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Direct Contempt

What are the kinds of contempt according to the manner of commission? 

There are two kinds of contempt under this classification:

1. Direct Contempt 
2. Indirect Contempt

What is Direct Contempt?

Direct contempt is committed in the presence of or so near the judge as to obstruct him in the administration of justice and can be punished summarily without hearing. 

What are the grounds for direct contempt?

1) Misbehavior in the presence of or near a court as to obstruct or interrupt the proceedings
2) Disrespect towards the court
3) Offensive personalities towards others
4) Refusal to be sworn or to answer as a witness or
5) Refusal to subscribe an affidavit or deposition when lawfully required to do so. (Sec 1, Rule 71)
6. Willful and deliberate forum shopping (Sec. 5, Rule 7).
7. Submitting a pleading containing derogatory, offensive and malicious statements.

● If a pleading containing derogatory, offensive and malicious statements is submitted in the same court or judge in which the proceedings are pending, it is direct contempt, equivalent as it is to a misbehavior committed in the presence of or so near a court or judge as to interrupt the administration of justice. (Re: Letter dated 21 February 2005 of Atty. Noel S. Sorreda, A.M. No. 05-3-04-SC. July 22, 2005)

● Unfounded accusations or allegations or words tending to embarrass the court or to bring it into disrepute have no place in a pleading. Their employment serves no useful purpose. On the contrary, they constitute direct contempt of court or contempt in facie curiae and, when committed by a lawyer, a violation of the lawyers oath and a transgression of the Code of Professional Responsibility. (Lorenzo Shipping Corporation vs. Distribution Management Association, G.R. No. 155849, August 31, 2011)

What is the nature of direct contempt proceedings?

It is summary in nature. No formal proceeding is required to cite a person in direct contempt. The court may summarily adjudge one in direct contempt without hearing. (Sec 1, Rule 71)

What is the penalty for direct contempt?

The penalty for direct contempt depends upon the court against which the act was committed. 

(a) If the act constituting direct contempt was committed against a Regional Trial Court or a court of equivalent or higher rank, the penalty is a fine not exceeding P2,000.00 or imprisonment not exceeding ten (10) days, or both. 

(b) If the act constituting direct contempt was committed against a lower court, the penalty is a fine not exceeding P200.00 or imprisonment not exceeding one (1) day, or both. (Sec 1, Rule 71)

What is the remedy of the person adjudged in direct contempt?

A person adjudged in direct contempt may not appeal therefrom. His remedy is a petition for certiorari or prohibition directed against the court which adjudged him in direct contempt. (Sec 2, Rule 71)

May the execution of the judgment be suspended?

Yes. The execution of the judgment shall be suspended pending resolution of the petition for certiorari or prohibition, provided the person held in direct contempt files a bond fixed by the court which rendered the judgment and conditioned that he will abide by and perform the judgment should the petition be decided against him. (Sec 2, Rule 71)

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