G.R. No. 192150. October 1, 2014


In this case, Godofredo Lopez, confronted Frederico Sabay and his daughter Erlinda for their alleged intrusion into his property.  During their verbal altercation, Erlinda hit Godofredo on the head with a hard object, Frederico  joined in by throwing a stone at Godofredo’s face. Both of them allegedly threatened to kill him. 

Jervie Lopez (Jervie) pacified them, however he was hit in the hand with a bolo. Based on the medico legal certificates Godofredo suffered a contusion while Jervie sustained a wound in his right palm.

Godofredo and Jervie filed a complaint against Frederico before the barangay. The parties agreed to settle based on the recommendation of the building inspector and reflected their agreement in their Kasunduang Pag-aayos. The Kasunduan, however, was not implemented because the building inspector failed to make the promised recommendation to resolve the boundary dispute between the parties.

Godofredo and Jervie filed a criminal case before the MTC with the crime of Physical Injuries against Sabay. The petitioner denied the charge and claimed that he had simply acted in self-defense.

MTC found the petitioner guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of slight physical injuries. The MTC rejected the petitioner’s claim of self-defense for lack of clear, convincing and satisfactory supporting evidence. RTC fully affirmed the MTC’s decision.

The petitioner sought recourse with the CA, arguing in this appeal that: (1) the MTC has no jurisdiction over the case  due to the prosecution’s failure to offer the Certification to File an Action in evidence; and (2) the trial court erred in not sustaining his claim of self-defense.

The CA rejected the petitioner’s arguments and affirmed the RTC’s decision.



(1) The lower courts erred in disregarding the existence of the Kasunduan executed by the parties before the Lupon. This existing settlement between the parties rendered the Certification to File an Action without factual and legal basis, and is hence null and void.

NO. Although they initially agreed to settle their case, the Kasunduan that embodied their agreement was never implemented; no actual settlement materialized as the building inspector failed to make his promised recommendation to settle the dispute. The Barangay Captain was thus compelled to issue a Certification to File an Action, indicating that the disputing parties did not reach any settlement. The settlement of the case was conditioned on the recommendation of the building inspector; with no recommendation, no resolution of the conflict likewise took place.

The BarangayCaptain, as a public official, is presumed to act regularly in the performance of official duty (Section 3 (m), Rule 131 of the Rules on Evidence) . In the absence of contrary evidence, this presumption prevails; his issuance of the disputed Certification to File an Action was regular and pursuant to law. (Empaynado v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 91606, December 17, 1991, 204 SCRA 870, 877.)  Thus, the Barangay Captain properly issued the Certification to File an Action.

Even granting that an irregularity had intervened in the Barangay Captain’s issuance of the Certification to File and Action, we note that this irregularity is not a jurisdictional flaw that warrants the dismissal of the criminal cases before the MTC. Also, the conciliation procedure under Presidential Decree No. 1508 is not a jurisdictional requirement and non-compliance therewith cannot affect the jurisdiction which the lower courts had already acquired over the subject matter and private respondents as defendants therein.

Prior recourse to the conciliation procedure required under P.D. 1508 is not a jurisdictional requirement, non-compliance with which would deprive a court of its jurisdiction either over the subject matter or over the person of the defendant. Thus, the MTC has jurisdiction to try and hear the petitioner’s case; the claimed irregularity in the conciliation procedure, particularly in the issuance of the Certification to File an Action, did not deprive the court of its jurisdiction. If at all, the irregularity merely affected the parties’ cause of action

(2) Whether the Certification to file an Action which was not formally offered be admitted in evidence

Section 34 of Rule 132 of our Rules on Evidence provides that the court cannot consider any evidence that has not been formally offered. Formal offer means that the offering party shall inform the court of the purpose of introducing its exhibits into evidence, to assist the court in ruling on their admissibility in case the adverse party objects. Without a formal offer of evidence, courts cannot take notice of this evidence even if this has been previously marked and identified.

This rule, however, admits of an exception. The Court, in the appropriate cases, has relaxed the formal-offer rule and allowed evidence not formally offered to be admitted.

  1. the evidence must have been duly identified by testimony duly recorded 
  2. the evidence must have been incorporated in the records of the case.

In the present case, we find that the requisites for the relaxation of the formal-offer rule are present. Godofredo identified the Certification to File an Action during his cross-examination.

Although the Certification was not formally offered in evidence, it was marked as Exhibit “1” and attached to the records of the case. Godofredo’s testimony, particularly with the identification and marking of the Certification – the Court sees no reason why the Certification should not be admitted.

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