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4/10/2017 G.R.No.

170618

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RepublicofthePhilippines
SUPREMECOURT
Manila

SECONDDIVISION

G.R.No.170618November20,2013

FAREASTERNSURETYANDINSURANCECO.INC.,Petitioner,
vs.
PEOPLEOFTHEPHILIPPINES,Respondent.

DECISION

BRION,J.:

FarEasternSuretyandInsuranceCo.,Inc.(petitioner)assailsinthisRule45petitionforreviewoncertiorari1the
Order2datedOctober4,2005,theJudgmentofForfeiture3datedOctober6,2005,andtheOrdersdatedOctober
25,2005,4November14,20055andNovember22,2005,6allissuedbytheRegionalTrialCourt(RTC),Branch
64,TarlacCityinCriminalCaseNo.12408,entitled"ThePeopleofthePhilippinesv.CeloTuazon."

Thepetitionerclaimsthatitshouldnotbeheldliableforabailbondthatitdidnotissue.

TheFactualAntecedents

Thepetitiontracesitsrootstothepersonalbailbond,withserialno.JCR(2)1807,fortheprovisionalreleaseof
CeloTuazon(accused)whichwasfiledbeforetheRTCinCriminalCaseNo.12408.Thepersonalbailbondwas
underthesignaturesofPaulJ.MalvarandTeodoricoS.Evangelistaasthepetitionersauthorizedsignatories.On
January23,2004,theRTCapprovedthebailbond.

OnAugust16,2004,theSupremeCourtissuedA.M.No.04702SCrequiringallbondingcompaniestoaccredit
alltheirauthorizedagentswiththecourts.ThepetitionerappliedforitsCertificationofAccreditationandAuthority
to transact surety business with the courts and accordingly designated Samuel A. Baui as its authorized
representativeinTarlacProvince.

Subsequently,theaccusedfailedtoappearinthescheduledhearingforCriminalCaseNo.12408,promptingthe
RTCtoissueanorderrequiringthepetitionertoproducethebodyoftheaccusedandtoexplainwhynojudgment
shallberenderedagainstthebond.

Samuel,whowasthenthepetitionersdesignatedrepresentative,filedaMotionforExtensionofTime7tocomply
with the RTCs order. He likewise sought the petitioners assistance for the use of its resources and agents
outsideTarlacCitybecauseofthedifficultyofarrestingtheaccused.

Sometimethereafter,thepetitionerallegedlyverifiedfromitsregisterthatitneitherauthorizednorsanctionedthe
issuanceofabailbond,withserialno.JCR(2)1807,andonthisbasis,itfiledwiththeRTCaVeryUrgentMotion
to Cancel Fake/Falsified Bail Bond. The petitioner alleged that the signature of Teodorico in the bail bond had
beenforgeditalsoallegedthatPaulwasnotanauthorizedsignatoryhisnamewasnotlistedintheSecretarys
Certificate submitted to the Court. In support of its motion, it attached copies of the Personal Bail Bond, its
CorporateSecretarysCertificate,andtheSpecialPowerofAttorneyinfavorofMedyS.Patricio,andprayedtobe
relievedfromanyliabilityunderthebailbond.

TheRTCdeniedthepetitionersmotiononthegroundthatthepetitionerhadindirectlyacknowledgedthebonds
validitywhenitfiledamotionforextensionoftimewiththetrialcourt.TheRTCsubsequentlyissuedaJudgment
of Forfeiture for P200,000.00 against the petitioner. The petitioner sought reconsideration of the judgment, but
theRTCdeniedthemotion.

OnOctober25,2005,theRTCissuedanotherorder,thistimedirectingtheissuanceofawritofexecution.The
petitioner responded by filing an omnibus motion to hold in abeyance or quash the writ, but the RTC similarly
deniedthismotion.ThepetitionerthereafterfiledthisRule45petitiontoassailtheOrdersdatedOctober4,2005,

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October25,2005,November14,2005andNovember22,2005,andtheJudgmentofForfeituredatedOctober6,
2005,allofthemissuedbytheRTC.

ThePetition

The petitioner principally argues that the RTC erred in ruling that the petitioner indirectly acknowledged the
falsifiedbondsvaliditywhenitfiledamotionforextensionoftimetorespondtothelowercourtsorderofAugust
2, 2005. It also disclaims liability under the bond based on the absence of the name of Paul in the Secretarys
Certificate of authorized signatories, and based on the alleged forgery of Teodoricos signature. It lastly argues
that the RTC failed to observe the mandate of A.M. No. 04702SC when it did not verify the signatures
authenticityandconfirmthepetitionersauthorizedsignatoriesintheSecretarysCertificatebeforeapprovingthe
bond.

TheCasefortheRespondent

The respondent People of the Philippines, for its part, maintains that the petitioner is already estopped from
questioning the bail bonds authenticity. It likewise contends that the petitioner used the wrong mode of review
theproperremedyisaspecialcivilactionforcertiorariunderRule65,notapetitionforreviewoncertiorariunder
Rule45.ItlastlyarguesthatthecaseinvolvesfactualissuesthatarebeyondthescopeofaRule45petition.

TheIssues

Initspetition,thepetitionerraisesthefollowingissuesforourresolution:

I.WhethertheRTCerredinrulingthattheallegedfalsifiedbondsvaliditycanbeindirectlyacknowledged.

II.WhethertheRTCerredinholdingthepetitionerliableundertheallegedfalsifiedbond.

III.WhethertheRTCerredinfailingtoobserveandapplyA.M.No.04702SC.

IV.WhethertheRTCerredinrulingthattheallegedfalsifiedbondisbindinguponthepetitioner.

TheCourtsRuling

We deny the petition as we cannot rule on it without the established or undisputed facts on which to base our
rulings of law on the presented issues. In short, the petitioner used the wrong mode of appeal, rendering us
unabletoproceedevenifwewouldwantto.

WenotethatthepetitionerdirectlycomestothisCourtviaaRule45petition,inrelationwithRule41oftheRules
ofCivilProcedure(Rules),onallegedpurequestionsoflaw.

UnderRule41oftheRules,anappealfromtheRTCsdecisionmaybeundertakeninthree(3)ways,depending
onthenatureoftheattendantcircumstancesofthecase,namely:(1)anordinaryappealtotheCourtofAppeals
(CA)incasesdecidedbytheRTCintheexerciseofitsoriginaljurisdiction(2)apetitionforreviewtotheCAin
cases decided by the RTC in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction and (3) a petition for review on certiorari
directlyfiledwiththeCourtwhereonlyquestionsoflawareraisedorinvolved.

ThefirstmodeofappealunderRule41oftheRulesisavailableonquestionsoffactormixedquestionsoffact
andoflaw.Thesecondmodeofappeal,governedbyRule42oftheRules,isbroughttotheCAonquestionsof
fact,oflaw,ormixedquestionsoffactandoflaw.ThethirdmodeofappealunderRule45oftheRulesofCourtis
filedwiththeCourtonlyonquestionsoflaw.8Itisonlywherepurequestionsoflawareraisedorinvolvedcanan
appealbebroughttotheCourtviaapetitionforreviewoncertiorariunderRule45.9

A question of law arises when there is doubt as to what the law is on a certain state of facts, while there is a
questionoffactwhenthedoubtarisesastothetruthorfalsityoftheallegedfacts.10Foraquestiontobeoneof
law, its resolution must not involve an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented by the
litigants,butmustrelysolelyonwhatthelawprovidesonthegivensetoffacts.Ifthefactsaredisputedorifthe
issuesrequireanexaminationoftheevidence,thequestionposedisoneoffact.Thetest,therefore,isnotthe
appellation given to a question by the party raising it, but whether the appellate court can resolve the issue
withoutexaminingorevaluatingtheevidence,inwhichcase,itisaquestionoflawotherwise,itisaquestionof
fact.11

Anexaminationofthepresentpetitionshowsthatthefactsaredisputed.Theissuesoftheauthenticityandofthe
validity of the bail bonds signatures and the authority of its signatories had never been resolved. When the
petitionerquestionedtheRTCsruling,itwas,infact,raisingtheissuesoffalsityandofforgeryofthesignatures
inthebailbond,whichquestionsarepurelyoffact.12ToquotethepertinentportionoftheRTCsorder:

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When the case was called, a representative of the bonding company by the person of a certain Samuel Baui
appeared. However, there is already a motion by said bonding company thru Samuel Baui to give the bonding
company 60 days extension but which the Court granted shortened to 30 days. The expiration of the 30day
periodissupposedtobetodaybut,however,theCourtwasconfrontedwiththemotionbythebondingcompany
allegingthatthebondpostedbythebondingcompanywasfalsified.TheCourtisoftheopinionthatbythemotion
for extension of time within which to produce the body of the accused, the bonding company indirectly
acknowledgedthevalidityofthebondpostedbythesaidbondingcompany.Wherefore,themotionofthebonding
companydatedOctober3,2005thatitberelievedfromliabilityisherebyDENIED.13(emphasisours)

Thisruling,byitsclearterms,didnotpassuponthefalsityorforgeryofthebailbondssignatures.Nothinginthe
orderresolvedthequestionofwhetherTeodoricossignaturehadbeenforged.Neitherwasthereanyfindingon
thevalidityofthebailbond,noranydefinitiverulingontheeffectsoftheunauthorizedsignatureofPaul.Missing
as well was any mention of the circumstances that led to the RTCs approval of the bond. We need all these
factualbasestomakearulingonwhatandhowthelawshouldbeapplied.

Weadditionallynotethatabailbondisrequiredtobeinapublicdocument,i.e.,adulynotarizeddocument.Asa
notarizeddocument,ithasthepresumptionofregularityinitsfavor,whichpresumptioncanonlybecontradicted
by evidence that is clear, convincing and more than merely preponderant otherwise, the regularity of the
documentshouldbeupheld.14

Likewisenotableisthesettledrulethatforgerycannotbepresumedandmustbeprovedbyclear,positiveand
convincingevidence.Theburdenofproofliesinthepartyallegingforgery.15

Alltheselegalrealitiestellusthatwecanruleonlyontheissueofliability,evenassumingthistobeapurelylegal
issue, if the matter of forgery and falsification has already been settled. In other words, a finding of forgery (or
absenceofforgery)isnecessary.Atthemoment,thequestionsofwhetherthepetitionersevidenceissufficient
and convincing to prove the forgery of Teodoricos signature and whether the evidence is more than merely
preponderanttoovercomethepresumptionofvalidityandtheregularityofthenotarizedbailbondareunsettled
factualmattersthattheassailedrulingdidnotsquarelyruleupon,andwhichthisCourtcannotnowresolveviaa
Rule45petition.Simplyput,theresolutionofthesemattersisoutsidethisCourtsauthoritytoactupon.

Similarly, in the absence of factual circumstances relating to the RTCs approval of the bail bond, a finding on
whetheriterred(andshouldbeblamedfortheapprovalofafalsifiedbailbond)isamatterwecannottouch.A
glaringlapseonthepetitionerspartisitsfailuretoconsiderthatwhileithasbeencitingA.M.No.04702SC,the
submission of the bail bond and its alleged approval by the RTC all took place previous to this cited issuance.
Thus, even if we are inclined to take equitable considerations into account in light of the alleged previous court
approvalofthebailbond,wecannotdosoforlackofsufficientfactualandevidentiarybasis.Tobefair,wemust
knowwhatwemustbefairaboutandcannotsimplyrelyongeneralallegationsofoverallunfairness.

We stress that in reviews on certiorari the Court addresses only the questions of law. It is not our function to
analyzeorweightheevidence(whichtasksbelongtothetrialcourtasthetrieroffactsandtotheappellatecourt
as the reviewer of facts). We are confined to the review of errors of law that may have been committed in the
judgmentunderreview.16

InMadrigalv.CourtofAppeals,17wehadoccasiontostressthisruleinthesewords:

TheSupremeCourtsjurisdictionislimitedtoreviewingerrorsoflawthatmayhavebeencommittedbythelower
court. The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. It leaves these matters to the lower court, which [has] more
opportunityandfacilitiestoexaminethesematters.ThissameCourthasdeclaredthatitisthepolicyoftheCourt
todefertothefactualfindingsofthetrialjudge,whohastheadvantageofdirectlyobservingthewitnessesonthe
standandtodeterminetheirdemeanorwhethertheyaretellingordistortingthetruth.

AndagaininRemalantev.Tibe(158SCRA138[1988]):

TheruleinthisjurisdictionisthatonlyquestionsoflawmayberaisedinapetitionforcertiorariunderRule45of
the Revised Rules of Court. "The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in cases brought to it from the Court of
Appealsislimitedtoreviewingandrevisingtheerrorsoflawimputedtoit,itsfindingsoffactbeingconclusive."
[Chanv.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.L27488,June30,1970,33SCRA737,reiteratingalonglineofdecisions].
ThisCourthasemphaticallydeclaredthat"itisnotthefunctionoftheSupremeCourttoanalyzeorweighsuch
evidencealloveragain,itsjurisdictionbeinglimitedtoreviewingerrorsoflawthatmighthavebeencommittedby
thelowercourt"[Tiongcov.DelaMerced,G.R.No.L24426,July25,1974,58SCRA89

Coronav.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.L62482,April28,1983,121SCRA865Baniguedv.CourtofAppeals,G.R.
No.L47531,February20,1984,127SCRA596].[italicssupplied]

WerepeatedthisrulinginSuarezv.JudgeVillarama,Jr.,18thistimegivingthedoctrineofhierarchyofcourtsas
ouradditionalreason.

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Itisaxiomaticthataquestionoflawariseswhenthereisdoubtastowhatthelawisonacertainstateoffacts,
whilethereisaquestionoffactwhenthedoubtarisesastothetruthorfalsityoftheallegedfacts.

Intheinstantcase,petitionerbroughtthispetitionforreviewoncertiorariraisingmixedquestionsoffactandlaw.
SheimpugnsthedecisionoftheRTCdismissinghercomplaintforfailuretoprosecute.TheIntheinstantcase,
petitioner brought this petition for review on certiorari raising mixed questions of fact and law. She impugns the
decisionoftheRTCdismissinghercomplaintforfailuretoprosecute.Theresolutionoftheproprietyofdismissal
entailsareviewofthefactualcircumstancesthatledthetrialcourttodecideinsuchmanner.Ontheotherhand,
petitioneralsoquestionsthelowercourtsdenialofhermotionforreconsiderationonthegroundthatitwasfiled
outoftime.Thereisindeedaquestionastowhatandhowthelawshouldbeapplied.Therefore,petitionershould
havebroughtthiscasetotheCourtofAppealsviathefirstmodeofappealundertheaegisofRule41.Section4
ofCircularNo.290,ineffectatthetimeoftheantecedents,providesthatanappealtakentoeithertheSupreme
Court or the Court of Appeals by the wrong mode or inappropriate mode shall be dismissed. This rule is now
incorporatedinSection5,Rule56ofthe1997RulesofCivilProcedure.

Moreover,thefilingofthecasedirectlywiththisCourtrunsafoulofthedoctrineofhierarchyofcourts. Pursuant 1 w p h i1

to this doctrine, direct resort from the lower courts to the Supreme Court will not be entertained unless the
appropriate remedy cannot be obtained in the lower tribunals. This Court is a court of last resort, and must so
remain if it is to satisfactorily perform the functions assigned to it by the Constitution and immemorial tradition.
Thus,apetitionforreviewoncertiorariassailingthedecisioninvolvingbothquestionsoffactandlawmustfirstbe
broughtbeforetheCourtofAppeals.[italicssupplied,emphasesourscitationsomitted]

Asafinalpoint,whilewenotetheirregularprocedureadoptedbytheRTCwhenitrenderedadecisionbasedon
implications, we nevertheless hold that the proper remedy to question this irregularity is not through a Rule 45
petition. If indeed there is merit to the claim that the signatures had been forged or that the signatory was
unauthorized, or that the R TC failed to observe the mandate of A.M. No. 047 02SC, the proper recourse to
questiontheRTCsrulingonthemotiontocancelthebondshouldhavebeenapetitionforcertiorariunderRule
65,notthroughtheprocessandmediumthepetitionertook.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby DENY the petition. Costs against Far Eastern Surety and
InsuranceCo.,Inc.

SOORDERED.

ARTUROD.BRION*
AssociateJustice

WECONCUR:

MARIANOC.DELCASTILLO
AssociateJustice

ROBERTOA.ABAD** JOSEPORTUGALPEREZ
AssociateJustice AssociateJustice

ESTELAM.PERLASBERNABE
AssociateJustice

ATTESTATION

I attest that the conclusions in the above Decision had been reached in consultation before the case was
assignedtothewriteroftheopinionoftheCourtsDivision.

ARTUROD.BRION
AssociateJustice
ActingChairperson,SecondDivision

CERTIFICATION

PursuanttoSection13,ArticleVIIIoftheConstitution,andtheDivisionActingChairpersonsAttestation,Icertify
thattheconclusionsintheaboveDecisionhadbeenreachedinconsultationbeforethecasewasassignedtothe
writeroftheopinionoftheCourtsDivision.

MARIALOURDESP.A.SERENO
ChiefJustice

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Footnotes
*
InlieuofAssociateJusticeAntonioT.Carpio,whoinhibitedfromthecase.
**
Designated as Additional Member in lieu of Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio per Raffle dated
November18,2013.
1
Rollo,pp.926.
2
Id.at30pennedbyPairingJudgeArsenioP.Adriano.
3
Id.at31.
4
Id.at32.
5
Id.at33.
6
Id.at34.
7
FiledonSeptember5,2005.
8
Latorrev.Latorre,G.R.No.183926,March29,2010,617SCRA88,9899.
9
Section2(c).
10
HeirsofNicolasS.Cabigasv.Limbaco,G.R.No.175291,July27,2011,654SCRA643,651652.
11
Id.at655.
12
Cogtongv.KyoritsuInternationalInc.,555Phil.302,306(2007).
13
Supranote2.
14
Ladignonv.CourtofAppeals,390Phil.1161,1169(2000).
15
HeirsofSeveraP.Gregoriov.CourtofAppeals,360Phil.753,763(1998).
16
Dihiansanv.CourtofAppeals,237Phil.695,701703(1987).
17
496Phil.149,156157(2005),citingBernardov.CourtofAppeals,G.R.No.101680,December7,1992,
216SCRA224.
18
526Phil.68,7476(2006).

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