compel his performance of some act or duty required of him by the court which he refuses to perform. CLASSIFICATION a.) As to its nature: i. Civil Contempt A civil contempt is the failure to do something ordered to done by a court or a judge for the benefit of the opposing party therein. Civil contempt proceedings are generally held to be remedial and civil in nature. They are proceedings for the enforcement of some duty, and essentially a remedy for coercing a person to the thing required. ii. Criminal Contempt A criminal contempt is conduct directed against the authority and dignity of a court or of a judge, as in unlawfully assailing or discrediting the authority or dignity of the court or judge, or in doing a duly forbidden act.

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Alcuaz vs Philippine School of Business Administration, 161 SCRA 7 Slade Perkins vs Director of Prisons, 58 Phil. 271

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Civil Contempt Against the party in whose behalf the violated order was issued Primarily compensatory or remedial Aggrieved party or his successor, or someone who has pecuniary interest in the right to be protected Intent is immaterial yet, good faith or lack of intent is not a defense b.) As to manner: i.

Criminal Contempt Against the authority or dignity of the court, and against organized society and public justice Primarily punitive State is the real prosecutor Intent is a necessary element

Direct Contempt or Contempt in Facie Curiae Direct contempt is committed in the presence of or so near the court or judge or obstructs or interrupts proceedings before the same.18

ii.

Indirect or Constructive Contempt Indirect or constructive contempt is one committed out or not in the presence of the court. It is an act done in a distance which tends to belittle, degrade, obstruct, interrupt or embarrass the court and justice.19 DIRECT CONTEMPT OR CONTEMPT IN FACIE CURIAE

ACTS CONSTITUTING DIRECT CONTEMPT Under Section 1, the following are the acts which constitute direct contempt: (1) Misbehaviour in the presence of or so near a court as to obstruct or interrupt the proceedings before the same; (2) Disrespect towards the court; (3) Offensive personalities toward others; and (4) Refusal to be sworn or to answer as a witness, or to subscribe an affidavit or deposition when lawfully required to do so. SUMMARY PUNISHMENT20 If any of the abovementioned acts is committed, the court may summarily adjudge such person guilty of the act in contempt and provide for the penalties accordingly. The punishment for direct contempt depends upon the level of the court against which the act was committed: a) Where the act was committed against a Regional Trial Court or a court of equivalent or higher rank, he may be punished by:
Guerrero vs Villamor, 179 SCRA 355 Supra. 20 Section 1, Rule 71, Rules of Court
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1) a fine not exceeding two thousand pesos thirty thousand pesos [P2,000] or 2) imprisonment not exceeding ten (10) days, or 3) both fine and imprisonment b) Where the act was committed against a lower court, he may be punished by: 1) a fine not exceeding two hundred pesos [P200] or 2) imprisonment not exceeding one (1) day, or 3) both fine and imprisonment REMEDY21 The remedy of appeal is not available to a person adjudged in direct contempt. Instead, such person may avail himself of the remedies of: (1) Certiorari or (2) Prohibition. The filing of a petition for certiorari or prohibition has the effect of suspending the judgment of contempt. But the suspension requires that the person adjudged must file a bond fixed by the court which rendered the judgment and conditioned that he will abide by and perform the judgment should the petition be decided against him. INDIRECT OR CONSTRUCTIVE CONTEMPT ACTS CONSTITUTING INDIRECT CONTEMPT Under Section 3, the following are the acts which constitutes indirect contempt: 1. Misbehavior of an officer of a court in the performance of his official duties or in his official transactions; Misbehavior is the wilful refusal or negligent failure, without just cause, of an officer of the court to comply with an order of the court. For example: Failure of sheriff to serve summons. 2. Disobedience of or resistance to a lawful writ, process, order, or judgment of a court, including the act of a person who, after being dispossessed or ejected from any real property by the judgment or process of any court of competent jurisdiction, enters or attempts or induces another to enter into or upon such real property, for the purpose of executing acts of ownership or possession, or in any manner disturbs the possession given to the person adjudged to be entitled thereto; The writ or order must be lawful because otherwise, the disobedience or refusal cannot be considered as contempt. For example: Re-entry after dispossession.

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Section 2, Rule 71, Rules of Court

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3. Any abuse of or any unlawful interference with the processes or proceedings of a court not constituting direct contempt under section 1 of this Rule; 4. Any improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice; An example of what constitutes an improper conduct is the filing of multiple petitions by a lawyer to prevent execution.22 With regard to publications about a case, one made while the case is still pending is generally considered as improper conduct. The court has held that Publications of a criticism of a party or of the court to a pending case respecting the same has always been considered as misbehaviour, tending to obstruct the administration of justice, and subjects such persons to contempt proceedings.23 However, it is different if it is made in good faith. Thus, a statement made that the judge is grossly ignorant of the rules and procedure does not constitute improper conduct if done in good faith.24 Such publications are no longer barred after the judgment has become final. In People vs Alarcon25, it does not constitute contempt as there is no pending case to speak of when and once the court has come upon a decision and has lost control either to reconsider or amend it. The exception lies where: (1) it tends to bring the court into disrespect or, in other words, to scandalize the court; and (2) there is a clear and present danger that the administration of justice would be impeded. 5. Assuming to be an attorney or an officer of a court, and acting as such without authority; 6. Failure to obey a subpoena duly served; 7. The rescue, or attempted rescue, of a person or property in the custody of an officer by virtue of an order or process of a court held by him. PROCEDURAL REQUISITES FOR PUNISHMENT26 Unlike in cases of direct contempt where the court will summarily adjudge a person guilty of the act and impose punishment, cases of indirect contempt follow procedural requisites before a person may be punished: 1. A charge in writing must have been filed; 2. The respondent must have been given an opportunity to comment thereon within a period fixed by the court; and 3. The respondent must have been given an opportunity to be heard by himself or counsel.

Foronda vs Guerrero, 436 SCRA 9 In re Kelly, 35 Phil. 944 24 In re Sotto, 82 Phil. 595 25 69 Phil. 265 26 1st and last par of Section 3, Rule 71
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Notwithstanding the abovementioned rule, the court may still issue processes to bring the respondent into court or may hold him in custody pending such proceedings. MODES TO COMMENCE A PROCEEDING FOR INDIRECT CONTEMPT 27 1. It may be initiated motu proprio by the court against which the contempt was committed by an order or any other formal charge requiring the respondent to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt. This mode is applicable when the contempt is committed against a court or judge possessed and clothed with contempt powers. 2. In all other cases, charges for indirect contempt shall be commenced by a verified petition with supporting particulars and certified true copies of documents or papers involved therein, and upon full compliance with the requirements for filing initiatory pleadings for civil actions in the court concerned. This is applicable to acts committed not against a court or a judicial officer with authority to punish contemptuous acts. 3. If the contempt charges arose out of or are related to a principal action pending in the court, the petition for contempt shall allege that fact but said petition shall be docketed, heard and decided separately, unless the court in its discretion orders for consolidation of the contempt charge and the principal action for joint hearing and decision. In the case of Commissioner Rodriguez vs. Judge Bonifacio28, the court held that the present rules require a charge of contempt be filed not merely by motion but through a verified petition as stated in Rule 71 section 4. Thus, a verified petition is required even if the contemptuous act was committed against a court or judicial officer. An exception is when the court motu proprio disregards its previous orders, independently of the motions filed by the parties.

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Section 4, Rule 71 AM No. RTJ-99-1510

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PROCEDURE: FROM FILING OF CHARGE TO PUNISHMENT 29

Charge must be filed and a copy furnished the person who must give the opportunity to answer and be heard.

The charge shall be filed with the court or judge against whom the allege act was committed

If the contempt was committed against an inferior court or judge, the charge may be filed with the RTC of the province or the city in which the inferior court is situated.

Date of hearing- court shall proceed to investigate the charge and consider the answer or testimony which the accused may make or offer

Accused may be released on bail pending the hearing of the charge

If found guilty of contempt, he shall be punished accordingly

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Herrera, Oscar M. Remedial Law. 2006

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CRIMINAL PROCEDURE IN CONTEMPT CASES Criminal Procedure may be applied in contempt cases. In the case of Flores vs. Ruiz30, the Supreme Court held that a contempt charge is a proceeding that partakes of the nature of a criminal prosecution. Petitioner, as the respondent of the contempt charge, was denied due process when the constitutional right of an accused to counsel was not satisfied. Subsequently, in Soriano vs. Court of Appeals31, conviction cannot be had merely on the basis of written pleadings. The contemner is assured of his or her day in court. If the contemner is served a notice of hearing, but fails to appear anyway, then that is a different matter. A hearing affords the contemner the opportunity to adduce before the court documentary or testimonial evidence in his behalf. The hearing will also allow the court a more thorough evaluation of the defense of the contemner, including the chance to observe the accused present his side in open court and subject his defense to interrogation from the complainants or the court itself. In Sorianos case, no hearing was ever set or held. The writ of habeas corpus is available if the proceedings on the contempt charge have been vitiated by lack of due process. COURT WHERE CHARGE IS TO BE FILED Generally, the power to punish for contempt properly rests with the court contemned being that the proceedings is a sui generis and is essential for the contemned court to for the purpose of enabling a court to compel due decorum and respect in its presence and due obedience to its judgments, orders and processes. For the court to compel obedience to its orders, it must have the right to inquire whether there has been any disobedience thereof, for to submit the question of disobedience to another tribunal would operate to deprive the proceeding of half its efficiency.32 Under Section 5, a charge for indirect contempt must be filed in the following proper court: a) Where the charge for indirect contempt has been committed against a Regional Trial Court or a court of equivalent or higher rank, or against an officer appointed by it, the charge may be filed with such court. b) Where such contempt has been committed against a lower court the charge may be filed with the Regional Trial Court of the place in which the lower court is sitting. It may also be filed in the lower court against which the contempt was allegedly committed. The decision of the lower court is subject to appeal to the Regional Trial Court. However, this is subject to exceptions:
90 SCRA 428 June 4, 2004 32 People vs. Godoy, March 29, 1995
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1. Indirect contempt committed against an inferior court may also be tried by the proper regional trial court, regardless of the imposable penalty. 2. Indirect contempt against the Supreme Court may be caused to be investigated by a prosecuting officer and the charge may be filed in and tried by the regional trial court, or the case may be referred to it for hearing and recommendation where the charge involves question of fact. WHEN THERE IS ALREADY A PERFECTION OF AN APPEAL The appeal transfers the proceedings to the appellate court, and this last court becomes thereby charged with the authority to deal with contempts committed after perfection of the appeal. The trial court would have jurisdiction only in the event of an attempt to block execution of its decision and that would be after the remand of the case to the trial court. Until then the trial court would have no jurisdiction to deal with alleged contemptuous acts. 33 Contempt of court is a defiance of the authority, justice or dignity of the court; such conduct as tends to bring the authority and administration of the law into disrespect or to interfere with or prejudice parties litigant or their witnesses during litigation. It is defined as disobedience to the Court by acting in opposition to its authority, justice, and dignity. It signifies not only a willful disregard or disobedience of the courts orders, but such conduct as tends to bring the authority of the court and the administration of law into disrepute or in some manner to impede the due administration of justice.34 The power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts and is essential to the preservation of order in judicial proceedings and to the enforcement of judgments, orders, and mandates of the court, and consequently, to the due administration of justice.35 HEARING; RELEASE ON BAIL36 A respondent in a contempt charge must be served with a copy of the petition. While the respondent is not required to file a formal answer similar to that in ordinary civil actions, the court must set the contempt charge for hearing on a fixed date and time on which the respondent must make his appearance to answer the charge. On the date and time of the hearing, the court shall proceed to investigate the charges and consider such answer or testimony as the respondent may make or offer.37 If the hearing is not ordered to be had forthwith, the respondent may be released from custody upon the filing of a bond for his appearance at the hearing.

Philippine Inter-Island Shipping vs. Court of Appeals, 266 SCRA 489 Regalado vs. Go, February 6, 2007 35 Ruiz vs. Judge How, 459 SCRA 728 36 Section 6, Rule 71 37 Riano, Willard B. Civil Procedure (A Restatement for the Bar). 2009
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Summary for the procedure for indirect contempt*: Procedure for Indirect Contempt Who Initiates Court Motu Proprio Party How is it initiated By order or any written By a verified petition charge requiring with supporting respondent to show particulars and certified cause why he should not true copy of documents be held in contempt or papers involved and full compliance with the requirements for filing initiatory pleadings in ordinary civil actions. Where it is initiated When the contempt is directed against an RTC or equivalent or higher rank When the contempt is directed against a lower court: 1.)RTC of the place where the lower court is sitting; 2.) In the same lower court subject to appeal to higher court Hearing and Bail If hearing is not immediately conducted, respondent may be released upon filing of bond in the amount fixed by the court Appeal Appeal may be taken in proper courts as in criminal cases Execution of Judgment Execution of judgment shall not be suspended even by appeal unless bond is filed conditioned upon the performance by the respondent of that judgment should it be decided against him on appeal. *Based on the lectures of Dean Inigo PUNISHMENT38 The punishment for indirect contempt depends upon the level of the court against which the act was committed: a) Where the act was committed against a Regional Trial Court or a court of equivalent or higher rank, he may be punished by a fine not exceeding thirty thousand pesos or imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months, or both. b) Where the act was committed against a lower court, he may be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand pesos or imprisonment not exceeding one (1) month, or both. In addition to such penalties, if the contempt consists in the violation of a writ of injunction, temporary restraining order or status quo order, he may also be ordered to make complete restitution to the party injured by such violation of the property involved or such amount as may be alleged and proved. Restitution is defined as the act of making good or giving equivalent for any loss, damage or injury; and indemnification. In the case of Rosario Textile vs
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Section 7, Rule 71

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Court of Appeals, where the sewing machines were destroyed by fire long after the court had ordered their return, the Court affirmed the complete restitution of the money equivalent of the lost sewing machines. This is consistent with the remedial and preservative principles of citations for contempt, and as demanded by the respect due the orders, writs and processes of the courts of justice. (GR No. 137326, August 25, 2003). An inability to obey an order is a good defense to a charge of contempt, unless the person charged voluntarily and contumaciously brought the disability upon himself (People vs Rivera, 91 Phil 354). Acts done in good faith may also constitute a good defense to a charge of contempt such as in the case of Gateway vs LandBank, where landbank instituted foreclosure proceedings upon an honest belief that the mortagagor had defaulted in the payment of its obligations. IMPRISONMENT FOR REFUSAL OR OMISSION TO DO AN ACT Section 8 provides for indefinite confinement in contempt proceedings to compel a party to comply with the order of the court. This presupposes that the act contained in the order is yet in the power of the party to perform but he refuses or omits to do such act. The party will only be released upon full and complete compliance of the order of the court. The penalty is neither cruel, unjust or excessive.39 It has been held that if the term of the imprisonment in this case is indefinite and might last through the natural life of the petitioner, yet by the terms of the sentence the way is left open for him to avoid serving any part of it by complying with orders of the court, and in this manner put an end to his incarceration, the judgment cannot be said to be excessive or unjust. The order to be imprisoned is purely a remedial measure and its purpose is to coerce the party to do an act within his or her power to perform. In this note, it is important to stress that the exercise of such power to punish for contempt must be done on the preservative and not on the vindictive principle, on the corrective and not on the retaliatory idea of punishment. Except where the fundamental power of the court to imprison for contempt has been restricted by the statute, and subject to constitutional provisions, where a contemnor fails or refuses to obey an order of the court for the payment of money he may be imprisoned to compel obedience to such order.40 PROCEEDINGS WHEN RESPONDENT BAILEE FAILS TO APPEAR Under Section 9, failure to appear during a hearing by a respondent who was released on bail has the following consequences: The court may a) issue another order of arrest, or b) order the bond for his appearance to be forfeited and confiscated, or c) do both.
39 40

Harden vs Director, 81 Phil 741 Halili vs Court of Industrial Relations, 140 SCRA 73

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The measure of damages, if the bond be proceeded against, shall be: 1) the extent of the loss or injury sustained by the aggrieved party by reason of the misconduct for which the contempt charge was prosecuted; and 2) the costs of the proceedings. Recovery on the bond shall be for the benefit of the party injured or the aggrieved party. If there is none, the bond shall be liable and disposed of as in criminal cases. RELEASE OF RESPONDENT The court has the discretion as to whether or not the person ordered to be imprisoned will be discharged from such imprisonment so long that public interest will not be prejudiced by such release (Section 10, Rule 71). REVIEW OF JUDGMENT; BOND41 In indirect contempt, the person adjudged may appeal such judgment or final order to the proper court as in criminal cases, that is, by notice of appeal. The execution of the judgment shall not be suspended until a bond is filed by the person held to be in contempt. The bond is in an amount fixed by the court from which the appeal is taken and carries a condition that if the appeal be decided against the party filing such bond, he will abide by and perform the judgment or final order. The judgment against a person adjudged to be in contempt is immediately executory and can be stopped only by filing a bond. Civil contempt, which means the failure to do something as ordered by the court for the benefit of a party, cannot be a basis for second jeopardy. In the case of Cagayan Valley Enterprises vs. Court of Appeals42 citing Converse Corporation vs. Jacinto Rubber Plastics Co., Inc.43, the court reiterated the rule that an appeal from a verdict of acquittal in contempt proceedings where the contempt is civil in nature does not constitute double jeopardy. In the case of Davao Timber Corporation vs. Syhunliong44, the court said that a contempt charge partakes of the nature of a criminal action even where the action complained of as an incident of a civil action. An appeal does not lie from an order dismissing a charge of contempt of court. Thus, the reconsideration by the trial court of its order denying the motion for contempt had the effect of placing the respondents in double jeopardy, considering that the denial of the motion for contempt on grounds of failure of movants to appear and prosecute such motion is equivalent to a judgment of acquittal.

Section 11, supra. November 8, 1989 43 97 SCRA 158 44 GR. No. 80683, May 9, 1988
41 42

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In the case of Calderon vs. McMicking45, the court held that an appeal from a judgment for indirect contempt may be prosecuted without waiting for the termination of the principal case, just as in contempt committed in special proceedings. CONTEMPT AGAINST QUASI-JUDICIAL ENTITIES Unless otherwise provided by law, rules on contempt provided under the Rules of Court is applied suppletorily to contempt committed against persons, entities, bodied or agencies exercising quasi-judicial functions. The Regional Trial Court of the place wherein the contempt has been committed shall have jurisdiction over such charges.46 As held in the case of Land Bank of the Philippines vs. Severino Listana 47, the court said that the foregoing amended provision puts to rest once and for all the questions regarding the applicability of these rules to quasi-judicial bodies, to wit: 1. This new section was necessitated by the holdings that the former Rule 71 applied only to superior and inferior courts and did not comprehend contempt committed against administrative or quasi-judicial officials or bodies, unless said contempt is clearly considered and expressly defined as contempt of court, as is done in the second paragraph of Sec. 580, Revised Administrative Code. The provision referred to contemplates the situation where a person, without lawful excuse, fails to appear, make oath, give testimony or produce documents when required to do so by the official or body exercising such powers. For such violation, said person shall be subject to discipline, as in the case of contempt of court, upon application of the official or body with the Regional Trial Court for the corresponding sanctions. (emphasis in the original) Evidently, quasi-judicial agencies that have the power to cite persons for indirect contempt pursuant to Rule 71 of the Rules of Court can only do so by initiating them in the proper Regional Trial Court. It is not within their jurisdiction and competence to decide the indirect contempt cases. These matters are still within the province of the Regional Trial Courts. Administrative bodies do not have the inherent power to hold a person in contempt, unless a specific provision of law confers to such administrative agency the power to punish a party for contempt. An example of a quasi- judicial agency that has the power of contempt is the DARAB or the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board. Rule XVIII of the 2003 DARAB Rules provides:

10 PHIL 2621 Section 12, Rule 71 47 G.R. No. 152611, August 5, 2003
45 46

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Section 2. Indirect The Board or any of its members or its Adjudicator may also cite and punish any person for indirect contempt on any of the grounds and in the manner prescribed under Rule 71 of the Revised Rules of Court. Another example is the COMELEC. As held in the case of Lintang Bidol vs. COMELEC48, Supreme Court held that on the procedure adopted by the COMELEC in proceeding with the indirect contempt charges against petitioner, Section 52 (e), Article VII of the Omnibus Election Code pertinently provides: Section 52. Powers and functions of the Commission on Elections. Xxx (e) Punish contempts provided for in the Rules of Court in the same procedure and with the same penalties provided therin. Any violation of any final and executory decision, order or ruling of the Commission shall constitute contempt thereof. [Emphasis ours.] The aforecited provision of law is implemented by Rule 29 of COMELECs Rules of Procedure, Section 2 of which states: Rule 29 Contempt Sec. 1. Xxx Sec. 2. Indirect Contempt. After charge in writing has been filed with the Commission or Division, as the case may be, and an opportunity given to the respondent to be heard by himself or counsel, a person guilty of the following acts may be punished for indirect contempt: Xxx The intention to punish for contempt is to safeguard, preserve, and maintain the integrity of the functions that these agencies carry out.

48

G.R. No. 179830, December 3, 2009

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DIGESTS OF CASES UNDER RULE 71 Roxas vs Tipon G.R. No. 160641 June 20, 2012 Facts: RTC directed Financial Catalyst to audit the books of petitioners. However, petitioners refused to allow Financial Catalyst to audit their books. Hence, RTC declared petitioners in contempt of court and ordered their warrant of arrest. Held: Contempt of court is defined as a disobedience to the Court by acting in opposition to its authority, justice and dignity. It signifies not only a willful disregard or disobedience of the courts orders, but such conduct which tends to bring the authority of the court and the administration of law into disrepute or in some manner to impede the due administration of justice. Contempt of court is a defiance of the authority, justice or dignity of the court; such conduct as tends to bring the authority and administration of the law into disrespect or to interfere with or prejudice parties-litigant or their witnesses during litigation. The asseverations made by petitioners to justify their refusal to allow inspection or audit were rejected by the trial court. It may be noted that a person may be charged with indirect contempt by either of two alternative ways, namely: (1) by a verified petition, if initiated by a party; or (2) by an order or any other formal charge requiring the respondent to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt, if made by a court against which the contempt is committed. In short, a charge of indirect contempt must be initiated through a verified petition, unless the charge is directly made by the court against which the contemptuous act is committed Esperida vs Jurado G.R. No. 172538 April 25, 2012 Facts: Respondents filed before the Court of Appeals a Petition to Declare Petitioners in Contempt of Court. According to respondents, the petitioners are guilty of indirect contempt of court on the basis of their alleged acts of dishonesty, fraud, and falsification of documents to mislead the CA to rule in their favour. Petitioners filed Motion for Extension of Time to file their answer, but was denied. A Second Motion for Extension was also denied. In denying the motions, the CA ratiocinated that the petitioners did not file their answer within the reglementary period and clearly disregarding the rules of procedure. Held: Sections 3 and 4, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, specifically outlines the procedural requisites before the accused may be punished for indirect contempt. First, there must be an order requiring the respondent to show cause why he should not be cited for contempt. Second, the respondent must be given the opportunity to comment on the charge against him. Third, there must be a hearing and the court must investigate the charge and consider respondent's answer. Finally, only if found guilty will respondent be punished accordingly.18 The law requires that there be a charge in writing, duly filed in court, and an opportunity given to the person charged to be heard by himself or
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counsel. What is most essential is that the alleged contemner be granted an opportunity to meet the charges against him and to be heard in his defenses. This is due process, which must be observed at all times. It is settled that "subsequent and substantial compliance may call for the relaxation of the rules of procedure." Time and again, this Court has held that a strict and rigid application of technicalities must be avoided if it tends to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice. Considering the nature of contempt proceedings and the fact that petitioners actually filed their Answer, albeit belatedly, the CA should have been more liberal in the application of the Rules and admitted the Answer. Clearly, the contempt case against petitioners is still in the early stage of the proceedings. The proceedings have not reached that stage wherein the court below has set a hearing to provide petitioners with the opportunity to state their defenses. Verily, a hearing affords the contemner the opportunity to adduce before the court documentary or testimonial evidence in his behalf. The hearing will also allow the court a more thorough evaluation of the defense of the contemner, including the chance to observe the accused present his side in open court and subject his defense to interrogation from the complainants or the court itself. In fine, the proper procedure must be observed and petitioners must be afforded full and real opportunity to be heard.

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