Civil Procedure: Rules of Discovery

Rules of Discovery(Rules 23 , 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28)

  1. Introduction
    1. Discovery defined
      1. In General, a discovery is a device employed by a party to obtain information about relevant matters on the case from the adverse party in preparation for the trial. The device may be used by all the parties to the case.
    2. Purpose of Discovery
      1. The broad purpose of discovery procedures is to permit mutual knowledge before trial of all relevant facts gathered by both parties so that either party may compel the other to disgorge facts whatever he has in his possession.
    3. Duty of the Court
      1. Aside from preparing the summons within one day from receipt of the complaint, the court is required to issue an order requiring the parties to avail of interrogatories to parties under Rule 25 and request for the admission by adverse party under Rule 26, or at their discretion, make use of depositions under Rule 23 or other measures under Rule 27 and 28 within 5 days from the filing of the answer. A copy of this order shall be served upon the defendant together with the summons. A copy of the order shall also be served upon the plaintiff.
    4. Modes of Discovery under the Rules of Court
      1. Depositions pending action (Rule 23);
      2. Depositions before action or pending appeal (Rule 24);
      3. Interrogatories to parties (Rule 25);
      4. Admission by adverse party (Rule 26);
      5. Production or inspection of Documents or things (Rule 27); and
      6. Physical and mental examination of persons (Rule 28).
    5. Deposition defined
      1. A deposition is the taking of the testimony of any person, whether he be a party or not, but at the instance of a party to the action. This testimony is taken out of court.
      2. A deposition is the testimony of a witness, put or taken in writing, under oath or affirmation, before a commissioner, examiner of other judicial officer, in answer to interrogatory or cross-interrogatory, and usually subscribed by the witness.
      3. Two Methods of taking deposition;
        1. An Oral Examination;
        2. A written interrogation.
      4. Three kinds of Deposition:
        1. Deposition de benne esse – A deposition used during the pending a action and is governed by Rule 23.
        2. Deposition perpetuam rei memoriam A deposition used to perpetuate a testimony for use in future proceedings, as when it is sought before the existence of an action, or for cases on appeal. The said deposition is governed by Rule 24.
        3. Deposition of minor child witness by videotape. (Sec 27, AM No. 00-4-07, Dec. 15, 2000)
    6. Purpose of Deposition
      1. Assist the parties in ascertaining the truth and in checking and preventing perjury;
      2. Provide an effective means of detecting and exposing false, fraudulent claims and defenses;
      3. Make available in a simple, convenient and inexpensive way, facts which otherwise could not be proved except with great difficulty;
      4. Educate the parties in advance of trial as to the real value of their claims and defenses thereby encouraging settlement;
      5. Expedite litigation;
      6. Prevent delay;
      7. Simplify and narrow down issues;
      8. expedite ans facilitate both preparation and trial.
    7. Function of Deposition
      1. Deposition is chiefly a mode of discovery, the primary function of which is to supplement the pleadings for the purpose of disclosing the real points of dispute between parties and affording adequate factual basis during the preparation for trial.
  2. Depositions pending action (Rule 23);
    1. Deposition pending action – ” Sec 1, Rule 23 Deposition pending action, when may be taken. – By leave of court after jurisdiction has been obtained over any defendant or over property which is the subject matter of the action, without such leave after an answer has been served, the testimony of any person, whether a party or not, may be taken, at the instance of any party, by deposition upon oral examinantion or written interrogatories. The attendance of witnesses may be compelled by the use of a subpoena as provided in Rule 21. Depositions shall be taken only in accordance with these Rules. The deposition of a person confined in prison may be taken only by leave of court on such terms as the court prescribes. 
      1. When and how availed?
        1. By leave of court after jurisdiction has been obtained over any defendant or over property which is the subject of the matter.
        2. Without such leave after an answer has been served.
      2. Before whom taken?
        1. In the Philippines
          1. Within the Philippines, a Deposition need not be taken before a judge, although it may be taken before one. It may also be taken before a Notary Public, or before any person authorized to administer oaths if the parties so stipulate in writing.
        2. Foreign Countries
          1. Outside the Philippines, a deposition may be taken before:
            1. A secretary of an embassy or legation, consul general, consul, vice-consul, or consular agent of the Republic of the Philippines;
            2. Such person or officer as may be appointed by commission or letters rogatory;
            3. a person authorized to administer oaths by written stipulation of the parties.
          2. Letter Rogatory
            1. a letter rogatory is a request to a foreign court to give its aid, backed by its power, to secure desired information. The methods of procedure are under the control of the foreign tribunal.

          3. Commission
            1. a commission is an instrument issued by a court of justice, or other competent tribunal, directed to a magistrate by his official designation or to an individual by name, authorizing him to take the depositions of the witnesses named therein. Commissions are taken in accordance with the rules laid down by the court issuing the commission.
  3. Deposition Before Action (Rules 24)
    1. This type of deposition is availed of when a person desires to perpetuate his own testimony or that of another person regarding any matter that may be cognizable in any court of the Philippines.
    2. Perpetuation of testimony before action
      1. Notices shall be sent in accordance with the Rules (Section 3) and if the court is satisfied that the perpetuation of the testimony may prevent a failure or delay of justice, it shall make the appropriate order for the taking of the deposition.
        1. The deposition taken under the Rule is admissible in evidence in any action subsequently brought involving the same subject matter.
    3. Deposition pending appeal
      1. If an appeal has been taken from a judgment of a court, including the Court of Appeals in proper cases, or before the taking of an appeal if the time therefor has not expired, the court in which the judgment was rendered may allow taking of depositions of witnesses to perpetuate their testimony for use in the event of further proceedings in said court.
      2. The party who desires to perpetuate the testimony may make a motion in said court for leave to take the depositions. The notice and service shall be made in the same manner as if the action is pending.
      3. The motion shall state the (a) names and addresses of the persons to be examined; (b) substance of the testimony he expects to elicit from each of the persons to be examined and (c) reason for perpetuating their testimony.
      4. The court shall allow the depositions if it finds that the perpetuation of the testimony is proper to avoid a  failure or delay of justice. the depositions may be taken and used in the same manner and under the same conditions prescribed for deposition pending actions.
    4. Non-applicability in criminal cases
      1. HARRY L. GO vs. THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES – G.R. No. 185527, July 18, 2012
  4. Interrogatories to parties (Rule 25);
    1. What is an Interrogatory?
      1. Questions in writing exhibited, that is addressed, to a party to an action by an adverse party, before trial of the action, and answered in writing under oath.
    2. Interrogatories to parties
      1. This mode of discovery is availed of by a party to the action for the purpose of eliciting material and relevant facts from any adverse party. The purpose of written interrogatories is to assist the parties in clarifying the issues and in ascertaining the facts involved in the case.
    3. Answer to Interrogatories
      1. When filed?
        1. The interrogatories shall be answered fully in writing signed, and sworn to by the person making them. The party upon whom the interrogatories have been served shall file and serve a copy of the answers on the party submitting the interrogatories within 15 days after the serving thereof. This period may, upon motion and for good cause shown, be extended or shortened by the court.
      2. Formal requisites
        1. Answered fully in writing; and
        2. Shall be signed and sworn to by the person making them;
    4. Objection to Interrogatories
      1. When filed?
        1. The party against whom it is directed may make objections to the interrogatories. If be does so, said objections shall be presented to the court within 10 days after the service of the interrogatories. The filing of the objections shall have the effect of deferring the filing and service of the answer to the interrogatories until the objections are resolved.
  5. Admission by adverse party (Rule 26)
    1. Purpose of admission by adverse party
      1. The purpose of this mode of discovery is to allow one party to request the adverse party, in writing, to admit certain material and relevant matters which, most likely, will not be disputed during trial. To avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the parties in going through the rigors of proof before the trial, a party may request the other to:
        1. Admit the genuineness of any material and relevant document described in and exhibited with the request; or
        2. admit the truth of any material and relevant matter of fact set forth in the request.
      2. When request is made
        1. A party may file and serve the written request at any time after issues have been joined.
      3. Effect of failure to file and serve a sworn statement of denial
        1. It is advisable for the party to whom the written request is directed to file and serve upon the party requesting the admission a sworn statement either:
          1. Specifically denying the matters of which admission is requested, or
          2. If he does not deny the same, to set forth in detail the reasons why he cannot truthfully admit or deny those matters. This sworn statement shall be filed and served within the period designated in the request but which shall not be less than 15 days form the service of such request, or within such further time as the court may allow.
        2. If the party to whom the written request for admission is directed does not file the required sworn statement, each of the matters of which an admission is requested shall be deemed admitted.
  6. Production or inspection of documents or things
  7. Physical and Mental examination
  8. Refusal to comply with Modes of Discovery

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