552 Phil. 297
From the foregoing circumstances, this Court is of the view and so holds that the instant case is a callous and blatant imposition of lies, falsehoods, deceptions, and fraudulent manipulations, through the extensive use of falsified documents by the plaintiff corporation and its former counsel, Atty. Benjamin S. Formoso, defendant Evanswinda C. Morales and even the Geodetic Engineer who connived with this private group on one hand, and some officials and employees of the government agencies responsible for the processing and issuance of spurious or falsified titles, on the other. Unless these fraudulent operations are put to a complete and drastic halt, the Courts are at the mercy of these unscrupulous people for their own personal gain.Petitioner stated that in determining the merits of Sharcons' complaint for quieting of title, she "stumbled" upon Civil Case No. 623-92 for cancellation of title and damages filed with the RTC, Branch 20, Imus, Cavite, presided by then Judge Lucenito N. Tagle. Petitioner then took judicial notice of the judge's Decision declaring that Sharcons' TCT and other supporting documents are falsified and that respondents are responsible therefor.
Using the presumption that whoever is in possession and user of falsified document is the forger thereof (Gamido v. Court of Appeals, 25 SCRA 101 ), let the appropriate falsification charges be filed against Benito See and Marly See together with Evanswinda C. Morales. Thus, let a copy of this Order be forwarded to the National Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice for their appropriate action. As regards Atty. Benjamin S. Formoso, let a copy of this Order be forwarded to the Bar Confidant's Office, Supreme Court. Manila.
Further, Benito See and Marly See, President and Treasurer of Sharcons Builders Phils. Inc., respectively, and Atty. Benjamin S. Formoso, counsel for Sharcons until March 13, 2001, are declared and held in contempt for foisting falsehoods and using falsified and spurious documents in the pursuit of their nefarious activities pursuant to the instant case filed before this Court. Let the corresponding Warrants of Arrest be issued against the aforesaid respondents who should serve ten (10) days of detention at the Dasmariñas Municipal Jail, Cavite.
Likewise, the title issued to Sharcons Builders Philippines, Inc., under TCT No. T-511462 allegedly issued on November 11, 1994, being spurious, is hereby cancelled, it having been derived from another spurious title with TCT No. T-278479 allegedly issued to Evanswinda C. Morales on December 29, 1989. The Declaration of Real Property No. 4736 is likewise hereby cancelled for being spurious. Let a copy of this Order be forwarded to the Registry of Deeds for its implementation with respect to the two (2) titles for cancellation and to the Assessor's Office of the Municipality of Dasmariñas, Cavite, to stave off the proliferation of these spurious instruments.
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the instant case is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE, whereas, the private defendant's counterclaims, which need further substantiation, are likewise dismissed. However, the said private defendants are not precluded from pursuing their rightful course(s) of action in the interest of justice.
IN THE LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, finding the instant petition to be meritorious, the same is hereby GRANTED. Respondent judge's July 9, 2001 Order, insofar as it declared herein petitioners in direct contempt and ordered their incarceration for ten (10) days, as well as the Warrant of Arrest, dated July 12, 2001, and the Order of Commitment, dated July 13, 2001, which the respondent judge issued against the persons of the herein petitioners, are hereby NULLIFIED and SET ASIDE.The Court of Appeals ruled that Judge Español erred in taking cognizance of the Decision rendered by then Judge Tagle in Civil Case No. 623-92 since it was not offered in evidence in Civil Case No. 2035-00 for quieting of title. Moreover, as the direct contempt of court is criminal in nature, petitioner should have conducted a hearing. Thus, she could have determined whether respondents are guilty as charged.
SEC. 1. Direct contempt punished summarily. – A person guilty of misbehavior in the presence of or so near a court as to obstruct or interrupt the proceedings before the same, including disrespect toward the court, offensive personalities toward others, or refusal to be sworn or to answer as a witness, or to subscribe an affidavit or deposition when lawfully required to do so, may be summarily adjudged in contempt by such court and punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand pesos or imprisonment not exceeding ten (10) days, or both, if it be a Regional Trial Court or a court of equivalent or higher rank, or by a fine not exceeding two hundred pesos or imprisonment, not exceeding one (1) day, or both, if it be a lower court.In Narcida v. Bowen, this Court characterized direct contempt as one done "in the presence of or so near the court or judge as to obstruct the administration of justice." It is a contumacious act done facie curiae and may be punished summarily without hearing. In other words, one may be summarily adjudged in direct contempt at the very moment or at the very instance of the commission of the act of contumely.
SEC. 3. Indirect contempt to be punished after charge and hearing. – After a charge in writing has been filed and an opportunity given to the respondent to comment thereon within such period as may be fixed by the court and to be heard by himself or by counsel, a person guilty of any of the following acts may be punished for indirect contempt:Indirect or constructive contempt, in turn, is one perpetrated outside of the sitting of the court and may include misbehavior of an officer of a court in the performance of his official duties or in his official transactions, disobedience of or resistance to a lawful writ, process, order, judgment, or command of a court, or injunction granted by a court or a judge, any abuse or any unlawful interference with the process or proceedings of a court not constituting direct contempt, or any improper conduct tending directly or indirectly to impede, obstruct or degrade the administration of justice.
(a) Misbehavior of an officer of court in the performance of his official duties or in his official transactions;
(b) Disobedience of or resistance to a lawful writ, process, order, or judgment of a court, including the act of a person who, after being dispossessed or ejected from any real property by the judgment or process of any court of competent jurisdiction, enters or attempts or induces another to enter into or upon such real property, for the purpose of executing acts of ownership or possession, or in any manner disturbs the possession given to the person adjudged to be entitled thereto;
(c) Any abuse of or any unlawful interference with the processes or proceedings of a court not constituting direct contempt under Section 1 of this Rule;
(d) Any improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice;
(e) Assuming to be an attorney or an officer of a court and acting as such without authority;
(f) Failure to obey a subpoena duly served;
(g) The rescue, or attempted rescue, of a person or property in the custody of an officer by virtue of an order or process of a court held by him.
But nothing in this section shall be so construed as to prevent the court from issuing process to bring the respondent into court, or from holding him in custody pending such proceedings.
SEC. 1. Judicial notice, when mandatory. – A court shall take judicial notice, without the introduction of evidence, of the existence and territorial extent of states, their political history, forms of government, and symbols of nationality, the law of nations, the admiralty and maritime courts of the world and their seals, the political constitution and history of the Philippines, the official acts of the legislative, executive and judicial departments of the Philippines, the laws of nature, the measure of time, and the geographical divisions.In Gener v. De Leon, we held that courts are not authorized to take judicial notice of the contents of records of other cases even when such cases have been tried or pending in the same court. Hence, we reiterate that petitioner took judicial notice of the Decision rendered by another RTC branch and on the basis thereof, concluded that respondents used falsified documents (such as land title and tax declaration) when Sharcons filed its complaint for quieting. Verily, the Court of Appeals did not err in ruling that respondents are not guilty of direct contempt of court.