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23 Phil. 71

[ G. R. No. 7953, August 28, 1912 ]




This is an original application in this court praying that a writ of mandamus be issued directed to the respondent, the Honorable  Charles S. Lobingier, one of the  judges of the Court of First Instance of Manila, ordering him to approve a certain proposed bill of exceptions presented for the plaintiff in, the case of Chan-Suangco vs. R. A. Moss and H.  M. Ray.

It is alleged in the petition that after making the material amendments suggested by the defendants, the bill of exceptions  was presented to the  respondent for approval and that the latter stated that he would not approve the proposed bill  unless  the same was accompanied with  the proofs presented during the trial, especially the transcript of the stenographer's notes.

In his  answer to the order to show cause, the respondent states that he declined to approve the proposed bill presented by the plaintiff because  (1) the  said bill contained "a garbled and incorrect copy  of the  judgment;"  and  (2) that similar errors and omissions appeared in the pretended copy of the order overruling  the motion for a  new trial. Respondent further  states that the fact that the proposed bill did not contain a correct copy of the judgment was expressly called to the attention of  counsel for the plaintiff when said bill was  presented and  that counsel had  inserted in  ink in the second paragraph of the judgment after the word "called,"  the words "for  hearing on the date of its assignment the plaintiff failed"  and nothing more, leaving the first paragraph subject to the same defects and omissions as had been pointed out at the hearing.   This  court thereupon directed that a certified copy of the original judgment  be  united to the record in this  case, and that the parties be given ten  days within which to  take such other  steps as they might desire.
  The order disapproving the proposed bill of exceptions reads as follows: 

"An alleged bill of exceptions  is presented in this case which contains no correct copy of the judgment or findings of fact, and we are accordingly unable to approve the same.
 "In addition to this, although the case presents a question of fact, no transcript of the testimony is presented in connection with the alleged bill of exceptions.
"We are asked to sign a certificate that this bill  contains all that is necessary  for a correct  understanding of the errors assigned, and this  we cannot do under the foregoing circumstances."

A comparison of the copy of the judgment appearing in the proposed bill  of exceptions with the  certified copy of the same as submitted to this court, shows in one  instance a  very material omission of words.  In the first paragraph of the judgment the following - 

"*   *.  *.  all causes at issue  are to  be assigned.  The same order provides that  no notice of assignment shall be sent to counsel * * *"
reads  in the copy incorporated into the  proposed bill of exceptions as follows:
  "*   *  *  all causes at issue are to be assignment shall be sent to counsel   *  *   *"

Counsel for petitioner  insists  that if the  proposed  bill did not contain an exact  copy of  the judgment it  was  the duty of the respondent, under section 143 of Act  No. 190 to make the necessary corrections and approve the bill as corrected.
  The pertinent portion of section 143 reads:

"The judge shall  thereupon, after reasonable notice  to both parties and within five days from the presentation of the bill of exceptions to him, restate the facts if need  be, and the exceptions,  so that the questions of law therein involved, and their relevancy shall all, be made clear, and when the bill of exceptions has been perfected and allowed by the judge, he shall certify that it has been so allowed and the bill of exceptions shall be filed with the other papers in the action, and the same shall  thereupon be transferred to the Supreme Court for determination of the questions of law involved."   

It will be noted that the section provides that the judge shall restate the facts if need be and the exceptions.  Can this mean that the judge  must, if necessary, perform the actual mechanical work of copying  the pleadings, orders, and judgments in a proposed bill of exceptions?  If he can be compelled to actually correct the  copy of the judgment in such a bill, there is no reason why he cannot be compelled to make a correct copy of any or all the documents.   If this can  be done, the result would be that the judges  of trial courts could be compelled to practically prepare the bills of exceptions presented by making correct copies of all the pleadings,  orders, and judgments.   The legislature  never intended that the judges should be required to do the actual mechanical  work of copying or making corrected copies of such documents.  This is the duty of the party presenting the bill of exceptions.  The statute says :      

"The excepting party shall cause to be presented to the judge  a specific statement of each ruling, order, or judgment that has been excepted to."  

A garbled or incorrect copy is not a specific statement of a judgment.  "Specific" is defined -

"Precisely formulated or restricted; specifying; definite, or making definite; explicit; of an exact or particular nature; as, a specific statement."   (Webster's, title "specific")   
So it is clear that the words "shall thereupon restate the facts and exceptions if need be" do not include the making of correct copies, but only mean that the judge shall restajte the facts and exceptions in those cases  where the  parties differ as to such facts, and as to whether or not the exceptions inserted were  properly taken at the time of the trial. In other words, the judge is required to restate the facts and exceptions where there is an actual controversy between the parties and when he is required to decide what actually iook place during the trial.

It is said that the judge declined to approve the proposed bill of exceptions in this case on the ground that the transcript of the stenographer's notes was not united with the said bill.  On examination of the order above copied it will & noted that the bill was disapproved on the ground that it did not contain a correct copy of the judgment or findings of fact.  This is specifically stated in the first paragraph of the order.  It is true that it is  stated  in the second paragraph that no transcript of the testimony accompanied the alleged bill of exceptions, and of course this would not be a sufficient reason to justify the respondent in failing to approve the proposed bill.  But the respondent in his answer states that he has  at all  times been ready and willing to certify the bill of exceptions whenever it contained a correct copy of the judgment and orders. Counsel for the petitioner states that it was impossible for  him to present a correct copy of the judgment for the reason that it had not been translated into the Spanish language, but he does not state that he  requested the court to direct its officials to furnish him a translation of this judgment.  Had he done so, no doubt the respondent would have immediately directed a translation made.  When the bill of exceptions  is presented to the  respondent in due form, it will no doubt be signed ; but the  respondent was perfectly  justified in refusin to approve the proposed bill of exceptions presented," on  the ground that it did not  contain a correct copy of the judgement.
For the foregoing reasons, judgment is rendered in favor of the respondent, dismissing the petition, with costs against the petitioner.   So ordered.
Arellano, C, J., Towes, Mapa, Johnson, and Carson, JJ. concur.