CJ Narvasa: ignorance of discovery

 Posted By: je froilan m. clerigo
30-Jun-2009

     I got such favorable results from using the modes of discovery in a civil case (it got settled almost immediately) that I resolved to use them more in future cases.

     However, one case later made me realize that, unlike the judge in that earlier case, there are judges who don’t look too favorably on discovery measures. In this later case, the judge disallowed my request to depose pre-trial the defendant. And, in my opinion, his grounds for denying it are just too far-fetched to be mentioned here.

     Chief Justice Narvasa was right in Republic vs. Sandiganbayan (21 Nov. 1991): “Involved in the present proceedings are two of the modes of discovery provided in the Rules of Court: interrogatories to parties, and production and inspection of documents and things. Now, it appears to the Court that among far too many lawyers (and not a few judges), there is, if not a regrettable unfamiliarity and even outright ignorance about the nature, purposes and operation of the modes of discovery, at least a strong yet unreasoned and unreasonable disinclination to resort to them - which is a great pity for the intelligent and adequate use of the deposition-discovery mechanism, coupled with pre-trial procedure, could, as the experience of other jurisdictions convincingly demonstrates, effectively shorten the period of litigation and speed up adjudication.”