Civil Procedure: Rule 21 Subpoena

Section 1.  Subpoena and subpoena duces tecum. – Subpoena is a process directed to a person requiring him to attend and to testify at the hearing or the trial of an action, or at any investigation conducted by competent authority, or for the taking of his deposition.  It may also require him to bring with him any books, documents, or other things under his control in which case it is called a subpoena duces tecum.

Section 2.  By whom issued. – the subpoena may be issued by –

(a) the court before whom the witness is required to attend;

(b) the court of the place where the deposition is to be taken;

(c) the officer or body authorized by law to do so in connection with investigations conducted by said officer or body or

(d) any Justice of the Supreme Court or of the Court of Appeals in any case or investigation pending within the Philippines.

When the application for a subpoena to a prisoner is made, the judge or officer shall examine and study carefully such application to determine whether the same is made for a valid purpose.

No prisoner sentenced to death, reclusion perpetua or life imprisonment and who is confined in any penal institution for appearance or attendance in any court unless authorized by the Supreme court.


Section 3.  Form and Contents. – A subpoena shall state the name of the court and the title of the action or investigation, shall be directed to the person whose attendance is required, and in the case of a subpoena duces tecum, it shall also contain a reasonable description of the books, documents or things demanded which must appear to the court prima facie relevant.


Section 4.  Quashing a subpoena. – The court may quash a subpoena duces tecum upon motion promptly made and, in any event, at or before the time specified therein if it is unreasonable and oppressive, or the relevancy of the books, documents or things does not appear, or if the person in whose behalf the subpoena is issued fails to advance the reasonable cost of production thereof.

The court may quash the subpoena ad testificandum on the ground that the witness is not bound thereby.  In either case, the subpoena may be quashed on the ground that the witness fees and kilometrage allowed by these Rules were not tendered when the subpoena was served.


Section 5.  Subpoena for depositions. – Proof of service of a notice to take a deposition, as provided in sections 15 and 25 of Rule 23, shall constitute sufficient authorization for the issuance of subpoenas for the persons named in said notice by the clerk of the court of the place in which the deposition is to be taken.  The clerk shall not, however, issue a subpoena duces tecum to any such person without an order of the court.


Section 6.  Service. – Service of a subpoena shall be made in the same manner as personal or substituted service of summons.  The original shall be exhibited and a copy thereof delivered to the person on whom it is  served, tendering to him the fees for one day’s attendance and the kilometrage allowed by these rules, except that, when a subpoena is issued by or on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines or an officer or agency thereof, the tender need not be made.  The service must be made so as to allow the witness a reasonable time for preparation and travel of the place of attendance.  If the subpoena is duces tecum, the reasonable cost of producing the books, documents or things demanded shall also be tendered.


Section 7.  Personal appearance in court. – A person present in court before a judicial officer may be required to testify as if he were in attendance upon a subpoena issued by such court or officer.


Section 8.  Compelling attendance. – In case of failure of a witness to attend, the court or judge issuing the subpoena, upon proof of the service thereof and of the failure of the witness, may issue a warrant to the sheriff of the province, or his deputy, to arrest the witness and bring him before the court or officer where his attendance is required, and the cost of such warrant and seizure of such witness shall be paid by the witness if the court issuing it shall determine that his failure to answer the subpoena was willful; and without just excuse.


Section 9.  Contempt. – Failure by any person without adequate cause to obey a subpoena served upon him shall be deemed a contempt of the court from which the subpoena is issued.  If the subpoena was not issued by a court, the disobedience thereto shall be punished in accordance with the applicable law or Rule.


Section 10.  Exceptions. – The provisions of sections 8 and 9 of this Rule shall not apply to a witness who resides more than one hundred (100) kilometers from his residence to the place where he is to testify by the ordinary course of travel, or to a detention prisoner if no permission of the court in which his case is pending was obtained.


Modes of Discovery


Source:  University of the Philippines


About Magz

First of all, I am not a lawyer. I'm a graduate of AB Political Science and went to the College of Law but stopped going to law school for some reasons. I'm a passionate teacher who has been teaching English to speakers of other languages and a person who likes writing and blogging. I lost some important files and software when my computer broke down so the reason I created this website is to preserve the notes, reviewers and digests I collected when I was at the law school and at the same time, I want to help out law students who do not have enough time to go and read books in the library.

Posted on December 18, 2011, in Civil Procedure and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. alfonso sanchez

    how many days subpoena been release upon filling

  2. alfonso sanchez

    how many days subpoena been serve upon filling

  3. I got served with a subpoena but my flight to abroad is a day after tomorrow, what should i do with it? Can i learn the process how can i be in accordance with law eve though i am already in abroad?

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