Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 55

SECTION 3 and award them to the private sector at fair and reasonable fees x x x.

"7 The memorandum


REQUISITES recommended to the MIAA Board of Directors the approval of a schedule of concession fees chargeable
to concessionaires of porterage and other services.

G. R. No. 118249 February 14, 2003 However, on December 1, 1992, General Manager Cunanan gave written notice to K Services to "wind
up" its operations as "Management has decided to take over the aforecited services at the Domestic
Passenger Terminals I and II."8
MANILA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. EDITA
M. MULINGTAPANG, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Metro Manila, Branch
115, and K SERVICES COMPANY, respondents. K Services opposed the takeover. It filed on December 18, 1992 a Petition for Prohibition with Preliminary
Injunction and Prayer for a Temporary Restraining Order9 with the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City,
Branch 115, docketed as Civil Case No. 9500. Finding the petition to be sufficient in form and substance,
K Services began providing porters for the domestic passenger terminal of the Manila International Airport the trial court issued on December 28, 1992 a temporary restraining order against MIAA. On January 20,
(now the Ninoy Aquino International Airport) under a provisional permit for the period from January 1, 1993, the trial court granted the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for by K Services, as follows:
1976 to April 30, 1976. MIAA and K Services subsequently executed a contract effective from May 1976
to April 30, 1977 that was renewed yearly until December 1984.
"WHEREFORE, the Court, after careful evaluation and consideration of the evidence adduced by the
parties, so finds that this is a proper case where a Writ of Preliminary Injunction should issue and let a
Although the parties did not renew their contract for the succeeding year, K Services continued as Writ of Preliminary Injunction be issued to restrain and prevent the respondent Manila International Airport
porterage contractor from January 1985 until February 1987. Sometime in February 1987, however, MIAA Authority or anyone acting for in (sic) its own behalf, from terminating the porterage services of the
gave notice that the services of K Services would be terminated on February 20, 1987. In response, K petitioner K Services Company until further order from this Court provided, however, that the petitioner
Services filed a petition for injunction on February 26, 1987 with the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City files before this Court a bond with sufficient sureties in the amount of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSANDS
docketed as Civil Case No. 4692-P. (sic) PESOS (P500,000.00), Philippine Currency, executed to the respondent to answer and pay for
whatever damages the respondent may sustain pending the hearing on the merits of the main case by
reason of the injunction if the Court should finally decided (sic) that the petitioner was not entitled
On December 26, 1989, the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 113, rendered a decision in Civil thereto."10
Case No. 4692-P ruling that MIAA could terminate its contract with K Services at any time. On April 12,
1991, K Services appealed the decision of the trial court to the Court of Appeals which dismissed the
appeal in CA-G.R. SP No. 23053. The Court of Appeals also denied K Services subsequent motion for MIAAs legal department duly received a copy of the trial courts order. However, the Office of the Solicitor
reconsideration. As K Services did not appeal, the decision of the Court of Appeals became final and General ("OSG" for brevity) did not receive a copy of the injunctive writ, despite having already entered its
executory. Thus, the issue as to whether MIAA could terminate the contract with K Services became res appearance as counsel for MIAA during previous hearings before the trial court.
judicata.4
On February 11, 1993, the OSG filed a motion to dismiss the complaint filed by K Services on the
Shortly after, K Services received a letter dated May 31, 1991 from then MIAA General Manager Eduardo grounds that: (1) the complaint failed to state a cause of action; or (2) assuming the existence of a cause
Carrascoso, the relevant portion of which stated: of action, a prior judgment barred the same. At the time MIAA filed the instant petition before the Court,
this motion to dismiss, opposed by K Services, was pending consideration by the trial court.
"Due to certain administrative problems that are preventing us from taking over, please continue
operating said service until further notice from us. On July 7, 1993, K Services filed a motion to cite MIAAs General Manager Cunanan for contempt as the
latter ostensibly attempted to oust and replace K Services with another porterage contractor. It was only
upon receipt of a copy of the contempt motion that the OSG supposedly learned of the writ of preliminary
In connection thereto, please be advised also that PAL Authorities and the MIA Authority have come to an injunction issued by the trial court. On July 23, 1993, the OSG filed an Omnibus Motion11 which mainly
agreement whereby the latter shall operate and manage the Domestic Terminal II which necessarily alleged that: (1) the injunctive writ lacked legal and factual basis; and (2) K Services was using the
includes the operation of the porterage and other concessions therein. In this regard, you may take over injunction as a shield to violate the terms of the porterage agreement by charging fees in excess of the
the operation of the porterage service therein since the flights being operated in this Terminal II used to amount authorized by the contract. The Omnibus Motion prayed for reconsideration of the order of
be a part of your contract. Please coordinate this with the Manager of the Domestic Passenger Terminal January 20, 1993 and for the lifting of the injunction.
and the PAL Authorities concerned.

On August 5, 1993, the trial court denied MIAAs Omnibus Motion, ruling that:
Please understand however that in continuing the operation of the porterage service, you will be charged
the monthly Concession Privilege Fee in the amount of P45,000.00 for each Terminal or a total
of P90,000.00 per month; further, you will also abide by the terms and conditions of your expired "2. The allegations that the complaint states no cause of action, and that the issuance of the Writ of
contract."5 (Emphasis supplied) Preliminary Injunction has no factual and legal basis to the mind of this Court, are not tenable. A hearing
on the question of whether or not a Writ of Preliminary Injunction should be issued was held wherein the
parties and their counsels were allowed to go on oral arguments and this Court after a careful evaluation
K Services alleged that it was initially hesitant to accept MIAAs offer. However, it continued to provide of the evidence adduced thereat found that there is a case where a writ of preliminary injunction should
porters for Domestic Terminal I and expanded its operations to cover Domestic Terminal II upon the issue. Evidence adduced shows that the petitioner is servicing the respondent as a porterage contractor
alleged verbal assurance of MIAAs officers that MIAAs policy was to relinquish porterage operations to and that a notice of termination was sent to the petitioner. The allegation of the petitioner and presented
the private sector. K Services likewise claimed that MIAA officers also gave verbal assurance that K before this Court is one for which a Court can make a valid judgment. Certainly, this Court has to issue a
Services would not be replaced with another porterage contractor without a public bidding in which K writ of preliminary injunction to avoid any irreparable loss that might be caused to the plaintiff.
Services could participate.6 In support of its contention, K Services cited the memorandum dated August Nonetheless, to legally equate the respondent, this Court directed the petitioner to file aP500,000.00 bond
28, 1992 from General Manager Guillermo G. Cunanan to the MIAA Board of Directors. The to answer for whatever damage the respondent might sustain pending hearing of the case on the
memorandum stated that "Management has decided to relinquish the management of these concessions merits."12
The OSG, on MIAAs behalf, filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 to the Court of Appeals assailing The MIAA raises this sole issue:
the trial courts orders of January 20, 1993 and August 5, 1993. The OSG argued that the trial court
committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it issued the writ of
preliminary injunction and denied the Omnibus Motion without sufficient factual and legal basis. WHETHER THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION
IN SUSTAINING THE ISSUANCE OF A WRIT OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION BY THE TRIAL COURT.

The Ruling of the Court of Appeals


The central question for resolution is whether K Services was entitled to the writ of preliminary injunction
granted by the trial court. The Court shall deal only with the questioned writ and not with the merits of the
13
In its Decision of December 22, 1993, the Court of Appeals set aside the questioned orders of the trial case pending before the trial court.
court for lack of sufficient basis, to wit:
The Ruling of the Court
"In the case at bar, while the right of petitioner to terminate the lease contract is clear, and in fact ruled
upon with finality or is res judicata, private respondents mere claim of an extended/expanded contract is
unclear and disputed, to the effect that the granting of the writ of preliminary injunction at this stage of the The petition is meritorious.
proceeding, being based on the doubtful genuineness and validity of the alleged extended agreement,
has not been successfully established." Whether MIAAs petition for certiorari should be considered barred by laches.

xxx K Services contends that MIAAs right to question the trial courts order of January 20, 1993 is barred by
laches. K Services points out that eight months had elapsed between the receipt by MIAA of the order of
"Thus, the court a quo acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in January 20, 1993 and the filing of the petition for certiorari questioning the order before the Court of
issuing the questioned orders. Appeals.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GIVEN DUE COURSE and the questioned orders hereby K Services argument is incorrect.
RECONSIDERED and SET ASIDE."
MIAAs petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals sought to set aside two orders of the trial court.
While the motion for reconsideration filed by K Services before the Court of Appeals was pending, MIAA These are the injunctive order of January 20, 1993, and the later order of August 5, 1993 denying MIAAs
attempted to oust K Services based on the appellate courts decision. Upon motion of K Services, the trial Omnibus Motion before the trial court.
court issued an order to preserve the status quo ante by reinstating K Services as the porterage
contractor of Domestic Passenger Terminals I and II. Laches is the failure, or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained time to do that which, by exercising
due diligence, could or should have been done earlier. It is the negligence or omission to assert a right
MIAA filed with the Court of Appeals a motion for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or writ of within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has
preliminary injunction to enjoin the trial court from implementing the status quo ante order. The Court of abandoned or declined to assert it.15 We have held that, in establishing laches, what should be
Appeals denied MIAAs motion in its Resolution of March 10, 1994. considered is the interval after the rendition of the last order sought to be set aside.16

On December 2, 1994, the Court of Appeals promulgated an Amended Decision reversing its earlier Thus, what matters is the intervening period after the trial courts order of August 5, 1993 the last order
decision of December 22, 1993 and dismissing MIAAs petition for certiorari. Citing "misapprehensions of MIAA assailed in its petition for certiorari to the time the petition was filed with the Court of Appeals. The
fact," the Court of Appeals ruled: records show that some seventy-seven days elapsed from MIAAs receipt on August 6, 1993 of the order
of August 5, 1993 before MIAAs petition for certiorari was filed with the Court of Appeals on October 22,
1993.
"In the case at bar, the evidence submitted by both parties, as well as the issues raised in the oral
arguments, also by both parties, were the very bases upon which the writ of preliminary injunction was
issued "to avoid any irreparable loss that might be caused to the plaintiff." Thus, it has been ruled that it is Rule 65 of the Rules of Court prevailing at the time did not fix a specific period for filing a special civil
well-established that no grave abuse of discretion could be attributed to a judge or body in the issuance of action for certiorari. Jurisprudence then simply required that petitions for certiorari should be filed within a
a writ of preliminary injunction where a party was not deprived of its day in court as it was heard and had reasonable time from receipt of the questioned judgment or order.17 The Court then found three months
exhaustively presented all its arguments and defenses (Santos vs. CA, 214 SCRA 162).1awphi1.nt to be reasonable, although courts were not precluded from entertaining petitions filed beyond the three-
month period if warranted by the demands of justice and provided laches had not set in. 18

WHEREFORE, the Decision dated December 22, 1993, object of respondents motion for
reconsideration, is hereby RECONSIDERED and SET ASIDE, and a new one rendered DISMISSING the As the period of seventy-seven days in this instance was well within the three-month period regarded as
instant petition."14 reasonable by jurisprudence then, MIAAs petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals could not be
considered as barred by laches.

On January 26, 1995, the OSG filed with the Court a petition for review and prayed for: (1) the reversal of
the Amended Decision of the Court of Appeals; (2) the annulment of the assailed orders issued by the We note that K Services likewise assailed before the trial and appellate courts the timeliness and validity
trial court; and (3) the issuance of a restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction enjoining the trial of MIAAs Omnibus Motion filed on July 23, 1993. However, both courts correctly opted to tackle the
court from implementing its assailed orders. issues raised by MIAA. The Omnibus Motion may be regarded as akin to a memorandum assailing the
trial courts lack of jurisdiction to issue the injunctive writ, which may be ruled on, considering that a
jurisdictional question may be raised at any time.19 Alternatively, the Omnibus Motion may be treated as a
The Issue
motion for dissolution of the preliminary injunction authorized under Section 6, Rule 58 of the old Rules of Considering the far-reaching effects of a writ of preliminary injunction, the trial court should have
Court,20 which may be raised at any stage prior to final judgment.1a\^/phi1.net exercised more prudence and judiciousness in its issuance of the injunction order. We remind trial courts
that while generally the grant of a writ of preliminary injunction rests on the sound discretion of the court
taking cognizance of the case, extreme caution must be observed in the exercise of such
Whether the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction discretion.22 The discretion of the court a quo to grant an injunctive writ must be exercised based on the
when it granted the writ of preliminary injunction. grounds and in the manner provided by law.23 Thus, the Court declared in Garcia v. Burgos:24

MIAA asserts that K Services has not shown any clear and unmistakable right to the protection of a writ of "It has been consistently held that there is no power the exercise of which is more delicate, which
preliminary injunction. MIAA calls attention to the trial courts order of January 20, 1993, which failed to requires greater caution, deliberation and sound discretion, or more dangerous in a doubtful case, than
state in particular the basis for the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction in favor of K Services. the issuance of an injunction. It is the strong arm of equity that should never be extended unless to cases
MIAA argues that the effect of the injunction is to force MIAA to extend the life of a contract that already of great injury, where courts of law cannot afford an adequate or commensurate remedy in damages.
expired by operation of its own provisions. For these reasons, MIAA contends that the trial court, in
granting the injunctive writ, acted with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.
Every court should remember that an injunction is a limitation upon the freedom of action of the defendant
and should not be granted lightly or precipitately. It should be granted only when the court is fully satisfied
On the other hand, K Services maintains that it has the right to continue as the porterage contractor of that the law permits it and the emergency demands it." (Emphasis supplied)
MIAA under the extension conferred on it by MIAA through General Manager Carrascoso. K Services
further alleges that MIAA officers verbally assured K Services that MIAAs policy was to privatize the
porterage and other services, and in any case, K Services would not be replaced without a public bidding. The records before the Court do not reveal a clear and unmistakable right on the part of K Services that
would entitle the latter to the protection of an injunctive writ.
We find for MIAA.
The available records show, and the parties do not dispute, that the last contract between MIAA and K
Services had already expired. K Services claim to an "Extended/Expanded Contract" is anchored on the
Section 3, Rule 58, of the old Rules of Court, which was applicable at the time, prescribed that a letter of May 31, 1991 from General Manager Carrascoso. However, this letter expressly stipulated that
preliminary injunction could be granted provided: the extension would only be "until further notice"25 from MIAA. We find the argument of the OSG on this
matter persuasive:
"(a) That the plaintiff is entitled to the relief demanded, and the whole or part of such relief
consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the acts complained of, or in the "While it may be conceded that private respondent was allowed to continue operating the porterage
performance of an act or acts, either for a limited period or perpetually; service after the expiration of the contract as the above letter shows, there is no question, however, that
private respondent was only allowed to operate up to a certain time, specified therein as "until further
(b) That the commission or continuance of some act complained of during the litigation or the notice from us." Indeed, there is nothing in said letter to indicate that private respondent has until forever
non-performance thereof would probably work injustice to the plaintiff; or to operate the porterage service as private respondent would like to make it appear. The fact that the
authority to continue the porterage service was specified up to a certain period is a clear indication that
petitioner did not intend to allow private respondent to operate the porterage service for as long as it
(c) That the defendant is doing, threatens, or is about to do, or is procuring or suffering to be pleases. Perforce, it limited such privilege to a certain period or until further notice. x x x"261a\^/phi1.net
done, some act probably in violation of the plaintiffs rights respecting the subject of the action,
and tending to render the judgment ineffectual."
Where the terms of a contract are clear, leaving no doubt on the intention of the contracting parties, the
Court has held that the literal meaning of the stipulations shall control.27 The phrase "until further notice"
The requisites necessary for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction are: (1) the existence of a prescribed a limit to the extension of the contract conditioned on a future event, specifically, the receipt by
clear and unmistakable right that must be protected; and (2) an urgent and paramount necessity for the K Services of notice of termination from MIAA. In effect, the phrase provided a resolutory facultative
writ to prevent serious damage.21 The duty of the court taking cognizance of a prayer for a writ of condition.28 It should be noted that "until" is a "word of limitation, used ordinarily to restrict that which
preliminary injunction is to determine whether the requisites necessary for the grant of an injunction are precedes to what immediately follows it, and its office is to fix some point of time or some event upon the
present in the case before it. arrival or occurrence of which what precedes will cease to exist."29

In the instant case, however, the trial courts order of January 20, 1993 was, on its face, bereft of basis for Significantly, MIAA General Manager Carrascoso also explained in his May 31, 1991 letter that the
the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. There were no findings of fact or law in the assailed order extension was being offered because MIAA had administrative problems that prevented it from taking
indicating that any of the elements essential for the grant of a preliminary injunction existed. The trial over the porterage operations of the domestic passenger terminals. Further, K Services itself admitted in
court alluded to hearings during which the parties marked their respective exhibits and the trial court its initial petition for prohibition filed before the trial court that it hesitated to accept the offer "because of
heard the oral arguments of opposing counsels. However, it cannot be ascertained what evidence was the transiency and impermanence of the extension."30 Taken together, these factors indicate that the
formally offered and presented by the parties and given weight and credence by the trial court. The basis parties intended and understood that the extension was merely a temporary arrangement.
for the trial courts conclusion that K Services was entitled to a writ of preliminary injunction is unclear.
There is likewise no basis for K Services contention that its services as the porterage contractor cannot
In its order of August 5, 1993, the trial court stated that it issued the injunction to prevent irreparable loss be terminated unless a public bidding is held to determine its replacement. MIAAs charter, as provided
that might be caused to K Services. Once more, however, the trial court neglected to mention what right for in Executive Order No. 903, grants the MIAA ample authority to take over directly porterage operations
in esse of K Services, if any, was in danger of being violated and required the protection of a preliminary within the airport.31Against this law, K Services claims of verbal assurances from MIAAs officers cannot
injunction. The trial court stated merely that K Services was servicing MIAA as a porterage contractor and prevail.
that a notice of termination was sent to K Services. Absent a preliminary finding by the trial court that K
Services possessed the right to continue as MIAAs concessionaire, MIAAs termination of K Services
was not sufficient in itself to establish that there was an invasion of K Services right.
Moreover, General Manager Carrascosos letter also expressly stated that K Services "should abide by WHAT IS A RIGHT IN ESSE?
the terms and conditions of your expired contract."32 Article X of the contract dated April 27, 1984, the last
contract executed between MIAA and K Services, stated that:
G.R. No. 178411 June 23, 2010
"10.02. Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary MIAA shall have the right to terminate or rescind
this Contract without need of judicial intervention by giving at least thirty (30) days written notice to that
effect upon the CONCESSIONAIRE, which notice shall be final and binding on both parties; x x x" OFFICE OF THE CITY MAYOR OF PARAAQUE CITY, OFFICE OF THE CITY ADMINISTRATOR OF
(Emphasis supplied) PARAAQUE CITY, OFFICE OF THE CITY ENGINEER OF PARAAQUE CITY, OFFICE OF THE
CITY PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR, OFFICE OF THE BARANGAY CAPTAIN
AND SANGGUNIANG PAMBARANGAY OF BARANGAY VITALEZ, PARAAQUE CITY, TERESITA
Thus, even assuming that General Manager Carrascosos letter of May 31, 1991 extended the porterage A. GATCHALIAN, ENRICO R. ESGUERRA, ERNESTO T. PRACALE, JR., MANUEL M. ARGOTE,
contract, still MIAA had the right to terminate K Services porterage services by mere 30-days written CONRADO M. CANLAS, JOSEPHINE S. DAUIGOY, ALLAN L. GONZALES, ESTER C. ASEHAN,
notice. MANUEL A. FUENTES, and MYRNA P. ROSALES, Petitioners, vs. MARIO D. EBIO AND HIS
CHILDREN/HEIRS namely, ARTURO V. EBIO, EDUARDO V. EBIO, RENATO V. EBIO, LOURDES E.
MAGTANGOB, MILA V. EBIO, and ARNEL V. EBIO, Respondents.
Both the trial court, in its order of August 5, 1993, and the Court of Appeals, in its Amended Decision,
found that the injunctive writ was necessary to prevent serious damage or irreparable loss to K Services.
Respondents claim that they are the absolute owners of a parcel of land consisting of 406 square meters,
more or less, located at 9781 Vitalez Compound in Barangay Vitalez, Paraaque City and covered by Tax
The Court has ruled, however, that the possibility of irreparable damage without proof of actual existing
Declaration Nos. 01027 and 01472 in the name of respondent Mario D. Ebio. Said land was an accretion
right is not a ground for an injunction.33 Where the complainants right is doubtful or disputed, injunction is
of Cut-cut creek. Respondents assert that the original occupant and possessor of the said parcel of land
not proper. Absent a clear legal right, the issuance of the injunctive relief constitutes grave abuse of
was their great grandfather, Jose Vitalez. Sometime in 1930, Jose gave the land to his son, Pedro
discretion.34
Vitalez. From then on, Pedro continuously and exclusively occupied and possessed the said lot. In 1966,
after executing an affidavit declaring possession and occupancy,4 Pedro was able to obtain a tax
Thus, the trial court's grant of the injunctive writ in favor of K Services despite the lack of a clear and declaration over the said property in his name.5 Since then, respondents have been religiously paying
unmistakable right on the part of K Services constitutes grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of real property taxes for the said property.6
jurisdiction. A finding that the applicant for preliminary injunction may suffer damage not capable of
pecuniary estimation does not suffice to support an injunction, where it appears that the right of the
Meanwhile, in 1961, respondent Mario Ebio married Pedros daughter, Zenaida. Upon Pedros advice, the
applicant is unclear or disputed.
couple established their home on the said lot. In April 1964 and in October 1971, Mario Ebio secured
building permits from the Paraaque municipal office for the construction of their house within the said
Finally, in deciding to dismiss MIAAs petition for certiorari, the Court of Appeals cited the Courts compound.7 On April 21, 1987, Pedro executed a notarized Transfer of Rights8 ceding his claim over the
pronouncement in Santos v. Court of Appeals.35 We clarify that Santos does not constitute an exception entire parcel of land in favor of Mario Ebio. Subsequently, the tax declarations under Pedros name were
to the requirement of a clear and unmistakable right before an injunction may issue. On the contrary, the cancelled and new ones were issued in Mario Ebios name.9
Court in Santos expressly declared that all the requisites for the proper issuance of a preliminary
mandatory injunction were present, and the right of the government to the injunctive writ was clear, well-
On March 30, 1999, the Office of the Sangguniang Barangay of Vitalez passed Resolution No. 08, series
defined and certain. of 199910seeking assistance from the City Government of Paraaque for the construction of an access
road along Cut-cut Creek located in the said barangay. The proposed road, projected to be eight (8)
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Amended Decision of December 2, 1994 of the Court of meters wide and sixty (60) meters long, will run from Urma Drive to the main road of Vitalez
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 32419 is SET ASIDE. The Decision of December 22, 1993 of the Court of Compound11 traversing the lot occupied by the respondents. When the city government advised all the
Appeals in the same case, setting aside the Orders dated January 20, 1993 and August 5, 1993 of the affected residents to vacate the said area, respondents immediately registered their opposition thereto.
Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 115, in Civil Case No. 9500, is REINSTATED. As a result, the road project was temporarily suspended.12

SO ORDERED. In January 2003, however, respondents were surprised when several officials from the barangay and the
city planning office proceeded to cut eight (8) coconut trees planted on the said lot. Respondents filed
letter-complaints before the Regional Director of the Bureau of Lands, the Department of Interior and
Local Government and the Office of the Vice Mayor.13 On June 29, 2003, the Sangguniang Barangay of
Vitalez held a meeting to discuss the construction of the proposed road. In the said meeting, respondents
asserted their opposition to the proposed project and their claim of ownership over the affected
property.14 On November 14, 2003, respondents attended another meeting with officials from the city
government, but no definite agreement was reached by and among the parties.15

On March 28, 2005, City Administrator Noli Aldip sent a letter to the respondents ordering them to vacate
the area within the next thirty (30) days, or be physically evicted from the said property.16 Respondents
sent a letter to the Office of the City Administrator asserting, in sum, their claim over the subject property
and expressing intent for a further dialogue.17 The request remained unheeded.1avvphi1

Threatened of being evicted, respondents went to the RTC of Paraaque City on April 21, 2005 and
applied for a writ of preliminary injunction against petitioners.18 In the course of the proceedings,
respondents admitted before the trial court that they have a pending application for the issuance of a We likewise note the continuous payment of real property taxes of Appellants which bolster their right
sales patent before the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).19 over the subject property. x x x.

On April 29, 2005, the RTC issued an Order20 denying the petition for lack of merit. The trial court xxxx
reasoned that respondents were not able to prove successfully that they have an established right to the
property since they have not instituted an action for confirmation of title and their application for sales
patent has not yet been granted. Additionally, they failed to implead the Republic of the Philippines, which In sum, We are fully convinced and so hold that the Appellants [have] amply proven their right over the
is an indispensable party. property in question.

Respondents moved for reconsideration, but the same was denied.21 WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is hereby GRANTED. The challenged Order of
the court a quo is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.

Aggrieved, respondents elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals. On January 31, 2007, the Court of
Appeals issued its Decision in favor of the respondents. According to the Court of Appeals-- SO ORDERED.22

The issue ultimately boils down to the question of ownership of the lands adjoining Cutcut Creek On June 8, 2007, the appellate court denied petitioners motion for reconsideration. Hence, this petition
particularly Road Lot No. 8 (hereinafter RL 8) and the accreted portion beside RL 8. raising the following assignment of errors:

The evidentiary records of the instant case, shows that RL 8 containing an area of 291 square meters is I. WHETHER OR NOT THE DECISION AND RESOLUTION OF THE HONORABLE COURT OF
owned by Guaranteed Homes, Inc. covered by TCT No. S-62176. The same RL 8 appears to have been APPEALS THAT RESPONDENTS HAVE A RIGHT IN ESSE IS IN ACCORD WITH THE LAW AND
donated by the Guaranteed Homes to the City Government of Paraaque on 22 March 1966 and which ESTABLISHED JURISPRUDENCE[;]
was accepted by the then Mayor FLORENCIO BERNABE on 5 April 1966. There is no evidence however,
when RL 8 has been intended as a road lot. II. WHETHER OR NOT THE DECISION AND RESOLUTION OF THE HONORABLE COURT OF
APPEALS THAT THE SUBJECT LOT IS AVAILABLE FOR ACQUISITIVE PRESCRIPTION IS IN
On the other hand, the evidentiary records reveal that PEDRO VITALEZ possessed the accreted property ACCORD WITH THE LAW AND ESTABLISHED JURISPRUDENCE[;] AND
since 1930 per his Affidavit dated 21 March 1966 for the purpose of declaring the said property for
taxation purposes. The property then became the subject of Tax Declaration No. 20134 beginning the III. WHETHER OR NOT THE STATE IS AN INDISPENSABLE PARTY TO THE COMPLAINT FILED
year 1967 and the real property taxes therefor had been paid for the years 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, BY RESPONDENTS IN THE LOWER COURT.23
1972, 1973, 1974, 1978, 1980, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004.
Sometime in 1964 and 1971, construction permits were issued in favor of Appellant MARIO EBIO for the
subject property. On 21 April 1987, PEDRO VITALEZ transferred his rights in the accreted property to The issues may be narrowed down into two (2): procedurally, whether the State is an indispensable party
MARIO EBIO and his successors-in-interest. to respondents action for prohibitory injunction; and substantively, whether the character of respondents
possession and occupation of the subject property entitles them to avail of the relief of prohibitory
injunction.
Applying [Article 457 of the Civil Code considering] the foregoing documentary evidence, it could be
concluded that Guaranteed Homes is the owner of the accreted property considering its ownership of the
adjoining RL 8 to which the accretion attached. However, this is without the application of the provisions The petition is without merit.
of the Civil Code on acquisitive prescription which is likewise applicable in the instant case.
An action for injunction is brought specifically to restrain or command the performance of an act. 24 It is
xxxx distinct from the ancillary remedy of preliminary injunction, which cannot exist except only as part or as an
incident to an independent action or proceeding. Moreover, in an action for injunction, the auxiliary
remedy of a preliminary prohibitory or mandatory injunction may issue.25
The subject of acquisitive prescription in the instant case is the accreted portion which [was] duly proven
by the Appellants. It is clear that since 1930, Appellants together with their predecessor-in-interest,
PEDRO VITALEZ[,] have been in exclusive possession of the subject property and starting 1964 had In the case at bar, respondents filed an action for injunction to prevent the local government of Paraaque
introduced improvements thereon as evidenced by their construction permits. Thus, even by City from proceeding with the construction of an access road that will traverse through a parcel of land
extraordinary acquisitive prescription[,] Appellants have acquired ownership of the property in question which they claim is owned by them by virtue of acquisitive prescription.
since 1930 even if the adjoining RL 8 was subsequently registered in the name of Guaranteed Homes. x
x x.
Petitioners, however, argue that since the creek, being a tributary of the river, is classified as part of the
public domain, any land that may have formed along its banks through time should also be considered as
xxxx part of the public domain. And respondents should have included the State as it is an indispensable party
to the action.
Further, it was only in 1978 that Guaranteed Homes was able to have RL 8 registered in its name, which
is almost fifty years from the time PEDRO VITALEZ occupied the adjoining accreted property in 1930. x x We do not agree.
x.
It is an uncontested fact that the subject land was formed from the alluvial deposits that have gradually
xxxx settled along the banks of Cut-cut creek. This being the case, the law that governs ownership over the
accreted portion is Article 84 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866, which remains in effect,26 in relation From these findings of fact by both the trial court and the Court of Appeals, only one conclusion can be
to Article 457 of the Civil Code. made: that for more than thirty (30) years, neither Guaranteed Homes, Inc. nor the local government of
Paraaque in its corporate or private capacity sought to register the accreted portion. Undoubtedly,
respondents are deemed to have acquired ownership over the subject property through prescription.
Article 84 of the Spanish Law of Waters of 1866 specifically covers ownership over alluvial deposits along Respondents can assert such right despite the fact that they have yet to register their title over the said
the banks of a creek. It reads: lot. It must be remembered that the purpose of land registration is not the acquisition of lands, but only
the registration of title which the applicant already possessed over the land. Registration was never
ART. 84. Accretions deposited gradually upon lands contiguous to creeks, streams, rivers, and lakes, by intended as a means of acquiring ownership.37 A decree of registration merely confirms, but does not
accessions or sediments from the waters thereof, belong to the owners of such lands.27 confer, ownership.38

Interestingly, Article 457 of the Civil Code states: Did the filing of a sales patent application by the respondents, which remains pending before the DENR,
estop them from filing an injunction suit?

Art. 457. To the owners of lands adjoining the banks of rivers belong the accretion which they gradually
receive from the effects of the current of the waters. We answer in the negative.

It is therefore explicit from the foregoing provisions that alluvial deposits along the banks of a creek do not Confirmation of an imperfect title over a parcel of land may be done either through judicial proceedings or
form part of the public domain as the alluvial property automatically belongs to the owner of the estate to through administrative process. In the instant case, respondents admitted that they opted to confirm their
which it may have been added. The only restriction provided for by law is that the owner of the adjoining title over the property administratively by filing an application for sales patent.
property must register the same under the Torrens system; otherwise, the alluvial property may be
subject to acquisition through prescription by third persons.28 Respondents application for sales patent, however, should not be used to prejudice or derogate what
may be deemed as their vested right over the subject property. The sales patent application should
In contrast, properties of public dominion cannot be acquired by prescription. No matter how long the instead be considered as a mere superfluity particularly since ownership over the land, which they seek to
possession of the properties has been, there can be no prescription against the State regarding property buy from the State, is already vested upon them by virtue of acquisitive prescription. Moreover, the State
of public domain.29 Even a city or municipality cannot acquire them by prescription as against the State.30 does not have any authority to convey a property through the issuance of a grant or a patent if the land is
no longer a public land.39

Hence, while it is true that a creek is a property of public dominion,31 the land which is formed by the
gradual and imperceptible accumulation of sediments along its banks does not form part of the public Nemo dat quod dat non habet. No one can give what he does not have. Such principle is equally
domain by clear provision of law. applicable even against a sovereign entity that is the State.

Moreover, an indispensable party is one whose interest in the controversy is such that a final decree WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED for lack of merit. The January 31, 2007 Decision, as well as the
would necessarily affect his/her right, so that the court cannot proceed without their presence.32 In July 8, 2007 Resolution, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 91350 are hereby AFFIRMED.
contrast, a necessary party is one whose presence in the proceedings is necessary to adjudicate the
whole controversy but whose interest is separable such that a final decree can be made in their absence With costs against petitioners.
without affecting them.33

SO ORDERED.
In the instant case, the action for prohibition seeks to enjoin the city government of Paraaque from
proceeding with its implementation of the road construction project. The State is neither a necessary nor
an indispensable party to an action where no positive act shall be required from it or where no obligation
shall be imposed upon it, such as in the case at bar. Neither would it be an indispensable party if none of
its properties shall be divested nor any of its rights infringed.

We also find that the character of possession and ownership by the respondents over the contested land
entitles them to the avails of the action.

A right in esse means a clear and unmistakable right.34 A party seeking to avail of an injunctive relief must
prove that he or she possesses a right in esse or one that is actual or existing. 35 It should not be
contingent, abstract, or future rights, or one which may never arise.36

In the case at bar, respondents assert that their predecessor-in-interest, Pedro Vitalez, had occupied and
possessed the subject lot as early as 1930. In 1964, respondent Mario Ebio secured a permit from the
local government of Paraaque for the construction of their family dwelling on the said lot. In 1966, Pedro
executed an affidavit of possession and occupancy allowing him to declare the property in his name for
taxation purposes. Curiously, it was also in 1966 when Guaranteed Homes, Inc., the registered owner of
Road Lot No. 8 (RL 8) which adjoins the land occupied by the respondents, donated RL 8 to the local
government of Paraaque.
G.R. No. 179892-93 January 30, 2009 On 13 July 2004, there being no action or response on her letter, Segovia, together with Mrs. Emma C.
Baysic (Baysic), former President of the NAPOCOR Employees Association and former member of the
NAPOCOR-WFBT, in their personal capacities and on behalf of the 559 non-EPIRA separated members,
ATTY. VICTORIANO V. OROCIO, Petitioner, vs. EDMUND P. ANGULUAN, LORNA T. DY and filed with the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 217, a Petition for Mandamus, Accounting
NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, Respondents. and Liquidation with a Prayer for the Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order and Injunction against
respondents NAPOCOR, the NAPOCOR Board, Anguluan (as NAPOCOR Vice-President, Human
On 26 September 1978, the National Power Corporation Board of Directors (NAPOCOR Board), pursuant Resources, Administration and Finance Department) and Lorna T. Dy (as NAPOCOR Senior Department
to its specific power and duty to fix the compensation, allowance and benefits of the NAPOCOR Manager on Finance).12 The Petition was docketed as Civil Case No. Q04-53121.
employees under Section 6(c) of Republic Act No. 6395, as amended, passed Resolution No. 78-119
approving the grant of a monthly welfare allowance equivalent to 10% of an employees basic pay to all Segovia, Baysic and the 559 non-EPIRA separated members were represented in Civil Case No. Q04-
NAPOCOR employees effective 1 October 1978.5Pursuant thereto, the NAPOCOR Welfare Plan 53121 by petitioner Atty. Victoriano V. Orocio under a "Legal Retainer Agreement"13 dated 1 September
Committee, renamed and reconstituted later on as the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund Board of Trustees 2004, pertinent portions of which are reproduced below:
(NAPOCOR-WFBT), issued and promulgated a charter for the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund which includes
the following provisions:
SUBJECT: Petition for Mandamus with Damages Temporary Restraining Order/Injunction, etc. with the
Court "NPC RETIREES versus NPC, NP Board of Directors, et. al. before the RTC Quezon City for the
ARTICLE VII payment/settlement of their claims for NPC Welfare Fund (P462 Million assets and other assets liquid or
TERMINATION/AMENDMENT OF THE PLAN non-liquid).

"Section 1. Termination/Amendment of the Plan The Board of Directors may amend, revise, repeal any Dear Ms. Segovia and Ms. Baysic:
or all of the provisions herein contained and/or terminate the Plan, subject to the pertinent provisions of
the Trust Agreement.
In connection with the above-stated subject, hereunder are our terms and conditions, to wit:
Section 2. Payment of Members share In the event of termination of the Plan, the balance to the credit
of each member and the General Reserve for Employee Benefits shall be paid to the members in full. The 1. No acceptance fee;
accumulated amount in the General Reserve for Employee Benefits shall be distributed among the
members in the proportion to the amount outstanding to their credit as of the time of termination.6
2. All costs of litigation ([filing] and docket fees, etc.), miscellaneous and out-of-pocket
expenses the prosecution of said action shall be for the account of the clients;
The NAPOCOR Board subsequently passed Resolution No. 82-172 fixing a NAPOCOR employees
contribution to the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund in a sum equivalent to 5% of his basic pay.7
3. No appearance/meeting fee;

Almost two decades thereafter, on 8 June 2001, Congress passed Republic Act No. 9136, otherwise
known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). EPIRA directed the restructuring of the power 4. Contingency or success fees of fifteen percent (15%) of whatever amounts/value of assets
industry which includes the reorganization of NAPOCOR. Following the directive of EPIRA, the (liquid and/or non-liquid) are recovered;
NAPOCOR Board passed Resolution No. 2003-43 on 26 March 2003 abolishing the NAPOCOR Welfare
Fund Department and other departments, and dissolving the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund upon the 5. This Retainer Agreement serves as Legal Authority for the Law Firm to receive and/or
effectivity of EPIRA on 26 June 2001.8 Consequently, some of the employees in the NAPOCOR Welfare collect its contingency/success fee without further demand.
Fund Department and in other departments (who were also members of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund)
resigned, retired or separated from service. Thereafter, the liquidation and dissolution process for the
NAPOCOR Welfare Fund commenced. On 22 February 2006, the parties in the above-mentioned case, duly assisted by their respective
counsels, executed a Compromise Agreement14 whereby they agreed to amicably settle their dispute
under the following terms and conditions:
On 11 May 2004, the NAPOCOR-WFBT, with authority from the Commission on Audit, approved
Resolution No. 2004-001 authorizing the release of P184 million (which represented 40% of the liquid
assets of NAPOCOR Welfare Fund in the total amount of P462 million as of 16 April 2004) for distribution COMPROMISE AGREEMENT
to the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund members who resigned, retired, or separated upon the effectivity of
EPIRA on 26 June 2001 (EPIRA separated members).9
xxxx

Pursuant to Resolution No. 2004-001, herein respondent Edmund P. Anguluan (Anguluan), as Ex-
WHEREAS, the parties have agreed to settle the instant case amicably.
Officio Chairman of NAPOCOR-WFBT, issued a memorandum on 17 May 2004 to implement the release
of P184 million only to the EPIRA separated members to the exclusion of the NAPOCOR employees
(who were also members of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund) who have resigned, retired, or PREMISES CONSIDERED, the parties herein have agreed as follows:
separated prior to the effectivity of EPIRA (non-EPIRA separated members).10
1. Both the NPC EPIRA separated members (those members of the Welfare Fund
This prompted Mrs. Perla A. Segovia (Segovia), former Vice-President of Human Resources and affected by the EPIRA law and ceased to be members of the Welfare Fund anytime from
Administration and former Ex-Officio Chairman of the NAPOCOR-WFBT, in behalf of the 559 non-EPIRA June 26, 2001 [effectivity of the EPIRA LAW] to March 1, 2003 [implementation of the
separated members and in her own personal capacity, to write a letter to Mr. Rogelio M. Murga, then EPIRA law and date of abolition of the Welfare Fund]) and NPC non-EPIRA separated
NAPOCOR President, demanding their equal shares in the remaining assets of the NAPOCOR Welfare members (those who ceased to be members of the Fund prior to June 26, 2001) are
Fund and access to information and records thereof.11 entitled to "Earnings Differential" of the NPC Welfare Fund;
2. "Corrected Earnings Differential" refers to a benefit which is a result of re- The RTC issued an Order on 25 July 2006 granting petitioners Motion22 and, accordingly, a Writ of
computation of Members Equity Contributions and Earnings using the correct rates of Execution of the RTC Order dated 15 May 2006 was issued on 26 July 2006. Pursuant to the said Writ of
return vis--vis what was used when they were separated. Period covered by the Execution, RTC Branch Sheriff Reynaldo B. Madoloria (Sheriff Madoloria) issued a Notice of Garnishment
discrepancy is from 1989 to 2003. Hence, affected are WF members separated anytime to Ms. Aurora Arenas (Arenas), Assistant Vice-President and Business Manager of the Philippine
within the period 1989 to 2003; National Bank (PNB)-NAPOCOR Extension Office, Diliman, Quezon City, and to Mr. Emmanuel C.
Mendoza (Mendoza), Unit Head of the Landbank of the Philippines-NAPOCOR Extension Office, Diliman,
Quezon City.23
xxxx

Respondents filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the RTC Order dated 25 July 2006.24
4. The Corrected Earnings Differential of all affected WF separated members shall earn 6%
legal interest per annum computed from the separation of the members from service up to
March 31, 2006 for all the non-EPIRA separated members and May 31, 2006 for the EPIRA On 12 August 2006, Sheriff Madoloria served to Arenas an "Order for Delivery of Money."25
separated members;
Respondents Anguluan and Dy filed before the Court of Appeals on 22 August 2006 a Petition
5. As of March 2006, the estimated Corrected Earnings Differential for the non-EPIRA for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 95786, assailing the RTC
separated members is P119.196 Million while for the EPIRA separated members Order dated 25 July 2006 and praying that a temporary restraining order and/or a writ of preliminary
isP173.589 Million or a total of P292.785 Million, inclusive of the 6% legal interest; injunction be issued enjoining the implementation of the said RTC order. 26 Respondent NAPOCOR filed
with the Court of Appeals on the same date another Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of
Court, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 95946, also challenging the RTC Order dated 25 July 2006 and
6. In conformity with the Retainer Agreement dated September 1, 2004 between Mrs. praying that it be set aside and a temporary restraining order and/or a writ of preliminary injunction be
Perla A. Segovia, Mrs. Emma Y. Baysic and Atty. Victoriano V. Orocio; and Irrevocable issued prohibiting the RTC from enforcing the said order and the corresponding writ of execution and
Special Power of Attorney dated July 20, 2005 executed by Mrs. Perla A. Segovia and notice of garnishment.27 Subsequently, respondent NAPOCOR filed a Motion to Consolidate CA-G.R. SP
Mrs. Emma Y. Baysic in favor of Atty. Victoriano V. Orocio, counsel for petitioners, No. 95946 with CA-G.R. SP No. 95786 which was granted by the appellate court.28
(copies attached as Annexes "A" and "B" respectively), 15% attorneys fees shall be
deducted from the corresponding Corrected Earnings Differential of those non-EPIRA
separated members who have already executed the corresponding Special Power of On 31 October 2006, the Court of Appeals issued a Resolution granting respondents application for a
Attorney/Written Authority for the deduction/payment of said attorneys fees, and shall TRO and writ of preliminary injunction. It enjoined the RTC from implementing its Order dated 25 July
be paid to V.V. Orocio and Associates Law Office, represented by Atty. Victoriano V. 2006 and the corresponding writ of execution and notice of garnishment during the pendency of CA-G.R.
Orocio, as compensation for his legal services as counsel for the non-EPIRA separated SP No. 95946 and No. 95786. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the said resolution. 29
members subject to deduction of applicable taxes;
On 29 January 2007, the Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision annulling and setting aside: (1) the
xxxx RTC Order dated 25 July 2006; (2) the corresponding Writ of Execution dated 26 July 2006; (3) the
Notice of Garnishment dated 28 July 2006; and (4) Order for Delivery of Money dated 10 August 2006. It
also held that petitioner was entitled only to an amount of P1,000,000.00 as attorneys fees on the basis
15. The parties herein shall exert their best effort in order that the terms and conditions of this of quantum meruit.
agreement are implemented and complied with in the spirit of fairness, transparency and
equity;
The Court of Appeals held that the amount of P17,794,572.70 sought to be collected by petitioner as
attorneys fees, equivalent to 15% of the P119,196,000.00 estimated corrected earnings differential for
16. This Agreement is not contrary to law, good customs, public order or public policy and is non-EPIRA separated members, was excessive based on the following reasons: (1) the corrected
voluntarily entered into by the parties of their own free will.15 earnings differential in the amount ofP119,196,000.00 due the non-EPIRA separated members was a
mere estimate and was hypothetical. Thus, petitioner was unjustified in using said amount as basis for his
The parties filed with the RTC the very next day, 23 February 2006, a Joint Motion before the RTC for the 15% attorneys fees; (2) there was hardly any work by petitioner since (a) the compromise agreement
approval of their Compromise Agreement.16 The RTC rendered a Decision on 3 April 2006 granting the was reached without trial or hearing on the merits; (b) there was no issue regarding the release and
parties Joint Motion and approving the said Compromise Agreement.17 distribution of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund to the non-EPIRA separated members as the enactment of
EPIRA, not the efforts of petitioner, made such distribution possible; (c) there was no issue on how much
each non-EPIRA separated members would receive because the amount of their respective contribution
On 10 April 2006, petitioner filed with the RTC a Motion for Approval of Charging (Attorneys) Lien. was duly recorded by the respondents; (d) respondents have already distributed the corrected earnings
Petitioner asked the RTC to issue an order declaring him entitled to collect an amount equivalent to 15% differential to some non-EPIRA separated members, and have given petitioner his corresponding partial
of the monies due the non-EPIRA separated members as his attorneys fees in conformity with the attorneys fees amounting to P3,512,007.32; (e) most of the non-EPIRA separated members have not yet
Compromise Agreement.18 In an Order dated 15 May 2006, the RTC granted petitioners motion and received their share under the compromise agreement but petitioner, who was merely their agent, was
decreed that he is entitled to collect the amount so demanded.19 already given partial payment as attorneys fees; (f) the amount of P17,794,572.70 represents "only less
than one fourth partial release of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund which means that the equivalent of three-
fourths more would be demanded [by petitioner] in the future;" and (3) the money claim of the non-EPIRA
On 20 June 2006, petitioner filed with the RTC a Motion for the Issuance of a Writ of Execution of the
separated members was settled through a compromise agreement and not won by petitioner in a trial on
RTC Order dated 15 May 2006.20 Respondents opposed the motion on the ground that there was no
the merits.
stipulation in the Compromise Agreement to the effect that petitioner is entitled to collect an amount
equivalent to 15% of the monies due the non-EPIRA separated members. Respondents contended that
the amount of P119,196,000.00 due the non-EPIRA separated members under the compromise The Court of Appeals determined that petitioner was entitled only to an amount of P1,000,000.00 as
agreement was a mere estimate and, as such, cannot be validly used by petitioner as basis for his claim attorneys fees on the basis of quantum meruit. However, since petitioner already received P3,512,007.32
of 15% attorneys fees.21 from respondents as partial payment of his supposed 15% attorneys fees, it ruled that such amount was
more than sufficient and petitioner was not entitled to claim anymore the additional amount of Valencia vs. Court of Appeals, 352 SCRA 72 (2001), the requisites of preliminary injunction are as
of P14,282,565.38. The fallo of the Decision of the Court of Appeals reads: follows: (a) the invasion of the right of [herein respondents] is material and substantial; (b) the right of
[herein respondents] is clear and unmistakable; and (c) there is an urgent and paramount necessity for
the writ to prevent serious irreparable damage to [herein respondents].
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the assailed July 25, 2006 Order, the July 26, 2006 Writ of
Execution, the July 28, 2006 Notice of Garnishment, and the August 10, 2006 Order of Delivery of Money
are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE, and a new one is ordered, CAPPING at P3,512,007.32, the The right of [herein respondents] alleged to have been invaded is that a client has the right to pay
amount manifested to have already been received from the welfare fund as attorneys fees, as only a reasonable amount of attorneys fees and only for services actually rendered which is
the maximum amount that may be billed or collected as attorneys fees from the whole welfare fund clearly and unmistakably available to all clients. What [herein respondents] are claiming is a material and
which amount is NOTED to have already exceeded what this court had fixed at P1,000,000.00 as the substantial right. This Court finds that [herein respondents] have prima facie established an urgent and
reasonable amount, on quantum meruit, that may be collected as attorneys fees, pursuant to the paramount necessity for the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for, to avoid irreparable
guidelines codified in Rule 20.01, Canon 20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. 30 injury to [herein respondents]. x x x.

Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the aforementioned Decision but this was denied by the As can be gleaned from the foregoing, the basis of the Court of Appeals in granting the writ was
Court of Appeals in its Resolution dated 27 September 2007.31 petitioners alleged violation or invasion of respondents right, as petitioners clients, to pay only a
reasonable amount of attorneys fees to, and only for services actually rendered by, petitioner.
Hence, petitioner brought the instant petition before us assigning the following errors:
The Court of Appeals is clearly mistaken.
I.
It should be made clear that petitioner is the counsel for the non-EPIRA separated members in the latters
quest to claim their shares in the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund. Petitioner was never hired or employed by
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT RESPONDENTS EDMUND P. ANGULUAN, respondents as their counsel in the cases at bar. Respondents themselves do not claim or allege that
LORNA T. DY AND NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION (NPC) ARE ENTITLED TO [PRELIMINARY] they are clients of petitioner. In fact, petitioner is representing the non-EPIRA separated members, the
INJUNCTION AS THEY HAVE MATERIAL AND SUBSTANTIAL RIGHTS, WHICH ARE CLEAR AND opposing party to the respondents in the present cases.
UNMISTAKABLE, i.e. RIGHTS OF BEING CLIENTS TO QUESTION THE REASONABLENESS OF THE
ATTORNEYS FEES OF A LAWYER. THIS ALLEGED RIGHT IS NON-EXISTENT AND IN FACT
FABRICATED CONSIDERING THAT THE RESPONDENTS ARE NOT THE CLIENTS AT ALL OF Further, the amount of attorneys fees being claimed by petitioner is chargeable to the P119,196,000.00
PETITIONER, ATTY. VICTORIANO V. OROCIO; corrected earnings differential of his clients, the non-EPIRA separated members. Respondents have
actually partially distributed such amount to some non-EPIRA separated members pursuant to the
Compromise Agreement. In other words, the non-EPIRA separated members are the lawful
II. owners/beneficiaries of the amount from which petitioners attorneys fees had been and shall be taken.

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE FIFTEEN PERCENT (15%) Hence, if anyone would be injured by petitioners claim for attorneys fees, it would be his clients, the non-
CONTINGENCY/SUCCESS FEE OF PETITIONER VICTORIANO V. OROCIO IS UNCONSCIONABLE EPIRA separated members, and not respondents. It appears, however, that none of the non-EPIRA
AND UNREASONABLE DESPITE THE UNDISPUTED FACT THAT THE SAID ATTORNEYS FEES IS separated members has questioned or complained about petitioners claim for attorneys fees.
AMONG THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF A JUDICIALLY APPROVED COMPROMISE
AGREEMENT AND COURT ORDER APPROVING HIS CHARGING LIEN, WHICH AGREEMENT AND
ORDER HAVE ALREADY BECOME FINAL AND EXECUTORY.32 A preliminary injunction is an order granted at any stage of an action or proceeding prior to the judgment
or final order, requiring a party or a court, agency or a person to refrain from a particular act or acts. 34 A
writ of preliminary injunction is a provisional remedy, an adjunct to a main suit, as well as a preservative
In his first assigned error, petitioner assails the Resolution dated 31 October 2006 of the Court of Appeals remedy issued to preserve thestatus quo of the things subject of the action or the relations between the
granting respondents application for a writ of preliminary injunction.lawphil.net He claims that the Court of parties during the pendency of the suit.35For a writ of preliminary injunction to issue, the applicant is
Appeals issued a writ of preliminary injunction in favor of respondents because petitioner allegedly tasked to establish and convincingly show the following: (1) a right in esse or a clear and unmistakable
violated respondents material and substantial right as petitioners clients to pay only reasonable right to be protected; (2) a violation of that right; and (3) there is an urgent and permanent act and urgent
attorneys fees. Petitioner asserts that none of the respondents is his client in the present case; that even necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage.36
respondents themselves have not alleged or claimed that they are his clients; that the amount of
attorneys fees he claimed was chargeable on a portion of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund due his clients,
the non-EPIRA separated employees; that if anyone would be injured by his claim of attorneys fees, it A clear legal right means one clearly founded on or granted by law or is enforceable as a matter of
would be his clients, the non-EPIRA separated employees, and not respondents; that none of his clients law.37 The existence of a right violated is a prerequisite to the granting of a writ of preliminary
has questioned or complained about the amount of attorneys fees he is claiming; that respondents are injunction.38 A writ of preliminary injunction will not issue to protect a right not in esse and which may
not the real parties-in-interest and at most are merely nominal parties-in-interest; that as mere nominal never arise.39 It may be issued only if the applicant has clearly shown an actual existing right that should
parties-in-interest, respondents are not entitled to a writ of preliminary injunction under the Rules of Court; be protected during the pendency of the principal action.40 In the absence of a clear legal right, or when
and that the requisites for the proper issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction are lacking in the instant the applicants right or title is doubtful or disputed, preliminary injunction is not proper. 41
case.33
It is evident from the foregoing that respondents do not have a clear right or right in esse to pay only a
In its Resolution dated 31 October 2006, the Court of Appeals granted respondents application for a writ reasonable amount of attorneys fees to the petitioner because such right belongs solely to petitioners
of preliminary injunction based on the following reasons: clients, the non-EPIRA separated members. There can be no violation of a right which does not exist in
the first place. Also, there was no necessity for the writ of preliminary injunction since the non-EPIRA
separated members do not claim any damage or injury caused by the execution of the RTC Order dated
This Court finds that [herein respondents] have prima facie established [their] compliance with strict 15 May 2006. Even assuming that respondents would probably suffer damages as administrators or
requirements for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction in this case. Under the leading case custodians of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund if the writ of preliminary injunction was not granted, our ruling
would still be the same. We have held that the possibility of irreparable damage without proof of an actual the attorneys fee or fix a reasonable amount thereof taking into consideration the surrounding
existing right is not a ground for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. 42Given these circumstances and the established parameters.50
considerations, we hold that the issuance by the Court of Appeals of a writ of preliminary injunction in
favor of respondents in its Resolution, dated 31 October 2006, was improper.lawphil.net
The principle of quantum meruit (as much as he deserves) may be a basis for determining the reasonable
amount of attorneys fees. Quantum meruit is a device to prevent undue enrichment based on the
With regard to his second assigned error, petitioner maintained that his claim for attorneys fees equitable postulate that it is unjust for a person to retain benefit without paying for it. It is applicable even
equivalent to 15% of the P119,196,000.00 estimated corrected earnings differential due the non-EPIRA if there was a formal written contract for attorneys fees as long as the agreed fee was found by the court
separated members was not unreasonable or unconscionable because such amount was expressly to be unconscionable. In fixing a reasonable compensation for the services rendered by a lawyer on the
agreed upon in the Compromise Agreement between the non-EPIRA separated members and basis of quantum meruit, factors such as the time spent, and extent of services rendered; novelty and
respondents. The Compromise Agreement was submitted to the RTC for approval through the joint difficulty of the questions involved; importance of the subject matter; skill demanded; probability of losing
motion of the non-EPIRA separated members and respondents, and the RTC had rendered a final and other employment as a result of acceptance of the proferred case; customary charges for similar services;
executory decision approving the same. By virtue of res judicata, the Court of Appeals cannot alter or amount involved in the controversy and the benefits resulting to the client; certainty of compensation;
change the terms of the Compromise Agreement by prohibiting petitioner from collecting his stipulated character of employment; and professional standing of the lawyer, may be considered.51
amount of attorneys fees.43
It appears that the non-EPIRA separated members chose petitioner as their counsel because the latter,
Petitioner also avers that the amount of P17,794,572.70, which is equivalent to 15% of as former member of the NAPOCOR-WFBT for two terms or four years, is familiar and knowledgeable on
the P119,196,000.00 estimated corrected earnings differential due the non-EPIRA separated members the operation of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund.52 Yet, according to the contingency fee contract
from the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund is already the total, not partial, amount he is claiming as attorneys agreement between petitioner and the non-EPIRA separated members, petitioner received no
fees; that the P119,196,000.00 estimated corrected earnings differential due the non-EPIRA separated acceptance fee and appearance/meeting fee when he took on the non-EPIRA separated members case.
members from the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund is not hypothetical, such amount having been actually Petitioners attorneys fees were absolutely dependent on the success of non-EPIRA separated members
computed and fixed by respondents themselves without the participation of petitioner and his clients, the claim on the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund. Despite these circumstances, petitioner worked diligently in
non-EPIRA separated members; that he did a lot of legal work and utilized his legal skills on discovery advocating the claims of the non-EPIRA separated members against respondents as shown by the
procedures to force respondents to enter into the Compromise Agreement with the non-EPIRA separated following: (1) petitioner took pains in verifying the identity and claim of each of the 559 non-EPIRA
members; that the passage of EPIRA merely paved the way for the distribution of the remaining assets of separated members on the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund; (2) petitioner prepared and filed a well-researched
the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund; that if not for his legal work and skills, the non-EPIRA separated members and well-argued petition with the RTC for the claims of the non-EPIRA separated members;53 (3) he
would not have received their lawful shares in the remaining assets of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund; and prepared and presented several witnesses and numerous pertinent documents before the RTC in support
that his claim for 15% attorneys fees is supported by jurisprudence.44 of their application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction
against respondents plan to exclude the non-EPIRA separated members from receiving their shares in
the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund; (4) he participated, as non-EPIRA separated members counsel, in the
An attorneys fee, in its ordinary concept, refers to the reasonable compensation paid to a lawyer for the conduct of several hearings regarding the said application for the issuance of temporary restraining order
legal services he has rendered to a client.45 The client and his lawyer may enter into a written contract and/or writ of preliminary injunction;54 (5) he obtained a temporary restraining order and a writ of
whereby the latter would be paid attorneys fees only if the suit or litigation ends favorably to the client. preliminary injunction from the RTC which enjoined/prohibited respondents from excluding the non-EPIRA
This is called a contingency fee contract. The amount of attorneys fees in this contract may be on a separated members from their shares in the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund;55 (6) he held numerous
percentage basis, and a much higher compensation is allowed in consideration of the risk that the lawyer conferences with the non-EPIRA separated members wherein he apprised the latter of the status of their
may get nothing if the suit fails.46 In the case at bar, the non-EPIRA separated members and petitioner claims and his legal strategies pertinent thereto;56 and (7) he exerted utmost efforts which eventually led
voluntarily entered into a contingency fee contract whereby petitioner did not receive any acceptance fee to the execution of the Compromise Agreement between the non-EPIRA separated members and
or appearance/meeting fee. The non-EPIRA separated members expressly agreed to pay petitioner respondents.
"contingency or success fees of fifteen percent (15%) of whatever amount/value of assets (liquid and/or
non-liquid)" recovered; and authorized petitioners law firm "to receive and/or collect its
contingency/success fee without further demand." By reason of petitioners dedication and persistence as can be gleaned above, respondents finally agreed
to settle amicably with the non-EPIRA separated members as regards the latters claim for shares in the
NAPOCOR Welfare Fund by virtue of the Compromise Agreement.
Contingent fee contracts are permitted in this jurisdiction because they redound to the benefit of the poor
client and the lawyer "especially in cases where the client has meritorious cause of action, but no means
with which to pay for legal services unless he can, with the sanction of law, make a contract for a Undoubtedly, were it not for petitioners vigilance and zeal, respondents would not have executed the
contingent fee to be paid out of the proceeds of litigation. Oftentimes, the contingent fee arrangement is Compromise Agreement with the non-EPIRA separated members. Hence, it is fair to conclude that
the only means by which the poor clients can have their rights vindicated and upheld." Further, such petitioner was entitled to a reasonably high compensation.
contracts are sanctioned by Canon 13 of the Canons of Professional Ethics.47
However, petitioners attorneys fees in the amount of P17,794,572.70 or equivalent to 15% of
However, in cases where contingent fees are sanctioned by law, the same should be reasonable under the P 119,196,000.00 corrected earnings differential of the non-EPIRA separated members should be
all the circumstances of the case, and should always be subject to the supervision of a court, as to its equitably reduced.
reasonableness, such that under Canon 20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, a lawyer is tasked
to charge only fair and reasonable fees.48
In NPC Drivers and Mechanics Association (NPC DAMA) v. The National Power Corporation (NPC),57 we
awarded separation pay in lieu of reinstatement plus backwages to several NPC employees because they
A stipulation on a lawyers compensation in a written contract for professional services ordinarily controls were illegally dismissed by the NPC. The NPC employees were represented by a certain Atty. Cornelio P.
the amount of fees that the contracting lawyer may be allowed, unless the court finds such stipulated Aldon (Atty. Aldon) and Atty. Victoriano V. Orocio, (the petitioner in the instant cases) under a legal
amount to be unreasonable or unconscionable. If the stipulated amount for attorneys fees is excessive, retainer agreement which provides: (1) no acceptance fee; (2) miscellaneous/out of pocket expenses in
the contract may be disregarded even if the client expressed their conformity thereto. 49 Attorneys fees the amount of P25,000.00; and (3) twenty-five percent (25%) of whatever amounts/monies are recovered
are unconscionable if they affront ones sense of justice, decency or reasonableness, or if they are so in favor of said NPC personnel contingent on the success of the case. Atty. Aldon and Atty. Orocio filed a
disproportionate to the value of the services rendered. In such a case, courts are empowered to reduce Motion for Approval of Charging (Attorneys) Lien pursuant to the legal retainer agreement. Although we
granted the said motion, we reduced the amount of attorneys fees which was chargeable on the monies G.R. No. 169802 June 8, 2007
recoverable by the NPC employees from 25% to 10% because:
OVERSEAS WORKERS WELFARE ADMINISTRATION, represented by Administrator Marianito D.
While we duly recognize the right of Atty. Aldon and Atty. Orocio to a charging lien on the amounts Roque,petitioner, vs. ATTY. CESAR L. CHAVEZ, OPHELIA N. ALMENARIO, ELVIRA ADOR,
recoverable by petitioners pursuant to our 26 September 2006 Decision, nevertheless, we deem it proper REYNALDO TAYAG, TORIBIO ROBLES, JR., ROSSANE BAHIA, RACQUEL LLAGAS-KUNTING,
to reduce the same. Under Section 24, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, a written contract for services shall MA. STELLA A. DULCE, ROSSANA SIRAY, EDUARDO MENDOZA, JR., PRISCILLA BARTOLO,
control the amount to be paid therefor unless found by the court to be unconscionable or unreasonable. ROSE VILLANUEVA, CHERRY MOLINA, MARY ROSE RAMOS, MA. MINERVA PAISO, RODERIC
The amounts which petitioners may recover as the logical and necessary consequence of our Decision of DELOS REYES, RENATO DELA CRUZ, MARIVIC DIGMA, JESSIE BALLESTEROS, DONATO
26 September 2006, i.e., backwages and separation pay (in lieu of reinstatement), are essentially the DAGDAG, MARK TUMIBAY, CYNTHIA FRUEL, DEMETRIO SORIANO, MILAGROS GUEVARRA,
same awards which we grant to illegally dismissed employees in the private sector. In such cases, our ANGELITA LACSON, BERT BUQUID, JUN SAMORANAS, TEODORO TUTAY, LEAH YOGYOG,
Labor Code explicitly limits attorneys fees to a maximum of 10% of the recovered amount. Considering MARIE CRUZ and CONCEPCION BRAGAS REGALADO, respondents.
by analogy the said limit on attorneys fees in this case of illegal dismissal of petitioners by respondent
NPC, a government-owned and controlled corporation; plus the facts that petitioners have suffered
deprivation of their means of livelihood for the last five years; and the fact that this case was originally OWWA is a government agency tasked primarily to protect the interest and promote the welfare of
filed before us, without any judicial or administrative proceedings below; as well as the fundamental overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).3 OWWA traces its beginnings to 1 May 1977, when the Welfare and
ethical principle that the practice of law is a profession and not a commercial enterprise, we approve in Training Fund for Overseas Workers in the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) was created
favor of Atty. Aldon and Atty. Orocio a charging lien of 10% (instead of 25%) on the amounts recoverable by virtue of Letter of Instructions No. 537, with the main objective, inter alia, of providing social and
by petitioners from NPC pursuant to our Decision dated 26 September 2006. welfare services to OFW, including insurance coverage, social work, legal and placement assistance,
cultural and remittances services, and the like. On 1 May 1980, Presidential Decree No. 1694 was signed
into law, formalizing the operations of a comprehensive Welfare Fund (Welfund), as authorized and
The abovementioned case may be reasonably applied by analogy in the instant case since they have created under Letter of Instructions No. 537. Presidential Decree No. 1694 further authorized that
substantially similar circumstances. In the case before us, although the non-EPIRA separated members contributions to the Welfare and Training Fund collected pursuant to Letter of Instructions No. 537 be
were not illegally dismissed, they were, nevertheless, separated from work by reason of EPIRA. In transferred to the Welfund. On 16 January 1981, Presidential Decree No. 1809 was promulgated,
addition, the non-EPIRA separated members had a legal retainer agreement/contingency fee contract amending certain provisions of Presidential Decree No. 1694.4 Subsequently, Executive Order No. 126
with petitioner as their counsel. was passed which reorganized the Ministry of Labor and Employment. Executive Order No. 126 also
renamed the Welfare Fund as the OWWA.
It should also be emphasized that the practice of law is a profession not a moneymaking venture. A
lawyer is not merely the defender of his clients cause and a trustee of his clients cause of action and From the records, it is undisputed that on 9 January 2004, as there was yet no formal OWWA structure
assets; he is also, and first and foremost, an officer of the court and participates in the fundamental duly approved by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Civil Service Commission
function of administering justice in society. It follows that a lawyers compensation for professional (CSC), the OWWA Board of Trustees passed Resolution No. 001,5 Series of 2004, bearing the title
services rendered is subject to the supervision of the court, not just to guarantee that the fees he charges "Approving the Structure of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration," and depicting the
and receives remain reasonable and commensurate with the services rendered, but also to maintain the organizational structure and staffing pattern of the OWWA, as approved by Patricia A. Sto. Tomas (Sto.
dignity and integrity of the legal profession to which he belongs. Upon taking his attorneys oath as an Tomas), then Chair of the OWWA Board of Trustees and then Secretary of the DOLE. According to
officer of the court, a lawyer submits himself to the authority of the courts to regulate his right to charge Resolution No. 001, the structuring of the OWWA will stabilize the internal organization and promote
professional fees.58 careerism among the employees. It will also ensure a more efficient and effective delivery of programs
and services to member-OFWs. Resolution No. 001 resolved, thus:
Thus, taking into account the foregoing circumstances and recognized principles, the 15% attorneys
fees of petitioner should be reduced to 10%. As such, petitioner is entitled to collect only, as attorneys RESOLVED therefore, to approve as it is hereby approved, the OWWA Structure which is hereto
fees, an amount equivalent to 10% of the P119,196,000.00 or P11,919,600.00. attached and made an integral part of this Resolution, comprising mainly of the approved organizational
chart, functional descriptions and staffing pattern, subject to the following:
We note, however, that the compromise agreement was partially implemented in the first week of April
2006 with the payment of P23,416,000.00 to some non-EPIRA separated members.59 Petitioner admitted a. There will be no displacement of existing regular employees;
having already received an amount of P3,512,007.32 as his attorneys fees on the said partial payment
of P23,416,000.00.60 Accordingly, the amount of P3,512,007.32 received by petitioner as attorneys fees
should be deducted from the fixed 10% attorneys fees or the amount of P11,919,600.00. Per b. There will be no temporary appointments; and
computation, petitioner is entitled to recover the amount ofP8,407,592.68 as attorneys fees.
c. There will be no hiring of casuals, contractuals or consultants in the new structure.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated 31 October 2006 in
CA-G.R. SP Nos. 95786 and 95946 granting the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction is RESOLVED further, that the OWWA Structure be immediately submitted for the appropriate actions of
hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The Decision and Resolution, dated 29 January 2007 and 27 competent authorities, particularly the DBM and CSC.6
September 2007, respectively, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP Nos. 95786 and 95946 are
hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that petitioner is entitled to recover attorneys fees in the
amount of P8,407,592.68 on the corrected earnings differential of the non-EPIRA separated members. On 24 March 2004, DBM Secretary Emilia T. Boncodin (Boncodin), approved the organizational structure
No costs. and staffing pattern of the OWWA.7 In her approval thereof, she stated that the total funding requirements
for the revised organizational structure shall be P107,546,379 for four hundred (400) positions. Moreover,
DBM Secretary Boncodin underscored that the funding shall come solely from the OWWA funds and that
SO ORDERED. no government funds shall be released for the implementation of the changes made.
On 31 May 2004, OWWA Administrator Virgilio R. Angelo (Angelo), issued Advisory No. 01,8 advising the On 18 June 2004, DOLE Acting Secretary Imson issued Administrative Order No. 186, Series of
officials and employees of the OWWA that the DBM had recently approved OWWAs organizational chart, 2004,11 prescribing the guidelines on the placement of personnel in the new staffing pattern of the
functional statements, and the staffing pattern. Advisory No. 01 also announced that a Placement OWWA.
Committee will be created to evaluate and recommend placement of all regular/permanent incumbents of
OWWA in the new organizational chart and staffing pattern. All employees were asked to indicate in
writing their interest or preference in any of the approved plantilla item, especially for promotion to the On 29 June 2004, herein respondents filed with the RTC, a Complaint for Annulment of the
Human Resources Management Division, not later than 11 June 2004. Further, Advisory No. 01 Organizational Structure of the OWWA, as approved by OWWA Board Resolution No. 001, Series of
emphasized that the OWWA Board of Trustees, thru its Resolution No. 001, Series of 2004, had declared 2004, with Prayer for the Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction12 against herein petitioner OWWA
the policy that there will be no displacement of existing regular/permanent employees. Qualified casual and its Board of Trustees.13 The case was docketed as Civil Case No. 04-0415-CFM.
and contractual personnel may apply for any vacant item only after all regular/permanent employees of
OWWA had been placed. In their Complaint, respondents alleged that the OWWA has around 24 consultants, 29 casual
employees, 76 contractual workers, and 356 officers and employees, which number does not include the
Subsequently, on 3 June 2004, DOLE Secretary Sto. Tomas issued Administrative Order No. 171, Series 85 contractual employees in the Office of the Secretariat of the OWWA Medicare. 14 Respondents posited
of 2004, creating a Placement Committee to evaluate qualifications of employees; and to recommend that the approved Organizational Structure and Staffing Pattern of the OWWA increases the number of
their appropriate placement in the new organizational chart, functional statements and staffing pattern of regular plantilla positions from 356 to 400; however, the increase of 42 positions will not absorb the
the OWWA. Administrative Order No. 171 was partially amended by Administrative Order No. 171-A, aforementioned consultants and casual and contractual workers. They further averred that the plantilla
issued by DOLE Acting Secretary Manuel G. Imson (Imson), authorizing the Placement Committee to positions in the Central Office will be reduced from 250 to 140, while the regional offices will have an
recommend to the OWWA Administrator their evaluations, which shall thereafter be endorsed to the increase of 164 positions. According to the respondents, the resulting decrease in the number of
DOLE Secretary for consideration.9 employees in the Central Office will result in the constructive dismissal of at least 110 employees.
Meanwhile, the deployment of the regular central office personnel to the regional offices will displace the
said employees, as well as their families.
The Placement Committee was directed to comply with the pertinent CESB/CSC/DBM rules and
regulations on its recommended placement of all personnel of OWWA based on the following parameters,
to wit10 : Respondents challenged the validity of the new organizational structure of the OWWA. In fine, they
contended that the same is null and void; hence, its implementation should be prohibited.

1. There would be no diminution nor displacement of permanent/regular employees of OWWA.


Respondents prayed for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to restrain petitioners from: 1)
implementing its organizational structure as approved by the OWWA Board of Trustees in its Resolution
2. Qualified casuals and contractual personnel may likewise be considered in the staffing dated 9 January 2004; and 2) advertising and proceeding with the recruitment and placement of new
pattern only after ensuring that the regular(s)/permanent employees of OWWA have already employees under the new organizational structure.15
been placed.
Further, respondents prayed that after trial on the merits, OWWAs organizational structure be declared
3. Decentralization of functions to bring OWWA services closer to the public shall be adopted. as unconstitutional and contrary to law; and the OWWA Board of Trustees be declared as having acted
Thus, priority in some promotions shall be given to those who opt to be assigned in the contrary to the Constitution and existing laws, and with grave abuse of discretion in approving Resolution
regional offices, aside from performance. No. 001, dated 9 January 2004.16

4. Deployment in the overseas posts shall be made on rotation basis from both the frontline The Ruling of the RTC
and the administrative staff, based on performance.
On 30 September 2004, the RTC rendered an Order17 granting respondents prayer for a writ of
5. Regular/permanent incumbents interested for promotion should indicate their interest in preliminary injunction upon the filing of a bond in the sum of P100,000.00. In the grant thereof, the RTC
writing to the Placement Committee: Attn: The Chairperson. reasoned that any move to reorganize the structure of the OWWA requires an amendatory law. It deemed
Resolution No. 001 was not merely a "formalization of the organizational structure and staffing pattern of
the OWWA," but a disruption of the existing organization which disturbs and displaces a number of
6. Those who may opt to retire should submit to the HRMD, their application for retirement, regular employees, including consultants and casual and contractual employees.
copy furnished the Budget Division for budget allocation purposes.

The RTC ratiocinated in this wise:


The Placement Committee should complete its task not later than June 30, 2004.

x x x All told, what is being done now at OWWA is a reorganization of its structure as originally conceived
On 8 June 2004, OWWA Administrator Angelo issued Advisory No. 02, inviting OWWA officials and under P.D. No. 1694 [Organization and Administration of the Welfare for Overseas Workers] and P.D. No.
employees to an orientation on the new structure, functions and staffing pattern of the OWWA. Moreover, 1809 [Amending Certain Provisions of Presidential Decree 1694, Creating the "Welfare Fund for
Advisory No. 02 required the holding of elections for the First and Second Level Representatives who will Overseas Workers"]. In the (sic) light of Section 11 of R.A. No. 6656 which provides that "the executive
elect from among themselves the regular official representatives and alternates in the Placement branch of the government shall implement reorganization schemes within a specified period of time
Committee deliberations. On 11 June 2004, Advisory No. 03 was issued, announcing the conduct of an authorized by law", this court doubts whether a reorganization of OWWA can be effected without an
election for representatives and alternates representing the employees in the first [Salary Grades (SG) 1- enabling law.
9] and second level (SG 10-24), pursuant to Administrative Order No. 171, dated 3 June 2004, as
amended by Administrative Order No. 171-A.
Further, defendants do not dispute the fact that while the mechanics of the reorganization is still being
forged, the DOLE already processed applications and eventually hired employees not from among the
existing employees of the OWWA. This appears to be in contravention of Section 4 of R.A. No. 6656 On 22 September 2005, the Court of Appeals rendered the assailed Decision, which dismissed the
which provides: petition. It affirmed the court a quos findings that respondents possess a clear and legal right to the
immediate issuance of the writ. It resolved that it was proper for the RTC to restrain, for the meantime, the
implementation of OWWAs reorganization to prevent injury until after the main case is heard and
"Sec. 4. Officers and employees holding permanent appointments shall be given preference for decided.24 It found respondents allegations sufficient to prove the existence of a right that should be
appointment to the new positions in the approved staffing pattern comparable to their former position or in protected by a writ of preliminary injunction. Thus:
case there are not enough comparable positions, to positions next lower in rank.

Petitioner averred, too, that majority of the casuals, contractuals and consultants have been employed for
"No new employees shall be taken in until all permanent officers and employees have been appointed, more than ten (10) years, if not twenty (20) years, and were not regularized simply due to lack of regular
including temporary and casual employees who possess the necessary qualification requirements, positions in the plantilla or the freezing of recruitment thereto.
among which is the appropriate civil service eligibility for permanent appointment to positions in the
approved staffing pattern, in case there are still positions to be filled, unless such positions are policy-
determining, primarily confidential or highly technical in nature." To be sure, private respondents have convincingly adduced evidence of specific acts to substantiate their
claim of impending injury and not merely allegations of facts and conclusions of law, but factual evidence
of a clear and unmistakable right of being displaced or dismissed by the planned reorganization. These
Furthermore, defendants (sic) do not dispute the fact that the Placement Committee was hastily allegations are substantial enough to prove the right in esse. At best, the anxiety of being dismissed or
constituted, that its members were not educated of their task of job placement, that there was no real to displaced is not premature, speculative and purely anticipatory, but based on real fear which shows a
goodness (sic) personnel evaluation and, finally, the Chairman of the Committee was simply hand-picked threatened or direct injury[,] it appearing that the reorganization of the OWWA is already slowly being put
by the DOLE Secretary contrary to the explicit injunction of Section 8 of the Implementing Rules of R.A into motion.
.No. 6656 that "the members shall elect their Chairman."18

Apropos, having successfully established a direct and personal injury as a consequence of the new
The RTC also cited the protection afforded by the Constitution to workers, specifically, officers or reorganization[al] structure, it was only proper for the court a quo to grant the writ of preliminary injunction
employees of the Civil Service in ruling that the existing organization of the OWWA need not be disturbed to restrain, for the meantime, the implementation of the reorganization to prevent injury on respondents
in any way and no single worker will be removed or displaced. Thus: until after the main case is heard and decided. Truly, as correctly observed by the trial court, private
respondents enjoy a right that is protected both by the Constitution and statutes. A persons job is not
This court entertains no doubt that as workers, plaintiffs enjoy a right that is protected both by the only his property but his very life. The constitutional protection of the right to life is not just a protection of
Constitution and statutes. Thus, "(n)o officer or employee of the civil service shall be removed or the right to be alive or to the security of ones limb against physical harm. The right to life is also a right to
suspended except for cause provided by law. "(Sec. 2, par. 3, Art. IX, Constitution). "No person shall be a good life (Bernas, The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, A Commentary, Volume I, First
deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal Edition, 1997) which includes the right to earn a living or the right to a livelihood. A fortiori, the requisites
protection of the laws." (Sec. 1, Art. III; ibid.). A persons job is his property. In many cases, as in the for preliminary injunction to issue have adequately been established: the existence of a clear and
Philippine setting, ones job also means ones life and the lives of those who depended on him. Hence, it unmistakable right, and the acts violative of said right.
is a policy of the State to "free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate social
services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living, and an improved quality of life for all." (Sec. While the evidence to be submitted at the hearing on the motion for preliminary injunction need not be
8, Art. II, ibid.) Any act that, contrary to law, tends to deprive a worker of his work, violates his rights.19 conclusive and complete, We find that private respondents have adequately shown that they are in clear
danger of being irreparably injured unless the status quo is observed, in the meantime x x x. 25
Finally, the RTC defended its jurisdiction over the controversy despite petitioners protestations that
jurisdiction over respondents complaint is lodged in the administrative agencies tasked to implement the The appellate court was likewise of the opinion that the substantial issues raised before the court a quo
new OWWA structure. It ruled that the doctrine of primary jurisdiction is applicable only where the anent the validity of the organizational structure of the OWWA; the alleged lack of authority of the DBM to
administrative agency exercises its quasi-judicial or administrative function; but, where what is challenged approve the same including the alleged violation by the OWWA of relevant statutes; the lack of
is the constitutionality of a rule or regulation issued by the administrative agency in the performance of its consultation prior to the reorganization; and the supposed illegal constitution of the Placement
quasi-legislative functions, regular courts have jurisdiction over the matter. 20 Committee, are matters which the RTC is behooved to resolve. In finding no error on the part of the RTC,
the Court of Appeals said that without an injunctive relief, any decision that may be rendered in the suit
Therefore, the RTC, in its Order, dated 30 September 2004, granted respondents prayer for a writ of would already be ineffective, moot and academic.26
preliminary injunction, to wit:
Aggrieved, petitioner through the OSG,27 filed the instant petition.
WHEREFORE, upon plaintiffs (sic) filing of a bond in the sum of P100,000.00, let a writ of preliminary
injunction issue in: 1) restraining the defendants from implementing the new organizational structure of In the instant petition, petitioner prays that the appealed Decision of the Court of Appeals be reversed and
OWWA approved by the Board of Trustees on January 9, 2004 and 2) restraining the defendants from set aside, and that Civil Case No. 04-0415-CFM before the RTC be dismissed for lack of merit.28
advertising and proceeding with the recruitment and placement of new employees under the new
organizational structure.21
The Issue
Without filing a Motion for Reconsideration, petitioner, thru the Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG),22 filed with the Court of Appeals, a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with Prayer for Issuance The issue to be resolved is, whether the court a quo gravely abused its discretion in issuing the writ of
of a Temporary Restraining Order and Writ of Preliminary Injunction under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, preliminary injunction. Stated otherwise, the issue is whether the Court of Appeals erred in affirming the
assailing the RTC Order of 30 September 2004.23 RTC in its grant of the assailed writ of preliminary injunction. Clearly, we are thus confined to the matter of
the propriety of the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction by the trial court, and not to the merits of
the case which is still pending before the latter.
The Ruling of the Appellate Court
The Case for the Petitioner (a) That the applicant is entitled to the relief demanded, and the whole or part of such relief
consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the act or acts complained of, or in
requiring the performance of an act or acts, either for a limited period or perpetually;
First, in support of their petition, petitioner posits that the OWWA has already implemented the new
organizational structure as the advertisement, recruitment, and placement of OWWA employees have
been accomplished; and in the process, none of the respondents have been dismissed. Moreover, the act (b) That the commission, continuance or non-performance of the act or acts complained of
sought to be prevented has long been consummated; hence, the remedy of injunction should no longer during the litigation would probably work injustice to the applicant; or
be entertained.
(c) That a party, court, agency or a person is doing, threatening, or is attempting to do, or is
Second, petitioner adduces the proposition that the reorganization of the OWWA does not require an procuring or suffering to be done, some act or acts probably in violation of the rights of the
amendatory law contrary to the holding of the court a quo. The OSG maintains that there was no previous applicant respecting the subject of the action or proceeding, and tending to render the
OWWA structure in the first place; and neither did Presidential Decree No. 169429 nor Presidential judgment ineffectual.
Decree No. 1809,30 provide for an organizational structure for the OWWA.
A preliminary injunction is granted at any stage of an action or proceeding prior to the judgment or final
Third, petitioner disputes the existence of the rights of respondents to be protected by the preliminary order.35 It persists until it is dissolved or until the termination of the action without the court issuing a final
injunctive writ sought on the ground that the latter did not shown any legal right which needs the injunction.36 To be entitled to an injunctive writ, petitioner must show, inter alia, the existence of a clear
protection thereof, nor did they show that any such right was violated to warrant the issuance of a and unmistakable right and an urgent and paramount necessity for the writ to prevent serious
preliminary injunction. Petitioner asserts that respondents did not claim that they are the consultants or damage.37 A writ of preliminary injunction is generally based solely on initial and incomplete
casual or contractual workers who would allegedly be displaced; and neither did respondents show that evidence.38 The evidence submitted during the hearing on an application for a writ of preliminary
there is only one right or cause of action pertaining to all of them. Neither was there a violation of their injunction is not conclusive or complete for only a "sampling" is needed to give the trial court an idea of
rights because respondents have all been given appointments in the new OWWA organizational the justification for the preliminary injunction pending the decision of the case on the merits. 39 In fact, the
structure.31 evidence required to justify the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction in the hearing thereon need not
be conclusive or complete.40 It must also be stressed that it does not necessarily proceed that when a writ
of preliminary injunction is issued, a final injunction will follow.41
Finally, on respondents allegation that the reorganization of the OWWA will reassign permanent
employees to its regional offices, and consequently, displace them and their families, petitioner counters
that an employee may be reassigned from one organizational unit to another in the same agency, Moreover, the grant or denial of a preliminary injunction is discretionary on the part of the trial
provided that such reassignment shall not involve a reduction in rank, status or salary. 32 court.42 Thus, the rule is, the matter of the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction is addressed to the
sound discretion of the trial court, unless the court commits grave abuse of discretion.43 In Toyota Motor
Phils. Corporation Workers Association (TMPCWA) v. Court of Appeals,44 this Court pronounced that
The Case for the Respondents grave abuse of discretion in the issuance of writs of preliminary injunction implies a capricious and
whimsical exercise of judgment that is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction; or the exercise of power in an
Respondents argue that the petitioner railroaded and raced against time to implement the new OWWA arbitrary or despotic manner by reason of passion, prejudice or personal aversion amounting to an
organizational structure. They claim that in the process, petitioner exhibited manifest bad faith and evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined, or to act at all in contemplation
injustice. What existed was a hasty reorganization and restructuring of the OWWA without adequate of law. It is clear that the assessment and evaluation of evidence in the issuance of the writ of preliminary
study and consultation, which was thereafter submitted and immediately approved by the Board of injunction involve findings of facts ordinarily left to the trial court for its conclusive determination. 45 The
Trustees. They insist that the creation of an organizational structure of the OWWA would require a duty of the court taking cognizance of a prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction is to determine whether
presidential fiat or a legislative enactment pursuant to Republic Act No. 6656.33 the requisites necessary for the grant of an injunction are present in the case before it.46 However, as
earlier stated, if the court commits grave abuse of its discretion in the issuance of the writ of preliminary
injunction, such that the act amounts to excess or lack of jurisdiction, the same may be nullified through a
Further, respondents maintain that their right in esse was established during the proceedings for the writ of certiorari or prohibition.
issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction, as their complaint sufficiently showed the rights and
interests of the parties. They alleged that at no stage in the proceedings did petitioner question such
rights. In fact, petitioner made a waiver in open court to the effect that it was not presenting testimonial More significantly, a preliminary injunction is merely a provisional remedy, an adjunct to the main case
evidence. According to the respondents, such an act was constitutive of an admission by petitioner of the subject to the latters outcome, the sole objective of which is to preserve the status quo until the trial court
existence of a right in esse in their favor. hears fully the merits of the case.47 The status quo should be that existing at the time of the filing of the
case.48 The status quo usually preserved by a preliminary injunction is the last actual, peaceable and
uncontested status which preceded the actual controversy.49 The status quo ante litem is, ineluctably, the
The Ruling of the Court state of affairs which is existing at the time of the filing of the case. Indubitably, the trial court must not
make use of its injunctive power to alter such status.50
Section 1, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court, defines a preliminary injunction as an order granted at any stage
of an action prior to the judgment or final order requiring a party or a court, an agency or a person to We hold that the RTC, in granting the assailed writ of preliminary injunction, committed grave abuse of
refrain from a particular act or acts.34 Section 3, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court, enumerates the grounds discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.
for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction as follows:
In the case at bar, the RTC did not maintain the status quo when it issued the writ of preliminary
Sec. 3. Grounds for issuance of preliminary injunction. A preliminary injunction may be granted when it injunction. Rather, it effectively restored the situation prior to the status quo, in effect, disposing the issue
is established: of the main case without trial on the merits. What was preserved by the RTC was the state of affairs
before the issuance of Resolution No. 001, which approved the structure of the OWWA, and the
subsequent administrative orders pursuant to its passing. The RTC forgot that what is imperative in
preliminary injunction cases is that the writ can not be effectuated to establish new relations between the
parties. Hence, we find herein an application of the lessons that can be learned from Rualo v.
Pitargue.51 In Rualo, this Court determined, among others, the propriety of the writ of preliminary A writ of preliminary injunction being an extraordinary event,61 one deemed as a strong arm of equity or a
injunction which was issued restraining the Bureau of Internal Revenue from further implementing its transcendent remedy,62 it must be granted only in the face of actual and existing substantial rights. In the
reorganization, and enforcing the orders52 pursuant thereto. This Court, in lifting the therein assailed writ, absence of the same, and where facts are shown to be wanting in bringing the matter within the
underscored the legal proscription which states that courts should avoid issuing a writ of preliminary conditions for its issuance, the ancillary writ must be struck down for having been rendered in grave
injunction which would in effect dispose of the main case without trial.53 According to the Court in Rualo, abuse of discretion.
the trial court, in issuing the writ of preliminary injunction, did not maintain the status quo but restored the
situation before the status quo, that is, the situation before the issuance of the Revenue Travel
Assignment Orders.54 The Court further declared that what existed was an acceptance of therein WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The Decision of the Court of Appeals, dated 22 September
respondents premise of the illegality of the reorganization, and a prejudgment on the constitutionality of 2005 in CA-G.R. SP No. 87702, is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Writ of Preliminary Injunction
the assailed issuances.55 As in Rualo, we find herein a similar case where the RTC admitted hook, line issued by the Regional Trial Court pursuant to its Order, dated 30 September 2004, in Civil Case No. 04-
and sinker the mere allegations of respondents that the reorganization as instituted was unlawful without 0415-CFM is LIFTED and SET ASIDE.
the benefit of a full trial on the merits. It also did not maintain the status quo but restored the landscape
before the implementation of OWWAs reorganization. In thus issuing the writ of preliminary injunction, SO ORDERED.
the substantive issues of the main case were resolved by the trial court. What was done by the RTC was
quite simply a disposition of the case without trial. This is an error in law and an exercise of grave abuse
of discretion. Furthermore, we find that the RTC similarly prejudged the validity of the issuances released
by the OWWA Board of Trustees, as well as the other governmental bodies (i.e., DBM, DOLE), which NO RIGHT IN ESSE
approved the organizational structure and staffing pattern of the OWWA. In Rualo, this Court asserted the
presumption of regularity of the therein assailed government issuances. In this case, we accentuate the MIAA vs CA (supra)
same presumption.
G.R. No. 131442 July 10, 2003
Ineluctably, this Court is compelled to rule against the propriety of the grant of the assailed ancillary writ
of preliminary injunction on the material ground that the records do not support respondents entitlement
BANGUS FRY FISHERFOLK, et. al. vs. Lanzanas
thereto.

We do not find attendant the requisites for the issuance of a preliminary injunctive writ. This Court is not On 30 June 1997, Regional Executive Director Antonio G. Principe ("RED Principe") of Region IV,
convinced that respondents were able to show a clear and unmistakable legal right to warrant their Department of Environment and Natural Resources ("DENR"), issued an Environmental Clearance
Certificate ("ECC") in favor of respondent National Power Corporation ("NAPOCOR"). The ECC
entitlement to the writ. A mere blanket allegation that they are all officers and employees of the OWWA
authorized NAPOCOR to construct a temporary mooring facility in Minolo Cove, Sitio Minolo, Barangay
without a showing of how they stand to be directly injured by the implementation of its questioned
San Isidro, Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro. The Sangguniang Bayan of Puerto Galera has declared
organizational structure does not suffice to prove a right in esse. As was aptly raised by the petitioner,
Minolo Cove, a mangrove area and breeding ground for bangus fry, an eco-tourist zone.3
respondents did not show that they were dismissed due to the challenged reorganization. There was no
showing that they are the employees who are in grave danger of being displaced. Respondents were
similarly wanting in proving that they are the consultants and contractual and casual employees, who will The mooring facility would serve as the temporary docking site of NAPOCOR's power barge, which, due
allegedly suffer by reason of the re-organization. This Court is consistently adamant in demanding that a to turbulent waters at its former mooring site in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro, required relocation to a safer
clear and positive right especially calling for judicial protection must be established. 56 As has been site like Minolo Cove. The 14.4 megawatts power barge would provide the main source of power for the
reiterated, injunction is not a remedy to protect or enforce contingent, abstract, or future rights; it will not entire province of Oriental Mindoro pending the construction of a land-based power plant in Calapan,
issue to protect a right not in esse and which may never arise, or to restrain an action which did not give Oriental Mindoro. The ECC for the mooring facility was valid for two years counted from its date of
rise to a cause of action.57 In contrast, the rights of OWWA are accorded to it by law. The importance of issuance or until 30 June 1999.4
the reorganization within the body and the benefits that will accrue thereto were accentuated by the Board
of Trustees in its Resolution No. 001. The aforesaid resolution declared, inter alia, that the structuring of
the OWWA will stabilize the internal organization and promote careerism among the employees, as well Petitioners, claiming to be fisherfolks from Minolo, San Isidro, Puerto Galera,5 sought reconsideration of
as ensure a more efficient and effective delivery of programs and services to member-OFWs.58 However, the ECC issuance. RED Principe, however, denied petitioners' plea on 15 July 1997. On 21 July 1997,
we go further to opine that even the question of whether the OWWA requires an amendatory law for its petitioners filed a complaint with the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 7, for the cancellation of the
reorganization is one that should be best threshed out in the disposition of the merits of the case. Indeed, ECC and for the issuance of a writ of injunction to stop the construction of the mooring facility. Impleaded
the question as to the validity of the OWWA reorganization remains the subject in the main case pending as defendants were the following: (1) NAPOCOR, (2) RED Principe, (3) DENR Region IV Technical
before the trial court. Its annulment is outside the realm of the instant Petition. Director for Environment Oscar Dominguez, (4) Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative ("ORMECO"),
which is engaged in the distribution of electricity in Oriental Mindoro, and (5) certain officials of Puerto
Galera.6 Petitioners subsequently amended their complaint to include as additional defendants the
Assuming arguendo that respondents stand to be in danger of being transferred due to the elective officials of Oriental Mindoro represented by then Governor Rodolfo G. Valencia. Petitioners
reorganization, under the law, any employee who questions the validity of his transfer should appeal to further prayed for the demolition of mooring structures that respondents had already built.
the CSC.59 Even then, administrative remedies must be exhausted before resort to the regular courts can
be had.
On 28 July 1997, prior to the filing of the amended complaint, the trial court issued a 20-day temporary
restraining order enjoining the construction of the mooring facility. However, the trial court lifted the same
Finally, as aptly pointed out by the OSG, the acts sought to be prohibited had been accomplished. on 6 August 1997 on NAPOCOR's manifestation that the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro was
Injunction will not lie where the acts sought to be enjoined have already been accomplished or the one undertaking the construction of the mooring facility.7
consummated.60 The wheels of OWWAs reorganization started to run upon the approval by the Board of
Trustees of its Resolution No. 001 entitled, "Approving the Structure of the Overseas Workers Welfare
Administration." Subsequently, a series of issuances which approved the organizational structure and On 28 August 1997, before filing their answers, respondents ORMECO and the provincial officials of
staffing pattern of the agency was issued by the DBM, the OWWA Administrator, and by the DOLE. Oriental Mindoro moved to dismiss the complaint. These respondents claimed that petitioners failed to
Resolution No. 001 has already been implemented. Case law has it that a writ of preliminary injunction exhaust administrative remedies, rendering the complaint without cause of action. They also asserted that
will not issue if the act sought to be enjoined is a fait accompli.1avvphi1
the Manila RTC has no jurisdiction to enjoin the construction of the mooring facility in Oriental Mindoro, jurisdictional paux [sic] pas (from Black Dictionary means jurisdictional falsity) as the Courts of
which lies outside the Manila RTC's territorial jurisdiction. First Instance now Regional Trial Court[s], can only enforce their writs of injunction within their
respective designated territories.
Petitioners opposed the motion on the ground that there was no need to exhaust administrative remedies.
They argued that the issuance of the ECC was in patent violation of Presidential Decree No. 1605, 8 And finally, this Court is not unmindful of the relevant and square application in the case at bar
Sections 26 and 27 of Republic Act No. 7160,9 and the provisions of DENR Department Administrative of Presidential Decree No. 1818, Executive Order No. 380 dated November 27, 1989, and
Order No. 96-37 ("DAO 96-37") on the documentation of ECC applications. Petitioners also claimed that Circular No. 2-91 of the Supreme Court that the National Power Corporation (NPC) is a public
the implementation of the ECC was in patent violation of its terms. utility, created under special legislation, engaged in the generation and distribution of electric
power and energy. The mooring site of NPC in Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro is one of its
infrastructure projects falling within the mantle of Executive Order No. 380, November 27,
In its order of 7 November 1997, the trial court granted the motion and dismissed petitioners' complaint. 1989 x x x.

Hence, this petition. And as held by the Supreme Court in the case of National Power Corporation vs. Honorable
Abraham P. Vera, et al., 170 SCRA 721, courts are without jurisdiction to issue injunctive writs
The Ruling of the Trial Court against [the] National Power Corporation. The latter enjoys the protective mantle of P.D. 1818,
(Circular No. 2-91).

The trial court's order dismissing the complaint reads in part:


xxx xxx xxx

After careful evaluation and analysis, this Court finds the Motion to Dismiss tenable and
meritorious. Injunction in this case is not a mere ancillary [sic] writ but the main action itself together with
the Annulment of the Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC). Even assuming arguendo
that the court [can] annul the ECC how can the latter enforce the same against the Provincial
Petitioners have clearly failed to exhaust all administrative remedies before taking this legal Government of Oriental Mindoro which was impleaded by the petitioners as a necessary party
action in Court x x x. together with the Oriental Mindoro Electric Cooperative and the government officials of Puerto
Galera, Oriental Mindoro, whose acts and functions are being performed outside the territorial
jurisdiction of this court? x x x Indisputably, the injunction and annulment of ECC as prayed for
It is x x x worth mentioning that the decision of the Regional Director may still be x x x elevated
in the petition are inseparable x x x.
to the Office of the Secretary of the DENR to fully comply with the process of exhaustion of
administrative remedies. And well settled is the rule in our jurisdiction that before bringing an
action in or resorting to the Courts of Justice, all remedies of administrative character affecting The conclusion, therefore, is inescapable that petitioners have failed to exhaust all the
or determinative of the controversy at that level should first be exhausted by the aggrieved available administrative remedies and this Court has no jurisdiction to issue the injunctive writ
party (Pestanas vs. Dyogi, L-25786, February 27, 1978). And petitioners' failure to exhaust prayed for in the Amended [Complaint].10
administrative remedies renders his [sic] petition dismissible (Chia vs. Acting Collector of
Customs, 177 SCRA 755). And a dismissal on the ground of failure to exhaust administrative
remedies is tantamount to a dismissal based on lack of cause of action (Baguiro vs. Basa, Jr., The Issue
214 SCRA 437; Pineda vs. CFI of Davao, 111 Phil. 643; Sarabia vs. Secretary of Agriculture &
Natural Resources, L-16002, May 23, 1961; Gone, et al. vs. District Engineer, et. al., L-22782, The issue is whether the trial court erred in dismissing petitioners' complaint for lack of cause action and
August 29, 1975; Abe-Abe, et al. vs. Manta, et. al., L-4827, May 31, 1979) although it does not lack of jurisdiction.
affect the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter (Mun. of La Trinidad, et al. vs. CFI of
Baguio-Benguet, et al., L-33889, June 28, 1983).
The Ruling of the Court
Moreover, this Court finds the Opposition of the Petitioners highly untenable and bereft of
merits that the controverted act in question is patently illegal and there was an immediate need The petition has no merit.
for judicial intervention.
Jurisdiction of the Manila RTC over the Case
The ECC in question was issued by the Regional Office of the DENR which has jurisdiction
and authority over the same . . .. And corollary to this, the issue as to whether or not the
Minolo Cove is within the enclosed coves and waters embraced by Puerto Galera bay and Jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case is conferred by law. Such jurisdiction is determined by the
protected by Medio island is a clear question of fact which the DENR may appropriately allegations in the complaint, irrespective of whether the plaintiff is entitled to all or some of the reliefs
resolve before resorting to [the] Court[s]. sought.11

This Court is likewise aware and cognizant of its territorial jurisdiction in the enforcement of A perusal of the allegations in the complaint shows that petitioners' principal cause of action is the alleged
Writ of Injunction. That truly, [a] writ of injunction can only be enforced within [the] territorial illegality of the issuance of the ECC. The violation of laws on environmental protection and on local
jurisdiction of this Court but not for acts which are being or about to be committed outside its government participation in the implementation of environmentally critical projects is an issue that
territorial jurisdiction. Thus, in Philippine National Bank vs. Pineda, 197 SCRA 1, the involves the validity of NAPOCOR's ECC. If the ECC is void, then as a necessary consequence,
Honorable Supreme Court ruled: "Regional Trial Courts can only enforce their writs of NAPOCOR or the provincial government of Oriental Mindoro could not construct the mooring facility. The
injunction within their respective designated territories. Furthermore, we find the issuance of subsidiary issue of non-compliance with pertinent local ordinances in the construction of the mooring
the preliminary injunction directed against the Provincial Sheriff of Negros Occidental a facility becomes immaterial for purposes of granting petitioners' main prayer, which is the annulment of
the ECC. Thus, if the court has jurisdiction to determine the validity of the issuance of the ECC, then it SECTION 2.0. Grounds for Appeal. The grounds for appeal shall be limited to grave abuse
has jurisdiction to hear and decide petitioners' complaint. of discretion and serious errors in the findings of fact which would cause grave or irreparable
injury to the aggrieved party. Frivolous appeals shall not be countenanced.
Petitioners' complaint is one that is not capable of pecuniary estimation. It falls within the exclusive and
original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Courts under Section 19(1) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as SECTION 3.0. Who May Appeal. The proponent or any stakeholder, including but not
amended by Republic Act No. 7691. The question of whether petitioners should file their complaint in the limited to, the LGUs concerned and affected communities, may file an appeal.
Regional Trial Court of Manila or Oriental Mindoro then becomes a matter of venue, to be determined by
the residence of the parties.12
The DENR Procedural Manual for DAO 96-37 explains these provisions thus:

Petitioners' main prayer is the annulment of the ECC. The principal respondent, DENR Region IV, has its
main office at the L & S Building, Roxas Boulevard, Manila. Regional Executive Director Principe of the Final decisions of the RED may be appealed. These decisions include those relating to the
DENR Region IV, who issued the ECC, holds office there. Plainly, the principal respondent resides in issuance or non-issuance of an ECC, and the imposition of fines and penalties. By inference,
Manila, which is within the territorial jurisdiction of the Manila RTC. Thus, petitioners filed their complaint the decision of the Secretary on the issuance or non-issuance of the ECC may also be
in the proper venue. appealed based on this provision. Resort to courts prior to availing of this remedy would make
the appellant's action dismissible on the ground of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies.

On the other hand, the jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts to issue injunctive writs is limited to acts
committed or about to be committed within their judicial region.13 Moreover, Presidential Decree No. 1818 The right to appeal must be exercised within 15 days from receipt by the aggrieved party of
("PD No. 1818") prohibited14 courts from issuing injunctive writs against government infrastructure such decision. Failure to file such appeal within the requisite period will result in the finality of
projects like the mooring facility in the present case. Republic Act No. 8975 ("RA No. 8975"), which took the RED's or Secretary's decision(s), which can no longer be disturbed.
effect on 26 November 2000, superseded PD No. 1818 and delineates more clearly the coverage of the
prohibition, reserves the power to issue such writs exclusively with this Court, and provides penalties for An appeal shall not stay the effectivity of the RED's decision, unless the Secretary directs
its violation.15 Obviously, neither the Manila RTC nor the Oriental Mindoro RTC can issue an injunctive otherwise.
writ to stop the construction of the mooring facility. Only this Court can do so under PD No. 1818 and later
under RA No. 8975. Thus, the question of whether the Manila RTC has jurisdiction over the complaint
considering that its injunctive writ is not enforceable in Oriental Mindoro is academic. The right to appeal does not prevent the aggrieved party from first resorting to the filing of a
motion for reconsideration with the RED, to give the RED an opportunity to re-evaluate his
decision. (Emphasis added)
Clearly, the Manila RTC has jurisdiction to determine the validity of the issuance of the ECC, although it
could not issue an injunctive writ against the DENR or NAPOCOR. However, since the construction of the
mooring facility could not proceed without a valid ECC, the validity of the ECC remains the determinative Instead of following the foregoing procedure, petitioners bypassed the DENR Secretary and immediately
issue in resolving petitioners' complaint. filed their complaint with the Manila RTC, depriving the DENR Secretary the opportunity to review the
decision of his subordinate, RED Principe. Under the Procedural Manual for DAO 96-37 and applicable
jurisprudence, petitioners' omission renders their complaint dismissible for lack of cause of
Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies action.21 Consequently, the Manila RTC did not err in dismissing petitioners' complaint for lack of cause of
action.
The settled rule is before a party may seek the intervention of the courts, he should first avail of all the
means afforded by administrative processes. Hence, if a remedy within the administrative machinery is On the Alleged Patent Illegality of the ECC
still available, with a procedure prescribed pursuant to law for an administrative officer to decide the
controversy, a party should first exhaust such remedy before resorting to the courts. The premature
invocation of a court's intervention renders the complaint without cause of action and dismissible on such Petitioners nevertheless contend that they are exempt from filing an appeal with the DENR Secretary
ground.16 because the issuance of the ECC was in patent violation of existing laws and regulations. These are (1)
Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1605, as amended, (2) Sections 26 and 27 of Republic Act No. 7160
(Local Government Code of 1991), and (3) the provisions of DAO 96-37 on the documentary
RED Principe of the DENR Region IV Office issued the ECC based on (1) Presidential Decree No. 1586 requirements for the zoning permit and social acceptability of the mooring facility.
("PD No. 1586") and its implementing rules establishing the Environmental Impact Statement System, (2)
DAO 96-3717 and (3) the Procedural Manual of DAO 96-37. Section 418 of PD No. 1586 requires a
proponent of an environmentally critical project, or a project located within an environmentally critical area Petitioners' contention is without merit. While the patent illegality of an act exempts a party from
as declared by the President, to secure an ECC prior to the project's operation.19 NAPOCOR thus complying with the rule on exhaustion Of administrative remedies,22 this does not apply in the present
secured the ECC because the mooring facility in Minolo Cove, while not an environmentally critical case.
project, is located within an environmentally critical area under Presidential Proclamation No. 2146,
issued on 14 December 1981.20
Presidential Decree No. 1605

The rules on administrative appeals from rulings of the DENR Regional Directors on the implementation
Presidential Decree No. 1605 ("PD No. 1605"),23 as amended by Presidential Decrees Nos. 1605-A and
of PD No. 1586 are found in Article VI of DAO 96-37, which provides:
1805, declares as ecologically threatened zone "the coves and waters embraced by Puerto Galera Bay
as protected by Medio Island." This decree provides in part:
SECTION 1.0. Appeal to the Office of the Secretary. Any party aggrieved by the final
decision of the RED may, within 15 days from receipt of such decision, file an appeal with the
Section 1. Any provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, the construction of marinas,
Office of the Secretary. The decision of the Secretary shall be immediately executory.
hotels, restaurants, other commercial structures; commercial or semi-commercial wharfs [sic];
commercial docking within the enclosed coves of Puerto Galera; the destruction of its
mangrove stands; the devastation of its corals and coastline by large barges, motorboats, the depletion of non-renewable resources; (4) may result in loss of crop land, rangeland, or
tugboat propellers, and any form of destruction by other human activities are hereby forest cover; (5) may eradicate certain animal or plant species; and (6) other projects or
prohibited. programs that may call for the eviction of a particular group of people residing in the locality
where these will be implemented.
Section 2. x x x
Again, Sections 26 and 27 do not apply to this case because as petitioners admit,28 the mooring facility
itself is not environmentally critical and hence does not belong to any of the six types of projects
No permit for the construction of any wharf, marina, hotel, restaurants and other commercial mentioned in the law. There is no statutory requirement for the concerned sanggunian to approve the
structures in Puerto Galera shall be issued without prior approval of the Office of the President construction of the mooring facility. It is another matter if the operation of the power barge is at issue. As
upon the recommendation of the Philippine Tourism Authority. (Emphasis supplied) an environmentally critical project that causes pollution, the operation of the power barge needs the prior
approval of the concerned sanggunian. However, what is before this Court is only the construction of the
NAPOCOR claims that since Minolo Cove lies outside of "Puerto Galera Bay as protected by Medio mooring facility, not the operation of the power barge. Thus, the issuance of the ECC does not violate
Island",24 PD No. 1605 does not apply to this case. However, petitioners assert that Minolo Cove is one of Sections 26 and 27 of RA No. 7160.
the "enclosed coves of Puerto Galera"25 and thus protected under PD No. 1605. This is a question of fact
that the DENR Secretary should have first resolved. In any event, there is no dispute that NAPOCOR will Documentary Requirements for ECC Applications
use the mooring facility for its power barge that will supply 14.4 megawatts of electricity to the entire
province of Oriental Mindoro, including Puerto Galera. The mooring facility is obviously a government-
owned public infrastructure intended to serve a basic need of the people of Oriental Mindoro. The Under DAO 96-37, an ECC applicant for a project located within an environmentally critical area is
mooring facility is not a "commercial structure; commercial or semi-commercial wharf or commercial required to submit an Initial Environment Examination, which must contain a brief description of the
docking" as contemplated in Section 1 of PD No. 1605. Therefore, the issuance of the ECC does not environmental setting and a documentation of the consultative process undertaken, when
violate PD No. 1605 which applies only to commercial structures like wharves, marinas, hotels and appropriate.29 As part of the description of the environmental setting, the ECC applicant must submit a
restaurants. certificate of locational clearance or zoning certificate.

Sections 26 and 27 of RA No. 7160 Petitioners further contend that NAPOCOR, in applying for the ECC, did not submit to the DENR Region
IV Office the documents proving the holding of consultations and the issuance of a locational clearance or
zoning certificate. Petitioners assert that this omission renders the issuance of the ECC patently illegal.
Congress introduced Sections 26 and 27 in the Local Government Code to emphasize the legislative
concern "for the maintenance of a sound ecology and clean environment."26 These provisions require
every national government agency or government-owned and controlled corporation to hold prior The contention is also without merit. While such documents are part of the submissions required from a
consultations with the local government unit concerned and to secure the prior approval of project proponent, their mere absence does not render the issuance of the ECC patently illegal. To justify
its sanggunian before implementing "any project or program that may cause pollution, climatic change, non-exhaustion of administrative remedies due to the patent illegality of the ECC, the public officer must
depletion of non-renewable resources, loss of cropland, rangeland, or forest cover and extinction of have issued the ECC "[without any] semblance of compliance, or even an attempt to comply, with the
animal or plant species." Sections 26 and 27 respectively provide: pertinent laws; when manifestly, the officer has acted without jurisdiction or has exceeded his jurisdiction,
or has committed a grave abuse of discretion; or when his act is clearly and obviously devoid of any color
of authority."30
Section 26. Duty of National Government Agencies in the Maintenance of Ecological Balance.
It shall be the duty of every national agency or government-owned or controlled corporation
authorized or involved in the planning and implementation of any project or program that may RED Principe, as chief of DENR Region IV, is the officer duly authorized under DAO 96-3731 to issue
cause pollution, climatic change, depletion of non-renewable resources, loss of crop land, ECCs for projects located within environmentally critical areas. RED Principe issued the ECC on the
rangeland, or forest cover and extinction of animal or plant species, to consult with the local recommendation of Amelia Supetran, the Director of the Environmental Management Bureau. Thus, RED
government units, non-governmental organizations, and other sectors concerned and explain Principe acted with full authority pursuant to DENR regulations. Moreover, the legal presumption is that
the goals and objectives of the project or program, its impact upon the people and the he acted with the requisite authority.32 This clothes RED Principe's acts with presumptive validity and
community in terms of environmental or ecological balance, and the measures that will be negates any claim that his actions are patently illegal or that he gravely abused his discretion. While
undertaken to prevent or minimize the adverse effects thereof. petitioners may present proof to the contrary, they must do so before the proper administrative forum
before resorting to judicial remedies.
Section 27. Prior Consultations Required. No project or program shall be implemented by
government authorities unless the consultations mentioned in Section . . . 26 hereof are On the Alleged Non-Compliance with the Terms of the ECC
complied with, and prior approval of the sanggunian concerned is obtained: Provided, That
occupants in areas where such projects are to be implemented shall not be evicted unless
appropriate relocation sites have been provided, in accordance with the provisions of the Lastly, petitioners claim that they are justified in immediately seeking judicial recourse because
Constitution. NAPOCOR is guilty of violating the conditions of the ECC, which requires it to secure a separate ECC for
the operation of the power barge. The ECC also mandates NAPOCOR to secure the usual local
government permits, like zoning and building permits, from the municipal government of Puerto Galera.
In Lina, Jr. v. Pao,27 the Court interpreted these provisions in this manner:
The contention is similarly without merit. The fact that NAPOCOR's ECC is subject to cancellation for
Section 27 of the Code should be read in conjunction with Section 26 thereof x x x. non-compliance with its conditions does not justify petitioners' conduct in ignoring the procedure
prescribed in DAO 96-37 on appeals from the decision of the DENR Executive Director. Petitioners
vigorously insist that NAPOCOR should comply with the requirements of consultation and locational
Thus, the projects and programs mentioned in Section 27 should be interpreted to mean clearance prescribed in DAO 96-37. Ironically, petitioners themselves refuse to abide with the procedure
projects and programs whose effects are among those enumerated in Sections 26 and 27, to for filing complaints and appealing decisions laid down in DAO 96-37.
wit, those that: (1) may cause pollution; (2) may bring about climatic change; (3) may cause
DAO 96-37 provides for a separate administrative proceeding to address complaints for the cancellation On July 5, 1993 FEBTC filed with the trial court a motion to direct PBC's liquidator to execute the deeds
of an ECC. Under Article IX of DAO 96-37, complaints to nullify an ECC must undergo an administrative of sale with application for issuance of preliminary injunction and/or temporary restraining order to prevent
investigation, after which the hearing officer will submit his report to the EMB Director or the Regional the liquidator from further offering to sell to third parties the subject fixed assets.
Executive Director, who will then render his decision. The aggrieved party may file an appeal to the
DENR Secretary, who has authority to issue cease and desist orders. Article IX also classifies the types
of violations covered under DAO 96-37, including projects operating without an ECC or violating the The RTC initially issued a temporary restraining order directing PBC's liquidator to desist from proceeding
conditions of the ECC. This is the applicable procedure to address petitioners' complaint on NAPOCOR's with the bidding. After hearing, the trial court nevertheless denied the application of the petitioner for a
alleged violations and not the filing of the instant case in court. writ of preliminary injunction. Aggrieved, petitioner went to the respondent Court of Appeals.

A Final Word On October 23, 1995, the respondent Court of Appeals rendered its decision likewise denying petitioner's
application for injunction.

The Court commends petitioners for their courageous efforts to safeguard and maintain the ecological
balance of Minolo Cove. This Court recognizes the utmost importance of protecting the Hence, the instant Petition for Review under Rule 45 praying that the decision of the Court of Appeals be
environment.33 Indeed, we have called for the vigorous prosecution of violators of environmental set aside and a temporary restraining order and/or preliminary injunction be issued against the
laws.34 Legal actions to achieve this end, however, must be done in accordance with established rules of respondent liquidator to prohibit him from disposing of the subject fixed assets to other buyers.
procedure that were intended, in the first place, to achieve orderly and efficient administration of justice.
The main issue we need to resolve here is whether or not petitioner is entitled to the injunctive relief
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition for lack of merit. SO ORDERED. prayed for.

We rule in the negative.

G.R. No. 123569 April 1, 1996 Petitioner submits that having met all the conditions and performed all its obligations under the
Memorandum of Agreement as well as the Purchase Agreement, it follows, as a matter of course, that
petitioner has obtained a clear right over the subject fixed assets, which right is being jeopardized by the
FAR EAST BANK & TRUST COMPANY, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, HON. REGINO T. stubborn refusal of the respondent liquidator to execute the deeds of sale covering these fixed assets.
VERIDIANO, II and VITALIANO NANAGAS, II, respondents.
On the other hand, respondent liquidator maintains that, contrary to petitioner's claim, the petitioner
Pacific Banking Corporation (PBC) was placed under receivership by the Central Bank under Monetary herein has not acquired ownership over the subject fixed assets because the same were submitted as
Board Resolution No. 699 dated July 5, 1985, and thereafter placed under liquidation. Banks were invited collaterals with the Central Bank, and pursuant to Section 1(a) of the Memorandum of Agreement, these
to submit proposals for the purchase of PBC's assets. On November 14, 1985, petitioner Far East Bank properties are excluded from among the assets that can be purchased by the petitioner. Said section
and Trust Company (FEBTC) submitted its formal offer to purchase all the assets of PBC. Subsequently, provides:
a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was entered into by and among the petitioner as buyer, PBC
through its liquidator as seller, and the Central Bank (CB).
Sec. 1 Purchase Agreement

On December 18, 1986, the Regional Trial Court, Branch 31 of Manila where the liquidation proceeding
was pending, approved the Purchase Agreement executed by and among the same parties pursuant to a. Within ninety (90) calendar days from the date of the execution of this
the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) earlier entered into by them. Alleging compliance with its Memorandum of Agreement, subject to such extension of time as shall be mutually
obligations under the MOA and the Purchase Agreement, petitioner then requested PBC's liquidator to agreed upon by the parties, the BUYER shall purchase all the assets of the
execute the proper deeds of sale involving PBC's fixed assets located in the following branches, to wit: SELLER as shall be defined and specifically described in the corresponding
Purchase Agreement to be executed by the parties, inclusive of the SELLER's
authority to operate its forty-three (43) banking offices/branches, but exclusive of
1. Soler (Arranque) the following items:
2. Bacolod City
3. Cabanatuan City
4. Laoag xxx xxx xxx
5. San Pablo City
6. Cebu-Manalili vii. Assets submitted as collaterals
7. Davao-Sta. Ana with the Central Bank; and
8. San Fernando, La Union
9. Legaspi City
10. Iloilo City - Central Market The issue whether or not injunction in favor of the petitioner should issue hinges on the important
11. Units in Pacific Bank Condominium Bldg., Ayala Avenue, Makati City question: Whether the disputed fixed assets were collateralized with the Central Bank? Apparently
however, this is a sole issue of fact. The rule is settled that pure questions of fact may not be the proper
subject of an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court. This mode of appeal is
PBC's liquidator consistently refused to execute said deeds of sale and proceeded to offer for bidding to generally limited only to questions of law which must be distinctly set forth in the petition. 1 The Supreme
third parties the subject fixed assets. Court is not a trier of facts. The resolution of factual issues is the function of lower courts, whose findings
on these matters are received with respect and are in fact binding on the Supreme Court subject only to
certain exceptions 2 none of which are present in the instant petition.
In this case, the trial court, as affirmed by the respondent Court of Appeals, found that the subject fixed [G.R. No. 166337. March 7, 2005]
assets were indeed submitted as collaterals with the Central Bank, and therefore were among the items
not covered by the Purchase Agreement signed by the parties pursuant to the Memorandum of
Agreement. Hence, the inescapable conclusion is the petitioner never acquired ownership over these BAYANIHAN MUSIC vs. BMG
properties. The trial court observed, viz:
Gentlemen:
A cursory perusal of the MOA will indicate that the PBC fixed assets were expressly
excluded from (sic) the PBC for purchase of the FEBTC as they are collateralized Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated MAR 7 2005.
assets with the Central Bank.

G.R. No. 166337 (Bayanihan Music Philippines, Inc. vs. BMG Records (Pilipinas) and Jose Mari Chan, et
xxx xxx xxx al.)

. . . [t]he latter [FEBTC] could not have ignored the fact that PBC fixed assets were Subject of this petition for review on certiorari is the Decision dated December 14, 2004[1] of the Court of
collateralized with the Central Bank notwithstanding the allegations that document Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 69626, upholding the Order dated August 24, 2001 of the Regional Trial Court
to that effect were not shown by the Central at Quezon City, Branch 90, which found no merit in petitioner's application for the issuance of a writ of
Bank. . . . 3 preliminary injunction, along with the Order dated January 10, 2002, which denied petitioner's motion for
reconsideration.
We are not about to set aside this factual finding of the trial court. Time and again we have upheld the
rule that findings of fact of the trial court should not be disturbed on appeal unless the trial court has On July 16, 1973, private respondent Jose Mari Chan (Chan) entered into a contract with petitioner
ignored or overlooked certain facts or circumstances of weight and significance which, if considered, Bayanihan Music Philippines, Inc. (Bayanihan), whereunder the former assigned to the latter all his rights,
would alter the result of the case, for trial judges are in the best position of weighing conflicting interests and participation over his musical composition "Can We Just Stop and Talk A While". On March
declarations of witnesses in the light of the court's opportunity to observe and examine the witnesses' 11, 1976, the parties entered into a similar contract over Chan's other musical composition entitled "Afraid
conduct and attitude at the trial and in the witness chair. 4 For Love To Fade".

Section 3, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court on Preliminary Injunction provides: On the strength of the abovementioned contracts, Bayanihan applied for and was granted by the National
Library a Certificate of Copyright Registration for each of the two musical compositions, thus: November
Sec. 3 Grounds for issuance of preliminary injunction. A preliminary injunction 19, 1973, for the song "Can We Just Stop and Talk A While" and on May 21, 1980, for the song "Afraid for
may be granted at any time after the commencement of the action and before Love To Fade."
judgment, when it is established:
Apparently, without the knowledge and consent of petitioner Bayanihan, Chan authorized his co-respondent
(a) That the plaintiff is entitled to the relief demanded, and the whole or part of such BMG Records (Pilipinas) [BMG] to record and distribute the aforementioned musical compositions in a then
relief consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the acts complained recently released album of singer Lea Salonga.
of, or in the performance of an act or acts, either for a limited period or perpetually;
In separate letters both dated December 7, 1999, petitioner Bayanihan informed respondents Chan and
(b) That the commission or continuance of some act complained of during the BMG of its existing copyrights over the subject musical compositions and the alleged violation of such right
litigation or the non-performance thereof would probably work injustice to the by the two. Demands were made on both to settle the matter with Bayanihan. However no settlement was
plaintiff; or reached by the parties.

(c) That the defendant is doing, threatens, or is about to do, or is procuring or Hence, on August 8, 2000, Bayanihan filed with the Regional Trial Court at Quezon City a complaint against
suffering to be done, some act probably in violation of the plaintiff's rights respecting Chan and BMG for violation of Section 216 of Republic Act No. 8293, otherwise known as theIntellectual
the subject of the action, and tending to render the judgment ineffectual. Property Code of the Philippines, with a prayer for the issuance of Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
and/or writ of preliminary injunction, enjoining respondent BMG from further recording and distributing the
subject musical compositions in whatever form of musical products, and Chan from further granting any
We find that the instant petition does not satisfy any of the grounds abovementioned. authority to record and distribute the same musical compositions.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated October 23, 1995 In its answer, BMG contended, among others, that: (1) the acts of recording and publication sought to be
is hereby AFFIRMED. No cost. SO ORDERED. enjoined had already been consummated, thereby rendering moot Bayanihan's prayer for TRO and/or
preliminary injunction; and (2) there is no clear showing that petitioner Bayanihan would be greatly
damaged by the refusal of the prayed for TRO and/or preliminary injunction. BMG also pleaded a cross-
claim against its co-respondent Chan for violation of his warranty that his musical compositions are free
from claims of third persons, and a counterclaim for damages against petitioner Bayanihan.

Chan, for his part, filed his own answer to the complaint, thereunder alleging that: (1) it was never his
intention to divest himself of all his rights and interest over the musical compositions in question; (2) the
contracts he entered into with Bayanihan are mere music publication agreements giving Bayanihan, as
assignee, the power to administer his copyright over his two songs and to act as the exclusive publisher
thereof; (3) he was not cognizant of the application made by and the subsequent grant of copyrights to insists that as assignee of the copyrights over the musical compositions in question, it has a clear legal
Bayanihan; and (4) Bayanihan was remissed in its obligations under the contracts because it failed to right to a writ of preliminary injunction; that respondents BMG and Chan violated its copyrights over the
effectively advertise his musical compositions for almost twenty (20) years, hence, he caused same musical compositions; that despite knowledge by respondent BMG of petitioner's copyrights over the
the rescission of said contracts in 1997. Chan also included in his answer a counterclaim for damages said musical compositions, BMG continues to record and distribute the same, to petitioner's great and
against Bayanihan. irreparable injury.

After hearing the parties, the lower court came out with an order denying Bayanihan's prayer for TRO, We DENY.
saying, thus:
We have constantly reminded courts that there is no power, the exercise of which is more delicate and
After carefully considering the arguments and evaluating the evidence presented by counsels, this Court requires greater caution, deliberation and sound discretion, or which is more dangerous in a doubtful case,
finds that the plaintiff has not been able to show its entitlement to the relief of TRO as prayed for in its than the issuance of an injunction. A court should, as much as possible, avoid issuing the writ which would
verified complaint (see Section 4, Rule 58 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended), hence, this effectively dispose of the main case without trial.
Court is of the considered and humble view that the ends of justice shall be served better if the aforecited
application is denied.
Here, nothing is more evident than the trial court's abiding awareness of the extremely difficult balancing
act it had to perform in dealing with petitioner's prayer for injunctive reliefs. Conscious, as evidently it is, of
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the aforecited application or prayer for the issuance of a TRO is denied. the fact that there is manifest abuse of discretion in the issuance of an injunctive writ if the following
requisites provided for by law are not present: (1) there must be a right in esse or the existence of a right
to be protected; and (2) the act against which the injunction is to be directed is a violation of such
SO ORDERED. right,[5]cralaw the trial court threaded the correct path in denying petitioner's prayer therefor. For, such a
writ should only be granted if a party is clearly entitled thereto.[6]cralaw
Thereafter, the same court, in its subsequent Order dated August 24, 2001,[2]cralaw likewise denied
Bayanihan's prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction, to wit: Of course, while a clear showing of the right to an injunctive writ is necessary albeit its existence need not
be conclusively established,[7]cralaw as the evidence required therefor need not be conclusive or complete,
After carefully going over the pleadings and the pertinent portions of the records insofar as they are still, for an applicant, like petitioner Bayanihan, to be entitled to the writ, he is required to show that he has
pertinent to the issue under consideration, this Court finds that the plaintiff has not been able to show its the ostensible right to the final relief prayed for in its complaint.[8]cralaw Here, the trial court did not find
entitlement to the relief of preliminary injunction as prayed for in its verified complaint (see Section 4, Rule ample justifications for the issuance of the writ prayed for by petitioner.
58 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended), hence, this Court is of the considered and humble
view that the ends of justice shall be served better if the aforecited application is denied, (see also Order Unquestionably, respondent Chan, being undeniably the composer and author of the lyrics of the two (2)
dated July 16, 2001). songs, is protected by the mere fact alone that he is the creator thereof, conformably with Republic Act No.
8293, otherwise known as the Intellectual Property Code, Section 172.2 of which reads:
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the application or prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction
is denied. 172.2. Works are protected by the sole fact of their creation, irrespective of their mode or form of
expression, as well as of their content, quality and purpose.
SO ORDERED.
An examination of petitioner's verified complaint in light of the two (2) contracts sued upon and the evidence
Its motion for a reconsideration of the same order having been likewise denied by the trial court in its it adduced during the hearing on the application for preliminary injunction, yields not the existence of the
next Order of January 10, 2002,[3]cralaw petitioner Bayanihan then went to the Court of Appeals on a requisite right protectable by the provisional relief but rather a lingering doubt on whether there is or there
petition for certiorari, thereat docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 69626, imputing grave abuse of discretion on is no such right. The two contracts between petitioner and Chan relative to the musical compositions subject
the part of the trial court in issuing the Orders of August 24, 2001 and January 10, 2001, denying its prayers of the suit contain the following identical stipulations:
for a writ of preliminary injunction and motion for reconsideration, respectively.
7. It is also hereby agreed to by the parties herein that in the event the PUBLISHER [petitioner herein]
In the herein assailed Decision dated December 14, 2004, the Court of Appeals upheld the challenged fails to use in any manner whatsoever within two (2) years any of the compositions covered by this contract,
orders of the trial court and accordingly dismissed Bayanihan petition, thus: then such composition may be released in favor of the WRITER and excluded from this contract and the
PUBLISHER shall execute the necessary release in writing in favor of the WRITER upon request of the
WRITER;
WHEREFORE, finding neither flaw of jurisdiction nor taint of grave abuse of discretion in the issuance of
the assailed Orders of the respondent court dated August 24, 2001 and January 10, 2002, the instant
petition is DISMISSED. No costs. xxx xxx xxx

SO ORDERED.[4]cralaw 9. This contract may be renewed for a period of two-and-one-half (2 1/2) years at the option of the
PUBLISHER. Renewal may be made by the PUBLISHER by advising the WRITER of such renewal in
writing at least five (5) days before the expiration of this contract.[9]cralaw
Hence, Bayanihan's present recourse.
It would thus appear that the two (2) contracts expired on October 1, 1975 and March 11, 1978,
It is petitioner's submission that the appellate court committed reversible error when it dismissed its petition respectively, there being neither an allegation, much less proof, that petitioner Bayanihan ever made use
for certiorari and upheld the trial court's denial of its application for a writ of preliminary injunction. Petitioner of the compositions within the two-year period agreed upon by the parties.
Anent the copyrights obtained by petitioner on the basis of the selfsame two (2) contracts, suffice it to say ACCORDINGLY, the application of plaintiff Elidad C. Kho, doing business under the style of
'that such purported copyrights are not presumed to subsist in accordance with Section 218[a] and [b], of KEC Cosmetic Laboratory, for preliminary injunction, is hereby granted. Consequentially,
the Intellectual Property Code,[10]cralaw because respondent Chan had put in issue the existence plaintiff is required to file with the Court a bond executed to defendants in the amount of five
thereof. hundred thousand pesos (P500,000.00) to the effect that plaintiff will pay to defendants all
damages which defendants may sustain by reason of the injunction if the Court should finally
decide that plaintiff is not entitled thereto.
It is noted that Chan revoked and terminated said contracts, along with others, on July 30, 1997, or almost
two years before petitioner Bayanihan wrote its sort of complaint/demand letter dated December 7, 1999
regarding the recent "use/recording of the songs 'Can We Just Stop and Talk A While' and 'Afraid for Love SO ORDERED.3
to Fade,'" or almost three (3) years before petitioner filed its complaint on August 8, 2000, therein
praying, inter alia, for injunctive relief. By then, it would appear that petitioner had no more right that is
protectable by injunction. The respondents moved for reconsideration but their motion for reconsideration was denied by the trial
court in an Order dated March 19, 1992.4

Lastly, petitioner's insinuation that the trial court indulged in generalizations and was rather skimpy in
dishing out its reasons for denying its prayer for provisional injunctive relief, the same deserves scant On April 24, 1992, the respondents filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals, docketed as
consideration. For sure, the manner by which the trial court crafted its challenged orders is quite CA-G.R. SP No. 27803, praying for the nullification of the said writ of preliminary injunction issued by the
understandable, lest it be subjected to a plausible suspicion of having prejudged the merits of the main trial court. After the respondents filed their reply and almost a month after petitioner submitted her
case. comment, or on August 14 1992, the latter moved to dismiss the petition for violation of Supreme Court
Circular No. 28-91, a circular prohibiting forum shopping. According to the petitioner, the respondents did
not state the docket number of the civil case in the caption of their petition and, more significantly, they
WHEREFORE, petition is hereby DENIED. SO ORDERED. did not include therein a certificate of non-forum shopping. The respondents opposed the petition and
submitted to the appellate court a certificate of non-forum shopping for their petition.

LEVI STRAUSS vs. CLINTON (supra) On May 24, 1993, the appellate court rendered a Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 27803 ruling in favor of the
respondents, the dispositive portion of which reads:
G.R. No. 115758 March 19, 2002
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby given due course and the orders of respondent court
dated February 10, 1992 and March 19, 1992 granting the writ of preliminary injunction and
ELIDAD C. KHO, doing business under the name and style of KEC COSMETICS LABORATORY, denying petitioners' motion for reconsideration are hereby set aside and declared null and
petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS, SUMMERVILLE GENERAL MERCHANDISING and void. Respondent court is directed to forthwith proceed with the trial of Civil Case No. Q-91-
COMPANY, and ANG TIAM CHAY, respondents. 10926 and resolve the issue raised by the parties on the merits.

On December 20, 1991, petitioner Elidad C. Kho filed a complaint for injunction and damages with a SO ORDERED.5
prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction, docketed as Civil Case No. Q-91-10926, against
the respondents Summerville General Merchandising and Company (Summerville, for brevity) and Ang
Tiam Chay. In granting the petition, the appellate court ruled that:

The petitioner's complaint alleges that petitioner, doing business under the name and style of KEC The registration of the trademark or brandname "Chin Chun Su" by KEC with the supplemental
Cosmetics Laboratory, is the registered owner of the copyrights Chin Chun Su and Oval Facial Cream register of the Bureau of Patents, Trademarks and Technology Transfer cannot be equated
Container/Case, as shown by Certificates of Copyright Registration No. 0-1358 and No. 0-3678; that she with registration in the principal register, which is duly protected by the Trademark
also has patent rights on Chin Chun Su & Device and Chin Chun Su for medicated cream after Law.1wphi1.nt
purchasing the same from Quintin Cheng, the registered owner thereof in the Supplemental Register of
the Philippine Patent Office on February 7, 1980 under Registration Certificate No. 4529; that respondent
Summerville advertised and sold petitioner's cream products under the brand name Chin Chun Su, in xxx xxx xxx
similar containers that petitioner uses, thereby misleading the public, and resulting in the decline in the
petitioner's business sales and income; and, that the respondents should be enjoined from allegedly As ratiocinated in La Chemise Lacoste, S.S. vs. Fernandez, 129 SCRA 373, 393:
infringing on the copyrights and patents of the petitioner.

"Registration in the Supplemental Register, therefore, serves as notice that the


The respondents, on the other hand, alleged as their defense that Summerville is the exclusive and registrant is using or has appropriated the trademark. By the very fact that the
authorized importer, re-packer and distributor of Chin Chun Su products manufactured by Shun Yi trademark cannot as yet be on guard and there are certain defects, some obstacles
Factory of Taiwan; that the said Taiwanese manufacturing company authorized Summerville to register its which the use must still overcome before he can claim legal ownership of the mark
trade name Chin Chun Su Medicated Cream with the Philippine Patent Office and other appropriate or ask the courts to vindicate his claims of an exclusive right to the use of the same.
governmental agencies; that KEC Cosmetics Laboratory of the petitioner obtained the copyrights through It would be deceptive for a party with nothing more than a registration in the
misrepresentation and falsification; and, that the authority of Quintin Cheng, assignee of the patent Supplemental Register to posture before courts of justice as if the registration is in
registration certificate, to distribute and market Chin Chun Suproducts in the Philippines had already been the Principal Register.
terminated by the said Taiwanese Manufacturing Company.

The reliance of the private respondent on the last sentence of the Patent office
After due hearing on the application for preliminary injunction, the trial court granted the same in an Order action on application Serial No. 30954 that 'registrants is presumed to be the owner
dated February 10, 1992, the dispositive portion of which reads: of the mark until after the registration is declared cancelled' is, therefore, misplaced
and grounded on shaky foundation. The supposed presumption not only runs The petitioner faults the appellate court for not dismissing the petition on the ground of violation of
counter to the precept embodied in Rule 124 of the Revised Rules of Practice Supreme Court Circular No. 28-91. Also, the petitioner contends that the appellate court violated Section
before the Philippine Patent Office in Trademark Cases but considering all the facts 6, Rule 9 of the Revised Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals when it failed to rule on her motion for
ventilated before us in the four interrelated petitions involving the petitioner and the reconsideration within ninety (90) days from the time it is submitted for resolution. The appellate court
respondent, it is devoid of factual basis. As even in cases where presumption and ruled only after the lapse of three hundred fifty-four (354) days, or on June 3, 1994. In delaying the
precept may factually be reconciled, we have held that the presumption is resolution thereof, the appellate court denied the petitioner's right to seek the timely appellate relief.
rebuttable, not conclusive, (People v. Lim Hoa, G.R. No. L-10612, May 30, 1958, Finally, petitioner describes as arbitrary the denial of her motions for contempt of court against the
Unreported). One may be declared an unfair competitor even if his competing respondents.
trademark is registered (Parke, Davis & Co. v. Kiu Foo & Co., et al., 60 Phil 928; La
Yebana Co. v. chua Seco & Co., 14 Phil 534)."6
We rule in favor of the respondents.

The petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration. This she followed with several motions to declare
respondents in contempt of court for publishing advertisements notifying the public of the promulgation of Pursuant to Section 1, Rule 58 of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, one of the grounds for the
the assailed decision of the appellate court and stating that genuine Chin Chun Su products could be issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction is a proof that the applicant is entitled to the relief demanded,
obtained only from Summerville General Merchandising and Co. and the whole or part of such relief consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the act or
acts complained of, either for a limited period or perpetually. Thus, a preliminary injunction order may be
granted only when the application for the issuance of the same shows facts entitling the applicant to the
In the meantime, the trial court went on to hear petitioner's complaint for final injunction and damages. On relief demanded.10 This is the reason why we have ruled that it must be shown that the invasion of the
October 22, 1993, the trial court rendered a Decision7 barring the petitioner from using the trademark right sought to be protected is material and substantial, that the right of complainant is clear and
Chin Chun Su and upholding the right of the respondents to use the same, but recognizing the copyright unmistakable, and, that there is an urgent and paramount necessity for the writ to prevent serious
of the petitioner over the oval shaped container of her beauty cream. The trial court did not award damage.11
damages and costs to any of the parties but to their respective counsels were awarded Seventy-Five
Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00) each as attorney's fees. The petitioner duly appealed the said decision to
the Court of Appeals. In the case at bar, the petitioner applied for the issuance of a preliminary injunctive order on the ground
that she is entitled to the use of the trademark on Chin Chun Su and its container based on her copyright
and patent over the same. We first find it appropriate to rule on whether the copyright and patent over the
On June 3, 1994, the Court of Appeals promulgated a Resolution8 denying the petitioner's motions for name and container of a beauty cream product would entitle the registrant to the use and ownership over
reconsideration and for contempt of court in CA-G.R. SP No. 27803. the same to the exclusion of others.

Hence, this petition anchored on the following assignment of errors: Trademark, copyright and patents are different intellectual property rights that cannot be interchanged
with one another. A trademark is any visible sign capable of distinguishing the goods (trademark) or
services (service mark) of an enterprise and shall include a stamped or marked container of goods. 12 In
I relation thereto, a trade name means the name or designation identifying or distinguishing an
enterprise.13 Meanwhile, the scope of a copyright is confined to literary and artistic works which are
RESPONDENT HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF original intellectual creations in the literary and artistic domain protected from the moment of their
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN FAILING TO RULE ON creation.14 Patentable inventions, on the other hand, refer to any technical solution of a problem in any
PETITIONER'S MOTION TO DISMISS. field of human activity which is new, involves an inventive step and is industrially applicable. 15

II Petitioner has no right to support her claim for the exclusive use of the subject trade name and its
container. The name and container of a beauty cream product are proper subjects of a trademark
inasmuch as the same falls squarely within its definition. In order to be entitled to exclusively use the
RESPONDENT HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF same in the sale of the beauty cream product, the user must sufficiently prove that she registered or used
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN REFUSING TO PROMPTLY it before anybody else did. The petitioner's copyright and patent registration of the name and container
RESOLVE PETITIONER'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION. would not guarantee her the right to the exclusive use of the same for the reason that they are not
appropriate subjects of the said intellectual rights. Consequently, a preliminary injunction order cannot be
issued for the reason that the petitioner has not proven that she has a clear right over the said name and
III
container to the exclusion of others, not having proven that she has registered a trademark thereto or
used the same before anyone did.
IN DELAYING THE RESOLUTION OF PETITIONER'S MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION,
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS DENIED PETITIONER'S RIGHT TO SEEK
We cannot likewise overlook the decision of the trial court in the case for final injunction and damages.
TIMELY APPELLATE RELIEF AND VIOLATED PETITIONER'S RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS.
The dispositive portion of said decision held that the petitioner does not have trademark rights on the
name and container of the beauty cream product. The said decision on the merits of the trial court
IV rendered the issuance of the writ of a preliminary injunction moot and academic notwithstanding the fact
that the same has been appealed in the Court of Appeals. This is supported by our ruling in La Vista
Association, Inc. v. Court of Appeals16, to wit:
RESPONDENT HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN FAILING TO CITE THE
PRIVATE RESPONDENTS IN CONTEMPT.9 Considering that preliminary injunction is a provisional remedy which may be granted at any
time after the commencement of the action and before judgment when it is established that the
plaintiff is entitled to the relief demanded and only when his complaint shows facts entitling
such reliefs xxx and it appearing that the trial court had already granted the issuance of a final
injunction in favor of petitioner in its decision rendered after trial on the merits xxx the Court G.R. No. 162716 September 27, 2006
resolved to Dismiss the instant petition having been rendered moot and academic. An
injunction issued by the trial court after it has already made a clear pronouncement as to the
plaintiff's right thereto, that is, after the same issue has been decided on the merits, the trial Honorable Secretary EMILIA T. BONCODIN of the Department of Budget and Management
court having appreciated the evidence presented, is proper, notwithstanding the fact that the (DBM), petitioner, vs. NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION EMPLOYEES CONSOLIDATED UNION
decision rendered is not yet final xxx. Being an ancillary remedy, the proceedings for (NECU), respondent.
preliminary injunction cannot stand separately or proceed independently of the decision
rendered on the merit of the main case for injunction. The merit of the main case having been The Facts
already determined in favor of the applicant, the preliminary determination of its non-existence
ceases to have any force and effect. (italics supplied)
The CA summarized the undisputed facts as follows:

La Vista categorically pronounced that the issuance of a final injunction renders any question on the
preliminary injunctive order moot and academic despite the fact that the decision granting a final "On [October 8, 2001], the Board of Directors of NAPOCOR issued Board Resolution No.
injunction is pending appeal. Conversely, a decision denying the applicant-plaintiff's right to a final 2001-113 amending Board Resolution No. 99-35 which granted the Seniority in Position Pay.
injunction, although appealed, renders moot and academic any objection to the prior dissolution of a writ Board Resolution No. 99-35 granted a step increment to all qualified NAPOCOR officials and
of preliminary injunction. employees who have been in their position for ten (10) years effective calendar year 1999. On
the other hand, Board Resolution No. 2001-113 reduced the ten (10) year requirement to three
(3) years.
The petitioner argues that the appellate court erred in not dismissing the petition for certiorari for non-
compliance with the rule on forum shopping. We disagree. First, the petitioner improperly raised the
technical objection of non-compliance with Supreme Court Circular No. 28-91 by filing a motion to dismiss "On [November 12, 2001], then President of NAPOCOR, Jesus Alcordo, issued Circular No.
the petition for certiorari filed in the appellate court. This is prohibited by Section 6, Rule 66 of the Revised 2001-51 providing for the implementing rules and regulations of Board Resolution No. 2001-
Rules of Civil Procedure which provides that "(I)n petitions for certiorari before the Supreme Court and 113. On May 6, 2002, the NAPOCOR Officer-in-Charge, President and Chief Executive
the Court of Appeals, the provisions of Section 2, Rule 56, shall be observed. Before giving due course Officer, Roland Quilala, issued Circular No. 2002-22 providing for additional guidelines relative
thereto, the court may require the respondents to file their comment to,and not a motion to dismiss, the to the implementation of the step increment based on length of service in the position to
petition xxx (italics supplied)". Secondly, the issue was raised one month after petitioner had filed her qualified NAPOCOR officials and employees.
answer/comment and after private respondent had replied thereto. Under Section 1, Rule 16 of the
Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, a motion to dismiss shall be filed within the time for but before filing the
"On [November 26, 2001], petitioner furnished a letter addressed to Mr. Alcordo informing the
answer to the complaint or pleading asserting a claim. She therefore could no longer submit a motion to
latter that NAPOCOR's request for clearance to implement Joint CSC-DBM Circular No. 1, s.
dismiss nor raise defenses and objections not included in the answer/comment she had earlier tendered.
1990 which is the basis of Board Resolution No. 2001-113 cannot be given due course for lack
Thirdly, substantial justice and equity require this Court not to revive a dissolved writ of injunction in favor
of legal basis. In essence, petitioner holds that the grant of step increment based on length of
of a party without any legal right thereto merely on a technical infirmity. The granting of an injunctive writ
service is an additional benefit under a different name since NAPOCOR has already been
based on a technical ground rather than compliance with the requisites for the issuance of the same is
granting seniority pay based on the length of service as embodied in the Collective Negotiation
contrary to the primary objective of legal procedure which is to serve as a means to dispense justice to
Agreement (CNA). In addition, petitioner said that the grant of step increment is not applicable
the deserving party.
to the salary plan of NAPOCOR considering its higher salary rates [compared with that of the
existing government pay plan]. Lastly, petitioner told Mr. Alcordo of the budget implication of
The petitioner likewise contends that the appellate court unduly delayed the resolution of her motion for the grant of said proposal which she estimated to cost as high as Eighty Four Million Pesos
reconsideration. But we find that petitioner contributed to this delay when she filed successive contentious (P84,000,000.00).
motions in the same proceeding, the last of which was on October 27, 1993, necessitating counter-
manifestations from private respondents with the last one being filed on November 9, 1993. Nonetheless,
"Based on the petitioner's foregoing letter, the Corporate Auditor of NAPOCOR, Norberto
it is well-settled that non-observance of the period for deciding cases or their incidents does not render
Cabibihan, issued a Memorandum [dated June 5, 2002] to Roland Quilala, NAPOCOR Officer-
such judgments ineffective or void.17With respect to the purported damages she suffered due to the
in-Charge, enjoining him to suspend/stop payment of the step increment as embodied in NPC
alleged delay in resolving her motion for reconsideration, we find that the said issue has likewise been
Circular No. 2001-51 dated [November 12, 2001], [effective July 2002]. He also requested the
rendered moot and academic by our ruling that she has no right over the trademark and, consequently, to
suspension of the implementation of NPC Circular No. 2002-22 dated [May 6, 2002]. He
the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction.1wphi1.nt
warned that succeeding payments of the step increment shall be automatically disallowed.

Finally, we rule that the Court of Appeals correctly denied the petitioner's several motions for contempt of
"On [June 21, 2002], Mr. Quilala issued a Memorandum enjoining concerned officials to
court. There is nothing contemptuous about the advertisements complained of which, as regards the
suspend the processing of the succeeding step increment based on length of service resulting
proceedings in CA-G.R. SP No. 27803 merely announced in plain and straightforward language the
from the application of Sections 2.2 (c) and 2.2 (d) of Circular No. 2002-22.
promulgation of the assailed Decision of the appellate court. Moreover, pursuant to Section 4 of Rule 39
of the Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, the said decision nullifying the injunctive writ was immediately
executory. "On [July 24, 2002], the NAPOCOR Board of Directors issued Board Resolution No. 2002-81
revising the implementation of the Step Increment, the pertinent portion of which reads:
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated May
24, 1993 and June 3, 1994, respectively, are hereby AFFIRMED. With costs against the petitioner. SO 'NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, That the
ORDERED. recommendations of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), as
explained by the Honorable Secretary and Director of NP Board, Emilia T.
Boncodin, relative to the submitted Revised Implementation of the Step
Increment due to Length of Service in the position of the NPC employees, to
cover the following:
'1) Pure seniority benefits counted as one (1) step increment for every three (3) Adopting the RTC's ratiocinations that grave and irreparable damage would be inflicted on the employees
years of service in the present position, covering from years 1994 up to 2001 or two if the writ was not granted, the Court of Appeals said:
(2) steps increment only;
"It is the humble view of this Court that matters of compensation, being sacrosanct and held
'2) Rollback of basic monthly salary for NPC personnel who have been recipients of dearly as life itself, cannot easily be trifled with, trampled upon and recalled at whim. The grim
the step increase due to length of service in their present position in excess of the prospect of uncertainty facing the [respondents] owing to their inevitable separation from the
two steps increment granted in the above paragraph to qualified employees and service further compels this Court to act decisively and with dispatch while the main case is
officials, and Corrective Salary Adjustment (CSA) effective September 1, 2002; and being heard."7

'3) No payback by the NPC officials and employees who were granted salary The CA, however, refused to rule on the issue of whether there was legal basis for the step increments. It
differentials covering the period October 2001 up to August 2002. Approval of all believed that to do so would mean prejudging the main case pending before the trial court.
this and the above benefits will be sought from the Office of the President,
Malacaang, upon assurance by the Secretary of the Department of Budget and
Management (DBM) that a favorable endorsement in support thereof will be made, Hence, this Petition.8
x x x and are hereby approved; x x x'
Issues
"Believing that NPC Circular Nos. 2001-51 and 2002-22 are within the bounds of law and that
they have already acquired a vested right in it, [respondent National Power Corporation In her Memorandum, petitioner raises the following issues for our consideration:
Employees Consolidated Union (NECU) filed a Petition for Prohibition with Application for
TRO/Preliminary Injunction before the Regional Trial Court in Quezon City on [August 27,
2002]. "I. Whether Rule 16 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure authorized the Regional Trial Court to
acquire jurisdiction over matters pending with the COA by issuing a writ of preliminary
injunction, which amounts to an encroachment on the independence of the same constitutional
"On [August 30, 2002], public respondent [Judge Percival Mandap Lopez, of Branch 78, body.
Regional Trial Court of Quezon City] issued an Order granting private respondent's prayer for
the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and setting the hearing of the application for
the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction on [September 9, 2002]. However, it appears "II. Whether Section 16 of Republic Act No. (RA) 6758 (The Salary Standardization Law
that in lieu of oral arguments, the parties opted to file their respective position papers and enacted on August 21, 1989) amended RA No. 6375 (NAPOCOR Charter), which authorized
memoranda on the matter. the Board of Directors to fix the compensation, allowance and benefits of its employees.

"Hence, on [September 25, 2002], public respondent issued the first assailed Resolution "III. Whether Sections 14 and 15 of RA 6758 mandated the DBM to review and approve
granting private respondent's prayer for the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction. NAPOCOR Board Resolution No. 2001-113 and its implementing Circular No. 2001-51 before
Public respondent held that at that stage of the proceedings, respondents therein have not it may be legally implemented.
shown that Circular No. 2001-51 and Board Resolution No. 2001-113, which were
implemented effective [July 1, 2001], are in contravention of [any] law. He further held that a
"IV. Whether NAPOCOR has the power to issue Board Resolution No. 2002-81 amending its
'roll back' of the salaries of all the NAPOCOR employees, while the merits of the case is yet to
Resolution No. 2001-113 and Circular No. 2001-51 in order to correct its previous erroneous
be heard, would result to a grave and irreparable damage to them. Thus, public respondent
act of implementing the latter Resolution /Circular without the requisite review and approval by
granted [NECU's] prayer for the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction subject to its filing
the DBM.
of the Injunction Bond in the amount of Eighty Four Million Pesos (P84,000,000.00) which is
the budget implication of the step increment as manifested by petitioner.
"V. Whether Rule 58 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure authorized the issuance of a writ of
preliminary injunction even if the relief/protection applied for is the subject of controversy in the
"Both parties moved for the reconsideration of the Resolution. Petitioner prayed for the
main action.
reversal thereof while [respondent NECU] prayed for the deletion of the Injunction Bond. Public
respondent denied both motions in the second assailed Resolution dated [October 29, 2002]."5
"VI. Whether Section 1, Rule 36 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure required that an Order for
the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction should state clearly and distinctly the facts and
Through a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, petitioner sought relief from the CA.
the law on which it is based."9
She argued that the RTC had "failed to consider the principle of non-exhaustion of administrative
remedies and allowed the grant of seniority pay to NAPOCOR employees [without any legal basis]."6
Briefly, the issues brought for resolution by this Court are (1) the propriety of the Writ of Preliminary
Injunction; and (2) the legality of the step increments that were issued without the DBM's prior approval.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals

Considering that the second issue concerns the merits of the case pending before the trial court, the
The CA found no cogent reason to disturb the conclusions reached by the lower court. The appellate
Court will limit its discussion only to the first question.
court ruled that the doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies was not a hard and fast rule. It held
that the determination of whether the arguments raised by respondent fell within the exceptions to the rule
was within the sound discretion of the trial court. The Court's Ruling

The Petition is partly meritorious.


Sole Issue: Section 3, Rule 58 of the Revised Rules of Court, provides thus:

Propriety of the Preliminary Injunction "Sec. 3. Grounds for issuance of preliminary injunction. - A preliminary injunction may be
granted when it is established:
Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
'(a) That the applicant is entitled to the relief demanded, and the whole or part of
such relief consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the act or acts
Initially, petitioner assails the trial court's jurisdiction to issue the Writ of Preliminary Injunction. She complained of, or in requiring the performance of an act or acts, either for a limited
contends that the Petition for Prohibition filed by respondent is premature, because COA has yet to rule period or perpetually;
on whether or not to lift the suspension of the step increments granted in Napocor Board Resolution No.
2001-113 and Circular No. 2001-51. She adds that there is a need to follow the procedural requirements
and processes mandated in COA's 1997 Revised Rules (COA Rules) as a condition precedent for a '(b) That the commission, continuance or non-performance of the act or acts
resort to the courts by respondent. She says further that it is not exempt from the doctrine of exhaustion complained of during the litigation would probably work injustice to the applicant; or
of administrative remedies on the basis merely of its general assertions of irreparable injury.
'(c) That a party, court, agency or a person is doing, threatening, or is attempting to
We disagree. do, or is procuring or suffering to be done, some act or acts probably in violation of
the rights of the applicant respecting the subject of the action or proceeding, and
tending to render the judgment ineffectual.'"
It should be noted that shortly after Corporate Auditor Cabibihan issued the suspension Order dated June
5, 2002, the Napocor board passed Resolution No. 2002-81 on July 24, 2002, to rectify its Resolution No.
2001-113 and Circular No. 2001-51, which were issued earlier without authority from the DBM. This time, To be entitled to a writ of injunction, a party must establish the following requisites: (a) the right of the
Resolution No. 2002-81, which was confirmed on August 14, 2002, bore the DBM's approval. complainant isclear and unmistakable; (b) the invasion of the right sought to be protected is material and
substantial; and (c) there is an urgent and paramount necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage. 15
Under the new resolution, the step increments mentioned in the previous Resolution No. 2001-113 were
limited to a maximum of two steps, and the "roll back" of salaries of all the Napocor employees who The question of whether a writ of preliminary injunction should be issued is addressed to the sound
received more than the two-step increments was set to be implemented on September 1, 2002. With the discretion of the issuing court.16 The grant of the writ is conditioned on the existence of the movant's clear
circumstances then obtaining, it would have been impractical, if not illogical, for respondent to "exhaust" and positive right, which should be protected.17 It is an extraordinary peremptory remedy available only
administrative remedies before taking court action. on the grounds expressly provided by law, specifically Section 3 of Rule 58.

Besides, the COA Rules do not clearly and explicitly prescribe the procedure for addressing respondent's A clear legal right means one clearly founded in or granted by law or is "enforceable as a matter of law."18
Complaint against the implementation. Indeed, while Corporate Auditor Cabibihan has yet to rule on
whether or not to lift the suspension order, as petitioner contends, the fact remains that Board Resolution
No. 2002-81 has already modified the previous resolution, precisely to conform to COA Rules. Absent any clear and unquestioned legal right, the issuance of an injunctive writ would constitute grave
abuse of discretion.19 Injunction is not designed to protect contingent, abstract or future rights whose
existence is doubtful or disputed.20 It cannot be grounded on the possibility of irreparable damage without
Even assuming arguendo that the provision exists, the appeal mechanics under the COA Rules would not proof of an actual existing right.21Sans that proof, equity will not take cognizance of suits to establish title
constitute a speedy and adequate remedy. A remedy is considered plain, speedy and adequate if it will or lend its preventive aid by injunction.22
promptly relieve the petitioner from the injurious effects of the judgment or rule, order or resolution of the
lower court or agency.10
Relevantly, Olalia v. Hizon23 held as follows:

A petition for prohibition is a preventive remedy and, as a rule, does not lie to restrain an act that is
already fait accompli.11 The Petition for Prohibition instituted by respondent before the trial court assailed "It has been consistently held that there is no power the exercise of which is more delicate,
the validity not only of petitioner's May 8, 2002 Letter Memorandum and Corporate Auditor Cabibihan's which requires greater caution, deliberation and sound discretion, or more dangerous in a
Memorandum Circular (suspension order) but, more important, it assailed Napocor Board Resolution No. doubtful case, than the issuance of an injunction. It is the strong arm of equity that should
2002-81, which was to be implemented in September 2002. Given the impending "roll back" of the never be extended unless to cases of great injury, where courts of law cannot afford an
salaries of the affected employees, there was an urgent need for judicial intervention.12 adequate or commensurate remedy in damages.

Moreover, respondent's immediate resort to judicial action is justified because only legal issues are to be "Every court should remember that an injunction is a limitation upon the freedom of action of
resolved, which are the validity of the step increments and the authority of the DBM vis--vis the the defendant and should not be granted lightly or precipitately. It should be granted only when
questioned Napocor Circular and Resolution.13 the court is fully satisfied that the law permits it and the emergency demands it."24

All in all, the principle of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies is not an inflexible rule.14 It may be In the present case, respondent anchors its entitlement to the injunctive writ on its alleged legal right to
dispensed with in the present case, because its application would not constitute a plain, speedy and the step increments. It contends that under Republic Act No. 6395 (Revised Charter of the National
adequate remedy. The issues here are purely legal, and judicial intervention has been shown to be Power Corporation),25the Napocor board was empowered to fix the compensation and benefits of its
urgent. employees; and to grant step increments, based on Memorandum Order No. 198 issued by then
President Fidel Ramos and on Republic Act (RA) No. 7648 (otherwise known as the "Electric Power
Crisis Act of 1993").26
Injunctive Order
Not Properly Issued
On the other hand, petitioner contends that the pertinent provision of the Napocor Charter, 27 upon which the terms and conditions of employment through statutes or administrative circulars, rules, and
respondent bases its claimed authority from the board, has already been superseded or modified by regulations.37
Section 1628 of Republic Act No. 6758.29 This provision mandates the DBM's review and approval of
Napocor Board Resolution No. 2001-113 and Circular No. 2001-51 prior to their implementation. Hence,
because these issuances were implemented without the DBM's mandatory review and approval, they While government instrumentalities and agencies are trying their best to alleviate the financial difficulties
cannot be made the source of any right whatsoever. of their employees, they can do so only within the limits of budgetary appropriations. The exercise of
management prerogative by government corporations are limited by the provisions of the laws applicable
to them.38 Subject to state regulation in particular is a public utility like Napocor, its income, and the
In its Resolution dated September 25, 2002, the trial court noted that at that stage of the proceedings, amount of money available for its operating expenses including labor costs.
petitioner had not shown that Circular No. 2001-51 and Resolution No. 2001-113, which were already
being implemented by Napocor, were in contravention of any law. What the RTC perceived to be clear
was that a rollback of the salaries of all the Napocor employees, while the merits of the case were yet to Moreover, Article 100 of the Labor Code on "non-diminution of benefits" does not contemplate the
be heard, would result in grave and irreparable damage to them. Hence, the trial court concluded, its continuous grant of unauthorized or irregular compensation. The application of the principle presupposes
issuance of the injunctive writ was justified.30 that a company practice, policy and tradition favorable to the employees has been clearly established;
and that the payments made by the company pursuant to it have ripened into benefits enjoyed by them. 39

We disagree.
In Baybay Water District v. COA,40 a substantially similar contention was resolved in this wise:

From the foregoing conflicting claims of the parties, it is obvious that the right claimed by respondent as
its basis for asking for injunctive relief is far from clear. The validity of the circulars and board resolution "x x x. The erroneous application and enforcement of the law by public officers does not estop
has been put into serious question; more so, in the light of Napocor Board Resolution No. 2002-81, which the Government from making a subsequent correction of such errors. More specifically, where
was issued precisely to rectify the previously issued resolution and circular. While respondent's claimed there is an express provision of law prohibiting the grant of certain benefits, the law must be
right is not required to be conclusively established at this stage, it is nevertheless necessary to show -- at enforced even if it prejudices certain parties due to an error committed by public officials in
least tentatively -- that it exists and is not vitiated by any substantial challenge or contradiction as that granting the benefit. x x x Practice, without more, no matter how long continued, cannot give
raised by petitioner.31 In our view, respondent has failed to comply with this requirement. rise to any vested right if it is contrary to law."41

The enforcement of the suspension order and Resolution No. 2002-81 would effect the rollback of the An Injunctive Writ, a Virtual
salaries of Napocor employees receiving more than the two-step increments. True, their enforcement Disposition of the Main Case
would be prejudicial to respondent members' interest, but merely showing this fact is not sufficient. It must
also be established that the party applying for the writ has a clear legal right that must be protected. Thus, While the grant of a writ of preliminary injunction generally rests on the sound discretion of the court
a finding that the applicant for preliminary injunction may suffer damage not capable of pecuniary taking cognizance of the case, extreme caution must be observed in the exercise of that discretion.42 A
estimation does not suffice to support an injunction, when it appears that the right to be protected is court should, as much as possible, avoid issuing the writ, which would effectively dispose of the main
unclear or is seriously disputed.32 case without trial and/or due process.43

No Vested Right to the In the present case, it is evident that the only ground relied upon for injunctive relief is the alleged nullity
Suspended Step Increments of petitioner's May 8, 2002 Memorandum and Auditor Cabibihan's June 5, 2002 suspension order.
Respondent contends that petitioner and Cabibihan exceeded the limitations of their authority.
Respondent contends that its members have already acquired a vested right to the suspended step
increments, which they have been enjoying after the issuance of Circular No. 2001-51 in October 2001. It By issuing a writ premised on that sole justification, the trial court in effect sustained respondent's claim
alleges that the suspension or revision of the circular (by virtue of Board Resolution No. 2002-81 issued that petitioner and Auditor Cabibihan had exceeded their authority in ordering the suspension of the
on July 24, 2002, and confirmed on August 14, 2002) constitutes a salary diminution, which is clearly implementation of the step increments; and that the suspension was patently invalid or, at the very least,
prejudicial to them. that the memorandum and circular were of doubtful validity. Thus, the lower court prejudged the main
case and reversed the rule on the burden of proof, because it assumed to be true the very proposition
A vested right is one that is absolute, complete and unconditional; to its exercise, no obstacle exists; and that respondent-complainant in the RTC was duty-bound to prove in the first place.
it is immediate and perfect in itself and not dependent upon any contingency. 33 To be vested, a right must
have become a title -- legal or equitable -- to the present or future enjoyment of property.34 Furthermore, the RTC's action ran counter to the well-settled rule that acts of public officers are
presumed to be regular and valid, unless sufficiently shown to be otherwise. 44 A court may issue a writ or
As has been held, there is no vested right to salary increases.35 There must be a lawful decree or order preliminary injunction only when the respondent has made out a case of invalidity or irregularity. That
supporting an employee's claim. case must be strong enough to overcome, in the mind of the judge, the presumption of validity; and it
must show a clear legal right to the remedy sought.45

In the present case, because the validity of their implementation was fundamentally assailed, the step
increments enjoyed by the Napocor employees could not have ripened into vested rights. In brief, it is Petitioner has gone to great lengths in arguing her position on the merits of the prohibition case, but this
seriously contended that, because they were granted without the required DBM approval, no vested rights is neither the time nor the opportunity for that kind of debate. The validity of respondent's Complaint is a
to the step increments could have been acquired. matter that must be addressed initially by the trial court; that issue cannot be resolved at this time by this
Court.

The terms and conditions of employment of government employees are governed by law.36 It is the
legislature and -- when properly given delegated power -- the administrative heads of government that fix
In fine, we hold that respondent has not justified the issuance of the Writ of Preliminary Injunction by WHEREFORE, in view thereof, and finding the petition to be sufficient in form and substance, it being
proving its clear and positive legal right to the step increments. The Court of Appeals thus erred in supported by sufficient evidence, judgement (sic) is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff as against the
affirming the Resolutions of the trial court dated September 25, 2002 and October 29, 2002. respondents as follows:

WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED, and the assailed Decision and (a) The Memorandum of Agreement is hereby declared null and void for being contrary to law
Resolution REVERSED AND SET ASIDE.The Regional Trial Court of Quezon City is directed to proceed and public policy, particularly R.A. 6957 and R.A. 7718;
speedily with the trial on the merits of Civil Case No. Q-02-47615 and to decide it with all deliberate
dispatch. No costs. SO ORDERED.
(b) The respondents are hereby ordered to pay the amount of FIVE MILLION PESOS
(5,000,000.00) in favor of the plaintiff for damages caused to the latter;
G. R. No. 183367 March 14, 2012
(c) The structures found within the unfinished PADRE GARCIA SHOPPING CENTER are
AUSTRALIAN PROFESSIONAL REALTY, INC., JESUS GARCIA, and LYDIA hereby declared forfeited in favor of the Municipality of Padre Garcia.
MARCIANO, Petitioners, vs. MUNICIPALITY OF PADRE GARCIA BATANGAS
PROVINCE, Respondent.
SO ORDERED.3

In 1993, fire razed to the ground the old public market of respondent Municipality of Padre Garcia,
Batangas. The municipal government, through its then Municipal Mayor Eugenio Gutierrez, invited There having been no timely appeal made, respondent filed a Motion for Execution of Judgment, which
petitioner Australian Professional Realty, Inc. (APRI) to rebuild the public market and construct a was granted by the RTC. A Writ of Execution was thus issued on 15 July 2005.
shopping center.
After learning of the adverse judgment, petitioners filed a Petition for Relief from Judgment dated 18 July
On 19 January 1995, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)2 was executed between petitioner APRI and 2005. This Petition was denied by the RTC in an Order dated 15 June 2006. In another Order dated 14
respondent, represented by Mayor Gutierrez and the members of the Sangguniang Bayan. Under the February 2008, the trial court denied the Motion for Reconsideration.
MOA, APRI undertook to construct a shopping complex in the 5,000-square-meter area. In return, APRI
acquired the exclusive right to operate, manage, and lease stall spaces for a period of 25 years. Petitioners later filed before the CA a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition dated 28 February 2008,
docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 102540. On 7 March 2008, petitioners filed before the CA a Motion for the
In May 1995, Victor Reyes was elected as municipal mayor of respondent. On 6 February 2003, Issuance of Status Quo Order and Motion for Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of
respondent, through Mayor Reyes, initiated a Complaint for Declaration of Nullity of Memorandum of Preliminary Injunction.4 The motion prayed for an order to restrain the RTC from "further proceeding and
Agreement with Damages before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Rosario, Batangas, Fourth Judicial issuing any further Order, Resolution, Writ of Execution, and any other court processes"5 in the case
Region, Branch 87. The Complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. 03-004. before it.

On 12 February 2003, the RTC issued summons to petitioners, requiring them to file their Answer to the On 26 March 2008, the CA issued a Resolution denying the said motion, stating thus:
Complaint. However, the summons was returned unserved, as petitioners were no longer holding office in
the given address. After a careful evaluation of petitioners Motion for Issuance of Status Quo Order and Motion for Issuance
of Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction, We find that the matter is not of
On 2 April 2003, a Motion for Leave of Court to Effect Service by Publication was filed by respondent extreme urgency and that there is no clear and irreparable injury that would be suffered by the petitioners
before the RTC and subsequently granted by the trial court. if the prayer for the issuance of a Status Quo Order, Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and/or Writ of
Preliminary Injunction is not granted. In Ong Ching Kian Chuan v. Court of Appeals, it was held that, to be
entitled to injunctive relief, the petitioner must show, inter alia, the existence of a clear and unmistakable
On 24 November 2003, the RTC issued an Order declaring petitioners in default and allowing respondent right and an urgent and paramount necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage.
to present evidence ex parte.
WHEREFORE, petitioners prayer for the issuance of a Status Quo Order, Temporary Restraining Order
On 6 October 2004, a Decision was rendered by the RTC, which, after narrating the testimonial evidence and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction is hereby DENIED for lack of merit.6
for respondent, stated:
On 17 June 2008, the CA denied the Motion for Reconsideration of the 26 March 2008 Resolution, stating
After the completion of the testimony of Victor M. Reyes, counsel for the petitioner manifested that he will that the mere preservation of the status quo is not sufficient to justify the issuance of an injunction.
file the formal offer of evidence in writing.
On 8 July 2008, petitioners filed the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari dated 6 July 2008.
On July 19, 2004, counsel for the petitioner filed before this Court his Formal Offer of Documentary
Exhibits consisting of Exhibits "A" to "H", inclusive of submarkings.
Petitioners claim that the amount of APRIs investment in the Padre Garcia Shopping Center is estimated
at 30,000,000, the entirety of which the RTC declared forfeited to respondent without just compensation.
On August 18, 2004 an order was issued by the Court admitting all the exhibits formally offered by the At the time of the filing of the Petition, APRI had 47 existing tenants and lessees and was deriving an
petitioner thru counsel and this case was ordered submitted for resolution of the Court. average monthly rental income of 100,000. The Decision of the RTC was allegedly arrived at without
first obtaining jurisdiction over the persons of petitioners. The execution of the allegedly void judgment of
the RTC during the pendency of the Petition before the CA would probably work injustice to the applicant,
There is no opposition in the instant petition. as the execution would result in an arbitrary declaration of nullity of the MOA without due process of law.
Petitioners further allege that respondent did not exercise reasonable diligence in inquiring into the Essential to granting the injunctive relief is the existence of an urgent necessity for the writ in order to
formers address in the case before the RTC. The Process Server Return, with respect to the unserved prevent serious damage. A TRO issues only if the matter is of such extreme urgency that grave injustice
summons, did not indicate the impossibility of a service of summons within a reasonable time, the efforts and irreparable injury would arise unless it is issued immediately. 13 Under Section 5, Rule 58 of the Rule
exerted to locate APRI, or any inquiry as to the whereabouts of the said petitioner. of Court,14 a TRO may be issued only if it appears from the facts shown by affidavits or by the verified
application that great or irreparable injury would be inflicted on the applicant before the writ of preliminary
injunction could be heard.
On 6 August 2008, this Court required respondent to file its Comment. On 13 February 2009, the
Comment was filed, alleging among others that despite the RTCs issuance of a Writ of Execution,
respondent did not move to implement the said writ out of administrative comity and fair play. Even if the Thus, to be entitled to the injunctive writ, petitioners must show that (1) there exists a clear and
writ were implemented, petitioners failed to state in categorical terms the serious injury they would unmistakable right to be protected; (2) this right is directly threatened by an act sought to be enjoined; (3)
sustain. the invasion of the right is material and substantial; and (4) there is an urgent and paramount necessity
for the writ to prevent serious and irreparable damage.15
Respondent further argues that it is now in possession of the contracts that the lessees of the Padre
Garcia Shopping Center executed with APRI. Thus, there are "actions [that militate] against the The grant or denial of a writ of preliminary injunction in a pending case rests on the sound discretion of
preservation of the present state of things,"7 as sought to be achieved with the issuance of a status quo the court taking cognizance of the case, since the assessment and evaluation of evidence towards that
order. end involves findings of fact left to the said court for its conclusive determination. 16 Hence, the exercise of
judicial discretion by a court in injunctive matters must not be interfered with, except when there is grave
abuse of discretion.17
On 2 June 2009, petitioners filed their Reply to respondents Comment.

Grave abuse of discretion in the issuance of writs of preliminary injunction implies a capricious and
On 3 March 2010, this Court issued a Resolution requiring the parties to inform the Court of the present whimsical exercise of judgment equivalent to lack of jurisdiction; or the exercise of power in an arbitrary or
status of CA-G.R. SP No. 102540. On 15 April 2010, respondent manifested that after the parties filed despotic manner by reason of passion, prejudice or personal aversion amounting to an evasion of
their respective Memoranda, the CA considered the case submitted for decision. On 12 May 2010, positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of
petitioners filed their Compliance, stating that the appellate court, per its Resolution dated 7 August 2008, law.18 The burden is thus on petitioner to show in his application that there is meritorious ground for the
held in abeyance the resolution of CA-G.R. SP No. 102540, pending resolution of the instant Petition. issuance of a TRO in his favor.19

The Courts Ruling In this case, no grave abuse of discretion can be imputed to the CA. It did not exercise judgment in a
capricious and whimsical manner or exercise power in an arbitrary or despotic manner.
The Petition is denied for failure to show any grave abuse of discretion on the part of the CA.
No clear legal right
Procedural Issue: Propriety of a Petition for Review under Rule 45
A clear legal right means one clearly founded in or granted by law or is enforceable as a matter of
Before proceeding to the substantive issues raised, we note that petitioners resorted to an improper law.20 In the absence of a clear legal right, the issuance of the writ constitutes grave abuse of
remedy before this Court. They filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of discretion.21 The possibility of irreparable damage without proof of an actual existing right is not a ground
Court to question the denial of their Motion for the issuance of an injunctive relief. for injunction.22

Under Section 1 (c) of Rule 41 of the Rules of Court, no appeal may be taken from an interlocutory order. A perusal of the Motion for Injunction and its accompanying Affidavit filed before the CA shows that
An interlocutory order is one that does not dispose of the case completely but leaves something to be petitioners rely on their alleged right to the full and faithful execution of the MOA. However, while the
decided upon.8An order granting or denying an application for preliminary injunction is interlocutory in enforcement of the Writ of Execution, which would nullify the implementation of the MOA, is manifestly
nature and, hence, not appealable.9 Instead, the proper remedy is to file a Petition for Certiorari and/or prejudicial to petitioners interests, they have failed to establish in their Petition that they possess a clear
Prohibition under Rule 65.10 legal right that merits the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. Their rights under the MOA have
already been declared inferior or inexistent in relation to respondent in the RTC case, under a judgment
that has become final and executory.23 At the very least, their rights under the MOA are precisely
While the Court may dismiss a petition outright for being an improper remedy, it may in certain instances disputed by respondent. Hence, there can be no "clear and unmistakable" right in favor of petitioners to
proceed to review the substance of the petition.11 Thus, this Court will treat this Petition as if it were filed warrant the issuance of a writ of injunction. Where the complainants right or title is doubtful or disputed,
under Rule 65. injunction is not proper.24

Substantive Issue: Grave abuse of discretion on the part of the CA The general rule is that after a judgment has gained finality, it becomes the ministerial duty of the court to
order its execution. No court should interfere, by injunction or otherwise, to restrain such execution. 25 The
rule, however, admits of exceptions, such as the following: (1) when facts and circumstances later
The issue that must be resolved by this Court is whether the CA committed grave abuse of discretion in
transpire that would render execution inequitable or unjust; or (2) when there is a change in the situation
denying petitioners Motion for the Issuance of Status Quo Order and Motion for Issuance of Temporary
of the parties that may warrant an injunctive relief.26 In this case, after the finality of the RTC Decision,
Restraining Order and/or Writ of Preliminary Injunction (Motion for Injunction).
there were no supervening events or changes in the situation of the parties that would entail the injunction
of the Writ of Execution.
A writ of preliminary injunction and a TRO are injunctive reliefs and preservative remedies for the
protection of substantive rights and interests.12 An application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary
No irreparable injury
injunction and/or TRO may be granted upon the filing of a verified application showing facts entitling the
applicant to the relief demanded.
Damages are irreparable where there is no standard by which their amount can be measured with levy with the LBAA. It argued that the issuance of the notice and warrant is premature because an appeal
reasonable accuracy.27 In this case, petitioners have alleged that the loss of the public market entails has been filed with the LBAA, where it posted a surety bond in the amount of P1,286,057,899.54. 11
costs of about 30,000,000 in investments, 100,000 monthly revenue in rentals, and amounts as yet
unquantified but not unquantifiable in terms of the alleged loss of jobs of APRIs employees and
potential suits that may be filed by the leaseholders of the public market for breach of contract. Clearly, On October 3, 2007, Petron received a notice of sale of its properties scheduled on October 17,
the injuries alleged by petitioners are capable of pecuniary estimation. Any loss petitioners may suffer is 2007.12Consequently, on October 8, 2007, Petron withdrew its motion to lift the final notice of delinquent
easily subject to mathematical computation and, if proven, is fully compensable by damages. Thus, a real property tax and warrant of levy with the LBAA.13 On even date, Petron filed with the Regional Trial
preliminary injunction is not warranted.28 With respect to the allegations of loss of employment and Court of Bataan the instant case (docketed as Civil Case No. 8801) for prohibition with prayer for the
potential suits, these are speculative at best, with no proof adduced to substantiate them. issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction.14

The foregoing considered, the CA did not commit grave abuse of discretion in denying the Motion for On October 15, 2007, the trial court issued a TRO for 20 days enjoining petitioner from proceeding with
Injunction.1wphi1 In any case, petitioners may still seek recourse in their pending Petition before the the public auction of Petron's properties.15 Petitioner thereafter filed an urgent motion for the immediate
Court of Appeals. dissolution of the TRO, followed by a motion to dismiss Petron's petition for prohibition.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is DENIED. The Court of Appeals Resolutions dated 26 March 2008 and 16 On November 5, 2007, the trial court issued the assailed Order granting Petron's petition for issuance of
June 2008 in CA-G.R. SP No. 102540 are AFFIRMED. The Court of Appeals is directed to proceed with writ of preliminary injunction, subject to Petron's posting of a P444,967,503.52 bond in addition to its
dispatch to dispose of the case before it. SO ORDERED. previously posted surety bond of P1,286,057,899.54, to complete the total amount equivalent to the
revised assessment of P1,731,025,403.06. The trial court held that in scheduling the sale of the
properties despite the pendency of Petron's appeal and posting of the surety bond with the LBAA,
petitioner deprived Petron of the right to appeal. The dispositive portion thereof, reads:
THERE IS RIGHT IN ESSE
WHEREFORE, the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for by plaintiff is hereby GRANTED
and ISSUED, enjoining defendant Treasurer, her agents, representatives, or anybody acting in
G.R. No. 180884 June 27, 2008 her behalf from proceeding with the scheduled public auction of plaintiff's real properties, or
any disposition thereof, pending the determination of the merits of the main action, to be
effective upon posting by plaintiff to the Court of an injunction bond in the amount of Four
EMERLINDA S. TALENTO, in her capacity as the Provincial Treasurer of the Province of Hundred Forty Four Million Nine Hundred Sixty Seven Thousand Five Hundred Three and
Bataan, petitioner, vs. HON. REMIGIO M. ESCALADA, JR., Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court 52/100 Pesos (P444,967,503.52) and the approval thereof by the Court.
of Bataan, Branch 3, andPETRON CORPORATION, respondents.

Defendant's Urgent Motion for the Immediate Dissolution of the Temporary Restraining Order
On June 18, 2007, Petron received from the Provincial Assessor's Office of Bataan a notice of revised dated October 23, 2007 is hereby DENIED.
assessment over its machineries and pieces of equipment in Lamao, Limay, Bataan. Petron was given a
period of 60 days within which to file an appeal with the Local Board of Assessment Appeals
(LBAA).2 Based on said revised assessment, petitioner Provincial Treasurer of Bataan issued a notice SO ORDERED.16
informing Petron that as of June 30, 2007, its total liability is P1,731,025,403.06, 3 representing deficiency
real property tax due from 1994 up to the first and second quarters of 2007.
From the said Order of the trial court, petitioner went directly to this Court via the instant petition for
certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
On August 17, 2007, Petron filed a petition4 with the LBAA (docketed as LBAA Case No. 2007-01)
contesting the revised assessment on the grounds that the subject assessment pertained to properties
The question posed in this petition, i.e., whether the collection of taxes may be suspended by reason of
that have been previously declared; and that the assessment covered periods of more than 10 years
the filing of an appeal and posting of a surety bond, is undoubtedly a pure question of law. Section 2(c) of
which is not allowed under the Local Government Code (LGC). According to Petron, the possible valid
Rule 41 of the Rules of Court provides:
assessment pursuant to Section 222 of the LGC could only be for the years 1997 to 2006. Petron further
contended that the fair market value or replacement cost used by petitioner included items which should
be properly excluded; that prompt payment of discounts were not considered in determining the fair SEC. 2. Modes of Appeal. -
market value; and that the subject assessment should take effect a year after or on January 1, 2008. In
the same petition, Petron sought the approval of a surety bond in the amount of P1,286,057,899.54.5
(c) Appeal by certiorari. - In all cases when only questions of law are raised or involved, the
appeal shall be to the Supreme Court by petition for review on certiorari under Rule
On August 22, 2007, Petron received from petitioner a final notice of delinquent real property tax with a 45. (Emphasis supplied)
warning that the subject properties would be levied and auctioned should Petron fail to settle the revised
assessment due.6
Thus, petitioner resorted to the erroneous remedy when she filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65,
when the proper mode should have been a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. Moreover,
Consequently, Petron sent a letter7 to petitioner stating that in view of the pendency of its appeal8 with the under Section 2, Rule 45 of the same Rules, the period to file a petition for review is 15 days from notice
LBAA, any action by the Treasurer's Office on the subject properties would be premature. However, of the order appealed from. In the instant case, petitioner received the questioned order of the trial court
petitioner replied that only Petron's payment under protest shall bar the collection of the realty taxes on November 6, 2007, hence, she had only up to November 21, 2007 to file the petition. However, the
due,9 pursuant to Sections 231 and 252 of the LGC. same was filed only on January 4, 2008, or 43 days late. Consequently, petitioner's failure to file an
appeal within the reglementary period rendered the order of the trial court final and executory.
With the issuance of a Warrant of Levy10 against its machineries and pieces of equipment, Petron filed on
September 24, 2007, an urgent motion to lift the final notice of delinquent real property tax and warrant of
The perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period prescribed by law is mandatory. Failure The requisites for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction are: (1) the existence of a clear and
to conform to the rules regarding appeal will render the judgment final and executory and beyond the unmistakable right that must be protected; and (2) an urgent and paramount necessity for the writ to
power of the Court's review. Jurisprudence mandates that when a decision becomes final and executory, prevent serious damage.22
it becomes valid and binding upon the parties and their successors in interest. Such decision or order can
no longer be disturbed or reopened no matter how erroneous it may have been.17
The urgency and paramount necessity for the issuance of a writ of injunction becomes relevant in the
instant case considering that what is being enjoined is the sale by public auction of the properties of
Petitioner's resort to a petition under Rule 65 is obviously a play to make up for the loss of the right to file Petron amounting to at least P1.7 billion and which properties are vital to its business operations. If at all,
an appealvia a petition under Rule 45. However, a special civil action under Rule 65 can not cure the repercussions and far-reaching implications of the sale of these properties on the operations of Petron
petitioner's failure to timely file a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Rule merit the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction in its favor.
65 is an independent action that cannot be availed of as a substitute for the lost remedy of an ordinary
appeal, including that under Rule 45, especially if such loss or lapse was occasioned by one's own
neglect or error in the choice of remedies.18 We are not unaware of the doctrine that taxes are the lifeblood of the government, without which it can
not properly perform its functions; and that appeal shall not suspend the collection of realty taxes.
However, there is an exception to the foregoing rule, i.e., where the taxpayer has shown a clear and
Moreover, even if we assume that a petition under Rule 65 is the proper remedy, the petition is still unmistakable right to refuse or to hold in abeyance the payment of taxes. In the instant case, we note that
dismissible. respondent contested the revised assessment on the following grounds: that the subject assessment
pertained to properties that have been previously declared; that the assessment covered periods of more
than 10 years which is not allowed under the LGC; that the fair market value or replacement cost used by
We note that no motion for reconsideration of the November 5, 2007 order of the trial court was filed prior petitioner included items which should be properly excluded; that prompt payment of discounts were not
to the filing of the instant petition. The settled rule is that a motion for reconsideration is a sine qua considered in determining the fair market value; and that the subject assessment should take effect a
non condition for the filing of a petition for certiorari. The purpose is to grant the public respondent an year after or on January 1, 2008. To our mind, the resolution of these issues would have a direct bearing
opportunity to correct any actual or perceived error attributed to it by the re-examination of the legal and on the assessment made by petitioner. Hence, it is necessary that the issues must first be passed upon
factual circumstances of the case. Petitioner's failure to file a motion for reconsideration deprived the trial before the properties of respondent is sold in public auction.
court of the opportunity to rectify an error unwittingly committed or to vindicate itself of an act unfairly
imputed. Besides, a motion for reconsideration under the present circumstances is the plain, speedy and
adequate remedy to the adverse judgment of the trial court.19 In addition to the fact that the issues raised by the respondent would have a direct impact on the validity
of the assessment made by the petitioner, we also note that respondent has posted a surety bond
equivalent to the amount of the assessment due. The Rules of Procedure of the LBAA, particularly
Petitioner also blatantly disregarded the rule on hierarchy of courts. Although the Supreme Court, Section 7, Rule V thereof, provides:
Regional Trial Courts, and the Court of Appeals have concurrent jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari,
prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction, such concurrence does not give the
petitioner unrestricted freedom of choice of court forum. Recourse should have been made first with the Section 7. Effect of Appeal on Collection of Taxes. - An appeal shall not suspend the collection
Court of Appeals and not directly to this Court.20 of the corresponding realty taxes on the real property subject of the appeal as assessed by the
Provincial, City or Municipal Assessor, without prejudice to the subsequent adjustment
depending upon the outcome of the appeal. An appeal may be entertained but the hearing
True, litigation is not a game of technicalities. It is equally true, however, that every case must be thereof shall be deferred until the corresponding taxes due on the real property subject of the
presented in accordance with the prescribed procedure to ensure an orderly and speedy administration of appeal shall have been paid under protest or the petitioner shall have given a surety bond,
justice.21 The failure therefore of petitioner to comply with the settled procedural rules justifies the subject to the following conditions:
dismissal of the present petition.

(1) the amount of the bond must not be less than the total realty taxes and penalties due as
Finally, we find that the trial court correctly granted respondent's petition for issuance of a writ of assessed by the assessor nor more than double said amount;
preliminary injunction. Section 3, Rule 58, of the Rules of Court, provides:

(2) the bond must be accompanied by a certification from the Insurance Commissioner (a) that
SEC. 3. Grounds for issuance of preliminary injunction. - A preliminary injunction may be the surety is duly authorized to issue such bond; (a) that the surety bond is approved by and
granted by the court when it is established: registered with said Commission; and (c) that the amount covered by the surety bond is within
the writing capacity of the surety company; and
(a) That the applicant is entitled to the relief demanded, and the whole or part of such relief
consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the acts complained of, or in the (3) the amount of the bond in excess of the surety company's writing capacity, if any, must be
performance of an act or acts, either for a limited period or perpetually; covered by Reinsurance Binder, in which case, a certification to this effect must likewise
accompany the surety bond.
(b) That the commission, continuance or non-performance of the act or acts complained of
during the litigation would probably work injustice to the applicant; or Corollarily, Section 11 of Republic Act No. 9282,23 which amended Republic Act No. 1125 (The Law
Creating the Court of Tax Appeals) provides:
(c) That a party, court, or agency or a person is doing, threatening, or attempting to do, or is
procuring or suffering to be done, some act or acts probably in violation of the rights of the Section 11. Who may Appeal; Mode of Appeal; Effect of Appeal; -
applicant respecting the subject of the action or proceeding, and tending to render the
judgment ineffectual.
xxxx
No appeal taken to the Court of Appeals from the Collector of Internal Revenue x x x shall Alarmed by the sight of the towering steel towers, petitioners scoured the internet on the possible adverse
suspend the payment, levy, distraint, and/or sale of any property for the satisfaction of his tax effects that such a structure could cause to their health and well-being. Petitioners got hold of published
liability as provided by existing law. Provided, however, That when in the opinion of the articles and studies linking the incidence of a fecund of illnesses to exposure to electromagnetic fields.
Court the collection by the aforementioned government agencies may jeopardize the interest These illnesses range from cancer to leukemia.
of the Government and/or the taxpayer the Court at any stage of the processing may suspend
the collection and require the taxpayer either to deposit the amount claimed or to file a surety
bond for not more than double the amount with the Court. Petitioners left no stones unturned to address their malady. They aired this growing concern to the
NAPOCOR, which conducted a series of meetings with them.

WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the instant petition is DISMISSED. SO ORDERED.
NAPOCOR received flak from Representative Francis Joseph G. Escudero, who in his Privilege Speech
dated 10 May 1999, denounced the cavalier manner with which Napocor ignored safety and consultation
CSC vs CA (supra) requirements in the questioned project.

ACTUAL VIOLATION OF RIGHT Petitioners brought their woes to the attention of Rep. Arnulfo Fuentebella, Chairman of the House
Committee on Energy, wherein NAPOCOR was asked to shed light on the petitioners problem. In a letter
dated 8 November 1999, Napocor President Federico Puno stated that NAPOCOR was still in the
process of coming up with a "win-win" solution to the concerns of the Dasmarias Village and Forbes
G.R. No. 145328 March 23, 2006 Park residents.4

EDUARDO F. HERNANDEZ, MA. ENCARBACION R. LEGASPI, JAIME BLANCO, JR., ENRIQUE In a letter dated 10 August 1999 addressed to Congressman Arnulfo P. Fuentebella, NAPOCORs
BELO, CARLOS VIAPLANA, CARL FURER, VIVENCIO TINIO, MICHAEL BRIGGS, ROSA CARAM, President wrote:
FAUSTO PREYSLER, ROBERT KUA, GEORGE LEE, GUILLERMO LUCHANGCO, PETER DEE,
LUISA MARQUEZ, ANGELITA LILLES, JUAN CARLOS, HOMER GO, AMADEO VALENZUELA,
EMILIO CHING, ANTONIO CHAN, MURLI SABNANI, MARCOS ROCES, RAYMUNDO FELICIANO, We have discussed the matter with the Dasmarias and Forbes residents and we have come up with four
NORMA GAFFUD, ALF HOLST, LOURDES P. ROQUE, MANUEL DY, RAUL FERNANDEZ, VICTORIA (4) options on how to address the problem, to wit:
TENGCO, CHI MO CHENG, BARANGAY DASMARIAS, and HON. FRANCISCO B.
IBAY, petitioners vs. NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION, respondent Option Cost

Although Presidential Decree No. 1818 prohibits any court from issuing injunctions in cases involving Option 1: Transfer the line to Lawton Avenue P 111.84 million
infrastructure projects, the prohibition extends only to the issuance of injunctions or restraining orders (proposal of Dasmarias/Forbes)
against administrative acts in controversies involving facts or the exercise of discretion in technical cases.
On issues clearly outside this dimension and involving questions of law, this Court declared that courts
could not be prevented from exercising their power to restrain or prohibit administrative acts. 1 In such Option 2: Maintain 12 meters distance along P 77.60 million the village
cases, let the hammer fall and let it fall hard.
Option 3: Construct an underground line P 482.00 million
With health risks linked to exposure to electromagnetic radiation as their battle cry, petitioners, all
residents of Dasmarias Village, are clamoring for the reversal of the decision2 dated 3 May 2000 of the Option 4: Reroute along C-5 and South Luzon P 1,018.83 million
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 57849 as well as the resolution dated 27 September 2000, denying
their motion for reconsideration.
Expressway (combination of overhead and underground)5
3
The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals reversed the order of the Regional Trial Court of Makati,
issuing a writ of preliminary injunction against respondent National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) to Negotiations between petitioners and the NAPOCOR reached an impass, with petitioners vying for the
stay the latter from energizing and transmitting high voltage electric current through its cables erected relocation of the transmission lines to Fort Bonifacio on one hand, and the NAPOCOR insisting on a 12-
from Sucat, Paraaque to Araneta Ave., Quezon City. meter easement widening, on the other.6

But, first, the facts: Thus, petitioners, on 9 March 2000 filed a Complaint7 for Damages with Prayer for the Issuance of a
Temporary Restraining Order and/or a Writ of Preliminary Injunction against NAPOCOR. Harping on the
hazardous effects of exposure to electromagnetic radiation to the health and safety to themselves and
Sometime in 1996, NAPOCOR began the construction of 29 decagon-shaped steel poles or towers with a their families, petitioners, through the instant case, sought what they had failed to achieve through
height of 53.4 meters to support overhead high tension cables in connection with its 230 Kilovolt Sucat- amicable means with NAPOCOR and prayed, inter alia, for damages and the relocation of the
Araneta-Balintawak Power Transmission Project. Said transmission line passes through the Sergio transmission lines to Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio.
Osmea, Sr. Highway (South Superhighway), the perimeter of Fort Bonifacio, and Dasmarias Village
proximate to Tamarind Road, where petitioners homes are.
On 13 March 2000, Judge Francisco B. Ibay issued an order8 in Civil Case No. 00-352, which temporarily
restrained the respondent from energizing and transmitting high voltage electric current through the said
Said project later proved to be petitioners bane of existence. project. The pertinent portion of the said order reads:
Acting on the plaintiffs "Urgent Omnibus Motion," it appearing that the subject area will be energized by As their motion for reconsideration was met with similar lack of success, petitioners, in a last attempt at
midnight tonight based on a report taken from Representative Joker P. Arroyo by plaintiffs counsel, so as vindication, filed the present petition for review on the following arguments:
not to render moot and academic the instant case, as prayed for, defendant National Power Corporation
is ordered to maintain the status quo and/or be enjoined from energizing and transmitting high voltage
electric current through its cables for forty eight (48) hours starting 4 oclock in the afternoon today and I.
ending 4 oclock in the afternoon of 15 March 2000.9
Temporary restraining orders and preliminary injunctions were purposely designed to address matters of
By order10 of 15 March 2000, the trial court extended the restraining order for 18 more days. extreme urgency where there is probability of grave injustice and irreparable injury.14

NAPOCOR filed a Petition for Certiorari with Prayer for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary II.
Injunction with the Court of Appeals assailing the above order by the trial court. Alluding to Presidential
Decree No. 1818 (1981),"Prohibiting Courts from Issuing Restraining Orders or Preliminary Injunctions in The rule on preliminary injunction merely requires that unless restrained, the act complained of will
Cases Involving Infrastructure and Natural Resource Development Projects of, and Public Utilities probably work injustice to the applicant or probably violate his rights and tends to render the judgment
Operated by, the Government," particularly Sec. 1, NAPOCOR stalwartly sought the dismissal of the case ineffectual.15 (Emphasis in the original.)
on the ground of lack jurisdiction. Presidential Decree No. 1818 provides:

Fundamental to the resolution of the instant petition is the issue of whether or not the trial court may issue
Section 1. No Court in the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order, preliminary a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to enjoin the construction and operation of the 29
injunction or preliminary mandatory injunction in any case, dispute, or controversy involving an decagon-shaped steel poles or towers by the NAPOCOR, notwithstanding Presidential Decree No. 1818.
infrastructure project, or a mining, fishery, forest or other natural resource development project of the
government, or any public utility operated by the government, including among other public utilities for
transport of the goods or commodities, stevedoring and arrastre contracts, to prohibit any person or Petitioners clutch on their stand that Presidential Decree No. 1818 could not be construed to apply to
persons, entity or government official from proceeding with or continuing the execution or implementation cases of extreme urgency as in the present case when no less than the rights of the petitioners to health
of any such project, or the operation of such public utility or pursuing any lawful activity necessary for and safety hangs on the balance.
such execution, implementation or operation.
We find the petition to be imbued with merit.
In the interregnum, by order dated 3 April 2000, the trial court ordered the issuance of a writ of preliminary
injunction against NAPOCOR.11 The trial court articulated that an injunction was necessary to stay
Presidential Decree No. 1818 was issued on 16 January 1981, prohibiting judges from issuing restraining
respondent NAPOCORs activation of its power lines due to the possible health risks posed to the
orders against government infrastructure projects. In part, the decree says, "No court in the Philippines
petitioners. Asserting its jurisdiction over the case, the trial court was of the view that Presidential Decree
shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order, preliminary injunction or preliminary order,
No. 1818 and jurisprudence proscribing injunctions against infrastructure projects do not find application
preliminary mandatory injunction in any case, dispute or controversy involving an infrastructure project."
in the case at bar because of the health risks involved.
Realizing the importance of this decree, this Tribunal had issued different circulars to implement this
particular law.
The trial court, thus, enjoined the NAPOCOR from further preparing and installing high voltage cables to
the steel pylons erected near petitioners homes and from energizing and transmitting high voltage
Presidential Decree No. 181816 prohibits courts from issuing injunctions against government infrastructure
electric current through said cables while the case is pending final adjudication, upon posting of the bond
projects. In Garcia v. Burgos,17 Presidential Decree No. 1818 was held to prohibit courts from issuing an
amounting to P5,000,000.00 executed to the effect that petitioners will pay all the damages the
injunction against any infrastructure project in order not to disrupt or hamper the pursuit of essential
NAPOCOR may sustain by reason of the injunction if the Court should finally decide that the petitioners
government projects or frustrate the economic development effort of the nation.
are not entitled thereto.12

While its sole provision would appear to encompass all cases involving the implementation of projects
In light of the foregoing order of the trial court, the petition which NAPOCOR filed with the Court of
and contracts on infrastructure, natural resource development and public utilities, this rule, however, is
Appeals was later amended to include the prayer for the nullification and injunction of the Order dated 3
not absolute as there are actually instances when Presidential Decree No. 1818 should not find
April 2000 of the trial court.
application. In a spate of cases, this Court declared that although Presidential Decree No. 1818 prohibits
any court from issuing injunctions in cases involving infrastructure projects, the prohibition extends only to
In the challenged decision of 3 May 2000, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial courts order, with the the issuance of injunctions or restraining orders against administrative acts in controversies involving
following fallo: facts or the exercise of discretion in technical cases. On issues clearly outside this dimension and
involving questions of law, this Court declared that courts could not be prevented from exercising their
power to restrain or prohibit administrative acts.18
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition for certiorari is hereby GRANTED. The assailed
orders of the respondent court, dated March 13, 2000 and April 3, 2000, are hereby REVERSED and
SET ASIDE.13 In the case at bar, petitioners sought the issuance of a preliminary injunction on the ground that the
NAPOCOR Project impinged on their right to health as enshrined in Article II, Section 15 of the 1987
Constitution, which provides:
In the Court of Appeals rationale, the proscription on injunctions against infrastructure projects of the
government is clearly mandated by the above-quoted Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1818, as
reiterated by the Supreme Court in its Circulars No. 2-91 and No. 13-93, dated 15 March 1991 and 5 Sec. 15. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill consciousness
March 1993, respectively. among them.
To boot, petitioners, moreover, harp on respondents failure to conduct prior consultation with them, as that NAPOCOR made representations to petitioners that they are looking into the possibility of relocating
the community affected by the project, in stark violation of Section 27 of the Local Government Code the project, added to the fact that there had been series of negotiations and meetings between petitioners
which provides: "no project or program shall be implemented by government authorities unless the and NAPOCOR as well as related agencies, there is ample indicia to suggest to the mind of the court that
consultations mentioned are complied with, and prior approval of the Sanggunian concerned is the health concerns of the petitioners are, at the very least, far from imaginary.
observed."
Indeed, if there is no cause for concern, NAPOCOR would not have been stirred to come up with options
From the foregoing, whether there is a violation of petitioners constitutionally protected right to health and to address the woes of petitioners, nor would Congressman Escudero have fired away those strong
whether respondent NAPOCOR had indeed violated the Local Government Code provision on prior words of censure, assailing what to Congressman Escudero smacks of a "cavalier manner by which the
consultation with the affected communities are veritable questions of law that invested the trial court with NAPOCOR has responded to earnest pleas for a review of its practice of installing massive pylons
jurisdiction to issue a TRO and subsequently, a preliminary injunction. As such, these questions of law supporting high tension cables in densely populated areas."19
divest the case from the protective mantle of Presidential Decree No. 1818.
True, the issue of whether or not the transmission lines are safe is essentially evidentiary in nature, and
Moreover, the issuance by the trial court of a preliminary injunction finds legal support in Section 3 of Rule pertains to the very merits of the action below. In fact, petitioners recognize that the conclusiveness of
58 of the Rules of Court which provides: their life, health and safety concerns still needs to be proved in the main case below and they are
prepared to do so especially in the light of some studies cited by respondent that yield contrary results in
a disputed subject. Despite the parties conflicting results of studies made on the issue, the possibility that
Sec. 3. Grounds for issuance of preliminary injunction. - A preliminary injunction may be granted when it the exposure to electromagnetic radiation causes cancer and other disorders is still, indeed, within the
is established: realm of scientific scale of probability.

(a) That the applicant is entitled to the relief demanded, and the whole or part of such relief Equally important, we take judicial notice that the area alluded to as location of the NAPOCOR project is
consists in restraining the commission or continuance of the act or acts complained of, or in a fragile zone being proximate to local earthquake faults, particularly the Marikina fault, among other
requiring the performance of an act or acts, either for a limited period or perpetually; zones. This is not to mention the risks of falling structures caused by killer tornadoes and super typhoons,
the Philippines, especially Central Luzon, being situated along the typhoon belt.
(b) That the commission, continuance or non-performance of the act or acts complained of
during the litigation would probably work injustice to the applicant; or Moreover, the Local Government Code, requires conference with the affected communities of a
government project. NAPOCOR, palpably, made a shortcut to this requirement. In fact, there appears a
(c) That a party, court, agency or a person is doing, threatening, or is attempting to do, or is lack of exhaustive feasibility studies on NAPOCORs part before making a go with the project on hand;
procuring or suffering to be done, some act or acts probably in violation of the rights of the otherwise, it should have anticipated the legal labyrinth it is now caught in.
applicant respecting the subject of the action or proceeding, and tending to render the
judgment ineffectual. (3a) (Emphasis supplied.) These are facts, which the trial court could not ignore, and form as sufficient basis to engender the cloud
of doubt that the NAPOCOR project could, indeed, endanger the lives of the petitioners. A preliminary
The rule on preliminary injunction merely requires that unless restrained, the act complained of will injunction is likewise justified prior to a final determination of the issues of whether or not NAPOCOR
probably violate his rights and tend to render the judgment ineffectual. ignored safety and consultation requirements in the questioned project. Indeed, the court could,
nay should, grant the writ of preliminary injunction if the purpose of the other party is to shield a
wrongdoing. A ruling to the contrary would amount to an erosion of judicial discretion.
Here, there is adequate evidence on record to justify the conclusion that the project of NAPOCOR
probably imperils the health and safety of the petitioners so as to justify the issuance by the trial court of a
writ of preliminary injunction. After all, for a writ of preliminary injunction to be issued, the Rules do not require that the act complained
of be in violation of the rights of the applicant. Indeed, what the Rules require is that the act complained of
be probably in violation of the rights of the applicant. Under the Rules of Court, probability is enough
Petitioners adduced in evidence copies of studies linking the incidence of illnesses such as cancer and basis for injunction to issue as a provisional remedy, which is different from injunction as a main action
leukemia to exposure to electromagnetic fields. The records bear out, to boot, a copy of a brochure of where one needs to establish absolute certainty as basis for a final and permanent injunction.
NAPOCOR regarding its Quezon Power Project from which will be supplying NAPOCOR with the power
which will pass through the towers subject of the controversy. The NAPOCOR brochure provides that
because of the danger concomitant with high voltage power, Philippine laws mandate that the power lines Pending the final determination of the trial court on the main case for damages, of whether or not the
should be located within safe distances from residences. And the Quezon Power Project mandates an NAPOCOR Project infringes on petitioners substantive right to health and pending determination of the
easement of 20 meters to the right and 20 meters to the left which falls short of the 12-meter easement question of whether there was non-observance of the prior-consultation proviso under the Local
that NAPOCOR was proposing to petitioners. Government Code, it is prudent to preserve the status quo. In Phil. Ports Authority v. Cipres Stevedoring
& Arrastre, Inc.,20 we held:

Likewise on record, are copies of letters of Napocor President Federico Puno to Rep. Arnulfo
Fuentebella, Chairman of the House Committee on Energy, stating updates on the negotiations being A preliminary injunction is an order granted at any stage of an action prior to judgment of final order,
undertaken by the NAPOCOR and the Dasmarias Village and Forbes Park residents. Also on file is the requiring a party, court, agency, or person to refrain from a particular act or acts. It is a preservative
Privilege Speech dated 10 May 1999 of Representative Francis Joseph G. Escudero, who denounced the remedy to ensure the protection of a partys substantive rights or interests pending the final judgment in
cavalier manner with which Napocor ignored safety and consultation requirements in the questioned the principal action. A plea for an injunctive writ lies upon the existence of a claimed emergency or
project. extraordinary situation which should be avoided for otherwise, the outcome of a litigation would be
useless as far as the party applying for the writ is concerned.

With a member of Congress denouncing the subject project of NAPOCOR because of the very same
health and safety ills that petitioners now hew to in this petition, and with documents on record to show At times referred to as the "Strong Arm of Equity," we have consistently ruled that there is no power the
exercise of which is more delicate and which calls for greater circumspection than the issuance of an
injunction. It should only be extended in cases of great injury where courts of law cannot afford an INEFFECTUAL JUDGMENT
adequate or commensurate remedy in damages; "in cases of extreme urgency; where the right is very
clear; where considerations of relative inconvenience bear strongly in complainants favor; where there is
a willful and unlawful invasion of plaintiffs right against his protest and remonstrance, the injury being a
continuing one, and where the effect of the mandatory injunction is rather to reestablish and maintain a G.R. No. 119280 August 10, 2006
preexisting continuing relation between the parties, recently and arbitrarily interrupted by the defendant,
than to establish a new relation." (Emphasis supplied.) UNILEVER PHILIPPINES (PRC), INC., Petitioner,vs. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and
PROCTER AND GAMBLE PHILIPPINES, INC., Respondents.
What is more, contrary to respondents assertion, there is not a single syllable in the circulars issued by
this Court enjoining the observance of Presidential Decree No. 1818, which altogether and absolutely, In this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, petitioner assails the February 24, 1995
ties the hands of the courts from issuing a writ of preliminary injunction. What Circular 2-9121 dated 15 decision 1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 35242 entitled "Unilever Philippines (PRC),
March 1991 seeks to enjoin is the indiscriminate issuance of court injunctions. The same holds for Inc. v. Honorable Fernando V. Gorospe, Jr. and Procter and Gamble Philippines, Inc. (P&GP)" which
Circular 13-9322 dated 5 March 1993 and Circular 68-94.23 And, in Circular No. 7-99, judges are enjoined affirmed the issuance by the court a quo of a writ of preliminary injunction against it. The writ enjoined
to observe utmost caution, prudence and judiciousness in the issuance of temporary restraining order and petitioner from using and airing, until further orders of the court, certain television commercials for its
in the grant of writs of preliminary injunction to avoid any suspicion that its issuance or grant was for laundry products claimed to be identical or similar to its "double tug" or "tac-tac" key visual. 2
consideration other than the strict merits of the case.24

Petitioner alleges that the writ of preliminary injunction was issued by the trial court (and affirmed by the
There is not a hint from the foregoing circulars suggesting an unbridled prohibition against the issuance CA) without any evidence of private respondents clear and unmistakable right to the writ. Petitioner
of temporary restraining orders or preliminary injunctions. further contends that the preliminary injunction issued against it already disposed of the main case
without trial, thus denying petitioner of any opportunity to present evidence on its behalf.
In sum, what Presidential Decree No. 1818 aims to avert is the untimely frustration of government
infrastructure projects, particularly by provisional remedies, to the detriment of the greater good by The antecedents show that on August 24, 1994, private respondent Procter and Gamble Phils., Inc. filed
disrupting the pursuit of essential government projects or frustrate the economic development effort of the a complaint for injunction with damages and a prayer for temporary restraining order and/or writ of
nation. Presidential Decree No. 1818, however, was not meant to be a blanket prohibition so as to preliminary injunction against petitioner Unilever, alleging that:
disregard the fundamental right to health, safety and well-being of a community guaranteed by the
fundamental law of the land.25
1.5. As early as 1982, a P&G subsidiary in Italy used a key visual in the advertisement of its laundry
detergent and bleaching products. This key visual known as the "double-tug" or "tac-tac" demonstration
Lest we be misconstrued, this decision does not undermine the purpose of the NAPOCOR project which shows the fabric being held by both hands and stretched sideways.
is aimed towards the common good of the people. But, is the promotion of the general welfare at
loggerheads with the preservation of the rule of law? We submit that it is not.26
1.6. The "tac-tac" was conceptualized for P&G by the advertising agency Milano and Gray of Italy in
1982. The "tac-tac" was used in the same year in an advertisement entitled "All aperto" to demonstrate
In the present case, the far-reaching irreversible effects to human safety should be the primordial the effect on fabrics of one of P&GPs products, a liquid bleach called "Ace."
concerns over presumed economic benefits per se as alleged by the NAPOCOR.

xxxxxxxxx
Not too long ago, the Court, in Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) v. Bel-Air Village
Association, Inc.,27 upheld the validity of the writ of preliminary injunction issued by the Court of Appeals
enjoining the implementation of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authoritys proposed action of 1.7. Since then, P&G has used the "tac-tac" key visual in the advertisement of its products. In fact, in
opening of the Neptune Street to public vehicular traffic. We were categorical - 1986, in Italy, the "tac-tac" key visual was used in the television commercial for "Ace" entitled "Kite."

Not infrequently, the government is tempted to take legal shortcuts to solve urgent problems of the 1.8. P&G has used the same distinctive "tac-tac" key visual to local consumers in the Philippines.
people. But even when government is armed with the best of intention, we cannot allow it to run
roughshod over the rule of law. Again, we let the hammer fall and fall hard on the illegal attempt of the
xxxxxxxxx
MMDA to open for public use a private road in a private subdivision. While we hold that the general
welfare should be promoted, we stress that it should not be achieved at the expense of the rule of law. 28
1.10. Substantially and materially imitating the aforesaid "tac-tac" key visual of P&GP and in blatant
In hindsight, if, after trial, it turns out that the health-related fears that petitioners cleave on to have disregard of P&GPs intellectual property rights, Unilever on 24 July 1993 started airing a 60 second
adequate confirmation in fact and in law, the questioned project of NAPOCOR then suffers from a paucity television commercial "TVC" of its "Breeze Powerwhite" laundry product called "Porky." The said TVC
of purpose, no matter how noble the purpose may be. For what use will modernization serve if it proves to included a stretching visual presentation and sound effects almost [identical] or substantially similar to
P&GPs "tac-tac" key visual.
be a scourge on an individuals fundamental right, not just to health and safety, but, ostensibly, to life
preservation itself, in all of its desired quality?
xxxxxxxxx
WHEREFORE, the petition is granted. The decision dated 3 May 2000 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
SP No. 57849 is REVERSED as well as the resolution dated 27 September 2000. The Order dated 3 1.14. On July 15, 1994, P&GP aired in the Philippines, the same "Kite" television advertisement it used in
April 2000 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati in Civil Case No. 00-352 is hereby REINSTATED. No Italy in 1986, merely dubbing the Italian language with Filipino for the same produce "Ace" bleaching
pronouncement as to costs SO ORDERED. liquid which P&GPnow markets in the Philippines.
1.15. On August 1, 1994, Unilever filed a Complaint with the Advertising Board of the Philippines to formality or registration. Therefore, taking the material allegations of paragraphs 1.3 to 1.5 of P&GPs
prevent P&GP from airing the "Kite" television advertisement. 3 verified Complaint in the context of PD 49, it cannot be seriously doubted that at least, for purposes of
determining whether preliminary injunction should issue during the pendency of the case, P&GP is
entitled to the injunctive relief prayed for in its Complaint.
On August 26, 1994, Judge Gorospe issued an order granting a temporary restraining order and setting it
for hearing on September 2, 1994 for Unilever to show cause why the writ of preliminary injunction should
not issue. During the hearing on September 2, 1994, P&GP received Unilevers answer with opposition to The second ground is likewise not well-taken. As adverted to earlier, the provisional remedy of
preliminary injunction. P&GP filed its reply to Unilevers opposition to a preliminary injunction on preliminary injunction will not issue unless it is shown in the verified complaint that plaintiff is probably
September 6, 1994. entitled to the relief demanded, which consists in whole or in part in restraining the commission or
continuance of the acts complained of. In view of such requirement, the court has to make a tentative
determination if the right sought to be protected exists and whether the act against which the writ is to be
During the hearing on September 9, 1994, Judge Gorospe ordered petitioner to submit a sur-rejoinder. directed is violative of such right. Certainly, the courts determination as to the propriety of issuing the writ
P&GP received Unilevers rejoinder to reply on September 13, 1994. The following day, on September cannot be taken as a prejudgment of the merits of the case because it is tentative in nature and the writ
14, 1994, P&GP filed its sur-reply to Unilevers rejoinder. may be dissolved during or after the trial if the court finds that plaintiff was not entitled to it.

On September 19, 1994, P&GP received a copy of the order dated September 16, 1994 ordering the xxxxxxxxx
issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and fixing a bond of P100,000. On the same date, P&GP filed
the required bond issued by Prudential Guarantee and Assurance, Inc.
Obviously, the determination made by the court a quo was only for purposes of preliminary injunction,
without passing upon the merits of the case, which cannot be done until after a full-blown hearing is
On September 21, 1994, petitioner appealed to the CA assigning the following errors allegedly committed conducted.
by the court a quo, to wit:

The third ground is patently unmeritorious. As alleged in the Complaint P&GP is a subsidiary of Procter
PUBLIC RESPONDENT HAD ACTED WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION AND WITH and Gamble Company (P&G) for which the "double tug" or "tac-tac" key visual was conceptualized or
GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION AMOUNTING TO LACK OF JURISDICTION IN ISSUING THE WRIT created. In that capacity, P&GP used the said TV advertisement in the Philippines to promote its
OF PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION IN VIOLATION OF THE RULES ON EVIDENCE AND PROCEDURE, products. As such subsidiary, P&GP is definitely within the protective mantle of the statute (Sec. 6, PD
PARTICULARLY OF SEC. 3 (a), RULE 58 OF THE REVISED RULES OF COURT AND OF THE 49).
PREVAILING JURISPRUDENCE.

Finally, We find the procedure adopted by the court a quo to be in order.


PUBLIC RESPONDENT IN ISSUING THE VOID ORDER DATED SEPTEMBER 16, 1994, HAD, IN
EFFECT, ALREADY PREJUDGED THE MERITS OF THE MAIN CASE.
The record clearly shows that respondent Judge followed the (procedure provided for in Section 5, Rule
58, as amended by BP 224, and Paragraph A(8) of the Interim Rules). In fact, the court a quo set the
PUBLIC RESPONDENT HAD ISSUED THE VOID ORDER ACCORDING RELIEF TO A NON-PARTY IN incident for hearing on September 2, 1994, at which date petitioner was ordered to show cause why the
CIVIL CASE NO. 94-2434 WITHOUT JURISDICTION. writ should not be issued. Petitioner filed an Opposition to the application for preliminary injunction. The
same incident was again set for hearing on September 9, 1994, during which the parties made some
PUBLIC RESPONDENT IN ISSUING THE VOID ORDER HAD DEPRIVED PETITIONER OF manifestations in support of their respective positions. Subsequent to such hearing petitioner filed a Reply
SUBSTANTIVE AND PROCEDURAL DUE PROCESS; PUBLIC RESPONDENT HAD FORECLOSED to P&GPs Rejoinder to its Opposition. Under the foregoing circumstances, it is absurd to even suggest
PETITIONERS RIGHT AND THE OPPORTUNITY TO CROSS-EXAMINE PROCTERS WITNESSES that petitioner was not given its day in court in the matter of the issuance of the preliminary injunctive
ABAD AND HERBOSA. 4 relief.

On February 24, 1995, the CA rendered its decision finding that Judge Gorospe did not act with grave xxxxxxxxx
abuse of discretion in issuing the disputed order. The petition for certiorari was thus dismissed for lack of
merit. There was of course extreme urgency for the court a quo to act on plaintiffs application for preliminary
injunction. The airing of TV commercials is necessarily of limited duration only. Without such temporary
After a careful perusal of the records, we agree with the CA and affirm its decision in toto: relief, any permanent injunction against the infringing TV advertisements of which P&GP may possibly
succeed in getting after the main case is finally adjudicated could be illusory if by then such
advertisements are no longer used or aired by petitioner. It is therefore not difficult to perceive the
Petitioner does not deny that the questioned TV advertisements are substantially similar to P&GPs possible irreparable damage which P&GP may suffer if respondent Judge did not act promptly on its
"double tug" or "tac-tac" key visual. However, it submits that P&GP is not entitled to the relief demanded, application for preliminary injunction. 5
which is to enjoin petitioner from airing said TV advertisements, for the reason that petitioner has
Certificates of Copyright Registration for which advertisements while P&GP has none with respect to its
"double-tug" or "tac-tac" key visual. In other words, it is petitioners contention that P&GP is not entitled to Preliminary injunction is a provisional remedy intended to provide protection to parties for the preservation
any protection because it has not registered with the National Library the very TV commercials which it of their rights or interests during the pendency of the principal action. 6 Thus, Section1, Rule 58 of the
claims have been infringed by petitioner. Rules of Court provides:

We disagree. Section 2 of PD 49 stipulates that the copyright for a work or intellectual creation subsists Section 1. Preliminary injunction defined; classes. A preliminary injunction is an order granted at any
from the moment of its creation. Accordingly, the creator acquires copyright for his work right upon its stage of an action or proceeding prior to the judgment or final order, requiring a party or a court, agency
creation. Contrary to petitioners contention, the intellectual creators exercise and enjoyment of or a person to refrain from a particular act or acts. It may also require the performance of a particular act
copyright for his work and the protection given by law to him is not contingent or dependent on any or acts, in which case it shall be known as a preliminary mandatory injunction.
Injunction is resorted to only when there is a pressing necessity to avoid injurious consequences which
cannot be remedied under any standard compensation. 7 As correctly ruled by the CA, there was an
extreme urgency to grant the preliminary injunction prayed for by P&GP considering that TV commercials
are aired for a limited period of time only. In fact, this Court takes note of the fact that the TV commercial
in issue the Kite TV advertisement is no longer aired today, more than 10 years after the injunction
was granted on September 16, 1994.

The sole objective of a writ of preliminary injunction is to preserve the status quo until the merits of the
case can be heard fully. 8 A writ of preliminary injunction is generally based solely on initial and
incomplete evidence. 9 Thus, it was impossible for the court a quo to fully dispose of the case, as claimed
by petitioner, without all the evidence needed for the full resolution of the same. To date, the main case
still has to be resolved by the trial court.

The issuance of a preliminary injunction rests entirely on the discretion of the court and is generally not
interfered with except in cases of manifest abuse. 10 There was no such abuse in the case at bar,
especially because petitioner was given all the opportunity to oppose the application for injunction. The
fact was, it failed to convince the court why the injunction should not be issued. Thus, in Santos v. Court
of Appeals, 11 we held that no grave abuse of discretion can be attributed to a judge or body issuing a writ
of preliminary injunction where a party has not been deprived of its day in court as it was heard and it
exhaustively presented all its arguments and defenses.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. Costs against petitioner. SO ORDERED.

IRREPARABLE INJURY

PNB vs. RJ Ventures (supra)


SECTION 4 and Motion12 stating that the hearing may no longer be necessary as the respective positions of both
parties have already been presented and amplified in their pleadings and memoranda.

G.R. No. 157494 December 10, 2004 On July 22, 1999, respondent trial court issued an Order13 stating that there was no more need to hear
the case on the merits14 as both parties have already submitted their position papers and documents to
prove their respective allegations.
BACOLOD CITY WATER DISTRICT, petitioner, vs. THE HON. EMMA C. LABAYEN, Presiding Judge,
RTC of Bacolod City, Br. 46 and the City of Bacolod,respondents.
On July 23, 1999, petitioner filed its Reply15 to respondent Citys Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss
reiterating that petitioner failed to exhaust administrative remedies provided by law hence the petition be
First, the chronology of facts. Petitioner Bacolod City Water District (BACIWA) is a water district dismissed for utter lack of merit.
established pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 198 as a government-owned and controlled corporation
with original charter. It is in the business of providing safe and potable water to Bacolod City.
After a hiatus of nearly seven (7) months, or on February 18, 2000, respondent City filed an Urgent
Motion for the Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order And[/]Or Writ of Preliminary Injunction16 praying
Public respondent City of Bacolod is a municipal corporation created by Commonwealth Act No. 326, that the case be set for hearing on February 24, 2000. On the same date requested, respondent court
otherwise known as the Charter of Bacolod. heard respondents application for temporary restraining order and issued an Order17 commanding
petitioner to stop, desist and refrain from implementing the proposed water rates for the year 2000 which
were then supposed to take effect on March 1, 2000.
On March 26, 1999, respondent City filed a case for Injunction With a Prayer for Temporary Restraining
Order And/Or Preliminary Mandatory Injunction against petitioner in the sala of public respondent judge.
The petition stated that on January 15, 1999, BACIWA published in the Visayan Daily Star,1 a local paper On March 7, 2000, petitioner filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and Dissolution of the Temporary
of general circulation, a Schedule of Automatic Water Rates Adjustments for the years 1999, 2000 and Restraining Order.18 Respondent court a quo issued on March 10, 2000 an Order19 directing respondent
2001. The rates were supposed to take effect seven (7) days after its posting in the local papers or on City to file an Opposition to the Urgent Motion. In its Opposition, respondent City20 contended that the
January 22, 1999. The increase was aborted after petitioner unilaterally suspended the January 22, 1999 temporary restraining order issued was not infirmed with procedural and substantive defects. It also
scheduled implementation. On March 15, 1999, however, petitioner announced that the rate hike will be averred that respondent court has jurisdiction over the case since the sole question of the lack of public
implemented on April 1, 1999. 2 hearing does not require the special knowledge or expertise of an administrative agency and may be
resolved by respondent court, hence the doctrine of primary jurisdiction does not apply.
Respondent City opposed. It alleged that the proposed water rates would violate due process as they
were to be imposed without the public hearing required under Letter of Instructions No. 7003 and Respondent court continued with the proceedings by receiving the evidence of petitioner in support of its
Presidential Decree No. 1479.4 Hence, it prayed that before the hearing of the main case, a temporary Motion for Reconsideration and Dissolution of Temporary Restraining Order. It further issued Orders
restraining order or a preliminary injunction be issued.5 dated March 17, 200021and March 20, 2000.22

On March 30, 1999, the court a quo issued an Order6 summoning the parties with their counsels to attend On April 6, 2000, respondent court issued an Order23 finding petitioners Urgent Motion for
the preliminary hearing for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or preliminary mandatory Reconsideration and Dissolution of Temporary Restraining Order moot and academic considering
injunction. On April 8, 1999, it required the parties to simultaneously submit their respective memoranda petitioners compliance of said temporary restraining order.
on whether it had jurisdiction over the case and whether a public hearing was conducted re the proposed
increase in water rates.7
Four (4) days after, in an Order24 dated April 10, 2000, it denied petitioners Motion to Dismiss for lack of
merit.
Petitioner filed its Position Paper dated April 15, 1999. It attached documents evidencing the conduct of
extensive and lengthy public hearings in fifty-eight (58) of the sixty-one (61) barangays of Bacolod City. It
opined that original jurisdiction over cases on rate review is vested in the Local Water Utilities On April 19, 2000, respondent City filed a Manifestation praying that respondent trial court issue a writ of
Administration (LWUA); appellate jurisdiction is vested in the National Water Resources [Board] (NWRB) preliminary injunction against petitioner, stating thus:
whose decisions shall be appealable to the Office of the President.8
A Temporary Restraining Order was issued against the respondents which, however, expired
On May 5, 1999, petitioner also filed a Motion to Dismiss. In an Order9 dated May 7, 1999, the court before the parties were able to finish the presentation of their respective witnesses and
directed respondent City to file its Opposition to petitioners Motion to Dismiss within fifteen (15) days. evidences;

On June 17, 1999, respondent City filed a Motion to Set [for] Hearing10 its application for a temporary The instant case was submitted for resolution and decision of this Honorable Court during the
restraining order or preliminary mandatory injunction. It alleged that the parties had already submitted last week of March but while awaiting the decision of this Honorable Court, several complaints
their respective memoranda and it has already submitted its Opposition to petitioners Motion to Dismiss. had reached the petitioner that the respondents had already reflected in the water billings for
It also alleged that petitioner had already effected the water rates increase and collection, hence, causing the month of April the new water rates for the year 2000;
irreparable injury to the public.
x x x 25
Petitioner opposed the Motion. On July 20, 1999, respondent City filed its Reply to Opposition and
reiterated that the application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order or preliminary mandatory Petitioner, for its part, filed a Motion for Reconsideration26 of respondent trial courts Order denying its
injunction be heard since petitioner continued to violate the right of the public to due process and it might Motion to Dismiss. Respondent City filed an Opposition to [the] Motion for Reconsideration27 on June 1,
take time before the case would be finally resolved.11 On the same date, petitioner filed a Manifestation 2000.
Respondent court did not act upon petitioners Motion for Reconsideration until respondent City filed an E. THE MANDATORY PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE WAS NOT YET CONDUCTED;
[Ex Parte] Motion for Speedy Resolution28 of the case on October 6, 2000 praying that the case be
resolved before the year 2000 ends in order to prevent the implementation of the water rates increase for
the year 2001 which was to be imposed allegedly without the benefit of a public hearing. F. THERE WAS NO TRIAL ON THE MERITS FOR THE MAIN CASE.

On December 21, 2000, respondent court issued the assailed Decision29 granting the final injunction II
which allegedly confirmed the previous preliminary injunction.
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT INSISTED THAT THE 24
Petitioner filed its Motion for Reconsideration30 of the assailed Decision on January 11, 2001 asserting, FEBRUARY 2000 ORDER (ANNEX R) ISSUED BY THE TRIAL COURT WAS A
among others, that the case was not yet ripe for decision when the court granted the final injunction, the PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION WHEN THE RECORDS CLEARLY AND INDUBITABLY SHOW
petitioner having had no opportunity to file its answer, avail of the mandatory pre-trial conference and THAT IT WAS A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER (TRO).
have the case tried on the merits.
III
Respondent court denied the Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit in an Order31 dated January 24,
2001. Petitioner then filed a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 in the Court of Appeals. It BY DISMISSING THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI, THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY
alleged that public respondent judge acted without or in excess of jurisdiction and/or with grave and ERRED WHEN IT EFFECTIVELY PREVENTED PETITIONER FROM FULLY VENTILATING
patent abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when she issued the final injunction ITS CASE IN THE MAIN ACTION DUE TO THE IRREGULAR AND CONFUSED
in disregard of petitioners basic right to due process.32 PROCEEDINGS CONDUCTED BY THE RESPONDENT COURT.34

The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for review on certiorari, ratiocinating thus: We rule in favor of petitioner.

In the case at bar, the [O]rder of public respondent dated 24 February 2000, though termed by The initial issue is the proper characterization of the Order dated February 24, 2000.
BACIWA as a temporary restraining order, is in fact a preliminary injunction. The period of the
restraint was not limited. By its wordings, it can be safely inferred that the increased water
rates must not be effected until final disposition of the main case. This note of semi- The sequence of events and the proceedings that transpired in the trial court make a clear conclusion that
permanence simply cannot issue from a mere temporary restraining order. It must be further the Order issued was a temporary restraining order and not a preliminary injunction.
noted that the temporary restraining order has been elevated to the same level as the
preliminary injunction in the procedure, grounds and requirements of its obtention by S[ection]
First. We quote the pertinent parts of the questioned Order:
4, Rule 58. Thus, to set [a] distinction, the present practice is to categorically refer to it as a
temporary restraining order. In which case, the omission by the public respondent in referring
to the 24 February 2000 order as a temporary restraining order could not have been a mere xxx
oversight but deliberate.33
When this motion was called for hearing wherein both parties have argued exhaustedly their
Resorting to this Court, petitioner raises the following issues: respective sides, this court denied the ten (10) days extension for further amplification of the
arguments of the respondent to oppose the said motion for issuance of a temporary
restraining order.
I

It appearing therefore, that the acts of the defendant will actually affect the plaintiff before the
THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED WHEN IT FAILED AND REFUSED TO RULE
decision of this court can be rendered and in order to afford the court to pass on the issues
THAT RESPONDENT COURT HAD ACTED WITHOUT OR IN EXCESS OF JURISDICTION
without the same becoming moot and academic and considering the urgency of the matter that
AND/OR WITH GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION FOR ARBITRARILY AND CAPRICIOUSLY
immediate action should be taken, and pursuant to Administrative Circular No. 6, Paragraph 4
RENDERING A DECISION PURPORTING TO ISSUE A FINAL INJUNCTION AND
and sub-paragraph 15 and The Interim Rules and Guidelines [set forth] by the Rules of
CONFIRMING ITS ALLEGED PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION, DESPITE THE FACT THAT:
Court, this court hereby orders the respondent[,] its agents, representatives or any
person acting in his behalf to stop, desist and refrain from implementing in their billings
A. NO PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION HAD BEEN ISSUED; the new water rate increase which will start on March 1, 2000. The Deputy Provincial
Sheriff of this court is hereby ordered to furnish copy of this order to the respondent Bacolod
City Water District as well as to its agents or representatives acting [o]n his behalf.
B. THE RESPONDENT LOWER COURT DID NOT RESOLVE HEREIN
PETITIONERS MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE ORDER DENYING
PETITIONERS MOTION TO DISMISS; x x x 35 (emphases supplied)

C. THE HEREIN PETITIONER HAD NOT YET FILED ITS ANSWER TO THE It can be gleaned from the afore-quoted Order that what the trial court issued was a temporary restraining
PETITION; order and not a preliminary injunction. The trial court has always referred to it as a temporary restraining
order in the succeeding Orders it issued on March 10, 200036 and April 6, 2000.37

D. THERE WAS STILL NO JOINDER OF THE ISSUES SINCE NO ANSWER HAD


YET BEEN FILED; The parties, in their succeeding pleadings,38 also referred to the assailed Order as a temporary
restraining order. The petitioner filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and Dissolution of Temporary
Restraining Order (TRO)39 on March 1, 2000. This was opposed by respondent City itself in its Court, a judge may issue a temporary restraining order with a limited life of twenty (20) days from date of
Opposition to Motion for Reconsideration and Dissolution of Temporary Restraining Order issue. If before the expiration of the twenty (20)-day period the application for preliminary injunction is
(TRO)40 dated March 14, 2000. Further, respondent City, in its Manifestation dated April 19, 2000 denied, the temporary restraining order would be deemed automatically vacated. If no action is taken by
stated, viz: the judge on the application for preliminary injunction within the said twenty (20) days, the temporary
restraining order would automatically expire on the 20th day by the sheer force of law, no judicial
declaration to that effect being necessary.47
xxx

Hence, in the case at bar, since no preliminary injunction was issued, the temporary restraining order
A Temporary Restraining Order was issued against the respondents which, however, granted automatically expired after twenty (20) days under the Rules. The fact that respondent court
expired before the parties were able to finish the presentation of their respective witnesses and merely ordered "the respondent[,] its agents, representatives or any person acting in his behalf to stop,
evidences; desist and refrain from implementing in their billings the new water rate increase which will start on March
1, 2000"48 without stating the period for the restraint does not convert the temporary restraining order to a
xxx preliminary injunction.

WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that while waiting for the decision and The rule against the non-extendibility of the twenty (20)-day limited period of effectivity of a temporary
order of the Honorable Court, a preliminary injunction as prayed for in the petition be restraining order is absolute if issued by a regional trial court. The failure of respondent court to fix a
issued against the respondents. period for the ordered restraint did not lend the temporary restraining order a breath of semi-permanence
which can only be characteristic of a preliminary injunction. The twenty (20)-day period provided by the
Rules of Court should be deemed incorporated in the Order where there is an omission to do so. It is
x x x41 (emphases supplied) because of this rule on non-extendibility that respondent City was prompted to move that hearings be set
for its application of a preliminary injunction. Respondent City cannot take advantage of this omission by
respondent trial court.
It can be gleaned from the foregoing that both parties and respondent trial court have consistently
referred to the directive as a temporary restraining order. It was only in the respondent courts assailed
Decision that the Order was referred to as a preliminary injunction, viz: Third. Even if we assume that the issued Order was a preliminary injunction, petitioner is correct in
contending that the assailed Decision is premature.
xxx
The records reveal that respondent court did not resolve petitioners Motion for Reconsideration of the
Order denying its Motion to Dismiss before it issued the assailed Decision. Consequently, there was no
This Court therefore grants the final injunction prayed for restraining the respondent from the
answer filed by petitioner, no joinder of issues, no mandatory pre-trial conference, and no trial on the
commission of the act complained of for the year 2001 and hereby confirming the
merits, yet, a Decision was handed down by the respondent trial court.
preliminary injunction previously ordered.

The short circuiting of the procedural process denied the petitioner due process of law. It was not able to
x x x 42 (emphasis supplied)
allege its defenses in an answer and prove them in a hearing. The convoluted procedure allowed by the
respondent trial court and the pleadings filed by the parties which are not models of clarity certainly
Again, it was only when petitioner expressed its vehement objection on the ruling that the final injunction created confusion. But this confusion should not be seized as a reason to deny a party the constitutional
confirmed the preliminary injunction previously issued, when the respondent City and the respondent trial right to due process. Over and above every desideratum in litigation is fairness. All doubts should be
court started to insist that the questioned Order was a preliminary injunction. Given the previous resolved in favor of fairness.
undeviating references to it as a temporary restraining order, respondents cannot now consider it as a
preliminary injunction to justify the validity of the assailed Decision. The attendant facts and
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals
circumstances clearly show that the respondent trial court issued a temporary restraining order.
dated November 27, 2002 and February 28, 2003, respectively, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The
case is remanded to the court a quo for further proceedings. SO ORDERED.
Second. Injunction is a judicial writ, process or proceeding whereby a party is ordered to do or refrain
from doing a certain act. It may be the main action or merely a provisional remedy for and as an incident
A.M. No. RTJ-03-1814 May 26, 2005
in the main action.43

UNIVERSAL MOTORS CORPORATION Represented by GERARDO M. GELLE, complainant, vs.


The main action for injunction is distinct from the provisional or ancillary remedy of preliminary injunction
JUDGE FRANCISCO G. ROJAS, SR., Regional Trial Court, Branch 41, Cagayan De Oro
which cannot exist except only as part or an incident of an independent action or proceeding. As a matter
City, respondent.
of course, in an action for injunction, the auxiliary remedy of preliminary injunction, whether prohibitory or
mandatory, may issue. Under the law, the main action for injunction seeks a judgment embodying a final
injunction which is distinct from, and should not be confused with, the provisional remedy of preliminary Complainant UMC is the exclusive assembler and distributor in the Philippines of Nissan light commercial
injunction, the sole object of which is to preserve the status quo until the merits can be heard.44 A vehicles and spare parts. In the pursuit of its business, it maintains a network of authorized dealers who
preliminary injunction is granted at any stage of an action or proceeding prior to the judgment or final purchase vehicles and spare parts from UMC and resell them in specified territories in the country. One of
order. It persists until it is dissolved or until the termination of the action without the court issuing a final complainants dealers was Nissan Specialist Sales Corporation (NSSC) covering Misamis Oriental and
injunction.45 other provinces and cities in northern Mindanao, including Cagayan De Oro City.

A restraining order, on the other hand, is issued to preserve the status quo until the hearing of the In November 2000, NSSC ordered from complainant Nissan vehicles and spare parts
application for preliminary injunction which cannot be issued ex parte. Under Rule 5846 of the Rules of worth P5,476,500.00. NSSC issued several postdated checks in favor of complainant to pay for the
purchases. The checks, however, were dishonored due to insufficient funds. Complainant demanded Complainant filed with the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition assailing the
payment from NSSC but the latter repeatedly failed to comply. Hence, complainant stopped transacting preliminary injunction issued by respondent judge.10
with NSSC, although the latter still remained as dealer. Complainant later appointed Nissan Cagayan De
Oro Distributors, Inc. (NICAD) to co-exist as dealer with NSSC to meet the market demand in Northern
Mindanao. In the meantime, NSSC filed with the trial court a Motion to Enforce Writ of Preliminary
Injunction.11 Complainant, on the other hand, filed a Manifestation and Motion to Cancel or Hold
Proceedings in Abeyance.12 Respondent judge resolved both motions on July 24, 2002, granting NSSCs
On October 30, 2001, because of NSSCs continued failure and refusal to pay its obligation, complainant Motion to Enforce Writ of Preliminary Injunction.13
terminated its dealership agreement with NSSC. It also filed a criminal complaint for violation of Batas
Pambansa Blg. 22 and/or estafa against the officers of NSSC.
The Court of Appeals promulgated its decision14 also on July 24, 2004, finding that the trial court
committed grave abuse of discretion in issuing the writ of preliminary injunction. The appellate court also
On February 22, 2002, NSSC filed Civil Case No. 2002-058 for breach of contract against complainant observed:
and its officers, Rodrigo T. Janeo, Jr. and Gerry Gelle, and NICAD and its officers, Jefferson Rolida and
Peter Yap. The case was raffled to the sala of respondent Judge Francisco G. Rojas, Sr. 1
It is worthy to note that public respondent issued an Order dated March 11, 2002 granting a
temporary restraining order for a period of 20 days without requiring private respondents to
On March 1, 2002, respondent judge issued an order setting a summary hearing on March 7, 2002 on the issue any bond at all notwithstanding Rule 58[,] Section 4 (b) of the Rules of Court, and this
propriety of the issuance of a temporary restraining order.2 compelled petitioners to file an Urgent motion to Fix Bond for Plaintiff/Applicant and
Approve/Admit Defendants Counterbond with Prayer to Lift TRO dated March 12, 2002.
On March 6, 2002, NSSC filed an amended complaint which respondent judge admitted in his order also
dated March 6, 2002. The amended complaint inserted a prayer for temporary restraining order which On[e] final point. We further agree with petitioners observation that public respondent issued
was not found in the original complaint.3 an Order dated March 1, 2002 setting the application for a Temporary Restraining Order for
hearing, notwithstanding the fact that private respondents were not applying for a temporary
restraining order in their complaint, and to correct the irregularity, private respondents filed an
A hearing on the temporary restraining order was held on March 8, 2002. Amended complaint on March 6, 2002 inserting the prayer for an application of a Temporary
Restraining Order, on which date, the Court issued an Order admitting the Amended
On March 11, 2002, respondent judge issued a temporary restraining order "enjoining defendants, complaint. This blatant irregularity committed by the court a quo cannot be left unnoticed.15
Universal Motors Corporation, Rodrigo T. Janeo, Jr., [G]erry Gelle, Nissan Cagayan de Oro Distributors,
Inc., Jefferson U. Rolida and Peter Yap, their agents, representatives, successors and assigns, from Hence, complainant filed the instant complaint against respondent judge for serious misconduct, gross
continuing in selling, dealing and marketing all models of motor vehicles and spare parts of Nissan; from ignorance of the law, manifest partiality and grave abuse of discretion. It alleges that respondent judge
terminating the dealer agreement between the plaintiff NSSC and defendant UMC; to stop the entry of has exhibited manifest partiality toward NSSC, as can be gleaned from the orders he issued in
defendant Nissan Cagayan de Oro Distributors, Inc. and for the latter to do business on Nissan Products connection with Civil Case No. 2002-058 and from the statements he made during the hearings on the
in the territory of plaintiff NSSC as defined in the Dealer Agreement and for defendant UMC to stop temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.16
supplying and doing trading transactions with defendant Nissan Cagayan de Oro Distributors, Inc."4

Respondent judge denied the charges against him. He justified his order setting a summary hearing on
The following day, on March 12, 2002, NSSC filed an Urgent Motion to Fix Bond for Plaintiff/Applicant and the issuance of a temporary restraining order by citing the caption of the complaint which stated that it
Approve/Admit Defendants Counterbond with Prayer to Lift Temporary Restraining Order.5 was for "breach of contract, damages, with preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order."
Respondent judge construed the same to mean that the plaintiff therein expressly applied for a temporary
Respondent judge denied the motion in his order dated March 18, 2002. It stated: restraining order. He also pointed out that the complaint included a general prayer "for such other relief
just and equitable," and that the material allegations in the body of the complaint asked not only for a
preliminary injunction but also for a temporary restraining order. Respondent judge also denied that he
Considering that during the summary hearing for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining argued for the plaintiff during the hearing on March 8, 2002. He said that the questions he propounded
Order, defendants/movant herein failed to present evidence to prove that they may suffered during the hearing were merely clarificatory which is allowed by the Rules. Respondent judge also stated
[sic] irreparable injury if ever the Court issued [sic] a Temporary Restraining Order and that he acted within the bounds of Rule 58 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure when he issued the
considering further that the Court has already exercise[d] its discretion when it issued a temporary restraining order because he issued the same only after notice and hearing the parties. He
Temporary Restraining Order without fixing the amount of the bond, hence, defendants[] argued that Sec. 2(b) of Rule 58 does not prohibit the issuance of a temporary restraining order without
Urgent Motion to Fix Bond for Plaintiff/Applicant and Approve/Admit Defendant[s] bond. Besides, he later required the plaintiff to post a bond of one million pesos (P1,000,000.00) as a
Counterbond With Prayer to Lift Temporary Restraining Order is hereby denied for lack of condition for the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction. Respondent judge submitted that the
merit.6 issuance of a temporary restraining order and the non-requirement of bond did not amount to a violation
of the Code of Judicial Conduct because he was never motivated by bad faith, but rather, on his best
assessment of facts, to maintain the status quo.17
Respondent judge subsequently held several hearings with respect to the preliminary injunction.

The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) found respondent judge guilty of grave abuse of discretion
On April 1, 2002, respondent judge ordered the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction upon posting
and recommended a fine of twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00), with warning that a repetition of the
by the plaintiff of a bond in the amount of one million pesos (P1,000,000.00). The writ of preliminary
same or similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.
injunction was issued on April 2, 2002 after NSSC filed its bond.7

We agree with the recommendation of the OCA as we find respondent judges actions to constitute grave
On the same day, complainant filed with the trial court an Urgent Motion to Recall/Dissolve Order/Writ of
abuse of authority.
Preliminary Injunction.8 But respondent judge denied the same in the resolution dated April 11, 2002.9
First, respondent judge ordered a hearing on the issuance of a temporary restraining order although it no bond was required for the issuance of a temporary restraining order, except in labor cases
was not prayed for in the complaint. We are not impressed with respondent judges argument that the brought to the Supreme Court on certiorari from a decision of the National Labor Relations
caption and the body of the complaint showed an intent to include a prayer for a temporary restraining Commission where a monetary award was granted, in which case the policy of the Supreme
order. Nowhere in the allegations in the complaint was it shown that great or irreparable injury would Court was to require a bond equivalent to the monetary award or benefits granted as a
result to the plaintiff, NSSC, pending hearing on the preliminary injunction. Under Section 5, Rule 58 of condition for the issuance of a temporary restraining order. The exemption from bond in other
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, a temporary restraining order may be issued only if it appears from cases, plus the fact that no hearing was required, made a temporary restraining order a much
the facts shown by affidavits or by the verified application that great or irreparable injury would sought relief for petitioners.21
result to the applicant before the writ of preliminary injunction could be heard. In addition, Section
4(a) of Rule 58 of the Rules of Court is clear with regard to the procedure to be followed in the issuance
of writs of preliminary injunction, i.e., a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order may be The temporary restraining order issued by respondent judge in Civil Case No. 2002-058 effectively
granted only when the application in the action or proceeding is verified, and shows facts entitling the enjoined the defendants therein, UMC and NICAD, from doing business as dealer of Nissan vehicles in
applicant to the relief demanded.18 We note that the relief sought by NSSC in the original complaint Northern Mindanao. It does not require deep thinking to realize the losses that these companies will suffer
consisted mainly of its reinstatement as dealer of Nissan vehicles and spare parts in Northern Mindanao, if the court orders them to freeze operations. Not only will they be deprived of potential earnings from
and the termination of the dealership agreement between UMC and NICAD. NSSC did not allege facts to sales but they will also have to expend for their overhead even if they are not able to do business. Any
support an urgent need to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent any great or irreparable injury fair judge would require the plaintiff in such case to ensure compensation to the defendant if it is later
that it might suffer while the preliminary injunction is being heard. In one case, the Court penalized a found that the former is not entitled to the injunction. But not respondent judge. He even rejected
judge who awarded reliefs to plaintiffs without any showing that such reliefs were applied for. 19 complainants motion to fix the plaintiffs bond in Civil Case No. 2002-058, although complainant, as
defendant therein, had clearly manifested its willingness to post a counterbond. We cannot consider such
error on the part of respondent judge as mere error in judgment. We agree with the findings of the OCA,
Second, respondent judge issued the temporary restraining order without requiring the plaintiff to post a thus:
bond. Sec. 4, Rule 58 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure states:
From the foregoing, it is very evident that respondent committed grave abuse of discretion
Sec. 4. Verified application and bond for preliminary injunction or temporary restraining when he issued an Order dated March 1, 2002 setting the application for a Temporary
order. A preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order may be granted only when: Restraining Order for hearing notwithstanding the fact that the plaintiffs (NSSC) were not
applying for a temporary restraining order in their complaint. The alleged irregularity was later
on corrected when the plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint on March 6, 2002 by inserting the
(a) The application in the action or proceeding is verified, and shows facts entitling the prayer for an application [for] Temporary Restraining Order which the Court admitted on [the]
applicant to the relief demanded; and same day.

(b) Unless exempted by the court, the applicant files with the court where the action or In the case at bar, the errors committed by the respondent were not honest mistakes in the
proceeding is pending, a bond executed to the party or person enjoined, in an amount performance of his duties. There was no urgency nor any irreparable injury which would
to be fixed by the court, to the effect that the applicant will pay to such party or person require the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction in favor of
all damages which he may sustain by reason of the injunction or temporary restraining the plaintiffs. As correctly pointed out by the Court of Appeals in its Decision dated July 24,
order if the court should finally decide that the applicant was not entitled thereto. Upon 2002 the defendants (UMC) had already terminated its dealership agreement with the plaintiffs
approval of the requisite bond, a writ of preliminary injunction shall be issued. (NSSC) as early as October 30, 2001 on clear grounds of failure to pay its financial
obligations, and, thus, the latter (NSSC) were no longer entitled to avail of the remedy of
xxx injunction as the act to be prevented by the issuance thereof had long been consummated.

While Section 4(b) of Rule 58 gives the presiding judge the discretion to require a bond before granting a As for the rest of the charges, we find that the complainant failed to adduce evidence in
temporary restraining order, the Rules did not intend to give the judge the license to exercise such support of the same.
discretion arbitrarily to the prejudice of the defendant. Certainly, each member of the Bench is not a
depository of arbitrary power, but a judge under the sanction of law.20 The bond under Rule 58 is As a matter of public policy, not every error or mistake of a judge in the performance of his official duties
intended to pay all the damages which the party or person against whom the temporary restraining order renders him liable. In the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a judge in his official
or injunction is issued may sustain by reason thereof should the court finally decide that the applicant was capacity do not always constitute misconduct although said acts may be erroneous. It is true that a judge
not entitled thereto. Hence, it follows that unless it appears that the enjoined party will not suffer any may not be disciplined for error of judgment absent proof that such error was made with a conscious and
damage, the presiding judge must require the applicant to post a bond, otherwise the courts could deliberate intent to cause an injustice. This does not mean, however, that a judge need not observe
become instruments of oppression and harassment. propriety, discreetness and due care in the performance of his official functions. 22 Indeed, all members of
the Bench are enjoined to behave at all times as to promote public confidence in the integrity and
It is worthy to note that prior to the effectivity of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, no bond was required impartiality of the judiciary.23 Respondent judges actions with respect to the issuance of the temporary
for the availment of a temporary restraining order. However, the present Rules now regulate the issuance restraining order in Civil Case No. 2002-058 failed to live up to such high standards of judicial conduct.
of temporary restraining orders, not only by requiring a hearing, but also by imposing a bond on the
applicant to prevent the abuse of this relief by litigants. As explained by Remedial Law expert Justice IN VIEW WHEREOF, respondent judge is ordered to pay a FINE of TWENTY THOUSAND PESOS
Florenz D. Regalado: (P20,000.00) and WARNED that commission of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more
severely. SO ORDERED.
Under this amended section, a temporary restraining order has been elevated to the same
level as a preliminary injunction in the procedure, grounds and requirements for its obtention.
Specifically on the matter of the requisite bond, the present requirement therefor not only for a
preliminary injunction but also for a restraining order, unless exempted therefrom by the court,
puts to rest a controversial policy which was either wittingly or unwittingly abused. Heretofore,
[OCA I.P.I. No. 01-32-CA-J.February 13, 2002] Petitioners contend that the questioned Resolution of the Court of Appeals deprived them of their right to be
reinstated and to be paid their lost income. They also assert that the issuance of the TRO without requiring
the posting of the required surety bond and without defining the period of its effectivity or duration
IN THE MATTER OF ADMINISTRATIVE COMPLAINT AGAINST HON. ABESAMIS, et al. transgresses Sections 5 and 7 of Rule 58 of the Rules of Court and the Canon of Judicial Ethics.

Gentlemen: Respondents, upon the other hand maintain, viz: (1) that the TROs never enjoined nor restrained the
reinstatement of the complainants; (2) that under Sec. 4, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court, the bond is posted
Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of this Court dated FEB 13 2002. only when required by court; (3) that the phrase "until further orders of this Court" did not make the period of
the TROs indefinite; and (4) that the charges averred in the complaint have already been passed upon and
considered by this Court in G.R. No. 147388.
OCA I.P.I. No. 01-32-CA-J(In the matter of Administrative Complaint against Hon. Bernardo P. Abesamis,
Hon. Eugenio S. Labitoria and Hon. Elvi John S. Asuncion, Associate Justices and members of the Former
Special Twelfth Division of the Honorable Court of Appeals.) The complaint should be dismissed.

Petitioners, employees of Year Jan Industries, Phil., Inc. and members of the Year Jan Industries of Alliance The respondents, in issuing the assailed Resolution, acted within the confines and limits of the law and their
of Nationalist and Genuine Labor Organization-Kilusang Mayo Uno (ANGLO-KMU), charge respondent Court authority.
of Appeals Justices Abesamis, Labitoria and Asuncion, with grave misconduct and abuse of authority.
I. Petitioners, in their motion for writ of execution, moved only for the execution of the money judgment. In the
The case arose from a labor dispute between petitioners and their employer, Year Jan Industries, Phil., Inc. restraining orders issued by respondents, what was restrained and enjoined is the payment of the monetary
(Company, for brevity), for illegal dismissal. The Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of petitioners, declaring their claims adjudged by the Labor Arbiter and the NLRC and not the reinstatement of the petitioners to their
dismissal illegal and ordering them to be reinstated to their former position without loss of seniority rights and former positions. Thus, with or without the restraining orders, the judgment of the NLRC reinstating the
other privileges, and with backwages, 13th month pay and sick and vacation leave. On appeal, the National petitioners is immediately executory pursuant to Article 223 of the Labor Code.[1]cralaw
Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) affirmed the aforesaid decision but deleted the money claims.
However, upon motion for reconsideration, the NLRC reinstated the Labor Arbiter's decision. II. The failure of the respondents to require the Company to post a bond did not violate the Rules of Court.
Paragraph (b) of Section 4, Rule 58 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, gives the court discretion to require
The Company assailed the NLRC decision before the Court of Appeals, which was docketed as CA-G.R. No. such bond.[2]cralaw The court may, in proper cases, exempt the applicant from filing the bond normally
54598 and raffled to the Special Twelfth Division, composed of respondent justices. required.[3]cralaw In issuing the October 11, 2000 Resolution, respondents were merely exercising a
discretion granted them by law. Certainly, we find no abuse of discretion, much less a grave or patent abuse
of judgment when they issued the assailed Order. It must be stressed however, that respondents in their
On August 30, 1999, an alias writ of execution was issued against the Company to collect P5,437,992.00 Resolution dated February 29, 2000, required the Company to post a bond for the issuance of the preliminary
constituting the computed backwages, 13th month pay and sick and vacation leave pay of the petitioners. A injunction. Unfortunately, the Company failed to comply, hence, the writ was never issued.
notice of garnishment was issued against the Company's account in the Rizal Commercial Banking
Corporation (RCBC).
III. The TRO dated October 11, 2000 was not issued for an indefinite time. Under Section 5, Paragraph 4, of
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, a temporary restraining order issued by the Court of Appeals shall be
On September 21, 1999, the Company filed a "Very Urgent Motion for Issuance of a Temporary Restraining effective for sixty (60) days from service on the party or person sought to be enjoined. It automatically
Order and a Writ of Preliminary Injunction" to enjoin the implementation of the writ of execution and the order terminates upon the expiration of the 60 day period without need of any judicial declaration to that effect.
of garnishment, and if the same has already been implemented, to restrain RCBC from transferring the
garnished amount to the NLRC Sheriff, or if the garnished amount has already been transferred, to enjoin the
NLRC from releasing the same to the petitioners. In the assailed Resolution, the Court of Appeals ordered, among others, that "the public respondent NLRC is
also restrained and enjoined from surrendering or releasing the garnished amount to the private
respondents, until further orders of this Court." As it is clear under the Rules that the effectivity of a TRO
On September 23, 1999, respondents issued a temporary restraining order. On February 29, 2000, the issued by the Court of Appeals is only for a period of 60 days, it must be stressed that the phrase"until further
Company's application for preliminary injunction was granted upon the filing of a bond in the amount of orders of this Court" embodied in said resolution should be understood in such manner that the Court of
P5,437,992.02. The Company, however, failed to post the bond required. Appeals may, in the exercise of its discretion, shorten the lifespan of the TRO when circumstances so
warrant. Applying the foregoing, we find petitioners' allegation that the questioned resolution transgresses the
pertinent rules erroneous.
On March 20, 2000, the Company filed an Omnibus Motion seeking to modify the February 29, 2000
Resolution which was denied on August 10, 2000.
Lastly, the charges alleged in the complaint have already been passed upon and considered by this Court in
G.R. No. 147388. It must be recalled that after the issuance of the October 11, 2000 Resolution, petitioners
On October 6, 2000, the Company filed another Urgent Motion for Issuance of TRO and/or Preliminary
filed a motion for inhibition grounded mainly on the issuance of the aforesaid resolution and contending that
Injunction, this time, to enjoin the Labor Arbiter from implementing the alias writ of execution dated
the judicial action of respondents in issuing the assailed Resolution impelled them "to believe that they could
September 19, 2000, for the collection of P8,401,103.36 representing additional backwages/salaries of the
no longer obtain labor justice." The motion was denied by respondents on January 30, 2001, hence,
petitioners. This was granted by respondents per Resolution dated October 11, 2000.
petitioners elevated the matter to this Court. On June 27, 2001, we issued a Resolution denying the petition
"for failure of the petitioners to sufficiently show that the Court of Appeals committed any reversible error in
Aggrieved by issuance of the said Resolution, petitioners moved to inhibit the respondents but was denied on the challenged resolutions as to warrant the exercise by this Court of its discretionary appellate jurisdiction in
January 30, 2000. this case."[4]cralaw The dismissal of the petition, in effect, upholds the correctness of respondents' acts in
issuing the restraining orders. The present administrative complaint is nothing but an attempt on the part of
the petitioners to re-ventilate or re-litigate issues already passed upon and definitively resolved by this 'WHEREFORE, no raffle will be conducted. The Court advises the parties affected
Court.[5]cralaw to do what is to be done for the final determination of the meaning of Administrative
Circular No. 20-95, par. (1) when there are other parties whose addresses are not
alleged in the complaint or with the unknown addresses.' (p. 22. Records, Annex A)
WHEREFORE, the complaint is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. SO ORDERED.

"To this Order, private respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration to which petitioner filed
an opposition.

G.R. No. 140765 January 25, 2001


"On August 30, 1999, public respondent issued the now assailed order which reconsidered his
July 30, 1999 Order. Thus, the instant case was set for regular raffle on September 8, 1999."5
GONZALO R. GONZALES, petitioner, vs. STATE PROPERTIES CORPORATION, respondent.
Ruling of the Court of Appeals
The Rules of Court requires that an initiatory pleading with an application for a writ of preliminary
injunction or temporary restraining order filed before a multiple-sala court shall be raffled only after (a)
Citing Section 4, Rule 58 of the Rules of Court, the Court of Appeals ruled that, necessarily, if summons
notice to and (b) in the presence of the adverse party or the person to be enjoined. These requirements
could not be served, notice for the raffle could not be served either. The CA also held that the logic of
may be dispensed with, however, in cases where it can be satisfactorily shown that summons could not
petitioner, who insisted otherwise, was flawed. Herein respondent, it pointed out, would have no remedy
be served despite diligent efforts. Besides, in the present case, petitioner has no reason to complain
in case the other defendants choose to make their whereabouts unknown.
because he has been duly served the requirements, and he does not claim to represent the allegedly
adversely affected parties.
Hence, this recourse.6
The facts are summarized by the Court of Appeals in this manner:
Issues
"x x x [R]espondent State Properties Corporation filed a verified complaint for Recovery of
Property based on ownership on March 23, 1999 with the Regional Trial Court of Las Pias In his Memorandum,7 petitioner raises the following issues:
against Petitioner Gonzalo R. Gonzales and his brothers and sisters, all heirs of the late Benito
Gonzales. The complaint, accompanied [by] an application for temporary restraining order
and/or preliminary injunction, prayed that after trial, the Court render judgment confirming its "1. Respondent Court of Appeals acted with grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack or
right to take and enjoy possession of the property covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. excess of jurisdiction in holding that if summons could not be personally served, raffle could
S-17992 together with all improvements thereon to the exclusion of the heirs of Benito likewise be held without notice to parties;
Gonzales, inclusive of herein petitioner.1wphi1.nt
2. Respondent Court of Appeals acted with grave abuse of discretion tantamount to excess or
"The case was raffled to Branch 253 of the Regional Trial Court of Las Pias and summons lack of jurisdiction in holding that in a case where the parties are unknown, the case will have
[was] duly served on Petitioner Gonzalo Gonzales. to be raffled first before the court can act on the motion for leave to serve summons by
publication;

"On April 15, 1998, Petitioner Gonzalo Gonzales filed an Omnibus Motion, praying among
others, that another raffle be held because the other defendants therein did not receive any 3. Respondent Court of Appeals acted with grave abuse of discretion tantamount to excess or
notice of raffle as required by Administrative Circular No. 20-95. lack of jurisdiction in dismissing the petition;

"In order to expedite the disposition of its application for injunctive relief, private respondent 4. There are special and important reasons to warrant a review."8
filed a manifestation expressing that it interpose[d] no objection to the said Omnibus Motion.
Petitioner Gonzalo Gonzales then filed his Answer. In the main, the issue before us is whether a case may be raffled, even when some of the parties could
not be served notice because their whereabouts are unknown.
"Meanwhile, private respondent filed a Motion for Service of Summons by Publication on all
the defendants therein, except Petitioner Gonzalo Gonzales, for the reason that their The Court's Ruling
residences [could] not be ascertained despite diligent inquiry. The Court (Branch 253) granted
the said motion at the hearing on May 21, 1999.
The Petition has no merit.
"Subsequently, private respondent received a Notice of Raffle from the Office of the Clerk of
Court of the Regional Trial Court of Law Pias enjoining private respondent to attend the raffle Main Issue:
of the case before the sala of herein public respondent on July 30, 1999 at 1:00 p.m. Notice Requirement Prior to Raffle

"On the said date, the counsel of Petitioner Gonzales and counsel of private respondent Petitioner contends that under Section 4 (c) of Rule 58, a case may be raffled only after notice to and in
appeared but petitioner's counsel opposed the holding of the raffle on the ground that the other the presence of the adverse party. These requisites, according to him, are mandatory. Furthermore, he
defendants were not duly notified of the raffle, again invoking Administrative Circular No. 20- maintains that the latter part of the rule, which allows service of summons to be dispensed with in case
95. This was granted by public respondent in his Order, to wit: the adverse party cannot be located despite diligent efforts, should not be isolated from other related
provisions. He refers specifically to Section 5 of Rule 58, which provides that no writ of preliminary In H.B. Zachry v. CA,15 the Court expounded on the aforecited ruling as follows: "[A] distinction should be
injunction shall be granted without hearing and prior notice to the adverse party.9 made between the issuance and the enforcement of the writ. The trial court has unlimited power to issue
the writ upon commencement of the action even before it acquires jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant, but enforcement thereof can only be validly done after it shall have acquired jurisdiction."
Petitioner's argument is incorrect. Administrative Circular No. 20-95,10 which provided for the requisites of
a raffle of cases, has been incorporated into Section 4 (c), Rule 58 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
The provision now reads as follows: In this light, it may be stressed that pursuant to Davao Light and the subsequent cases prior to the 1997
Rules, a writ of attachment may be issued ex parte, but it cannot be implemented if the trial court has not
yet acquired jurisdiction over the person of the defendant. In the present case, the notice of raffle is
"(c) When an application for a writ of preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order is required to be served prior to or contemporaneously with the summons -- a requirement absent from the
included in a complaint or any initiatory pleading, the case, if filed in a multiple-sala court, shall pre-1997 Rules. This requirement shows the intention of the new Rules to ensure the implementation of
be raffled only after notice to and in the presence of the adverse party or the person to be the writ of preliminary injunction and preclude the defense that the trial court has no jurisdiction over the
enjoined. In any event, such notice shall be preceded, or contemporaneously accompanied, by defendant.
service of summons, together with a copy of the complaint or initiatory pleading and the
applicant's affidavit and bond, upon the adverse party in the Philippines.
Nonetheless, the 1997 rule barring the raffle of these cases without effecting the service of summons is
not absolute. As earlier noted, the second paragraph of Section 4 (c) of Rule 58 clearly provides that the
"However, where the summons could not be served personally or by substituted service service of summons may be dispensed with "where the summons could not be served personally or by
despite diligent efforts, or the adverse party is a resident of the Philippines temporarily absent substituted service despite diligent efforts." Furthermore, even Justice Feria opines that the exceptions to
therefrom or is a nonresident thereof, the requirement of prior or contemporaneous service of the rule are the same as those in Section 5 of Rule 57, the second paragraph of which reads thus:
summons shall not apply."

"The requirement of prior or contemporaneous service of summons shall not apply where the
From the foregoing, it is clear that the prerequisites for conducting a raffle when there is a prayer for a writ summons could not be served personally or by substituted service despite diligent efforts, or
of preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order are (1) notice to and (b) presence of the adverse the defendant is a resident of the Philippines temporarily absent therefrom, or the defendant is
party or person to be enjoined. The above rule also provides that the notice shall be preceded or a non-resident of the Philippines, or the action is one in rem or quasi in rem."
accompanied by a service of summons to the adverse party or person to be enjoined.

In the present case, respondent was able to show that the whereabouts of the other defendants were
The second paragraph clearly states, though, that the required prior or contemporaneous service of unknown, and that summons could not be served personally or by substituted service. Hence, it cannot
summons may be dispensed with in the following instances: (a) when the summons cannot be served be required to serve such summons prior to or contemporaneous with the notice of raffle. The raffle,
personally or by substituted service despite diligent efforts, (b) when the adverse party is a resident of the therefore, may proceed even without notice to and the presence of the said adverse parties.
Philippines temporarily absent therefrom, or (c) when such party is a nonresident.

Indeed, contrary to the argument of petitioner, allowing the raffle to proceed in a case like this is not
In such event, the notice of raffle and the presence of the adverse party must also be dispensed with. As inconsistent with Section 5 of Rule 58, which reads as follows:
pointed out by respondent, "the requirement of notice of the raffle to the party whose whereabouts are
unknown does not also apply x x x because the case will have to be raffled first before the court can act
on the motion for leave to serve summons by publication."11 "SEC. 5. Preliminary injunction not granted without notice; exception. No preliminary
injunction shall be granted without hearing and prior notice to the party or person sought to be
enjoined. If it shall appear from facts shown by affidavits or by the verified application that
Under the interpretation of petitioner, however, defendants, by the simple expedient of concealing their great or irreparable injury would result to the applicant before the matter can be heard on
whereabouts and thereby preventing the holding of a raffle, can bar a trial court from acting on a case or notice, the court to which the application for preliminary injunction was made, may issue ex
from allowing a service of summons by publication. Clearly, such interpretation would result in absurdity parte a temporary restraining order to be effective only for a period of twenty (20) days from
and should not be countenanced.12 service on the party or person sought to be enjoined, except as herein provided. Within the
said twenty day period, the court must order said party or person to show cause, at a specified
Moreover, in his commentary on the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, Justice Jose Feria explains that time and place, why the injunction should not be granted, determine within the same period
"[p]aragraphs (c) and (d) [of Section 4, Rule 58,] are based on paragraphs 1 and 2 of Administrative whether or not the preliminary injunction shall be granted, and accordingly issue the
Circular No. 20-95, with the modification that the notice to the adverse party shall be preceded or corresponding order.1wphi1.nt
contemporaneously accompanied by service of summons as required in Davao Light & Power Co., Inc.
vs. Court of Appeals, with the same exceptions in Section 5 of Rule 57 but excluding actions in "However, and subject to the provisions of the preceding sections, if the matter is of extreme
rem or quasi in rem."13 urgency and the applicant will suffer grave injustice and irreparable injury, the executive judge
of a multiple-sala court or the presiding judge of a single-sala court may issue ex parte a
In Davao Light,14 the Court held: temporary restraining order effective for only seventy-two (72) hours from issuance but he
shall immediately comply with the provisions of the next preceding section as to service of
summons and the documents to be served therewith. Thereafter, within the aforesaid seventy-
"For the guidance of all concerned, the Court reiterates and reaffirms the proposition that writs two (72) hours, the judge before whom the case is pending shall conduct a summary hearing
of attachment may properly issue ex parte provided that the Court is satisfied that the relevant to determine whether the temporary restraining order shall be extended until the application for
requisites therefor have been fulfilled by the applicant, although it may, in its discretion, require preliminary injunction can be heard. In no case shall the total period of effectively of the
prior hearing on the application with notice to the defendant; but that levy on property pursuant temporary restraining order exceed twenty (20) days, including the original seventy-two hours
to the writ thus issued may not be validly effected unless preceded, or contemporaneously provided herein." (Emphasis supplied.)
accompanied, by service of summons, a copy of the complaint x x x, the application for
attachment (if not incorporated in but submitted separately from the complaint), the order of
attachment, and the plaintiff's attachment bond." (Emphasis supplied.)
Furthermore, petitioner makes much ado about the requirement of notice of raffle. In ordinary City of San Pablo, January 3, 2001.
suits,16 notice of a raffle is given to the parties in order "to afford [them] a chance to be heard in the
assignment of their cases."17According to Justice Feria, the raffle of cases is done in open session with
adequate notice, "so that parties or their counsel will be prevented from choosing judges to hear their and a copy thereof was received by the complainant that afternoon.[1]
case."18
Complainant claims that the procedure followed by respondent Judge violated Rule 58 Section 4 [b-
c-d], 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure on the following grounds:
Petitioner has no ground to object, since he himself had been given notice prior to the holding of the
raffle. Furthermore, he has no standing to complain on behalf of the other parties, because he does not (a) Being a multi-sala court, it is the Executive Judge that may issue an ex-parte TRO good
claim to represent them.19 for 72 hours.

(b) The notice of raffle was not preceded or contemporaneously accompanied, by service of
In any event, the other defendants had been located and served summons. In fact, the case was summons, with the complaint or initiatory pleading and the applicants affidavit and bond.
subsequently raffled on December 8, 1999, and a pretrial conducted on May 9, 2000.20 the other
defendants have not complained of any impropriety in the raffle. Their silence on this question (c) Respondent Judge who was assigned to the case did not conduct the required summary
demonstrates the utter lack of merit of petitioner's contention. hearing with notice and in the presence of the parties within 24 hours after the Sheriffs
return of service and/or the records are received by the branch selected by raffle.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DISMISSED, and the assailed Decision AFFIRMED. Double costs (d) The TRO was issued ex-parte without the required bond and without alleging that the
against petitioner. SO ORDERED. matter is of extreme urgency and applicant would suffer grave or irreparable injury.

(e) Complainant did not ask for the issuance of a preliminary injunction on January 4, 2001 in
the morning.[2]

Then Court Administrator Alfredo Benipayo, through a letter dated February 7, 2001, informed
[A.M. No. RTJ-03-1746. September 26, 2003] complainant that the subject matter of his complaint is judicial in nature hence it shall be denied due course
ROGER F. BORJA, complainant, vs. JUDGE ZORAYDA H. SALCEDO, respondent. as there are judicial remedies available under the Rules of Court yet to be exhausted.[3]
In a Complaint dated January 11, 2001, Roger F. Borja accuses Presiding Judge Zorayda H. Salcedo On March 30, 2001, however, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) received a Motion from
of the Regional Trial Court (Branch 32) of San Pablo City of gross ignorance of the law and grave abuse of complainant dated March 29, 2001, praying for the reconsideration of the notice of denial of his complaint
discretion in issuing a temporary restraining order (TRO) in Civil Case No. SP-5775 (01), entitled, Damaso on the strength of an Order dated January 19, 2001 issued by Judge Marivic Balisi-Umali of the RTC
T. Ambray vs. San Pablo City Water District, represented by General Manager Roger Borja, et al., without (Branch 30), San Pablo City, dissolving the questioned TRO for failure to comply with the requisites of
complying with the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 20-95.
Complainant alleges that the civil case was filed with the RTC of San Pablo City on January 2, 2001 Complainant argues that when the law transgressed is elementary, as in the instant case, the failure
and on the same day, assigned by raffle to Branch 32, presided over by respondent Judge. The following to know or observe it constitutes gross ignorance of the law.[4]
day, respondent Judge issued an Order granting the TRO, to wit:
Upon the report and recommendation of the OCA, this Court, in a Resolution dated August 29, 2001
resolved to require:
Before this Court is a verified complaint praying for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
which the Court finds to be sufficient in form and substance.
(a) respondent Judge Zorayda Salcedo to COMMENT on the complaint and motion for reconsideration
Conformably with Rule 8 of the Interim Rules and Guidelines and Section 1 of BP Blg. 224, the issuance within ten (10) days from notice hereof; and (b) Judge Marivic T. Balisi-Umali, then Regional Trial Court
of the Writ of Preliminary Injunction is hereby set on January 4, 2001 at 8:30 oclock in the morning and at Judge, San Pablo City, Branch 30, to EXPLAIN within ten (10 ) days from notice hereof why no
disciplinary action should be taken against her for issuing an order dissolving a temporary restraining
which date and time, the respondents/defendants are hereby directed to appear and show cause why the
order issued by a court of co-equal jurisdiction.[5]
writ prayed for should not be granted.

In the meantime, in order to maintain the status quo between the parties and to obviate irreparable On October 16, 2001, respondent judge submitted her comment and apologized for the delay in its
damage the petitioner may suffer by reason of and as a consequence of the acts sought to be enjoined submission explaining that she, as well as her husband, underwent cataract operation.[6] She informed the
pending hearing on the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction, the respondents/defendants are Court that she is adopting as her comment the Indorsement dated November 16, 2000 which she had
submitted to this Court in connection with OCA IPI No. 00-1058-RTJ, an earlier administrative case also
hereby enjoined from enforcing Board Resolution No. 082, Series 2000 restraining Atty. Marciano Brion,
filed by herein complainant against her but which was dismissed by this Court for lack of merit.[7] She
Jr. to sit, act and exercise the powers of a Director of San Pablo City Water District representing the civic
likewise emphasized her denial of partiality, ignorance of the law, bias and so forth being attributed to her
sector.
by complainant for the reverse is true as it has been (her) desire to always observe impartiality, fairness,
and dedication in the administration of justice.[8]
Let this Order together with the copy of the Complaint be served forthwith upon the
respondents/defendants who are hereby given a period of ten (10) days from receipt within which to file Judge Marivic T. Balisi-Umali in her Compliance dated October 17, 2001, explained her actions
their Answer. relative to the case as follows:

The Deputy Sheriff of this Branch is hereby ordered to implement the processes of this Court May the Honorable First Division be informed that Civil Case No. SP-5757(01) xxx for Declaration of
immediately. Nullity of Board Resolution No. 082, Series 2000 and for Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order was
originally raffled to Branch 32 of the San Pablo City, RTC presided over by the Honorable Zoraida
Herradura Salcedo on January 2, 2001. The following day Judge Salcedo issued a Temporary
SO ORDERED
Restraining Order (TRO). On even date, defendant Borja filed a Motion to Inhibit Judge Herradura Likewise, in Adao vs. Lorenzo, A.M. No. RTJ-99-1496, 316 SCRA 570, respondent judge was fined in the
[Salcedo] from the case and which the latter granted. On January 5, 2001, defendant Brion filed a amount of P5,000.00 for his failure to abide by Administrative Circular No. 20-95.
Motion to Dissolve Temporary Restraining Order anchored on the ground that the TRO was issued in
violation of Rule 58, Section 4(d) of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure and is therefore a patent nullity. On
even date, the case was raffled to the undersigned. Concerning the dissolution of the questioned TRO by Judge Marivic T. Balisi-Umali, RTC, Branch 30, San
Pablo City, we find the same to be proper. Judge Umali has satisfactorily explained that she granted the
defendants motion to dissolve TRO on 19 January 2000 or only after Judge Salcedo inhibited herself from
The undersigned resolved the Motion to Dissolve Temporary Restraining Order on January 19, 2001. A trying the case and the case re-raffled to the formers sala on 5 January 2000.
copy of her Order is hereto attached. The undersigned dissolved the TRO because it was issued in
violation of Supreme Court Circular No. 20-95.
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, it is respectfully recommended that:

The record of the case forwarded to the undersigned from Branch 32 did not show that any Order
setting a summary hearing on the application for TRO was caused to be issued by Branch 32 for (1) OCA IPI No. 01-1225-RTJ be RE-DOCKETED as a regular administrative matter;
service to all the parties.
(2) Respondent Judge Zorayda H. Salcedo, RTC, Branch 32, San Pablo City be fined in the
Administrative Circular No. 20-95 mandates that the application for TRO shall be acted upon only after all amount of FIVE THOUSAND (P5,000.00) PESOS for her failure to comply with
the parties are heard in a summary hearing. Administrative Circular No. 20-95, with a warning that a repetition of similar acts in
the future shall be dealt with more severely; and

The undersigned humbly submits that as aforestated, Judge Salcedo inhibited herself from the
case which was thereafter re-raffled to the sala of the undersigned. The motion to Dissolve TRO (3) The explanation of Judge Marivic T. Balisi-Umali, then RTC Judge, Branch 30, San
had to be resolved. Pablo City be ACCEPTED for being meritorious.[11]

The undersigned in dissolving the TRO did not ignore or overlook the fact that it was issued by a co-equal On March 27, 2003, complainant submitted a Memorandum emphasizing that: respondent judge is
court, the orders or processes of which the undersigned cannot interfere with, pass upon much less not an Executive Judge; the complaint in Civil Case No. SP-5775 (01) did not allege extreme urgency for
reverse. However, under the circumstances obtaining where it was clearly shown and the undersigned the issuance of a TRO neither did it state that its non-issuance would cause grave injustice and irreparable
was convinced that the TRO was irregularly issued, somehow she had to correct the error. It was her injury to the plaintiff; the TRO issued by respondent judge on January 3, 2001 failed to declare that it was
conviction then and now that by sustaining the TRO because it was issued by a co-equal court would effective for 72 hours only; and on January 19, 2001, Judge Marivic T. Balisi-Umali dissolved the TRO
tantamount to correcting a mistake with another mistake.[9] (Emphasis supplied) issued by respondent judge for violation of SC Circular No. 20-95.[12]

Respondent judge, on the other hand, manifested, through a letter dated February 13, 2003, her
In a Resolution dated July 17, 2002, this Court referred the case to the Office of the Court willingness to submit the matter for resolution on the basis of the pleadings on record.[13]
Administrator for evaluation, report and recommendation.[10]
After a review of the records of the case, we find the recommendations of the OCA to be well taken.
Deputy Court Administrator Jose P. Perez submitted his Report, dated November 4, 2002, pertinent
portions of which read as follows: Administrative Circular No. 20-95 provides:

In the study of the entire record of the case, the undersigned observed that respondent judge did not 1. Where an application for temporary restraining order (TRO) or writ of preliminary injunction is included
controvert the material allegations in the complaint. Her comment dated November 16, 2000, specifically in a complaint or any initiatory pleading filed with the trial court, such complaint or initiatory pleading shall
relates to the incidents involved in Civil Case No. SP-5454(99) which is the subject matter of OCA IPI No. be raffled only after notice to the adverse party and in the presence of such party or counsel.
00-1058-RTJ. We therefore find unavailing the explanation of Judge Salcedo.
2. The application for a TRO shall be acted upon only after all parties are heard in a summary hearing
We find that respondent judge failed to comply with Administrative Circular No. 20-95. No order setting a conducted within twenty-four (24) hours after the records are transmitted to the branch selected by raffle.
summary hearing on the application for temporary restraining order was furnished the defendants. A The records shall be transmitted immediately after raffle.
summary hearing can not be dispensed with in view of the mandatory requirement that the application for
a TRO shall be acted upon only after all parties are heard in a summary hearing after the record of the 3. If the matter is of extreme urgency, such that unless a TRO is issued, grave injustice and irreparable
case are transmitted to the branch selected by raffle. injury will arise, the Executive Judge shall issue the TRO effective only for seventy-two (72) hours from
issuance but shall immediately summon the parties for conference and immediately raffle the case in their
A TRO may however be issued ex-parte if the matter is of such extreme urgency that grave injustice and presence. Thereafter, before the expiry of the seventy-two (72) hours, the Presiding Judge to whom the
irreparable injury will arise unless it is issued immediately. Under such circumstances, the executive case is assigned shall conduct a summary hearing to determine whether the TRO can be extended for
judge shall issue the TRO effective only for seventy-two (72) hours from its issuance. But such a another period until a hearing in the pending application for preliminary injunction can be conducted. In no
procedure is not applicable to respondent judge because she is not the executive judge of RTC, case shall the total period of the TRO exceed twenty (20) days, including the original seventy-two (72)
San Pablo City. (Emphasis supplied). hours, for the TRO issued by the Executive Judge.

In Golangco vs. Villanueva, 278 SCRA 414, it was held that respondent judges disregard of the Supreme 4. With the exception of the provisions which necessarily involve multiple-sala stations, these rules shall
Courts pronouncement on temporary restraining orders was not just ignorance of the prevailing rule; to a apply to single-sala stations especially with regard to immediate notice to all parties of all applications for
large extent, it was misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the proper administration of justice and grave TRO.
abuse of authority.
In this case, it is not disputed that respondent judge issued a TRO without conducting the required The holding of a summary hearing prior to the issuance of a temporary restraining order is mandatory, in
summary hearing. There is no showing that it falls under the exceptional circumstances enumerated by the view of the requirement that the application for a temporary restraining order shall be acted upon only
afore-quoted administrative circular where a TRO may be issued by the Executive Judge before assignment after all parties are heard in a summary hearing after the records are transmitted to the branch selected
by raffle to a judge without first conducting a summary hearing. by raffle. In other words, a summary hearing may not be dispensed with.

In defense, respondent judge adopts as her comment in this case, the 2nd indorsement dated
November 16, 2002 which she submitted in OCA IPI No. 00-1058-RTJ, which is an earlier administrative A TRO can be issued ex parte if the matter is of such extreme urgency that grave injustice and
case filed against her by herein complainant. In said indorsement, respondent talked about the urgency of irreparable injury will arise unless it is issued immediately. Under such circumstance, the executive
the issuance of the restraining order in that particular case and also mentions that: judgeshall issue the TRO effective only for seventy-two (72) hours from its issuance. The executive judge
is then required to summon the parties to a conference, during which the case should be raffled in their
presence. Before the expiry of the seventy-two hours, the presiding judge to whom the case was raffled
A judge may not be held administratively accountable for every erroneous order or decision he shall conduct a summary hearing to determine whether the TRO can be extended for another period until
renders. To unjustifiably hold otherwise, assuming that he has erred would make his position doubly a hearing on the pending application for preliminary injunction can be held.[18] (Emphasis supplied)
unbearable, for no one called upon to try the facts or interpret the laws in the process of administering
justice can be infallible in his judgment. The error must be gross or patent, malicious, deliberate or
evident bad faith. The reason for this is that Administrative Circular No. 20-95 aims to restrict the ex parte issuance of
a TRO to cases of extreme urgency in order to avoid grave injustice and irreparable injury. [19]

As a matter of public policy then, the acts of a judge in his official capacity are not subject to disciplinary The rule holds that before a temporary restraining order may be issued, all parties must be heard in
action, even though such acts are erroneous. Good faith and absence of malice, corrupt motives or a summary hearing first, after the records are transmitted to the branch selected by raffle. The only instance
improper consideration are sufficient defenses in which a judge charged with ignorance of the law can when a TRO may be issued ex parte is when the matter is of such extreme urgency that grave injustice
find refuge. (Quisumbing, J., Annabelle R. Gutierrez V. Hon. Rodolfo Palattao, A.M. RTJ-95-1326, July 8, and irreparable injury will arise unless it is issued immediately. Under such circumstance, the Executive
1998).[14] Judge shall issue the TRO effective for 72 hours only. The Executive Judge shall then summon the parties
to a conference during which the case should be raffled in their presence. Before the lapse of the 72 hours,
the Presiding Judge to whom the case was raffled shall then conduct a summary hearing to determine
We find the explanation of respondent in the present case to be insufficient to excuse her from whether the TRO can be extended for another period until the application for preliminary injunction can be
observing strict compliance with Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 20-95. heard, which period shall in no case exceed 20 days including the original 72 hours.
As previously explained by this Court, there are differences in the requisites for the issuance of a Clearly, respondent Judge Salcedo as presiding judge of Branch 32 to which Civil Case No. SP-
temporary restraining order and in the life of a TRO when it is issued by anExecutive Judge and when it is 5775 (01) was raffled, erred in issuing the questioned TRO without conducting the necessary hearing
issued by a Presiding Judge of a court. In Adao vs. Lorenzo,[15] we clarified: first. Only the executive judge may issue a TRO ex parte, under exceptional circumstances and following
a specified procedure herein-abovementioned.
If the temporary restraining order was issued by respondent in his capacity as Executive Judge, the TRO
was good for 72 hours only. Within that period he was required to summon the parties to a conference In meting out the correct penalty, we considered the following cases:
before issuing the TRO and then assign the case by raffle. Thus, par. 3 of Administrative Circular No. 20- Adao vs. Judge Lorenzo[20] where this Court pronounced that the failure of respondent therein, as an
95 provides: Executive Judge, to abide by Administrative Circular No. 20-95 in issuing the TRO constituted grave abuse
of authority, misconduct, and conduct prejudicial to the proper administration of justice for which reason, a
If the matter is of extreme urgency, such that unless a TRO is issued, grave injustice and irreparable fine of P5,000.00 was imposed on respondent judge.[21]
injury will arise, the Executive Judge shall issue the TRO effective only for seventy-two (72) hours from
issuance but shall immediately summon the parties for conference and immediately raffle the case in their Abundo vs. Judge Manio, Jr.[22] where the Court reprimanded respondent judge and warned him for
presence. Thereafter, before the expiry of the seventy-two (72) hours, the Presiding Judge to whom the failing to comply with Administrative Circular No. 20-95.[23] The Court explained that while a judges
case is assigned shall conduct a summary hearing to determine whether the TRO can be extended for disregard of the Supreme Courts pronouncement on temporary restraining orders is not just ignorance of
another period until a hearing in the pending application for preliminary injunction can be conducted. In no the prevailing rule, but to a large extent, constitutes misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the proper
case shall the total period of the TRO exceed (20) days, including the original seventy-two (72) hours, for administration of justice, and grave abuse of authority; however, to be punishable, an act constituting
the TRO issued by the Executive Judge. (Emphasis added) ignorance of the law must not only be contradictory to existing law and jurisprudence, but must also be
motivated by bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or corruption.[24]

On the other hand, if the TRO was issued after Civil Case No. 3391 had been raffled to Branch 2 and In the present case, there is neither allegation nor proof that respondent judge was motivated by bad
respondent judge issued it in his capacity as Acting Judge, then he should have complied with the faith, fraud, dishonesty, corruption or any other ill-motive.
following provision of Administrative Circular No. 20-95, par. 2:
However, it cannot be ignored that on September 7, 2000, barely a year before the filing of the
present administrative complaint, another administrative case had been lodged against respondent judge
The application for a TRO shall be acted upon only after all parties are heard in a summary by the same complainant concerning the issuance of a TRO in another civil case[25] without complying with
hearing conducted within twenty-four (24) hours after the records are transmitted to the branch the same requirements of Administrative Circular No. 20-95, docketed as Adm. Matter No. OCA IPI 00-
selected by raffle. The records shall be transmitted immediately after raffle.[16] (Emphasis supplied). 1058-RTJ. In compliance with the directive of this Court, respondent filed her comment therein which she
now reiterates in the present administrative case.
In this case, respondent judge issued the questioned TRO in her capacity as Presiding Judge. She Unfortunately, the issue on the issuance of the TRO was sidetracked when the administrative matter
should have known that a summary hearing was indispensable. was dismissed by this Court for lack of merit per its Resolution dated March 12, 2001, based on the
recommendation of then Court Administrator Alfredo Benipayo that what complainant assailed was
As we explained in Abundo vs. Judge Manio, Jr.[17] the wisdom of the decision rendered by respondent judge; that there was already a pronouncement made
by this Court that there is no reversible error committed by respondent in the assailed decision; and that
complainants themselves admitted in their complaint that the decision was rendered by the court after the On May 3, 2002, Judge Layague issued an Order granting the writ of preliminary injunction applied for by
case was tried on the merits. the spouses Limso. On May 13, 2002, PNB filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the May 3, 2002 Order9.
According to Pesayco, Judge Layague had, after issuing the Order filed a leave of absence up to May 31,
In other words, respondent judge had earlier been apprised of the provisions of Administrative 200210. However, by reason of his absence, the Motion for Reconsideration was resolved by the pairing
Circular No. 20-95 and therefore, it cannot be said that she is ignorant of the law.For her conscious judge who ruled in favor of PNB by dissolving the writ of preliminary injunction per the Order dated May
disregard of a a basic rule on the issuance of a TRO, Judge Salcedo must be held administratively liable 23, 2002.11
not for gross ignorance of the law but for grave abuse of authority and conduct prejudicial to the proper
administration of justice.
Aggrieved by the order of the pairing judge, the spouses Limso immediately filed a Motion for
For this reason, we find the recommendation of the Office of the Court Administrator to fine Reconsideration on May 24, 2002. Judge Layague, Pesayco alleges cut short his leave and returned to
respondent in the amount of P5,000.00 to be just and appropriate. work on May 28 or 29, 2002, so that he could hear the Motion for Reconsideration of the spouses
Limso.12
On the other hand, we accept the explanation of Judge Marivic T. Balisi-Umali, RTC Judge, Branch
30, San Pablo City regarding her dissolution of the TRO issued by Judge Salcedo of Branch 32 since it
was issued in violation of SC Circular No. 20-95. While the rule is that no court has the authority to nullify On May 30, 2002, the lawyers and the vice-president of PNB filed a counter bond in the amount of P100
the judgments or processes of another court they having co-equal power to grant the same reliefs, said rule million. On that occasion, they were able to talk to Judge Layague, who allegedly expressed his
does not apply to this case for the simple reason that Judge Balisi-Umali did not nullify the process of misgivings about the order of the pairing judge, saying that it was full of loopholes and dealt with "alien
another court but she merely acted as the presiding judge over a case that has been duly assigned to her matters." Sensing bias and partiality from the statements of Judge Layague, PNB filed a Motion to
Branch by raffle after herein respondent had inhibited herself upon motion of the complainant. Inhibit Judge Layague13. On June 24, 2002, Judge Layague reversed the order of the pairing judge
despite the Motion to Inhibit and reinstated his previous order granting the writ of preliminary injunction.14
WHEREFORE, we find Judge Zorayda H. Salcedo of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 32, San Pablo
City guilty of grave abuse of authority and conduct prejudicial to the proper administration of justice. She is
Pesayco is of the opinion that by granting the prayer for injunction, Judge Layague disposed of the main
imposed a fine of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00) with a stern warning that repetition of the same
case15. She insists that the spouses Limso are guilty of forum-shopping since the reliefs they prayed for in
or similar acts in the future will be dealt with more severely. SO ORDERED.
Civil Case No. 29,036-2002 are the same as those sought in Civil Case No. 28,170-2000 entitled Davao
Sunrise Investment Development Corporation v. PNB; Robert Alan Limso is the president of the plaintiff
corporation in the other case.16Pesayco points out that the spouses Limso had sought the preliminary
injunction after a similar writ of preliminary injunction issued by a different Branch of the Davao RTC
A.M. No. RTJ-04-1889 December 22, 2004 (Branch 17) had been dissolved by the Court of Appeals. She also believes that Judge Layague was
biased when he denied the Motion to Dismiss in the same order granting the prayer for a writ of
preliminary injunction without any hearing. Further, Pesayco assails the grant of preliminary injunction by
MA. CECILIA L. PESAYCO, complainant, vs. JUDGE WILLIAM M. LAYAGUE, RTC, Branch 14, Davao
Judge Layague because the remedy is not available in a petition for declaratory relief.17
City, respondent.

Pesayco avers that she is aware of the rule that no notice of hearing is required when the initiatory
Pesayco filed the administrative case in her capacity as the Chief Legal Counsel of the Philippine
pleading does not pray for a temporary restraining order (TRO).18 She adds, however, that when the
National Bank (PNB), which earlier had extrajudicially foreclosed the properties mortgaged by the
spouses Limso amended their complaint into a petition which included an injunctive relief, Judge Layague
spouses Robert Alan and Nancy Limso (spouses Limso).
should have sent the records back to the Clerk of Court for raffle pursuant to Section 4(c), Rule 58 of the
1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure which mandates that the case shall be raffled only after notice to
On March 25, 2002, the spouses Limso filed Civil Case No. 29,036-20022 before the RTC presided by and in the presence of the party to be enjoined.19
Judge Layague for declaratory relief, with prayer for the issuance of a preliminary injunction. In the
complaint, the spouses Limso claimed that the period to redeem should be governed by Act 3135 which
Pesayco also alleges in her Affidavit-Complaint that in another case before the same judge and also
provides for a one (1) year redemption period from registration of the sale, not by Republic Act No. 8791
involving PNB,20 a Motion for Reconsideration filed nearly a year earlier on June 6, 2001 by PNB had yet
or the General Banking Law of 2000.3They also asked the court that R.A. No. 8791 be declared
to be resolved, despite having been deemed submitted for resolution when PNB filed its reply on August
unconstitutional.4
1, 2001. Pesayco points out that Judge Layague has failed to resolve the motion within the reglementary
period.21
Pesayco contends that PNB was not notified of the raffle of this civil case.5 Before the bank was served
with summons and a copy of the complaint, the spouses Limso amended their complaint into a petition,
In his comment to Pesayco's Affidavit-Complaint, Judge Layague argues that PNB was not entitled to a
with an application for a temporary restraining order (TRO)6. On April 10, 2002, Judge Layague issued a
notice of raffle because what was initially filed was a complaint without a prayer for a TRO. 22 Even when
TRO without conducting a hearing. However, after realizing his mistake, Judge Layague issued
the complaint was amended into a petition, Judge Layague avers that he did not serve summons on PNB
an Order dated April 16, 2002 reversing his earlier order.7
as it was not necessary adding that he had nothing to do with the raffle of cases. What he did instead was
to direct the latter to file a comment.23 As regards the issuance of the TRO, Judge Layague admits erring
On April 25, 2002, PNB filed a Motion to Dismiss, with Opposition to Petitioner's Prayer for in granting the TRO without a hearing, yet points out that he had rescinded such order upon realizing his
Issuance of Preliminary Injunction and Application for Temporary Restraining Order8 on the ground that mistake.
the spouses Limso were guilty of forum-shopping after the writ of preliminary injunction granted by Branch
17 of RTC of Davao City in Civil Case No. 28,170-2000 was dissolved by the Court of Appeals; that there
As to his issuance of the Order dated May 3, 2002, Judge Layague contends that he granted the prayer
was a pending case involving the spouses Limso and PNB involving the same issues and the same
for a writ of preliminary injunction based on jurisprudence and after a careful consideration of the
reliefs; that the petition stated no cause of action; and that the spouses Limso had no locus standi to file
evidence of both parties.24 He avers that he was of the honest belief that the spouses Limso did not
the petition for not being the real parties-in-interest. A hearing on the application for a writ of preliminary
commit forum-shopping since the two (2) purportedly related cases,25 did not involve the same issues. He
injunction was conducted.
denies that his order granting the prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction disposed of the main case
because notwithstanding the order, the parties would still have to present their respective evidence on the
proper redemption period.26
Moreover, Judge Layague refutes the claimed that he denied the Motion to Dismiss of PNB in the same However, not every mistake by a judge in the application of the law is vulnerable to an attack for gross
order wherein he granted the prayer for a writ of preliminary injunction. He cites his Order of May 3, 2002, ignorance of the law. A caveat was laid down by this Court that for liability to attach for ignorance of the
noting that nowhere in the order did he rule on the motion. He adds that the filing of the Motion to law, the assailed order, decision or actuation of the judge in the performance of official duties must not
Dismiss by PNB was not sanctioned by the rules, since the order giving due course to the petition clearly only be found to be erroneous but, most importantly, it must be established that he was moved by bad
directed PNB to file a comment, and not a motion to dismiss. Judge Layague alleges that he stated in faith, dishonesty, hatred or some other like motive.39 Similarly, a judge will be held administratively liable
open court that the motion would be treated as affirmative defenses.27 for rendering an unjust judgmentone which is contrary to law or jurisprudence or is not supported by
evidencewhen he acts in bad faith, malice, revenge or some other similar motive.40 In other words, in
order to hold a judge liable for knowingly rendering an unjust judgment, it must be shown beyond
Judge Layague avers that he went on leave on May 9 up to May 28, 2002 to undergo a physical reasonable doubt that the judgment is and that it was made with a conscious and deliberate intent to do
examination and possibly prostatectomy. He denies having purposely cut short his leave so he could hear an injustice.41 In fine, bad faith is the ground for liability in either or both offenses.42
and resolve the Motion for Reconsideration of the spouses Limso. He claims that his absence depended
on the outcome of the medical examination.28
In the case at bar, there is dispute that PNB was not entitled to a notice of raffle at the time the initial
complaint of the spouses Limso was filed since the same did not contain a prayer for a TRO. However,
Judge Layague confirms having met with the lawyers of PNB and its vice-president but denied saying that when the complaint was amended to include such prayer, a notice of raffle should have been sent to
the order of the pairing judge were full of loopholes and included alien matters. Further, he avers that the PNB. The OCA, agreeing with Pesayco, submits that Judge Layague's failure to send notice of raffle
denial of PNB'sMotion for Reconsideration on January 10, 2003 was done not out of vengeance but constitutes a violation of Section 4(c), Rule 58 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which states:
merely for the purpose of correcting the errors committed by the pairing judge. In fact, Judge Layague
notes that he subsequently granted PNB's Motion to Inhibit, albeit only on January 10, 2003, or some
months after Pesayco filed the instant complaint. Section 4. Verified application and bond for preliminary injunction or temporary restraining
order. A preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order may be granted only when:
Judge Layague admits the delay in resolving PNB's Motion for Reconsideration in Civil Case No. 28, 469-
2001, as he resolved it only on January 10, 2003. He attributes the delay to his failing health and the (c) When an application for a writ of preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order is
condition of his court docket. However, he partly blames the counsel for PNB for not reminding him of the included in a complaint or any initiatory pleading, the case, if filed in a multi-sala
pendency of the motion.29 court, shall be raffled only after notice to and in the presence of the adverse party or the
person to be enjoined. In any event, such notice shall be preceded, or contemporaneously
accompanied, by service of summons, together with a copy of the complaint or initiatory
In its report dated September 17, 2003, the OCA recommends that Judge Layague be fined in the pleading and the applicant's affidavit and bond, upon the adverse party in the Philippines.
amount ofP10,000.00 for failure to apply Section 4(c), Rule 58 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil (Emphasis supplied)
Procedure when he omitted to have the case raffled with due notice to PNB after the complaint was
amended to include a prayer for a TRO.30The OCA also cites Judge Layague for inefficiency with a
warning that a similar offense shall be dealt with more severely. The OCA, however, recommends the .
dismissal of the other charges for being judicial in nature.31
The OCA notes that to allow otherwise would lead to easy circumvention of the rules by filing first a
Noting that most of the issues raised in the complaint are sub judice,32 the OCA stresses that a study of complaint without any prayer for a TRO, and amending such complaint only after the case had been
the petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 7152733 reveals that the issues raised therein by PNB are essentially the raffled off to include a prayer for the issuance of a TRO, thus effectively evading the requirement of notice
same as those raised in the instant complaint. The records of the Court of Appeals show that a decision to the adverse party, as well as depriving such party the opportunity to witness the raffle of the case.
favorable to PNB was rendered in the case on December 11, 2002 but on December 20, 2002 the These concerns are quite valid, yet must be qualified by the following observations.
spouses Limso filed a Motion for Reconsiderationwhich is still to be resolved. Thus, the OCA concludes,
on those matters the complaint is still premature, and any action this Court may come out thereon may
injudiciously pre-empt whatever action the Court of Appeals may take on the Motion for There is no rule of procedure that authorizes the re-raffling of a case by reason of an amendment of a
Reconsideration filed by the spouses Limso.34 complaint to include a prayer for preliminary injunction or a TRO. Neither has there been jurisprudence
holding that such re-raffling should be done. It would thus be absurd to require the sending out of notices
for a non-existent raffle. On this point, Judge Layague could not be taken to task for not applying Section
The OCA finds Judge Layague accountable on two counts: for failing to apply Section 4(c), Rule 58 of the 4(c) of Rule 58 simply because there is no indubitable or settled guidepost that the procedure should be
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, and for inefficiency in taking all of seventeen (17) months to resolve observed in the situation in point.
PNB's Motion for Reconsideration in Civil Case No. 28, 469-2001.
The concerns of the OCA are understandable, and it may well be observed that the spouses Limso have
No less than the Code of Judicial conduct mandates that a judge shall be faithful to the laws and maintain come across a loophole to Rule 58. Yet we are mindful that the issue we are resolving is whether Judge
professional competence.35 Indeed, competence is a mark of a good judge. A judge must be acquainted Layague betrayed gross ignorance of the law in not applying Section 4(c), Rule 58. Considering that the
with legal norms and precepts as well as with procedural rules.36 When a judge displays an utter lack of notice/raffle requirement in relation to a complaint amended to include a prayer for TRO is a gray area
familiarity with the rules, he erodes the public's confidence in the competence of our courts. Such is gross which has yet to be clarified by the Court, we could not blame Judge Layague for retaining his
ignorance of the law. One who accepts the exalted position of a judge owes the public and the court the assignment absent any express command in law or jurisprudence for him to abdicate it. Besides, such
duty to be proficient in the law. Unfamiliarity with the Rules of Court is a sign of incompetence. Basic rules action is hardly indicative of any bad faith, dishonesty, hatred or some other like motive which
of procedure must be at the palm of a judge's hands. characterizes the offense of gross ignorance of the law.

Thus, this Court has consistently held that a judge is presumed to know the law and when the law is so However, we agree with the OCA that Judge Layague is guilty of Inefficiency. By his own admission, it
elementary, not to be aware of it constitutes gross ignorance of the law.37 Verily, failure to follow basic took seventeen (17) months to resolve the Motion for Reconsideration filed by PNB in Civil Case No. 28,
legal commands embodied in the law and the Rules constitutes gross ignorance of the law, from which no 469-2001. Moreover, Judge Layague resolved the motion for reconsideration only after the filing of the
one is excused, and surely not a judge.38 instant complaint, leading one to wonder whether such resolution would have been further delayed had
Pesayco not lodged the case against him. This is a blatant transgression of the rule that judges should
dispose of the case with promptitude for the same is not only an ethical issue but a constitutional right of On July 7, 2009, respondent judge issued an Order2 directing the issuance of a TRO "effective seventy
the litigants as well. In fact, the Code of Judicial Conduct enshrined in its pages the significance of this two (72) hours from date of issue," without requiring Obico to put up a bond. Complainants allege that at
obligation on the part of the magistrates: that time, they were not yet in receipt of the summons and copy of the complaint, as well as Obicos
affidavit and bond. Complainants claim that this is violative of Section 4(c) and (d) of Rule 58 of the Rules
of Court.
CANON 1. Rule 1.02. - A Judge should administer justice impartially and without delay.

On July 14, 2009, respondent judge issued an Order3 extending the 72-hour TRO, which had already
CANON 3. Rule 3.05. A judge shall dispose of the court's business promptly and decide expired, "for another period provided that the total period should not exceed twenty days." Again,
cases within the required periods. respondent judge failed to require Obico to put up a bond even as complainants assert that it is already of
judicial notice that a TRO under the amended new rules has been elevated to the level of an injunction.
This tribunal has emphasized that judicial indolence is considered gross inefficiency punishable by fine or
suspension from service without pay with the gravity of the penalty dependent on the attendant In his Resolution4 dated August 11, 2009, respondent judge ordered, among others, the issuance of the
aggravating or mitigating circumstances.43 Judge Layague ascribes the delay in the resolution of the writ of preliminary injunction conditioned upon the application of a bond by Obico in the amount
motion to his ailing health and caseload. But this Court has ruled that if the caseload of the judge or any of P100,000.00. Complainants argue, however, that said directive was violative of Section 5, Rule 58 of
other circumstance prevents the disposition of cases within the prescribed period, he should ask for a the Rules of Court since they were not required "to show cause, at a specific time and place, why the
reasonable extension of time from the Supreme Court, so as to avoid or dispel any suspicion that injunction should not be granted."
something sinister or corrupt is going on.44 In Golangco v. Judge Villanueva,45 we held that the mandate
to promptly dispose of cases or matters applies also to motions or interlocutory matters or incidents
pending before a magistrate. Unreasonable delay of a judge in resolving a pending incident is a violation Due to these acts of respondent judge, complainants filed a motion for inhibition5 from further hearing the
of the norms of judicial conduct and constitutes gross inefficiency that warrants the imposition of an case, since they perceive that respondent judge was bereft of the cold neutrality of an impartial judge.
administrative sanction against the defaulting magistrate. The motion was denied by respondent judge in his Resolution6 dated October 28, 2009. Complainants
thus consider respondent judges non-inhibition as violative of the Code of Judicial Conduct, as it denied
them due process and equal protection of the law.
It must be noted that the delay for which Judge Layague is being found liable pertains to only one
pleading filed. This circumstance certainly does not extenuate Judge Layague from sanction, yet may
serve to reduce his penalty. A fine of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) is appropriate under the On November 11, 2009, respondent judge issued an Order7 upon Obicos motion, directing the reduction
circumstances. of the bond from P100,000.00 to P50,000.00.

WHEREFORE, the foregoing premises considered, we find Judge Layague guilty of INEFFICIENCY and Complainants then filed a Motion to Hold in Abeyance Further Proceedings8 on the ground of the
fine him in the amount of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00) with a warning that a similar offense pendency of their appeal before the Supreme Court of the Order denying the motion for inhibition.
shall be dealt with more severely. SO ORDERED. However, at the December 15, 2009 setting for pre-trial of the civil case, respondent judge issued an
Order9 denying the motion to hold in abeyance further proceedings. Respondent judge also allowed
Obico to present evidence ex parte on January 26, 2010 for failure of complainants to appear during the
pre-trial.10

A.M. No. RTJ-10-2255 January 17, 2011 In his Comment11 dated February 11, 2010, respondent judge clarifies that, as of the time of the filing of
(Formerly OCA IPI No. 10-3335-RTJ) the civil complaint, Branches 27 and 43 of the RTC, Gingoog City, had no regular presiding judges.
Branch 27 was temporarily presided over by Judge Rustico Paderanga, the regular presiding judge of
SPOUSES DEMOCRITO AND OLIVIA LAGO, Complainants, vs. JUDGE GODOFREDO B. ABUL, JR., RTC, Camiguin Province, while Branch 43 was presided over by respondent judge, who is the regular
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 43, GINGOOG CITY, Respondent. judge of RTC, Branch 4, Butuan City.

The case arose from an amended complaint1 dated December 29, 2009, filed by Spouses Democrito C. Respondent judge claims that he had faithfully observed the provisions of Rule 58 of the Rules of Court,
Lago and Olivia R. Lago (complainants), charging Judge Godofredo B. Abul, Jr. (respondent judge) of the with respect to Civil Case No. 2009-905. He explains that, as the acting executive judge of RTC, Gingoog
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 43, Gingoog City, with acts and omissions violative of the Standards City, he took cognizance of the civil case, convinced that it had to be acted upon immediately. Thus, the
of Conduct Prescribed for Judges by Law, the Rules of Court, and the Code of Judicial Conduct. issuance of the 72-hour TRO on July 7, 2009 was by virtue of his sound discretion based on the civil
complaint and its annexes.

Complainants were the defendants in a civil action for Preliminary Injunction, Easement of Road Right of
Way, and Attorneys Fees, with prayer for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), filed on July 2, 2009 by Respondent judge said that he explained in his July 14, 2009 Order that he extended the 72-hour TRO to
Christina M. Obico (Obico) before the RTC, Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental, and docketed as Civil Case 20 days in this wise
No. 2009-905. The action was spawned by the alleged threats of complainants to close the access road
leading to Obicos property, where the latters milkfish (bangus) farm is located. Obico claimed that, if the Considering that the TRO previously granted was only for seventy-two hours, the same can be extended
access road leading to her property was closed, she would be prevented from harvesting her milkfish, for another period provided that the total period should not exceed twenty days. In order to prevent
causing massive fish kills, and leading to heavy financial losses on her part. plaintiff from incurring serious damage and heavy financial losses on her part, this court is inclined to
grant the extension of the Temporary Restraining Order for another period not exceeding twenty (20)
Complainants assert that the civil complaint was never raffled, and that no notice of raffle was ever days inclusive of the seventy two (72) hour period already granted previously by this court.12
served upon them, yet the case went directly to Branch 43, where respondent judge is the acting
presiding judge. He is also the acting executive judge of RTC, Gingoog City. Complainants claim that this With respect to the July 14, 2009 hearing for the TRO, respondent judge claims that it was justified since
is violative of Section 4(c), Rule 58 of the Rules of Court. he, as a mere acting presiding (and executive) judge of RTC, Gingoog City, conducts hearings in that
sala only on Tuesdays and Wednesdays because he has to travel about 144 kilometers from Butuan City, However, subject to the provisions of the preceding sections, if the matter is of extreme urgency and the
where he is actually stationed. In the same July 14, 2009 Order, respondent judge asserts that the applicant will suffer grave injustice and irreparable injury, the executive judge of a multiple-sala court or
conduct of the summary hearings on days other than Tuesdays and Wednesdays would cause undue the presiding judge of a single-sala court may issue ex parte a temporary restraining order effective for
prejudice to the other cases already scheduled way ahead of the subject civil action, thus, the sheer only seventy-two (72) hours from issuance, but shall immediately comply with the provisions of the next
improbability of being accommodated. preceding section as to the service of summons and the documents to be served therewith. Thereafter,
within the aforesaid seventy-two (72) hours, the judge before whom the case is pending shall conduct a
summary hearing to determine whether the temporary restraining order shall be extended until the
Respondent judge asseverates that the writ of injunction was issued only after a serious consideration of application for preliminary injunction can be heard. In no case shall the total period of effectivity of the
all the factual and legal circumstances of the case. On the other hand, he insists that the denial of the temporary restraining order exceed twenty (20) days, including the original seventy-two hours provided
motion for inhibition was due to its lack of factual and legal basis. herein.

After due investigation of this administrative case, the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) issued its In the event that the application for preliminary injunction is denied or not resolved within the said period,
Report dated September 13, 2010, recommending that this case be re-docketed as a regular the temporary restraining order is deemed automatically vacated. The effectivity of a temporary
administrative matter, and, based on its finding that respondent judge was grossly ignorant of the law and restraining order is not extendible without need of any judicial declaration to that effect, and no court shall
rules of procedure, recommended that he be meted a fine in the amount of P25,000.00, with a stern have authority to extend or renew the same on the same ground for which it was issued.
warning that a repetition of the same or any similar infraction shall be dealt with more severely.

However, if issued by the Court of Appeals or a member thereof, the temporary restraining order shall be
The OCA found respondent judge to have been grossly and deliberately ignorant of the law and effective for sixty (60) days from service on the party or person sought to be enjoined. A restraining order
procedure for violation of Rule 58 of the Rules of Court, specifically by means of the following acts: (1) issued by the Supreme Court or a member thereof shall be effective until further orders.
when the civil complaint with prayer for the issuance of a TRO was filed on July 2, 2009, respondent
judge assumed jurisdiction thereon and, without the mandated raffle and notification and service of
summons to the adverse party, issued a 72-hour TRO on July 7, 2009; (2) when respondent judge set the The trial court, the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan or the Court of Tax Appeals that issued a writ of
case for summary hearing on July 14, 2009, purportedly to determine whether the TRO could be preliminary injunction against a lower court, board, officer, or quasi-judicial agency shall decide the main
extended for another period, when the hearing should be set within 72 hours from the issuance of the case or petition within six (6) months from the issuance of the writ. 13
TRO; (3) when he eventually granted an extension of an already expired TRO to a full 20-day period; and
(4) when he issued a writ of preliminary injunction in favor of Obico without prior notice to herein
complainants and without the required hearing. Culled from the foregoing provisions, particularly with respect to the second paragraph of Section 5, Rule
58 of the Rules of Court, as amended, it is clear that, on the matter of the issuance of an ex parte 72-hour
TRO, an executive judge of a multiple-sala court (applicable to respondent judge), or the presiding judge
We find the recommendations of the OCA to be well-taken. of a single-sala court, is empowered to issue the same in matters of extreme emergency, in order to
prevent grave injustice and irreparable injury to the applicant. However, it is also an unequivocal provision
that, after the issuance of the 72-hour TRO, the executive judge of a multiple-sala court is bound to
Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 58 of the Rules of Court on preliminary injunction, pertinent to this case, comply with Section 4(c) of the same rule with respect to the service of summons and the documents to
provide be served therewith.

SEC. 4. Verified application and bond for preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order.A preliminary injunction
or temporary restraining order may be granted only when:
The records of this case clearly show that respondent judge failed to cause the raffle of Civil Case No.
(a) The application in the action or proceeding is verified, and shows facts entitling the applicant to the relief 2009-905, since RTC, Gingoog City, is a multiple-sala court, or to cause the notification and service of
demanded; and summons to complainants after he issued the 72-hour TRO. Respondent judges July 7, 2009 Order was
(b) Unless exempted by the court, the applicant files with the court where the action or proceeding is pending, explicit when the civil case was set for summary hearing on July 14, 2009, purportedly to determine
a bond executed to the party or person enjoined, in an amount to be fixed by the court, to the effect that the whether or not the TRO issued could be extended for another period. Thus, it is manifest that respondent
applicant will pay such party or person all damages which he may sustain by reason of the injunction or judge had directly assumed jurisdiction over the civil action and all together disregarded the mandatory
temporary restraining order if the court should finally decide that the applicant was not entitled thereto. Upon
requirements of Section 4(c), Rule 58, relative to the raffle in the presence of the parties, and service of
approval of the requisite bond, a writ of preliminary injunction shall be issued.
(c) When an application for a writ of preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order is included in a summons. This is gross error.
complaint or any initiatory pleading, the case, if filed in a multiple-sala court, shall be raffled only after notice
to and in the presence of the adverse party or the person to be enjoined. In any event, such notice shall be
preceded, or contemporaneously accompanied by service of summons, together with a copy of the complaint Even assuming that there was a valid raffle to RTC, Branch 43, Gingoog City, where respondent judge
or initiatory pleading and the applicants affidavit and bond, upon the adverse party in the Philippines. acts as the presiding magistrate, the supposed extreme urgency of the issuance of the 72-hour TRO was
However, where the summons could not be served personally or by substituted service despite diligent belied by his setting of the required summary hearing for the determination of the necessity of extending
efforts, or the adverse party is a resident of the Philippines temporarily absent therefrom or is a nonresident the 72-hour TRO to 20 days, one week after the issuance thereof. Indeed, Section 5, Rule 58 is explicit
thereof, the requirement of prior or contemporaneous service of summons shall not apply. that such summary hearing must be conducted within the said 72-hour period. Notwithstanding the
(d) The application for a temporary restraining order shall thereafter be acted upon only after all parties are explanation of respondent judge that he could not set the required summary hearing except on Tuesdays
heard in a summary hearing which shall be conducted within twenty-four (24) hours after the sheriffs return
of service and/or the records are received by the branch selected by raffle and to which the records shall be
and Wednesdays, it should be noted that July 7, 2009, the date of the issuance of the 72-hour TRO, was
transmitted immediately. a Tuesday, yet respondent judge could have set the summary hearing on July 8, 2009, a Wednesday. He
SEC. 5. Preliminary injunction not granted without notice; exception.No preliminary injunction shall be granted without failed to do so on the mistaken notion that, aside from his alleged hectic schedule, he could, at any time,
hearing and prior notice to the party or person sought to be enjoined. If it shall appear from facts shown by affidavits or by extend the 72-hour TRO for another period as long as the total period did not exceed 20 days.
the verified application that great or irreparable injury would result to the applicant before the matter can be heard on
notice, the court to which the application for preliminary injunction was made, may issue ex parte a temporary restraining
order to be effective only for a period of twenty (20) days from service on the party or person sought to be enjoined, What is more appalling is that respondent judge extended the 72-hour TRO, which had already and
except as herein provided. Within the twenty-day period, the court must order said party or person to show cause, at a obviously expired, into a full 20-day TRO. An already expired TRO can no longer be extended.
specified time and place, why the injunction should not be granted. The court shall also determine, within the same Respondent judge should have known that the TRO he issued in his capacity as an acting executive
period, whether or not the preliminary injunction shall be granted, and accordingly issue the corresponding order.
judge was valid for only 72 hours. Beyond such time, the TRO automatically expires, unless, before the
expiration of the said period, he, supposedly in his capacity as presiding judge to whom the case was
raffled, conducted the required summary hearing in order to extend the TROs lifetime. Indubitably, a 72- WHEREFORE, Judge Godofredo B. Abul, Jr., of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 43, Gingoog City, is
hour TRO, issued by an executive judge, is a separate and distinct TRO which can stand on its own, found liable for Gross Ignorance of the Law and Procedure, and is hereby meted a fine of P25,000.00,
regardless of whether it is eventually extended or not. It is not, as respondent judge attempts to impress with a stern warning that a repetition of the same, or any similar infraction in the future, shall be dealt with
upon us, a mere part of the 20-day TRO issued by a presiding judge to whom the case is raffled. more severely. SO ORDERED.

Moreover, respondent judge committed another blunder when he ordered the issuance of a writ of A.M. No. RTJ-05-1904 February 18, 2005
preliminary injunction without the required hearing and without prior notice to the defendants, herein
complainants. The records plainly disclose that the only hearing conducted prior to the August 11, 2009
Resolution granting the preliminary injunction was the July 14, 2009 summary hearing for the extension of BAGONG WEST KABULUSAN 1 NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION, INC. REPRESENTED BY ITS
the 72-hour TRO. This could be gathered from the August 11, 2009 Resolution, wherein respondent ACTING PRESIDENT WENEFREDO S. QUEDOR complainant, vs. JUDGE ALBERTO L.
judge declared LERMA Respondent.

During the hearing for the determination of the propriety (sic) the Temporary Restraining Order should be Judge Alberto L. Lerma, Presiding Judge of Branch 256 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Muntinlupa,
extended or whether the Writ of Injunction be granted, the plaintiff presented Christina M. Obico, who in stands charged in a complaint1 dated September 21, 2001 filed by the Bagong West Kabulusan
essence testified that she operated fish cages at Gingoog Bay. x x x.14 Neighborhood Association, Inc. (the Association) for falsification of court records, gross violation of the
Code of Judicial Conduct, gross neglect of duty, and gross ignorance of the law with manifest bias and
partiality.
Again, Rule 58, as amended, mandates a full and comprehensive hearing for the determination of the
propriety of the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction, separate from the summary hearing for the
extension of the 72-hour TRO. The preliminary injunction prayed for by the applicant can only be heard CST Enterprises, Inc. filed before the Muntinlupa Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) thirty eight (38)
after the trial court has ordered the issuance of the usual 20-day TRO. Within that period of 20 days, the complaints forejectment against 39 individuals2 (the defendants) who were occupying lots located at West
court shall order the party sought to be enjoined to show cause at a specified time and place why the Kabulusan, Barangay Cupang, Muntinlupa City and covered by TCT Nos. 124275 and 157581 (the lots).
injunction should not be granted. During that same period, the court shall also determine the propriety of The cases, which were raffled to Branch 80 of the MeTC, were docketed as Civil Case Nos. 4678-4715.
granting the preliminary injunction and then issue the corresponding order to that effect. In the case of
respondent judge, he gravely failed to comply with what the rule requires, i.e., to give complainants the Branch 80 of the Muntinlupa MeTC, by decision of March 17, 2000, rendered judgment in favor of CST
opportunity to comment or object, through a full-blown hearing, to the writ of injunction prayed for. Enterprises, Inc., ordering the defendants to vacate the lots and surrender possession thereof to CST
Instead, respondent judge railroaded the entire process by treating the summary hearing for the Enterprises, Inc.3 The judgment became final and executory following which writs of execution were
extension of the TRO as the very same hearing required for the issuance of the writ of preliminary issued and served on the defendants on June 14, 2000.4
injunction.1avvphi1

It appears that the defendants refused to vacate the lots. Thus, by Order of November 8, 2000, the MeTC
Verily, the absence of the hearing required by the Rules of Court is downright reprehensible and, thus, directed the defendants to demolish their "respective structures" within 5 days from notice thereof. 5 A writ
should not be countenanced. The requirement of a hearing is so fundamental that failure to comply with it of demolition6dated November 9, 2000 was accordingly issued directing the sheriff to remove and
not only amounts to gross ignorance of rules and procedure, but also to an outright denial of due process demolish the houses and improvements introduced by the defendants on the lots.
to the party denied such a hearing. Undoubtedly, the acts and omissions of respondent judge warrant
sanction from this Court.
On December 11, 2000, the Association, claiming to represent the underprivileged and homeless
residents of the lots, but without naming the defendants in Civil Case Nos. 4678-4715, filed a
Though not every judicial error bespeaks ignorance of the law or of the rules, and that, when committed in Complaint against MeTC Sheriff Armando M. Camacho, for "Injunction with Very Urgent Petition for the
good faith, does not warrant administrative sanction, the rule applies only in cases within the parameters Issuance of Restraining Order to Preserve and Maintain the Status Quo," docketed as Civil Case No. 00-
of tolerable misjudgment. When the law or the rule is so elementary, not to be aware of it or to act as if 233. 7
one does not know it constitutes gross ignorance of the law. One who accepts the exalted position of a
judge owes the public and the court proficiency in the law, and the duty to maintain professional
competence at all times. When a judge displays an utter lack of familiarity with the rules, he erodes the The Complaint for injunction alleged that under R.A. No. 7279 (Urban Development and Housing Act of
confidence of the public in the courts. A judge is expected to keep abreast of the developments and 1992), it is mandatory that before demolition or eviction can be effected, adequate relocation, whether
amendments thereto, as well as of prevailing jurisprudence. Ignorance of the law by a judge can easily be temporary or permanent, be undertaken by the City of Muntinlupa and the National Housing Authority with
the mainspring of injustice.15 the assistance of other concerned government agencies.8 It thus prayed that service of the notice to
vacate and demolish be held in abeyance until the provisions of R.A. 7279 have been complied with and
that, in the meantime, a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) be issued to preserve and maintain the
In the absence of fraud, dishonesty, or corruption, the acts of a judge in his judicial capacity are not status quo.9
subject to disciplinary action. However, the assailed judicial acts must not be in gross violation of clearly
established law or procedure, which every judge must be familiar with. Every magistrate presiding over a
court of law must have the basic rules at the palm of his hands and maintain professional competence at On motion of the Association, a special raffle of Civil Case No. 00-233 was set on December 15, 2000.10
all times.16
Meanwhile, in a petition filed by the defendants before the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. SP
Section 8, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court classifies gross ignorance of the law or procedure as a serious No. 61991,assailing among other things, the MeTC judgment in the ejectment cases which was sought to
offense for which the imposable sanction ranges from dismissal from the service to suspension from be annulled, the appellate court, by Resolution of December 12, 2000, issued a TRO enjoining the
office, and a fine of more than P20,000.00 but not exceeding P40,000.00. Under the premises, this Court enforcement of the writ of demolition.11
finds it appropriate to impose on respondent judge the penalty of a fine in the amount of P25,000.00.
The Associations complaint for injunction in Civil Case No. 00-233 was raffled to Branch 256 of the
Muntinlupa RTC presided by respondent, Judge Alberto Lerma. Summons dated January 2, 2001 was
thereafter issued to Sheriff Camacho requiring him to enter his appearance and answer the Associations Respondent, in his Comments30 dated November 29, 2001, claimed that several actions were instituted
petition within 15 days from service thereof, which summons was served on him on January 15, 2001. 12 by complainant and/or the defendants to stop at all cost the enforcement and implementation of the
decision rendered by the MeTC in Civil Case Nos. 4678-4715;31 that on August 23, 2000, before the filing
of Civil Case No. 00-233, he dismissed a petition of the defendants against the MeTC Branch 80
Notice dated January 8, 2001 setting for hearing on January 17, 2001 the Associations prayer for a TRO judge, for "Certiorari and Prohibition or Annulment of Judgment in Civil Case Nos. 4678-4715 with prayer
was issued.13 The notice addressed to Sheriff Camacho was, however, served on him the day after the for Writ of Preliminary Injunction," docketed as SP Civil Case No. 00-085, and denied their motion for
hearing or on January 18, 2001.14 As he was not present during the hearing, respondent, on motion of the reconsideration of the dismissal;32 that the defendants elevated the case on December 4, 2000 to the
Association, considered the matter of the issuance of TRO submitted for resolution. 15 Court of Appeals via petition for annulment of judgment with injunction and very urgent motion for the
issuance of a restraining order (CA-G.R. SP No. 61991)33 challenging (1) the MeTCDecision dated
By Order16 of February 5, 2001, respondent denied the Associations prayer for a TRO, he finding that no March 17, 2000 in Civil Case Nos. 4678-4715; (2) the RTC Order dated August 23, 2000 dismissing on
great or irreparable injury would result if a TRO is not issued immediately. Copies of this order were sent motion of CST Enterprises, Inc. the petition for certiorari in S.P. Civil Case No. 00-085; (3) the
to the parties by registered mail on February 16, 2001.17 In the meantime, notice of hearing of the RTCOrder dated October 18, 2000 in S.P. Civil Case No. 00-085 denying the motion for reconsideration
application for Preliminary Injunction on March 9, 2001 was issued. filed by the defendants; (4) the MeTC Order dated November 8, 2000 in Civil Case Nos. 4678-
4715 granting the motion for the issuance of a writ of demolition; (5) the MeTC Writ of Demolition dated
November 9, 2000 in Civil Case Nos. 4678-4715; and (6) the Notice to Vacate and Demolish dated
On February 21, 2001, the Association filed a "Motion to Resolve the Pending Incident of Temporary November 20, 2000 issued by MeTC Sheriff Camacho inCivil Case Nos. 4678-4715.
Restraining Order with Motion to Declare the Defendant in Default" which was set by the movant for
hearing on February 28, 2001.18 By Order of February 28, 2001, upon motion of the Association, the
"Motion to Resolve Temporary Restraining Order and to Declare Defendant in default" was submitted for Respondent further claimed
resolution.19 that a week after the defendants filed their petition before the appellate court or onDecember 11, 2000, co
mplainant again filed the Complaint for "Injunction with Very Urgent Petition for the Issuance of
Restraining Order to Preserve and Maintain the Status Quo" (Civil Case No. 00-233); that on December
During the hearing of the application for the issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction on March 9, 2001, 12, 2000, the Court of Appeals issued in CA-G.R. SP No. 61991 a Resolution enjoining the enforcement
respondent noted Sheriff Camachos absence. of the writ of demolition for a period of 60 days from the date of its issuance, or until February 10,
200134 on account of which the Notice to Vacate and Demolish dated November 20, 2000, all addressed
to the defendants, was temporarily suspended.35
The Association later filed a Motion for Reconsideration of respondents Order of February 5, 2001
(denying the Motion for the issuance of a TRO) which was denied by Order of March 13, 2001. 20
Respondent furthermore alleged that on August 27,
2001, five months after the Court of Appeals dismissed CA-
Meanwhile, due to procedural infirmities and for lack of merit, the Court of Appeals, by Resolution of
G.R.SP No. 61991, complainant filed a motion to suspend proceedings in Civil Case Nos. 4678-
March 19, 2001, dismissed CA-G.R. SP No. 61991.21
4715 before Branch 80 of the MeTC for the same purpose, that is, to hold in abeyance the enforcement of
the notice to vacate and demolish dated November 20, 2000;36 that
On motion of the Association, the hearing of "the main case for injunction" in Civil Case No. 00-233 was again, on September 24, 2001, the same day complainant filed thepresent administrative case against hi
set for hearing on April 19, 200122 during which the defendant sheriff again failed to show up. The hearing m and while the motion to suspend proceedings in Civil Case Nos. 4678-
was thus reset23 to June 22, 2001 during which respondent, on motion of the Association, declared its 4715remained pending, the defendants filed before the RTC a complaint, docketed asCivil Case No. 01-
"Motion to Declare Defendant in Default" submitted for resolution. 24 268, for illegaleviction/demolition, loss of property and damages, injunction and temporary restraining ord
er,relocation/restitution/benefits with prayer for lis pendens, which was raffled and assigned to Branch
276, presided by Judge N.C. Parello, again praying, among other things, to restrain Sheriff Camacho from
On September 14, 2001, the Association filed a "Very Urgent Motion to Resolve Complaint for Injunction," enforcing the notice to vacate and demolish;37 and that the motion to suspend proceedings in Civil Case
setting the motion for hearing on September 17, 2001.25 The Association was later to allege in its present Nos. 4678-4715 was denied on November 9, 2001.38
complaint that the staff of respondent refused to set the said motion for hearing. 26

In the main, respondent stressed that all these cases filed after a
Alleging that respondent, "with manifest bias and partiality and with gross ignorance of R.A. 7279 and writ of demolition was issued by the MeTC werefiled for the purpose of restraining the sheriff from enforci
gross neglect of duty, deliberately delayed the resolution of [Civil Case No. 00-233] in order for . . . ng the notices to vacate and demolish, in violation of therule against forum-shopping under Rule 7,
[Sheriff] Camacho [to] EFFECT THE DEMOLITION before the resolution of [said] case so that [it] will be Section 5 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, they involving the same parties, causes of action, and
rendered moot and academic,"27 the Association, through its Acting President, Wenefredo S. Quedor, reliefs.39
filed on September 24, 2001 the present complaint against respondent before the Office of the Court
Administrator.
Respondent went on to stress that all his actions and findings in Civil Case No. 00-233 were in
accordance with the Rules and the Canons on Judicial Ethics, with cold judicial impartiality, and with no
In the affidavit of the Acting President of the Association (hereinafter referred to as complainant), it is other objective but to uphold the rule and majesty of the law.40
averred that respondent violated Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 20-95 requiring him to act on
the application for a TRO after all parties are heard in a summary hearing conducted within 24 hours after
the records are transmitted to the branch selected by raffle, he having set for hearing the prayer for TRO In its memorandum41 of August 18, 2003, the OCA opines that respondent should not have deferred the
only on January 17, 2001 or 33 daysafter the complaint was raffled to his sala.28 resolution of the pending incidents lest he be accused of delay. And it finds that respondent offered no
explanation why the order denying complainants application for a TRO is dated February 5, 2001 when
the hearing thereon occurred on February 28, 2001.42
It is further averred in the said affidavit that respondent maliciously and unlawfully falsified court records
by making it appear that he already resolved the pending incident re the application for the issuance of a
TRO by issuing the Order of February 5, 2001 when in fact the Motion to Resolve the application was not To recall, the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 61991, issued a Resolution on December 12, 2000 a
yet resolved when it was heard on February 28, 2001.29 day after Civil Case No. 00-233 (which also prayed for a TRO) was filed on December 11, 2000, enjoining
the enforcement of the writ of demolition against the defendants for a period of 60 days or until February
10, 2001. As respondent was one of the respondents in said CA-G.R. SP No. 61991, his Order 2. The application for a TRO shall be acted upon only after all parties are heard in a summary
dismissing SP Civil Case No. 00-085 being among those challenged in said case, it is assumed that he hearing conducted within twenty-four (24) hours after the records are transmitted to the branch
was served a copy of said Resolution. selected by raffle. The records shall be transmitted immediately after raffle.

Consequently, when Civil Case No. 00-233 was raffled to respondents sala on December 15, 2000, xxx (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
complainants prayer for a TRO had been rendered moot, such relief having been already afforded the
defendants by the appellate court in its Resolution of December 12, 2000. To further act on the therein
petitioners prayer for a TRO would thus serve no useful purpose, that is, if respondent was actually This circular is now incorporated in the present Rules of Court as Rule 58, Section 4 as follows:
notified of the TRO issued by the appellate court.
SEC. 4. Verified application and bond for preliminary injunction or restraining order. - A preliminary
Assuming arguendo that, as respondent alleged, complainant was guilty of forum shopping, respondent injunction ortemporary restraining order may be granted only when:
should have dismissed Civil Case No. 00-233 in accordance with Rule 7, Section 5 of the Rules of
Court.43 xxx

It would appear though that, to avert the possibility of complainants Complaint in Civil Case No. 00-233 (c) When an application for a writ of preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order is included in a
being dismissed on the ground of forum shopping, it made it appear that the parties therein and in CA- complaint or any initiatory pleading, the case, if filed in a multi-sala court, shall be raffled only after notice
G.R. SP No. 61991 are not one and the same. to and in the presence of the adverse party or the person sought to be enjoined. In any event, such notice
shall be preceded, or contemporaneously accompanied, by service of summons, together with a copy of
A perusal of the allegations embodied in the complaint in Civil Case No. 00-233 shows, however, that the the complaint or initiatory pleading and the applicants affidavit and bond, upon the adverse party in the
Association-herein complainant actually represented the defendants- petitioners in CA-G.R. SP No. Philippines.
61991:
xxx
Under date of November 17, 1999, CST Enterprises Inc. filed with the Metropolitan Trial Court of
Muntinlupa City presided by Hon. Noli C. Diaz 39 (sic) ejectment cases against hereinplaintiffs and (d) The application for a temporary restraining order shall thereafter be acted upon only after all parties
docketed as Civil Case Nos. 4678 to 4715 xxx.44 are heard in a summary hearing which shall be conducted within twenty four (24) hours after the sheriffs
return of service and/or records are received by the branch selected by raffle and to which the records
If indeed the Association-herein complainant represented the underprivileged and homeless citizens of shall be transmitted immediately. (Underscoring supplied)
West Kabulusan, Brgy. Cupang in Civil Case No. 00-233, it failed to comply with the requirements set
forth under Rule 3, Section 3 of the Rules of Court45 that when an action is prosecuted by a Clearly, the circular and the Rules of Court seek to minimize the ex-parte,47 precipitate and improvident
representative, the beneficiaries shall be included in the title of the case and shall be deemed as the real issuance of TROs.48
parties in interest. On that score alone, the complaint could have been dismissed for lack of
cause46 under Sec. 1(d) of Rule 16.
Again, granting arguendo that respondent may have erred in not taking a more suitable course of action,
given the circumstances surrounding the case, not to mention the palpable intent of the defendants to
More. In the complaint in Civil Case No. 00-233, complainant did not implead the Presiding Judge of trifle with judicial processes, any lapse on his part can be seen as mere error of judgment, of which he
Branch 80 of the MeTC who issued the writ of demolition dated November 9, 2000 and CST Enterprises may not be held administratively liable in the absence of a showing of bad faith, malice, or corrupt
Inc. which stood to be adversely affected in case a TRO was issued by respondent. On the other hand, purpose.49
the duty of Sheriff Camacho, who was the sole defendant in the said case, to execute the writ of
demolition was purely ministerial. In the absence of a directive to the contrary, he was expected to
proceed with reasonable promptness to implement the writ according to its mandate. As for complainants imputation to respondent of falsification of court records by making it appear that he
already resolved the application for the issuance of a TRO as early as February 5, 2001 when the
application was yet to be heard on February 28, 2001: The records before this Court disclose that the
Complainant faults respondent for violating Supreme Court Administrative Circular 20-95 for failure to call February 5, 2001 Order denying complainants prayer for a TRO was sent to the parties by registered
for a hearing on its application for a TRO within 24 hours after the case had been raffled to his sala on mail on February 16, 2001.50
December 15, 2001, he having set the same for hearing only on January 17, 2000. Upon the assumption
that the appellate courts Resolution granting a TRO had not yet come to the notice of respondent at the
time Civil Case No. 00-233 was raffled to him, what is mandatory in the circular is the giving of notice and It is thus possible that when complainant filed on February 21, 2001, its "Motion to Resolve the Pending
opportunity for the adverse party to be heard and interpose objections in a summary hearing, before a Incident of Temporary Restraining Order with Motion to Declare Defendant in Default," the hearing of
prayer for a TRO is acted upon. The period within which to conduct a summary hearing is not 24 hours which motion was set by complainant-movant on February 28, 2001, complainant had not yet received
after the case has been raffled but 24 hours after the records are transmitted to the branch to which it is the February 5, 2001 Order of the Court.
raffled.
Respecting the charge that respondent exhibited gross ignorance of the provisions of R.A. 7279 with
Pertinent paragraphs of Supreme Court Administrative Circular No. 20-95 are quoted hereunder: manifest bias and partiality, such allegation remains unsubstantiated.

1. Where an application for temporary restraining order (TRO) or writ of preliminary injunction IN LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, for insufficiency of evidence, the administrative complaint against
is included in a complaint or any initiatory pleading filed with the trial court, such complaint or respondent is hereby DISMISSED.
initiatory pleading shall beraffled only after notice to the adverse party and in the presence of
such party or counsel.