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Doctrines and Principles in Remedial Law

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Doctrine of non-interference or doctrine of judicial stability Courts of equal and coordinate jurisdiction cannot interfere with each other‘s orders. Thus, the RTC has no power to nullify or enjoin the enforcement of a writ of possession issued by another RTC. The principle also bars a court from reviewing or interfering with the judgment of a co-equal court over which it has no appellate jurisdiction or power of review.

This doctrine applies with equal force to administrative bodies. When the law provides for an appeal from the decision of an administrative body to the SC or CA, it means that such body is coequal with the RTC in terms of rand and stature, and logically beyond the control of the latter.

Doctrine of primary jurisdiction
Courts will not resolve a controversy involving a question which is within the jurisdiction of an administrative tribunal, especially where the question demands the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the special knowledge, experience and services of the administrative tribunal to determine technical and intricate matters of fact.

The objective is to guide a court in determining whether it should refrain from exercising its jurisdiction until after an administrative agency has determined some question or some aspect of some question arising in the proceeding before the court (Omictin vs. CA, GR 148004, January 22, 2007).

Doctrine of adherence of jurisdiction/continuity of jurisdiction In view of the principle that once a court has acquired jurisdiction, that jurisdiction continues until the court has done all that it can do in the exercise of that jurisdiction. This principle also means that once jurisdiction has attached, it cannot be ousted by subsequent happenings or events, although of a character which would have prevented jurisdiction from attaching in the first instance. The court, once jurisdiction has been acquired, retains that jurisdiction until it finally disposes of the case.

Even the finality of the judgment does not totally deprive the court of jurisdiction over the case. What the court loses is the power to amend, modify or alter the judgment. Even after the judgment has become final, the court retains jurisdiction to enforce and execute it (Echegaray vs. Secretary of Justice, 301 SCRA 96).

Neypes doctrine
If the motion is denied, the movants has a fresh period of 15 days from receipt or notice of the order denying or dismissing the motion for reconsideration within which to file a notice to appeal. This new period becomes significant if either a motion for reconsideration or a motion for new trial has been filed but was denied or dismissed. This fresh period rule applies only to Rule 41governing appeals from the RTC but also to Rule 40 governing appeals from MTC to RTC, Rule 42 on petitions for review from the RTC to the CA, Rule 43 on appeal from quasi-judicial agencies to the CA, and Rule 45 governing appeals by certiorari to the SC.

Accordingly, this rule was adopted to standardize the appeal periods provided in the Rules to afford fair opportunity to review the case and, in the process, minimize errors of judgment. Obviously, the new 15 day period may be availed of only if either motion is filed; otherwise, the decision becomes final and executory after the lapse of the original appeal period provided in Rule 41 (Neypes vs. CA, GR 141524, Sept. 14, 2005). The Neypes ruling shall not be applied where no motion for new trial or motion for reconsideration has been filed in which case the 15-day period shall run from notice of the judgment.

The fresh period rule does not refer to the period within which to appeal from the order denying the motion for new trial because the order is not appealable under Sec. 9, Rule 37. The nonappealability of the order of denial is also confirmed by Sec. 1(a), Rule 41, which provides that no appeal may be taken from an order denying a motion for new trial or a motion for reconsideration

Principle of Judicial Hierarchy
This is an ordained sequence of recourse to courts vested with concurrent jurisdiction, beginning from the lowest, on to the next highest, and ultimately to the highest. This hierarchy is determinative of the venue of appeals, and is likewise determinative of the proper forum for petitions for extraordinary writs. This is an established policy necessary to avoid inordinate demands upon the Court‘s time and attention which are better devoted to those matters within its exclusive jurisdiction, and to preclude the further clogging of the Court‘s docket (Sec. 9[1], BP 129; Sec. 5[1], Art. VIII, Constitution of the Philippines).

A higher court will not entertain direct resort to it unless the redress cannot be obtained in the appropriate courts. The SC is a court of last resort. It cannot and should not be burdened with the task of deciding cases in the first instances. Its jurisdiction to issue extraordinary writs should be exercised only where absolutely necessary or where serious and important reasons exist.

Petitions for the issuance of extraordinary writs against first level courts should be filed with the RTC and those against the latter with the CA. a direct invocation of the SC‘s original jurisdiction to issue these writs should be allowed only where there are special and important reasons therefor, clearly and specifically set out in the petition.

The doctrine of hierarchy of courts may be disregarded if warranted by the nature and importance of the issues raised in the interest of speedy justice and to avoid future litigations, or in cases of national interest and of serious implications. Under the principle of liberal interpretations, for example, it may take cognizance of a petition for certiorari directly filed before it.

Precautionary Principle
Definition. Precautionary principle states that when human activities may lead to threats of serious and irreversible damage to the environment that is scientifically plausible but uncertain, actions shall be taken to avoid or diminish that threat (Sec. 4[f], Rule 1, Part 1).

The adoption of the precautionary principle as part of these Rules, specifically relating to evidence, recognizes that exceptional cases may require its application. the inclusion of a definition of this principle is an integral part of Part V, Rule on Evidence in environmental cases in order to ease the burden of the part of ordinary plaintiffs to prove their cause of action. In its essence, precautionary principle calls for the exercise of caution in the face of risk and uncertainty. While the principle can be applied in any setting in which risk and uncertainty are found, it has evolved predominantly in and today remains most closely associated with the environmental arena.

Applicability. When there is a lack of full scientific certainty in establishing a casual link between human activity and environmental effect, the court shall apply the precautionary principle in resolving the case before it. The constitutional right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology shall be given the benefit of the doubt (Sec. 1, Rule 20, Part V).

The precautionary principle bridges the gap in cases where scientific certainty in factual findings cannot be achieved. By applying this principle, the court may construe a set of facts as warranting either judicial action or inaction, with the goal of preserving and protecting the environment. This may be further evinced from the second paragraph of Sec. 1, Rule 20, where bias is created in favor of constitutional right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology. In effect, this principle shifts the burden of evidence of harm away from those likely to suffer harm and onto those desiring to change the status quo. This principle should be treated as a principle of last resort, where application of the regular Rules of Evidence would cause in an inequitable result for the environmental plaintiff:

a. Settings in which the risks of harm are uncertain;
b. Settings in which harm might be irreversible and what is lost is irreplaceable;
c. Settings in which the harm that might result would be serious.

When these features—uncertainty, the possibility of irreversible harm, and the possibility of serious harm—coincide, the case for the precautionary principle is strongest. When in doubt, cases must be resolved in favor of the constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology. Parenthetically, judicial adjudication is one of the strongest for a in which the precautionary principle may find applicability.

Standards for application. In applying the precautionary principle, the following factors, among others, may be considered:
a. threats to human life or health;
b. inequity to present or future generations;
c. prejudice to the environment without legal consideration of the environmental rights of those affected (Sec. 2, Rule 20).
Doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies
The doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies means that when an adequate remedy is available within the Executive Department, a litigant must first exhaust this remedy before he can resort to the courts. The purpose of the doctrine is to enable the administrative agencies to correct themselves if they have committed an error. (Rosales v. Court of Appeals, 165 SCRA 344 [19881)

The following are the exceptions to the application of the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies:

1. The question involved is purely legal;
2. The administrative body is in estoppel;
3. The act complained of is patently illegal;
4. There is an urgent need for Judicial intervention;
5. The claim involved is small;
6. Grave and irreparable injury will be suffered;
7. There is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy;
8. Strong public interest is involved;
9. The subject of the controversy is private law;
10. The case involves a quo warranto proceeding (Sunville Timber Products, Inc. v. Abad. 206 SCRA 482 {1992);
11. The party was denied due process (Samahang Magbubukid ng Kapdula, Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 305 SCRA 147 [1999]);
12. The decision is that of a Department Secretary. (Nazareno v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 131641, February 23. 2000);
13. Resort to administrative remedies would be futile (University of the Philippines Board of Regents v. Rasul 200 SCRA 685 [1991]);
14. There is unreasonable delay (Republic v, Sandiganbayan, 301 SCRA 237 [1999]);
15. “The action involves recovery of physical possession of public land (Gabrito u. Court of Appeals, 167 SCRA 771 [1988]);
16. The party is poor (Sabello v. Department of Education, Culture and Sports, 180 SCRA 623 [1989]);
17. The law provides for immediate resort to the court (Rulian v Valdez, 12 SCRA 501 [1964]).

Doctrine of estoppel by laches
The active participation of a party in a case is tantamount to recognition of that court‘s jurisdiction and will bar a party from impugning the court‘s jurisdiction. Jurisprudence however, did not intend this statement to lay down the general rule. (Lapanday Agricultural & Development Corp. v. Estita, 449 SCRA 240; Mangaiag v. Catubig-Pastoral, 474 SCRA 153). The Sibonghanoy applies only to exceptional circumstances. The general rule remains: a court‘s lack of jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the proceedings even on appeal (Francel Realty Corp. v. Sycip, 469 SCRA 424; Concepcion v. Regalado, GR 167988, Feb. 6, 2007).

The doctrine of estoppels by laches in relation to objections to jurisdiction first appeared in the landmark case of Tijam vs. Sibonghanoy, 23 SCRA 29, where the SC barred a belated objection to jurisdiction that was raised only after an adverse decision was rendered by the court against the party raising the issue of jurisdiction and after seeking affirmative relief from the court and after participating in all stages of the proceedings. This doctrine is based upon grounds of public policy and is principally a question of the inequity or unfairness of permitting a right or claim to be enforced or asserted.

The SC frowns upon the undesirable practice of submitting one‘s case for decision, and then accepting the judgment only if favorable, but attacking it for lack of jurisdiction if it is not (BPI v. ALS Mgt. & Devt. Corp., 427 SCRA 564)

Supervening fact doctrine
If, after the first prosecution, a new fact supervenes on which the defendant may be held liable, altering the character of the crime and giving rise to a new and distinct offense, the accused cannot be said to be in second jeopardy if indicted for the new offense.

Plain view doctrine
The plain view doctrine recognizes that objects inadvertently falling in plain view of an officer who has the right to be in the position to have that view, are subject to seizure without warrant (Harris vs. US, 390 US 324). It may not, however, be used to launch unbridled searches and indiscriminate seizures, nor to extend a general exploratory search made solely to find evidence of a defendant‘s guilt. It is usually applied where a police officer is not searching for evidence against the accused, but nonetheless inadvertently comes across an incriminating object (Coolidge vs. New Hampshire, 403 US 443).

It is also been suggested that even if an object is observed in plain view, the seizure of the subject will not be justified where the incriminating nature of the object is not apparent. Stated differently, it must be immediately apparent to the police that the items that they observe may be evidence of a crime, contraband or otherwise subject to seizure (People vs. Musa, 217 SCRA 597) The elements of ―plain view‖ seizure are: a. prior valid intrusion based on the valid warrantless arrest in which the police are legally present in the pursuit of their official duties; b. the evidence was inadvertently discovered by the police who had the right to be where they are; c. the evidence must be immediately apparent;

d. ―plain view‖ justified mere seizure of evidence without further search (People vs. Aruta, 288 SCRA 626).
Doctrine of Processual Presumption

It is that doctrine which lays down the presumption that the foreign law is the same as the law of the forum. It arises if the foreign law, though properly applicable, is either not alleged, or if alleged, is not duly proved before a competent court. Principle of Liberal Interpretations

The cases should be determined on the merits in order to give the parties full opportunity to ventilate their causes and defenses, rather than on technicalities of procedural imperfections. In that way, the ends of justice would be served better. Rules of procedure are mere tools designed to expedite the decision or resolution of cases and other matters pending in court. A strict and rigid application of rules, resulting in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice, must be avoided. In fact, section 6 of Rule 1 states that the Rules shall be liberally construed in order to promote their objective of ensuring the just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding.

Omnibus Motion Rule
The rule is a procedural principle which requires that every motion that attacks a pleading, judgment, order or proceeding shall include all grounds then available, and all objections not so included shall be deemed waived (Sec. 8). Since the rule is subject to the provisions of Sec. 1, Rule 9, the objections mentioned therein are not deemed waived even if not included in the motion. These objections are: a. that the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter, b. that there is another action pending between the same parties for the same cause (litis pendencia), c. that the action is barred by a prior judgment (res judicata), and d. that the action is barred by the statute of limitations (prescription) (Sec. 1, par. 2, Rule 9).

A motion to dismiss is a typical example of a motion subject to omnibus motion rule, since a motion to dismiss attacks a complaint which is a pleading. Following the omnibus motion rule, if a motion to dismiss is filed, then the motion must invoke all objections which are available at the time of the filing of said motion. If the objection which is available at the time is not included in the motion, that ground is deemed waived. It can no longer be invoked as affirmative defense in the answer which the movant may file following the denial of his motion to dismiss.

Hearsay Rule
The basic rule that testimony or documents which quote persons not in court are not admissible. Because the person who supposedly knew the facts is not in court to state his/her exact words, the trier of fact cannot judge the demeanor and credibility of the alleged first-hand witness, and the other party’s lawyer cannot cross-examine (ask questions of) him or her.

However, as significant as the hearsay rule itself are the exceptions to the rule which allow hearsay testimony such as: a. a statement by the opposing party in the lawsuit which is inconsistent with what he/she has said in court (called an “admission against interest”); b. business entries made in the regular course of business, when a qualified witness can identify the records and tell how they were kept; c. official government records which can be shown to be properly kept; d. a writing about an event made close to the time it occurred, which may be used during trial to refresh a witness’s memory about the event; e. a “learned treatise” which means historical works, scientific books, published art works, maps and charts; f. judgments in other cases;

g. a spontaneous excited or startled utterance (“oh, God, the bus hit the little girl”); h. contemporaneous statement which explains the meaning of conduct if the conduct was ambiguous; i. a statement which explains a person’s state of mind at the time of an event; j. a statement which explains a person’s future intentions (“I plan to….”) if that person’s state of mind is in question; k. prior testimony, such as in deposition (taken under oath outside of court), or at a hearing, if the witness is not available (including being dead); l. a declaration by the opposing party in the lawsuit which was contrary to his/her best interest if the party is not available at trial (this differs from an admission against interest, which is admissible in trial if it differs from testimony at trial); m. a dying declaration by a person believing he/she is dying; n. a statement made about one’s mental set, feeling, pain or health, if the person is not available-most often applied if the declarant is dead (“my back hurts horribly,” and then dies); o. a statement about one’s own will when the person is not available; p. other exceptions based on a judge’s discretion that the hearsay testimony in the circumstances must be reliable.

Principle of Prior or Contemporary Jurisdiction
Enforcement of writ of preliminary attachment must be preceded by or simultaneously accompanied by service of summons, copy of complaint, application and affidavits for the attachment and the bond upon the adverse party; BUT the requirement of prior or contemporaneous service of summons shall not apply where the summons could not be served despite diligent efforts, or the defendant is a resident of the Phils temporarily absent therefrom, or the defendant is a non-resident of the Phils or the action is in rem or quasi in rem.

Doctrine of Res Judicata
A specific doctrine that precludes relitigation of claims and issues arising from the same cause of action between the same parties and their privies after a final judgment on the merits by a competent tribunal or after some other final determination having the same effect

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