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(1) Producers Bank of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals et al., G.R. No.

125468, October 9,
2000 ( Link: http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2000/oct2000/125468.htm )
On December 9, 1998, Petitioner Producers Bank (Bank) filed a Complaint with a prayer for
preliminary attachment. On January 3, 1989, the trial court issued an order granting the writ. On
February 6, 1989, the trial court approved the attachment bond. Later, the trial court recalled
approving the bond.

On April 27, 1990, the Bank moved for reinstatement of the writ. It was at this time when the trial
court observed that there were no returns of the service of summonses from the three other
defendants. Without any manifestation from either parties, nor any application for service of
summonses by publication, the trial court deferred deliberations on the motion to reinstate the writ of
attachment until the summonses were served. When Respondent Kho (Kho) moved that pre-trial be
set without having to wait for the service of summonses upon the other defendants, the trial court
ruled to deny the motion. It was only on July 6, 1990, that petitioner filed a motion for service of
summons by publication. It took more than one year, before the Bank acted and applied for service of
summons by publication.

There was also inordinate delay during pre-trial proceedings. In four instances, specifically on August
3, 1991, September 17, 1991, May 8, 1992, and July 13, 1992, pre-trial conferences were re-set either
because Banks counsel for witnesses could not appear. Finally, when trial commenced, the Bank
moved for postponements for three times.

On June 24, 1993, the Banks counsel filed a motion for postponement of the hearings scheduled. He
cited as reason his having to leave for the province to arbitrate a peaceful settlement of a land dispute
among members of his family. In his stead, he sent Atty. Leopoldo Cotaco, Assistant Vice President
for the Department of Security and Internal Affairs, to attend the hearing and to inform the court
about his predicament. Kho opposed any further postponements and undue delays and prayed for the
dismissal of the case.

On July 13, 1993, the trial court finding no merit in the reasons for postponement and finding Kho's
opposition well taken, issued an order dismissing the complaint for failure of the petitioner to
prosecute the case. A subsequent motion for reconsideration filed by the Bank was denied. The Bank
appealed to the Court of Appeals. On June 19, 1996, the Court of Appeals issued the assailed
decision, dismissing the appeal and affirming the order of the lower court.

In ruling in favor of Kho, the Supreme Court held that:

In the present case, five years have been an unreasonably long time for a
defendant to wait for the outcome of a trial, which has yet to commence
and on which his family, fortune and future depend. In a number of
previous cases, we have consistently warned that courts must ensure that
litigations are prosecuted and resolved with dispatch. We also held that
although the grant or denial of postponements rests entirely on the sound
discretion of the judge, we cautioned that the exercise of that discretion
must be reasonably and wisely exercised. Postponements should not be
allowed except on meritorious grounds, in light of the attendant
circumstances. Deferment of the proceedings may be allowed or
tolerated especially where the deferment would cause no substantial
prejudice to any party. The desideratum of a speedy disposition of cases
should not, if at all possible, result in the precipitate loss of a party's right
to present evidence and either in the plaintiff's being non-suited or of the
defendant's being pronounced liable under an ex-parte judgment. While
a court can dismiss a case on the ground of non-prosequitur, the real test
for the exercise of such power is whether, under the circumstances,
plaintiff is chargeable with want of due diligence in failing to proceed
with reasonable promptitude.

xxx

By way of exception to the rule that a dismissal on the ground of failure


to prosecute under Section 3 of Rule 17 is a dismissal with prejudice,
Delos Reyes v. Capule, 102 Phil 467 (1957), held that in a case not tried
on the merits and whose dismissal was due to the negligence of counsel
rather than the plaintiff, in the interest of justice, the dismissal of the case
should be decreed to be without prejudice to the filing of a new action.
However, unlike De los Reyes, the present case involves as
plaintiff/petitioner a prominent bank, that employs a staff of lawyers and
possesses significant resources. It cannot plead paucity of means,
including legal talent it could retain. Petitioner's counsel inexplicably
failed to secure the presence of witnesses when required, failed to appear
during pre-trial and trial duly set, failed to seasonably appeal, failed to
timely move for reconsideration, failed to brief his substitute lawyer; and

failed to diligently pursue the service of summonses. These are acts of


negligence, laxity and truancy which the bank management could have
very easily avoided or timely remedied. One's sympathy with the bank
and its counsel could not avail against apparent complacency, if not
delinquency, in the conduct of a litigation. For failure to diligently pursue
its complaint, it trifled with the right of respondent to speedy trial. It also
sorely tried the patience of the court and wasted its precious time and
attention.

xxx

In the light of the foregoing circumstances, to declare the dismissal in


this case without prejudice would open the floodgate to possible
circumvention of Section 3, Rule 17 of the Rules of Court on dismissal
with prejudice for failure to prosecute. It would frustrate the protection
against unreasonable delay in the prosecution of cases and violate the
constitutional mandate of speedy dispensation of justice which would in
time erode the people's confidence in the judiciary. We find that, as held
by the trial court and concurred in by the appellate court, the dismissal of
petitioner's complaint is with prejudice and should have the effect of
adjudication on the merits.

(2) Roquero v. The Chancellor of UP Manila et al., G.R. No. 181851, March 9, 2010.
(Link: http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/jurisprudence/2010/march2010/181851.htm )
This case started from a complaint filed by Private Respondent Abutal (Abutal) for Grave
Misconduct against Petitioner Roquero (Roquero). After the preliminary investigation was
conducted, a prima facie case has been found to exist and Roquero was placed under preventive
suspension. Thereafter, the Administrative Disciplinary Tribunal (ADT) of UP, headed by Atty.
Docena, was organized to hear the case. Atty. Flor, as the University Prosecutor, represented the
prosecution.
During the ADT hearing, the prosecution presented its sole witness Abutal. After the completion
of cross-examination, the prosecution agreed to submit its Formal Offer of Evidence on or before
July 16, 1999. The prosecution, however, failed to submit its formal offer within the period
agreed upon.
On August 10, 1999, when the case was called, only Roquero and his counsel appeared. Atty. Flor
the ADT and requested to reset the case to another date. The ADT ordered the resetting of the

hearing. On the subsequent hearing date, only Roquero and his counsel were present. Atty. Flor
again called and asked for the postponement of the hearing. Atty. Docena of ATD issued an Order
setting the next hearing on September 29, 1999, with the understanding that if and when the
parties fail to appear at the said hearing date, the case shall be deemed submitted for resolution
based on the evidence on record. On September 29, 1999, the representative from the prosecution
again failed to appear.
On October 22, 1999, Roquero filed a motion, through counsel, praying that Abutal be declared to
have waived her right to formally offer her exhibits since she was not able to file her Formal
Offer within the given period of fifteen (15) days from July 1, 1999 or up to July 16, 1999. The
ADT was not able to act on the said Motion for almost five (5) years. Due to the unreasonable
delay, Roquero, on May 19, 2004 filed another Motion asking for the dismissal of the
administrative case against him. The Motion to Dismiss was anchored on the following reasons:
that the prosecution had not formally offered its evidence; that the ADT had failed to act on the
motion filed on October 22, 1999; that the unfounded charges in the administrative complaint
were filed just to harass him; and that he is entitled to a just and speedy disposition of the case.
On May 26, 2004, the prosecution, represented by Atty. Felicen, in view of the resignation of
Atty. Flor in August 1999, filed its Comment/Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss. The
prosecution alleged that a Formal Offer of Documentary Exhibits had been filed on January 24,
2004, of which a copy thereof was received by Roqueros counsel, on January 30, 2004, per
registry return receipt. However, Roquero has not filed his comment to the said Formal Offer.
Furthermore, the prosecution explained in its Comment/Opposition that in view of the resignation
of Atty. Flor in August 1999 but who had been on leave by mid-July 1999, the Formal Offer could
not be prepared by another counsel until all the transcript of stenographic notes have been
furnished to the counsel that replaced Atty. Flor. Meanwhile, the stenographer, Jamie Limbaga,
had been in and out of the hospital due to a serious illness, thus the delay in the filing of the
prosecutors Formal Offer of Documentary Exhibits.
On June 8, 2004, Atty. Docena issued the assailed Order denying Roqueros motion to dismiss
and admitted the evidence of the prosecution. Thereafter, Roquero filed with the Court of Appeals
(CA) a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 alleging that the ADT committed grave abuse of
discretion when it denied the motion to dismiss the administrative case filed against him. The CA
denied the petition reasoning that the ADT did not commit grave abuse of discretion in issuing the
assailed orders. Roquero moved for reconsideration of the Decision, but the same was likewise
denied by the CA.
The core issue of this case is whether the failure of the ADT to resolve Roqueros Motion (to
declare complainant Imelda Abutal to have waived her right to submit her Formal Offer of
Exhibit), which he seasonably filed on October 22, 1999 and the assailed Order of the ADT dated
June 8, 2004 admitting the Formal Offer of Exhibit of t Imelda Abutal despite having filed after
almost five years violated the constitutional right of Roquero to a speedy disposition of cases.
In ruling for Roquero, the Supreme Court held that:
We cannot accept the finding of the Court of Appeals that there
was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of the ADT because
a formal offer of evidence was filed by the prosecution, a copy of
which was received by petitioners counsel. The admission by
ADT on June 8, 2004 of the formal offer of exhibits belatedly
filed did not cure the 5-year delay in the resolution of petitioners

1999 motion to deem as waived such formal offer of evidence.


Indeed, the delay of almost five (5) years cannot be justified.
The prosecution tried to explain in its Comment/Opposition
dated 26 May 2004, that the resignation of Atty. Paul Flor in
August 1999, who had by then already been on leave since midJuly 1999, contributed to the delay of the filing of the formal
offer and that the formal offer could not be prepared by another
counsel until all the transcripts of stenographic notes had been
given to him. Also, it was pointed out that the stenographer,
Jaime Limbaga, had been in and out of the hospital due to a
serious illness.
The ADT admitted this explanation of the prosecutor hook, line
and sinker without asking why it took him almost five (5) years
to make that explanation. If the excuses were true, the
prosecution could have easily manifested with the ADT of its
predicament right after Roquero filed his motion to declare the
waiver of the formal offer. It is evident too that the prosecution
failed to explain why it took them so long a time to find a
replacement for the original prosecutor. And, the stenographer
who had been in and out of the hospital due to serious illness
should have been replaced sooner.
While it is true that administrative investigations should not
be bound by strict adherence to the technical rules of
procedure and evidence applicable to judicial proceedings,
the same however should not violate the constitutional right
of respondents to a speedy disposition of cases.
Section 16, Article III of the 1987 Constitution provides:
Section 16. All person shall have the right to a speedy disposition
of their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative
bodies.
The constitutional right to a speedy disposition of cases is not
limited to the accused in criminal proceedings but extends to
all parties in all cases, including civil and administrative
cases, and in all proceedings, including judicial and quasijudicial hearings. Hence, under the Constitution, any party
to a case may demand expeditious action by all officials who
are tasked with the administration of justice.
The right to a speedy disposition of a case, like the right to a
speedy trial, is deemed violated only when the proceedings
are attended by vexatious, capricious, and oppressive delays;
or when unjustified postponements of the trial are asked for
and secured; or even without cause or justifiable motive, a
long period of time is allowed to elapse without the party
having his case tried. Equally applicable is the balancing test

used to determine whether a defendant has been denied his


right to a speedy trial, or a speedy disposition of a case for
that matter, in which the conduct of both the prosecution and
the defendant is weighed, and such factors as the length of
the delay, the reasons for such delay, the assertion or failure
to assert such right by the accused, and the prejudice caused
by the delay. The concept of a speedy disposition is a relative
term and must necessarily be a flexible concept.
Hence, the doctrinal rule is that in the determination of whether
that right has been violated, the factors that may be considered
and balanced are as follows: (1) the length of delay; (2) the
reasons for the delay; (3) the assertion or failure to assert such
right by the accused; and (4) the prejudice caused by the delay.
Applying the doctrinal ruling vis-a-vis the factual milieu of this
case, the violation of the right to a speedy disposition of the case
against petitioner is clear for the following reasons: (1) the delay
of almost five (5) years on the part of ADT in resolving the
motion of petitioner, which resolution petitioner reasonably
found necessary before he could present his defense; (2) the
unreasonableness of the delay; and (3) the timely assertions by
petitioner of the right to an early disposition which he did
through a motion to dismiss. Over and above this, the delay was
prejudicial to petitioners cause as he was under preventive
suspension for ninety (90) days, and during the interregnum of
almost five years, the trial of the accusation against him
remained stagnant at the prosecution stage.
The Constitutional guarantee against unreasonable delay in the
disposition of cases was intended to stem the tide of
disenchantment among the people in the administration of justice
by our judicial and quasi-judicial tribunals. The adjudication of
cases must not only be done in an orderly manner that is in
accord with the established rules of procedure but must also be
promptly decided to better serve the ends of justice. Excessive
delay in the disposition of cases renders the rights of the people
guaranteed by the Constitution and by various legislations
inutile. (emphasis supplied)