Friday, February 19, 2016

Due process; negligence of counsel

VICIA D. PASCUAL vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, G.R. No. 160540, March 22, 2007,

“x x x.


Petitioner was not denied due process on the mere premise that she was not able to submit her affidavit regarding where she allegedly spent the councils money. Due process means that a party has been given the opportunity to be heard.[10] When a party has been afforded a chance to present his or her own side, he cannot feign denial of due process.[11] In this case, the records are evident that petitioner herself participated as the only witness for the defense during the trial. She cannot now claim very belatedly that her constitutional right to due process was violated and that she was denied her day in court. What is repugnant to due process is the absolute absence of the opportunity to be heard through pleadings or otherwise,[12] which is not the case here.

Petitioner likewise contends that it was due to her former counsel’s incompetence and negligence that she failed to offer her affidavit as evidence during the trial. This contention does not hold ground considering that she neither objected nor called the attention of her former lawyer when the latter manifested in open court that petitioner (as then accused) was adopting in Criminal Case No. 98-1015 the evidence in Criminal Case No. 98-1014,[13] which evidence did not include petitioners affidavit. Had petitioner truly believed that her counsel then was inept and careless, she could have easily terminated his services at that very instance. In failing to do so, we can only conclude that she acquiesced to the manner her former lawyer handled her case.

The doctrinal rule is that litigants should suffer the consequences of the negligence or incompetence of their counsel whom they themselves hired and had full authority to fire at anytime and replace even without any justifiable cause.[14]

X x x.”


[1] Penned by Associate Justice Ruben T. Reyes (now Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals), and concurred in by Associate Justices Remedios Salazar-Fernando and Edgardo F. Sundiam of the Seventh Division of the Court of Appeals. Rollo, pp. 72-88.
[2] Id., p. 100.
[3] Id., pp. 33-34.
[4] ART. 315. Swindling (estafa). − Any person who shall defraud another by any of the means mentioned hereinbelow
1.        With unfaithfulness or abuse of confidence, namely:
(b) By misappropriating or converting, to the prejudice of another, money, goods, or any other personal property received by the offender in trust or on commission, or for administration, or under any other obligation involving the duty to make delivery of or to return the same, even though such obligation be totally or partially guaranteed by a bond; or by denying having received such money, goods, or other property. xxx
[5] Decided by Judge Francisco B. Ibay, RTC, Makati City, Branch 135. Rollo, pp. 31-37.
[6] Id., p. 82.
[7] Id., pp. 83-88.
[8] Supra note 2.
[9] Rollo, pp. 17-18.
[10] Roxas v. Vasquez, 432 Phil. 148 (2002).
[11] Dayrit v. Philippine Bank of Communications, 435 Phil. 120 (2002); Development Bank of the Philippines v. Court of Appeals, 362 Phil. 1 (1999).
[12] Sps. Friend, et al. v. Union Bank of the Philippines, G.R. No. 165767, 29 November 2005, 476 SCRA 453; Salonga v. Court of Appeals,G.R. No. 111478, 13 March 1997, 269 SCRA 534; Bacelonia v. Court of Appeals, 445 Phil. 300 (2003).
[13] Rollo, p. 80.
[14] Salva v. CA, 364 Phil. 281 (1997); Alabanzas v. Intermediate Appellate Court, 29 November 1991, 204 SCRA 304; Sps. Friend, et al. v. Union Bank of the Philippinessupra.
[15] Villanueva v. Sps. Alejo and Virginia Salvador, G.R. No. 139436, 25 January 2006; People v. Chua, G.R. No. 128280, 4 April 2001, 356 SCRA 225; Ayson v. Enriquez Vda. De Carpio, G.R. No. 15243817 June 2004, 432 SCRA 449; Reburiano v. Court of Appeals, 361 Phil. 294 (1999).
[16] Velasquez v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 138480, 25 March 2004, 426 SCRA 309; L.T. Datu & Co., Inc. v. Sy, G.R. No. 143701, 23 March 2004, 426 SCRA 189.
[17] San Agustin v. People, G.R. No. 158211, 31 August 2004, 437 SCRA 392.
[18] Id.; Villaflor v. Vivar, 402 Phil. 222 (2001).
[19] Filadams Pharma, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 132422, 30 March 2004, 426 SCRA 460.
[20] Velasco v. People, G.R. No. 166479, 28 February 2006.