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Special Civil Actions: Rule 71 - Contempt


Rule 71
Contempt

Section 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. (1a)

Section 2. Remedy therefrom. — The person adjudged in direct contempt by any court may not appeal therefrom, but may avail himself of the remedies of certiorari or prohibition. The execution of the judgment shall be suspended pending resolution of such petition, provided such person 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. (2a)

Section 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 counsel, a person guilty of any of the following acts may be punished for indirect contempt;

(a) Misbehavior of an officer of a 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. (3a)

Section 4. How proceedings commenced. — Proceedings for indirect contempt may be initiated motu propio by the court against which the contempt was committed by an order or any other formal charge requiring the respondent to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt.

In all other cases, charges for indirect contempt shall be commenced by a verified petition with supporting particulars and certified true copies of documents or papers involved therein, and upon full compliance with the requirements for filing initiatory pleadings for civil actions in the court concerned. If the contempt charges arose out of or are related to a principal action pending in the court, the petition for contempt shall allege that fact but said petition shall be docketed, heard and decided separately, unless the court in its discretion orders the consolidation of the contempt charge and the principal action for joint hearing and decision. (n)

Section 5. Where charge to be filed. — Where the charge for indirect contempt has been committed against a Regional Trial Court or a court of equivalent or higher rank, or against an officer appointed by it, the charge may be filed with such court. Where such contempt has been committed against a lower court, the charge may be filed with the Regional Trial Court of the place in which the lower court is sitting; but the proceedings may also be instituted in such lower court subject to appeal to the Regional Trial Court of such place in the same manner as provided in section 11 of this Rule. (4a; Bar Matter No. 803, 21 July 1998)

Section 6. Hearing; release on bail. — If the hearing is not ordered to be had forthwith, the respondent may be released from custody upon filing a bond, in an amount fixed by the court, for his appearance at the hearing of the charge. On the day set therefor, the court shall proceed to investigate the charge and consider such comment, testimony or defense as the respondent may make or offer. (5a)

Section 7. Punishment for indirect contempt. — If the respondent is adjudged guilty of indirect contempt committed against a Regional Trial Court or a court of equivalent or higher rank, he may be punished by a fine not exceeding thirty thousand pesos or imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months, or both. If he is adjudged guilty of contempt committed against a lower court, he may be punished by a fine not exceeding five thousand pesos or imprisonment not exceeding one (1) month, or both. If the contempt consists in the violation of a writ of injunction, temporary restraining order or status quo order, he may also be ordered to make complete restitution to the party injured by such violation of the property involved or such amount as may be alleged and proved.

The writ of execution, as in ordinary civil actions, shall issue for the enforcement of a judgment imposing a fine unless the court otherwise provides. (6a)

Section 8. Imprisonment until order obeyed. — When the contempt consists in the refusal or omission to do an act which is yet in the power of the respondent to perform, he may be imprisoned by order of the court concerned until he performs it. (7a)

Section 9. Proceeding when party released on bail fails to answer. — When a respondent released on bail fails to appear on the day fixed for the hearing, the court may issue another order of arrest or may order the bond for his appearance to be forfeited and confiscated, or both; and, if the bond be proceeded against, the measure of damages shall be the extent of the loss or injury sustained by the aggrieved party by reason of the misconduct for which the contempt charge was prosecuted, with the costs of the proceedings, and such recovery shall be for the benefit of the party injured. If there is no aggrieved party, the bond shall be liable and disposed of as in criminal cases. (8a)

Section 10. Court may release respondent. — The court which issued the order imprisoning a person for contempt may discharge him from imprisonment when it appears that public interest will not be prejudiced by his release. (9a)

Section 11. Review of judgment or final order; bond for stay. — The judgment or final order of a court in a case of indirect contempt may be appealed to the proper court as in criminal cases. But execution of the judgment or final order shall not be suspended until a bond is filed by the person adjudged in contempt, in an amount fixed by the court from which the appeal is taken, conditioned that if the appeal be decided against him he will abide by and perform the judgment or final order. (10a)

Section 12. Contempt against quasi-judicial entities. — Unless otherwise provided by law, this Rule shall apply to contempt committed against persons, entities, bodies or agencies exercising quasi-judicial functions, or shall have suppletory effect to such rules as they may have adopted pursuant to authority granted to them by law to punish for contempt. The Regional Trial Court of the place wherein the contempt has been committed shall have jurisdiction over such charges as may be filed therefor. (n) (Rule 71, Rules of Court)



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