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Philippine Amanah Bank (Now Al-manah Islamic Investment Bank of the

Philippines) v. Evangelista Contreras

G.R. 173168
Sept. 29, 2014

On July 21, 1981, the respondent filed a complaint for annulment of real estate mortgage,
cancellation of original certificate of title, reconveyance, recovery of possession and damages before
the RTC of Cagayan de Oro City against spouses Calinico and Elnora Ilogon and the petitioner bank.
Respondent alleged that he was the owner of Cadastral Lot No. 19316-D, a 640 square meter parcel of
land located in Cagayan de Oro City. On August 1, 1980, the respondent went to the house of his
brother-in-law, Calinico Ilogon, to seek assistance in obtaining a loan from the petitioner bank since
he (Calinico) is a friend of the banks Chief of the Loan Division. The respondent brought with him
the documents of the subject lot, and told Calinico that he was willing to mortgage this property as
security for the loan. Three days later, Calinico told the respondent that the petitioner bank could grant
a loan up to P200,000.00 if the subject property would be titled.
On August 3, 1980, the respondent and Calinico, upon the suggestion of the Chief of the petitioner
banks Loan Division, entered into a Deed of Confirmation of Sale under which they transferred the
title of the land to Calinico who, in turn, mortgaged it to the petitioner bank. On October 25, 1980,
Calinico and the respondent executed an Agreement stating, among others, that the deed of sale they
executed was for the purpose of securing a loan with the petitioner bank.
On May 20, 1981, the respondent wrote a letter and went to the petitioner bank directing the latters
manager not to release the loan to Calinico. The next day, the respondent again went to the petitioner
bank, but was informed that the loaned amount of P50,000 had already been given to Calinico earlier
that morning. The respondent thereafter learned that the petitioner released another P50,000 as loan to
That petitioner bank subsequently extrajudicially foreclosed the mortgage due to the Ilogon spouses
failure to pay the loan. On January 9, 1989, the Provincial Sheriff sold the mortgaged property at
public auction to the petitioner bank as the highest bidder. On October 31, 1989, the Provincial Sheriff
issued a Certificate of Sale in favor of the petitioner bank.
For the mortgagors failure to redeem the mortgaged property within the period prescribed by law, the
title to the property was consolidated in the petitioner bank's name. Consequently, Original Certificate
of Title (OCT) No. P-20348 was cancelled and TCT No. T-63331was issued in the petitioner bank's
The RTC dismissed the complaint for lack of merit. It held that the petitioner bank was not aware of
the agreement between the respondent and the Ilogon spouses, and that the respondent failed to
present any evidence as basis to annul the mortgage contract. The respondent moved to reconsider this
decision, but the RTC denied his motion for having been filed out of time. Accordingly, the RTC
declared its September 13, 1993 decision final and executory.
The respondent appealed to the CA. The CA set aside the RTCs July 1, 1994 order, and declared the
real estate mortgage null and void. It also ordered the petitioner bank to reconvey the land covered by
TCT No. T-63331 to the respondent within sixty (60) days from entry of judgment.
It further directed the petitioner bank to pay the equivalent monetary value of the land based on the
price of the property at the public auction, with 6% interest per annum from the date of the sheriffs
auction sale or the amount of the sale of the lot by the bank to third persons plus 6% interest per
annum, in the event that the property had already been conveyed by the petitioner bank to third

The CA held that while the respondent was late in filing his motion for reconsideration, the rules of
procedure should be relaxed since the matters he raised in his petition were meritorious.
The Petition for Review on Certiorari
In the present petition, the petitioner bank alleged that the respondents petition for relief from
judgment is unmeritorious as it was filed only after the lapse of ninety-one (91) days from his
(respondents) notice of the adverse judgment. The bank also claimed that the failure of the
respondents counsel to file a timely motion for reconsideration from the RTCs judgment did not
constitute excusable negligence so as to warrant the granting of the respondents petition.
The petitioner bank further maintained that the real estate mortgage over the land was valid because:
(1) its validity was never raised as an issue before the trial court; and (2) the petitioner bank is
exempted from the 5-year prohibitory period since it is a Government branch, unit or institution.
In his comment, the respondent, represented by his heirs, maintained that his counsels negligence was
excusable, and that the petitioner bank was a mortgagee in bad faith.
After due consideration, we resolve to grant the petition.
RTC judgment already final and executory
We note at the outset that the RTCs September 13, 1993 decision which dismissed the respondents
complaint for annulment of real estate mortgage, cancellation of original certificate of title,
reconveyance, recovery of possession and damages had already become final and executory due to the
failure of his counsel to file a timely motion for reconsideration. Both the law and jurisprudence hold
that the perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period prescribed by law is mandatory.
Failure to conform to the rules on appeal renders the judgment final, executory and unappealable.
The Petition for Relief was filed out of time
We sustain the trial courts denial of the respondents petition for relief from judgment to challenge its
final and executory decision.
A party filing a petition for relief from judgment must strictly comply with two (2) reglementary
periods: first, the petition must be filed within sixty (60) days from knowledge of the judgment, order
or other proceeding to be set aside; and second, within a fixed period of six (6) months from entry of
such judgment, order or other proceeding. Strict compliance with these periods is required because a
petition for relief from judgment is a final act of liberality on the part of the State, which remedy
cannot be allowed to erode any further the fundamental principle that a judgment, order or proceeding
must, at some definite time, attain finality in order to put an end to litigation.
In the present case, the respondents counsel received a copy of the RTCs decision dated September
13, 1993 on September 15, 1993. Thus, the petition for relief from judgment should have been filed on
or before November 14, 1993. However, the records showed that the petition was filed only on
December 15, 1993, or ninety-one (91) days later.

The respondents cited circumstances are not the proper subject of a petition for relief from the

Section 1, Rule 38 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides that [w]hen a judgment or final order
is entered, or any other proceeding is thereafter taken against a party in any court through fraud,
accident, mistake, or excusable negligence, he may file a petition in the same court and in the same
case praying that the judgment, order or proceeding be set aside.
Relief from judgment is a remedy provided by law to any person against whom a decision or order is
entered through fraud, accident, mistake, or excusable negligence. It is a remedy, equitable in
character, that is allowed only in exceptional cases when there is no other available or adequate
remedy. When a party has another remedy available to him, which may either be a motion for new
trial or appeal from an adverse decision of the trial court, and he was not prevented by fraud, accident,
mistake, or excusable negligence from filing such motion or taking such appeal, he cannot avail of the
remedy of petition for relief.17crala
In the present case, the respondent alleged that he had been prevented from moving for the timely
reconsideration of the trial courts decision or to appeal this decision on time due to the death of his
wife on September 13, 1993. He explained that his counsel, Atty. Valmorida, was the brother of his
deceased wife, and could not bear to tell him that he had lost his case in the RTC given the
circumstances. Atty. Valmorida only informed him of the courts adverse decision thirty-seven (37)
days after his (Atty. Valmoria's) receipt of the adverse decision. This circumstance, according to the
respondent, was a clear case of excusable negligence on the part of his counsel, warranting relief from
We are aware of the rule that banks are expected to exercise more care and prudence than private
individuals in their dealings, even those involving registered lands, since their business is impressed
with public interest. The rule that persons dealing with registered lands can rely solely on the
certificate of title does not apply to banks. 19 Simply put, the ascertainment of the status or condition of
a property offered to it as security for a loan must be a standard and indispensable part of a banks
In the present case, however, nothing in the documents presented by Calinico would arouse the
suspicion of the petitioner bank to prompt a more extensive inquiry. When the Ilogon spouses applied
for a loan, they presented as collateral a parcel of land evidenced by OCT No. P-2034 issued by the
Office of the Register of Deeds of Cagayan de Oro, and registered in the name of Calinico. This
document did not contain any inscription or annotation indicating that the respondent was the owner
or that he has any interest in the subject land. In fact, the respondent admitted that there was no
encumbrance annotated on Calinicos title at the time of the latters loan application. Any private
arrangement between Calinico and the respondent regarding the proceeds of the loan was not the
concern of the petitioner bank, as it was not a privy to this agreement. If Calinico violated the terms of
his agreement with the respondent on the turn-over of the proceeds of the loan, then the latter's proper
recourse was to file the appropriate criminal action in court.
The respondent also failed to prove its allegation that the petitioner bank knew, thru a letter sent by the
formers lawyer, Atty. Crisanto Mutya, Jr., that the sale of the subject land between him and Calinico
was made only for loan purposes, and that failure of Calinico to turn over the proceeds of the loan will
invalidate the sale. Clearly, the respondent testified on matters not of his own personal knowledge,
hence hearsay. Corollarily, the respondents son was never presented in court. Even assuming, for the
sake of argument, that the petitioner bank received a copy of Atty. Mutyas letter, 22 it was still wellwithin its discretion to grant or deny the loan application after evaluating the documents submitted for
loan applicant. As earlier stated, OCT No. P-2034 issued in Calinicos favor was free from any
encumbrances. The petitioner bank is not anymore privy to whatever arrangements the owner entered
into regarding the proceeds of the loan.

Finally, we point out that the petitioner bank is a government owned or controlled corporation. While
OCT No. P-2034 (issued in favor of Calinico by virtue of the deed of confirmation of sale) contained a
prohibition against the alienation and encumbrance of the subject land within five (5) years from the
date of the patent, the CA failed to mention that by the express wordings of the OCT itself, the
prohibition does not cover the alienation and encumbrance in favor of the Government or any of its
branches, units or institutions.cralawlaw

Crisostomo Aquino v. Municipality of Malay

G.R. 211356
Sept. 29, 2014
Petitioner is the president and chief executive officer of Boracay Island West Cove Management
Philippines, Inc. (Boracay West Cove). On January 7, 2010, the company applied for a zoning
compliance with the municipal government of Malay, Aklan. While the company was already
operating a resort in the area, the application sought the issuance of a building permit covering the
construction of a three-storey hotel over a parcel of land measuring 998 sqm. located in Sitio Diniwid,
Barangay Balagab, Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan, which is covered by a Forest Land Use Agreement
for Tourism Purposes (FLAgT) issued by the DENR in favor of Boracay West Cove.
Through a Decision on Zoning, the Municipal Zoning Administrator denied petitioners application on
the ground that the proposed construction site was within the no build zone demarcated in the
Ordinance. As provided in the Ordinance:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
SECTION 2. Definition of Terms. As used in this Ordinance, the following words, terms and phrases
shall mean as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
(b) No Build Zone the space twenty-five (25) meters from the edge of the mean high water mark
measured inland;
SECTION 3. No building or structure of any kind whether temporary or permanent shall be allowed
to be set up, erected or constructed on the beaches around the Island of Boracay and in its offshore
waters. During the conduct of special activities or special events, the Sangguniang Bayan may,
through a Resolution, authorize the Office of the Mayor to issue Special Permits for construction of
temporary structures on the beach for the duration of the special activity as embodied in the
In due time, petitioner appealed the denial action to the Office of the Mayor on February 1, 2010. On
May 13, 2010, petitioner followed up his appeal through a letter but no action was ever taken by the
respondent mayor. On April 5, 2011, however, a Notice of Assessment was sent to petitioner asking
for the settlement of Boracay West Coves unpaid taxes and other liabilities under pain of a
recommendation for closure in view of its continuous commercial operation since 2009 sans the
necessary zoning clearance, building permit, and business and mayors permit. In reply, petitioner
expressed willingness to settle the companys obligations, but the municipal treasurer refused to
accept the tendered payment. Meanwhile, petitioner continued with the construction, expansion, and
operation of the resort hotel.

Subsequently, on March 28, 2011, a Cease and Desist Order was issued by the municipal government,
enjoining the expansion of the resort, and on June 7, 2011, the Office of the Mayor of Malay, Aklan
issued the assailed EO 10, ordering the closure and demolition of Boracay West Coves hotel.
EO 10 was partially implemented on June 10, 2011. Thereafter, two more instances followed wherein
respondents demolished the improvements introduced by Boracay West Cove, the most recent of
which was made in February 2014.
Alleging that the order was issued and executed with grave abuse of discretion, petitioner filed a
Petition for Certiorari with prayer for injunctive relief with the CA. He argued that judicial
proceedings should first be conducted before the respondent mayor could order the demolition of the
companys establishment; that Boracay West Cove was granted a FLAgT by the DENR, which
bestowed the company the right to construct permanent improvements on the area in question; that
since the area is a forestland, it is the DENRand not the municipality of Malay, or any other local
government unit for that matterthat has primary jurisdiction over the area, and that the Regional
Executive Director of DENR-Region 6 had officially issued an opinion regarding the legal issues
involved in the present case; that the Ordinance admits of exceptions; and lastly, that it is the mayor
who should be blamed for not issuing the necessary clearances in the companys favor.
In rebuttal, respondents contended that the FLAgT does not excuse the company from complying with
the Ordinance and Presidential Decree No. 1096 (PD 1096), otherwise known as the National
Building Code of the Philippines. Respondents also argued that the demolition needed no court order
because the municipal mayor has the express power under the Local Government Code (LGC) to
order the removal of illegally constructed buildings.
The CA dismissed the petition solely on procedural ground, i.e., the special writ of certiorari can only
be directed against a tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions and since
the issuance of EO 10 was done in the exercise of executive functions, and not of judicial or quasijudicial functions, certiorari will not lie. Instead, the proper remedy for the petitioner, according to the
CA, is to file a petition for declaratory relief with the Regional Trial Court.
1. The propriety under the premises of the filing of a petition for certiorari instead of a petition
for declaratory relief;
a. Whether or not declaratory relief is still available to petitioner;
b. Whether or not the CA correctly ruled that the respondent mayor was performing neither a
judicial nor quasi-judicial function when he ordered the closure and demolition of Boracay
West Coves hotel;
2. Whether or not respondent mayor committed grave abuse of discretion when he issued EO
a. Whether or not petitioners right to due process was violated when the respondent mayor
ordered the closure and demolition of Boracay West Coves hotel without first conducting
judicial proceedings;
b. Whether or not the LGUs refusal to issue petitioner the necessary building permit and
clearances was justified;
c. Whether or not petitioners rights under the FLAgT prevail over the municipal ordinance
providing for a no-build zone; andChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
d. Whether or not the DENR has primary jurisdiction over the controversy, not the LGU.

We deny the petition.
Certiorari, not declaratory relief, is the proper remedy
a. Declaratory relief no longer viable
Resolving first the procedural aspect of the case, We find merit in petitioners contention that the
special writ of certiorari , and not declaratory relief, is the proper remedy for assailing EO 10. As
provided under Sec. 1, Rule 63 of the Rules of Court:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
SECTION 1. Who may file petition. Any person interested under a deed, will, contract or other
written instrument, whose rights are affected by a statute, executive order or regulation, ordinance or
any other governmental regulation may, before breach or violation thereof, bring an action in the
appropriate Regional Trial Court to determine any question of construction or validity arising, and for
a declaration of his rights or duties, thereunder. x x x (emphasis added)
In the case at bar, the petition for declaratory relief became unavailable by EO 10s enforcement and
implementation. The closure and demolition of the hotel rendered futile any possible guidelines that
may be issued by the trial court for carrying out the directives in the challenged EO 10. Indubitably,
the CA erred when it ruled that declaratory relief is the proper remedy given such a situation.
b. Petitioner correctly resorted to certiorari
On the propriety of filing a petition for certiorari , Sec. 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court
Section 1. Petition for certiorari . When any tribunal, board or officer exercising judicial or quasijudicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy, and
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, a person aggrieved thereby may file a verified petition
in the proper court, alleging the facts with certainty and praying that judgment be rendered annulling
or modifying the proceedings of such tribunal, board or officer, and granting such incidental reliefs as
law and justice may require. x x x
For certiorari to prosper, the petitioner must establish the concurrence of the following requisites,
1. The writ is directed against a tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial
2. Such tribunal, board, or officer has acted without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction;
3. There is no appeal or any plain speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.

In the case at bench, the assailed EO 10 was issued upon the respondent mayors finding that Boracay
West Coves construction, expansion, and operation of its hotel in Malay, Aklan is illegal. Such a
finding of illegality required the respondent mayors exercise of quasi-judicial functions, against
which the special writ of certiorari may lie.
With the foregoing discussion, the CA erred in ruling that the respondent mayor was merely exercising
his executive functions, for clearly, the first requisite for the special writ has been satisfied.

Aside from the first requisite, we likewise hold that the third element, i.e., the unavailability of a plain,
speedy, or adequate remedy, is also present herein. While it may be argued that, under the LGC,
Executive Orders issued by mayors are subject to review by provincial governors, this cannot be
considered as an adequate remedy given the exigencies of petitioners predicament.
Before applying this doctrine, it must first be borne in mind that respondents in this case have already
taken measures towards implementing EO 10. In fact, substantial segments of the hotel have already
been demolished pursuant to the mayors directive. It is then understandable why petitioner prayed
for the issuance of an injunctive writa provisional remedy that would otherwise have been
unavailable had he sought a reversal from the office of the provincial governor of Aklan. Evidently,
petitioner correctly saw the urgent need for judicial intervention via certiorari. In light of the
foregoing, the CA should have proceeded to grab the bull by its horns and determine the existence of
the second element of certiorari whether or not there was grave abuse of discretion on the part of
Upon Our finding that a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 is the appropriate remedy, We will
proceed to resolve the core issues in view of the urgency of the reliefs prayed for in the petition.
Respondents did not commit grave abuse of discretion
a. The hotels classification as a nuisance
In establishing a no build zone through local legislation, the LGU effectively made a determination
that constructions therein, without first securing exemptions from the local council, qualify as
nuisances for they pose a threat to public safety. No build zones are intended for the protection of the
public because the stability of the grounds foundation is adversely affected by the nearby body of
water. The ever present threat of high rising storm surges also justifies the ban on permanent
constructions near the shoreline. Indeed, the areas exposure to potential geo-hazards cannot be
ignored and ample protection to the residents of Malay, Aklan should be afforded.
As jurisprudence elucidates, nuisances are of two kinds: nuisance per se and nuisance per accidens.
The first is recognized as a nuisance under any and all circumstances, because it constitutes a direct
menace to public health or safety, and, for that reason, may be abated summarily under the undefined
law of necessity. The second is that which depends upon certain conditions and circumstances, and its
existence being a question of fact, it cannot be abated without due hearing thereon in a tribunal
authorized to decide whether such a thing does in law constitute a nuisance. In the case at bar, the
hotel, in itself, cannot be considered as a nuisance per se since this type of nuisance is generally
defined as an act, occupation, or structure, which is a nuisance at all times and under any
circumstances, regardless of location or surrounding. Here, it is merely the hotels particular
incidentits locationand not its inherent qualities that rendered it a nuisance. Otherwise stated, had
it not been constructed in the no build zone, Boracay West Cove could have secured the necessary
permits without issue. As such, petitioner is correct that the hotel is not a nuisance per se, but to Our
mind, it is still a nuisance per accidens.

Respondent mayor has the power to order the demolition of illegal constructions

Generally, LGUs have no power to declare a particular thing as a nuisance unless such a thing is a
nuisance per se. Despite the hotels classification as a nuisance per accidens, however, We still find in
this case that the LGU may nevertheless properly order the hotels demolition. This is because, in the
exercise of police power and the general welfare clause, 18 property rights of individuals may be
subjected to restraints and burdens in order to fulfill the objectives of the government. Otherwise
stated, the government may enact legislation that may interfere with personal liberty, property, lawful
businesses and occupations to promote the general welfare.

c. Requirements for the exercise of the power are present

i. Illegality of structures
In the case at bar, petitioner admittedly failed to secure the necessary permits, clearances, and
exemptions before the construction, expansion, and operation of Boracay Wet Coves hotel in Malay,
Aklan. To recall, petitioner declared that the application for zoning compliance was still pending with
the office of the mayor even though construction and operation were already ongoing at the same
time. As such, it could no longer be denied that petitioner openly violated Municipal Ordinance 2000131, which provides:cha
SECTION 9. Permits and Clearances.
(a) No building or structure shall be allowed to start construction unless a Building Permit
therefore has been duly issued by the Office of the Municipal Engineer. Once issued, the
building owner or any person in charge of the construction shall display on the lot or on the
building undergoing construction a placard containing the Building Permit Number and the date
of its issue. The office of the Municipal Engineer shall not issue any building permit unless:
1. The proposed construction has been duly issued a Zoning Clearance by the Office
of the Municipal Zoning Officer;
2. The proposed construction has been duly endorsed by the Sangguniang Bayan through a
Letter of Endorsement.
(b) Only buildings/structures which has complied with all the requirements for its construction as
verified to by the Building Inspector and the Sangguniang Bayan shall be issued a Certificate of
Occupancy by the Office of the Municipal Engineer.
(c) No Business or Mayors Permit shall be issued to businesses being undertaken on buildings
or structures which were not issued a certificate of Occupancy beginning January 2001 and
Petitioner cannot justify his position by passing the blame onto the respondent mayor and the latters
failure to act on his appeal for this does not, in any way, imply that petitioner can proceed with his
infrastructure projects. On the contrary, this only means that the decision of the zoning
administrator denying the application still stands and that petitioner acquired no right to
construct on the no build zone. The illegality of the construction cannot be cured by merely
tendering payment for the necessary fees and permits since the LGUs refusal rests on valid grounds.
This twin violation of law and ordinance warranted the LGUs invocation of Sec. 444 (b)(3)(vi) of the
LGC, which power is separate and distinct from the power to summarily abate nuisances per
se. Under the law, insofar as illegal constructions are concerned, the mayor can, after satisfying the
requirement of due notice and hearing, order their closure and demolition.
ii. Observance of procedural due process rights
In the case at bench, the due process requirement is deemed to have been sufficiently complied with.
First, basic is the rule that public officers enjoy the presumption of regularity in the performance of
their duties.The burden is on the petitioner herein to prove that Boracay West Cove was deprived of
the opportunity to be heard before EO 10 was issued. Regrettably, copies of the Cease and Desist
Order issued by the LGU and of the assailed EO 10 itself were never attached to the petition before
this Court, which documents could have readily shed light on whether or not petitioner has been
accorded the 10-day grace period provided in Section 10 of the Ordinance. In view of this fact, the
presumption of regularity must be sustained. Second, as quoted by petitioner in his petition before the

CA, the assailed EO 10 states that petitioner received notices from the municipality government on
March 7 and 28, 2011, requiring Boracay West Cove to comply with the zoning ordinance and yet it
failed to do so. If such was the case, the grace period can be deemed observed and the establishment
was already ripe for closure and demolition by the time EO 10 was issued in June. Third, the
observance of the 10-day allowance for the owner to demolish the hotel was never questioned by
petitioner so there is no need to discuss the same. Verily, the only grounds invoked by petitioner in
crying due process violation are (1) the absence of a court order prior to demolition and (2) the
municipal governments exercise of jurisdiction over the controversy instead of the DENR. Therefore,
it can no longer be belatedly argued that the 10-day grace period was not observed because to
entertain the same would result in the violation of the respondents own due process rights.
Given the presence of the requirements under Sec. 444 (b)(3)(vi) of the LGC, whether the building
constituted a nuisance per se or a nuisance per accidens becomes immaterial. The hotel was
demolished not exactly because it is a nuisance but because it failed to comply with the legal
requirements prior to construction. It just so happened that, in the case at bar, the hotels incident that
qualified it as a nuisance per accidensits being constructed within the no build zonefurther
resulted in the non-issuance of the necessary permits and clearances, which is a ground for demolition
under the LGC. Under the premises, a court order that is required under normal circumstances is
hereby dispensed with.

The FLAgT cannot prevail over the municipal ordinance and PD 1096

The rights granted to petitioner under the FLAgT are not unbridled. Forestlands, although under the
management of the DENR, are not exempt from the territorial application of municipal laws, for local
government units legitimately exercise their powers of government over their defined territorial
Furthermore, the conditions set forth in the FLAgT and the limitations circumscribed in the ordinance
are not mutually exclusive and are, in fact, cumulative. Thus, aside from complying with the
provisions in the FLAgT granted by the DENR, it was incumbent on petitioner to likewise comply
with the no build zone restriction under Municipal Ordinance 2000-131, which was already in force
even before the FLAgT was entered into. On this point, it is well to stress that Sections 6 and 8 of the
Ordinance do not exempt petitioner from complying with the restrictions since these provisions
adverted to grant exemptions from the ban on constructions on slopes and swamps, not on the no build
Additionally, the FLAgT does not excuse petitioner from complying with PD 1096. As correctly
pointed out by respondents, the agreement cannot and will not amend or change the law because a
legislative act cannot be altered by mere contractual agreement. Hence, petitioner has no valid reason
for its failure to secure a building permit pursuant to Sec. 301 of the National Building Code.
e. The DENR does not have primary jurisdiction over the controversy
Lastly, in ascribing grave abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent mayor, petitioner argued
that the hotel site is a forestland under the primary jurisdiction of the DENR. As such, the merits of the
case should have been passed upon by the agency and not by the LGU.
In alleging that the case concerns the development and the proper use of the countrys environment
and natural resources, petitioner is skirting the principal issue, which is Boracay West Coves noncompliance with the permit, clearance, and zoning requirements for building constructions under
national and municipal laws. He downplays Boracay West Coves omission in a bid to justify ousting
the LGU of jurisdiction over the case and transferring the same to the DENR. He attempts to blow the
issue out of proportion when it all boils down to whether or not the construction of the three-storey

Based on law and jurisprudence, the office of the mayor has quasi-judicial powers to order the closing
and demolition of establishments. This power granted by the LGC, as earlier explained, We believe, is
not the same power devolved in favor of the LGU under Sec. 17 (b)(2)(ii), as above-quoted, which is
subject to review by the DENR. The fact that the building to be demolished is located within a
forestland under the administration of the DENR is of no moment, for what is involved herein, strictly
speaking, is not an issue on environmental protection, conservation of natural resources, and the
maintenance of ecological balance, but the legality or illegality of the structure. Rather than treating
this as an environmental issue then, focus should not be diverted from the root cause of this debacle
Ultimately, the purported power of review by a regional office of the DENR over respondents actions
exercised through an instrumentality of an ex-parte opinion, in this case, finds no sufficient basis. At
best, the legal opinion rendered, though perhaps informative, is not conclusive on the courts and
should be taken with a grain of salt.

Federico Sabay v. People of the Philippines

G.R. 192150
Oct. 1, 2014
At around three oclock to four oclock in the afternoon of June 12, 2001, while the petitioner and his
daughter Erlinda Sabay (Erlinda) were busy laying wood and water pipes in the yard of Godofredo
Lopez (Godofredo), the latter confronted the petitioner about his (the petitioners) alleged intrusion
into Godofredos property. A verbal altercation ensued between them.
In the course of the verbal exchange, Erlinda hit Godofredo on the head with a hard object. The
petitioner joined in by throwing a stone at Godofredos face, breaking the latters eyeglasses.
Godofredo claimed that as a result, he felt dizzy. The petitioner and Erlinda then shouted at Godofredo
and threatened to kill him.
Immediately thereafter, Jervie Lopez (Jervie) came and pacified the three. But in the course his efforts,
he was hit in the hand with a bolo. The neighbors intervened not long after and pacified the parties.
The Medico Legal Certificates dated June 12, 2001 showed that Godofredo suffered a contusion on
the left parietal area of his head and an abrasion in his left cheek, while Jervie sustained a wound in
his right palm.

On June 13, 2001, Godofredo and Jervie filed a complaint against the petitioner before the barangay.
The parties agreed to settle the complaint based on the recommendation of the building inspector and
reflected their agreement in their Kasunduang Pag-aayos (Kasunduan) dated June 20, 2001. The
Kasunduan, however, was not implemented because the building inspector failed to make the
promised recommendation to resolve the boundary dispute between the parties. Thus, the Office of the
Barangay Captain issued a Certificate to File an Action.

The petitioner was accordingly charged before the MTC with the crime of Physical Injuries under two
(2) Informations that read:
Criminal Case No. 209934
That on or about the 12th day of June 2001, in Caloocan City, Metro Manila and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, without justifiable cause, did then and

there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously hit with a bolo one JERVIE LOPEZ, thereby inflicting
upon the latter physical injuries which required and will require medical attendance for not more than
seven (7) days or incapacitated or will incapacitate said victim from performing his habitual work for
the same period of time.
Criminal Case No. 209935
That on or about the 12th day of June 2001, in Caloocan City, Metro Manila and within the
jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above-named accused, without justifiable cause, did then and
there willfully, unlawfully and feloniously hit with a bolo one GODOFREDO LOPEZ, thereby
inflicting upon the latter physical injuries which required and will require medical attendance for not
more than seven (7) days or incapacitated or will incapacitate said victim from performing his habitual
work for the same period of time.
The petitioner, together with his daughter Erlinda, was also charged with Light Threats for allegedly
uttering threatening words against the private complainant, Godofredo.When arraigned, both accused
pleadednot guilty to all the charges. Trial on the merits thereafter ensued.
The petitioner denied the charge and claimed that he had simply acted in self-defense
The MTC believed the prosecution's version of the incident and found the petitioner guilty beyond
reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of slight physical injuries. The MTC, however, dismissed the light
threats charged, as this offense is deemed absorbed in the crime of slight physical injuries. Further, it
absolved Erlinda for the crime of light threats as there was no allegation that she uttered threatening
words against Godofredo.
The MTC rejected the petitioners claim of self-defense. It held that the petitioner failed to prove that
there had been unlawful aggression by Godofredo.
The RTC affirmed the MTCs decision.
The CA affirmed the RTCs decision. It also dismissed the petitioners plea of self-defense. The CA
ruled that self-defense is essentially a factual matter that isbest addressed by the trial court; in the
absence of any showing that both the MTC and the RTC overlooked weighty and substantial facts or
circumstances that could alter their conclusion, the appellate court saw no reason to disturb their
factual ruling.
W/N the CA erred in its rulling? NO.
We find no reversible error committed by the CA and affirm the petitioners conviction for two counts
of slight physical injuries.

The petitioner also contends that the CA erred in not holding that the MTC has no jurisdiction over the
criminal cases in view of the noncompliance (i.e., issuance of the Certification toFile an Action
despite the existence of an agreement) with conciliation procedures under Presidential Decree No.
We see no merit in these contentions.
The Office of the Barangay Captain Cannot be Precluded From Issuing a Certification to File an
Action Where No Actual Settlement Was Reached; the Certification to File an Action Issued by The
Office of The Barangay is Valid.
The present case was indisputably referred to the Barangay Lupon for conciliation prior to the
institution of the criminal cases before the MTC. The parties in fact admitted that a meeting before the
Lupontranspired between them, resulting in a Kasunduan.
Granting that an irregularity had intervened in the Barangay Captains issuance of the Certification
toFile and Action, we note that this irregularity is not a jurisdictional flaw that warrants the dismissal
of the criminal cases before the MTC. Thus, the MTC has jurisdiction to try and hear the petitioners
case; the claimed irregularity in conciliation procedure, particularly in the issuance of the Certification
to File an Action, did not deprive the court of its jurisdiction. If at all, the irregularity merely affected
the parties cause of action.
The Certification to File an Action is Admissible.
Section 34 of Rule 132 of our Rules on Evidence provides that the court cannot consider any evidence
that has not been formally offered. Without a formal offer of evidence, courts cannot take notice of
this evidence even if this has been previously marked and identified. This rule, however, admits of an
exception. The Court, in the appropriate cases, has relaxed the formal-offer rule and allowed evidence
not formally offered to be admitted.
In the present case, we find that the requisites for the relaxation of the formal-offer rule are present. As
the lower courts correctly observed, Godofredo identified the Certification to File an Action during his
cross examination, to wit:
Q: And Im referring to you thisCertification from the Office of the Brgy. docketed as 181-01,
is this the one you are referring to?
A: This is with respect to the hitting of my head.
Atty. Bihag: At this juncture, your Honor, we would like to request that this particular
certification referring to the case 181-01 entitled Mr. Godofredo Lopez, Mr. Jervie Lopez
versus Mr. Federico Sabay and Mrs. Erlinda Castro, be marked as Exh. "1" for the defense.
Although the Certification was not formally offered in evidence, it was marked as Exhibit "1" and
attached to the records of the case. Significantly, the petitioner never objected to Godofredos
testimony, particularly with the identification and marking of the Certification. In these lights, the
Court sees no reason why the Certification should not be admitted.

The Claim of Self-Defense

On the claim of self-defense, we recognize that the factual findings and conclusions of the RTC,
especially when affirmed by the CA as in this case, are entitled to great weight and respect and are
deemed final and conclusive on this Court when supported by the evidence on record. In the absence
of any indication thatthe trial and the appellate courts overlooked facts or circumstances that would
result in a different ruling in this case, we will not disturb their factual findings.
In sum, we are fully satisfied that the petitioner is guilty beyond reasonable doubt of two (2) counts of
slight physical injuries, as the lower courts found. His claim of self-defense fails for lack of supporting
evidence; he failed to present any evidence of unlawful aggression and cannot thus be said to have hit
Godofredo as a measure to defend himself.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we DENY the appeal and AFFIRM the decision dated October
23, 2009 and the resolution dated March 22, 2010 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CR No. 31532.

Fe U. Quijano v. Atty. Darill Almante

G.R. 164277
Oct. 8, 2014
The petitioner and her siblings, namely: Eliseo, Jose and Gloria, inherited from their father, the late
Bibiano Quijano, the parcel of land registered in the latter's name under Original Certificate of Title
(OCT) No. 0-188 of the Registry of Deeds in Cebu City with an area of 15,790 square meters, more or
less. On April 23, 1990, prior to any partition among the heirs, Eliseo sold a portion of his share,
measuring 600 square meters, to respondent Atty. Daryll A. Amante (respondent), with the affected
portion being described in the deed of absolute sale Eliseo executed in the following manner:
A portion of a parcel of land located at the back of the Pleasant Homes Subdivision and also
at the back of Don Bosco Seminary, Punta Princesa, Cebu City, to be taken from my share of
the whole lot; the portion sold to Atty. Amante is only 600 square meters which is the area
near the boundary facing the Pleasant Homes Subdivision, Cebu City.
On July 25, 1991, Eliseo, sickly and in need of money, sold an additional 1/3 portion of his share inthe
property to the respondent, with their deed of absolute sale stating that the sale was with the approval
of Eliseos siblings, and describing the portion subject of the sale as: That the portion covered under
this transaction is specifically located right at the back of the seminary facing Japer Memorial School
and where the fence and house of Atty. Amante is located.
On September 30, 1992, Fe, Eliseo, Jose and Gloria executed a deed of extrajudicial partition to divide
their fathers estate (consisting of the aforementioned parcel of land) among themselves. Pursuant to
the deed extrajudicial partition, OCT No. O-188 was cancelled, and on July 12, 1994 the Register of
Deeds issued TCT No. 6555, TCT No. 6556, TCT No. 6557 and TCT No. 6558 to the petitioner,
Gloria, Jose, and Eliseo, respectively. The partition resulted in the portions earlier sold by Eliseo to the
respondent being adjudicated to the petitioner instead of to Eliseo.
Due to the petitioners needing her portion that was then occupied by the respondent, she demanded
that the latter vacate it. Despite several demands, the last of which was by the letter dated November
4, 1994, the respondent refused to vacate, prompting her to file against him on February 14, 1995 a
complaint for ejectment and damages in the MTCC.
The respondent denied that his possession of the disputed portion had been by mere tolerance of
Eliseo. He even asserted that he was in fact the owner and lawful possessor of the property, having

bought it from Eliseo; that the petitioner and her siblings could not deny knowing about the sale in his
favor because they could plainly see his house from the road; and that the deed of absolute sale itself
stated that the sale to him was with their approval, and that they had already known that his house and
fence were existing; that before he purchased the property, Eliseo informed him that he and his coheirs had already orally partitioned the estate of their father, and that the portion being sold to him was
Eliseos share; and that with his having already purchased the property before the petitioner acquired it
under the deed of extrajudicial partition, she should respect his ownership and possession of it.
The MTCC rendered its decision in favor of the petitioner, ruling that the deeds of sale executed by
Eliseo in favor of the respondent did not have the effect of conveying the disputed property to him
inasmuch as at the time of the sale, the parcel of land left by their father, which included the disputed
property, had not yet been partitioned, rendering Eliseo a mere co-owner of the undivided estate who
had no right to dispose of a definite portion thereof; that as a co-owner, Eliseo effectively conveyed to
the respondent only the portion that would ultimately be allotted to him once the property would be
subdivided; that because the disputed property was adjudicated to the petitioner under the deed of
extrajudicial settlement and partition, she was its owner with the consequent right of possession; and
that, as such, she had the right to demand that the respondent vacate the land.
On appeal, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) reversed the judgment of the MTCC, and dismissed the
complaint, holding that the summary proceeding for ejectment was not proper because the serious
question of ownership of the disputed property was involved.
The petitioner appealed to the CA by petition for review. The CA affirmed the decision of the RTC,
and dismissing the case for ejectment, but on the ground that the respondent was either a co-owner or
an assignee holding the right of possession over the disputed property.
The CA observed that the RTC correctly dismissed the ejectment case because a question of
ownership over the disputed property was raised; that the rule that inferior courts could pass upon the
issue of ownership to determine the question of possession was well settled; that the institution of a
separate action for quieting of title by the respondent did not divest the MTCC of its authority to
decide the ejectment case; that Eliseo, as a coowner, had no right to sell a definite portion of the
undivided estate; that the deeds of sale Eliseo executed in favor of the respondent were valid only with
respect to the alienation of Eliseos undivided share; that after the execution of the deeds of sale, the
respondent became a co-owner along with Eliseo and his co-heirs, giving him the right toparticipate in
the partition of the estate owned in common by them; that because the respondent was not given any
notice of the project of partition or of the intention to effect the partition, the partition made by the
petitioner and her co-heirs did not bind him; and that, as to him, the entire estate was still co-owned by
the heirs, giving him the right to the co-possession of the estate, including the disputed portion.
Who between the petitioner and the respondent had the better right to the possession of the disputed
An ejectment case can be eitherfor forcible entry or unlawful detainer. It is a summary proceeding
designed to provide expeditious means to protect the actual possession or the right to possession of the
property involved. The sole question for resolution in the case is the physical or material possession
(possession de facto) of the property in question, and neither a claim of juridical possession
(possession de jure) nor an averment of ownership by the defendant can outrightly deprive the trial
court from taking due cognizance of the case. Hence,even if the question of ownership is raised in the

pleadings, like here, the court may pass upon the issue but only to determine the question of
possession especially if the question of ownership is inseparably linked with the question of
possession. The adjudication of ownership in that instance is merely provisional, and will not bar or
prejudice an action between the same parties involving the title to the property.
Considering that the parties are both claiming ownership of the disputed property, the CA properly
ruled on the issue of ownership for the sole purpose of determining who between them had the better
right to possess the disputed property.
The disputed property originally formed part of the estate of the late Bibiano Quijano, and passed on
to his heirs by operation of law upon his death. Prior to the partition, the estate was owned in common
by the heirs, subject to the payment of the debts of the deceased. In a co-ownership, the undivided
thing or right belong to different persons, with each of them holding the property pro indivisoand
exercising her rights over the whole property. Each co-owner may use and enjoy the property with no
other limitation than that he shall not injure the interests of his co-owners. The underlying rationale is
that until a division is actually made, the respective share of each cannot be determined, and every coowner exercises, together with his co-participants, joint ownership of the pro indiviso property, in
addition to his use and enjoyment of it.
Even if an heirs right in the estate of the decedent has not yet been fully settled and partitioned and is
thus merely inchoate, Article 493 of the Civil Codegives the heir the right to exercise acts of
ownership. Accordingly, when Eliseo sold the disputed property to the respondent in 1990 and 1991,
he was only a co-owner along with his siblings, and could sell only that portion that would beallotted
to him upon the termination of the co-ownership. The sale did not vest ownership of the disputed
property in the respondent but transferred only the sellers pro indiviso share to him, consequently
making him, as the buyer, a co-owner of the disputed property until it is partitioned.
As Eliseos successor-in-interest or assignee, the respondent was vested with the right under Article
497 of the Civil Codeto take part in the partition of the estate and to challenge the partition undertaken
without his consent.
There is no question that the holder of a Torrens title is the rightful owner of the property thereby
covered and is entitled to its possession. However, the Court cannot ignore thatthe statements in the
petitioners complaint about the respondents possession of the disputed property being by the mere
tolerance of Eliseo could be the basis for unlawful detainer. Unlawful detainer involves the
defendants withholding of the possession of the property to which the plaintiff is entitled, after the
expiration or termination of the formers right tohold possession under the contract, whether express
or implied. A requisite for a valid cause of action of unlawful detainer is that the possession was
originally lawful, but turned unlawful only upon the expiration of the right to possess.
To show that the possession was initially lawful, the basis of such lawful possession must then be
established. With the averment here that the respondents possession was by mere tolerance of the
petitioner, the acts of tolerance must be proved, for bare allegation of tolerance did not suffice. At
least, the petitioner should show the overt acts indicative of her or her predecessors tolerance, or her
co-heirs permission for him to occupy the disputed property. But she did not adduce such evidence.
Instead, she appeared to be herself not clear and definite as to his possession of the disputed property
being merely tolerated by Eliseo.
Considering that the allegation of the petitioners tolerance of the respondents possession of the
disputed property was not established, the possession could very well be deemed illegal from the
beginning. In that case, her action for unlawful detainer has to fail. Even so, the Court would not be

justified to treat this ejectment suit as one for forcible entry because the complaint contained no
allegation thathis entry in the property had been by force, intimidation, threats, strategy or stealth.
Regardless, the issue of possession between the parties will still remain. To finally resolve such issue,t
hey should review their options and decide on their proper recourses. In the meantime, it is wise for
the Court to leave the door open to them in that respect. For now, therefore, this recourse of the
petitioner has to be dismissed.
WHEREFORE, the Court AFFIRMS the decision promulgated on May 26, 2004 subject to the
MODIFICATION that the unlawful detainer action is dismissed for being an improper remedy; and
ORDERS the petitioner to pay the costs of suit.

Centennial Guarantee Assurance Corporation v. Universal Motors Corporation,

Rodrigo Janeo, Jr., Gerardo Gelle, et al.
G.R. 189358
Oct. 8, 2014
The instant petition originated from a Complaint for Breach of Contract with Damages and Prayer for
Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraning Order filed by Nissan Specialist Sales Corporation
(NSSC) and its President and General Manager, Reynaldo A. Orimaco (Orimaco), against herein
respondents Universal Motors Corporation (UMC), Rodrigo T. Janeo, Jr. (Janeo, Jr.), Gerardo Gelle
(Gelle), Nissan Cagayan de Oro Distributors, Inc. (NCOD), Jefferson U. Rolida (Rolida), and Peter
Yap (Yap).
The TRO prayed for was eventually issued by the RTC upon the posting by NSSC and Orimaco of a 1
M injunction bond issued by their surety, CGAC. The TRO enjoined respondents UMC, Rolida, Gelle,
Janeo, Jr., NCOD, and Yap (respondents) from selling, dealing, and marketing all models of motor
vehicles and spare parts of Nissan, and from terminating the dealer agreement between UMC and
NSSC. It likewise restrained UMC from supplying and doing trading transactions with NCOD, which,
in turn, was enjoined from entering and doing business on Nissan Products within the dealership
territory of NSSC as defined in the Dealer Agreement. The TRO was converted to a writ of
preliminary injunction on April 2, 2002.
Respondents filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition before the CA to assail the issuance of the
aforesaid injunctive writ. The CA rendered a Decision holding that the RTC committed grave abuse of
discretion in issuing the writ absent a clear legal right thereto on the part of NSSC and Orimaco.
Consequently, the April 2, 2002 Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued by the RTC was ordered
The RTC rendered a Decision dismissing the complaint for breach of contract with damages for lack
of merit. It further ordered NSSC, Orimaco, and CGAC to jointly and severally pay respondents the
following amounts: actual damages and lost opportunities suffered by UMC as attorneys fees and lost
income in favor of NCOD, Rolida, and Yap; and exemplary damages for each of the respondents.
Upon respondents motion, the RTC granted Execution Pending Appeal of its October 31, 2007
CGAC assailed the RTCs January 16, 2008 Order before the CA through a petition for certiorari,
docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 02459-MIN, questioning the existence of good reasons to warrant the

grant of execution pending appeal and the propriety of enforcing it against one which is not the losing
party in the case but a mere bondsman whose liability is limited to the surety bond it issued.
The CA affirmed in part the assailed order by allowing the execution pending appeal of the RTCs
October 31, 2007 Decision but limiting the amount of CGACs liability to only 1 M.
The central issues in this case are: (a) whether or not good reasons exist to justify execution pending
appeal against CGAC which is a mere surety; and (b) whether or not CGACs liability on the bond
should be limited to 500,000.00.
The petition is unmeritorious.
The execution of a judgment pending appeal is an exception to the general rule that only a final
judgment may be executed; hence, under Section 2, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court (Rules), the
existence of "good reasons" for the immediate execution of a judgment is an indispensable
requirement as this is what confers discretionary power on a court to issue a writ of execution pending
appeal. Good reasons consist of compelling circumstances justifying immediate execution, lest
judgment becomes illusory, that is, the prevailing partys chances for recovery on execution from the
judgment debtor are altogether nullified. The "good reason" yardstick imports a superior circumstance
demanding urgency that will outweigh injury or damage to the adverse party and one such "good
reason" that has been held to justify discretionary execution is the imminent danger of insolvency of
the defeated party.
The factual findings that NSSC is under a state of rehabilitation and had ceased business operations,
taken together with the information that NSSC President and General Manager Orimaco had
permanently left the country with his family, constitute such superior circumstances that demand
urgency in the execution of the October 31, 2007 Decision because respondents now run the risk of its
non-satisfaction by the time the appeal is decided with finality. Notably, as early as April 22, 2008, the
rehabilitation receiver had manifested before the rehabilitation court the futility of rehabilitating
NSSC because of the latters insincerity in the implementation of the rehabilitation process. Clearly,
respondents diminishing chances of recovery from the favorable Decision is a good reason to justify
immediate execution; hence, it would be improper to set aside the order granting execution pending

That CGACs financial standing differs from that of NSSC does not negate the order of execution
pending appeal. As the latters surety, CGAC is considered by law as being the same party as the
debtor in relation to whatever is adjudged touching the obligation of the latter, and their liabilities are
interwoven as to be inseparable. Verily, in a contract of suretyship, one lends his credit by joining in
the principal debtors obligation so as to render himself directly and primarily responsible with him,
and without reference to the solvency of the principal. Thus, execution pending appeal against NSSC
means that the same course of action is warranted against its surety, CGAC. The same reason stands
for CGACs other principal, Orimaco, who was determined to have permanently left the country with
his family to evade execution of any judgment against him.

Now, going to the second issue as above-stated, the Court resolves that CGACs liability should as
the CA correctly ruled be confined to the amount of 1,000,000.00, and not 500,000.00 as the latter

Section 4(b), Rule 58 of the Rules provides that the injunction bond is answerable for all damages that
may be occasioned by the improper issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. The Court has held in
Paramount Insurance Corp. v. CA that:
The bond insures with all practicable certainty that the defendant may sustain no ultimate loss
in the event that the injunction could finally be dissolved. Consequently, the bond may
obligate the bondsmen to account to the defendant in the injunction suit for all: (1) such
damages; (2) costs and damages; (3) costs, damages and reasonable attorney's fees as shall be
incurred or sustained by the person enjoined in case it is determined that the injunction was
wrongfully issued.
In this case, the RTC, in view of the improvident issuance of the April 2, 2002 Writ of Preliminary
Injunction, adjudged CGAC's principals, NSSC and Orimaco, liable not only for damages as against
NCOD, Rolida, and Yap but also as against UMC. As may be gleaned from the dispositive portion of
the RTC Decision, the amount adjudged to the former group was P500,000.00, while it was found this time, contained in the body of the same decision - that damages in the amount P4,199,355.00 due
to loss of sales was incurred by UMC in the year 2002, or the year in which the latter was prevented
from selling their products pursuant to the April 2, 2002 Writ of Preliminary Injunction. Since CGAC
is answerable jointly and severally with NSSC and Orimaco for their liabilities to the abovementioned parties for all damages caused by the improvident issuance of the said injunctive writ, and
considering that the total amount of damages as above-stated evidently exhausts the full Pl,000,000.00
amount of the injunction bond, there is perforce no reason to reverse the assailed CA Decision even on
this score.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated February 25, 2009 and the Resolution
dated August 14, 2009 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 02459-MIN are hereby

George Philip P. Palileo and Jose De La Cruz v. Planters Development Bank

G.R. 193650
Oct. 8, 2014
In a June 15, 2006 Decision rendered by the RTC of General Santos City, in an action for specific
performance/sum of money with damages it was held thus:
Before this Court is a complaint for specific performance and/or sum of money and damages
with prayer for the issuance of writs of preliminary attachment and preliminary injunction
filed by Plaintiff George Philip Palileo and Jose L. Dela Cruz against Engr. Edgardo R.
Torcende, Planters Development Bank (defendant Bank), Arturo R. Delos Reyes, Benjamin
N. Tria, Mao Tividad, and Emmanuel Tesalonia on 22 December 1998.
After summons together with the verified Complaint and its annexes were duly served upon
defendants, the latter answered. During Pre-Trial conference defendant Bank manifested [its] intention
of settling the case amicably and several attempts to explore the said settlement [were] made as per
records of this case. In the last pre-trial hearing dated 17 November 2000, only plaintiffs[,] George
Philip Palileo and Jose L. Dela Cruz[,] and their counsel appeared, thus, the latter move [sic] for the
presentation of evidence ex-parte, which was granted by the Court with the reservation of verifying
the return card [to determine] whether the order for the pre-trial was indeed received by defendants.

Finally, [at the] 21 November 2001 hearing, x x x defendants [again] failed to appear and their failure
to file pre-trial brief was noted; thus [plaintiffs were] allowed to present evidence ex-parte before the
Clerk of Court.
IN LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, defendants are hereby ORDERED to jointly and severally PAY
plaintiffs as follows:
i) Actual Damages;
a) Plaintiff George Philip Palileo[,] the amount of Two Million Six Hundred Five
Thousand Nine [sic] Seventy Two Pesos and Ninety Two Centavos (P2,605,972.92),
with 12% compounded interest [per annum] reckoned from the filing of this case
until full settlement thereof;
b) Plaintiff Jose R. Dela Cruz[,] the amount of One Million Five Hundred Twenty
Nine Thousand Five Hundred Eight Thousand [sic] and Eighty Centavos
(P1,529,508.80), with 12% compounded interest [per annum] reckoned from the
filing of this case until full settlement thereof;
ii) Moral damages in the amount of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) each;
iii) Exemplary Damages in the amount of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000.00) each;
iv) Attorneys Fees in the amount of Five Hundred Thousand [Pesos] (P500,000.00) each x x
x and to pay the costs.
Respondent Planters Development Bank (PDB) received a copy of the RTC Decision on July 17,
On July 31, 2006, PDB filed by private courier service specifically LBC an Omnibus Motion for
Reconsideration and for New Trial, arguing therein that the trial courts Decision was based on
speculation and inadmissible and selfserving pieces of evidence; that it was declared in default after its
counsel failed to attend the pre-trial conference on account of the distance involved and difficulty in
booking a flight to General Santos City; that it had adequate and sufficient defenses to the petitioners
claims; that petitioners claims are only against its codefendant, Engr. Edgardo R. Torcende
[Torcende]; that the award of damages and attorneys fees had no basis; and that in the interest of
justice, it should be given the opportunity to cross-examine the petitioners witnesses, and thereafter
present its evidence.

Petitioners copy of the Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial was likewise sent on
July 31, 2006 by courier service through LBC, but in their address of record Tupi, South Cotabato
there was no LBC service at the time.
On August 2, 2006, PDB filed with the RTC another copy of the Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration
and for New Trial via registered mail; another copy thereof was simultaneously sent to petitioners by
registered mail as well.
Meanwhile, petitioners moved for the execution of the Decision pending appeal.

In an August 30, 2006 Order, the RTC denied the Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New
Trial, while it granted petitioners motion for execution pending appeal, which it treated as a motion
for the execution of a final and executory judgment.
The motion fails to impress. Section 5, Rule 15 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure as amended is
pertinent thus:

Section 5. Notice of hearing. The notice of hearing shall be addressed to all parties concerned, and
shall specify the time and date of the hearing which must not be later than ten (10) days after the filing
of the motion. (Underscoring and italics supplied)
The aforesaid provision requires [that] every motion shall be addressed to all parties concerned, and
shall specify the time and date of the hearing NOT later than ten (10) days after the filing of the
motion. Being a litigated motion, the aforesaid rule should have been complied [with]. Its
noncompliance renders it defective.
[The] Rule is settled that a motion in violation thereof is pro forma and a mere scrap of paper. It
presents no question which the court could decide [upon]. In fact, the court has NO reason to consider
it[;] neither [does] the clerk of court [have] the right to receive the same. Palpably, the motion is
nothing but an empty formality deserving no judicial cognizance. Hence, the motion deserves a short
shrift and peremptory denial for being procedurally defective.
As such, it does not toll the running of the reglementary period thus making the assailed decision final
and executory. This supervening situation renders the Motion for Execution pending appeal academic
but at the same time it operates and could serve [as] well as a motion for execution of the subject final
and executory decision. Corollarily, it now becomes the ministerial duty of this Court to issue a writ of
execution thereon.
IN LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, the Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and New Trial is hereby
DENIED, and the Motion for Execution Pending Appeal (which is treated as a motion for execution of
a final and executory judgment) is also GRANTED as explained above. Accordingly, let A WRIT OF
EXECUTION be issued against herein defendants to enforce the FINAL and EXECUTORY Decision
dated 15 June 2006.


PDB received a copy of the above August 30, 2006 Order on September 14, 2006.


On August 31, 2006, a Writ of Execution was issued. PDB filed an Urgent Motion to Quash Writ of
Execution, arguing that it was prematurely issued as the June 15, 2006 Decision was not yet final and
executory; that its counsel has not received a copy of the writ; and that no entry of judgment has been
made with respect to the trial courts Decision. Later on, it filed a Supplemental Motion to Quash Writ
of Execution, claiming that the writ was addressed to its General Santos branch, which had no
authority to accept the writ.



On September 7, 2006, PDB filed a Notice of Appeal.


In an October 6, 2006 Order, the RTC denied the motion to quash the writ of execution.

On October 9, 2006, the RTC issued a second Writ of Execution.


Ruling of the Court of Appeals

On October 11, 2006, PDB filed with the CA an original Petition for Certiorari, which was later
amended, assailing 1) the trial courts August 30, 2006 Order which denied the omnibus motion for
reconsideration of the RTC Decision and for new trial; 2) its October 6, 2006 Order which denied
the motion to quash the writ of execution; and 3) the August 31, 2006 and October 9, 2006 writs of

On May 31, 2007, the CA issued a Decision dismissing PDBs Petition for lack of merit. It sustained
the trial courts pronouncement, that by setting the hearing of the Omnibus Motion for
Reconsideration and for New Trial on August 18, 2006 or 16 days after its filing on August 2, 2006
PDB violated Section 5, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court which categorically requires that the notice of
hearing shall specify the time and date of the hearing which must not be later than 10 days after the
filing of the motion. Citing this Courts ruling in Bacelonia v. Court of Appeals, the CA declared that
the 10-day period prescribed in Section 5 is mandatory, and a motion that fails to comply therewith is
pro forma and presents no question which merits the attention and consideration of the court.


The appellate court further characterized PDBs actions as indicative of a deliberate attempt to delay
the proceedings, noting that it did not timely move to reconsider the trial courts November 17, 2000
ruling allowing petitioners to present their evidence ex parte, nor did it move to be allowed to present
evidence in support of its defense. It was only after the RTC rendered its June 15, 2006 Decision that
PDB moved to be allowed to cross-examine petitioners witnesses and to present its evidence on

The CA likewise held that the RTC did not err in ruling that the omnibus motion for reconsideration
did not toll the running of the prescriptive period, which thus rendered the June 15, 2006 Decision
final and executory. It noted as well that PDBs September 7, 2006 notice of appeal was tardy.
The CA found no irregularity with respect to the writs of execution, which contained the fallo of the
June 15, 2006 Decision of the RTC thus itemizing the amount of the judgment obligation.
Additionally, it held that the fact that the judgment debtors are held solidarily liable does not require
that the writs should be served upon all of the defendants; that it is not true that the sheriffs failed to
make a demand for the satisfaction of judgment upon PDB, as the mere presentation of the writ to it
operated as a demand to pay; and that PDB failed to attach the Sheriffs Return to its Petition, which
thus prevents the appellate court from resolving its claim that the writs were not validly served.
PDB filed a Motion for Reconsideration, arguing that Rule 15, Section 5 of the Rules of Court should
be relaxed in view of the fact that judgment against it was based on a technicality and not on a trial
on the merits; that there was no deliberate intention on its part to delay the proceedings; that the court
acted with partiality in declaring that the Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial was
pro forma; that its notice of appeal was timely; and that the writs of execution are null and void.

On July 28, 2009, the CA made a complete turnaround and issued the assailed Amended Decision,
which decreed thus:
WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration is GRANTED. This Courts May 31, 2007 Decision is
SET ASIDE and a new one is rendered GRANTING the petition for certiorari. The trial courts Order
dated August 30, 2006 is SET ASIDE and the Writ of Execution issued by the trial court is
QUASHED. The trial court is ORDERED to hear and rule on the merits of petitioners "Omnibus
Motion for Reconsideration and New Trial."

The CA reversed its original finding that the Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial
was pro forma. This time, it held just the opposite, ruling that PDBs "tacit argument" that the
"distances involved in the case at bench call for a relaxation of the application of Section 5, Rule 15 of
the Rules of Court" deserved consideration. It held that Section 5 should be read together with Section
4 of the same Rule, thus:
When a pleading is filed and served personally, there is no question that the requirements in Sections 4
and 5 of Rule 15 of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure pose no problem to the party pleading.
Under this mode of service and filing of pleadings, the party pleading is able to ensure receipt by the
other party of his pleading at least three days prior to the date of hearing while at the same time setting
the hearing on a date not later than ten days from the filing of the pleading.
When, as in the case at bench, the address of the trial court as well as that of the opposing counsel is
too distant from the office of the counsel of the party pleading to personally effect the filing and
service of the pleading, the latter counsel faces a real predicament. In a perfect world with the best
postal service possible, it would be problematic enough to ensure that both requisites are fully met:
that opposing counsel receives the pleading at least three days before the date of hearing and that the
date of hearing is no more than ten days after the filing (mailing) of the pleading. But, as a matter of
fact, given the state of the postal service today a matter the Court takes judicial notice of the party
pleading often finds himself [locked] between the horns of a dilemma.
The case at bench presents the Court with the novel issue of whether the same rigid application of the
cited Sections-and-Rule is warranted when the filing and service of pleadings is by mail. The Court is
of the opinion that when confronted between [sic] the demands of sufficient notice and due process on
the one hand and the requirement that the date of hearing be set no later than ten days from filing, the
stringent application of the Rules is not warranted and a liberal posture is more in keeping with
Section 6, Rule 1 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure which provides:
SECTION 6. Construction. - These Rules shall be liberally construed in order to promote their
objective of securing a just, speedy, and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding.
The CA further sustained PDBs argument that since judgment against it was arrived at by mere
default or technicality, it is correspondingly entitled to a relaxation of the Rules, in line with the
principles of substantial justice. It likewise held that PDB counsels act of setting the hearing of the
Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial 16 days after its filing was an excusable
lapse; that no scheme to delay the case is evident from PDBs actions; that more telling is the trial
courts "blurring in cavalier fashion" the distinction between Sections 1 and 2 of Rule 39 of the Rules
of Court, as well as its unequal treatment of the parties from its strict application of Section 5, Rule
15 against respondent, while it bent backward to accommodate petitioners by converting the latters
motion for execution pending appeal into a motion for execution of a final and executor judgment.

Petitioners frame the issues involved in this Petition, as follows:
Being assailed herein is the refusal of the Court of Appeals, which is a patent error, for not giving
credence to petitioners-appellants arguments that the respondent-appellees special civil action for
certiorari before it is clearly devoid of merit as (i) the Decision dated June 15, 2006 of the RTC,
Branch 37, General Santos City had become final and executory before the special civil action for
Certiorari was filed before it which should have been dismissed outright, and which issue of "finality"
was never ruled upon, (ii) granting arguendo that a certiorari proceeding could still be had, the same
should be filed under Rule 45 instead of Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, (iii) the alleged

attendant abuse of discretion on the part of the public respondent judges, even granting arguendo that
it exist [sic], were [sic] not grave but on the contrary were purely errors of judgment and, (iv) the
substantial and glaring defects of the petition in the special civil action for certiorari before the Court
of Appeals were consistently and clearly called to its attention but were unjustifiably ignored by it.
The Court grants the Petition.
The proceedings in the instant case would have been greatly abbreviated if the court a quo and the CA
did not overlook the fact that PDBs Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial was filed
one day too late. The bank received a copy of the trial courts June 15, 2006 Decision on July 17,
2006; thus, it had 15 days or up to August 1, 2006 within which to file a notice of appeal, motion
for reconsideration, or a motion for new trial, pursuant to the Rules of Court. Yet, it filed the omnibus
motion for reconsideration and new trial only on August 2, 2006.

Indeed, its filing or service of a copy thereof to petitioners by courier service cannot be trivialized.
Service and filing of pleadings by courier service is a mode not provided in the Rules. This is not to
mention that PDB sent a copy of its omnibus motion to an address or area which was not covered by
LBC courier service at the time. Realizing its mistake, PDB re-filed and re-sent the omnibus motion
by registered mail, which is the proper mode of service under the circumstances. By then, however,
the 15-day period had expired.
PDBs Notice of Appeal, which was filed only on September 7, 2006, was tardy; it had only up to
August 1, 2006 within which to file the same. The trial court therefore acted regularly in denying
PDBs notice of appeal.
Since PDBs Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial was filed late and the 15-day
period within which to appeal expired without PDB filing the requisite notice of appeal, it follows that
its right to appeal has been foreclosed; it may no longer question the trial courts Decision in any other
manner. "Settled is the rule that a party is barred from assailing the correctness of a judgment not
appealed from by him." The "presumption that a party who did not interject an appeal is satisfied
with the adjudication made by the lower court" applies to it. There being no appeal taken by PDB
from the adverse judgment of the trial court, its Decision has become final and can no longer be
reviewed, much less reversed, by this Court. "Finality of a judgment or order becomes a fact upon the
lapse of the reglementary period to appeal if no appeal is perfected, and is conclusive as to the issues
actually determined and to every matter which the parties might have litigated and have x x x decided
as incident to or essentially connected with the subject matter of the litigation, and every matter
coming within the legitimate purview of the original action both in respect to matters of claim and of
defense." And "[i]n this jurisdiction, the rule is that when a judgment becomes final and executory, it
is the ministerial duty of the court to issue a writ of execution to enforce the judgment;" "execution
will issue as a matter of right x x x (a) when the judgment has become final and executory; (b) when
the judgment debtor has renounced or waived his right of appeal; [or] (c) when the period for appeal
has lapsed without an appeal having been filed x x x."





Neither can the Court lend a helping hand to extricate PDB from the effects of its mistake; indeed,
PDB erred more than once during the course of the proceedings. For one, it did not attempt to set right
its failure to appear during pre-trial, which prompted the court to allow petitioners to present evidence
ex parte and obtain a favorable default judgment. Second, assuming for the sake of argument that it
timely filed its Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial, it nonetheless violated the
ten-day requirement on the notice of hearing under Section 5 of Rule 15. Third, even before it could
be notified of the trial courts resolution of its omnibus motion on September 14, 2006 assuming it

was timely filed, it filed a notice of appeal on September 7, 2006 which thus implies that it
abandoned its bid for reconsideration and new trial, and instead opted to have the issues resolved by
the CA through the remedy of appeal. If so, then there is no Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and
for New Trial that the trial court must rule upon; its August 30, 2006 Order thus became moot and
academic and irrelevant. "[W]here [an action] or issue has become moot and academic, there is no
justiciable controversy, so that a declaration thereon would be of no practical use or value."
Fourth, instead of properly pursuing its appeal to free itself from the unfavorable effects of the trial
courts denial of its notice of appeal, PDB chose with disastrous results to gamble on its Omnibus
Motion for Reconsideration and for New Trial by filing an original Petition for Certiorari to assail the
trial courts denial thereof. Time and again, it has been said that certiorari is not a substitute for a lost
appeal, especially if ones own negligence or error in ones choice of remedy occasioned such loss.
WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The assailed July 28, 2009 Amended Decision and August
23, 2010 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 01317-MIN are REVERSED and
SET ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court of General Santos City, Branch 37 is ORDERED to proceed
with the execution ofits June 15, 2006 Decision in Civil Case No. 6474.