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Vda de Manguerra v. Risos
Respondents were charged with Estafa before the RTC of Cebu City. Earlier, Concepcion Vda de Manguerra (petitioner), who was a resident of Cebu City, was unexpectedly confined at the Makati Medical Center due to upper gastro-intestinal bleeding; and was advised to stay in Manila for further treatment. Petitioner’s counsel filed a motion to take the latter’s deposition due to her weak physical condition and old age, which limited her freedom of mobility. The trial court granted the motion and deposition was taken by the Clerk of Court of Makati. Aggrieved, respondent filed a Petition for Certiorari questioning the granting of the motion.
Whether or not Rule 23 of the Rules on Civil Procedure applies to the deposition of the petitioner.
No. The rules on civil procedure only have suppletory application to criminal cases. Considering that Rule 119 adequately and squarely covers the situation in the instant case, Rule 23 cannot be applied. Section 15 of Rule 119 provides that when a witness for the prosecution is too sick or infirm to appear at the trial as directed by the court, or has to leave the Philippines with no definite date of returning, he may forthwith be conditionally examined before the court where the case is pending. The conditional examination of a prosecution witness for the purpose of taking his deposition should be made before the court, or at least before the judge, where the case is pending. Such is the clear mandate of Section 15, Rule 119 of the Rules. Hence, the taking of deposition before the Clerk of Court of Makati City is erroneous and contrary to the clear mandate of the Rules that the same be made before the court where the case is pending.