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Civil Procedure: Rule 26 - Admission by Adverse Party

RULE 26
Admission by Adverse Party

Section 1. Request for admission. — At any time after issues have been joined, a party may file and serve upon any other party may file and serve upon any other party a written request for the admission by the latter of the genuineness of any material and relevant document described in and exhibited with the request or of the truth of any material and relevant matter of fact set forth in the request. Copies of the documents shall be delivered with the request unless copy have already been furnished. 

Section 2. Implied admission. — Each of the matters of which an admission is requested shall be deemed admitted unless, within a period designated in the request, which shall not be less than fifteen (15) days after service thereof, or within such further time as the court may allow on motion, the party to whom the request is directed files and serves upon the party requesting the admission a sworn statement either denying specifically the matters of which an admission is requested or setting forth in detail the reasons why he cannot truthfully either admit or deny those matters.

Objections to any request for admission shall be submitted to the court by the party requested within the period for and prior to the filing of his sworn statement as contemplated in the preceding paragraph and his compliance therewith shall be deferred until such objections are resolved, which resolution shall be made as early as practicable.

Section 3. Effect of admission. — Any admission made by a party pursuant to such request is for the purpose of the pending action only and shall not constitute an admission by him for any other purpose nor may the same be used against him in any other proceeding. 

Section 4. Withdrawal. — The court may allow the party making an admission under the Rule, whether express or implied, to withdraw or amend it upon such terms as may be just. 

Section 5. Effect of failure to file and serve request for admission. — Unless otherwise allowed by the court for good cause shown and to prevent a failure of justice a party who fails to file and serve a request for admission on the adverse party of material and relevant facts at issue which are, or ought to be, within the personal knowledge of the latter, shall not be permitted to present evidence on such facts.

* * * * * * * * * * 

What is a request for admission?

It is a written request for admission of the
  1. the genuineness of any material and relevant document described in and exhibited with the request; or
  2. the truth of any material and relevant matter of fact set forth in the request (Sec. 1, Rule 26, Rules of Court)

● The scope of matters that a party may request the adversary to admit are (1) the genuineness of any material and relevant document described in and exhibited with the request; and (2) the truth of any material and relevant matter of fact set forth in the request. The rule authorizing a party to call on the other party to make an admission implies the making of demands for admission of relevant and material matters of facts and not for admission of matters of law, conclusions, or opinions. (DBP vs. CA, G.R. No. 153034, September 20, 2005)


What is the purpose of the request for admission?
  1. To allow one party to request the adverse in writing to admit certain material and relevant matters which most likely will not be disputed during the trial.
  2. To avoid unnecessary inconvenience to the parties in going through the rigors of proof, before the trial. 

When should it be filed?

It should be filed at any time after the issues have been joined. (Sec. 1, Rule 26, Rules of Court)


To whom should the request be served?

● The request for admission MUST BE SERVED ON THE PARTY and NOT ON THE COUNSEL. This is an exception to the general rule that notices shall be served upon counsel and not upon the party.

● The general rule as provided for under Section 2 of Rule 27 (now Section 2, Rule 13) of the Rules of Court is that all notices must be served upon counsel and not upon the party. This is so because the attorney of a party is the agent of the party and is the one responsible for the conduct of the case in all its procedural aspects; hence, notice to counsel is notice to party. The purpose of the rule is obviously to maintain a uniform procedure calculated to place in competent hands the orderly prosecution of a partys case. However, the general rule cannot apply where the law expressly provides that notice must be served upon a definite person. In such cases, service must be made directly upon the person mentioned in the law and upon no other in order that the notice be valid. (Duque vs. CA, G.R. No. 125383. July 2, 2002)


What must the party to whom the request is directed do after receipt of the request?

The party to whom the request is directed must file and serve upon the party requesting the admission a SWORN STATEMENT either -
  1. denying specifically the matters of which an admission is requested, or
  2. setting forth in detail the reasons why he cannot truthfully either admit or deny those matters. (Sec. 2, Rule 26, Rules of Court)

When must the sworn statement be filed?

The sworn statement must be filed and served within a period designated in the request, which shall not be less than 15 days after service thereof, or within such further time as the court may allow on motion. (Sec. 2, Rule 26, Rules of Court)


What is the effect of non-compliance of the filing and service of the sworn statement?

If the party to whom the written request for admission does not file the required sworn statement, each of the matters of which an admission is requested shall be deemed admitted (Sec. 2, Rule 26, Rules of Court).


May a party be compelled to admit matters of fact already admitted in his pleading?

We have held in Po v. Court of Appealsthat [a] party should not be compelled to admit matters of fact already admitted by his pleading and to make a second denial of those already denied in his answer to the complaint.

The Po doctrine was brought a step further in Concrete Aggregates Co. v. Court of Appeals, where we ruled that if the factual allegations in the complaint are the very same allegations set forth in the request for admission and have already been specifically denied or otherwise dealt with in the answer, a response to the request is no longer required. (DBP vs. CA)


How may the compliance of the filing and service of the sworn statement be deferred?

To avoid the implied admission, the party requested may have the compliance of the filing and service of the sworn statement deferred. This deferment may be effected by the filing with the court objections to the request for admission. Compliance shall be deferred until such objections are resolved by the court (Sec. 2, par. 2, Rule 26, Rules of Court).


What is the effect of admission?

Any admission made by a party pursuant to such request is for the purpose of the pending action only and shall not constitute an admission by him for any other purpose nor may the same be used against him in any other proceeding. (Sec. 3, Rule 26, Rules of Court)


May the party making the admission withdraw or amend the admission?

Admissions made under this mode of discovery, whether express or implied are not final and irrevocable. The court may allow the party making the admission to withdraw or amend the admission upon such terms as may be just (Sec. 4, Rule 26, Rules of Court). To effect the withdrawal, the admitting party should file a motion to be relieved of the effects of his admission.


What is the effect of failure to file and serve request for admission?

A party, although not compelled by the Rules, is advised to file and serve a written request for admission on the adverse party of those material and relevant facts at issue which are, or ought to be, within the personal knowledge of said adverse party. The party who fails to file and serve the request shall not be permitted to present evidence on such facts unless otherwise allowed by the court for good cause shown and to prevent a failure of justice. (Sec. 5, Rule 26, Rules of Court)


Illustration:

A and B are litigating over a piece of land. The claim of A is that he bought this lot from as evidenced by a deed of sale purportedly signed by D. This document however, is a private document. A also claimed that he has declared this lot for tax purposes (tax declaration) and A have paid the taxes on this land.

Let us assume that the answer of B has already been served. In his answer, B denied the material allegations of the complaint.

So, A will have to prove that he is the owner. If A follows the rules in evidence, he has to prove every facts in accordance with the rules in evidence. For instance, we have a rule on how to prove a private document. The Rule says, Sec. 20, Rule 138, “No document offered as authentic document shall be admitted in evidence unless the genuineness and due execution of that document is proven.

Q. How will these rules on discovery have shortened the time for proving facts in accordance with these rules in Evidence?
A. After A have already received for instance, the answer and issues having been joined, this is what he will do, he will address a request for admission, B defendant.

Greetings!!

You are hereby requested to admit under oath within 15 days from receipt thereof the truth of the following facts:
  1. A declared a lot for tax purposes per tax declaration #1234, City of Manila.
  2. A has been paying the taxes of his lot as evidenced by tax receipts, copies of which are annexes A, B and C.
  3. The genuineness of the document, copy of which is attached as annex “D”
Copies of these private documents are now attached for admission.
More particularly this is what A ask B in that request for admission.
“You are hereby requested to admit that the signature over the name B in Annex B is the genuine signature of B.”

A now is in possession of these documents (The request for admission to which was attached a copy of the documents.)

Q.  What is the duty of B upon receipt of the request?
A. Within the period granted to him under the written request, but no less than 15 days, B, if he denies the truth of these facts, he denies that A has declared his land for tax purposes, if he denies that the signature over the name of B is his signature, he will say there, “B denies the truth of the matters stated in the written request an denies that the signature over the name B in annex “D” is his signature. B serves his answer to A.

Q. What will B do with that copy of answer?
A. He must file it in court.

So, B will file his answer to the request and serve a copy thereof on A.

Q.  What would be the effect of the failure of B to deny under oath the truth of these matters of facts, (the genuineness of the signature) etc.?
A.  He is deemed to have admitted the truth of those matters of facts. He is deemed to have admitted that the signature over the name of B is the genuine signature of him.

Q.  Will A still have to prove during the trial that he declared the land for tax purposes, that he paid the taxes, that the signature over the name of B is the genuine signature of B?
A. No more. Why? Because these are admissions of facts judicially made. The rule is, facts judicially admitted do not require proof and cannot be contradicted, under the party making the admission is allowed to withdraw the admission because he can show that the admission that he made was a result of a palpable mistake or that he did not actually make an admission.

Let us assume that B after he failed to deny made oath the genuineness of that document.

Q. Can B now prove during the trial that the signature is a forgery, that he did not affix that signature?
A.  No, why? Because you are not allowed to contradict your admission.

So you will now appreciate how this request for admission can help discover the facts. This request for admission will shorten the proceedings. Why? Because if there is no denial under oath of the genuineness of that signature, there is no need for A to prove it, if there is no denial of he truth that A has declared the lot for tax purposes, there is no denial of the truth of the fact that A paid the taxes, A does not have to prove these facts anymore. They are deemed proven.

Take note however, that there is a limited use for an admission. This admission of B is only for the purpose, in this case (A vs. B). It cannot be used as evidence against B in another proceeding.

Under the rules on evidence, A cannot present B as his witness. This is allowed but this right of a party to utilize the adverse party as a witness is no longer absolute in the sense that there may be instances when a party cannot call on the adverse party as his witness.

For instance in our example, A called on B as his witness, B objected. Reason: A did not send me any request for admission. B said, “Under Rule 26, I cannot be compelled to be a witness of A. I can only be compelled to be a witness of A if A sent one request for admission on matters of facts of which I have of personal knowledge.” Ruling object of B is sustained. He cannot be compelled.

Q. Is the ruling correct?
A. Yes. Why? Because under the new rule now modifying the rules on evidence, before A can call on B as his witness, A should have first addressed to B request for admission of matters in issue of which B has personal knowledge. So A cannot call B to prove these matters within the knowledge of B unless A previously sent a request for admission to B on this matter. (Source: Laggui Remedial Law Reviewer)

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