Remedial Law

Heirs of Pedro Pasag vs Spouses Lorenzo and Florentina Parocha

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G.R. No. 155483 – 550 Phil. 571 – 522 SCRA 410 – Remedial Law – Civil Procedure – Formal Offer Must Be Filed On Time – A written formal offer is a litigated motion

In 1996, the Heirs of Pedro Pasag filed a Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Documents and Titles, Recovery of Possession and Ownership, Reconveyance, Partition and Damages against the Spouses Lorenzo and Florentina Parocha. After presenting their evidence, the Heirs of Pasag requested the trial court to allow them to submit a written formal offer of evidence. The trial court gave them ten days to submit. Later, the Heirs asked for an extension of time to file the formal offer. It was granted. Later still, the Heirs again asked for another extension which was also granted. However, they were not able to submit the formal offer within the extended period hence, when the same was submitted (five months after resting their case), the trial court denied admission of the formal offer. As a result, Spouses Parocha filed a demurrer to evidence and the cases filed by the Heirs of Pasag were dismissed.

The Heirs appealed the dismissal and averred that they were denied due process.

ISSUE: Whether or not the Heirs of Pasag were denied due process?

HELD: No. The rule on formal offer of evidence is not a trivial matter. Failure to make a formal offer within a considerable period of time shall be deemed a waiver to submit it. Consequently, as in this case, any evidence that has not been offered shall be excluded and rejected.

The Supreme Court also emphasized that the formal offer of evidence, as a rule, must be made orally immediately after the last witness was presented. A written formal offer may be had if the same was moved for and was granted by the court. A written formal offer is a litigated motion which must be furnished to the adverse party and the party submitting the same must set it for hearing. Failure to do this will be fatal to the formal offer.

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