It further appears that no document on record discloses the alleged employee at

It further appears that no document on record

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supposed telephone call. It further appears that no document on record discloses the alleged employee at the HRET Office of the Secretary with whom the purported Chief of Staff had talked on the phone. At any rate, the Chief of Staff of petitioner has under oath denied having placed such call. 45 It must also be stressed that, as a matter of reliability and trustworthiness, a telephone conversation must first be authenticated before it can even be received in evidence. To this end, it is critical that the person with whom the witness was conversing on the phone is first satisfactorily identified, by voice recognition or any other means, as the Chief of Staff. 46 In the instant case, there is no evidence to conclude that the person who called up the HRET Office of the Secretary was the Chief of Staff of petitioner Sandoval except for the unverified and hearsay identification allegedly made by the caller himself/herself. Worst, the record does not even divulge the alleged employee at the HRET Office of the Secretary from whom the purported caller asked about the relevant matter. Lastly, there is no proof that petitioner actually received the summons as well as a copy of the election protest which would have otherwise satisfied the purpose of giving notice of the pending suit. What we can infer from the record is his knowledge of the HRET Order of 18 July 2001, copy received by his staff on 20 July 2001, requiring him to file his preliminary conference brief. On the other hand, we certainly cannot presume his knowledge of the election protest in the absence of a reasonable basis for so doing. In the absence of even the barest compliance with the procedure for substituted service of summons outlined in the Rules of Court, the presumption of regularity in the performance of public functions does not apply. 47 It is unmistakable that the process server hastily served the summons upon petitioner Sandoval by substituted service without first attempting to personally serve the process. This violates the rule granting absolute preference to personal service of summons and, only secondarily, when the defendant cannot be promptly served in person and after compliance with stringent formal and substantive requirements, permitting resort to substituted service. In light of the defective and irregular substituted service of summons, the HRET did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of petitioner and consequently the period within which to file his answer with counter-protest did not start to run. Under the circumstances, petitioner was thus justified in promptly filing his motion for reconsideration of Resolution No. 01-081 and in praying without delay for admission of his answer with counter-protest on 6 August 2001, barely seventeen (17) days from receipt of the HRET Order , which was what presumably called his attention with certainty as to the pendency of the election protest. Clearly, there was no delay in filing the motion. At any rate, it is enough to say that
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  • Spring '16
  • Ms. Eva hernandez
  • Appellate court, Trial court

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