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[ GR No. L-13126, Dec 29, 1959 ]



106 Phil. 839

[ G. R. No. L-13126, December 29, 1959 ]




In the appealed case of Vicente Santiago, plaintiff-appellant vs. Sixto de los Angeles, et al., defendants-appellees (CA-G.R. No. 16631-R), the  Court of Appeals rendered a decision on June 20, 1957.  On July  8, 1957 defendants moved for extension of time within which to file a motion for reconsideration.  This motion was opposed by plaintiff on the ground that it was filed out of time because defendants had received copy of the decision on June 21, 1957.  Defendants replied that it was only on  June 24,  1957 that they have received copy of the decision.  With their first motion  still unresolved, defendants filed two  other motions for extension of  time.  On July 25, 1957, they filed their motion for reconsideration, which plaintiff moved to strike out for being untimely.  On July 26, 1957 respondent court issued a resolution denying defendants' motion dated July 8, 1957 on the finding that it was filed out of time. Entry of judgment was made on July 30, 1957.  Subsequently respondent court denied defendants' two other motions for extension of time, as well as their motion for reconsideration.

Hence this petition to annul the aforesaid resolutions denying petitioners' motions for  extension of time and motion for reconsideration; to annul the entry of judgment; and to  compel  respondent court to receive evidence as to the real date petitioners  received  copy of the decision.

Petitioners aver in their pleadings that their first motion was  filed on time because their counsel received copy of the decision not on June 21, 1957, as found by respondent court, but on June 24, 1957; that when said copy was delivered by the court messenger, the janitor in  the office of petitioners' counsel stamped the wrong date (June  21, 1957) on the delivery receipt; and that when the receipt was brought to Atty. Bernardo P. Pardo who was then in charge of the office for  his signature, he noticed the mistake, so he superimposed the correct date  (June  24, 1957) on the stamped date by changing number 1 to 4, initialed the correction and  then wrote the correct date  under his signature.

Proof of personal service shall consist of a written admission of the party served (Section 10, Rule 27, Rules of Court).   However the  delivery receipt  signed by  Atty. Pardo appears to have been tampered with.  The  date stamped thereon was "June 21, 1957," but the numeral "4" had been handwritten over the "1", st. that  it now  reads "June 24, 1957".  Owing to this suspicious irregularity, respondent court  resorted, to an Examination of its own records, particularly the delivery receipt for the copy of decision, signed by respondent Santiago's counsel and the court messenger's daily reports of official service rendered outside the office.  The court  messenger's report dated June 22,  1957 shows copy of the decision was delivered to petitioners' counsel on June 21, 1957; whereas his report dated June 25, 1957 makes no mention whatsoever of the delivery  of such copy.  Certifications  to a  similar  effect were made by the clerk in the Judgment Section and by the First Deputy Clerk and Chief,  Judicial and Administrative Division of the respondent court.

Petitioners  claimed  that  the court messenger  had  the habit of preparing the  next day's  report  before  leaving the office to make his  deliveries, so that in his  June 22 report he asserts having delivered copy of the decision on June 21, although he actualy failed to do so.  In disposing of this contention, the respondent court  reasoned out correctly that if that was  the court messenger's practice and he had failed  to deliver the copy on June 21, because the office of petitioner's counsel was allegedly closed, then he would have crossed out said item in his report of June 22 and would have listed it among his June 24 deliveries reported by him on June 25, 1957.  This was not done. Contrarily, Vicente Cariño, clerk in the Judgment Section of respondent court categorically averred that the delivery receipt in question was received  in this office on June 22, 1957.  This finds support in the fact that eight names of counsels listed  in  the court messenger's report of June 22, 1957 (Annex 2  to  respondent's answer)  were bracketed together and initialed by Cariño, signifying that he received on said date the delivery receipts for the court papers addressed to  said counsels.  Among these receipts are the questioned one and that which bears the signature of respondent's counsel.  Also, if copy of the decision had been  successfully delivered only on June  24, 1957, then the court messenger  should have submitted the questioned receipt not to Vicente Cariño,  but to R. Makasiar who was the one who received on June 25, 1957 all delivery receipts for deliveries  made  by the court messenger on June 24, 1957  (Annex  5 to respondent's  answer).

Petitioners attempted to explain that the stamping machine of counsel's office printed the wrong date on the questioned receipt due  to  the fact that some  might have played with the machine during the noon break  or that in shifting the screw thereof to indicate "p.m." instead of "a.m.", a different screw the one for the digits might have  been turned.  This explanation can not  be accepted. It is belied  by the fact that in the afternoon of June 24, 1957, the same stamping  machine was in good working condition. Indubitable proof of this is the date stamped on another delivery receipt (Annex 7 to respondent's answer) for a copy of respondent court's resolution in  another case (CA-G.  R. No. 16484) which was delivered to petitioners' counsel at  3:35 p.m. on June 24, 1957.  If, as claimed by petitioners, copy of  the decision in question had been delivered at  3:40 p.m. on June 24,  1957, then  the correct date  would have been stamped thereon by the same machine.  It is unthinkable that at 3:35 p.m.  on June 24, 1957 the stamping machine was in good working condition and then barely five  minutes later, it had gone awry.  This fact also negatives the contention that.the stamping machine might have been improperly  manipulated at noontime  of the same day.

According to the records,  respondent's counsel received copy of the decision at 3:37  on June 21, 1957.  His office and that of petitioners' counsel were located in the same building, the Regina  Building.  It is apparent, therefore, that the court messenger, a few minutes after delivering the copy of the decision to respondent's counsel, delivered the copy for petitioners' counsel, so that the date and the time stamped on the receipt for the latter was "3:40 p.m., June 21, 1957", which date had been subsequently tampered with.

Petitioners insist that they should have been granted by respondent court a chance to present their  evidence.  But in their pleadings before respondent court, petitioners never sought the opportunity to  formally  submit  evidence.  Not even  in  their motion for reconsideration  of respondent court's order of July 26,  1957 did they ask the court for such an opportunity.   No hint was made by  them that they  have  further evidence  to support their contention. Even in this Court, they have failed to specify the nature of the evidence they would present if given the chance. On the other hand, respondent court had before it  all the evidence necessary for a determination of the issue presented.  Before it were the  questioned  receipt, the court messenger's reports dated June 22, 1957 and June 25, 1957; the certifications of its clerk in the  Judgment Section  and its First Deputy Clerk and Chief, Administrative  and Judicial  Division, and all the pleadings  of the parties, together with  the appurtenant papers and  affidavits attached thereto.

To support their claim, petitioners rely mainly on the verification (reply to opposition  to  motion  for  extension; Annex F to the petition) made jointly by Bernardo P. Pardo, Angel A. Sison and Roberto Samonte to the effect that the office janitor,  Samonte, had made a mistake in stamping the erroneous date on the delivery receipt and that Atty. Pardo had corrected such an error.  If by evidence petitioners are referring to  the testimony  of these three persons, allowing them to testify  would  serve no purpose whatsoever for as heretofore discussed their assertions are  belied by  respondent court's records and the statements of its employees who are not interested  in the case.

Petitioners seek  the issuance of the writs of certiorari and mandamus on the ground that respondent  court had gravely abused its discretion. Their contention  is untenable. Respondent court was fully justified in relying on its record in order to determine the date on which petitioners' counsel received copy of the decision.  Matters which ought to be known to judges because of their judicial functions shall be judicially recognized by the court without the introduction of proof (Section 5, Rule 123, Rules of Court).  Facts which are ascertainable from the record of a court proceeding are among those matters which judges are supposed to know by  reason of their judicial  functions.  In a case on  trial, the court will take judicial notice  of its records  and  of  the  facts which  the  record  establishes [People vs.  Bautista, G.  R. No. 40621  (unpublished)]. Hence the respondent court committed no abuse of  discretion.

Wherefore, the  petition  is hereby  denied with  costs against petitioners.

Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Reyes, J. B. L.,  Endencia, and Barrera, JJ., concur.
Concepcion, J., concurs in the result.