Demurrer under A.M. No. 10-3-10-SC


FIRST DIVISION: [G.R. No. 237869, June 11, 2018] WARNER LAMBERT CO., INC. AND PFIZER, INC. [PHILIPPINES] VS. UNITED LABORATORIES, INC. AND THERAPHARMA, INC.

After a judicious review of petitioners' allegations and in accordance with Rule 45 and other related provisions of the Rules of Court, the Court resolves to DENY the present Petition for Review on Certiorari for failure of the petitioners to show any reversible error on the part of the Court of Appeals (CA) in rendering the assailed Decision[1] and Resolution dated August 25, 2017 and March 2, 2018, respectively, in CA-G.R. SP No. 139181.

The present petition, stripped of the factual assertions which this Court cannot entertain as it is not a trier of facts, contends that respondents' Demurrer to Evidence was a prohibited pleading though not explicitly mentioned under Administrative Matter (AM) No. 10-3-10-SC.[2] According to petitioners, "when a law or rule mentions a motion to dismiss, without distinguishing as to whether said motion should be filed only under Rule 16 of the Rules of Court, it must be understood to cover not only the grounds under said Rule but also the ground under Rule 33 of the Rules of Court."[3]

Petitioners' sweeping supposition is far-fetched. The Rule[4] is clear and unambiguous. Demurrer to Evidence is clearly not in the enumeration of prohibited pleadings. In Enojas, Jr. v. Commission on Elections[5], the Court said:
A demurrer to evidence under Rule 33 is in the nature of a motion to dismiss on the ground of insufficiency of evidence and is presented after the plaintiff rests its case. It differs from a motion to dismiss under Rule 16 which is grounded on preliminary objections and is presented at the outset of the case; that is, before a responsive pleading is filed by the movant and within the period for the filing thereof.
It is thus clear from the foregoing that the time or stage in which a pleading is filed is relevant, if not controlling to an extent.

In this case, respondents filed their Motion for Demurrer to Evidence after the petitioners had rested their case. Consequently, such motion lodged at that stage of the case and on that ground cannot be considered as anything else other than a demurrer to evidence which under the aforementioned Rule is not a prohibited pleading.ACCORDINGLY, the Court resolves to AFFIRM the assailed Decision and Resolution dated August 25, 2017 and March 2, 2018, respectively, in CA-G.R.SP No. 139181.

SO ORDERED. Leonardo-De Castro, J., designated as Acting Chairperson of the First Division per Special Order No. 2559 dated May 11, 2018: Tijam, J., of official leave; Gesmundo, J., designated as Acting Member per Special Order No. 2560 dated May 11, 2018.

[1] Penned by Associate Justice Maria Elisa Sempio Dy and concurred in by Associate Justices Jhosep Y. Lopez and Pablito A. Perez ;

[2] Also known as the Rules of Procedure for Intellectual Property Rights

[3] Rollo (Vol. 1),p. 28

[4] Rule 3. SECTION 4. Prohibited Pleadings. — The following pleadings are prohibited:
a) Motion to dismiss;

b) Motion for a bill of particulars;

c) Motion for reconsideration of a final order or judgment, except with regard to an order of destruction issued under Rule 20 hereof;

d) Reply;

e) Petition for relief from judgment;

f) Motion for extension of time to file pleadings or other written submissions, except for the answer for meritorious reasons;

g) Motion for postponement intended for delay; h) Third-party complaint;

i) Intervention;

j) Motion to hear affirmative defenses; and

k) Any pleading or motion which is similar to or of like effect as any of the j foregoing.

(A.M. No. 10-3-10-SC or Rules of Procedure for Intellectual Property Rights Cases, October 18,2011)
[5] 347 Phil. 510-520(1997).

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