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E.B. Villarosa & Partners Co., Ltd. i.

Benito, 312 SCRA 65 ,1999|

E.B. Villarosa & Partners is a limited partnership with principal office
address at 102 Juan Luna St., Davao City and with branch offices at Paraaque and
Cagayan de Oro City (CDO). Villarosa and Imperial Development (ID) executed
an Agreement wherein Villarosa agreed to develop certain parcels of land in CDO
belonging to ID into a housing subdivision. ID, filed a Complaint for Breach of
Contract and Damages against Villarosa before the RTC allegedly for failure of the
latter to comply with its contractual obligation.
Summons, together with the complaint, were served upon Villarosa, through its
Branch Manager Wendell Sabulbero at the address at CDO but the Sheriffs Return
of Service stated that the summons was duly served "E.B. Villarosa & Partner thru
its Branch Manager at their new office Villa Gonzalo, CDO, and evidenced by the
signature on the face of the original copy of the summons." Villarosa prayed for
the dismissal of the complaint on the ground of improper service of summons and
for lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. Villarosa contends that the
RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over its person since the summons was
improperly served upon its employee in its branch office at CDO who is not one of
those persons named in Sec. 11, Rule 14 upon whom service of summons may be
made. ID filed a Motion to Declare Villarosa in Default alleging that Villarosa has
failed to file an Answer despite its receipt allegedly on May 5, 1998 of the
summons and the complaint, as shown in the Sheriff's Return.
Issue: Won an agent of a corporation can receive summons in behalf of their
HELD: The court agrees with the contention of Villarosa. Earlier cases have
uphold service of summons upon a construction project manager; a corporation's
assistant manager; ordinary clerk of a corporation; private secretary of corporate
executives; retained counsel; officials who had charge or control of the operations
of the corporation, like the assistant general manager; or the corporation's Chief
Finance and Administrative Office. In these cases, these persons were considered
as "agent" within the contemplation of the old rule.
Notably, under the new Rules, service of summons upon an AGENT of the
corporation is NO LONGER authorized.
The designation of persons or officers who are authorized to accept summons for
a domestic corporation or partnership is now limited and more clearly specified in
Section11, Rule 14. The rule now states "general manager" instead of only
"manager";"corporate secretary" instead of "secretary"; and "treasurer" instead of
"cashier." The phrase agent, or any of its directors" is conspicuously deleted in
the new rule.
A strict compliance with the mode of service is necessary to confer jurisdiction of
the court over a corporation. The officer upon whom service is made must be one
who is named in the statute; otherwise the service is insufficient. . . The liberal
construction rule cannot be invoked and utilized as a substitute for the plain legal
requirements as to the manner in which summons should be served on a domestic
corporation. .

Galura v. Math-Agro Corp: Invalid service

A LAW EACH DAY (Keeps Trouble Away)
By Jose C. Sison | Updated October 1, 2009 - 12:00am
In civil actions, courts acquire jurisdiction by proper service of summons upon
the defendants. If summons have not been properly served, judgments or orders
rendered by the courts are null and void. This is illustrated in this case of the
spouses Ted and Risa.
For non-payment of their obligation representing the balance of the purchase
price of broiler starters and finishers amounting to P353,500, the spouses were
sued by the supplier, MAC on June 21, 2000 before the Regional Trial Court
(RTC). MAC prayed that the couple be ordered to pay the said amount plus
interest and attorneys fees of P60,000 as well as expenses of litigation. The
complaint specified their poultry farm address in the province (Barangay
Kalayaan, Gerona, Tarlac) and their residence address in Quezon City (230 Apo
Street Sta. Mesa Heights) as the places where they could be served with
On September 17, 2000, the court process server Tino went to 230 Apo St. to
serve the summons. There, Teds father told Tino that the spouses were presently
residing at Tierra Pura Subdivision, Tandang Sora, QC. Despite being informed of
the spouses correct address, Tino still went to their poultry farm at Barangay
Kalayaan in Gerona Tarlac to serve the summons, only to find out that the
property has been foreclosed and that the spouses no longer resided there. On
September 26, 2000, Tino went to the Tierra Pura Subdivision in QC and,
without any explanation, served the summons not on the spouses but on Vicky,
the sister-in-law of Ted who received it, as evidenced by her signature.
Ted and Risa failed to answer, so they were declared in default and MAC was
allowed to present its evidence ex-parte. On June 27, 2001, the RTC rendered its
decision in favor of MAC and ordered the spouses to pay P353,500 plus 6%
interest and P30,000 attorneys fees.
On November 10, 2004, the RTC issued a writ of execution of its June 27, 2001
decision. The spouses received a copy of this order from their parents-in-law who
gave it to them on December 13, 2004. So on January 6, 2005, they filed a
petition for the annulment of the June 27, 2001 judgment and the order of
execution dated November 10, 2004.
The spouses claimed that the RTC failed to acquire jurisdiction over their persons
because the service of summons was invalid. They said that the resort of the
process server to what purport to be a substituted service when he left the

summons with Vicky is unjustified as it was premature. They pointed out that in
his return of service the process server did not state that attempts to serve the
summons on them personally had failed and that the same could not be made
within a reasonable time. He likewise failed to state facts and circumstances
showing why personal service of the summons upon them at their address at
Tierra Pura was impossible. Finally the couple pointed out that the process server
also failed to state that Vicky was a person of sufficient age and discretion
residing at Tierra Pura.
Were the spouses correct?
Yes. Substituted service of summons is valid only if (1) personal service of
summons on the defendants within a reasonable time is impossible; (2) the
person serving the summons exerted efforts to locate the defendant/s; (3) the
person to whom the summons is served is of sufficient age and discretion; (4) the
person to whom the summons is served resides at the defendants place of
residence; (5) the return of service states facts and circumstances showing why
personal service upon defendants at their place of residence is impossible.
In the present case, there was no showing in the return of service that: (1)
personal service to Ted and Risa within a reasonable time is impossible; (2)
Vicky, the person on whom summons was served, was of suitable age and
discretion and (3) that she resided in the residence of the Ted and Risa.
Consequently, the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of the spouses
and thus the spouses are not bound by its decision of June 27, 2001 and Order
dated November 10, 2004 which are hereby set aside for being null and void.
L- 32170 (38 SCRA 369) | March 31, 1971
Citizens Surety and Insurance Co (Citizens) alleged that at the request of Santiago
Dacanay, it issued 2 surety bonds to guarantee payment of P5K promissory notes
in favor Gregorio Fajardo and Manufacturers Bank & Trust Co respectively. As
security, the Santiago and Josefina Dacanay executed an Indemnity Agreement to
jointly indemnify Citizens for losses, costs and expenses (with 12% annual
interest) and a REM over a parcel of land in Baguio. The Dacanays failed to pay
the promissory notes compelling Citizens to pay. The Dacanays failed to
reimburse Citizens however, forcing the latter to cause the extrajudicial
foreclosure of the mortgage and file a case to recover the unsatisfied balance.

At petitioners request, the respondent Judge caused summons to be made by

publication in the Philippines Herald. But despite such publication and deposit of
copy with the Manila post office, the defendant did not appear within 60 days
from the last publication.
Plaintiff sought the defendants to be declared in default, but the Judge eventually
dismissed the case, the suit being in personam and the defendants not having
Issue: W/N summons made by publication is sufficient for the court to acquire
No. In an action strictly in personam, personal service of summons, within the
forum, is essential to the acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant, who does not voluntarily submit himself to the authority of the court.
In other words, summons by publication cannot consistently with the due
process clause in the Bill of Rights confer upon the court jurisdiction over said
The proper recourse for the creditor is to locate properties, real or personal, of
the resident defendant debtor with unknown address and cause them two be
attached, in which case, the attachment converts the action into a proceeding in
rem or quasi in rem and the summons by publication may be valid.
Given the skill of debtors to conceal their properties however, the decision of the
respondent Judge should be set aside and held pending in the archives until
petitioner tracks down the whereabouts of the defendants person or properties.

Santos v. PNOC
G.R. No. 170943, September 23, 2008
December 23, 2002, PNOC Exploration Corporation, respondent, filed a
complaint for a sum of money against petitioner Pedro Santos Jr. in the RTC of
Pasig. The amount sought to be collected was the petitioners unpaid balance of
the car loan advanced to him by respondent when he was still a member of its
board of directors.
Personal service of summons were made to petitioner but failed because the
latter cannot be located in his last known address despite earnest efforts to do so.

Subsequently, on respondents motion, the trial court allowed service of

summons by publication. Respondent caused the publication of the summons in
Remate, a newspaper of general circulation in the Philippines. Thereafter,
respondent submitted the affidavit of publication and the affidavit of service of
respondents employee to the effect that he sent a copy of the summons by
registered mail to petitioners last known address.
Petitioner still failed to answer within the prescribed period despite the
publication of summons. Hence, respondent filed a motion for the reception of its
evidence ex parte. Trial court granted said motion and proceeded with the ex
parte presentation and formal offer of its evidence.
Petitioner filed an Omnibus Motion for Reconsideration and to Admit Attached
Answer, alleging that the affidavit of service submitted by respondent failed to
comply with Section 19, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court as it was not executed by
the clerk of court.
Trial court denied the said motion and held that the rules did not require such
execution with the clerk of court. It also denied the motion to admit petitioners
answer because the same was filed way beyond the reglementary period.
Petitioner appeals to the CA via a petition for certiorari contending that the court
committed grave abuse of discretion since it has no jurisdiction due to improper
service of summons, failure to furnish him with copies of its orders and processes
and upholding technicality over equity and justice.
ISSUE: Whether or not there was a failure on the part of the trial court to
furnish Petitioner with copies of orders and processes issued in the course of the
HELD: No, Santos failed to file an answer in time, which is why he had to file an
Omnibus Motion to Admit Attached Answer. The disputed order of September 11,
2003 was a finding that the Santos was in default for failure to file an answer or
pleading within the period fixed. It is illogical to notify him of the order simply on
account of the reality that he was no longer residing and/or found on his last
known address and his whereabouts unknown thus the publication of summons.
Santos could not reasonably demand that copies of orders and processes be
furnished him. His residence or whereabouts is not known and he cannot be
located. In the case at bar, there is obviously no way notice can be sent to him and
the notice requirement cannot apply to him. The law does not require that the
impossible be done. Nemo tenetur ad impossible. The law obliges no one to
perform an impossibility. Laws and rules must be interpreted in a way that they
are in accordance with logic, common sense, reason and practicability. Be that as

it may, a copy of the September 11, 2003 order was still mailed to him at his last
known address but it was unclaimed.


FACTS: Sometime in 2004, Rapid City Realty and Development Corporation
(petitioner) filed a complaint for declaration of nullity of subdivision plans . . .
mandamus and damages against several defendants including Spouses Orlando
and Lourdes Villa (respondents).After one failed attempt at personal service of
summons, court process server resorted to substituted service by serving
summons upon respondents househelp who did not acknowledge receipt thereof
and refused to divulge their names. Despite substituted service, respondents
failed to file their Answer, prompting petitioner to file a "Motion to Declare
Defendants[-herein respondents] in Default" which the trial court granted by
Order of May 3, 2005.More than eight months thereafter respondents filed a
Motion to Lift Order of Default, claiming that on January 27, 2006 they "officially
received all pertinent papers such as Complaint and Annexes. And they denied
the existence of two women helpers who allegedly refused to sign and
acknowledge receipt of the summons. In any event, they contended that
assuming that the allegation were true, the helpers had no authority to receive
the documents.
By Order the trial court set aside the Order of Default and gave herein
respondents five days to file their Answer. Respondents just the same did not file
an Answer, drawing petitioner to again file a Motion to declare them in default,
which the trial court again granted..So, respondents filed an Omnibus Motion for
reconsideration of the second order declaring them in default and to vacate
proceedings, this time claiming that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction
over their persons due to invalid service of summons. The trial court denied
respondents? Omnibus Motion by Order and proceeded to receive ex-parte
evidence for petitioner. Petitioners motion for reconsideration having been
denied by the appellate court by Resolution of August12, 2008, it comes to the
Court via petition for review on certiorari, arguing in the main that respondents,
in filing the first Motion to Lift the Order of Default, voluntarily submitted
themselves to the jurisdiction of the court.
ISSUE: W/n the court acquires jurisdiction over the persons of the defendants

The petition is impressed with merit. It is settled that if there is no valid service of
summons, the court can still acquire jurisdiction over the person of the defendant
by virtue of the latters voluntary appearance. Thus Section 20 of Rule 14 of the
Rules of Court provides: Sec. 20.Voluntary appearance.
The defendants voluntary appearance in the action shall be equivalent to service
of summons. The inclusion in a motion to dismiss of other grounds aside from
lack of jurisdiction over the person shall not be deemed a voluntary appearance.
And Respondents did not, in said motion, allege that their filing thereof was a
special appearance for the purpose only to question the jurisdiction over their
persons. Clearly, they had acquiesced to the jurisdiction of the court.
Palma v. Galvez
Facts: On July 28, 2003, petitioner Leah Palma filed with the RTC an action for
damages against the Philippine Heart Center (PHC) and Drs Giron and Cruz,
alleging that the defendants committed professional fault, negligence and
omission for having removed her right ovary against her will, and losing the same
and the tissues extracted from her during the surgery; and that although the
specimens were subsequently found, petitioner was doubtful and uncertain that
the same was hers as the label therein pertained that of somebody else.
Defendants filed their respective Answers. Petitioner subsequently filed a Motion
for Leave to Admit Amended Complaint, praying for the inclusion of additional
defendants who were all nurses at the PHC, namely, Karla Reyes, Myra Mangaser
and herein private respondent Agudo. Thus, summons were subsequently issued
to them.
feb 17, 04RTC's process server submitted his return of summons stating that the
alias summons, together with a copy of the amended complaint and its annexes,
were served upon private respondent thru her husband Alfredo Agudo, who
received and signed the same as private respondent was out of the country
March 01, 04 private respondents counsel filed a Notice of Appearance and a
Motion for Extension of Time to File Answer 4 stating that he was just engaged
by private respondent's husband as she was out of the country and the Answer
was already due.
On March 15,04 Motion for Another Extension of Time to File Answer was filed
March 30,04 an MTD was filed on grounds of no jurisdiction over agudo as she
was temp out of the country and summons on hr shud abide by Section 16, Rule
14 of the Rules of Court: RTC ruling(may 7,04)

MTD was granted It found that while the summons was served at private
respondent's house and received by respondent's husband, such service did not
qualify as a valid service of summons on her as she was out of the country at the
time the summons was served, thus, she was not personally served a summons;
and even granting that she knew that a complaint was filed against her,
nevertheless, the court did not acquire jurisdiction over her person as she was not
validly served with summons; that substituted service could not be resorted to
since it was established that private respondent was out of the country, thus,
Section 16, Rule 14 provides for the service of summons on her by publication.
MR by petitioner was filed and denied.
Issue: Petitioner is now before us alleging that the public respondent committed
a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when he
ruled that:
I. Substituted service of summons upon private respondent, a defendant residing
in the Philippines but temporarily outside the country is invalid;
II. Section 16, Rule 14, of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure limits the mode of
service of summons upon a defendant residing in the Philippines, but
temporarily outside the country, exclusively to extraterritorial service of
summons under section 15 of the same rule;
III. In not ruling that by filing two (2) motions for extension of time to file
Answer, private respondent had voluntarily submitted herself to the jurisdiction
of respondent court, pursuant to Section 20, Rule 14 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure, hence, equivalent to having been served with summons;
IV. The cases cited in his challenged Order of May 7, 2004 constitute stare decisis
despite his own admission that the factual landscape in those decided cases are
entirely different from those in this case.
Held: In civil cases, the trial court acquires jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant either by the service of summons or by the latters voluntary
appearance and submission to the authority of the former. 16 Private respondent
was a Filipino resident who was temporarily out of the Philippines at the time of
the service of summons; thus, service of summons on her is governed by Section
16, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court, which provides: Sec. 16. Residents temporarily
out of the Philippines . When an action is commenced against a defendant who
ordinarily resides within the Philippines, but who is temporarily out of it, service

may, by leave of court, be also effected out of the Philippines, as under the
preceding section. (Emphasis supplied)
The preceding section referred to in the above provision is Section 15, which
speaks of extraterritorial service, thus:
SEC. 15. Extraterritorial service. When the defendant does not reside and is not
found in the Philippines, and the action affects the personal status of the plaintiff
or relates to, or the subject of which is, property within the Philippines, in which
the defendant has or claims a lien or interest, actual or contingent, or in which
the relief demanded consists, wholly or in part, in excluding the defendant from
any interest therein, or the property of the defendant has been attached within
the Philippines, service may, by leave of court, be effected out of the Philippines
by personal service as under section 6; or by publication in a newspaper of
general circulation in such places and for such time as the court may order, in
which case a copy of the summons and order of the court shall be sent by
registered mail to the last known address of the defendant, or in any other
manner the court may deem sufficient. Any order granting such leave shall
specify a reasonable time, which shall not be less than sixty (60) days after notice,
within which the defendant must answer.
SC said: In Montefalcon v. Vasquez , we said that because Section 16 of Rule 14
uses the words "may" and "also," it is not mandatory. Other methods of service of
summons allowed under the Rules may also be availed of by the serving officer on
a defendant-resident who is temporarily out of the Philippines. Thus, if a resident
defendant is temporarily out of the country, any of the following modes of service
may be resorted to: (1) substituted service set forth in section 7 ( formerly Section
8), Rule 14; (2) personal service outside the country, with leave of court; (3)
service by publication, also with leave of court; or (4) in any other manner the
court may deem sufficient.
In Montalban v. Maximo, 19 we held that substituted service of summons under
the present Section 7, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court in a suit in personam against
residents of the Philippines temporarily absent therefrom is the normal method
of service of summons that will confer jurisdiction on the court over such
defendant. In the same case, we expounded on the rationale in providing for
substituted service as the normal mode of service for residents temporarily out of
the Philippines.
Considering that private respondent was temporarily out of the country, the
summons and complaint may be validly served on her through substituted
service under Section 7, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court which reads:

SEC. 7. Substituted service. If, for justifiable causes, the defendant cannot be
served within a reasonable time as provided in the preceding section, service may
be effecte d (a) by leaving copies of the summons at the defendants residence
with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein, or (b) by
leaving the copies at defendants office or regular place of business with some
competent person in charge thereof.
We have held that a dwelling, house or residence refers to the place where the
person named in the summons is living at the time when the service is made,
even though he may be temporarily out of the country at the time. It is, thus, the
service of the summons intended for the defendant that must be left with the
person of suitable age and discretion residing in the house of the defendant.
Compliance with the rules regarding the service of summons is as important as
the issue of due process as that of jurisdiction.
Section 7 also designates the persons with whom copies of the process may be
left. The rule presupposes that such a relation of confidence exists between the
person with whom the copy is left and the defendant and, therefore, assumes that
such person will deliver the process to defendant or in some way give him notice
In this case, the Sheriff's Return stated that private respondent was out of the
country; thus, the service of summons was made at her residence with her
husband, Alfredo P. Agudo, acknowledging receipt thereof. Alfredo was
presumably of suitable age and discretion, who was residing in that place and,
therefore, was competent to receive the summons on private respondent's behalf.

Civ Pro Rule 14, Sec 7

Chu vs. Mach Asia
G.R. No. 184333
April 1, 2013
Respondent Mach Asia Trading Corporation is a corporation engaged in
importing dump trucks and heavy equipments.
On December 8, 1998, petitioner Sixto N. Chu purchased on
installment one (1) Hitachi Excavator worth P900,000.00 from the
respondent. Petitioner initially paid P180,000.00 with the balance
of P720,000.00 to be paid in 12 monthly installments through Prime
Bank postdated checks. On March 29, 1999, petitioner again purchased
two (2) heavy equipments from the respondent on installment basis in
the sum of P1,000,000.00, namely: one (1) motorgrader and one (1)
payloader. Petitioner made a down payment of P200,000.00 with the
balance of P800,000.00 payable in 12 monthly installments through
Land Bank postdated checks.
However, upon presentment of the checks for encashment, they were
dishonored by the bank either by reason of "closed account," "drawn
against insufficient funds," or "payment stopped."
On November 29, 1999, the RTC issued an Order6 allowing the issuance
of a writ of replevin on the subject heavy equipments.
On December 9, 1999, Sheriff Doroteo P. Cortes proceeded at
petitioner's given address for the purpose of serving the summons,
together with the complaint, writ of replevin and bond. However, the
Sheriff failed to serve the summons personally upon the petitioner,
since the latter was not there. The Sheriff then resorted to substituted
service by having the summons and the complaint received by a
certain Rolando Bonayon, a security guard of the
Whether or not there was a valid substituted service
No. As a rule, summons should be personally served on the defendant.
It is only when summons cannot be served personally within a
reasonable period of time that substituted service may be resorted
to.15Section 7, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court provides:

SEC. 7. Substituted service. If, for justifiable causes, the defendant

cannot be served within a reasonable time as provided in the
preceding section, service may be effected (a) by leaving copies of the
summons at the defendant's residence with some person of suitable
age and discretion then residing therein, or (b) by leaving the copies at
defendant's office or regular place of business with some competent
person in charge thereof.
It is to be noted that in case of substituted service, there should be a
report indicating that the person who received the summons in the
defendant's behalf was one with whom the defendant had a relation of
confidence, ensuring that the latter would actually receive the
Also, impossibility of prompt personal service must be shown by
stating that efforts have been made to find the defendant personally
and that such efforts have failed. This is necessary because substituted
service is in derogation of the usual method of service. It is a method
extraordinary in character, hence, may be used only as prescribed and
in the circumstances authorized by statute. The statutory requirements
of substituted service must be followed strictly, faithfully and fully, and
any substituted service other than that authorized by statute is
considered ineffective.
In the case at bar, it was not shown that the security guard who
received the summons in behalf of the petitioner was authorized and
possessed a relation of confidence that petitioner would definitely
receive the summons. This is not the kind of service contemplated by
law. Thus, service on the security guard could not be considered as
substantial compliance with the requirements of substituted service.
Evidently, plaintiff-appellee cannot be penalized, through no fault of its
own, for an irregular or defective return on service of summons.
In the interest of fairness, the process server's neglect or inadvertence
in the service of summons should not, thus, unduly prejudice plaintiffappellee's right to speedy justice.
The service of summons is a vital and indispensable ingredient of due
process. As a rule, if defendants have not been validly summoned, the
court acquires no jurisdiction over their person, and a judgment
rendered against them is null and void.20 Since the RTC never acquired
jurisdiction over the person of the petitioner, the judgment rendered by
the court could not be considered binding upon him for being null and



















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