Direct contempt

Direct contempt of court, also known as contempt in facie curiae, is committed in the presence of or so near the judge as to obstruct him in the administration of justice. It is defined as misbehavior in the presence of or near a court so as to obstruct or interrupt the proceedings of the said court. Thus, it can be punished summarily without hearing.

Under Section 1, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, the grounds for direct contempt of court are the following:

  • disrespect towards the court
  • offensive personalities towards others (in the court room)
  • refusal to be sworn or to answer as a witness
  • refusal to subscribe an affidavit or deposition when lawfully required to do so

The penalty of direct contempt of court against a Regional Trial Court or a court of equivalent or higher rank is a fine not exceeding PHP 2,000.00 or imprisonment not exceeding 10 days, or both. If the direct contempt is against a lower court, the penalty is a fine not exceeding PHP 200.00 or imprisonment not exceeding one day, or both.

Appeal is not available against the order finding a person guilty of direct contempt of court. The proper remedy is to file a motion for reconsideration thereto, and then to file a petition for certiorari before the higher court if the motion for reconsideration is denied. Within 15 days from the receipt of the order denying his motion for reconsideration, he should file a bond to be fixed by the court which rendered the judgment, conditioned that he will abide by and perform the judgment should the petition be decided against him (see Sec. 2, Rule 71, Rules of Court).