“Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth. - Oscar Wilde

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Expertravel & Tours, Inc. vs. The Honorable Court of Appeals and Korean Airlines

G.R. No. 152392     May 26, 2005
Callejo, Sr.     Second Division


Korean Airlines (hereafter KAL), through Atty. Mario Aguinaldo (hereafter Atty. Aguinaldo), filed a Complaint against Expertravel & Tours, Inc. (hereafter ETI) with the Regional Trial Court (hereafter RTC) of Manila for the collection of sum of money, among others. The verification and certification against forum shopping was signed by Atty. Aguinaldo, who indicated therein that he was the resident agent and legal counsel of KAL and had caused the preparation of the complaint.

ETI filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that Atty. Aguinaldo was not authorized to execute the verification and certificate of non-forum shopping as required by Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court.

KAL submitted an Affidavit, executed by its general manager Suk Kyoo Kim, alleging that the board of directors conducted a special teleconference, which he and Atty. Aguinaldo attended. It was also averred that in that same teleconference, the board of directors approved a resolution authorizing Atty. Aguinaldo to execute the certificate of non-forum shopping and to file the complaint. Suk Kyoo Kim also alleged, however, that the corporation had no written copy of the aforesaid resolution.

Based on the foregoing Affidavit, the RTC denied the motion to dismiss. ETI filed a motion for the reconsideration of the Order, contending that it was inappropriate for the court to take judicial notice of the said teleconference without any prior hearing. The same having been denied, the matter was elevated to the Court of Appeals (hereafter CA)

The CA rendered judgment dismissing the petition, ruling that the verification and certificate of non-forum shopping executed by Atty. Aguinaldo was sufficient compliance with the Rules of Court. According to the appellate court, Atty. Aguinaldo had been duly authorized by the board resolution, and was the resident agent of KAL. As such, the RTC could not be faulted for taking judicial notice of the said teleconference of the KAL Board of Directors.


            Whether or not teleconferencing may be a matter of judicial notice.


The RTC took judicial notice that because of the onset of modern technology, persons in one location may confer with other persons in other places, and, based on the said premise, concluded that Suk Kyoo Kim and Atty. Aguinaldo had a teleconference with the respondent’s Board of Directors in South Korea. The CA, likewise, gave credence to the respondent’s claim that such a teleconference took place, as contained in the affidavit of Suk Kyoo Kim, as well as Atty. Aguinaldo’s certification.

Generally speaking, matters of judicial notice have three material requisites: (1) the matter must be one of common and general knowledge; (2) it must be well and authoritatively settled and not doubtful or uncertain; and (3) it must be known to be within the limits of the jurisdiction of the court. The principal guide in determining what facts may be assumed to be judicially known is that of notoriety. Hence, it can be said that judicial notice is limited to facts evidenced by public records and facts of general notoriety. Moreover, a judicially noticed fact must be one not subject to a reasonable dispute in that it is either: (1) generally known within the territorial jurisdiction of the trial court; or (2) capable of accurate and ready determination by resorting to sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questionable.

Things of "common knowledge," of which courts take judicial matters coming to the knowledge of men generally in the course of the ordinary experiences of life, or they may be matters which are generally accepted by mankind as true and are capable of ready and unquestioned demonstration. Thus, facts which are universally known, and which may be found in encyclopedias, dictionaries or other publications, are judicially noticed, provided, they are of such universal notoriety and so generally understood that they may be regarded as forming part of the common knowledge of every person. As the common knowledge of man ranges far and wide, a wide variety of particular facts have been judicially noticed as being matters of common knowledge. But a court cannot take judicial notice of any fact which, in part, is dependent on the existence or non-existence of a fact of which the court has no constructive knowledge.

In this age of modern technology, the courts may take judicial notice that business transactions may be made by individuals through teleconferencing. Teleconferencing is interactive group communication (three or more people in two or more locations) through an electronic medium. In general terms, teleconferencing can bring people together under one roof even though they are separated by hundreds of miles. This type of group communication may be used in a number of ways, and have three basic types: (1) video conferencing - television-like communication augmented with sound; (2) computer conferencing - printed communication through keyboard terminals, and (3) audio-conferencing-verbal communication via the telephone with optional capacity for telewriting or telecopying.

In the Philippines, teleconferencing and videoconferencing of members of board of directors of private corporations is a reality, in light of Republic Act No. 8792. The Securities and Exchange Commission issued SEC Memorandum Circular No. 15, on November 30, 2001, providing the guidelines to be complied with related to such conferences. Thus, the Court agrees with the RTC that persons in the Philippines may have a teleconference with a group of persons in South Korea relating to business transactions or corporate governance.

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