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What are the effects of a declaration of default?


(a) Effect of order of default. — A party in default shall be entitled to notice of subsequent proceedings but not to take part in the trial. (Sec. 3, Rule 9, Rules of Court)


What are the effects of a declaration of default on the defendant?

A party declared in default loses his standing in court. He cannot —
  1. participate in the proceedings
  2. present his defense
  3. adduce evidence on his behalf
  4. cross-examine the witness of the plaintiff
  5. object or refute evidence or motions filed against him.

● A party in default loses his right to present his defense, control the proceedings, and examine or cross-examine witnesses. He has no right to expect that his pleadings would be acted upon by the court nor may be object to or refute evidence or motions filed against him. (Otero vs. Tan, G.R. No. 200134, August 15, 2012)


Is party in default entitled to notices of subsequent proceedings?

Yes. While the defendant can no longer take part in the trial, he is nevertheless entitled to notices of subsequent proceedings (Sec. 3[a], Rule 9, Rules of Court). 


Can a party in default take the witness stand for his co-defendants?

Yes. There is nothing in the rule which disqualifies a party declared in default from taking the witness stand for his co-defendants. "Loss of standing" must be understood to mean only the forfeiture of one's rights as a party litigant and not a disqualification from being a witness.

As opposed to a party litigant, a witness is merely a beholder, a spectator or onlooker, called upon to testify to what he has seen, heard, or observed. As such, he takes no active part in the contest of rights between the parties. Cast in the cited role of witness, a party in default cannot be considered as "part in the trial." He remains suffering the effects of an order of default.

A party in default may thus be cited as a witness by his co-defendants who have the standing and the right to present evidence which the former may provide. The incidental benefit giving the party in default the opportunity to present evidence which may eventually redound to his advantage, through his co-defendants, is of minor consequence. Of greater concern or importance is the preservation of the right of non-defaulting defendants to secure the attendance of witnesses and the production of evidence in their behalf. There is no reason why the non-defaulting defendants should be deprived of the testimony of the party in default and thereby also suffer the consequences of the latter's omission. (Cavili vs. Florendo, G.R. No. 73039, October 9, 1987)

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