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NEYPES vs. COURT OF APPEALS G.R. No. 141524 September 14, 2005 469 SCRA 633 CORONA, J.

: Facts: Petitioners filed an action for annulment of judgment and titles of land and/or reconveyance and/or reversion with preliminary injunction before the RTC against the private respondents. Later, in an order, the trial court dismissed petitioners complaint on the ground of prescription. Petitioners allegedly received a copy of the order of dismissal on March 3, 1998 and, on the 15th day thereafter or on March 18, 1998, filed a motion for reconsideration. On July 1, 1998, the trial court issued another order dismissing the motion for reconsideration which petitioners received on July 22, 1998. Five days later, on July 27, 1998, petitioners filed a notice of appeal and paid the appeal fees on August 3, 1998. On August 4, 1998, the court a quo denied the notice of appeal, holding that it was filed eight days late. This was received by petitioners on July 31, 1998. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but this too was denied in an order dated September 3, 1998. Via a petition for certiorari and mandamus under Rule 65, petitioners assailed the dismissal of the notice of appeal before the CA. In the appellate court, petitioners claimed that they had seasonably filed their notice of appeal. They argued that the 15-day reglementary period to appeal started to run only on July 22, 1998 since this was the day they received the final order of the trial court denying their motion for reconsideration. When they filed their notice of appeal on July 27, 1998, only five days had elapsed and they were well within the reglementary period for appeal. On September 16, 1999, the CA dismissed the petition. It ruled that the 15-day period to appeal should have been reckoned from March 3, 1998 or the day they received the February 12, 1998 order dismissing their complaint. According to the appellate court, the order was the final order appealable under the Rules. Issues: I. Whether or not receipt of a final order triggers the start of the 15-day reglementary period to appeal the February 12, 1998 order dismissing the complaint or the July 1, 1998 order dismissing the Motion for Reconsideration II. Whether or not petitioners filed their notice of appeal on time. Held: I. The July 1, 1998 order dismissing the motion for reconsideration should be deemed as the final order. In the case of Quelnan v. VHF Philippines, Inc., the trial court declared petitioner nonsuited and accordingly dismissed his complaint. Upon receipt of the order of dismissal, he filed an omnibus motion to set it aside. When the omnibus motion was filed, 12 days of the 15-day period to appeal the order had lapsed. He later on received another order, this time dismissing his omnibus motion. He then filed his notice of appeal. But this was likewise dismissed for having been filed out of time. The court a quo ruled that petitioner should have appealed within 15 days after the dismissal of his complaint since this was the final order that was appealable under the Rules. The SC reversed the trial court and declared that it was the denial of the motion for reconsideration of an order of dismissal of a complaint which constituted the final order as it was what ended the issues raised there. This pronouncement was reiterated in the more recent case of Apuyan v. Haldeman et al. where the SC again considered the order denying petitioners motion for reconsideration as the final order which finally disposed of the issues involved in the case. Based on the aforementioned cases, the SC

sustained petitioners view that the order dated July 1, 1998 denying their motion for reconsideration was the final order contemplated in the Rules. II. Yes. To standardize the appeal periods provided in the Rules and to afford litigants fair opportunity to appeal their cases, the Court deems it practical to allow a fresh period of 15 days within which to file the notice of appeal in the RTC, counted from receipt of the order dismissing a motion for a new trial or motion for reconsideration. Henceforth, this fresh period rule shall also apply to Rule 40, Rule 42, Rule 43 and Rule 45 but does not apply to Rule 64(Review of Judgments and Final Orders or Resolutions of the Commission on Elections and the Commission on Audit) because Rule 64 is derived from the Constitution. It is likewise doubtful whether it will apply to criminal cases. The new rule aims to regiment or make the appeal period uniform, to be counted from receipt of the order denying the motion for new trial, motion for reconsideration (whether full or partial) or any final order or resolution. This pronouncement is not inconsistent with Rule 41, Section 3 of the Rules which states that the appeal shall be taken within 15 days from notice of judgment or final order appealed from. The use of the disjunctive word or signifies disassociation and independence of one thing from another. It should, as a rule, be construed in the sense in which it ordinarily implies. Hence, the use of or in the above provision supposes that the notice of appeal may be filed within 15 days from the notice of judgment or within 15 days from notice of the final order, which we already determined to refer to the July 1, 1998 order denying the motion for a new trial or reconsideration.

PINGA vs. HEIRS OF SANTIAGO GR No. 170354 June 30, 2006 494 SCRA 393 TINGA, J.: Facts: The Heirs of Santiago filed an injunction against Pinga alleging that Pinga had been unlawfully entering the coco lands of the respondent cutting wood and bamboos and harvesting the fruits of the coconut trees. As a counterclaim, Pinga contests the ownership of the lands to which he was harvesting the fruits. However, due to failures of Heirs of Santiago to attend the hearings, the court ordered the dismissal of said case. Respondents thus filed a Motion for Reconsideration to ask for the entire action to be dismissed and not to allow petitioner to present evidence ex parte. Said motion was granted by the RTC, hence the counterclaim was dismissed. The lower court further ruled that compulsory counterclaims cannot be adjudicated independently of plaintiffs cause of action vis a vis the dismissal of the complaint carries with it the dismissal of the counterclaim. Petitioner therefore elevated the matter to the Supreme Court via petition for certiorari under Rule 45 on pure questions of law also averring that respondents motive for seeking the dismissal of their entire case is to avoid putting their ownership in controversy in the counterclaim. Issue: Whether or not the dismissal of the original complaint affects that of the compulsory counterclaim.

Held: No, the counterclaim herein can stand on its own. The dismissal of the complaint does not carry with it the dismissal of the counterclaim, compulsory or otherwise. In fact, the dismissal of the complaint is without prejudice to the right of defendants to prosecute his counterclaim. Section 3 contemplates a dismissal not procured by plaintiff, albeit justified by causes imputable to him and which, in the present case, was petitioner's failure to appear at the pre-trial. This situation is also covered by Section 3, as extended by judicial interpretation, and is ordered upon motion of defendant or motu proprio by the court. Here, the issue of whether defendant has a pending counterclaim, permissive or compulsory, is not of determinative significance. The dismissal of plaintiff's complaint is evidently a confirmation of the failure of evidence to prove his cause of action outlined therein, hence the dismissal is considered, as a matter of evidence, an adjudication on the merits. The complaint can accordingly be dismissed, but relief can nevertheless be granted as a matter of course to defendant on his counterclaim as alleged and proved, with or without any reservation therefor on his part, unless from his conduct, express or implied, he has virtually consented to the concomitant dismissal of his counterclaim. The present rule embodied in Sections 2 and 3 of Rule 17 ordains a more equitable disposition of the counterclaims by ensuring that any judgment thereon is based on the merit of the counterclaim itself and not on the survival of the main complaint. Certainly, if the counterclaim is palpably without merit or suffers jurisdictional flaws which stand independent of the complaint, the trial court is not precluded from dismissing it under the amended rules, provided that the judgment or order dismissing the counterclaim is premised on those defects. At the same time, if the counterclaim is justified, the amended rules now unequivocally protect such counterclaim from peremptory dismissal by reason of the dismissal of the complaint. Section 3, Rule 17 of the Rules of Court, as amended, provides: If for any cause, the plaintiff fails to appear on the date of his presentation of his evidence x x x the complaint may be dismissed upon motion of the defendant or upon the courts own motion, without prejudice to the right of the defendant to prosecute his counterclaim in the same or in a separate action. BARITUA vs. MERCADER G.R. No. 136048 January 23, 2001 350 SCRA 86 PANGANIBAN, J.: Facts: Mercader boarded the bus of herein petitioner JB Line bounded from Manila to N. Samar. However, while said bus was traversing the Beily Bridge in N. Samar, the bus fell into the river and as a result, Mercader died. The heirs of Mercader sued petitioner for breach of contract of carriage. With the heirs of Mercader attaining a favorable judgment at the lower court and CA level, petitioner assails the said decisions rendered therein with the Supreme Court via Petition for Review under Rule 45 on the ground of procedural flaws, specifically questioning: (1) the jurisdiction of the lower court over the original and amended complaints or over the subject matter of the case as the trial court was not paid the correct amount of docket and other lawful fees; (2) the arbitrary disregard for petitioners constitutional right to procedural due process and fairness as the appellate court denied their right to

present evidence, to expect that their evidence will be duly considered and appreciated and when the court passed sub silencio on the trail courts failure to rule frontally on petitioners plea for a bill of particulars; and (3) that both the RTC and CA failed to adhere to the rule that their decision must state clearly and distinctly the facts and the laws on which they are based. Issues: I. Whether or not the RTC had jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case II. Whether or not petitioners procedural rights were disregarded as to the denial of their Motion for a Bill of Particulars III. Whether or not petitioner was denied of his procedural right to adduce evidence Held: I. Yes. The Court, in Manchester Development Corporation v. CA, held that the court acquires jurisdiction over any case only upon the payment of the prescribed docket fee An amendment of the complaint or similar pleading will not thereby vest jurisdiction in the court, much less the payment of the docket fee based on the amounts sought in the amended pleading. Generally, the jurisdiction of a court is determined by the statute in force at the commencement of the action, unless such statute provides for its retroactive application. Once the jurisdiction of a court attaches, it continues until the case is finally terminated. The trial court cannot be ousted therefrom by subsequent happenings or events, although of a character that would have prevented jurisdiction from attaching in the first instance. The Manchester ruling, which became final in 1987, has no retroactive application and cannot be invoked in the subject Complaint filed in 1984. II. No. It must be noted that petitioners counsel manifested in open court his desire to file a motion for a bill of particulars. The RTC gave him ten days within which to do so. He, however, filed the aforesaid motion only eleven days past the deadline set by the trial court. Moreover, such motion was already moot and academic because, prior to its filing, petitioners had already filed their answer and several other pleadings to the amended Complaint. Section 1, Rule 12 of the Rules of Court, provides: Section 1. When applied for; purpose. -- Before responding to a pleading, a party may move for a more definite statement or for a bill of particulars of any matter which is not averred with sufficient definiteness or particularity to enable him properly to prepare his responsive pleading. If the pleading is a reply, the motion must be filed within ten (10) days from service thereof. Such motion shall point out the defects complained of, the paragraphs wherein they are contained, and the details desired. III. No. First, judges cannot be expected to rely on the testimonies of every witness. In ascertaining the facts, they determine who are credible and who are not. In doing so, they consider all the evidence before them. In other words, the mere fact that Judge Noynay based his decision on the testimonies of respondents witnesses does not necessarily mean that he did not consider those of petitioners. Second, there is no sufficient showing that Judge Operario was overzealous in questioning the witnesses. His questions merely sought to clarify their testimonies. ATTY. ABRENICA vs. LAW FIRM OF ABRENICA, TUNGOL AND TIBAYAN G.R. No. 169420 September 22, 2006 502 SCRA 614

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: Facts: Respondents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) two cases against petitioner regarding an alleged refusal of petitioner to return and transfer partnership funds. The SEC initially heard the cases but they were later transferred to the RTC of Quezon City pursuant to Republic Act No. 8799, which transferred jurisdiction over intra-corporate controversies from the SEC to the courts. The RTC rendered a decision in favor of respondents, causing petitioner to file with the Court of Appeals a Motion for Leave of Court to Admit Attached Petition for Review under Rule 43 of the Revised Rules of Court. The CA, however, denied said motion as well as the subsequent Motion for Reconsideration. Petitioner invokes liberal construction of the rules in seeking reversal of the above resolutions. He alleges that his appeal was not filed late but that he only resorted to the wrong mode of appeal; that realizing his error, he immediately filed the Motion For Leave to Admit Petition for Review; that his notice of appeal had the effect of tolling the period of perfecting his appeal under Rule 43 of the Rules of Court; that although unaware of A.M. No. 04-9-07-SC, he appealed four days after receiving the consolidated decision through a notice of appeal, thus showing his "sincerity" in appealing the decision. Issue: Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred in the non-application of a liberal construction of the rules resulting in the refusal to admit petitioners petition for review Held: No. Under Rule 1, Section 6 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, liberal construction of the rules is the controlling principle to effect substantial justice. Thus, litigations should, as much as possible, be decided on their merits and not on technicalities. This does not mean, however, that procedural rules are to be ignored or disdained at will to suit the convenience of a party. Procedural law has its own rationale in the orderly administration of justice, namely, to ensure the effective enforcement of substantive rights by providing for a system that obviates arbitrariness, caprice, despotism, or whimsicality in the settlement of disputes. Hence, it is a mistake to suppose that substantive law and procedural law are contradictory to each other, or as often suggested, that enforcement of procedural rules should never be permitted if it would result in prejudice to the substantive rights of the litigants. Litigation is not a game of technicalities, but every case must be prosecuted in accordance with the prescribed procedure so that issues may be properly presented and justly resolved. Hence, rules of procedure must be faithfully followed except only when for persuasive reasons, they may be relaxed to relieve a litigant of an injustice not commensurate with his failure to comply with the prescribed procedure. Concomitant to a liberal application of the rules of procedure should be an effort on the part of the party invoking liberality to explain his failure to abide by the rules. "Oversight" and "excusable negligence" have become an all too familiar and ready excuse on the part of lawyers remiss in their bounden duty to comply with established rules. Rules of procedure are tools designed to promote efficiency and orderliness as well as to facilitate attainment of justice, such that strict adherence thereto is required. The application of the Rules may be relaxed only when rigidity would result in a defeat of equity and substantial justice. PALOMA vs. MORA G.R. No. 157783

September 23, 2005 470 SCRA 711 CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: Facts: Petitioner was terminated from his appointment as General Manager of the Palompon, Leyte Water District. By reason thereof, petitioner filed a petition for mandamus with prayer to be restored to his former position and for preliminary injunction with damages before the RTC. Unable to obtain a favorable ruling with the RTC, petitioner filed a complaint with the Civil Service Commission for alleged Violation of Civil Service Law and Rules and for Illegal Dismissal. The CSC, however, dismissed the petition for lack of merit, which was likewise affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Issues: I. Whether or not mandamus will lie to compel the Board of Directors of Palompon, Leyte Water District to reinstate the General Manager thereof II. Whether or not the Civil Service Commission has primary jurisdiction over the case for illegal dismissal of petitioner Held: I. No. Mandamus does not lie to compel the Board of Directors of the Palompon, Leyte Water District to reinstate petitioner because the Board has the discretionary power to remove him under Section 23 of P.D. No. 198, as amended by P.D. No. 768. Moreover, Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court provides: Sec. 3. Petition for mandamus. ' When any tribunal, corporation, board, officer or person unlawfully neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting from an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another from the use and enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled, and there is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition in the proper court, alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered commanding the respondent, immediately or at some other time to be specified by the court, to do the act required to be done to protect the rights of the petitioner and to pay the damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of the wrongful acts of the respondent. Mandamus lies to compel the performance, when refused, of a ministerial duty, but not to compel the performance of a discretionary duty. Mandamus will not issue to control or review the exercise of discretion of a public officer where the law imposes upon said public officer the right and duty to exercise his judgment in reference to any matter in which he is required to act. It is his judgment that is to be exercised and not that of the court. II. Yes. As a general rule, no officer or employee of the civil service shall be removed or suspended except for cause provided by law as provided in Section 2(3), Article IX-B of the 1987 Constitution. As exception to this, P.D. No. 198, a special enabling charter of Local Water Districts, categorically provides that the General Manager shall serve 'at the pleasure of the board. Water districts are government instrumentalities and their employees belong to the civil service. Thus, the hiring and firing of employees of government-owned or controlled corporations are governed by the Civil Service Law and Civil Service Rules and Regulations. In cases where the doctrine of primary jurisdiction is clearly applicable, the court cannot arrogate unto itself the authority to resolve a controversy, the jurisdiction over which is initially lodged with an administrative body of special competence. Quasi-judicial bodies like the CSC are better-

equipped in handling cases involving the employment status of employees as those in the Civil Service since it is within the field of their expertise. This is consistent with the powers and functions of the CSC, being the central personnel agency of the Government, to carry into effect the provisions of the Civil Service Law and other pertinent laws, including, in this case, P.D. No. 198. QUESADA vs. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE G.R. No. 150325 August 31, 2006 500 SCRA 454 SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: Facts: Respondent Teruel filed with the Office of the City Prosecutor in Mandaluyong City an affidavit-complaint against petitioner, Camacho, Jr., and Corgado with the crime of estafa under Article 315 (2) and (3) of the Revised Penal Code, which in turn was opposed by petitioner who filed a counter-affidavit thereto. Thereafter, an Information for estafa was filed with the RTC upon the recommendation of Assistant City Prosecutor Esteban A. Tacla, Jr. after the latters issuance of a Resolution finding probable cause. In the meantime, petitioner filed with the Department of Justice a Petition for Review challenging the Resolution of the Investigating Prosecutor, but was however, dismissed. Pending the criminal case at the RTC, petitioner filed with the Supreme Court a Petition for Certiorari alleging that the Secretary of Justice, in dismissing his Petition for Review, acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Issue: Whether or not the filing of the present petition directly with the Supreme Court constitutes an utter violation of the rule on hierarchy of courts Held: Yes. The Supreme Court is a court of last resort, and must so remain if it is to satisfactorily perform the functions assigned to it by the fundamental charter and immemorial tradition. It cannot and should not be burdened with the task of dealing with causes in the first instance. Its original jurisdiction to issue the so-called extraordinary writs should be exercised only where absolutely necessary or where serious and important reasons exist therefor. Hence, that jurisdiction should generally be exercised relative to actions or proceedings before the Court of Appeals, or before constitutional or other tribunals, bodies or agencies whose acts for some reason or another are not controllable by the Court of Appeals. Where the issuance of an extraordinary writ is also within the competence of the Court of Appeals or a Regional Trial Court, it is in either of these courts that the specific action for the writs procurement must be presented. The hierarchy of courts is determinative of the venue of appeals, and should also serve as a general determinant of the appropriate forum for petitions for the extraordinary writs. It is a policy that is necessary to prevent inordinate demands upon the Courts time and attention which are better devoted to those matters within its exclusive jurisdiction, and to prevent further over-crowding of the Courts docket. NGO BUN TIONG vs. HON. MARCELINO M. SAYO G.R. No. L-45825

June 30, 1988 163 SCRA 237 PARAS, J.: Facts: The case originated from a decision of the Court a First Instance of Manila, Branch XIII in a case entitled Caltex (Phil.) Inc. vs. Pilares Construction Co. ordering among others, the payment by the defendant to the plaintiff of the sum of P67,052.32 plus interests, attorney's fees and costs. Said decision became final and execution thereof commenced with an execution sale for the purpose. Meanwhile, the case was appealed up to the Supreme Court. Pending proceedings in the latter court, private respondent filed a complaint with the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch XXXIII, Caloocan City, against herein petitioner and Emilio Z. Reyes for "Declaration of Nullity of the Auction Sale and Damages" and a Motion to Annul Certificate of Sale and to declare alleged auction sale with the Court of First Instance of Manila, Branch XIII as null and void. The said court rendered judgment issuing a writ of preliminary prohibitory and mandatory injunction restraining defendants from pulling out or removing any such property of the plaintiff from its compound, and ordering defendants to return immediately such equipments and properties now in their possession which were removed or hauled by them by virtue of the sale allegedly had between them. This order of the CFI, Branch XXXIII is now being assailed. Issue: Whether or not a Court of First Instance or a branch thereof, has jurisdiction to annul or set aside, for alleged irregularities an execution sale, held by virtue of a decision rendered by another Court of First Instance or a branch thereof, and subsequently to order the return of the properties sold at public auction to the judgment debtor Held: Pursuant to the policy of judicial stability, the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction may not be interfered with by any court of concurrent jurisdiction. No court has the power to interfere by injunction, with the judgments or decrees of a court of concurrent or coordinate jurisdiction having equal power to grant the relief sought by injunction. For the simple reason that the power to open, modify or vacate a judgment is not only possessed by, but is restricted to the court in which the judgment was rendered. For obvious reasons, the matter should have been laid to rest, but private respondent instead again filed a complaint with the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Branch XXXIII, raising the very same issues which were already decided by the Court of First Instance, Branch XIII with finality. It is an important fundamental principle in Our judicial system that every litigation must come to an end. Access to the courts is guaranteed. But there must be a limit thereto. Once a litigant's rights have been adjudicated in a valid final judgment of a competent court, he should not be granted an unbridled license to come back for another try. The prevailing party should not be harassed by subsequent suits. For, if endless litigations were to be encouraged, unscrupulous litigants will multiply in number to the detriment of the administration of justice. ELLA vs. HON. JUDGE SALANGA G.R. No. L-23826 September 28, 1970 35 SCRA 86

MAKALINTAL, J.: Facts: A verified complaint was filed in the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur by petitioners against respondents for specific performance, to compel the payment of the price of the land allegedly purchased by the government under a perfected sales contract with petitioners, as well as attorneys fees, expenses of litigation, and moral and exemplary damages. The case was raffled and assigned to Branch II whereby the latter, through Judge Dumaual, issued a writ of preliminary injunction against respondents and subsequently proceeded with the trial thereon. Later, Executive Judge Angelino Salanga, formerly presiding Judge of Branch III filed a "Motion Ex Parte to Return the Case to Vigan and To Set Same for Trial." Thereafter, Judge Salanga issued an order directing the "Clerk of Court of Narvacan, Branch 2, to transfer all the records of the above entitled case to this Court for the further prosecution of this proceeding." The plaintiffs filed an ex-parte motion seeking to reverse and/or recall the order of Judge Salanga on the grounds that they had not been served with notice thereof and that after the hearing had been commenced in Branch II, jurisdiction to hear and decide the case had been firmly lodged in said branch to the exclusion of other branches. A motion was subsequently filed seeking to dissolve the writ of preliminary injunction issued by Judge Dumaual. Issue: I. Whether or not Branch II had acquired exclusive jurisdiction over the case II. Whether or not the transfer of the case from Branch II to Branch III constituted undue interference with the processes of the former III. Whether or not the writ of injunction, issued by Branch II, may be validly dissolved by respondent Judge of Branch III Held: I. No. The different branches of a Court of First Instance of one province do not possess jurisdictions independent of and incompatible with each other. The Judiciary Act vests jurisdiction upon the court, not upon any particular branch or Judge thereof. When a case is filed in one branch jurisdiction over the case does not attach to the branch or judge alone, to the exclusion of the other branches. Trial may be held or proceedings continued by and before another branch or judge. It is for this reason that Section 57 of the Judiciary Act expressly grants to the Secretary of Justice, the administrative right or power to apportion the cases among the different branches, both for the convenience of the parties and for the coordination of the work by the different branches of the same court. The apportionment and distribution of cases do not involve a grant or limitation of jurisdiction; the jurisdiction attaches and continues to be vested in the Court of First Instance of the province, and the trials may be held by any branch or judge of the court. II. No. Generally, the branches being coordinate and co-equal, one branch or the judge thereof cannot unduly interfere with the processes and proceedings of another branch or Judge constituting an undue interest. The transfer of the case to Vigan was not an unusual one under the circumstances, and did not constitute a grave abuse of discretion, or an excess of jurisdiction such as to call for the issuance of the extraordinary writ of certiorari. had authority from the Department of Justice to continue holding court at Vigan, where he was Presiding Judge of Branch III prior to his appointment to Branch IV. This authority granted to Judge Salanga is allowed under Section 56 of the Judiciary Act, which provides as follows:

SEC. 56. Special terms of court. When so directed by Department Head, District Judges shall hold special terms of court at any time or in any municipality in their respective districts for the transactions of any judicial business. The order for him to remain in Vigan came about because the Candon branch still had neither personnel nor available courthouse, by reason of which Judge Salanga could not immediately assume his duties there. III. Yes. The dissolution of the writ of injunction after the filing of a bond is allowed under section 6 of Rule 58. It rests upon the sound discretion of the court, which, unfortunately, has been abused in this case. The damage that it could cause to the petitioner is not irreparable, being subject to compensation in money. And a further consideration that cannot be ignored at this stage is that two of the original plaintiffs, co-owners of the land which was the subject of the earlier negotiations with the government, have sold their shares to a third party, as a result of which there is a distinct possibility that the said land may no longer be suited for the purpose for which it was intended. VILLAMOR vs. SALAS G.R. No. 101041 November 13, 1991 203 SCRA 450 GRIO-AQUINO, J.: Facts: Carlos filed an administrative case against Judge Villamor, charging him with having issued illegal orders and an unjust decision in a case he was a party of regarding a dispute on ownership and possession of a certain parcel of land against Naval. The same was summarily dismissed by the Supreme Court. Dissatisfied, Carlos filed a civil action for damages against Judge Villamor for knowingly rendering an unjust judgment when he dismissed five criminal cases against Naval and the same was raffled to the RTC presided by Judge Salas. Meanwhile, Attorney Guerrero's complaint for damages was raffled to Branch 21, Regional Trial Court, Cebu City wherein Judge Aleonar took cognizance of the same. Issue: Whether or not Judges Aleonar and Salas may take cognizance of the actions for damages against Judge Villamor for allegedly having rendered an unjust order against Carlos and Attorney Guerrero which the Supreme Court subsequently annulled Held: No. No Regional Trial Court can pass upon and scrutinize, and much less declare as unjust a judgment of another Regional Trial Court and sentence the judge thereof liable for damages without running afoul with the principle that only the higher appellate courts, namely, the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court, are vested with authority to review and correct errors of the trial courts. To allow respondent Judges Aleonar and Salas to proceed with the trial of the actions for damages against the petitioner, a co-equal judge of a co-equal court, would in effect permit a court to review and interfere with the judgment of a co-equal court over which it has no appellate jurisdiction or power of review. The various branches of a Court of First Instance (now the Regional Trial Court) being co-equal, may not interfere with each other's cases, judgments and orders. Only after the

Appellate Court, in a final judgment, has found that a trial judge's errors were committed deliberately and in bad faith may a charge of knowingly rendering an unjust decision be leveled against the latter. DELA ROSA vs. ROLDAN G.R. No. 133882 September 5, 2006 501 SCRA 34 CALLEJO, SR., J.: Facts: The case originated from a claim of ownership over a parcel of land which was decided in favor of defendant. However, plaintiff therein, despite the order of the court, continues to refuse to vacate the land thereby prompting defendant to file with the MTC a complaint for recovery of ownership, reconveyance, cancellation of title, and damages. The MTC rendered judgment therein in favor of defendant on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. The court held that the issue between the parties was one of ownership and not merely possession de facto. Thus, the possession of the property by defendants was not by mere tolerance, but by virtue of a claim of ownership; in fact, defendants never recognized the plaintiffs' claim of ownership over the property. Issue: Whether or not the MTC had jurisdiction over the action of respondents Held: Yes. The action of respondents against petitioners was one for unlawful detainer, and as such, the MTC had jurisdiction over the same. It is settled jurisprudence that what determines the nature of an action as well as which court or body has jurisdiction over it are the allegations of the complaint and the character of the relief sought, whether or not plaintiff is entitled to any and all of the reliefs prayed for. The jurisdiction of the court or tribunal over the nature of the action cannot be made to depend upon the defenses set up in the court or upon a motion to dismiss, for otherwise, the question of jurisdiction would depend almost entirely on defendant. Once jurisdiction is vested, the same is retained up to the end of the litigation. Jurisdiction cannot be conferred by the voluntary act or agreement of the parties; it cannot be acquired through or waived, enlarged or diminished by their act or omission. Neither is it conferred by the acquiescence of the court. It is neither for the court nor the parties to violate or disregard the rule, this matter being legislative in character. Thus, the jurisdiction over the nature of an action and the subject matter thereof is not affected by the theories set up by defendant in an answer or motion to dismiss. Section 3 of Republic Act No. 7691, amending Section 33(2) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, which was the law in effect when respondents filed their complaint against petitioners, provides that "Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer; provided that, when, in such cases, defendant raises the questions of ownership in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved without deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be resolved only to determine the issues of possession." TIJAM vs. SIBONGHANOY G.R. No. L-21450

April 15, 1968 23 SCRA 29 DIZON, J.: Facts: Tijam filed for the recovery of P1,908 and legal interest from Sibongahanoy. Defendants in turn, filed a counter bond with Manila Surety and Fidelity Co. Judgement was rendered in favour of the plaintiffs and a writ of execution was issued against the defendant. Defendants then moved for writ of execution against the Surety which was granted. The Surety, after the denial of its motion to quash the writ appealed to the Court of Appeals, without raising the issue on lack of jurisdiction; however the appellate court affirmed the appealed decision. Hence, the Surety then filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction against CFI Cebu in view of the effectivity of Judiciary Act of 1948 a month before the filing of the petition for recovery. The Act placed original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts all civil actions for demands not exceeding 2,000 exclusive of interest. Due to such, the CA set aside its earlier decision and referred the case to the Supreme Court since it has exclusive jurisdiction over "all cases in which the jurisdiction of any inferior court is in issue. Issue: Whether or not the Surety is estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the CFI Cebu for the first time upon appeal Held: Yes. The Surety is barred by laches from invoking a plea after almost fifteen years before the Surety filed its motion to dismiss raising the question of lack of jurisdiction for the first time. A party may be estopped or barred from raising a question in different ways and for different reasons. Thus what is referred to is estoppel in pais, or estoppel by deed or by record, and of estoppel by laches. Laches, in a general sense is failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier - Furthermore, it has also been held that after voluntarily submitting a cause and encountering an adverse decision on the merits, it is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or power of the court -"undesirable practice" of a party submitting his case for decision and then accepting the judgment, only if favorable, and attacking it for lack of jurisdiction, when adverse. The contention of the Surety that the lower court should have granted its motion to quash the writ of execution because the same was issued without the summary hearing is untenable. A summary hearing is not intended to be carried on in the formal manner in which ordinary actions are prosecuted. It is, rather, a procedure by which a question is resolved with dispatch, with the least possible delay, and in preference to ordinary legal and regular judicial proceedings. What is essential is that "the defendant is notified or summoned to appear and is given an opportunity to hear what is urged upon him, and to interpose a defense, after which follows an adjudication of the rights of the parties. In the case at bar, the surety had been notified of the plaintiffs' motion for execution and of the date when the same would be submitted for consideration. In fact, the surety's counsel was present in court when the motion was called, and it was upon his request that the court a quo gave him a period of four days within which to file an answer. Yet he allowed that period to lapse without filing an answer or objection. The surety cannot now, therefore, complain that it was deprived of its day in court. CALIMLIM vs. HON. RAMIREZ G.R. No. L-34362 November 19, 1982

118 SCRA 399 VASQUEZ, J.: Facts: Independent Mercantile Corporation filed a petition in the respondent Court to compel Manuel Magali to surrender the owner's duplicate of TCT No. 9138 in order that the same may be cancelled and a new one issued in the name of the said corporation. Not being the registered owner and the title not being in his possession, Manuel Magali failed to comply with the order of the Court directing him to surrender the said title. This prompted Independent Mercantile Corporation to file an ex-parte petition to declare TCT No. 9138 as cancelled and to issue a new title in its name. The said petition was granted by the respondent Court and the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan issued a new title in the name of the corporation, TCT No. 68568. Petitioner, upon learning that her husband's title over the parcel of land had been cancelled, filed a petition with the respondent Court, sitting as a cadastral court, praying for the cancellation of TCT No. 68568 but the court dismissed the petition. Petitioner thereafter filed in the LRC Record No. 39492 for the cancellation of TCT No. 68568 but the same was dismissed therein. Petitioners then resorted to the filing of a complaint in for the cancellation of the conveyances and sales that had been made with respect to the property, covered by TCT No. 9138, against Francisco Ramos who claimed to have bought the property from Independent Mercantile Corporation. Private respondent Francisco Ramos, however, failed to obtain a title over the property in his name in view of the existence of an adverse claim annotated on the title thereof at the instance of the herein petitioners. Francisco Ramos filed a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the same is barred by prior judgement or by statute of limitations. Resolving the said Motion, the respondent Court dismissed the case on the ground of estoppel by prior judgment. Issue: Whether or not dismissal of the case is proper on the ground of estoppel by prior judgment Held: No. It is error to consider the dismissal of the petition filed by the herein petitioner in LRC Record No. 39492 for the cancellation of TCT No. 68568 as a bar by prior judgment against the filing of the subsequent civil case. In order to avail of the defense of res judicata, it must be shown, among others, that the judgment in the prior action must have been rendered by a court with the proper jurisdiction to take cognizance of the proceeding in which the prior judgment or order was rendered. If there is lack of jurisdiction over the subject-matter of the suit or of the parties, the judgment or order cannot operate as an adjudication of the controversy. This essential element of the defense of bar by prior judgment or res judicata does not exist in the case. The petition filed by the petitioners in LRC Record No. 39492 was an apparent invocation of the authority of the respondent Court sitting as a land registration court. Reliance was apparently placed on Section 112 of the Land Registration Act wherein it provides that a Court of First Instance, acting as a land registration court, is a court of limited and special jurisdiction. As such, its proceedings are not adequate for the litigation of issues pertaining to an ordinary civil action, such as, questions involving ownership or title to real property. DELA CRUZ vs. COURT OF APPEALS G.R. No. 139442 December 6, 2006 510 SCRA 103

VELASCO, JR., J.: Facts: The case stemmed from a dispute when petitioner refused to adhere to several verbal and written demands by the Reyeses to vacate a certain lot which it leased from the latter. Respondent Tan Te, having bought the lot from the Reyeses, demanded from petitioner to vacate the lot to be used as the formers residence. However, petitioner continues to reject such demands, prompting respondent Tan Te to file an ejectment suit against him at the Manila MeTC, which rendered judgment in respondents favor. Aggrieved with the decisions rendered upon appeal, petitioner now files a petition for review seeking to nullify the decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals which reversed the decision of the Manila RTC and reinstated the decision of the Manila MeTC, which ordered petitioner Dela Cruz to vacate the subject lot in favor of respondent Tan Te. Issues: I. Which court, the Manila RTC or the Manila MeTC, has jurisdiction over the Tan Te ejectment suit II. Whether or not the present petition filed before the Supreme Court for review under Rule 45 is proper. Held: I. Jurisdiction is the power or capacity given by the law to a court or tribunal to entertain, hear and determine certain controversies. Jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by law. Section 33 of Chapter III -- on Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts of B. P. No. 129 provides: Section 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in civil cases.Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise: xxxx (2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer: Provided, That when, in such cases, the defendant raises the question of ownership in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved without deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be resolved only to determine the issue of possession. Thus exclusive, original jurisdiction over ejectment proceedings (accion interdictal) is lodged with the first level courts. This is clarified in Section 1, Rule 70 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure that embraces an action for forcible entry (detentacion), where one is deprived of physical possession of any land or building by means of force, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth. In actions for forcible entry, three (3) requisites have to be met for the municipal trial court to acquire jurisdiction. First, the plaintiffs must allege their prior physical possession of the property. Second, they must also assert that they were deprived of possession either by force, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth. Third, the action must be filed within one (1) year from the time the owners or legal possessors learned of their deprivation of physical possession of the land or building. The other kind of ejectment proceeding is unlawful detainer (desahucio), where one unlawfully withholds possession of the subject property after the expiration or termination of the right to possess. Here, the issue of rightful possession is the one decisive; for in such action, the defendant is the party in actual possession and the plaintiffs cause of action is the termination of the defendants right to continue in possession. The essential requisites of unlawful detainer are: (1) the fact of lease by virtue of a contract express or implied; (2) the expiration or termination of the possessors right to hold possession; (3) withholding by the lessee of the possession of the land or building after expiration or termination of the right to possession; (4) letter of demand upon lessee to pay the rental or comply

with the terms of the lease and vacate the premises; and (5) the action must be filed within one (1) year from date of last demand received by the defendant. A person who wants to recover physical possession of his real property will prefer an ejectment suit because it is governed by the Rule on Summary Procedure which allows immediate execution of the judgment under Section 19, Rule 70 unless the defendant perfects an appeal in the RTC and complies with the requirements to stay execution; all of which are nevertheless beneficial to the interests of the lot owner or the holder of the right of possession. On the other hand, Section 19, of Chapter II of B.P. No. 129 on Regional Trial Courts provides: Section 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases.Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction: xxxx (2) In all civil actions which involve the title to, or possession of, real property, or any interest therein, except actions for forcible entry into and unlawful detainer of lands or buildings, original jurisdiction over which is conferred upon Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts. Two (2) kinds of action to recover possession of real property which fall under the jurisdiction of the RTC are: (1) the plenary action for the recovery of the real right of possession (accion publiciana) when the dispossession has lasted for more than one year or when the action was filed more than one (1) year from date of the last demand received by the lessee or defendant; and (2) an action for the recovery of ownership (accion reivindicatoria) which includes the recovery of possession. These actions are governed by the regular rules of procedure and adjudication takes a longer period than the summary ejectment suit. To determine whether a complaint for recovery of possession falls under the jurisdiction of the MeTC (first level court) or the RTC (second level court), allegations of the complaint must be referred to. The general rule is that what determines the nature of the action and the court that has jurisdiction over the case are the allegations in the complaint. These cannot be made to depend upon the defenses set up in the answer or pleadings filed by the defendant. This general rule however admits exceptions. While the allegations in the complaint make out a case for forcible entry, where tenancy is averred by way of defense and is proved to be the real issue, the case should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction as the case should properly be filed with the then Court of Agrarian Relations. The cause of action in a complaint is not what the designation of the complaint states, but what the allegations in the body of the complaint define and describe. The designation or caption is not controlling, more than the allegations in the complaint themselves are, for it is not even an indispensable part of the complaint. II. Firm is the rule that findings of fact of the CA are final and conclusive and cannot be reviewed on appeal to this Court provided they are supported by evidence on record or substantial evidence. Fortunately for petitioner, the case has been relaxed therefrom as the Court gave a liberal with the petition considering that the CAs factual findings contradict those of the RTC, and there was an asseveration that the court a quo went beyond the issues of the case. Indeed, these grounds were considered exceptions to the factual issue bar rule. Secondly, the petition unnecessarily impleaded the CA in violation of Section 4, Rule 45. This breach, however, was allowed to pass by the Court in this case only because there is a need to entertain the petition due to the conflicting rulings between the lower courts; however, a repetition may result to sanctions. STA. CLARA HOMEOWNERS vs. GASTON G.R. No. 141961

January 23, 2002 397 SCRA 396 PANGANIBAN, J.: Facts: Private respondents filed a complaint for damages with preliminary injunction/preliminary mandatory injunction and temporary restraining order before the Regional Trial Court in Negros Occidental at Bacolod City against petitioners alleging the following: (1) upon private respondents purchased lots in the subdivision; (2) at the time of purchase, there was no mention or requirement of membership in any homeowners association and since then, they have remained non-members of SCHA; (3) an arrangement was made wherein non-members of the association were issued nonmember gatepass stickers for their vehicles for identification by the security guards and such arrangement remained undisturbed until mid March, 1998, when SCHA disseminated a board resolution which decreed that only its members in good standing were to be issued stickers for use in their vehicles; (4) on three separate incidents, Victor M. Gaston, the son of the private respondents herein who lives with them, was required by the guards on duty employed by SCHA to show his drivers license as a prerequisite to his entrance to the subdivision and to his residence therein despite their knowing him personally and the exact location of his residence; (5) private respondent herein Victor Ma. Gaston was himself prevented from entering the subdivision and proceeding to his residential abode; and (6) these acts of the petitioners were done in the presence of other subdivision owners had caused private respondents to suffer moral damage. Petitioners argued that the trial court has no jurisdiction over the case as it involves an intracorporate dispute between SCHA and its members pursuant to Republic Act No. 580, as amended by Executive Order Nos. 535, much less, to declare as null and void the subject resolution of the board of directors of SCHA, the proper forum being the Home Insurance (and Guaranty) Corporation (HIGC). Issues: I. Whether or not the RTC has jurisdiction over the complaint II. Whether or not the complaint states a cause of action Held: I. Yes. In order to determine if the HIGC has jurisdiction over the dispute, it is necessary to resolve preliminarily -- on the basis of the allegations in the Complaint -- whether private respondents are members of the SCHA. It is a settled rule that jurisdiction over the subject matter is determined by the allegations in the complaint. Jurisdiction is not affected by the pleas or the theories set up by the defendant in an answer or a motion to dismiss. Otherwise, jurisdiction would become dependent almost entirely upon the whims of the defendant. The Complaint does not allege that private respondents are members of the SCHA. In point of fact, they deny such membership. Thus, the HIGC has no jurisdiction over the dispute. The HIGC exercises limited jurisdiction over homeowners disputes. The law confines its authority to controversies that arise from any of the following intra-corporate relations: (1) between and among members of the association; (2) between any and/or all of them and the association of which they are members; and (3) between the association and the state insofar as the controversy concerns its right to exist as a corporate entity. II. Yes. A defendant moving to dismiss a complaint on the ground of lack of cause of action is regarded as having hypothetically admitted all the factual averments in the complaint. The test of the sufficiency of the allegations constituting the cause of action is whether, admitting the facts alleged,

the court can render a valid judgment on the prayers. This test implies that the issue must be passed upon on the basis of the bare allegations in the complaint. The court does not inquire into the truth of such allegations and declare them to be false. To do so would constitute a procedural error and a denial of the plaintiffs right to due process. A complaint states a cause of action when it contains these three essential elements: (1) the legal right of the plaintiff, (2) the correlative obligation of the defendant, and (3) the act or omission of the defendant in violation of the said legal right. In the instant case, the records sufficiently establish a cause of action. First, the Complaint alleged that, under the Constitution, respondents had a right of free access to and from their residential abode. Second, under the law, petitioners have the obligation to respect this right. Third, such right was impaired by petitioners when private respondents were refused access through the Sta. Clara Subdivision, unless they showed their drivers license for identification. SUN INSURANCE OFFICE vs. HON. ASUNCION G.R. No. 79937-38 February 13, 1989 170 SCRA 274 GANCAYCO, J.: Facts: Sun insurance filed a case for the consignation of premiums on a fire insurance policy with a prayer for the judicial declaration of its nullity against private respondent Manuel Uy Po Tiong. Private respondent was declared in default for failure to file the required answer within the reglementary period. Meanwhile, the Respondent Manuel Tiong also filed a case against Sun Insurance for the refund of premiums and the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment, seeking the payment of actual, compensatory, moral, exemplary and liquidated damages, attorneys fees, expenses of litigation, and costs of suit, but the damages sought were not specifically stated in the prayer, although it may be inferred from the body of the complaint that it would amount to about P50M. The amount of only P210.00 was paid for the docket fee. Private respondent filed an amended complaint wherein in the prayer it is asked that he be awarded no less than P10M as actual and exemplary damages but in the body of the complaint the amount of his pecuniary claim is approximately P44,601,623.70. Said amended complaint was admitted and the private respondent was reassessed the additional docket fee of P39,786.00, which he paid. Later, private respondent filed a supplemental complaint alleging an additional claim of P20M in damages so that his total claim is approximately P64,601,620.70. Four months after, private respondent paid an additional docket fee of P80,396.00. After the promulgation of the decision of the respondent court wherein private respondent was ordered to be reassessed for additional docket fee, and during the pendency of this petition, private respondent paid an additional docket fee of P62,132.92. Although private respondent appears to have paid a total amount of P182,824.90 for the docket fee considering the total amount of his claim in the amended and supplemental complaint amounting to about P64,601,620.70, petitioner insists that private respondent must pay a docket fee of P257,810.49. Issue: Whether or not the court acquired jurisdiction when the correct and proper docket fee has not been paid?

Held: Yes. It is not simply the filing of the complaint or appropriate initiatory pleading, but the payment of the prescribed docket fee that vests a trial court with jurisdiction over the subject matter or nature of the action. Where the filing of the initiatory pleading is not accompanied by payment of the docket fee, the court may allow payment of the fee within a reasonable time but in no case beyond the applicable prescriptive or reglementary period. The same rule applies to permissive counterclaims, third party claims and similar pleadings, which shall not be considered filed until and unless the filing fee prescribed therefor is paid. The court may also allow payment of said fee within a reasonable time but also in no case beyond its applicable prescriptive or reglementary period. Where the trial court acquires jurisdiction over a claim by the filing of the appropriate pleading and payment of the prescribed filing fee but, subsequently, the judgment awards a claim not specified in the pleading, or if specified the same has been left for determination by the court, the additional filing fee therefor shall constitute a lien on the judgment. It shall be the responsibility of the Clerk of Court or his duly authorized deputy to enforce said lien and assess and collect the additional fee. BALLATAN vs. COURT OF APPEALS G.R. No. 125683 March 2, 1999 304 SCRA 34 PUNO, J.: Facts: Ballatan discovered encroachments made on her land when she constructed her house which was surveyed by Engineer Jose Quedding, the authorized surveyor of the Araneta Institute of Agriculture (AIA), the owner- developer of the subdivision project. Ballatan made a written demand on respondent to remove and dismantle their improvements on the said lot. Failing to agree amicably, petitioner Ballatan instituted against respondents Go a civil case for recovery of possession before the RTC. The Go s filed their Answer with Third-Party Complaint impleading as third-party defendants respondents Li Ching Yao, the AIA and Engineer Quedding. Judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiffs but the third-party complaint filed by third-party plaintiffs Go against third-party defendants was dismissed. Upon appeal by Go, the Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the third-party complaint against the AIA but reinstated the complaint against Li Ching Yao and Jose Quedding. Petitioners question the admission by the CA of the third-party complaint by respondents Go against the AIA, Jose Quedding and Li Ching Yao. Petitioners claim that the third-party complaint should not have been considered by the Court of Appeals for lack of jurisdiction due to third-party plaintiffs failure to pay the docket and filing fees before the trial court. Issue: Whether or not the Court of Appeals erred on question of law and gravely abused its discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction when it did not dismiss the third party complaint due to nonpayment of any filing of docket fee. Held: No. The Court of Appeals correctly dismissed the third-party complaint against AIA. The claim that the discrepancy in the lot areas was due to AIAs fault was not proved. The appellate court, however, found that it was the erroneous survey by Engineer Quedding that triggered these

discrepancies. And it was this survey that respondent Winston Go relied upon in constructing his house on his fathers land. He built his house in the belief that it was entirely within the parameters of his fathers land. In short, respondents Go had no knowledge that they encroached petitioners lot. They are deemed builders in good faith until the time petitioner Ballatan informed them of their encroachment on her property. The rule in this jurisdiction is that when an action is filed in court, the complaint must be accompanied the payment of the requisite docket and filing fees. In real actions, the docket and filing fees are based on the value of the property and the amount of damages claimed, if any If the complaint is filed but the fees are not paid at the time of filing, the court acquires jurisdiction upon full payment of the fees within a reasonable time as the court may grant, barring prescription. YUCHENGCO vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES G.R. No. 131127 June 8, 2000 333 SCRA 368 YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: Facts: The Republic of the Philippines filed with the Sandiganbayan a complaint for Rescission, Reconveyance, Restitution, Accounting and Damages against Ferdinand E. Marcos, Imelda Marcos and Prime Holdings, Inc. Alleging ownership of the properties of the Marcoses sought to be forfeited by the Republic, petitioner Yuchengco filed a motion for intervention and complaint-in-intervention on, impleading the Republic, the PCGG, Ferdinand E. Marcos, Imelda Marcos and PHI as defendantsin-intervention. After petitioners payment of the docket fee of P400.00, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution granting the motion for intervention and admitting the complaint-in-intervention, thereafter denying the Republics motion for reconsideration thereto. Petitioner moved for leave to admit amended complaint-in-intervention to implead the said claimants. This was admitted by the Sandiganbayan in open court and as a consequence, amended answers-in-intervention were filed by the Republic and the PHI. On the other hand, the Estate of Ramon Cojuangco and Imelda O. Cojuangco filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint-in-intervention on the ground of failure to state a cause of action and lack of jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over the case, inasmuch as petitioner did not pay the correct docket fees. They argued that the amended-complaint-in-intervention failed to state the amount of the claim or the value of the property subject of the complaint, in violation of the doctrine laid down in Manchester Development Corporation, et al. v. Court of Appeals and Section 7 (a) of Rule 141 of the Rules of Court. Further, they contend that as the action seeks to litigate the ownership and disposition of properties consisting of subject shares, the amount of docket fees must be based on the total value of the same. Petitioners opposed, maintaining that no docket fees are payable to the Sandiganbayan, pursuant to Section 11 of Presidential Decree No. 1606, as amended. Issue: Whether or not petitioner is barred from asserting his alleged causes of action against respondents by reason of non-payment of the proper docket fees Held: The ruling that the timely filing of correct docket fees is jurisdictional is all too familiar. It should be noted, however, that the pronouncements of the Court on the matter have always been

influenced by the peculiar legal and equitable circumstances surrounding each case. In the present case, a more liberal interpretation of the rules is called for considering that, unlike Manchester, private respondent demonstrated his willingness to abide by the rules by paying the additional docket fees as required. In the said case, the payment of the correct fee within "a reasonable time" but in no case beyond its applicable prescriptive or reglementary period was allowed. Two situations may arise. One is where the complaint or similar pleading sets out a claim purely for money or damages and there is no precise statement of the amounts being claimed. In this event the rule is that the pleading will "not be accepted nor admitted, or shall otherwise be expunged from the record." In other words, the complaint or pleading may be dismissed or the claims as to which the amounts are unspecified may be expunged, although as aforestated the Court may, on motion, permit amendment of the complaint and payment of the fees provided the claim has not in the meantime become time-barred. The other is where the pleading does specify the amount of every claim, but the fees paid are insufficient; and here again, the rule now is that the court may allow a reasonable time for the payment of the prescribed fees, or the balance thereof, and upon such payment, the defect is cured and the court may properly take cognizance of the action, unless in the meantime prescription has set in and consequently barred the right of action. VDA. DE MURGA vs. CHAN G.R. No. L-24680 October 7, 1968 25 SCRA 441 ANGELES, J.: Facts: Petitioner as lessor, entered into a contract of lease with respondent as lessee. Before the expiration of the ten-year period of the lease, there had been intercourse of communications between the lessor and the lessee for the renewal of the lease, but the parties failed to arrive at an agreement; hence, this action by the lessor against the lessee. A letter of demand to vacate the leased premises was sent to lessee as follows: Please be advised further that we reiterate our demand made to you in our registered letter dated February 4, 1959 (to vacate the leased premises) which was received by you on the 10th instant, unless you pay the amount of Six Hundred pesos (P600.00) or Seven Hundred pesos (P700.00) as new rental per our letter of January 19, 1959, before the expiration of the 15-day period granted you for vacating the same. Without any further definite demand on the lessee to vacate the premises, petitioner filed a complaint of unlawful detainer in the municipal court of Zamboanga City against the lessee, Juanito Chan, to eject the latter from the leased premises. The facts alleged in the complaint as cause of action, consisted in reproducing and reiterating the substance of the correspondence exchanged between lessor and lessee, as narrated above, and claiming that the possession of the lessee of the premises had become illegal by his failure and refusal to pay the increased new rental. For relief, the plaintiff prayed that the defendant be ordered to vacate the premises, and "TO PAY THE NEW RENTS DEMANDED OF P600.00 or P700.00 FROM FEBRUARY 1, 1959 MONTHLY AS THE CASE MAY BE." Attached to the complaint, as annexes thereto, were copies of the letters exchanged between the lessor and the lessee. Issue:

Whether or not the allegations in the complaint constitute a cause of action for unlawful detainer, and confer jurisdiction over the case to the municipal court (now city court) of Zamboanga City, under the provisions of Rule 70 of the Rules of Court and decisions interpreting the same Held: The notice giving lessee the alternative either to pay the increased rental or otherwise to vacate the land is not the demand contemplated by the Rules of Court in unlawful detainer cases. When after such notice, the lessee elects to stay, he thereby merely assumes the new rental and cannot be ejected until he defaults in said obligation and necessary demand is first made. In the case at bar, it clearly appears from the demand letter that the obligation to vacate the leased premises would be dependent on the failure of the lessee to agree to the new rent demanded by the lessor. As the lessee, however, was in the physical possession of the land by virtue of a prior contract of lease, and the demand was in the alternative imposing a new rental, even without taking into account the efficacy of the stipulation for an automatic renewal of the lease. Without any subsequent definite demand to vacate the premises, subject to no condition, the lessee did not incur in default which would give rise to a right on the part of the lessor to bring an action of unlawful detainer. Clause "7" of the contract of lease, meant an express grant to the lessee to renew the lease at his option, contrary to the claim of the lessor-appellee that there must be a prior mutual agreement of the parties. Clause "7" provides the happening of two eventualities at the expiration of the lease either the lessor may purchase the improvements constructed by the lessee on the land, or in case the lessor fails, for any cause or reason, to exercise the option to buy, the lease shall be deemed automatically renewed. The evidence has established that the lessor had refused to buy the buildings on the land. The statement in said clause "7" that in case of renewal the duration of the lease and the new rental to be paid shall be adjusted by the parties, is of no moment in the solution of the issue, whether or not the facts alleged in the complaint constitute a cause of action of unlawful detainer. The pleadings of the parties, and the annexes thereto, clearly show that the jugular vein of the controversy hinges on the correct interpretation of clause "7" of the contract of lease, a matter outside the jurisdiction of the municipal court. Inasmuch as the controversy hinges on the interpretation of clause "7" of the contract, that is, whether or not said clause contemplated an automatic renewal of the lease, the action was not for unlawful detainer but one not capable of pecuniary estimation and, therefore, beyond the competence of the municipal court. HEIRS OF VALERIANO CONCHA vs. SPOUSES GREGORIO LUMOCSO G.R. No. 158121 December 12, 2007 450 SCRA 1 PUNO, J.: Facts: This is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court on the decision and resolution of the Court of Appeals, annulling the resolutions and order of the Regional Trial Court of Dipolog City, Branch 9, in a civil case wherein petitioners filed for a complaint for Reconveyance and/or Annulment of Title with Damages against respondents, seeking to annul Free Patent No. (IX8)985 and the corresponding Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. P-22556 issued in the name of "Gregorio Lumocso" covering a certain parcel of land. Respondents moved for the dismissal of the respective cases against them on the same grounds of: (a) lack of jurisdiction of the RTC over the subject matters of the complaints; (b) failure to state

causes of action for reconveyance; (c) prescription; and (d) waiver, abandonment, laches and estoppel. On the issue of jurisdiction, respondents contended that the RTC has no jurisdiction over the complaints pursuant to Section 19(2) of Batas Pambansa Blg. (B.P.) 129, as amended by R.A. No. 7691, as in each case, the assessed values of the subject lots are less than P20,000.00. Petitioners opposed, contending that the instant cases involve actions the subject matters of which are incapable of pecuniary estimation which, under Section 19(1) of B.P. 129, as amended by R.A. 7691, fall within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the RTCs. They also contended that they have two main causes of action: for reconveyance and for recovery of the value of the trees felled by respondents. Hence, the totality of the claims must be considered which, if computed, allegedly falls within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the RTC. Issue: Whether or not the RTC has no jurisdiction over the complaints pursuant to Section 19(2) of Batas Pambansa Blg. (B.P.) 129, as amended by R.A. No. 7691, as in each case, the assessed values of the subject lots are less than P20,000.00 Held: Jurisdiction over the subject matter is the power to hear and determine cases of the general class to which the proceedings in question belong. It is conferred by law and an objection based on this ground cannot be waived by the parties. To determine whether a court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case, it is important to determine the nature of the cause of action and of the relief sought. The trial court correctly held that the instant cases involve actions for reconveyance. An action for reconveyance respects the decree of registration as incontrovertible but seeks the transfer of property, which has been wrongfully or erroneously registered in other persons' names, to its rightful and legal owners, or to those who claim to have a better right. There is no special ground for an action for reconveyance. It is enough that the aggrieved party has a legal claim on the property superior to that of the registered owner and that the property has not yet passed to the hands of an innocent purchaser for value. Being in the nature of actions for reconveyance or actions to remove cloud on one's title, the applicable law to determine which court has jurisdiction is Section 19(2) of B.P. 129, as amended by R.A. No. 7691, viz: Section 19. Jurisdiction in Civil Cases.-- Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction: (2) In all civil actions which involve the title to, or possession of, real property, or any interest therein, where the assessed value of the property involved exceeds Twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00) or for civil actions in Metro Manila, where such value exceeds Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) except actions for forcible entry into and unlawful detainer of lands or buildings, original jurisdiction over which is conferred upon the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts; In the cases at bar, it is undisputed that the subject lots are situated in Cogon, Dipolog City and their assessed values are less than P20,000.00. Hence, the MTC clearly has jurisdiction. Petitioners' contention that this case is one that is incapable of pecuniary estimation under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the RTC pursuant to Section 19(1) of B.P. 129 is erroneous. AGUSTIN vs. BACALAN G.R. No. L-46000 March 18, 1985 135 SCRA 340

GUTIERREZ, JR. , J.: Facts: The precursor of this case was a complaint for ejectment with damages filed by plaintiffappellant Agustin, as adininistrator of the Intestate Estate of Susana Agustin, against defendantappellee Bacalan, before the City Court of Cebu. Bacalan is a lessee of a one-door ground floor space in a building owned by the late Susana Agustin. Due to nonpayment of rentals despite repeated demands an action to eject him was filed wherein the City Court of Cebu rendered judgment dismissing the counterclaim and ordering the defendant to vacate the premises in question and to pay the plaintiff unpaid back rentals. From this decision, the defendant filed an appeal with Branch Ill of the Court of First Instance of Cebu which rendered judgment reversing that of the City Court. No appeal was taken by the plaintiff-appellant hence the decision lapsed into finality and became executory. A writ of execution was issued by virtue of which a notice to sell at public auction real properties belonging to the estate of Susana Agustin was issued by the Deputy Sheriff to satisfy judgment in the case. Plaintiff's counsel filed a motion for reconsideration, confessing his fault and giving the reason why he failed to perfect the appeal on time. The motion was denied. Thereafter, with the aid of new counsel, the plaintiff-appellant filed a complaint with Branch V, Court of First Instance of Cebu, against the defendant and the Deputy Sheriff of Cebu for the declaration of the nullity of the above-cited decision of Branch III, Court of First Instance of Cebu in the ejectment case on the ground that the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction was null and void. The court sustained the defendant. Issues: I. Whether or not the present action for the annulment of the judgment in the ejectment case is the proper remedy after it has become final and executory II. Whether or not the Court of First Instance may, in an appeal, award the defendant-appellee's counterclaim in an amount exceeding or beyond the jurisdiction of the court of origin Held: I. To this procedural dilemma, the solution lies in the determination of the validity of the judgment sought to be annulled, for against a void judgment, plaintiff-appellant's recourse would be proper. There is no question as to the validity of the court's decision with respect to the issue of physical possession of property, the defendant-appellee's right to the same having been upheld. However, the plaintiff-appellant assails the money judgment handed down by the court which granted damages to the defendant-appellee. By reason thereof, he seeks the declaration of the nullity of the entire judgment. Plaintiff-appellant loses sight of the fact that the money judgment was awarded the defendant-appellee in the concept of a counterclaim. A defending party may set up a claim for money or any other relief which he may have against the opposing party in a counterclaim (Section 6, Rule 6, Revised Rules of Court). And the court may, if warranted, grant actual, moral, or exemplary damages as prayed for. The grant of moral damages, in the case at bar, as a counterclaim, and not as damages for the unlawful detention of property must be upheld. However, the amount thereof is another matter. II. It is well-settled that a court has no jurisdiction to hear and determine a set-off or counterclaim in excess of its jurisdiction (Section 5, Rule 5, Revised Rules of Court; Ago v. Buslon, 10 SCRA 202). A counterclaim beyond the court's jurisdiction may only be pleaded by way of defense, the purpose of which, however, is only to defeat or weaken plaintiff's claim, but not to obtain affirmative relief (Section 5, Rule 5, Revised Rules of Court). Nevertheless, the defendant-appellee, in the case at bar, set up his claim in excess of the jurisdiction of the city court as a compulsory counterclaim. As a consequence, the doctrine enunciated under the case of One HeartClub, Inc. vs.

Court of Appeals, an appellant who files his brief and submits his case to the Court of Appeals for decision, without questioning the latter's jurisdiction until decision is rendered therein, should be considered as having voluntarily waives so much of his claim as would exceed the jurisdiction of said Appellate Court; for the reason that a contrary rule would encourage the undesirable practice of appellants submitting their cases for decision to the Court of Appeals in expectation of favorable judgment, but with intent of attacking its jurisdiction should the decision be unfavorable. The rule is that a counterclaim not presented in the inferior court cannot be entertained in the Court of First Instance on appeal. The amount of judgment, therefore, obtained by the defendantappellee on appeal, cannot exceed the jurisdiction of the court in which the action began. Since the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the defendant's counterclaim in excess of the jurisdictional amount, the appellate court, likewise, acquired no jurisdiction over the same by its decisions or otherwise. Appellate jurisdiction being not only a continuation of the exercise of the same judicial power which has been executed in the court of original jurisdiction, also presupposes that the original and appellate courts are capable of participating in the exercise of the same judicial power. MANGALIAG vs. CATUBIG G.R. No. 143951 October 25, 2005 474 SCRA 153 AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: Facts: Private respondent Apolinario Serquina, Jr. filed before the RTC a complaint for damages against petitioners Norma Mangaliag and Narciso Solano for failure to exercise extraordinary diligence in the selection of her employee (truck driver) resulting to serious injuries and permanent deformities of private respondent and his co-passengers therein. Petitioners filed a motion to dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the claim, alleging that the Municipal Trial Court has jurisdiction over the case since the principal amount prayed for, in the amount of P71,392.00, falls within its jurisdiction. Issue: In an action for recovery of damages, does the amount of actual damages prayed for in the complaint provide the sole test for determining the courts jurisdiction, or is the total amount of all the damages claimed, regardless of kind and nature, such as moral, exemplary, nominal damages, and attorneys fees, etc., to be computed collectively with the actual damages to determine what court whether the MTC or the RTC has jurisdiction over the action? Held: The judicial hierarchy of courts is not an iron-clad rule. It generally applies to cases involving warring factual allegations. For this reason, litigants are required to repair to the trial courts at the first instance to determine the truth or falsity of these contending allegations on the basis of the evidence of the parties. Cases which depend on disputed facts for decision cannot be brought immediately before appellate courts as they are not triers of facts. Therefore, a strict application of the rule of hierarchy of courts is not necessary when the cases brought before the appellate courts do not involve factual but legal questions. The well-entrenched principle is that the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter of the action is determined by the material allegations of the complaint and the law, irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover all or some of the claims or reliefs sought therein. In the

present case, the allegations in the complaint plainly show that private respondent seeks to recover not only his medical expenses, lost income but also damages for physical suffering and mental anguish due to permanent facial deformity from injuries sustained in the vehicular accident. Viewed as an action for quasi-delict, the present case falls squarely within the purview of Article 2219 (2), which provides for the payment of moral damages in cases of quasi-delict causing physical injuries. Private respondents claim for moral damages of P500,000.00 cannot be considered as merely incidental to or a consequence of the claim for actual damages. It is a separate and distinct cause of action or an independent actionable tort. It springs from the right of a person to the physical integrity of his or her body, and if that integrity is violated, damages are due and assessable Hence, the demand for moral damages must be considered as a separate cause of action, independent of the claim for actual damages and must be included in determining the jurisdictional amount, in clear consonance with paragraph 2 of Administrative Circular No. 09-94. ONG YU vs. PACLEB G.R. No. 172172 February 24, 2009 580 SCRA 197 PUNO, C.J.: Facts: The present action is an action for specific performance and damages filed by petitioner spouses against Javier to compel performance of the latters undertakings under their Contract to Sell. A decision was rendered therein at the RTC acknowledging Langcaan, not a party in the case, as the rightful owner of the property in dispute. Petitioner spouses argue that the decision of the Regional Trial Court as to the rightful owner of the Langcaan Property is conclusive and binding upon respondent even if the latter was not a party thereto since it involved the question of possession and ownership of real property, and is thus not merely an action in personam but an action quasi in rem. Issue: Whether or not the present action is a proceeding in rem or in personam Held: The settled rule is that the aim and object of an action determine its character. Whether a proceeding is in rem, or in personam, or quasi in rem for that matter, is determined by its nature and purpose, and by these only. A proceeding in personam is a proceeding to enforce personal rights and obligations brought against the person and is based on the jurisdiction of the person, although it may involve his right to, or the exercise of ownership of, specific property, or seek to compel him to control or dispose of it in accordance with the mandate of the court. The purpose of a proceeding in personam is to impose, through the judgment of a court, some responsibility or liability directly upon the person of the defendant. Of this character are suits to compel a defendant to specifically perform some act or actions to fasten a pecuniary liability on him. An action in personam is said to be one which has for its object a judgment against the person, as distinguished from a judgment against the propriety to determine its state. It has been held that an action in personam is a proceeding to enforce personal rights or obligations; such action is brought against the person. On the other hand, a proceeding quasi in rem is one brought against persons seeking to subject the property of such persons to the discharge of the claims assailed. In an action quasi in rem, an individual is named as defendant and the purpose of the proceeding is to subject his interests therein to

the obligation or loan burdening the property. Actions quasi in rem deal with the status, ownership or liability of a particular property but which are intended to operate on these questions only as between the particular parties to the proceedings and not to ascertain or cut off the rights or interests of all possible claimants. The judgments therein are binding only upon the parties who joined in the action. The present actions object is to compel Javier to accept the full payment of the purchase price, and to execute a deed of absolute sale over the Langcaan Property in their favor. The obligations of Javier under the contract to sell attach to him alone, and do not burden the Langcaan Property. Being a judgment in personam, the civil case is binding only upon the parties properly impleaded therein and duly heard or given an opportunity to be heard. Therefore, it cannot bind respondent since he was not a party therein. Neither can respondent be considered as privy thereto since his signature and that of his late first wife, Angelita Chan, were forged in the deed of sale. DOMAGAS vs. JENSEN G.R. No. 158407 January 17, 2005 448 SCRA 663 CALLEJO, SR., J.: Facts: Domagas filed for a forcible entry case against Jensen. Summons and complaint were not served on respondent because the latter was apparently out of the country but it was received by respondents brother Oscar who was then at the respondents house. The trial court rendered a decision in favor of petitioner. Respondent did not appeal. August 20, 2000, respondent filed a complaint against petitioner for the annulment of the decision of MTC since the service of summons was ineffective, the respondent being out of the country. The RTC decided in favor of Jensen since there was no valid service of the complaint and summons. The CA affirmed the decision, ruling that the case was an ejectment case which is an action quasi in rem. Issue: Whether or not the action of petitioner in the MTC against respondent is an action in personam or quasi in rem Held: The action of the petitioner fro forcible entry is a real action and one in personam. The settled rule is that the aim and object of an action determine its character. Whether a proceeding is in rem or in personam or in quasi in rem is determined by its nature and purpose, and by these only. A proceeding in personam is a proceeding to enforce personal rights and obligations brought against the person and is based on the jurisdiction of the person, although it may involve his right, or the exercise of ownership of, specific property, or seek to compel him to control or dispose of it in accordance with the mandate of the court. The purpose of a proceeding in personam is to impose, through the judgment of a court, some responsibility or liability directly upon the person of the defendant. Of this character are suits to compel a defendant to specifically perform some act or actions to fasten a pecuniary liability on him. An action in personam is said to be one which has for its object a judgment against a person, as distinguished from a judgment against the proprietary to determine its state. Actions for recovery of real property are in personam. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. COURT OF APPEALS

G.R. No. 122269 September 30, 1999 315 SCRA 600 MENDOZA, J.: Facts: Lot 3 forms part of a parcel of land declared by the Supreme Court as belonging to the public domain, classified/zonified land available for fishpond development. The lot was leased to Mr. Porfirio Morado by the Republic of the Philippines, represented by the Secretary of Agriculture, for a period of 25 years or up to December 31, 2013, under Fishpond Lease Agreement. On July 6, 1988, however, Zenaida Bustria filed a complaint against Porfirio Morado in the Regional Trial Court of Alaminos, Pangasinan for ownership and possession over the lot in question. Herein petitioner, the Republic of the Philippines, was not made a party to that suit.Due, however, to Porfirio Morados and his counsels failure to appear at the pre-trial and subsequent court hearings, the trial court subsequently declared Porfirio Morado as in default. Respondent Judge rendered a decision declaring the plaintiff as the exclusive and absolute owner of the land in question. Petitioner then filed with the CA a petition for the annulment of the trial courts decision. Petitioner alleged that since the land formed part of the public domain, the BFAR has jurisdiction over its disposition in accordance with P.D. No. 704. The CA rendered a decision dismissing the petition. Issues: I. Whether or not petitioner has personality to bring the action II. Whether or not the decision of the RTC is void for want of jurisdiction or for lack of due process of law which would warrant the annulment of the judgment Held: I. Yes. A party claiming ownership of a parcel of land which is the subject of foreclosure proceedings has a sufficient interest to bring an action for annulment of the judgment rendered in the foreclosure proceedings even though it was not a party in such proceedings. A person need not be a party to the judgment sought to be annulled. What is essential is that he can prove his allegation that the judgment was obtained by the use of fraud and collusion and he would be adversely affected thereby. The State clearly stands to be adversely affected by the trial courts disposition of inalienable public land. The land involved in this case was classified as public land suitable for fishpond development. In controversies involving the disposition of public land, the burden of overcoming the presumption of state ownership of lands of the public domain lies upon the private claimant. Private respondents have not discharged this burden. II. Yes. The fact that the land in dispute was transformed into a fully developed fishpond does not mean that it has lost its character as one declared suitable for fishpond purposes under the decree. By applying for a fishpond permit with BFAR, Isidro Bautista admitted the character of the land as one suitable for fishpond development since the disposition of such lands is vested in the BFAR. Consequently, private respondents, as his successors-in-interests, are estopped from claiming otherwise. It is settled under the Public Land Law that alienable public land held by a possessor, personally or through his predecessor-in-interest, openly, continuously, and exclusively for 30 years is ipso jure converted to private property by the mere lapse of time. However, only public lands

classified as agricultural are alienable. Lands declared for fishery purposes are not alienable and their possession, no matter how long continued, cannot ripen into ownership. Since the disposition of lands declared suitable for fishpond purposes fall within the jurisdiction of the BFAR, in accordance with P.D. No 704, 4, the trial courts decision is null and void. The trial court has no jurisdiction to make a disposition of inalienable public land. TAMANO vs. ORTIZ G.R. No. 126603 June 29, 1998 291 SCRA 584 BELLOSILLO, J.: Facts: The case involves a dispute as to the validity of the marriage of Senator Tamano and Estrellita whom the former married in civil rites prior to his death. Tamanos former marriage with Zorayda in civil rites supposedly remained valid and subsisting until his death. As a consequence, private respondent Zorayda joined by her son, Adib, filed a Complaint for Declaration of Nullify of Marriage of Tamano and Estrellita on the ground that it was bigamous. Estrellita filed a motion to dismiss alleging that the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City was without jurisdiction over the subject and nature of the action. She alleged that "only a party to the marriage" could file an action for annulment of marriage against the other spouse. Petitioner likewise contended that since Tamano and Zorayda were both Muslims and married in Muslim rites the jurisdiction to hear and try the instant case was vested in the shari'a courts pursuant to Art. 155 of the Code of Muslim Personal Laws. Issue: Whether or not it is the Shari'a court and not the Regional Trial Court which has jurisdiction over the subject and nature of the action Held: Under The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, Regional Trial Courts have jurisdiction over all actions involving the contract of marriage and marital relations. Personal actions, such as the instant complaint for declaration of nullity of marriage, may be commenced and tried where the plaintiff or any of the principal plaintiffs resides, or where the defendant or any of the principal defendants resides, at the election of the plaintiff. There should be no question by now that what determines the nature of an action and correspondingly the court which has jurisdiction over it are the allegations made by the plaintiff in this case. In the complaint for declaration of nullity of marriage filed by private respondents herein, it was alleged that Estrellita and Tamano were married in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Code. Never was it mentioned that Estrellita and Tamano were married under Muslim laws or PD No. 1083. Interestingly, Estrellita never stated in her Motion to Dismiss that she and Tamano were married under Muslim laws. That she was in fact married to Tamano under Muslim laws was first mentioned only in her Motion for Reconsideration. Nevertheless, the Regional Trial Court was not divested of jurisdiction to hear and try the instant case despite the allegation in the Motion for Reconsideration that Estrellita and Tamano were likewise married in Muslim rites. This is because a court's jurisdiction cannot be made to depend upon defenses set up in the answer, in a motion to dismiss, or in a motion for reconsideration, but only upon the allegations of the complaint. Jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case is determined from the

allegations of the complaint as the latter comprises a concise statement of the ultimate facts constituting the plaintiff's causes of action. Article 13 of PD No. 1083 does not provide for a situation where the parties were married both in civil and Muslim rites. Consequently, the shari'a courts are not vested with original and exclusive jurisdiction when it comes to marriages celebrated under both civil and Muslim laws. Consequently, the Regional Trial Courts are not divested of their general original jurisdiction under Sec. 19, par. (6) of BP Blg. 129 which provides Sec. 19. Jurisdiction in Civil Cases. Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction: . . . (6) In all cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any court, tribunal, person or body exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions . . . LA TONDEA DISTILLERS vs. PONFERRADA G.R. No. 109656 November 21, 1996 264 SCRA 540 FRANCISCO, J.: Facts: Due to a breach of a contract to sell a parcel of land between private respondents (the buyer thereof) and defendants, the former filed before the RTC of Bacolod City an action for specific performance with damages. A notice of lis pendens was annotated on the defendants title although the same was cancelled upon private respondents filing of a bond. Pending trial at the lower court, petitioner bought the said lot from defendants and as a result, private respondents amended their complaint and impleaded petitioner as an additional defendant alleging that petitioner was not a buyer in good faith. Subsequently, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint on two grounds: no cause of action and improper venue. However, the lower court denied the motion. Three months later, petitioner filed before the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 assailing the denial of the motion. Issues: Whether or not the dismissal of the motion is warranted Held: Yes. First, an order denying a motion to dismiss is only interlocutory which is neither appealable until final judgment, nor could it generally be assailed on certiorari. The remedy of the aggrieved party is to file an answer pursuant to Sec. 4, Rule 16, and interpose as defenses, the objections raised in his motion to dismiss, proceed to trial, and in case of an adverse decision, elevate the whole case by appeal in due time. Second, the extraordinary remedy of certiorari can be availed of only if the denial of the motion constitutes grave abuse of discretion. In the case at bar, the lower court did not abuse its discretion in deferring action on the motion. Section 3 of Rule 16 10 sanctions deferment of hearing on the motion "until the trial if the ground alleged does not appear to be indubitable." Clearly respondent judge had doubts on the allegation of petitioner's good faith. This is a question of fact which necessitates presentation of evidence and is certainly far from indubitable. It is within the discretion of the court to defer action if the ground alleged does not appear to be indubitable and that deferment is only deemed a provisional denial of the motion to dismiss.

Finally, petitioners argument that venue should be lodged in Bago City where the lot is situated is untenable. The complaint is one for "specific performance with damages" involving real property, and as such, is held to be a personal action, which may be filed in the proper court where the party resides. Not being an action involving title to or ownership of real property, venue, in this case, was not improperly laid before the RTC of Bacolod City. Private respondents do not claim ownership of the lot but in fact recognized title of defendants by annotating a notice of lis pendens. CABUTIHAN vs. LANDCENTER CONSTRUCTION G.R. No. 146594 June 10, 2002 383 SCRA 353 PANGANIBAN, J.: Facts: Respondent Landcenter Construction & Development Corporation, represented by Wilfredo B.Maghuyop entered into an Agreement with Petitioner Rebecca Cabutihan for the financing, facilitation and arrangements of the recovery of a certain property. Consequently, this resulted into petitioners filing of a complaint with the RTC against respondent for a breach of the contract. The RTC ruled: (1) that the allegations in the Complaint show that its primary objective was to recover real property as may be shown in the prayer which was to compel respondent to execute the necessary deeds of transfer and conveyance of a portion of the property corresponding to 36.5 percent of its total area or, in the alternative, to hold respondent liable for the value of the said portion, based on the prevailing market price; (2) since the suit would affect the title to the property, it should have been instituted in the trial court where the property was situated; (3) the action was filed only by petitioner with no allegation that she had been authorized by Forro, Radan and Anave to represent their respective shares in the compensation; and (4) since this case was an action in rem, it was imperative for petitioner to pay the appropriate docket or filing fees equivalent to the pecuniary value of her claim, a duty she failed to discharge. Issues: Whether or not the RTC erred in dismissing the Complaint on the grounds of: I. Improper venue; II. Non-joinder of necessary parties, and III. Non-payment of proper docket fees Held: I. Yes. Sections 1 and 2, Rule 4 of the Rules of Court provide an answer to the issue of venue. Actions affecting title to or possession of real property or an interest therein (real actions), shall be commenced and tried in the proper court that has territorial jurisdiction over the area where the real property is situated. On the other hand, all other actions, (personal actions) shall be commenced and tried in the proper courts where the plaintiff or any of the principal plaintiffs resides or where the defendant or any of the principal defendants resides. Since the action is in personam, not in rem, the venue was properly laid. The fact that "she ultimately sought the conveyance of real property" not located in the territorial jurisdiction of the RTC of Pasig is an anticipated consequence and beyond the cause for which the action was instituted. Petitioner seeks payment of her services in accordance with the undertaking the parties signed. Breach of contract gives rise to a cause of action for specific

performance or for rescission. If petitioner had filed an action in rem for the conveyance of real property, the dismissal of the case would have been proper on the ground of lack of cause of action. II. Yes. Neither a misjoinder nor a non-joinder of parties is a ground for the dismissal of an action. Parties may be dropped or added by order of the court, on motion of any party or on the court's own initiative at any stage of the action. The RTC should have ordered the joinder of such party, and noncompliance with the said order would have been ground for dismissal of the action. Although the Complaint prayed for the conveyance of the whole 36.5 percent claim without impleading the companions of petitioner as party-litigants, the RTC could have separately proceeded with the case as far as her 20 percent share in the claim was concerned, independent of the other 16.5 percent. This fact means that her companions are not indispensable parties without whom no final determination can be had. At best, they are mere necessary parties who ought to be impleaded for a complete determination or settlement of the claim subject of the action. The non-inclusion of a necessary party does not prevent the court from proceeding with the action, and the judgment rendered therein shall be without prejudice to the rights of such party. III. Yes. The trial court and respondent used technicalities to avoid the resolution of the case and to trifle with the law. True, Section 5, Rule 141 of the Rules of Court requires that the assessed value of the real estate, subject of an action, should be considered in computing the filing fees. But the Court has already clarified that the Rule does not apply to an action for specific performance, which is classified as an action not capable of pecuniary estimation. Besides, as the Court had earlier held, where the filing of the initiatory pleading is not accompanied by payment of the docket fee, the court may allow payment of the fee within a reasonable time but in no case beyond the applicable prescriptive or reglementary period. GOCHAN vs. GOCHAN G.R. No. 146089 December 13 2001 372 SCRA 356 YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: Facts: Respondents were stockholders of the Felix Gochan and Sons Realty Corporation and the Mactan Realty Development Corporation. Respondents offered to sell their shares in the two corporations to the individual petitioners, the heirs of the late Ambassador Esteban Gochan, for and in consideration of the sum of P200,000,000.00. Petitioners accepted and paid the said amount to respondents who issued to petitioners the necessary Receipts, as well as a Release, Waiver and Quitclaim, wherein they undertook that they would not initiate any suit, action or complaint against petitioners for whatever reason or purpose. In turn, the individual petitioners executed a promissory note, undertaking not to divulge the actual consideration they paid for the shares of stock, through Crispo Gochan, Jr. in his own handwriting and had the same signed by Felix Gochan, III, Louise Gochan and Esteban Gochan, Jr. However, unbeknown to petitioners, Crispo Gochan, Jr. inserted in the promissory note a phrase that says, Said amount is in partial consideration of the sale. Respondents filed a complaint against petitioners for specific performance and damages with the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, Branch 11claiming that they are entitled to the conveyance of the subject properties, in addition to the amount of P200,000,000.00, which they acknowledge to have received from petitioners as well as damages.

Petitioners filed with the trial court a motion for a preliminary hearing on the affirmative defenses which the trial court denied on the ground that the said motion lies in the discretion of the court under Section 6 of Rule 16 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Petitioners thus filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals which rendered a decision dismissing the petition on the ground that respondent court did not commit grave abuse of discretion, tantamount to lack or in excess of jurisdiction in denying the motion to hear the affirmative defenses. Issues: I. Whether or not the correct docket fees have been paid II. Whether or not petitioners are guilty of forum-shopping when they filed two petitions for certiorari with the Court of Appeals and if so, that the Court of Appeals erred in dismissing the petition for certiorari Held: I. The rule is well-settled that the court acquires jurisdiction over any case only upon the payment of the prescribed docket fees. It is not simply the filing of the complaint or appropriate initiatory pleading, but the payment of the prescribed docket fee that vests a trial court with jurisdiction over the subject matter or nature of the action. It is necessary to determine the true nature of the complaint in order to resolve the issue of whether or not respondents paid the correct amount of docket fees therefor. The dictum adhered to is that the nature of an action is determined by the allegations in the body of the pleading or complaint itself, rather than by its title or heading. The caption of the complaint below was denominated as one for specific performance and damages. The relief sought, however, is the conveyance or transfer of real property, or ultimately, the execution of deeds of conveyance in their favor of the real properties enumerated in the provisional memorandum of agreement. Under these circumstances, the case herein was actually a real action, affecting as it does title to or possession of real property. A real action is one where the plaintiff seeks the recovery of real property or, as indicated in section 2(a) of Rule 4 (now Section 1, Rule 4 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure) a real action is an action affecting title to or recovery of possession of real property. It has also been held that where a complaint is entitled as one for specific performance but nonetheless prays for the issuance of a deed of sale for a parcel of land, its primary objective and nature is one to recover the parcel of land itself and, thus, is deemed a real action. In such a case, the action must be filed in the proper court where the property is located. In the case at bar, therefore, the complaint filed with the trial court was in the nature of a real action, although ostensibly denominated as one for specific performance. Consequently, the basis for determining the correct docket fees shall be the assessed value of the property, or the estimated value thereof as alleged by the claimant. Rule 141, Section 7, of the Rules of Court, as amended by A.M. No. 00-2-01-SC, provides: Section 7. Clerks of Regional Trial Courts. - x x x (b) xxx In a real action, the assessed value of the property, or if there is none, the estimated value thereof shall be alleged by the claimant and shall be the basis in computing the fees. II. Petitioners are not guilty of forum-shopping. The deplorable practice of forum-shopping is resorted to by litigants who, for the purpose of obtaining the same relief, resort to two different fora to increase his or her chances of obtaining a favorable judgment in either one. Ultimately, what is truly important to consider in determining whether forum-shopping exists or not is the vexation caused the courts and the parties-litigant by a person who asks different courts and/or administrative agencies to rule on the same or related causes and/or grant the same or substantially the same reliefs, in the process

creating the possibility of conflicting decisions being rendered by the different fora upon the same issues. In sum, two different orders were questioned, two distinct causes of action and issues were raised, and two objectives were sought; thus, forum shopping cannot be said to exist in the case at bar.

TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Neypes vs. Court of Appeals ......... 2. Pinga vs. Heirs of Heirs of Santiago..... 3. Baritua vs. Mercader. 4. Abrenica vs. Abrenica .. 5. Paloma vs. Mora .. 6. Quesada vs. Department of Justice .. 7. Ng Bung Tiong vs. Judge Sayo.. 8. Ella vs. Salonga 9. Villamor vs. Salas.. 10. Dela Rosa vs. Roldan . 11. Tijam vs. Sibonghanoy 12. Calimlim vs. Ramirez.. 13. Dela Cruz vs. Court of Appeals... 14. Sta. Clara Homeowners vs. Gaston. 15. Sun Insurance Office vs. Asuncion.. 16. Ballatan vs. Court of Appeals. 17. Yuchengco vs. Republic of the Philippines. 18. Vda. De Murga vs. Chan 19. Heirs of Valeriano Concha vs. Spouses Lumocso.. 20. Agustin vs. Bacalan. 21. Mangaliag vs. Catubig 22. Yu vs. Pacleb 23. Domagas vs. Jensen. 24. Republic of the Philippines vs. Court of Appeals 25. Tamano vs. Ortiz. 26. La Todena Distillers vs. Ponferrada. 27. Cabutihan vs. Landcenter Construction.. 28. Gochan vs. Gochan.