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Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

A.M. No. 93-7-696-0 February 21, 1995

In Re JOAQUIN T. BORROMEO, Ex Rel. Cebu City Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

RESOLUTION

PER CURIAM:

It is said that a little learning is a dangerous thing; and that he who acts as his own lawyer has a fool for a client.
There would seem to be more than a grain of truth in these aphorisms; and they appear to find validation in the
proceeding at bench, at least.

The respondent in this case, Joaquin T. Borromeo, is not a lawyer but has apparently read some law books, and
ostensibly come to possess some superficial awareness of a few substantive legal principles and procedural rules.
Incredibly, with nothing more than this smattering of learning, the respondent has, for some sixteen (16) years now,
from 1978 to the present, been instituting and prosecuting legal proceedings in various courts, dogmatically
pontificating on errors supposedly committed by the courts, including the Supreme Court. In the picturesque
language of former Chief Justice Enrique M. Fernando, he has "with all the valor of ignorance," 1 been verbally
jousting with various adversaries in diverse litigations; or in the words of a well-known song, rushing into arenas
"where angels fear to tread." Under the illusion that his trivial acquaintance with the law had given him competence
to undertake litigation, he has ventured to represent himself in numerous original and review proceedings.
Expectedly, the results have been disastrous. In the process, and possibly in aid of his interminable and quite
unreasonable resort to judicial proceedings, he has seen fit to compose and circulate many scurrilous statements
against courts, judges and their employees, as well as his adversaries, for which he is now being called to account.

Respondent Borromeo's ill-advised incursions into lawyering were generated by fairly prosaic transactions with
three (3) banks which came to have calamitous consequences for him chiefly because of his failure to comply with
his contractual commitments and his stubborn insistence on imposing his own terms and conditions for their
fulfillment. These banks were: Traders Royal Bank (TRB), United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), Security Bank
& Trust Co. (SBTC). Borromeo obtained loans or credit accommodation from them, to secure which he constituted
mortgages over immovables belonging to him or members of his family, or third persons. He failed to pay these
obligations, and when demands were made for him to do so, laid down his own terms for their satisfaction which
were quite inconsistent with those agreed upon with his obligees or prescribed by law. When, understandably, the
banks refused to let him have his way, he brought suits right and left, successively if not contemporaneously, against
said banks, its officers, and even the lawyers who represented the banks in the actions brought by or against him. He
sued, as well, the public prosecutors, the Judges of the Trial Courts, and the Justices of the Court of Appeals and the
Supreme Court who at one time or another, rendered a judgment, resolution or order adverse to him, as well as the
Clerks of Court and other Court employees signing the notices thereof. In the aggregate, he has initiated or spawned
in different fora the astounding number of no less-than fifty (50) original or review proceedings, civil, criminal,
administrative. For some sixteen (16) years now, to repeat, he has been continuously cluttering the Courts with his
repetitive, and quite baseless if not outlandish complaints and contentions.

I. CASES INVOLVING TRADERS


ROYAL BANK (TRB)
The first bank that Joaquin T. Borromeo appears to have dealt with was the Traders Royal Bank (TRB). On June 2,
1978, he got a loan from it in the sum of P45,000.00. This he secured by a real estate mortgage created over two
parcels of land covered by TCT No. 59596 and TCT No. 59755 owned, respectively, by Socorro Borromeo-
Thakuria (his sister) and Teresita Winniefred Lavarino. On June 16, 1978, Borromeo obtained a second loan from
TRB in the amount of P10,000.00, this time giving as security a mortgage over a parcel of land owned by the Heirs
of Vicente V. Borromeo, covered by TCT No. RT-7634. Authority to mortgage these three lots was vested in him by
a Special Power of Attorney executed by their respective owners.

Additionally, on April 23, 1980, Borromeo obtained a Letter of Credit from TRB in the sum of P80,000.00, in
consideration of which he executed a Trust Receipt (No. 595/80) falling due on July 22, 1980. 2

Borromeo failed to pay the debts as contracted despite demands therefor. Consequently, TRB caused the extra-
judicial foreclosure of the mortgages given to secure them. At the public sale conducted by the sheriff on September
7, 1981, the three mortgaged parcels of land were sold to TRB as the highest bidder, for P73,529.09.

Within the redemption period, Borromeo made known to the Bank his intention to redeem the properties at their
auction price. TRB manager Blas C. Abril however made clear that Borromeo would also have to settle his
outstanding account under Trust Receipt No. 595/80 (P88,762.78), supra. Borromeo demurred, and this
disagreement gave rise to a series of lawsuits commenced by him against the Bank, its officers and counsel, as
aforestated.

A. CIVIL CASES

1. RTC Case No. R-22506; CA G.R.


CV No. 07015; G.R. No. 83306

On October 29, 1982 Borromeo filed a complaint in the Cebu City Regional Trial Court for specific performance
and damages against TRB and its local manager, Blas Abril, docketed as Civil Case No. R-22506. The complaint
sought to compel defendants to allow redemption of the foreclosed properties only at their auction price, with
stipulated interests and charges, without need of paying the obligation secured by the trust receipt above mentioned.
Judgment was rendered in his favor on December 20, 1984 by Branch 23 of the Cebu City RTC; but on defendants'
appeal to the Court of Appeals docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 07015 the judgment was reversed, by decision
dated January 27, 1988. The Court of Appeals held that the "plaintiff (Borromeo) has lost his right of redemption
and can no longer compel defendant to allow redemption of the properties in question."

Borromeo elevated the case to this court where his appeal was docketed as G.R. No. 83306. By Resolution dated
August 15, 1988, this Court's First Division denied his petition for review "for failure . . . to sufficiently show that
the respondent Court of Appeals had committed any reversible error in its questioned judgment, it appearing on the
contrary that the said decision is supported by substantial evidence and is in accord with the facts and applicable
law." Reconsideration was denied, by Resolution dated November 23, 1988. A second motion for reconsideration
was denied by Resolution dated January 30, 1989, as was a third such motion, by Resolution dated April 19, 1989.
The last resolution also directed entry of judgment and the remand of the case to the court of origin for prompt
execution of judgment. Entry of judgment was made on May 12, 1989. By Resolution dated August 7, 1989, the
Court denied another motion of Borromeo to set aside judgment; and by Resolution dated December 20, 1989, the
Court merely noted without action his manifestation and motion praying that the decision of the Court of Appeals be
overturned, and declared that "no further motion or pleading . . . shall be entertained . . . ."

2. RTC Case No. CEB 8750;


CA-G.R. SP No. 22356

The ink was hardly dry on the resolutions just mentioned before Borromeo initiated another civil action in the same
Cebu City Regional Court by which he attempted to litigate the same issues. The action, against the new TRB
Branch Manager, Jacinto Jamero, was docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-8750. As might have been anticipated, the
action was, on motion of the defense, dismissed by Order dated May 18, 1990, 3 on the ground of res judicata, the
only issue raised in the second action i.e., Borromeo's right to redeem the lots foreclosed by TRB having been
ventilated in Civil Case No. R-22506 (Joaquin T. Borromeo vs. Blas C. Abril and Traders Royal Bank) (supra) and,
on appeal, decided with finality by the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court in favor of defendants therein.

The Trial Court's judgment was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 22356.

3. RTC Case No. CEB-9485;


CA-G.R. SP No. 28221

In the meantime, and during the pendency of Civil Case No. R-22506, TRB consolidated its ownership over the
foreclosed immovables. Contending that act of consolidation amounted to a criminal offense, Borromeo filed
complaints in the Office of the City Prosecutor of Cebu against the bank officers and lawyers. These complaints
were however, and quite correctly, given short shrift by that Office. Borromeo then filed suit in the Cebu City RTC,
this time not only against the TRB, TRB officers Jacinto Jamero and Arceli Bustamante, but also against City
Prosecutor Jufelinito Pareja and his assistants, Enriqueta Belarmino and Eva A. Igot, and the TRB lawyers, Mario
Ortiz and the law, firm, HERSINLAW. The action was docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-9485. The complaint
charged Prosecutors Pareja, Belarmino and Igot with manifest partiality and bias for dismissing the criminal cases
just mentioned; and faulted TRB and its manager, Jamero, as well as its lawyers, for consolidating the titles to the
foreclosed properties in favor of the bank despite the pendency of Case No. R-22506. This action also failed. On
defendants' motion, it was dismissed on February 19, 1992 by the RTC. (Branch 22) on the ground of res
judicata (being identical with Civil Case Nos. R-22506 and CEB-8750, already decided with finality in favor of
TRB), and lack of cause of action (as to defendants Pareja, Belarmino and Igot).

Borromeo's certiorari petition to the Court of Appeals (CA G.R. SP No. 28221) was dismissed by that Court's 16th
Division4 on October 6, 1992, for the reason that the proper remedy was appeal.

4. RTC Case No. CEB-10368;


CA-G.R. SP No. 27100

Before Case No. CEB-9845 was finally decided, Borromeo filed, on May 30, 1991, still another civil action for the
same cause against TRB, its manager, Jacinto Jamero, and its lawyers, Atty. Mario Ortiz and the HERSINLAW law
office. This action was docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-10368, and was described as one for "Recovery of Sums of
Money, Annulment of Titles with Damages." The case met the same fate as the others. It was, on defendants'
motion, dismissed on September 9, 1991 by the RTC (Branch 14 5) on the ground of litis pendentia.

The RTC ruled that

Civil Case No. CEB-9485 will readily show that the defendants therein, namely the Honorable
Jufelinito Pareja, Enriqueta Belarmino, Eva Igot, Traders Royal Bank, Arceli Bustamante, Jacinto
Jamero, Mario Ortiz and HERSINLAW are the same persons or nearly all of them who are
impleaded as defendants in the present Civil Case No. CEB-10368, namely, the Traders Royal
Bank, Jacinto Jamero, Mario Ortiz and HERSINLAW. The only difference is that more defendants
were impleaded in Civil Case No. CEB-9485, namely, City Prosecutor Jufelinito Pareja and his
assistants Enriqueta Belarmino and Eva Igot. The inclusion of the City Prosecutor and his two
assistants in Civil Case No. CEB-9485 was however merely incidental as apparently they had
nothing to do with the questioned transaction in said case. . . .

The Court likewise found that the reliefs prayed for were the same as those sought in Civil Case No. CEB-9485, and
the factual bases of the two cases were essentially the same the alleged fraudulent foreclosure and consolidation
of the three properties mortgaged years earlier by Borromeo to TRB.

For some reason, the Order of September 9, 1991 was set aside by an Order rendered by another Judge on
November 11, 1991 6 the Judge who previously heard the case having inhibited himself; but this Order of
November 11, 1991 was, in turn, nullified by the Court of Appeals (9th Division), by Decision promulgated on
March 31, 1992 in CA-G.R. SP No. 27100 (Traders Royal Bank vs. Hon. Celso M. Gimenez, etc. and Joaquin T.
Borromeo), 7 which decision also directed dismissal of Borromeo's complaint.

5. RTC Case No. CEB-6452

When a new branch manager, Ronald Sy, was appointed for TRB, Cebu City, Borromeo forthwith made that event
the occasion for another new action, against TRB, Ronald Sy, and the bank's attorneys Mario Ortiz, Honorato
Hermosisima, Jr., Wilfredo Navarro and HERSINLAW firm. This action was docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-6452,
and described as one for "Annulment of Title with Damages." The complaint, dated October 20, 1987, again
involved the foreclosure of the three (3) immovables above mentioned, and was anchored on the alleged malicious,
deceitful, and premature consolidation of titles in TRB's favor despite the pendency of Civil Case No. 22506. On
defendant's motion, the trial court 8 dismissed the case on the ground of prematurity, holding that "(a)t this point . . .,
plaintiff's right to seek annulment of defendant Traders Royal Bank's title will only accrue if and when plaintiff will
ultimately and finally win Civil Case No. R-22506."

6. RTC Case No. CEB-8236

Having thus far failed in his many efforts to demonstrate to the courts the "merit" of his cause against TRB and its
officers and lawyers, Borromeo now took a different tack by also suing (and thus also venting his ire on) the
members of the appellate courts who had ruled adversely to him. He filed in the Cebu City RTC, Civil Case No.
CEB-8236, impleading as defendants not only the same parties he had theretofore been suing TRB and its
officers and lawyers (HERSINLAW, Mario Ortiz) but also the Chairman and Members of the First Division of the
Supreme Court who had repeatedly rebuffed him in G.R. No. 83306 (SEE sub-head I, A, 1, supra), as well as the
Members of the 5th, 9th and 10th Divisions of the Court of Appeals who had likewise made dispositions unfavorable
to him. His complaint, dated August 22, 1989, aimed to recover damages from the defendants Justices for

. . . maliciously and deliberately stating blatant falsehoods and disregarding evidence and pertinent
laws, rendering manifestly unjust and biased resolutions and decisions bereft of signatures, facts or
laws in support thereof, depriving plaintiff of his cardinal rights to due process and against
deprivation of property without said process, tolerating, approving and legitimizing the patently
illegal, fraudulent, and contemptuous acts of defendants TRB, (which) constitute a) GRAVE
DERELICTION OF DUTY AND ABUSE OF POWER emanating from the people, b)
FLAGRANT VIOLATIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION, CARDINAL PRIMARY RIGHTS DUE
PROCESS, ART. 27, 32, CIVIL CODE, Art. 208, REV. PENAL CODE, and R.A. 3019, for
which defendants must be held liable under said laws.

The complaint also prayed for reconveyance of the "fake titles obtained fraudulently by TRB/HERSINLAW," and
recovery of "100,000.00 moral damages; 30,000.00 exemplary damages; and P5,000.00 litigation expenses." This
action, too, met a quick and unceremonious demise. On motion of defendants TRB and HERSINLAW, the trial
court, by Order dated November 7, 1989,9 dismissed the case.

7. RTC Case No. CEB-13069

It appears that Borromeo filed still another case to litigate the same cause subject of two (2) prior actions instituted
by him. This was RTC Case No. CEB-13069, against TRB and the latter's lawyers, Wilfredo Navarro and Mario
Ortiz. The action was dismissed in an Order dated October 4, 1993, 10 on the ground of res judicata the subject
matter being the same as that in Civil Case No. R-22506, decision in which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. CV No. 07015 as well as by this Court in G.R. No. 83306 11 and litis pendentia the subject matter
being also the same as that in Civil Case No. CEB-8750, decision in which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals in
CA G.R. SP No. 22356.12

8. RTC Criminal Case No. CBU-19344;


CA-G.R. SP No. 28275; G.R. No. 112928
On April 17, 1990 the City Prosecutor of Cebu City filed an information with the RTC of Cebu (Branch 22) against
Borromeo charging him with a violation of the Trust Receipts Law. 13 The case was docketed as Criminal Case No.
CBU-19344. After a while, Borromeo moved to dismiss the case on the ground of denial of his right to a speedy
trial. His motion was denied by Order of Judge Pampio A. Abarintos dated April 10, 1992. In the same order, His
Honor set an early date for Borromeo's arraignment and placed the case "under a continuous trial system on the
dates as may be agreed by the defense and prosecution." Borromeo moved for reconsideration. When his motion
was again found without merit, by Order dated May 21, 1992, he betook himself to the Court of Appeals on a
special civil action of certiorari, to nullify these adverse orders, his action being docketed as CA-G.R. SP No.
28275.

Here again, Borromeo failed. The Court of Appeals declared that the facts did not show that there had been
unreasonable delay in the criminal action against him, and denied his petition for being without merit. 14

Borromeo then filed a petition for review with this Court (G.R. No. 112928), but by resolution dated January 31,
1994, the same was dismissed for failure of Borromeo to comply with the requisites of Circulars Numbered 1-88 and
19-91. His motion for reconsideration was subsequently denied by Resolution dated March 23, 1994.

a. Clarificatory Communications to
Borromeo Re "Minute Resolutions"

He next filed a Manifestation dated April 6, 1994 calling the Resolution of March 23, 1994 "Un-Constitutional,
Arbitrary and tyrannical and a gross travesty of 'Justice,'" because it was "signed only by a mere clerk and . . .
(failed) to state clear facts and law," and "the petition was not resolved on MERITS nor by any Justice but by a mere
clerk." 15

The Court responded with another Resolution, promulgated on June 22, 1994, and with some patience drew his
attention to the earlier resolution "in his own previous case (Joaquin T. Borromeo vs. Court of Appeals and Samson
Lao, G.R. No. 82273, 1 June 1990; 186 SCRA 1) 16 and on the same issue he now raises." Said Resolution of June
22, 1994, after reiterating that the notices sent by the Clerk of Court of the Court En Banc or any of the Divisions
simply advise of and quote the resolution actually adopted by the Court after deliberation on a particular matter,
additionally stated that Borromeo "knew, as well, that the communications (notices) signed by the Clerk of Court
start with the opening clause

Quoted hereunder, for your information, is a resolution of the First Division of this Court dated.
_________,

thereby indisputably showing that it is not the Clerk of Court who prepared or signed the resolutions."

This was not, by the way, the first time that the matter had been explained to Borromeo. The record shows that on
July 10, 1987, he received a letter from Clerk of Court Julieta Y. Carreon (of this Court's Third Division) dealing
with the subject, in relation to G.R. No. 77243. 17 The same matter was also dealt with in the letter received by him
from Clerk of Court Luzviminda D. Puno, dated April 4, 1989, and in the letter to him of Clerk of Court (Second
Division) Fermin J. Garma, dated May 19, 1989. 18 And the same subject was treated of in another Resolution of this
Court, notice of which was in due course served on him, to wit: that dated July 31, 1989, in G.R. No. 87897. 19

B. CRIMINAL CASES

Mention has already been made of Borromeo's attempt with "all the valor of ignorance" to fasten not only
civil, but also criminal liability on TRB, its officers and lawyers. 20 Several other attempts on his part to cause
criminal prosecution of those he considered his adversaries, will now be dealt with here.

1. I. S. Nos. 90-1187 and 90-1188


On March 7, 1990, Borromeo filed criminal complaints with the Office of the Cebu City Prosecutor against Jacinto
Jamero (then still TRB Branch Manager), "John Doe and officers of Traders Royal Bank." The complaints
(docketed as I.S. Nos. 90-1187-88) accused the respondents of "Estafa and Falsification of Public Documents." He
claimed, among others that the bank and its officers, thru its manager, Jacinto Jamero, sold properties not owned by
them: that by fraud, deceit and false pretenses, respondents negotiated and effected the purchase of the (foreclosed)
properties from his (Borromeo's) mother, who "in duress, fear and lack of legal knowledge," agreed to the sale
thereof for only P671,000.00, although in light of then prevailing market prices, she should have received
P588,030.00 more.

In a Joint Resolution dated April 11, 1990, 21 the Cebu City Fiscal's office dismissed the complaints observing that
actually, the Deed of Sale was not between the bank and Borromeo's mother, but between the bank and Mrs.
Thakuria (his sister), one of the original owners of the foreclosed properties; and that Borromeo, being a stranger to
the sale, had no basis to claim injury or prejudice thereby. The Fiscal ruled that the bank's ownership of the
foreclosed properties was beyond question as the matter had been raised and passed upon in a judicial litigation; and
moreover, there was no proof of the document allegedly falsified nor of the manner of its falsification.

a. I.S. Nos. 87-3795 and 89-4234

Evidently to highlight Borromeo's penchant for reckless filing of unfounded complaints, the Fiscal also adverted to
two other complaints earlier filed in his Office by Borromeo involving the same foreclosed properties and
directed against respondent bank officers' predecessors (including the former Manager, Ronald Sy) and lawyers
both of which were dismissed for lack of merit. These were:

a. I. S. No. 87-3795 (JOAQUIN T. BORROMEO vs. ATTY. MARIO ORTIZ and RONALD SY)
for "Estafa Through Falsification of Public Documents, Deceit and False Pretenses." This case
was dismissed by Resolution dated January 19, 1988 of the City Prosecutor's Office because based
on nothing more than a letter dated June 4, 1985, sent by Bank Manager Ronald Sy to the lessee of
a portion of the foreclosed immovables, advising the latter to remit all rentals to the bank as new
owner thereof, as shown by the consolidated title; and there was no showing that respondent Atty.
Ortiz was motivated by fraud in notarizing the deed of sale in TRB's favor after the lapse of the
period of redemption, or that Ortiz had benefited pecuniarily from the transaction to the prejudice
of complainant; and

b. I.S. No. 89-4234 (JOAQUIN T. BORROMEO vs. RONALD SY, ET AL.) for "Estafa Through
False Pretenses and Falsification of Public Documents." This case was dismissed by Resolution
dated January 31, 1990.

2. I.S.Nos. 88-205 to 88-207

While Joaquin Borromeo's appeal (G.R. No. 83306) was still pending before the Supreme Court, 22 an affidavit was
executed in behalf of TRB by Arceli Bustamante, in connection with the former's fire insurance claim over property
registered in its name one of two immovables formerly owned by Socorro B. Thakuria (Joaquin Borromeo's
sister) and foreclosed by said bank. 23 In that affidavit, dated September 10, 1987, Bustamante stated that "On 24
June 1983, TRB thru foreclosure acquired real property together with the improvements thereon which property is
located at F. Ramos St., Cebu City covered by TCT No. 87398 in the name or TRB." The affidavit was notarized by
Atty. Manuelito B. Inso.

Claiming that the affidavit was "falsified and perjurious" because the claim of title by TRB over the foreclosed lots
was a "deliberate, wilful and blatant fasehood in that, among others: . . . the consolidation was premature, illegal and
invalid," Borromeo filed a criminal complaint with the Cebu City Fiscal's Office against the affiant (Bustamante)
and the notarizing lawyer (Atty. Inso) for "falsification of public document, false pretenses, perjury." On September
28, 1988, the Fiscal's Office dismissed the complaint. 24 It found no untruthful statements in the affidavit or any
malice in its execution, considering that Bustamante's statement was based on the Transfer Certificate of Title in
TRB's file, and thus the document that Atty. Inso notarized was legally in order.
3. OMB-VIS-89-00136

This Resolution of this Court (First Division) in G.R. No. 83306 dated August 15, 1988 sustaining the judgment
of the Court of Appeals (10th Division) of January 27, 1988 in CA-G.R. CV No. 07015, supra, was made the
subject of a criminal complaint by Borromeo in the Office of the Ombudsman, Visayas, docketed as OMB-VIS-89-
00136. His complaint against "Supreme Court Justice (First Div.) and Court of Appeals Justice (10th Div)"
was dismissed for lack of merit in a Resolution issued on February 14, 1990 25 which, among other things, ruled as
follows:

It should be noted and emphasized that complainant has remedies available under the Rules of
Court, particularly on civil procedure and existing laws. It is not the prerogative of this Office to
make a review of Decisions and Resolutions of judicial courts, rendered within their competence.
The records do not warrant this Office to take further proceedings against the respondents.

In addition, Sec. 20. of R.A. 6770, "the Ombudsman Act states that the Office of the Ombudsman
may not conduct the necessary investigation of any administrative act or omission complained of
if it believes that (1) the complainant had adequate remedy in another judicial or quasi-judicial
body;" and Sec. 21 the same law provides that the Office of the Ombudsman does not have
disciplinary authority over members of the Judiciary.

II. CASES INVOLVING UNITED COCONUT


PLANTERS BANK (UCPB)

As earlier stated, 26 Borromeo (together with a certain Mercader) also borrowed money from the United Coconut
Planters Bank (UCPB) and executed a real estate mortgage to secure repayment thereof. The mortgage was
constituted over a 122-square-meter commercial lot covered by TCT No. 75680 in Borromeo's name. This same lot
was afterwards sold on August 7, 1980 by Borromeo to one Samson K. Lao for P170,000.00, with a stipulation for
its repurchase (pacto de retro) by him (Borromeo, as the vendor). The sale was made without the knowledge and
consent of UCPB.

A. CIVIL CASES

Now, just as he had defaulted in the payment of the loans and credit accommodations he had obtained from the
Traders Royal Bank, Borromeo failed in the fulfillment of his obligations to the UCPB.

Shortly after learning of Borromeo's default, and obviously to obviate or minimize the ill effects of the latter's
delinquency, Lao applied with the same bank (UCPB) for a loan, offering the property he had purchased from
Borromeo as collateral. UCPB was not averse to dealing with Lao but imposed several conditions on him, one of
which was for Lao to consolidate his title over the property. Lao accordingly instituted a suit for consolidation of
title, docketed as Civil Case No. R-21009. However, as will shortly be narrated, Borromeo opposed the
consolidation prayed for. As a result, UCPB cancelled Lao's application for a loan and itself commenced
proceedings foreclose the mortgage constituted by Borromeo over the property.

This signaled the beginning of court battles waged by Borromeo not only against Lao, but also against UCPB and
the latter's lawyers, battles which he (Borromeo) fought contemporaneously with his court war with Traders Royal
Bank.

1. RTC Case No. R-21009; AC-G.R.


No. CV-07396; G.R. No. 82273

The first of this new series of court battles was, as just stated, the action initiated by Samson Lao in the Regional
Trial Court of Cebu (Branch 12), docketed as Case No. R-21009, for consolidation of title in his favor over the 122-
square-meter lot subject of the UCPB mortgage, in accordance with Article 1007 of the Civil Code. In this suit Lao
was represented by Atty. Alfredo Perez, who was later substituted by Atty. Antonio Regis. Borromeo contested
Lao's application.

Judgment was in due course rendered by the RTC (Branch 12, Hon. Francis Militante, presiding) denying
consolidation because the transaction between the parties could not be construed as a sale with pacto de retro being
in law an equitable mortgage; however, Borromeo was ordered to pay Lao the sum of P170,000.00, representing the
price stipulated in the sale a retro, plus the amounts paid by Lao for capital gains and other taxes in connection with
the transaction (P10,497.50).

Both Lao and Borromeo appealed to the Court of Appeals. Lao's appeal was dismissed for failure of his lawyer to
file brief in his behalf. Borromeo's appeal AC-G.R. No. CV-07396 resulted in a Decision by the Court of
Appeals dated December 14, 1987, affirming the RTC's judgment in toto.

The Appellate Court's decision was, in turn, affirmed by this Court (Third Division) in a four-page Resolution dated
September 13, 1989, promulgated in G.R. No. 82273 an appeal also taken by Borromeo. Borromeo filed a motion
for reconsideration on several grounds, one of which was that the resolution of September 13, 1989 was
unconstitutional because contrary to "Sec. 4 (3), Art. VIII of the Constitution," it was not signed by any Justice of
the Division, and there was "no way of knowing which justices had deliberated and voted thereon, nor of any
concurrence of at least three of the members." Since the motion was not filed until after there had been an entry of
judgment, Borromeo having failed to move for reconsideration within the reglementary period, the same was simply
noted without action, in a Resolution dated November 27, 1989.

Notices of the foregoing Resolutions were, in accordance with established rule and practice, sent to Borromeo over
the signatures of the Clerk of Court and Assistant Clerk of Court (namely: Attys. Julieta Y. CARREON and Alfredo
MARASIGAN, respectively).

a. RTC Case No. CEB-8679

Following the same aberrant pattern of his judicial campaign against Traders Royal Bank, Borromeo attempted to
vent his resentment even against the Supreme Court officers who, as just stated, had given him notices of the
adverse dispositions of this Court's Third Division. He filed Civil Case No. CEB-8679 in the Cebu City RTC (CFI)
for recovery of damages against "Attys. Julieta Y. Carreon and Alfredo Marasigan, Division Clerk of Court and
Asst. Division Clerk of Court, Third Division, and Atty. Jose I. Ilustre, Chief of Judicial Records Office." He
charged them with usurpation of judicial functions, for allegedly "maliciously and deviously issuing biased, fake,
baseless and unconstitutional 'Resolution' and 'Entry of Judgment' in G.R. No. 82273."

Summonses were issued to defendants by RTC Branch 18 (Judge Rafael R. Ybaez, presiding). These processes
were brought to the attention of this Court's Third Division. The latter resolved to treat the matter as an incident in
G.R. No. 82273, and referred it to the Court En Banc on April 25, 1990. By Resolution (issued in said G.R. No.
82273, supra) dated June 1, 1990, the Court En Banc ordered Judge Ybaez to quash the summonses, to dismiss
Civil Case No. CEB-8679, and "not to issue summons or otherwise to entertain cases of similar nature which may in
the future be filed in his court." Accordingly, Judge Ibaez issued an Order on June 6, 1990 quashing the
summonses and dismissing the complaint in said Civil Case No. CEB-8679.

The Resolution of June 1, 1990 27 explained to Borromeo in no little detail the nature and purpose of notices sent by
the Clerks of Court of decisions or resolutions of the Court En Banc or the Divisions, in this wise:

This is not the first time that Mr. Borromeo has filed charges/complaints against officials of the
Court. In several letter complaints filed with the courts and the Ombudsman, Borromeo had
repeatedly alleged that he "suffered injustices," because of the disposition of the four (4) cases he
separately appealed to this Court which were resolved by minute resolutions, allegedly in violation
of Sections 4 (3), 13 and 14 of Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution. His invariable complaint is
that the resolutions which disposed of his cases do not bear the signatures of the Justices who
participated in the deliberations and resolutions and do not show that they voted therein. He
likewise complained that the resolutions bear no certification of the Chief Justice and that they did
not state the facts and the law on which they were based and were signed only by the Clerks of
Court and therefore "unconstitutional, null and void."

xxx xxx xxx

The Court reminds all lower courts, lawyers, and litigants that it disposes of the bulk of its cases
by minute resolutions and decrees them as final and executory, as were a case is patently without
merit, where the issues raised are factual in nature, where the decision appealed from is in accord
with the facts of the case and the applicable laws, where it is clear from the records that the
petition is filed merely to forestall the early execution of judgment and for non-compliance with
the rules. The resolution denying due course always gives the legal basis. As emphasized in In
Re: Wenceslao Laureta, 148 SCRA 382, 417 [1987], "[T]he Court is not 'duty bound' to render
signed Decisions all the time. It has ample discretion to formulate Decisions and/or Minute
Resolutions, provided a legal basis is given, depending on its evaluation of a case" . . . This is the
only way whereby it can act on all cases filed before it and, accordingly, discharge its
constitutional functions. . . .

. . . (W)hen the Court, after deliberating on a petition and any subsequent pleadings,
manifestations, comments, or motions decides to deny due course to the petition and states that the
questions raised are factual, or no reversible error in the respondent court's decision is shown, or
for some other legal basis stated in the resolution, there is sufficient compliance with the
constitutional requirement . . . (of Section 14, Article VIII of the Constitution "that no petition for
review or motion for reconsideration shall be refused due course or denied without stating the
legal basis thereof").

For a prompt dispatch of actions of the Court, minute resolutions are promulgated by the Court
through the Clerk of Court, who takes charge of sending copies thereof to the parties concerned by
quoting verbatim the resolution issued on a particular case. It is the Clerk of Court's duty to inform
the parties of the action taken on their cases quoting the resolution adopted by the Court. The
Clerk of Court never participates in the deliberations of a case. All decisions and resolutions are
actions of the Court. The Clerk of Court merely transmits the Court's action. This was explained in
the case G.R. No. 56280, "Rhine Marketing Corp. v. Felix Gravante, et al.," where, in a
resolution dated July 6, 1981, the Court
said "[M]inute resolutions of this Court denying or dismissing unmeritorious petitions like the
petition in the case at bar, are the result of a thorough deliberation among the members of this
Court, which does not and cannot delegate the exercise of its judicial functions to its Clerk of
Court or any of its subalterns, which should be known to counsel. When a petition is denied or
dismissed by this Court, this Court sustains the challenged decision or order together with its
findings of facts and legal conclusions.

Minute resolutions need not be signed by the members of the Court who took part in the
deliberations of a case nor do they require the certification of the Chief Justice. For to require
members of the Court to sign all resolutions issued would not only unduly delay the issuance of its
resolutions but a great amount of their time would be spent on functions more properly performed
by the Clerk of Court and which time could be more profitably used in the analysis of cases and
the formulation of decisions and orders of important nature and character. Even with the use of
this procedure, the Court is still struggling to wipe out the backlogs accumulated over the years
and meet the ever increasing number of cases coming to it. . . .

b. RTC CIVIL CASE NO. CEB-(6501)


6740; G.R. No. 84054
It is now necessary to digress a little and advert to actions which, while having no relation to the UCPB, TRB or
SBTC, are relevant because they were the predicates for other suits filed by Joaquin Borromeo against
administrative officers of the Supreme Court and the Judge who decided one of the cases adversely to him.

The record shows that on or about December 11, 1987, Borromeo filed a civil action for damages against a certain
Thomas B. Tan and Marjem Pharmacy, docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-6501. On January 12, 1988, the trial court
dismissed the case, without prejudice, for failure to state a cause of action and prematurity (for non-compliance with
P.D. 1508).

What Borromeo did was simply to re-file the same complaint with the same Court, on March 18, 1988. This time it
was docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-6740, and assigned to Branch 17 of the RTC of Cebu presided by Hon. Mario
Dizon. Again, however, on defendants' motion, the trial court dismissed the case, in an order dated May 28, 1988.
His first and second motions for reconsideration having been denied, Borromeo filed a petition for review before
this Court, docketed as G.R. No. 84054 (Joaquin T. Borromeo vs. Tomas Tan and Non. Mario Dizon).

In a Resolution dated August 3, 1988, the Court required petitioner to comply with the rules by submitting a verified
statement of material dates and paying the docket and legal research fund fees; it also referred him to the Citizens
Legal Assistance Office for help in the case. His petition was eventually dismissed by Resolution of the Second
Division dated November 21, 1988, for failure on his part to show any reversible error in the trial court's judgment.
His motion for reconsideration was denied with finality, by Resolution dated January 18, 1989.

Borromeo wrote to Atty. Fermin J. Garma (Clerk of Court of the Second Division) on April 27, 1989 once more
remonstrating that the resolutions received by him had not been signed by any Justice, set forth no findings of fact or
law, and had no certification of the Chief Justice. Atty. Garma replied to him on May 19, 1989, pointing out that
"the minute resolutions of this Court denying dismissing petitions, like the petition in the case at bar, which was
denied for failure of the counsel and/or petitioner to sufficiently show that the Regional Trial Court of Cebu, Branch
17, had committed any reversible error in the questioned judgment [resolution dated November 21, 1988], are the
result of a thorough deliberation among the members of this Court, which does not and cannot delegate the exercise
of its judicial function to its Clerk of Court or any of its subalterns. When the petition is denied or dismissed by the
Court, it sustains the challenged decision or order together with its findings of facts and legal conclusions."

Borromeo obviously had learned nothing from the extended Resolution of June 1, 1990 in G.R. No. 82273, supra (or
the earlier communications to him on the same subject) which had so clearly pointed out that minute resolutions of
the Court are as much the product of the Members' deliberations as full-blown decisions or resolutions, and that the
intervention of the Clerk consists merely in the ministerial and routinary function of communicating the Court's
action to the parties concerned.

c. RTC Case No. CEB-9042

What Borromeo did next, evidently smarting from this latest judicial rebuff, yet another in an already long series,
was to commence a suit against Supreme Court (Second Division) Clerk of Court Fermin J. Garma and Assistant
Clerk of Court Tomasita Dris. They were the officers who had sent him notices of the unfavorable resolutions in
G.R. No. 84054, supra. His suit, filed on June 1, 1990, was docketed as Case No. CEB-9042 (Branch 8, Hon.
Bernardo Salas presiding). Therein he complained essentially of the same thing he had been harping on all along:
that in relation to G.R. No. 91030 in which the Supreme Court dismissed his petition for "technical reasons" and
failure to demonstrate any reversible error in the challenged judgment the notice sent to him of the "unsigned
and unspecific" resolution of February 19, 1990, denying his motion for reconsideration had been signed only by
the defendant clerks of court and not by the Justices. According to him, he had thereupon written letters to
defendants demanding an explanation for said "patently unjust and un-Constitutional resolutions," which they
ignored; defendants had usurped judicial functions by issuing resolutions signed only by them and not by any
Justice, and without stating the factual and legal basis thereof; and defendants' "wanton, malicious and patently
abusive acts" had caused him "grave mental anguish, severe moral shock, embarrassment, sleepless nights and
worry;" and consequently, he was entitled to moral damages of no less than P20,000.00 and exemplary damages of
P10,000.00, and litigation expenses of P5,000.00.
On June 8, 1990, Judge Renato C. Dacudao ordered the records of the case transmitted to the Supreme Court
conformably with its Resolution dated June 1, 1990 in G.R. No. 82273, entitled "Joaquin T. Borromeo vs. Hon.
Court of Appeals and Samson-Lao," supra directing that all complaints against officers of that Court be
forwarded to it for appropriate action. 28

Borromeo filed a "Manifestation/Motion" dated June 27, 1990 asking the Court to "rectify the injustices" committed
against him in G.R. Nos. 83306, 84999, 87897, 77248 and 84054. This the Court ordered expunged from the record
(Resolution, July 19, 1990).

2. RTC Case No. R-21880; CA-G.R.


CV No. 10951; G.R. No. 87897

Borromeo also sued to stop UCPB from foreclosing the mortgage on his property. In the Cebu City RTC, he filed a
complaint for "Damages with Injunction," which was docketed as Civil Case No. R-21880 (Joaquin T. Borromeo vs.
United Coconut Planters Bank, et al.). Named defendants in the complaint were UCPB, Enrique Farrarons (UCPB
Cebu Branch Manager) and Samson K. Lao. UCPB was represented in the action by Atty. Danilo Deen, and for a
time, by Atty. Honorato Hermosisima (both being then resident partners of ACCRA Law Office). Lao was
represented by Atty. Antonio Regis. Once again, Borromeo was rebuffed. The Cebu RTC (Br. 11, Judge Valeriano
R. Tomol, Jr. presiding) dismissed the complaint, upheld UCPB's right to foreclose, and granted its counterclaim for
moral damages in the sum of P20,000.00; attorney's fees amounting to P10,000.00; and litigation expenses of
P1,000.00.

Borromeo perfected an appeal to the Court of Appeals where it was docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 10951. That
Court, thru its Ninth Division (per Martinez, J., ponente, with de la Fuente and Pe, JJ., concurring), dismissed his
appeal and affirmed the Trial Court's judgment.

Borromeo filed a petition far review with the Supreme Court which, in G.R. No. 87897 dismissed it for insufficiency
in form and substance and for being "largely unintelligible." Borromeo's motion for reconsideration was denied by
Resolution dated June 25, 1989. A second motion for reconsideration was denied in a Resolution dated July 31,
1989 which directed as well entry of judgment (effected on August 1, 1989). In this Resolution, the Court (First
Division) said:

The Court considered the Motion for Reconsideration dated July 4, 1989 filed by petitioner
himself and Resolved to DENY the same for lack of merit, the motion having been filed without
"express leave of court" (Section 2, Rule 52, Rules of Court) apart from being a reiteration merely
of the averments of the Petition for Review dated April 14, 1989 and the Motion for
Reconsideration dated May 25, 1989. It should be noted that petitioner's claims have already been
twice rejected as without merit, first by the Regional Trial Court of Cebu and then by the Court of
Appeals. What petitioner desires obviously is to have a third ruling on the merits of his claims, this
time by this Court. Petitioner is advised that a review of a decision of the Court of Appeals is not a
matter of right but of sound judicial discretion and will be granted only when there is a special and
important reason therefor (Section 4, Rule 45); and a petition for review may be dismissed
summarily on the ground that "the appeal is without merit, or is prosecuted manifestly for delay or
the question raised is too unsubstantial to require consideration" (Section 3, Rule 45), or that only
questions of fact are raised in the petition, or the petition otherwise fails to comply with the formal
requisites prescribed therefor (Sections 1 and 2, Rule 45; Circular No. 1-88). Petitioner is further
advised that the first sentence of Section 14, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution refers to
a decision, and has no application to a resolution as to which said section pertinently provides that
a resolution denying a motion for reconsideration need state only the legal basis therefor; and that
the resolution of June 26, 1989 denying petitioner's first Motion for Reconsideration dated May
25, 1989 does indeed state the legal reasons therefor. The plain and patent signification of the
grounds for denial set out in the Resolution of June 26, 1989 is that the petitioner's arguments
aimed at the setting aside of the resolution denying the petition for review and consequently
bringing about a review of the decision of the Court of Appeals had failed to persuade the
Court that the errors imputed to the Court of Appeals had indeed been committed and therefore,
there was no cause to modify the conclusions set forth in that judgment; and in such a case, there
is obviously no point in reproducing and restating the conclusions and reasons therefor of the
Court of Appeals.

Premises considered, the Court further Resolved to DIRECT ENTRY OF JUDGMENT.

On August 13, 1989 Borromeo wrote to Atty. Estrella C. Pagtanac, then the Clerk of Court of the Court's First
Division, denouncing the resolution above mentioned as "a LITANY OF LIES, EVASIONS, and ABSURD SELF-
SERVING LOGIC from a Supreme Court deluded and drunk with power which it has forgotten emanates from the
people," aside from being "patently UNCONSTITUTIONAL for absence of signatures and facts and law: . . . and
characterizing the conclusions therein as "the height of ARROGANCE and ARBITRARINESS assuming a KING-
LIKE AND EVEN GOD-LIKE
POWER totally at variance and contradicted by . . . CONSTITUTIONAL provisions . . ." To the letter Borromeo
attached copies of (1) his "Open Letter to the Ombudsman" dated August 10, 1989 protesting the Court's "issuing
UNSIGNED, UNSPECIFIC, and BASELESS 'MINUTE RESOLUTIONS;'" (2) his "Open Letter of Warning" dated
August 12, 1989; and (3) a communication of Domingo M. Quimlat, News Ombudsman, Phil. Daily Inquirer, dated
August 10, 1989. His letter was ordered expunged from the record because containing "false, impertinent and
scandalous matter (Section 5, Rule 9 of the Rules of Court)." Another letter of the same ilk, dated November 7,
1989, was simply "NOTED without action" by Resolution promulgated on December 13, 1989.

3. RTC Case No. CEB-4852; CA G.R.


SP No. 14519; G.R. No. 84999

In arrant disregard of established rule and practice, Borromeo filed another action to invalidate the foreclosure
effected at the instance of UCPB, which he had unsuccessfully tried to prevent in Case No. CEB-21880. This was
Civil Case No. CEB-4852 of the Cebu City RTC (Joaquin T. Borromeo vs. UCPB, et al.) for "Annulment of Title
with Damages." Here, UCPB was represented by Atty. Laurence Fernandez, in consultation with Atty. Deen.

On December 26, 1987, the Cebu City RTC (Br. VII, Hon. Generoso A. Juaban, presiding) dismissed the complaint
on the ground of litis pendentia and ordered Borromeo to pay attorney's fees (P5,000.00) and litigation expenses
(P1,000.00).

Borromeo instituted a certiorari action in the Court of Appeals to annul this judgment (CA G.R. SP No. 14519); but
his action was dismissed by the Appellate Court on June 7, 1988 on account of his failure to comply with that
Court's Resolution of May 13, 1988 for submission of certified true copies of the Trial Court's decision of December
26, 1987 and its Order of February 26, 1988, and for statement of "the dates he received . . . (said) decision and . . .
order."

Borromeo went up to this Court on appeal, his appeal being docketed as G.R. No. 84999. In a Resolution dated
October 10, 1988, the Second Division required comment on Borromeo's petition for review by the respondents
therein named, and required Borromeo to secure the services of counsel. On November 9, 1988, Atty. Jose L.
Cerilles entered his appearance for Borromeo. After due proceedings, Borromeo's petition was dismissed, by
Resolution dated March 6, 1989 of the Second Division for failure to sufficiently show that the Court of Appeals
had committed any reversible error in the questioned judgment. His motion for reconsideration dated April 4, 1989,
again complaining that the resolution contained no findings of fact and law, was denied.

a. RTC Case No. CEB-8178

Predictably, another action, Civil Case No. CEB-8178, was commenced by Borromeo in the RTC of Cebu City, this
time against the Trial Judge who had lately rendered judgment adverse to him, Judge Generoso Juaban. Also
impleaded as defendants were UCPB, and Hon. Andres Narvasa (then Chairman, First Division), Estrella
G.Pagtanac and Marissa Villarama (then, respectively, Clerk of Court and Assistant Clerk of Court of the First
Division), and others. Judge German G. Lee of Branch 15 of said Court to which the case was raffled caused
issuance of summonses which were in due course served on September 22, 1989, among others, on said defendants
in and of the Supreme Court. In an En Banc Resolution dated October 2, 1989 in G.R. No. 84999 this Court,
required Judge Lee and the Clerk of Court and Assistant Clerk of Court of the Cebu RTC to show cause why no
disciplinary action should be taken against them for issuing said summonses.

Shortly thereafter, Atty. Jose L. Cerilles who, as already stated, had for a time represented Borromeo in G.R. No.
84999 filed with this Court his withdrawal of appearance, alleging that there was "no compatibility" between him
and his client, Borromeo because "Borromeo had been filing pleadings, papers; etc. without . . . (his) knowledge
and advice" and declaring that he had "not advised and . . . (had) no hand in the filing of (said) Civil Case CEB
8178 before the Regional Trial Court in Cebu. On the other hand, Judge Lee, in his "Compliance" dated October 23,
1989, apologized to the Court and informed it that he had already promulgated an order dismissing Civil Case No.
CEB-8178 on motion of the principal defendants therein, namely, Judge Generoso Juaban and United Coconut
Planters Bank (UCPB). Atty. Cerilles' withdrawal of appearance, and Judge Lee's compliance, were noted by the
Court in its Resolution dated November 29, 1989.

4. RTC Case No. CEB-374; CA-G.R.


CV No. 04097; G.R. No. 77248

It is germane to advert to one more transaction between Borromeo and Samson K. Lao which gave rise to another
action that ultimately landed in this Court. 29 The transaction involved a parcel of land of Borromeo's known as the
"San Jose Property" (TCT No. 34785). Borromeo sued Lao and another person (Mariano Logarta) in the Cebu
Regional Trial Court on the theory that his contract with the latter was not an absolute sale but an equitable
mortgage. The action was docketed as Case No. CEB-374. Judgment was rendered against him by the Trial Court
(Branch 12) declaring valid and binding the purchase of the property by Lao from him, and the subsequent sale
thereof by Lao to Logarta. Borromeo appealed to the Court of Appeals, but that Court, in CA-G.R. CV No. 04097,
affirmed the Trial Court's judgment, by Decision promulgated on October 10, 1986.

Borromeo came up to this Court. on appeal, his review petition being docketed as G.R. No. 77248. By Resolution of
the Second Division of March 16, 1987, however, his petition was denied for the reason that "a) the petition as well
as the docket and legal research fund fees were filed and paid late; and (b) the issues raised are factual and the
findings thereon of the Court of Appeals are final." He moved for reconsideration; this was denied by Resolution
dated June 3, 1987.

He thereafter insistently and persistently still sought reconsideration of said adverse resolutions through various
motions and letters, all of which were denied. One of his letters inter alia complaining that the notice sent to him
by the Clerk of Court did not bear the signature of any Justice elicited the following reply from Atty. Julieta Y.
Carreon, Clerk of Court of the Third Division, dated July 10, 1987, reading as follows:

Dear Mr. Borromeo:

This refers to your letter dated June 9, 1987 requesting for a copy of the actual resolution with the
signatures of all the Justices of the Second Division in Case G.R. No. 77243 whereby the motion
for reconsideration of the dismissal of the petition was denied for lack of merit.

In connection therewith, allow us to cite for your guidance, Resolution dated July 6, 1981 in G.R.
No. 56280, Rhine Marketing Corp. v. Felix Gravante, Jr., et al., wherein the Supreme Court
declared that "(m)inute resolutions of this Court denying or dismissing unmeritorious petitions like
the petition in the case at bar, are the result of a thorough deliberation among the members of this
Court, which does not and cannot delegate the exercise of its judicial functions to its Clerk of
Court or any of its subalterns, which should be known to counsel. When a petition is denied or
dismissed by this Court, this Court sustains the challenged decision or order together with its
findings of facts and legal conclusions." It is the Clerk of Court's duty to notify the parties of the
action taken on their case by quoting the resolution adopted by the Court.

Very truly yours,


JULIETA Y. CARREON

B. CRIMINAL CASES

Just as he had done with regard to the cases involving the Traders Royal Bank, and similarly without foundation,
Borromeo attempted to hold his adversaries in the cases concerning the UCPB criminally liable.

1. Case No; OMB-VIS-89-00181

In relation to the dispositions made of Borromeo's appeals and other attempts to overturn the judgment of the RTC
in Civil Case No. 21880, 30 Borromeo filed with the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas) on August 18, 1989, a
complaint against the Chairman and Members of the Supreme Court's First Division; the Members of the Ninth
Division of the Court of Appeals, Secretary of Justice Sedfrey Ordoez, Undersecretary of Justice Silvestre Bello
III, and Cebu City Prosecutor Jufelinito Pareja, charging them with violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt
Practices Act and the Revised Penal Code.

By Resolution dated January 12, 1990, 31 the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed Borromeo's complaint, opining
that the matters therein dealt with had already been tried and their merits determined by different courts including
the Supreme Court (decision, June 26, 1989, in G.R. No. 87987). The resolution inter alia stated that, "Finally, we
find it unreasonable for complainant to dispute and defiantly refuse to acknowledge the authority of the decree
rendered by the highest tribunal of the land in this case. . . ."

2. Case No. OMB-VIS-90-00418

A second complaint was filed by Borromeo with the Office of the Ombudsman (Visayas), dated January 12, 1990,
against Atty. Julieta Carreon, Clerk of Court of the Third Division, Supreme Court, and others, charging them with a
violation of R.A. 3019 (and the Constitution, the Rules of Court, etc.) for supposedly usurping judicial functions in
that they issued Supreme Court resolutions (actually, notices of resolutions) in connection with G.R. No. 82273
which did not bear the justices' signatures. 32 In a Resolution dated March 19, 1990, the Office of the Ombudsman
dismissed his complaint for "lack of merit" declaring inter alia that "in all the questioned actuations of the
respondents alleged to constitute usurpation . . . it cannot be reasonably and fairly inferred that respondents really
were the ones rendering them," and "it is not the prerogative of this office to review the correctness of judicial
resolutions." 33

III. CASES INVOLVING SECURITY


BANK & TRUST CO. (SBTC)

A. CIVIL CASES

1. RTC Case No. 21615; CA-


G.R. No. 20617; G.R. No. 94769

The third banking institution which Joaquin T. Borromeo engaged in running court battles, was the Security Bank &
Trust Company (SBTC). From it Borromeo had obtained five (5) loans in the aggregate sum of P189,126.19,
consolidated in a single Promissory Note on May 31, 1979. To secure payment thereof, Summa Insurance Corp.
(Summa) issued a performance bond which set a limit of P200,000.00 on its liability thereunder. Again, as in the
case of his obligations to Traders Royal Bank and UCPB, Borromeo failed to discharge his contractual obligations.
Hence, SBTC brought an action in the Cebu City RTC against Borromeo and Summa for collection.

The action was docketed as Civil Case No. R-21615, and was assigned to Branch 10, Judge Leonardo Caares,
presiding. Plaintiff SBTC was represented by Atty. Edgar Gica, who later withdrew and was substituted by the law
firm, HERSINLAW. The latter appeared in the suit through Atty. Wilfredo Navarro.
Judgment by default was rendered in the case on January 5, 1989; both defendents were sentenced to pay to SBTC,
solidarily, the amount of P436,771.32; 25% thereof as attorney's fees (but in no case less than P20,000.00); and
P5,000.00 as litigation expenses; and the costs. A writ of execution issued in due course pursuant to which an
immovable of Borromeo was levied on, and eventually sold at public auction on October 19, 1989 in favor of the
highest bidder, SBTC.

On February 5, 1990, Borromeo filed a motion to set aside the judgment by default, but the same was denied on
March 6, 1990. His Motion for Reconsideration having likewise been denied, Borromeo went to the Court of
Appeals for relief (CA-G.R. No. 20617), but the latter dismissed his petition. Failing in his bid for reconsideration,
Borromeo appealed to this Court on certiorari his appeal being docketed as G.R. No. 94769. On September 17,
1990, this Court dismissed his petition, and subsequently denied with finality his motion for reconsideration. Entry
of Judgment was made on December 26, 1990.

However, as will now be narrated, and as might now have been anticipated in light of his history of recalcitrance and
bellicosity, these proceedings did not signify the end of litigation concerning Borromeo's aforesaid contractual
commitments to SBTC, but only marked the start of another congeries of actions and proceedings, civil and criminal
concerning the same matter, instituted by Borromeo.

2. RTC Case No. CEB-9267

While G.R. No. 94769 was yet pending in the Supreme Court, Borromeo commenced a suit of his own in the Cebu
RTC against SBTC; the lawyers who represented it in Civil Case No. R-21625 HERSINLAW, Atty. Wilfredo
Navarro, Atty. Edgar Gica; and even the Judge who tried and disposed of the suit, Hon. Leonardo Caares. He
denominated his action, docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-9267, as one for "Damages from Denial of Due Process,
Breach of Contract, Fraud, Unjust Judgment, with Restraining Order and Injunction." His complaint accused
defendants of "wanton, malicious and deceitful acts" in "conniving to deny plaintiff due process and defraud him
through excessive attorney's fees," which acts caused him grave mental and moral shock, sleepless nights, worry,
social embarrassment and severe anxiety for which he sought payment of moral and exemplary damages as well as
litigation expenses.

By Order dated May 21, 1991, the RTC of Cebu City, Branch 16 (Hon. Godardo Jacinto, presiding) granted the
demurrer to evidence filed by defendants and dismissed the complaint, holding that "since plaintiff failed to
introduce evidence to support . . . (his) causes of action asserted . . ., it would be superfluous to still require
defendants to present their own evidence as there is nothing for them to controvert."

2. RTC Case No. CEB-10458;


CA-G.R. CV No. 39047

Nothing daunted, and running true to form, Borromeo filed on July 2, 1991 still another suit against the same parties
SBTC, HERSINLAW, and Judge Caares but now including Judge Godardo Jacinto, 34 who had rendered the
latest judgment against him. This suit, docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-10458, was, according to Borromeo, one
"for Damages (For Unjust Judgment and Orders, Denial of Equal Protection of the Laws Violation of the
Constitution, Fraud and Breach of Contract)." Borromeo faulted Judges Caares and Jacinto "for the way they
decided the two cases (CVR-21615 & CEB NO. 9267)," and contended that defendants committed "wanton,
malicious, and unjust acts" by "conniving to defraud plaintiff and deny him equal protection of the laws and due
process," on account of which he had been "caused untold mental anguish, moral shock, worry, sleepless nights, and
embarrassment for which the former are liable under Arts. 20, 21, 27, and 32 of the Civil Code."

The defendants filed motions to dismiss. By Order dated August 30, 1991, the RTC of Cebu City, Branch 15 (Judge
German G. Lee, Jr., presiding) dismissed the complaint on grounds of res judicata, immunity of judges from
liability in the performance of their official functions, and lack of jurisdiction.

Borromeo took an appeal to the Court of Appeals, which docketed it as CA-G.R. CV No. 39047.
In the course thereof, he filed motions to cite Atty. Wilfredo F. Navarro, lawyer of SBTC, for contempt of court.
The motions were denied by Resolution of the Court of Appeals (Special 7th Division) dated April 13, 1993. 35 Said
the Court:

Stripped of their disparaging and intemperate innuendoes, the subject motions, in fact, proffer
nothing but a stark difference in opinion as to what can, or cannot, be considered res
judicata under the circumstances.

xxx xxx xxx

By their distinct disdainful tenor towards the appellees, and his apparent penchant for argumentum
ad hominen, it is, on the contrary the appellant who precariously treads the acceptable limits of
argumentation and personal advocacy. The Court, moreover, takes particular note of the
irresponsible leaflets he admits to have authored and finds them highly reprehensible and
needlessly derogatory to the dignity, honor and reputation of the Courts. That he is not a licensed
law practitioner is, in fact, the only reason that his otherwise contumacious behavior is presently
accorded the patience and leniency it probably does not deserve. Considering the temperament he
has, by far, exhibited, the appellant is, however, sufficiently warned that similar displays in the
future shall accordingly be dealt with with commensurate severity.

IV. OTHER CASES

A. RTC Case No. CEB-2074; CA-G.R,


CV No. 14770; G.R. No. 98929

One other case arising from another transaction of Borromeo with Samson K. Lao is pertinent. This is Case No.
CEB-2974 of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu. It appears that sometime in 1979, Borromeo was granted a loan of
P165,000.00 by the Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCom) on the security of a lot belonging to him in San
Jose Street, Cebu City, covered by TCT No. 34785.36 Later, Borromeo obtained a letter of credit in the amount of
P37,000.00 from Republic Planters Bank, with Samson Lao as co-maker. Borromeo failed to pay his obligations;
Lao agreed to, and did pay Borromeo's obligations to both banks (PBCom and Republic), in consideration of which
a deed of sale was executed in his favor by Borromeo over two (2) parcels of land, one of which was that mortgaged
to PBCom, as above stated. Lao then mortgaged the land to PBCom as security for his own loan in the amount of
P240,000.00.

Borromeo subsequently sued PBCom, some of its personnel, and Samson Lao in the Cebu Regional Trial Court
alleging that the defendants had conspired to deprive him of his property. Judgment was rendered against him by the
Trial Court. Borromeo elevated the case to the Court of Appeals where his appeal was docketed as CA-G.R. CV No.
14770. On March 21, 1990, said Court rendered judgment affirming the Trial Court's decision, and on February 7,
1991, issued a Resolution denying Borromeo's motion for reconsideration. His appeal to this Court, docketed as
G.R. No. 98929, was given short shrift. On May 29, 1991, the Court (First Division) promulgated a Resolution
denying his petition for review "for being factual and for failure . . . to sufficiently show that respondent court had
committed any reversible error in its questioned judgment."

Stubbornly, in his motion for reconsideration, he insisted the notices of the resolutions sent to him were
unconstitutional and void because bearing no signatures of the Justices who had taken part in approving the
resolution therein mentioned.

B. RTC Case No. CEB-11528

What would seem to be the latest judicial dispositions rendered against Borromeo, at least as of date of this
Resolution, are two orders issued in Civil Case No. CEB-11528 of the Regional Trial Court at Cebu City (Branch
18), which was yet another case filed by Borromeo outlandishly founded on the theory that a judgment promulgated
against him by the Supreme Court (Third Division) was wrong and "unjust." Impleaded as defendant in the action
was former Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan, as Chairman of the Third Division at the time in question. On August
31, 1994 the presiding judge, Hon. Galicano O. Arriesgado, issued a Resolution inter alia dismissing Borromeo's
complaint "on grounds of lack of jurisdiction and res judicata." His Honor made the following pertinent
observations:

. . . (T)his Court is of the well-considered view and so holds that this Court has indeed no
jurisdiction to review, interpret or reverse the judgment or order of the Honorable Supreme Court.
The acts or omissions complained of by the plaintiff against the herein defendant and the other
personnel of the highest Court of the land as alleged in paragraphs 6 to 12 of plaintiff's complaint
are certainly beyond the sphere of this humble court to consider and pass upon to determine their
propriety and legality. To try to review, interpret or reverse the judgment or order of the
Honorable Supreme Court would appear not only presumptuous but also contemptuous. As argued
by the lawyer for the defendant, a careful perusal of the allegations in the complaint clearly shows
that all material allegations thereof are directed against a resolution of the Supreme Court which
was allegedly issued by the Third Division composed of five (5) justices. No allegation is made
directly against defendant Marcelo B. Fernan in his personal capacity. That being the case, how
could this Court question the wisdom of the final order or judgment of the Supreme Court (Third
Division) which according to the plaintiff himself had issued a resolution denying plaintiffs
petition and affirming the Lower Court's decision as reflected in the "Entry of Judgment." Perhaps,
if there was such violation of the Rules of Court, due process and Sec. 14, Art. 8 of the
Constitution by the defendant herein, the appropriate remedy should not have been obtained before
this Court. For an inferior court to reverse, interpret or review the acts of a superior court might be
construed to a certain degree as a show of an uncommon common sense. Lower courts are without
supervising jurisdiction to interpret or to reverse the judgment of the higher courts.

Borromeo's motion for reconsideration dated September 20, 1994 was denied "for lack of sufficient factual and legal
basis" by an Order dated November 15, 1994.

V. ADMINISTRATIVE CASE No. 3433

A. Complaint Against Lawyers


of his Court Adversaries

Borromeo also initiated administrative disciplinary proceedings against the lawyers who had appeared for his
adversaries UCPB and Samson K. Lao in the actions above mentioned, and others. As already mentioned,
these lawyers were: Messrs. Laurence Fernandez, Danilo Deen, Honorato Hermosisima, Antonio Regis, and Alfredo
Perez. His complaint against them, docketed as Administrative Case No. 3433, prayed for their disbarment.
Borromeo averred that the respondent lawyers connived with their clients in (1) maliciously misrepresenting a deed
of sale with pacto de retro as a genuine sale, although it was actually an equitable mortgage; (2) fraudulently
depriving complainant of his proprietary rights subject of the Deed of Sale; and (3) defying two lawful Court orders,
all in violation of their lawyer's oath to do no falsehood nor consent to the doing of any in Court. Borromeo alleged
that respondents Perez and Regis falsely attempted to consolidate title to his property in favor of Lao.

B. Answer of Respondent Lawyers

The respondent lawyers denounced the disbarment complaint as "absolutely baseless and nothing but pure
harassment." In a pleading dated July 10, 1990, entitled "Comments and Counter Motion to Cite Joaquin Borromeo
in Contempt of Court;" July 10, 1990, filed by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Cebu City Chapter, signed by
Domero C. Estenzo (President), Juliano Neri (Vice-President), Ulysses Antonio C. Yap (Treasurer); Felipe B.
Velasquez (Secretary), Corazon E. Valencia (Director), Virgilio U. Lainid (Director), Manuel A. Espina (Director),
Ildefonsa A. Ybaez (Director), Sylvia G. Almase (Director), and Ana Mar Evangelista P. Batiguin (Auditor). The
lawyers made the following observations:
It is ironic. While men of the legal profession regard members of the Judiciary with deferential
awe and respect sometimes to the extent of cowering before the might of the courts, here is a non-
lawyer who, with gleeful abandon and unmitigated insolence, has cast aspersions and shown utter
disregard to the authority and name of the courts.

And lawyers included. For indeed, it is very unfortunate that here is a non-lawyer who uses the
instruments of justice to harass lawyers and courts who crosses his path more especially if their
actuations do not conform with his whims and caprices.

Adverting to letters publicly circulated by Borromeo, inter alia charging then Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan with
supposed infidelity and violation of the constitution, etc., the lawyers went on to say the following:

The conduct and statement of Borromeo against this Honorable Court, and other members of the
Judiciary are clearly and grossly disrespectful, insolent and contemptuous. They tend to bring
dishonor to the Judiciary and subvert the public confidence on the courts. If unchecked, the
scurrilous attacks will undermine the dignity of the courts and will result in the loss of confidence
in the country's judicial system and administration of justice.

. . . (S)omething should be done to protect the integrity of the courts and the legal profession. So
many baseless badmouthing have been made by Borromeo against this Honorable Court and other
courts that for him to go scot-free would certainly be demoralizing to members of the profession
who afforded the court with all the respect and esteem due them.

Subsequently, in the same proceeding; Borromeo filed another pleading protesting the alleged "refusal" of the Cebu
City Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to act on his disbarment cases "filed against its members."

C. Decision of the IBP

On March 28, 1994, the National Executive Director, IBP (Atty. Jose Aguila Grapilon) transmitted to this Court the
notice and copy of the decision in the case, reached after due investigation, as well as the corresponding records in
seven (7) volumes. Said decision approved and adopted the Report and Recommendation dated December 15, 1993
of Atty. Manuel P. Legaspi, President, IBP, Cebu City Chapter, representing the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline,
recommending dismissal of the complaint as against all the respondents and the issuance of a "warning to Borromeo
to be more cautious and not be precipitately indiscriminate in the filing of administrative complaints against
lawyers." 37

VI. SCURRILOUS WRITINGS

Forming part of the records of several cases in this Court are copies of letters ("open" or otherwise), "circulars,"
flyers or leaflets harshly and quite unwarrantedly derogatory of the many court judgments or directives against him
and defamatory of his adversaries and their lawyers and employees, as well as the judges and court employees
involved in the said adverse dispositions some of which scurrilous writings were adverted to by the respondent
lawyers in Adm. Case No. 3433, supra. The writing and circulation of these defamatory writing were apparently
undertaken by Borromeo as a parallel activity to his "judicial adventures." The Court of Appeals had occasion to
refer to his "apparent penchant for argumentum ad hominen" and of the "irresponsible leaflets he admits to have
authored . . . (which were found to be) highly reprehensible and needlessly derogatory to the dignity, honor and
reputation of the Courts."

In those publicly circulated writings, he calls judges and lawyers ignorant, corrupt, oppressors, violators of the
Constitution and the laws, etc.

Sometime in July, 1990, for instance, he wrote to the editor of the "Daily Star" as regards the reported conferment
on then Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan of an "Award from the University of Texas for his contributions in
upholding the Rule of Law, Justice, etc.," stressing that Fernan "and the Supreme Court persist in rendering rulings
patently violative of the Constitution, Due Process and Rule of Law, particularly in their issuance of so-called
Minute Resolutions devoid of FACT or LAW or SIGNATURES . . ." He sent a copy of his letter in the Supreme
Court.

He circulated an "OPEN LETTER TO SC justices, Fernan," declaring that he had "suffered INJUSTICE after
INJUSTICE from you who are sworn to render TRUE JUSTICE but done the opposite, AND INSTEAD OF
RECTIFYING THEM, labeled my cases as 'frivolous, nuisance, and harassment suits' while failing to refute the
irrefutable evidences therein . . .;" in the same letter, he specified what he considered to be some of "the terrible
injustices inflicted on me by this Court."

In another letter to Chief Justice Fernan, he observed that "3 years after EDSA, your pledges have not been fulfilled.
Injustice continues and as you said, the courts are agents of oppression, instead of being saviours and defenders of
the people. The saddest part is that (referring again to minute resolutions) even the Supreme Court, the court of last
resort, many times, sanctions injustice and the trampling of the rule of law and due process, and does not comply
with the Constitution when it should be the first to uphold and defend it . . . ." Another circulated letter of his, dated
June 21, 1989 and captioned, "Open Letter to Supreme Court Justices Marcelo Fernan and Andres Narvasa,"
repeated his plaint of having "been the victim of many . . . 'Minute Resolutions' . . . which in effect sanction the theft
and landgrabbing and arson of my properties by TRADERS ROYAL BANK, UNITED COCONUT PLANTERS
BANK, AND one TOMAS B. TAN all without stating any FACT or LAW to support your dismissal of . . . (my)
cases, despite your firm assurances (Justice Fernan) that you would cite me such facts or laws (during our talk in
your house last March 12 1989);" and that "you in fact have no such facts or laws but simply want to ram down a
most unjust Ruling in favor of a wrongful party. . . ."

In another flyer entitled in big bold letters, "A Gov't That Lies! Blatant attempt to fool people!" he mentions what he
regards as "The blatant lies and contradictions of the Supreme Court, CA to support the landgrabbing by Traders
Royal Bank of Borromeos' Lands." Another flyer has at the center the caricature of a person, seated on a throne
marked Traders Royal Bank, surrounded by such statements as, "Sa TRB para kami ay royalty. Nakaw at nakaw!
Kawat Kawat! TRB WILL STEAL!" etc Still another "circular" proclaims: "So the public may know: Supreme
Court minute resolutions w/o facts, law, or signatures violate the Constitution" and ends with the admonition:
"Supreme Court, Justice Fernan: STOP VIOLATING THE CHARTER." 38

One other "circular" reads:

SC, NARVASA TYRANTS!!!


CODDLERS OF CROOKS!
VIOLATOR OF LAWS

by: JOAQUIN BORROMEO

NARVASA's SC has denied being a DESPOT nor has it shielded CROOKS in the judiciary.
Adding "The SCRA (SC Reports) will attest to this continuing vigilance Of the supreme Court."
These are lame, cowardly and self-serving denials and another "self-exoneration" belied by
evidence which speak for themselves (Res Ipsa Loquitor) (sic) the SCRA itself.

It is pure and simply TYRANNY when Narvasa and associates issued UNSIGNED, UNCLEAR,
SWEEPING "Minute Resolutions" devoid of CLEAR FACTS and LAWS in patent violation of
Secs. 4(3), 14, Art. 8 of the Constitution. It is precisely through said TYRANNICAL, and
UNCONSTITUTIONAL sham rulings that Narvasa & Co. have CODDLED CROOKS like crony
bank TRB, UCPB, and SBTC, and through said fake resolutions that Narvasa has LIED or shown
IGNORANCE of the LAW in ruling that CONSIGNATION IS NECESSARY IN RIGHT OF
REDEMPTION (GR 83306). Through said despotic resolutions, NARVASA & CO. have
sanctioned UCPB/ACCRA's defiance of court orders and naked land grabbing What are these
if not TYRANNY? (GR 84999).
Was it not tyranny for the SC to issue an Entry of Judgment without first resolving the motion for
reconsideration (G.R No. 82273). Was it not tyranny and abuse of power for the SC to order a case
dismissed against SC clerks (CEBV-8679) and declare justices and said clerks "immune from suit"
despite their failure to file any pleading? Were Narvasa & Co. not in fact trampling on the rule
of law and rules of court and DUE PROCESS in so doing? (GR No. 82273).

TYRANTS will never admit that they are tyrants. But their acts speak for themselves! NARVASA
& ASSOC: ANSWER AND REFUTE THESE SERIOUS CHARGES OR RESIGN!!

IMPEACH NARVASA

ISSUING UNSIGNED, SWEEPING, UNCLEAR, UNCONSTITUTIONAL


"MINUTE RESOLUTIONS" VIOLATIVE OF SECS. 4(3), 14, ART. 8,
Constitution

VIOLATING RULES OF COURT AND DUE PROCESS IN ORDERING


CASE AGAINST SC CLERKS (CEB-8679) DISMISSED DESPITE THE
LATTER'S FAILURE TO FILE PLEADINGS; HENCE IN DEFAULT

CORRUPTION AND/OR GROSS IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IN


RULING, THAT CONSIGNATION IS NECESSARY IN RIGHT OF
REDEMPTION, CONTRADICTING LAW AND SC'S OWN RULINGS TO
ALLOW CRONY BANK TRB TO STEALS LOTS WORTH P3 MILLION

CONDONING CRONY BANK UCPB'S DEFIANCE OF TWO LAWFUL


COURT ORDERS AND STEALING OF TITLE OF PROPERTY WORTH P4
MILLION

BEING JUDGE AND ACCUSED AT THE SAME TIME AND


PREDICTABLY EXONERATING HIMSELF AND FELLOW CORRUPT
JUSTICES

DECLARING HIMSELF, JUSTICES, and even MERE CLERKS TO BE


IMMUNE FROM SUIT AND UN-ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PEOPLE and
REFUSING TO ANSWER AND REFUTE CHARGES AGAINST HIMSELF
JOAQUIN T. BORROMEO

VI. IMMEDIATE ANTECEDENTS


OF PROCEEDINGS AT BAR

A. Letter of Cebu City Chapter


IBP, dated June 21, 1992

Copies of these circulars evidently found their way into the hands, among others, of some members of the Cebu City
Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Its President thereupon addressed a letter to this Court, dated June
21, 1992, which (1) drew attention to one of them that last quoted, above " . . . .sent to the IBP Cebu City
Chapter and probably other officers . . . in Cebu," described as containing "highly libelous and defamatory remarks
against the Supreme Court and the whole justice system" and (2) in behalf of the Chapter's "officers and
members," strongly urged the Court "to impose sanctions against Mr. Borromeo for his condemnable act."
B. Resolution of July 22, 1993

Acting thereon, the Court En Banc issued a Resolution on July 22, 1993, requiring comment by Borromeo on the
letter, notice of which was sent to him by the Office of the Clerk of Court. The resolution pertinently reads as
follows:

xxx xxx xxx

The records of the Court disclose inter alia that as early as April 4, 1989, the Acting Clerk of
Court, Atty. Luzviminda D. Puno, wrote a four page letter to Mr. Borromeo concerning G.R. No.
83306 (Joaquin T. Borromeo vs. Traders Royal Bank [referred to by Borromeo in the "circular"
adverted to by the relator herein, the IBP Cebu City Chapter]) and two (2) other cases also filed
with the Court by Borromeo: G.R. No. 77248 (Joaquin T. Borromeo v. Samson Lao and Mariano
Logarta) and G.R. No. 84054 (Joaquin T. Borromeo v. Hon. Mario Dizon and Tomas Tan), all
resolved adversely to him by different Divisions of the Court. In that letter Atty. Puno explained to
Borromeo very briefly the legal principles applicable to his cases and dealt with the matters
mentioned in his circular.

The records further disclose subsequent adverse rulings by the Court in other cases instituted by
Borromeo in this Court, i.e., G.R. No. 87897 (Joaquin T. Borromeo v. Court of Appeals, et al.)
and No. 82273 (Joaquin T. Borromeo v. Court of Appeals and Samson Lao), as well as the
existence of other communications made public by Borromeo reiterating the arguments already
passed upon by the court in his cases and condemning the court's rejection of those arguments.

Acting on the letter dated June 21, 1993 of the Cebu City Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines thru its above named, President, and taking account of the related facts on record, the
Court Resolved:

1) to REQUIRE:

(a) the Clerk of Court (1) to DOCKET the matter at bar as a proceeding for contempt against
Joaquin T. Borromeo instituted at the relation of said Cebu City Chapter, Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, and (2) to SEND to the City Sheriff, Cebu City, notice of this resolution and copies of
the Chapter's letter dated June 21, 1993 together with its annexes; and

(b) said City Sheriff of Cebu City to CAUSE PERSONAL SERVICE of said notice of resolution
and a copy of the Chapter's letter dated June 21, 1993, together with its annexes, on Joaquin T.
Borromeo at his address at Mabolo, Cebu City; and

2) to ORDER said Joaquin T. Borromeo, within ten (10) days from receipt of such notice and the
IBP Chapter's letter of June 21, 1993 and its annexes, to file a comment on the letter and its
annexes as well as on the other matters set forth in this resolution, serving copy thereof on the
relator, the Cebu City Chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Palace of Justice Building,
Capitol, Cebu City.

SO ORDERED.

1. Atty. Puno's Letter of April 4, 1989

Clerk of Court Puno's letter to Borromeo of April 4, 1989, referred to in the first paragraph of the resolution just
mentioned, explained to Borromeo for perhaps the second time, precisely the principles and established practice
relative to "minute resolutions" and notices thereof, treated of in several other communications and resolutions sent
to him by the Supreme Court, to wit: the letter received by him on July 10, 1987, from Clerk of Court Julieta Y.
Carreon (of this Court's Third Division) (in relation to G.R No. 77243 39) the letter to him of Clerk of Court (Second
Division) Fermin J. Garma, dated May 19,
1989, 40 and three resolutions of this Court, notices of which were in due course served on him, to wit: that dated
July 31, 1989, in G.R. No. 87897; 41 that dated June 1, 1990 in G.R. No. 82274 (186 SCRA 1), 42 and that dated June
11, 1994 in G. R. No. 112928. 43

C. Borromeo's Comment of August 27, 1993

In response to the Resolution of July 22, 1993, Borromeo filed a Comment dated August 27, 1993 in which he
alleged the following:

1) the resolution of July 22, 1993 (requiring comment) violates the Constitution which requires
"signatures and concurrence of majority of members of the High Court;" hence, "a certified copy
duly signed by Justices is respectfully requested;"

2) the Chief Justice and other Members of the Court should inhibit themselves "since they cannot
be the Accused and Judge at the same time, . . . (and) this case should be heard by an impartial and
independent body;"

3) the letter of Atty. Legaspi "is not verified nor signed by members of said (IBP Cebu Chapter)
Board; . . . is vague, unspecific, and sweeping" because failing to point out "what particular
statements in the circular are allegedly libelous and condemnable;" and does not appear that Atty.
Legaspi has authority to speak or file a complaint "in behalf of those accused in the "libelous
circular;"

4) in making the circular, he (Borromeo) "was exercising his rights of freedom of speech, of
expression, and to petition the government for redress of grievances as guaranteed by the
Constitution (Sec. 4, Art. III) and in accordance with the accountability of public officials;" the
circular merely states the truth and asks for justice based on the facts and the
law; . . . it is not libelous nor disrespectful but rather to be commended and encouraged; . . . Atty.
Legaspi . . . should specify under oath which statements are false and lies;

5) he "stands by the charges in his circular and is prepared to support them with pertinent facts,
evidence and law;" and it is "incumbent on the Hon. Chief Justice and members of the High Court
to either refute said charges or dispense the justice that they are duty bound to dispense.

D. Resolution of September 30, 1993

After receipt of the comment, and desiring to accord Borromeo the fullest opportunity to explain his side, and be
reprsented by an attorney, the Court promulgated the following Resolution on September 30, 1993, notice of which
was again served on him by the Office of the Clerk of Court.

. . . The return of service filed by Sheriff Jessie A. Belarmino, Office of the Clerk of Court
Regional Trial Court of Cebu City, dated August 26, 1993, and the Comment of Joaquin
Borromeo, dated August 27, 1993, on the letter of President Manuel P. Legaspi of the relator dated
June 21, 1993, are both NOTED. After deliberating on the allegations of said Comment, the Court
Resolved to GRANT Joaquin T. Borromeo an additional period of fifteen (15) days from notice
hereof within which to engage the services or otherwise seek the assistance of a lawyer and submit
such further arguments in addition to or in amplification of those set out in his Comment dated
August 27, 1993, if he be so minded.

SO ORDERED.
E. Borromeo's Supplemental Comment
of October 15, 1992

Borromeo filed a "Supplemental Comment" dated October 15, 1992, reiterating the arguments and allegations in his
Comment of August 27, 1993, and setting forth "additional arguments and amplification to . . . (said)
Comment," viz.:

1) the IBP and Atty. Legaspi have failed "to specify and state under oath the alleged 'libelous'
remarks contained in the circular . . .; (they should) be ordered to file a VERIFIED COMPLAINT
. . .(failing in which, they should) be cited in contempt of court for making false charges and
wasting the precious time of this Highest Court by filing a baseless complaint;

2) the allegations in their circular are not libelous nor disrespectful but "are based on the TRUTH
and the LAW", namely:

a) "minute resolutions" bereft of signatures and clear facts and laws are patent
violations of Secs. 4(32), 13, 14, Art. VIII of the Constitution;

b) there is no basis nor thruth to this Hon. Court's affirmation to the Appelate
Court's ruling that the undersigned "lost" his right of redemption price, since no
less than this Hon. Court has ruled in many rulings that CONSIGNATION IS
UNNECESSARY in right of redemption;

c) this Hon. Court has deplorably condoned crony banks TRB and UCPB's frauds and defiance of
court orders in G.R. Nos. 83306 and 878997 and 84999.

F. Borromeo's "Manifestation" of
November 26, 1993

Borromeo afterwards filed a "Manifestation" under date of November 26, 1993, adverting to "the failure of the IBP
and Atty. Legaspi to substantiate his charges under oath and the failure of the concerned Justices to refute the
charges in the alledged "libelous circular" and, construing these as "and admission of the thruth in said circular,"
theorized that it is "incumbent on the said Justices to rectify their grave as well as to dismiss Atty. Legaspi's baseless
and false charges."

VII. THE COURT CONCLUSIONS

A. Respondent's Liability
for Contempt of Court

Upon the indubitable facts on record, there can scarcely be any doubt of Borromeo's guilt of contempt, for abuse of
and interference with judicial rules and processes, gross disrespect to courts and judges and improper conduct
directly impeding, obstructing and degrading the administration of justice. 44 He has stubbornly litigated issues
already declared to be without merit, obstinately closing his eyes to the many rulings rendered adversely to him in
many suits and proceedings, rulings which had become final and executory, obdurately and unreasonably insisting
on the application of his own individual version of the rules, founded on nothing more than his personal (and quite
erroneous) reading of the Constitution and the law; he has insulted the judges and court officers, including the
attorneys appearing for his adversaries, needlessly overloaded the court dockets and sorely tried the patience of the
judges and court employees who have had to act on his repetitious and largely unfounded complaints, pleadings and
motions. He has wasted the time of the courts, of his adversaries, of the judges and court employees who have had
the bad luck of having to act in one way or another on his unmeritorious cases. More particularly, despite his
attention having been called many times to the egregious error of his theory that the so-called "minute resolutions"
of this Court should contain findings of fact and conclusions of law, and should be signed or certified by the Justices
promulgating the same, 45 he has mulishly persisted in ventilating that self-same theory in various proceedings,
causing much loss of time, annoyance and vexation to the courts, the court employees and parties involved.

1. Untenability of Proffered Defenses

The first defense that he proffers, that the Chief Justice and other Members of the Court should inhibit themselves
"since they cannot be the Accused and Judge at the same time . . . (and) this case should be heard by an impartial
and independent body, is still another illustration of an entirely unwarranted, arrogant and reprehensible assumption
of a competence in the field of the law: he again uses up the time of the Court needlessly by invoking an argument
long since declared and adjudged to be untenable. It is axiomatic that the "power or duty of the court to institute a
charge for contempt against itself, without the intervention of the fiscal or prosecuting officer, is essential to the
preservation of its dignity and of the respect due it from litigants, lawyers and the public. Were the intervention of
the prosecuting officer required and judges obliged to file complaints for contempts against them before the
prosecuting officer, in order to bring the guilty to justice, courts would be inferior to prosecuting officers and
impotent to perform their functions with dispatch and absolute independence. The institution of charges by the
prosecuting officer is not necessary to hold persons guilty of civil or criminal contempt amenable to trial and
punishment by the court. All that the law requires is that there be a charge in writing duly filed in court and an
opportunity to the person charged to be heard by himself or counsel. The charge may be made by the fiscal, by the
judge, or even by a private person. . . ." 46

His claim that the letter of Atty. Legaspi "is not verified nor signed by members of said (IBP Cebu Chapter)
Board; . . . is vague, unspecific, and sweeping" because failing to point out what particular statements in the circular
are allegedly libelous and condemnable;" and it does not appear that Atty. Legaspi has authority to speak or file a
complaint "in behalf of those accused in the 'libelous' circular" is in the premises, plainly nothing but superficial
philosophizing, deserving no serious treatment.

Equally as superficial, and sophistical, is his other contention that in making the allegations claimed to be
contumacious, he "was exercising his rights of freedom of speech, of expression, and to petition the government for
redress of grievances as guaranteed by the Constitution (Sec. 4, Art. III) and in accordance with the accountablity of
public officials." The constitutional rights invoked by him afford no justification for repetitious litigation of the
same causes and issues, for insulting lawyers, judges, court employees; and other persons, for abusing the processes
and rules of the courts, wasting their time, and bringing them into disrepute and disrespect.

B. Basic Principles Governing


the Judicial Function

The facts and issues involved in the proceeding at bench make necessary a restatement of the principles governing
finality of judgments and of the paramount need to put an end to litigation at some point, and to lay down definite
postulates concerning what is perceived to be a growing predilection on the part of lawyers and litigants like
Borromeo to resort to administrative prosecution (or institution of civil or criminal actions) as a substitute for or
supplement to the specific modes of appeal or review provided by law from court judgments or orders.

1. Reason for courts; Judicial


Hierarchy

Courts exist in every civilized society for the settlement of controversies. In every country there is a more or less
established hierarchical organization of courts, and a more or less comprehensive system of review of judgments and
final orders of lower courts.

The judicial system in this jurisdiction allows for several levels of litigation, i.e., the presentation of evidence by the
parties a trial or hearing in the first instance as well as a review of the judgments of lower courts by higher
tribunals, generally by consideration anew and ventilation of the factual and legal issues through briefs or
memoranda. The procedure for review is fixed by law, and is in the very nature of things, exclusive to the courts.
2. Paramount Need to end
Litigation at Some Point

It is withal of the essence of the judicial function that at some point, litigation must end. Hence, after the procedures
and processes for lawsuits have been undergone, and the modes of review set by law have been exhausted, or
terminated, no further ventilation of the same subject matter is allowed. To be sure, there may be, on the part of the
losing parties, continuing disagreement with the verdict, and the conclusions therein embodied. This is of no
moment, indeed, is to be expected; but, it is not their will, but the Court's, which must prevail; and, to repeat, public
policy demands that at some definite time, the issues must be laid to rest and the court's dispositions thereon
accorded absolute finality. 47 As observed by this Court in Rheem of the Philippines v. Ferrer, a 1967 decision, 48 a
party "may think highly of his intellectual endowment. That is his privilege. And he may suffer frustration at what
he feels is others' lack of it. This is his misfortune. Some such frame of mind, however, should not be allowed to
harden into a belief that he may attack a court's decision in words calculated to jettison the time-honored aphorism
that courts are the temples of right."

3. Judgments of Supreme Court


Not Reviewable

The sound, salutary and self-evident principle prevailing in this as in most jurisdictions, is that judgments of the
highest tribunal of the land may not be reviewed by any other agency, branch, department, or official of
Government. Once the Supreme Court has spoken, there the matter must rest. Its decision should not and cannot be
appealed to or reviewed by any other entity, much less reversed or modified on the ground that it is tainted by error
in its findings of fact or conclusions of law, flawed in its logic or language, or otherwise erroneous in some other
respect. 49 This, on the indisputable and unshakable foundation of public policy, and constitutional and traditional
principle.

In an extended Resolution promulgated on March 12, 1987 in In Re: Wenceslao Laureta involving an attempt by
a lawyer to prosecute before the Tanod bayan "members of the First Division of this Court collectively with having
knowingly and deliberately rendered an 'unjust extended minute Resolution' with deliberate bad faith in violation of
Article 204 of the Revised penal Code ". . . and for deliberatly causing "undue injury" to respondent . . . and her co-
heirs because of the "unjust Resolution" promulgated, in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act . . .
the following pronouncements were made in reaffirmation of established doctrine: 50

. . . As aptly declared in the Chief Justice's Statement of December 24, 1986, which the Court
hereby adopts in toto, "(I)t is elementary that the Supreme Court is supreme the third great
department of government entrusted exclusively with the judicial power to adjudicate with finality
all justiciable disputes, public and private. No other department or agency may pass upon its
judgments or declare them "unjust." It is elementary that "(A)s has ever been stressed since the
early case of Arnedo vs.Llorente (18 Phil. 257, 263 [1911]) "controlling and irresistible reasons of
public policy and of sound practice in the courts demand that at the risk of occasional error,
judgments of courts determining controversies submitted to them should become final at some
definite time fixed by law, or by a rule of practice recognized by law, so as to be thereafter beyond
the control even of the court which rendered them for the purpose of correcting errors of fact or of
law, into which, in the opinion of the court it may have fallen. The very purpose for which the
courts are organized is to put an end to controversy, to decide the questions submitted to the
litigants, and to determine the respective rights of the parties. (Luzon Brokerage Co., Inc. vs.
Maritime Bldg., Co., Inc., 86 SCRA 305, 316-317)

xxx xxx xxx

Indeed, resolutions of the Supreme Court as a collegiate court, whether an en banc or division,
speak for themselves and are entitled to full faith and credence and are beyond investigation or
inquiry under the same principle of conclusiveness of enrolled bills of the legislature. (U.S. vs.
Pons, 34 Phil. 729; Gardiner, et al. vs. Paredes, et al., 61 Phil. 118; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78
Phil. 1) The Supreme Court's pronouncement of the doctrine that "(I)t is well settled that the
enrolled bill . . . is conclusive upon the courts as regards the tenor of the measure passed by
Congress and approved by the President. If there has been any mistake in the printing of the bill
before it was certified by the officers of Congress and approved by the Executive [as claimed by
petitioner-importer who unsuccessfully sought refund of margin fees] on which we cannot
speculate, without jeopardizing the principle of separation of powers and undermining one of the
cornerstones of our democractic system the remedy is by amendment or curative legislation,
not by judicial decree" is fully and reciprocally applicable to Supreme Court orders, resolutions
and decisions, mutatis mutandis. (Casco Phil. Chemical Co., Inc. vs. Gimenez, 7 SCRA 347, 350.
(Citing Primicias vs. Paredes, 61 Phil. 118, 120; Mabanag vs. Lopez Vito, 78 Phil. 1; Macias vs.
Comelec, 3 SCRA 1).

The Court has consistently stressed that the "doctrine of separation of powers calls for
the executive, legislative and judicial departments being left alone to discharge their duties as they
see fit" (Tan vs. Macapagal, 43 SCRA 677). It has thus maintained in the same way that the
judiciary has a right to expect that neither the President nor Congress would cast doubt on the
mainspring of its orders or decisions, it should refrain from speculating as to alleged hidden forces
at work that could have impelled either coordinate branch into acting the way it did. The concept
of separation of powers presupposes mutual respect by and between the three departments of the
government. (Tecson vs. Salas, 34 SCRA 275, 286-287).

4. Final and Executory Judgments of


Lower Courts Not Reviewable
Even by Supreme Court

In respect of Courts below the Supreme Court, the ordinary remedies available under law to a party who is adversely
affected by their decisions or orders are a motion for new trial (or reconsideration) under Rule 37, and an appeal to
either the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court, depending on whether questions of both fact and law, or of law
only, are raised, in accordance with fixed and familiar rules and conformably with the hierarchy of
courts. 51Exceptionally, a review of a ruling or act of a court on the ground that it was rendered without or in excess
of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion, may be had through the special civil action of certiorari or
prohibition pursuant to Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.

However, should judgments of lower courts which may normally be subject to review by higher tribunals
become final and executory before, or without, exhaustion of all recourse of appeal, they, too, become inviolable,
impervious to modification. They may, then, no longer be reviewed, or in anyway modified directly or indirectly, by
a higher court, not even by the Supreme Court, much less by any other official, branch or department of
Government. 52

C. Administrative Civil or Criminal Action


against Judge. Not Substitute for Appeal;
Proscribed by Law and Logic

Now, the Court takes judicial notice of the fact that there has been of late a regrettable increase in the resort to
administrative prosecution or the institution of a civil or criminal action as a substitute for or supplement to
appeal. Whether intended or not, such a resort to these remedies operates as a form of threat or intimidation to
coerce judges into timorous surrender of their prerogatives, or a reluctance to exercise them. With rising frequency,
administrative complaints are being presented to the Office of the Court Administrator; criminal complaints are
being filed with the Office of the Ombudsman or the public prosecutor's office; civil actions for recovery of
damages commenced in the Regional Trial Courts against trial judges, and justices of the Court of Appeals and even
of the Supreme Court.

1. Common Basis of Complaints


Against Judges
Many of these complaints set forth a common indictment: that the respondent Judges or Justices rendered manifestly
unjust judgments or interlocutory orders 53 i.e., judgments or orders which are allegedly not in accord with the
evidence, or with law or jurisprudence, or are tainted by grave abuse of discretion thereby causing injustice, and
actionable and compensable injury to the complainants (invariably losing litigants). Resolution of complaints of this
sort quite obviously entails a common requirement for the fiscal, the Ombudsman or the Trial Court: a review of the
decision or order of the respondent Judge or Justice to determine its correctness or erroneousness, as basic premise
for a pronouncement of liability.

2. Exclusivity of Specific Procedures for


Correction of Judgments and Orders

The question then, is whether or not these complaints are proper; whether or not in lieu of the prescribed recourses
for appeal or review of judgments and orders of courts, a party may file an administrative or criminal complaint
against the judge for rendition of an unjust judgment, or, having opted for appeal, may nonetheless simultaneously
seek also such administrative or criminal remedies.

Given the nature of the judicial function, the power vested by the Constitution in the Supreme Court and the lower
courts established by law, the question submits to only one answer: the administrative or criminal remedies are
neither alternative nor cumulative to judicial review where such review is available, and must wait on the result
thereof.

Simple reflection will make this proposition amply clear, and demonstrate that any contrary postulation can have
only intolerable legal implications. Allowing a party who feels aggrieved by a judicial order or decision not yet final
and executory to mount an administrative, civil or criminal prosecution for unjust judgment against the issuing judge
would, at a minimum and as an indispensable first step, confer the prosecutor (or Ombudsman) with an incongruous
function pertaining, not to him, but to the courts: the determination of whether the questioned disposition is
erroneous in its findings of fact or conclusions of law, or both. If he does proceed despite that impediment, whatever
determination he makes could well set off a proliferation of administrative or criminal litigation, a possibility here
after more fully explored.

Such actions are impermissible and cannot prosper. It is not, as already pointed out, within the power of public
prosecutors, or the Ombudsman or his deputies, directly or vicariously, to review judgments or final orders or
resolutions of the Courts of the land. The power of review by appeal or special civil action is not only lodged
exclusively in the Courts themselves but must be exercised in accordance with a well-defined and long established
hierarchy, and long-standing processes and procedures. No other review is allowed; otherwise litigation would be
interminable, and vexatiously repetitive.

These principles were stressed in In Re: Wenceslao Laureta, supra. 54

Respondents should know that the provisions of Article 204 of the Revised Penal Code as to
"rendering knowingly unjust judgment," refer to an individual judge who does so "in any case
submitted to him for decision" and even then, it is not the prosecutor who would pass judgment on
the "unjustness" of the decision rendered by him but the proper appellate court with jurisdiction to
review the same, either the Court of Appeals and/or the Supreme Court. Respondents should
likewise know that said penal article has no application to the members of a collegiate court such
as this Court or its Divisions who reach their conclusions in consultation and accordingly render
their collective judgment after due deliberation. It also follows, consequently, that a charge of
violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act on the ground that such a collective decision
is "unjust" cannot prosper.

xxx xxx xxx

To subject to the threat and ordeal of investigation and prosecution, a judge, more so a member of
the Supreme Court for official acts done by him in good faith and in the regular exercise of official
duty and judicial functions is to subvert and undermine that very independence of the judiciary,
and subordinate the judiciary to the executive. "For it is a general principle of the highest
importance to the proper administration of justice that a judicial officer in exercising the authority
vested in him, shall be free to act upon his own convictions, without apprehension of personal
consequences to himself. Liability to answer to everyone who might feel himself aggrieved by the
action of the judge would be inconsistent with the possession of this freedom, and would destroy
that independence without which no judiciary can be either respectable or useful." (Bradley vs.
Fisher, 80 U. S. 335).

xxx xxx xxx

To allow litigants to go beyond the Court's resolution and claim that the members acted "with
deliberate bad faith" and rendered an "unjust resolution" in disregard or violation of the duty of
their high office to act upon their own independent consideration and judgment of the matter at
hand would be to destroy the authenticity, integrity and conclusiveness of such collegiate acts and
resolutions and to disregard utterly the presumption of regular performance of official duty.
To allow such collateral attack would destroy the separation of powers and undermine the role of
the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of all justiciable disputes.

Dissatisfied litigants and/or their counsels cannot without violating the separation of powers
mandated by the Constitution relitigate in another forum the final judgment of this Court on legal
issues submitted by them and their adversaries for final determination to and by the Supreme
Court and which fall within the judicial power to determine and adjudicate exclusively vested by
the Constitution in the Supreme Court and in such inferior courts as may be established by law.

This is true, too, as regards judgments, otherwise appealable, which have become final and executory. Such
judgments, being no longer reviewable by higher tribunals, are certainly not reviewable by any other body or
authority.

3. Only Courts Authorized, under Fixed


Rules to Declare Judgments or Orders
Erroneous or Unjust

To belabor the obvious, the determination of whether or not a judgement or order is unjust or was (or was not)
rendered within the scope of the issuing judge's authority, or that the judge had exceeded his jurisdiction and powers
or maliciously delayed the disposition of a case is an essentially judicial function, lodged by existing law and
immemorial practice in a hierarchy of courts and ultimately in the highest court of the land. To repeat, no other
entity or official of the Government, not the prosecution or investigation service or any other branch; nor any
functionary thereof, has competence to review a judicial order or decision whether final and executory or not
and pronounce it erroneous so as to lay the basis for a criminal or administrative complaint for rendering an unjust
judgment or order. That prerogative belongs to the courts alone.

4. Contrary Rule Results in Circuitousness


and Leads to Absurd Consequences

Pragmatic considerations also preclude prosecution for supposed rendition of unjust judgments or interlocutory
orders of the type above described, which, at bottom, consist simply of the accusation that the decisions or
interlocutory orders are seriously wrong in their conclusions of fact or of law, or are tainted by grave abuse of
discretion as distinguished from accusations of corruption, or immorality, or other wrongdoing. To allow
institution of such proceedings would not only be legally improper, it would also result in a futile and circuitous
exercise, and lead to absurd consequences.

Assume that a case goes through the whole gamut of review in the judicial hierarchy; i.e., a judgment is rendered by
a municipal trial court; it is reviewed and affirmed by the proper Regional Trial Court; the latter's judgment is
appealed to and in due course affirmed by the Court of Appeals; and finally, the appellate court's decision is brought
up to and affirmed by the Supreme Court. The prosecution of the municipal trial court judge who rendered the
original decision (for knowingly rendering a manifestly unjust judgment) would appear to be out of the question; it
would mean that the Office of the Ombudsman or of the public prosecutor would have to find, at the preliminary
investigation, not only that the judge's decision was wrong and unjust, but by necessary implication that the
decisions or orders of the Regional Trial Court Judge, as well as the Justices of the Court of Appeals and the
Supreme Court who affirmed the original judgment were also all wrong and unjust most certainly an act of
supreme arrogance and very evident supererogation. Pursuing the proposition further, assuming that the public
prosecutor or Ombudsman should nevertheless opt to undertake a review of the decision in question despite its
having been affirmed at all three (3) appellate levels and thereafter, disagreeing with the verdict of all four (4)
courts, file an information in the Regional Trial Court against the Municipal Trial Court Judge, the fate of such an
indictment at the hands of the Sandiganbayan or the Regional Trial Court would be fairly predictable.

Even if for some reason the Municipal Trial Court Judge is convicted by the Sandiganbayan or a Regional Trial
Court, the appeal before the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals would have an inevitable result: given the
antecedents, the verdict of conviction would be set aside and the correctness of the judgment in question, already
passed upon and finally resolved by the same appellate courts, would necessarily be sustained.

Moreover, in such a scenario, nothing would prevent the Municipal Trial Judge, in his turn, from filing a criminal
action against the Sandiganbayan Justices, or the Regional Trial Court Judge who should convict him of the offense,
for knowingly rendering an unjust judgment, or against the Justices of the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court
who should affirm his conviction.

The situation is ridiculous, however the circumstances of the case may be modified, and regardless of whether it is a
civil, criminal or administrative proceeding that is availed of as the vehicle to prosecute the judge for supposedly
rendering an unjust decision or order.

5. Primordial Requisites for Administrative


Criminal Prosecution

This is not to say that it is not possible at all to prosecute judges for this impropriety, of rendering an unjust
judgment or interlocutory order; but, taking account of all the foregoing considerations, the indispensable requisites
are that there be a final declaration by a competent court in some appropriate proceeding of the manifestly unjust
character of the challenged judgment or order, and there be also evidence of malice or bad faith, ignorance or
inexcusable negligence, on the part of the judge in rendering said judgement or order. That final declaration is
ordinarily contained in the judgment rendered in the appellate proceedings in which the decision of the trial court in
the civil or criminal action in question is challenged.

What immediately comes to mind in this connection is a decision of acquittal or dismissal in a criminal action, as to
which the same being unappealable it would be unreasonable to deny the State or the victim of the crime (or
even public-spirited citizens) the opportunity to put to the test of proof such charges as they might see fit to press
that it was unjustly rendered, with malice or by deliberate design, through inexcusable ignorance or negligence, etc.
Even in this case, the essential requisite is that there be an authoritative judicial pronouncement of the manifestly
unjust character of the judgment or order in question. Such a pronouncement may result from either (a) an action
of certiorari or prohibition in a higher court impugning the validity of the; judgment, as having been rendered
without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion; e.g., there has been a denial of due process to
the prosecution; or (b) if this be not proper, an administrative proceeding in the Supreme Court against the judge
precisely for promulgating an unjust judgment or order. Until and unless there is such a final,
authoritative judicialdeclaration that the decision or order in question is "unjust," no civil or criminal action against
the judge concerned is legally possible or should be entertained, for want of an indispensable requisite.

D. Judges Must be Free from


Influence or Pressure
Judges must be free to judge, without pressure or influence from external forces or factors. They should not be
subject to intimidation, the fear of civil, criminal or administrative sanctions for acts they may do and dispositions
they may make in the performance of their duties and functions. Hence it is sound rule, which must be recognized
independently of statute, that judges are not generally liable for acts done within the scope of their jurisdiction and
in good faith.

This Court has repeatedly and uniformly ruled that a judge may not be held administratively accountable for every
erroneous order or decision he renders. 55 To hold otherwise would be nothing short of harassment and would make
his position doubly unbearable, for no one called upon to try the facts or interpret the law in the process of
administering justice can be infallible in his judgment. 56 The error must be gross or patent, deliberate and malicious,
or incurred with evident bad faith; 57 it is only in these cases that administrative sanctions are called for as an
imperative duty of the Supreme Court.

As far as civil or criminal liability is concerned, existing doctrine is that "judges of superior and general jurisdiction
are not liable to respond in civil action for damages for what they may do in the exercise of their judicial functions
when acting within their legal powers and jurisdiction." 58 Based on Section 9, Act No. 190, 59 the doctrine is still
good law, not inconsistent with any subsequent legislative issuance or court rule: "No judge, justice of the peace or
assessor shall be liable to a civil action for the recovery of damages by reason of any judicial action or judgment
rendered by him in good faith, and within the limits of his legal powers and jurisdiction."

Exception to this general rule is found in Article 32 of the Civil Code, providing that any public officer or employee,
or any private individual, who directly or indirectly obstructs, defeats, violates or in any manner impedes or impairs
any of the enumerated rights and liberties of another person which rights are the same as those guaranteed in the
Bill of Rights (Article III of the Constitution); shall be liable to the latter for damages. However, such liability is
not demandable from a judge unless his act or omission constitutes a violation of the Penal Code or other penal
statute. But again, to the extent that the offenses therein described have "unjust judgment or "unjust interlocutory
order" for an essential element, it need only be reiterated that prosecution of a judge for any of them is subject to
the caveat already mentioned: that such prosecution cannot be initiated, much less maintained, unless there be a final
judicial pronouncement of the unjust character of the decision or order in issue.

E. Afterword

Considering the foregoing antecedents and long standing doctrines, it may well be asked why it took no less than
sixteen (16) years and some fifty (50) grossly unfounded cases lodged by respondent Borromeo in the different
rungs of the Judiciary before this Court decided to take the present administrative measure. The imposition on the
time of the courts and the unnecessary work occasioned by respondent's crass adventurism are self-evident and
require no further elaboration. If the Court, however, bore with him with Jobian patience, it was in the hope that the
repeated rebuffs he suffered, with the attendant lectures on the error of his ways, would somehow seep into his
understanding and deter him from further forays along his misguided path. After all, as has repeatedly been
declared, the power of contempt is exercised on the preservative and not the vindictive principle. Unfortunately the
Court's forbearance had no effect on him.

Instead, the continued leniency and tolerance extended to him were read as signs of weakness and impotence.
Worse, respondent's irresponsible audacity appears to have influenced and emboldened others to just as
flamboyantly embark on their own groundless and insulting proceedings against the courts, born of affected bravado
or sheer egocentrism, to the extent of even involving the legislative and executive departments, the Ombudsman
included, in their assaults against the Judiciary in pursuit of personal agendas. But all things, good or bad, must
come to an end, and it is time for the Court to now draw the line, with more promptitude, between reasoned dissent
and self-seeking pretense. The Court accordingly serves notice to those with the same conceit or delusions that it
will henceforth deal with them, decisively and fairly, with a firm and even hand, and resolutely impose such punitive
sanctions as may be appropriate to maintain the integrity and independence of the judicial institutions of the country.

WHEREFORE, Joaquin T. Borromeo is found and declared GUILTY of constructive contempt repeatedly
committed over time, despite warnings and instructions given to him, and to the end that he may ponder his serious
errors and grave misconduct and learn due respect for the Courts and their authority, he is hereby sentenced to serve
a term of imprisonment of TEN (10) DAYS in the City Jail of Cebu City and to pay a fine of ONE THOUSAND
PESOS (P1,000.00). He is warned that a repetition of any of the offenses of which he is herein found guilty, or any
similar or other offense against courts, judges or court employees, will merit further and more serious sanctions.

IT IS SO ORDERED.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

EN BANC

G.R. No. 89572 December 21, 1989

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, CULTURE AND SPORTS (DECS) and DIRECTOR OF CENTER FOR
EDUCATIONAL MEASUREMENT, petitioners,
vs.
ROBERTO REY C. SAN DIEGO and JUDGE TERESITA DIZON-CAPULONG, in her capacity as
Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, Branch 172, respondents.

Ramon M. Guevara for private respondent.

CRUZ, J.:

The issue before us is mediocrity. The question is whether a person who has thrice failed the National Medical
Admission Test (NMAT) is entitled to take it again.

The petitioner contends he may not, under its rule that-

h) A student shall be allowed only three (3) chances to take the NMAT. After three (3) successive
failures, a student shall not be allowed to take the NMAT for the fourth time.

The private respondent insists he can, on constitutional grounds.

But first the facts.

The private respondent is a graduate of the University of the East with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Zoology.
The petitioner claims that he took the NMAT three times and flunked it as many times. 1 When he applied to take it
again, the petitioner rejected his application on the basis of the aforesaid rule. He then went to the Regional Trial
Court of Valenzuela, Metro Manila, to compel his admission to the test.

In his original petition for mandamus, he first invoked his constitutional rights to academic freedom and quality
education. By agreement of the parties, the private respondent was allowed to take the NMAT scheduled on April
16, 1989, subject to the outcome of his petition. 2 In an amended petition filed with leave of court, he squarely
challenged the constitutionality of MECS Order No. 12, Series of 1972, containing the above-cited rule. The
additional grounds raised were due process and equal protection.

After hearing, the respondent judge rendered a decision on July 4, 1989, declaring the challenged order invalid and
granting the petition. Judge Teresita Dizon-Capulong held that the petitioner had been deprived of his right to pursue
a medical education through an arbitrary exercise of the police power. 3

We cannot sustain the respondent judge. Her decision must be reversed.

In Tablarin v. Gutierrez, 4 this Court upheld the constitutionality of the NMAT as a measure intended to limit the
admission to medical schools only to those who have initially proved their competence and preparation for a medical
education. Justice Florentino P. Feliciano declared for a unanimous Court:
Perhaps the only issue that needs some consideration is whether there is some reasonable relation
between the prescribing of passing the NMAT as a condition for admission to medical school on
the one hand, and the securing of the health and safety of the general community, on the other
hand. This question is perhaps most usefully approached by recalling that the regulation of the
pratice of medicine in all its branches has long been recognized as a reasonable method of
protecting the health and safety of the public. That the power to regulate and control the practice
of medicine includes the power to regulate admission to the ranks of those authorized to practice
medicine, is also well recognized. Thus, legislation and administrative regulations requiring those
who wish to practice medicine first to take and pass medical board examinations have long ago
been recognized as valid exercises of governmental power. Similarly, the establishment of
minimum medical educational requirements-i.e., the completion of prescribed courses in a
recognized medical school-for admission to the medical profession, has also been sustained as a
legitimate exercise of the regulatory authority of the state. What we have before us in the instant
case is closely related: the regulation of access to medical schools. MECS Order No. 52, s. 1985,
as noted earlier, articulates the rationale of regulation of this type: the improvement of the
professional and technical quality of the graduates of medical schools, by upgrading the quality of
those admitted to the student body of the medical schools. That upgrading is sought by selectivity
in the process of admission, selectivity consisting, among other things, of limiting admission to
those who exhibit in the required degree the aptitude for medical studies and eventually for
medical practice. The need to maintain, and the difficulties of maintaining, high standards in our
professional schools in general, and medical schools in particular, in the current state of our social
and economic development, are widely known.

We believe that the government is entitled to prescribe an admission test like the NMAT as a
means of achieving its stated objective of "upgrading the selection of applicants into [our] medical
schools" and of "improv[ing] the quality of medical education in the country." Given the
widespread use today of such admission tests in, for instance, medical schools in the United States
of America (the Medical College Admission Test [MCAT] and quite probably, in other countries
with far more developed educational resources than our own, and taking into account the failure or
inability of the petitioners to even attempt to prove otherwise, we are entitled to hold that the
NMAT is reasonably related to the securing of the ultimate end of legislation and regulation in this
area. That end, it is useful to recall, is the protection of the public from the potentially deadly
effects of incompetence and ignorance in those who would undertake to treat our bodies and
minds for disease or trauma.

However, the respondent judge agreed with the petitioner that the said case was not applicable. Her reason was that
it upheld only the requirement for the admission test and said nothing about the so-called "three-flunk rule."

We see no reason why the rationale in the Tablarin case cannot apply to the case at bar. The issue raised in both
cases is the academic preparation of the applicant. This may be gauged at least initially by the admission test and,
indeed with more reliability, by the three-flunk rule. The latter cannot be regarded any less valid than the former in
the regulation of the medical profession.

There is no need to redefine here the police power of the State. Suffice it to repeat that the power is validly exercised
if (a) the interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a particular class, require the interference of
the State, and (b) the means employed are reasonably necessary to the attainment of the object sought to be
accomplished and not unduly oppressive upon individuals.5

In other words, the proper exercise of the police power requires the concurrence of a lawful subject and a lawful
method.

The subject of the challenged regulation is certainly within the ambit of the police power. It is the right and indeed
the responsibility of the State to insure that the medical profession is not infiltrated by incompetents to whom
patients may unwarily entrust their lives and health.
The method employed by the challenged regulation is not irrelevant to the purpose of the law nor is it arbitrary or
oppressive. The three-flunk rule is intended to insulate the medical schools and ultimately the medical profession
from the intrusion of those not qualified to be doctors.

While every person is entitled to aspire to be a doctor, he does not have a constitutional right to be a doctor. This is
true of any other calling in which the public interest is involved; and the closer the link, the longer the bridge to
one's ambition. The State has the responsibility to harness its human resources and to see to it that they are not
dissipated or, no less worse, not used at all. These resources must be applied in a manner that will best promote the
common good while also giving the individual a sense of satisfaction.

A person cannot insist on being a physician if he will be a menace to his patients. If one who wants to be a lawyer
may prove better as a plumber, he should be so advised and adviced. Of course, he may not be forced to be a
plumber, but on the other hand he may not force his entry into the bar. By the same token, a student who has
demonstrated promise as a pianist cannot be shunted aside to take a course in nursing, however appropriate this
career may be for others.

The right to quality education invoked by the private respondent is not absolute. The Constitution also provides that
"every citizen has the right to choose a profession or course of study, subject to fair, reasonable and equitable
admission and academic requirements.6

The private respondent must yield to the challenged rule and give way to those better prepared. Where even those
who have qualified may still not be accommodated in our already crowded medical schools, there is all the more
reason to bar those who, like him, have been tested and found wanting.

The contention that the challenged rule violates the equal protection clause is not well-taken. A law does not have to
operate with equal force on all persons or things to be conformable to Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution.

There can be no question that a substantial distinction exists between medical students and other students who are
not subjected to the NMAT and the three-flunk rule. The medical profession directly affects the very lives of the
people, unlike other careers which, for this reason, do not require more vigilant regulation. The accountant, for
example, while belonging to an equally respectable profession, does not hold the same delicate responsibility as that
of the physician and so need not be similarly treated.

There would be unequal protection if some applicants who have passed the tests are admitted and others who have
also qualified are denied entrance. In other words, what the equal protection requires is equality among equals.

The Court feels that it is not enough to simply invoke the right to quality education as a guarantee of the
Constitution: one must show that he is entitled to it because of his preparation and promise. The private respondent
has failed the NMAT five times. 7 While his persistence is noteworthy, to say the least, it is certainly misplaced, like
a hopeless love.

No depreciation is intended or made against the private respondent. It is stressed that a person who does not qualify
in the NMAT is not an absolute incompetent unfit for any work or occupation. The only inference is that he is a
probably better, not for the medical profession, but for another calling that has not excited his interest.

In the former, he may be a bungler or at least lackluster; in the latter, he is more likely to succeed and may even be
outstanding. It is for the appropriate calling that he is entitled to quality education for the full harnessing of his
potentials and the sharpening of his latent talents toward what may even be a brilliant future.

We cannot have a society of square pegs in round holes, of dentists who should never have left the farm and
engineers who should have studied banking and teachers who could be better as merchants.
It is time indeed that the State took decisive steps to regulate and enrich our system of education by directing the
student to the course for which he is best suited as determined by initial tests and evaluations. Otherwise, we may be
"swamped with mediocrity," in the words of Justice Holmes, not because we are lacking in intelligence but because
we are a nation of misfits.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision of the respondent court dated January 13, 1989, is
REVERSED, with costs against the private respondent. It is so ordered.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila

SECOND DIVISION

G.R. No. 200602 December 11, 2013

ACE FOODS, INC., Petitioner,


vs.
MICRO PACIFIC TECHNOLOGIES CO., LTD.1, Respondent.

DECISION

PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:

Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari2are the Decision3 dated October 21, 2011 and Resolution4 dated
February 8, 2012 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 89426 which reversed and set aside the
Decision5 dated February 28, 2007 of the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 148 (RTC) in Civil Case No. 02-
1248, holding petitioner ACE Foods, Inc. (ACE Foods) liable to respondent Micro Pacific Technologies Co., Ltd.
(MTCL) for the payment of Cisco Routers and Frame Relay Products (subject products) amounting to 646,464.00
pursuant to a perfected contract of sale.

The Facts

ACE Foods is a domestic corporation engaged in the trading and distribution of consumer goods in wholesale and
retail bases,6 while MTCL is one engaged in the supply of computer hardware and equipment. 7

On September 26, 2001, MTCL sent a letter-proposal8 for the delivery and sale of the subject products to be
installed at various offices of ACE Foods. Aside from the itemization of the products offered for sale, the said
proposal further provides for the following terms, viz.:9

TERMS : Thirty (30) days upon delivery

VALIDITY : Prices are based on current dollar rate and subject to changes without prior notice.

DELIVERY : Immediate delivery for items on stock, otherwise thirty (30) to forty-five days upon receipt of
[Purchase Order]

WARRANTY : One (1) year on parts and services. Accessories not included in warranty.

On October 29, 2001, ACE Foods accepted MTCLs proposal and accordingly issued Purchase Order No.
10002310(Purchase Order) for the subject products amounting to 646,464.00 (purchase price). Thereafter, or on
March 4, 2002, MTCL delivered the said products to ACE Foods as reflected in Invoice No. 7733 11 (Invoice
Receipt). The fine print of the invoice states, inter alia, that "[t]itle to sold property is reserved in MICROPACIFIC
TECHNOLOGIES CO., LTD. until full compliance of the terms and conditions of above and payment of the
price"12 (title reservation stipulation). After delivery, the subject products were then installed and configured in ACE
Foodss premises. MTCLs demands against ACE Foods to pay the purchase price, however, remained
unheeded.13 Instead of paying the purchase price, ACE Foods sent MTCL a Letter 14 dated September 19, 2002,
stating that it "ha[s] been returning the [subject products] to [MTCL] thru [its] sales representative Mr. Mark
Anteola who has agreed to pull out the said [products] but had failed to do so up to now."
Eventually, or on October 16, 2002, ACE Foods lodged a Complaint 15 against MTCL before the RTC, praying that
the latter pull out from its premises the subject products since MTCL breached its "after delivery services"
obligations to it, particularly, to: (a) install and configure the subject products; (b) submit a cost benefit study to
justify the purchase of the subject products; and (c) train ACE Foodss technicians on how to use and maintain the
subject products. 16 ACE Foods likewise claimed that the subject products MTCL delivered are defective and not
working.17

For its part, MTCL, in its Answer with Counterclaim,18 maintained that it had duly complied with its obligations to
ACE Foods and that the subject products were in good working condition when they were delivered, installed and
configured in ACE Foodss premises. Thereafter, MTCL even conducted a training course for ACE Foodss
representatives/employees; MTCL, however, alleged that there was actually no agreement as to the purported "after
delivery services." Further, MTCL posited that ACE Foods refused and failed to pay the purchase price for the
subject products despite the latters use of the same for a period of nine (9) months. As such, MTCL prayed that
ACE Foods be compelled to pay the purchase price, as well as damages related to the transaction. 19

The RTC Ruling

On February 28, 2007, the RTC rendered a Decision, 20 directing MTCL to remove the subject products from ACE
Foodss premises and pay actual damages and attorney fees in the amounts of 200,000.00 and 100,000.00,
respectively.21

At the outset, it observed that the agreement between ACE Foods and MTCL is in the nature of a contract to sell. Its
conclusion was based on the fine print of the Invoice Receipt which expressly indicated that "title to sold property is
reserved in MICROPACIFIC TECHNOLOGIES CO., LTD. until full compliance of the terms and conditions of
above and payment of the price," noting further that in a contract to sell, the prospective seller explicitly reserves the
transfer of title to the prospective buyer, and said transfer is conditioned upon the full payment of the purchase
price.22 Thus, notwithstanding the execution of the Purchase Order and the delivery and installation of the subject
products at the offices of ACE Foods, by express stipulation stated in the Invoice Receipt issued by MTCL and
signed by ACE Foods, i.e., the title reservation stipulation, it is still the former who holds title to the products until
full payment of the purchase price therefor. In this relation, it noted that the full payment of the price is a positive
suspensive condition, the non-payment of which prevents the obligation to sell on the part of the seller/vendor from
materializing at all.23 Since title remained with MTCL, the RTC therefore directed it to withdraw the subject
products from ACE Foodss premises. Also, in view of the foregoing, the RTC found it unnecessary to delve into
the allegations of breach since the non-happening of the aforesaid suspensive condition ipso jure prevented the
obligation to sell from arising. 24

Dissatisfied, MTCL elevated the matter on appeal.25

The CA Ruling

In a Decision26 dated October 21, 2011, the CA reversed and set aside the RTCs ruling, ordering ACE Foods to pay
MTCL the amount of 646,464.00, plus legal interest at the rate of 6% per annum to be computed from April 4,
2002, and attorneys fees amounting to 50,000.00. 27

It found that the agreement between the parties is in the nature of a contract of sale, observing that the said contract
had been perfected from the time ACE Foods sent the Purchase Order to MTCL which, in turn, delivered the subject
products covered by the Invoice Receipt and subsequently installed and configured them in ACE Foodss
premises.28 Thus, considering that MTCL had already complied with its obligation, ACE Foodss corresponding
obligation arose and was then duty bound to pay the agreed purchase price within thirty (30) days from March 5,
2002.29 In this light, the CA concluded that it was erroneous for ACE Foods not to pay the purchase price therefor,
despite its receipt of the subject products, because its refusal to pay disregards the very essence of reciprocity in a
contract of sale.30 The CA also dismissed ACE Foodss claim regarding MTCLs failure to perform its "after
delivery services" obligations since the letter-proposal, Purchase Order and Invoice Receipt do not reflect any
agreement to that effect.31
32
Aggrieved, ACE Foods moved for reconsideration which was, however, denied in a Resolution dated February 8,
2012, hence, this petition.

The Issue Before the Court

The essential issue in this case is whether ACE Foods should pay MTCL the purchase price for the subject products.

The Courts Ruling

The petition lacks merit.

A contract is what the law defines it to be, taking into consideration its essential elements, and not what the
contracting parties call it.33 The real nature of a contract may be determined from the express terms of the written
agreement and from the contemporaneous and subsequent acts of the contracting parties. However, in the
construction or interpretation of an instrument, the intention of the parties is primordial and is to be pursued.
The denomination or title given by the parties in their contract is not conclusive of the nature of its contents. 34

The very essence of a contract of sale is the transfer of ownership in exchange for a price paid or
promised. 35This may be gleaned from Article 1458 of the Civil Code which defines a contract of sale as follows:

Art. 1458. By the contract of sale one of the contracting parties obligates himself to transfer the ownership and to
deliver a determinate thing, and the other to pay therefor a price certain in money or its equivalent.

A contract of sale may be absolute or conditional. (Emphasis supplied)

Corollary thereto, a contract of sale is classified as a consensual contract, which means that the sale is perfected by
mere consent. No particular form is required for its validity. Upon perfection of the contract, the parties may
reciprocally demand performance, i.e., the vendee may compel transfer of ownership of the object of the sale, and
the vendor may require the vendee to pay the thing sold. 36

In contrast, a contract to sell is defined as a bilateral contract whereby the prospective seller, while expressly
reserving the ownership of the property despite delivery thereof to the prospective buyer, binds himself to sell the
property exclusively to the prospective buyer upon fulfillment of the condition agreed upon, i.e., the full payment of
the purchase price. A contract to sell may not even be considered as a conditional contract of sale where the seller
may likewise reserve title to the property subject of the sale until the fulfillment of a suspensive condition, because
in a conditional contract of sale, the first element of consent is present, although it is conditioned upon the
happening of a contingent event which may or may not occur.37

In this case, the Court concurs with the CA that the parties have agreed to a contract of sale and not to a contract to
sell as adjudged by the RTC. Bearing in mind its consensual nature, a contract of sale had been perfected at the
precise moment ACE Foods, as evinced by its act of sending MTCL the Purchase Order, accepted the latters
proposal to sell the subject products in consideration of the purchase price of 646,464.00. From that point in time,
the reciprocal obligations of the parties i.e., on the one hand, of MTCL to deliver the said products to ACE Foods,
and, on the other hand, of ACE Foods to pay the purchase price therefor within thirty (30) days from delivery
already arose and consequently may be demanded. Article 1475 of the Civil Code makes this clear:

Art. 1475. The contract of sale is perfected at the moment there is a meeting of minds upon the thing which is the
object of the contract and upon the price.

From that moment, the parties may reciprocally demand performance, subject to the provisions of the law governing
the form of contracts.
At this juncture, the Court must dispel the notion that the stipulation anent MTCLs reservation of ownership of the
subject products as reflected in the Invoice Receipt, i.e., the title reservation stipulation, changed the complexion of
the transaction from a contract of sale into a contract to sell. Records are bereft of any showing that the said
stipulation novated the contract of sale between the parties which, to repeat, already existed at the precise moment
ACE Foods accepted MTCLs proposal. To be sure, novation, in its broad concept, may either be extinctive or
modificatory. It is extinctive when an old obligation is terminated by the creation of a new obligation that takes the
place of the former; it is merely modificatory when the old obligation subsists to the extent it remains compatible
with the amendatory agreement. In either case, however, novation is never presumed, and the animus novandi,
whether totally or partially, must appear by express agreement of the parties, or by their acts that are too clear and
unequivocal to be mistaken.38

In the present case, it has not been shown that the title reservation stipulation appearing in the Invoice Receipt had
been included or had subsequently modified or superseded the original agreement of the parties. The fact that the
Invoice Receipt was signed by a representative of ACE Foods does not, by and of itself, prove animus
novandi since: (a) it was not shown that the signatory was authorized by ACE Foods (the actual party to the
transaction) to novate the original agreement; (b) the signature only proves that the Invoice Receipt was received by
a representative of ACE Foods to show the fact of delivery; and (c) as matter of judicial notice, invoices are
generally issued at the consummation stage of the contract and not its perfection, and have been even treated as
documents which are not actionable per se, although they may prove sufficient delivery. 39 Thus, absent any clear
indication that the title reservation stipulation was actually agreed upon, the Court must deem the same to be a mere
unilateral imposition on the part of MTCL which has no effect on the nature of the parties original agreement as a
contract of sale. Perforce, the obligations arising thereto, among others, ACE Foodss obligation to pay the
purchase price as well as to accept the delivery of the goods,40 remain enforceable and subsisting.1wphi1

As a final point, it may not be amiss to state that the return of the subject products pursuant to a rescissory action 41is
neither warranted by ACE Foodss claims of breach either with respect to MTCLs breach of its purported "after
delivery services" obligations or the defective condition of the products - since such claims were not adequately
proven in this case. The rule is clear: each party must prove his own affirmative allegation; one who asserts the
affirmative of the issue has the burden of presenting at the trial such amount of evidence required by law to obtain a
favorable judgment, which in civil cases, is by preponderance of evidence. 42 This, however, ACE Foods failed to
observe as regards its allegations of breach. Hence, the same cannot be sustained.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. Accordingly, the Decision dated October 21, 2011 and Resolution dated
February 8, 2012 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 89426 are hereby AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
FIRST DIVISION

SACOBIA HILLS DEVELOPMENT G.R. No. 165889


CORPORATION and JAIME C. KOA,
Petitioners,
Present:
Davide, Jr., C.J. (Chairman),
- versus - Quisumbing,
Ynares-Santiago,
Carpio, and
Azcuna, JJ.
ALLAN U. TY,
Respondent. Promulgated:

September 20, 2005


x ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- x

DECISION

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

This petition for review on certiorari[1] assails the August 19, 2004 decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-
G.R. CV No. 76987,[2] which reversed and set aside the November 29, 2002 decision[3] of the Regional Trial Court of
Manila, Branch 46, and its October 28, 2004 resolution[4] denying reconsideration thereof.

The antecedent facts show that petitioner Sacobia Hills Development Corporation (Sacobia) is the developer
of True North Golf and Country Club (True North) located inside the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga
which boasts of amenities that include a golf course, clubhouse, sports complex and several vacation villas.

On February 12, 1997, respondent Allan U. Ty wrote to Sacobia a letter expressing his intention to acquire
one (1) Class A share of True North and accordingly paid the reservation fee of P180,000.00 as evidenced by PCI
Bank Check No. 0038053.[5]

Through letters dated May 28, 1997 and July 4, 1997, Sacobia assured its shareholders that the development
of True North was proceeding on schedule; that the golf course would be playable by October 1999; that the
Environmental Clearance Certificate (ECC) by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as
well as the Permit to Sell from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should have been released by October
1997; and that their registration deposits remained intact in an escrow account. [6]

On September 1, 1997, Sacobia approved the purchase application and membership of respondent for
P600,000.00, subject to certain terms and conditions. The notice of approval provided, inter alia:[7]
Terms and Conditions

1. Approval of an application to purchase golf/country club shares is subjected to the full payment
of the total purchase price. Should the buyer opt for the deferred payment scheme, approval
is subject to our receipt of a down payment of at least 30% and the balance payable in
installments over a maximum of eleven (11) months from the date of application, and
covered by postdated cheques.

2. Your reserved share shall be considered withdrawn and may be deemed cancelled should you fail
to settle your obligation within fifteen (15) days from due date, or failure to cover the value
of the postdated cheques upon their maturity, or your failure to issue the required postdated
cheques. In which case, we shall reserve the right to offer the said shares to other interested
parties. This also means forfeiture of 50% of the total amount you have already paid.

3. We will undertake to execute the corresponding sales documents/ Deed of Absolute Sale covering
the reserved shares upon full payment of the total purchase price. The Certificate of
Membership shall be issued thereafter.

...

However, on January 12, 1998, respondent notified Sacobia that he is rescinding the contract and sought
refund of the payments already made due to the latters failure to complete the project on time as represented.

In an effort to assure the respondent that the project would soon be operational, Sacobia wrote him a letter
dated March 10, 1998, stating that the DENR had issued the required ECC only on March 5, 1998, and that the golf
course would be ready for use by end of 1998.[8]

On April 3, 1998, Sacobia again wrote the respondent advising him that the 18-hole golf course would be
fully operational by summer of 1999. Sacobia also sought to collect from respondent the latters outstanding balance
of P190,909.08 which was covered by five (5) post dated checks.

Notwithstanding, respondent notified Sacobia on April 17, 1998 that he had stopped payment on the five (5)
post dated checks and reiterated his demand for the refund of his payments which amounted to P409,090.92.

On June 16, 1999, respondent sent Sacobia a letter formally rescinding the contract and demanding for the
refund of the P409,090.92 thus far paid by him.

By way of reply, Sacobia informed respondent that it had a no-refund policy, and that it had endorsed
respondent to Century Properties, Inc. for assistance on the resale of his share to third persons.
Thus, on July 21, 1999, respondent filed a complaint for rescission and damages before the SEC but the case
was eventually transferred to the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 46, pursuant to Administrative Circular AM
No. 00-11-03.[9]

On April 13, 2002, the trial court personnel conducted an on-site ocular inspection and in their report, they
made the following observations:

... We went up and down the hills on board the golf cart, and have seen the entire golf
course. The 9 holes area are already operational and playable, we have seen the tee bank (mount
soil) color coded flags, blue for regular golfers, white for senior golfers and red for ladies golfers.
We have seen all their playing areas which all appeared in order except the main clubhouse which
is undergoing finishing touches. Likewise the road leading to the clubhouse area is undergoing
pavement works and concreting.

We learned from our tour guide Mr. Gerry Zoleta, Site Supervisor, that the timetable in
finishing all remaining things (eg. Clubhouse and the road leading to it) to be done, are influenced
or rather, hampered by the prevailing weather condition. Such that when it rain, (which often
happens in the area during afternoon or early morning) they cannot really push thru with the
construction due to the soil condition (easily eroded) and sloping terrain of the place. Except, the
clubhouse, all seem prim and proper for golf playing. In fact, according to Mr. Zoleta, the site has
been operational since January 2002. The first tournament was conducted on October 2000 and there
were three tournaments already took place in the area.

...

In summary, we found nothing amiss for one not to be able to play and enjoy golf to the
fullest, except as earlier said the clubhouse.[10]

On November 29, 2002, the trial court rendered judgment in favor of petitioners, the decretal portion of which reads:

WHEREFORE, the complaint is hereby dismissed without pronouncement as to costs.

If the plaintiff desires to continue with the acquisition of the share, he may do so by paying the
balance of the acquisition price of One Hundred Ninety Thousand Ninety Pesos and Ten Centavos
(P190,090.10) without interest within thirty (30) days from the finality of this decision, otherwise,
he forfeits his payments.

IT IS SO ORDERED.[11]

The trial court found that the contract between the parties did not warrant that the golf course and clubhouse would be
completed within a certain period of time to entitle respondent to rescind. It also noted that the completion of the
project was subject to the issuance of an ECC and the approval by the SEC of the registration of non-proprietary golf
club shares, which is beyond Sacobias control.
The appellate court, in its decision dated August 19, 2004, disposed of the appeal as follows:
WHEREFORE, the appealed November 29, 2002 decision of the Regional Trial Court of Manila,
Branch 46, is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and a new one is hereby entered with this Court
hereby CONFIRMING the RESCISSION of the contract of purchase of one (1) Class A proprietary
share of True North Golf and Country Club as elected choice by plaintiff-appellant Ty, the aggrieved
party, and hereby DIRECTING defendant-appellee SACOBIA to:

1) Refund to the plaintiff-appellant Allan U. Ty the amount of P409,090.20 and all payments made
by him thus far on the TRUE NORTH share, with legal interest of 12% per annum from
July 21, 1999, the date of the filing of the complaint with the SEC, until fully paid;
2) Return the five post-dated checks of the plaintiff-appellant amounting to P190,908.08;
3) Pay costs of the suit.

SO ORDERED.[12]

The Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that Sacobia was in delay in the performance of its obligation to
respondent. As such, Ty could properly rescind the contract, or demand specific performance with damages, or
demand for damages alone. It held though that the failure of the DENR to issue the ECC on time is a valid ground to
reduce the damages claimed by Ty. It also ruled that Sacobia is estopped from asserting that there was no completion
date for the project as no less than its chairman announced the projected completion dates.

Petitioners motion for reconsideration was denied, hence the instant petition for review on certiorari which raises the
issue of whether the contract entered into by the parties may be validly rescinded under Article 1191 of the Civil Code.
Sacobia contends that it was not in breach of the contract as the Intent to Purchase, the Contract of Purchase, and the
Notice of Approval to Purchase Shares of True North, do not contain any specific date as to when the golf course and
country club would be completed. It argues that respondent should have known the risks involved in this kind of
project; the construction being contingent on the issuance of the ECC by the DENR and the payment of the buyers of
their share.

On the other hand, respondent claims that Sacobias arguments raise new matters which would warrant the reversal of
the decision rendered by the Court of Appeals. He insists that Sacobia failed to complete the project on time which
entitles him to rescind the contract in accordance with Article 1191 of the Civil Code. He further argues that the delay
in the completion of the project is clearly established by the fact that there have been no substantial work done on the
site, particularly on the clubhouse, despite the lapse of nearly 4-years from the issuance of the ECC on March 5, 1998.
The petition is meritorious.

In resolving the present controversy, the lower courts merely assumed that the delay in the completion of the golf
course was the decisive factor in determining the propriety or impropriety of rescinding the contract. Yet, confusion
could have been avoided had there been a more thorough scrutiny of the nature of the contract entered into by the
contending parties.
In the notice of approval, which embodies the terms and conditions of the agreement, Sacobia signified its
intent to retain the ownership of the property until such time that the respondent has fully paid the purchase price. This
condition precedent is characteristic of a contract to sell. The intention of the contracting parties is inferable from the
following provisions, to wit:
TERMS AND CONDITIONS

1. Approval of an application to purchase golf/country club shares is subjected to the full


payment of the total purchase price. Should the buyer opt for the deferred payment
scheme, approval is subject to our receipt of a down payment of at least 30% and the
balance payable in installments over a maximum of eleven (11) months from the date of
application, and covered by postdated cheques.

2. Your reserved share shall be considered withdrawn and may be deemed cancelled should
you fail to settle your obligation within fifteen (15) days from due date, or failure to
cover the value of the postdated cheques upon their maturity, or your failure to issue
the required postdated cheques. In which case, we shall reserve the right to offer the said
shares to other interested parties. This also means forfeiture of 50% of the total amount you
have already paid.

3. We shall undertake to execute the corresponding sales documents/Deed of Absolute Sale


covering the reserved shares upon full payment of the total purchase price. The
Certificate of Membership shall be issued thereafter.

Clearly, the approval of the application hinged on the full payment of the total purchase price. In fact, Sacobia
explicitly reserved the right to retain title over the share pending full satisfaction of the purchase price.
The notice of approval likewise stipulated that the reservation shall be deemed withdrawn or cancelled in
case respondent fails to settle his obligation within 15 days from the due date or cover the value of the checks upon
their maturity. Thus, Sacobia reserved the right to unilaterally rescind the contract in the event the respondent fails to
comply with his obligation of remitting the full purchase price within the deadline. In fact, Sacobia, after having
cancelled the agreement, can offer the share to other interested parties.

In addition, the execution of the deed of absolute sale and other pertinent documents shall be made only upon
full payment of the purchase price. The terms of the agreement between Sacobia and Ty can be deduced, not on a
formal document like a deed of sale, but from a series of correspondence and acts signifying the parties intention to
enter into a contract. The absence of a formal deed of conveyance is a strong indication that Sacobia did not intend to
transfer title until respondent shall have completely complied with his correlative obligation of paying the contact
price.

Since the agreement between Sacobia and Ty is a contract to sell, the full payment of the purchase price
partakes of a suspensive condition, the non-fulfillment of which prevents the obligation to sell from arising and
ownership is retained by the seller without further remedies by the buyer. In Cheng v. Genato,[13] we explained the
nature of a contract to sell and its legal implications in this wise:
In a Contract to Sell, the payment of the purchase price is a positive suspensive condition,
the failure of which is not a breach, casual or serious, but a situation that prevents the obligation of
the vendor to convey title from acquiring an obligatory force. It is one where the happening of the
event gives rise to an obligation. Thus, for its non-fulfillment there will be no contract to speak of,
the obligor having failed to perform the suspensive condition which enforces a juridical relation. In
fact with this circumstance, there can be no rescission of an obligation that is still non-existent, the
suspensive condition not having occurred as yet. Emphasis should be made that the breach
contemplated in Article 1191 of the New Civil Code is the obligors failure to comply with an
obligation already extant, not a failure of a condition to render binding that obligation.

In a contract to sell, the prospective seller does not consent to transfer ownership of the property to the buyer
until the happening of an event, which for present purposes, is the full payment of the purchase price. What the seller
agrees or obliges himself to do is to fulfill his promise to sell the subject property when the entire amount of the
purchase price is delivered to him. Upon the fulfillment of the suspensive condition, ownership will not automatically
transfer to the buyer although the property may have been previously delivered to him. The prospective seller still has
to convey title to the prospective buyer by entering into a contract of absolute sale.[14]

According to True North Payment Schedule,[15] respondents checks dated from October 12, 1997 until
January 12, 1998 were marked as stale. His failure to cover the value of the checks and by issuing a stop payment
order effectively abated the perfection of the contract. For it is understood that when a sale is made subject to a
suspensive condition, perfection is had only from the moment the condition is fulfilled. [16]

As shown, Ty did not pay the full purchase price which is his obligation under the contract to sell, therefore,
it cannot be said that Sacobia breached its obligation. No obligations arose on its part because respondents non-
fulfillment of the suspensive condition rendered the contract to sell ineffective and unperfected. Indeed, there can be
no rescission under Article 1191[17] of the Civil Code because until the happening of the condition, i.e. full payment
of the contract price, Sacobias obligation to deliver the title and object of the sale is not yet extant. A non-existent
obligation cannot be subject of rescission. Article 1191 speaks of obligations already existing, which may be rescinded
in case one of the obligors fails to comply with what is incumbent upon him.

As earlier discussed, the payment by Ty of the reservation fee as well as the issuance of the postdated checks
is subject to the condition that Sacobia was reserving title until full payment, which is the essence of a contract to sell.
The perfection of this kind of contract would give rise to two distinct obligations, namely, 1) the buyers obligation to
fulfill the suspensive condition, i.e. the full payment of the contract price as in the instant case, and, 2) the correlative
obligation of the seller to convey ownership upon compliance of the suspensive condition.
In the present case, respondents failure to fulfill this suspensive condition prevented the perfection of the
contract to sell. With an ineffective contract, Ty had not acquired the status of a shareholder but remained, at most, a
prospective investor. In the absence of a juridical tie between the parties, Ty cannot claim the rights and privileges
accorded to Sacobias full-fledged members and shareowners, including the full enjoyment of the amenities being
offered. Unfortunately for Ty, he cannot avail of rescission as envisioned by Article 1191 of the Civil Code. However,
he can withdraw his investment subject to the restrictions under the terms and conditions pertinent to a reneging
investor.

Even assuming arguendo that the delay in the completion of the golf course and clubhouse was attributable to Sacobia,
respondent had not refuted to this Courts satisfaction the trial courts denial of such claim upon its finding that, among
other things, the parties did not warrant the completion of the project within a certain period of time.

As early as January 12, 1998, respondent had notified Sacobia of his intention to rescind the contract on the
ground that there was unreasonable delay in the completion of the golf course and clubhouse. Yet, evidence shows
that even prior thereto, or on May 28, 1997, Sacobia already informed its investors, including the respondent, that the
full completion of the project was expected by mid-1999. Patently, respondents claim is premature by one year and a
half, if reckoned from the expected time of completion as foreseen by Sacobia. Moreover, respondent was well aware
of the risk of delay in the completion of the project considering that he was apprised beforehand of such delay due to
the belated issuance of the proper documents.

It appears, however, that Sacobia is not really intent on cancelling Tys reservation. Even after it was notified
by Ty that he was intending to rescind the contract, and had in fact issued a stop-payment order, Sacobia merely
deferred the deposit of Tys checks in an effort to resolve the issue, instead of cancelling the reservation in accordance
with the terms of the notice of approval. Subsequently, it sought to collect from Ty his remaining obligations. It also
referred Ty to its marketing arm if Ty is so minded to sell his rights to third parties. To this extent, the trial court
correctly ordered Ty to pay the remaining balance if he so desires, otherwise, he forfeits half of his payments, pursuant
to the terms of the notice of approval.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision dated August 19, 2004 of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. CV No. 76987 and its resolution dated October 28, 2004, are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Respondents
complaint for rescission of contract and damages in Civil Case No. 01-99696 is DISMISSED. He
is ORDERED to PAY to Sacobia Hills Development Corporation the amount of Pesos: One Hundred Ninety
Thousand Nine Hundred Nine and Eight Centavos (P190,909.08) without interest within thirty (30) days from finality
of this decision; otherwise, fifty percent (50%) of his total payments shall be forfeited.
SO ORDERED.
THIRD DIVISION

AURORA FE B. CAMACHO, G.R. No. 127520


Petitioner,

Present:
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
- versus - Chairperson,
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ,
CALLEJO, SR., and
CHICO-NAZARIO, JJ.

COURT OF APPEALS and


ANGELINO BANZON,
Respondents.
Promulgated:
February 9, 2007

x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

DECISION

CALLEJO, SR., J.:

This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Decision[1] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV
No. 41268 affirming with modification the Decision[2] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Balanga, Bataan, Branch
1.

The Antecedents

Camacho was the owner of Lot 261, a 7.5-hectare parcel of land situated in Balanga, Bataan and covered by
Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-10,185.

On July 14, 1968, Camacho and respondent Atty. Angelino Banzon entered into a contract for legal services
denominated as a Contract of Attorneys Fee.[3] The agreement is worded as follows:

KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS:


That we, Aurora B. Camacho, widow, of legal age and resident of Balanga, Bataan, and
Angelino M. Banzon, have agreed on the following:
That I, Aurora B. Camacho is the registered owner of Lot No. 261 Balanga Cadastre, has
secured the legal services of Atty. Angelino M. Banzon to perform the following:

1. To negotiate with the Municipal Government of Balanga so that the


above-mentioned lot shall be the site of the proposed Balanga Public Market;
2. To sell 1200 sq. m. for the sum of TWENTY- FOUR THOUSAND
PESOS (P24,000.00) right at the Market Site;

3. And to perform all the legal phase incidental to this work.

That for and in consideration of this undertaking, I bind myself to pay Atty. Angelino M.
Banzon FIVE THOUSAND SQUARE METERS (5000) of the said lot, for which in no case I shall
not be responsible for payment of income taxes in relation hereto, this area located also at market
site.

That I, Angelino M. Banzon, is willing to undertake the above-enumerated undertaking.

WITNESS our hands this 14 of July, 1968, in Balanga, Bataan.

(Signed) (Signed)
ANGELINO M. BANZON AURORA B. CAMACHO

Pursuant to the agreement, Atty. Banzon, on even date, sent a letter-proposal[4] to the municipal council
offering three sites for the proposed public market which included Lot 261. Still on the same date, Camacho executed
a Special Power of Attorney[5] giving Atty. Banzon the authority to
execute and sign for her behalf a Deed of Donation transferring a
17,000-sq-m portion of Lot 261 to the municipal government of Balanga, Bataan. The Deed of Donation was
executed, which was later accepted by the local government unit in Municipal Resolution No. 127. [6]

Silvestre Tuazon had been an agricultural tenant in Lot 261 since World War II. On August 22, 1968, Tuazon
and Camacho entered into an Agreement with Voluntary Surrender [7] where Tuazon voluntarily surrendered his right
as a tenant of the landholding. Despite the agreement, however, Tuazon plowed a portion of the lot and
planted palay without Camachos consent. Since Tuazon refused to vacate the premises, Camacho and
the Municipality of Balanga, through then Acting Mayor Victor Y. Baluyot, filed a complaint [8] for forcible entry
on November 18, 1969 before the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Balanga, Bataan. The complaint was docketed as
Civil Case No. 424. The case was eventually decided in favor of the plaintiffs and Tuazon was ordered to vacate the
lot. On appeal to the RTC, trial de novo ensued, in view of the absence of the transcript of stenographic notes of the
proceedings before the MTC. The RTC issued a preliminary mandatory injunction ordering Tuazon to discontinue
entering the subject premises until further orders of the court. [9]

On September 1, 1973, the plaintiffs, through Atty. Banzon, and Tuazon entered into an Agreement to Stay Court
Order.[10] Under the agreement, Tuazon was allowed to cultivate specific portions of the property as indicated in a
sketch plan which the parties prepared, and to use the markets water supply to irrigate his plants within the lot subject
to the markets preferential rights. The parties also contracted that the agreement shall in no way affect the merits of
Civil Case No. 3512 and CAR Case No. 520-B73; and that no part shall be construed as impliedly creating new
tenancy relationship.

On December 6, 1973, Camacho filed a Manifestation[11] in Civil Case No. 3512 declaring that she had
terminated the services of Atty. Banzon and had retained the services of new counsel, Atty. Victor De La Serna.
On December 17, 1973, Atty. Banzon filed a Complaint-in-Intervention[12] in Civil Case No. 3512. He alleged that
Camacho had engaged his services as counsel in CAR Case No. 59 B65 (where a favorable decision was rendered)
and in Civil Case No. 3512. Under the Contract of Attorneys Fee which they had both signed, Camacho would
compensate him with a 5,000-sq-m portion of Lot 261 in case he succeeds in negotiating with the Municipality of
Balanga in transferring the projected new public market which had been set for construction at the Doa Francisca
Subdivision, all legal requirements having been approved by a municipal resolution, the Development Bank of the
Philippines, and the National Urban Planning Commission. Atty. Banzon further claimed that as a consequence of the
seven cases filed by/against Camacho, she further bound herself orally to give him a 1,000-sq-m portion of Lot 261
as attorneys fee. He had also acquired from Camacho by purchase an 80-sq-m portion of the subject lot as evidenced
by a Provisional Deed of Sale[13] and from third parties an 800-sq-m portion. He further declared that his requests for
Camacho to deliver the portions of the subject lot remained unheeded, and that of the seven cases [14] he had handled
for Camacho, four had been decided in her favor while three are pending. Atty. Banzon thus prayed for the following
relief:
1. Ordering the ejectment of Defendant Silvestre Tuazon, in so far as (6880) square meters is
concerned, INTERVENORS claim over Lot 261;

2. The First Cause of Action, ordering the Plaintiff Aurora B. Camacho to deliver (5000) square
meters as per Annex A; EIGHTY square meters as per Annex C; EIGHT HUNDRED (800) square
meters which the INTERVENOR purchased from third parties;

3. On the Second Cause of Action, ordering the Plaintiff Aurora B. Camacho to pay the sum
of P8,820.00, corresponding to the lease rental of (5880) square meters a month, counted from July,
1973, until the same is delivered to the INTERVENOR;

4. On the Third Cause of Action, ordering the Plaintiff Aurora B. Camacho to deliver (1000)
square meters, as attorneys fee in handling seven (7) cases;

5. Ordering the Plaintiff Aurora B. Camacho and Defendant Silvestre Tuazon to pay jointly and
severally, the sum of P5,000.00 for attorneys fee for legal services to the INTERVENOR; cost and
litigation expenses of P1,000. until the case is terminated.

6. To grant such relief, just and equitable in the premises.[15]

Camacho opposed[16] Atty. Banzons motion on the ground that the admission of the complaint-in-intervention
would merely serve to delay the case. She also claimed that his interest could be fully ventilated in a separate case for
recovery of property or for damages.

On April 5, 1974, the RTC granted[17] the motion and subsequently admitted the complaint-in-intervention.

On December 31, 1973, Atty. Banzon and Tuazon entered into the following amicable settlement:

1. That for and in consideration of the sum of TWO THOUSAND PESOS (P2,000.00),
Philippine currency, which have been received from the INTERVENOR and acknowledged to have
been received by the Defendant Silvestre Tuazon, the latter hereby acknowledges, waives his
defenses against the claim of the INTERVENOR ANGELINO M. BANZON over a portion of Lot
No. 261, portion of the lot in question, to the extent of SIX THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED
EIGHTY (6880) SQUARE METERS as claimed and contained in the COMPLAINT IN
INTERVENTION and to give effect to this AMICABLE SETTLEMENT hereby surrenders the
actual possession of the said portion, subject to the approval of this Hon. Court, in favor of the
INTERVENOR;

2. That the herein parties to this AMICABLE SETTLEMENT waive and renounce
whatever rights or claims, including future claims that each may have against each other;

3. That the parties herein bind themselves to comply with the conditions of the foregoing
settlement;

4. That the foregoing AMICABLE SETTLEMENT was realized and achieved between the
herein parties, thru the prior intercession of the Defendants counsel Atty. Narciso V. Cruz, Jr.

WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that the foregoing AMICABLE SETTLEMENT


be approved and made as the basis of this Hon. Courts decision between the herein INTERVENOR
and DEFENDANT Silvestre Tuazon.[18]

In Answer[19] to the complaint-in-intervention, Camacho denied that she solicited the services of Atty. Banzon to
facilitate the transfer of the site of the proposed public market; in fact, it was Atty. Banzon who approached and
convinced her to donate a portion of the lot to the municipality of Balanga. He assured her that
the municipalityof Balanga planned to relocate the public market and was scouting for a new location. He also told
her that her lot appeared to be the most ideal location, and that he would take care of all the legal problems.

Camacho admitted, however, that she signed the Contract of Attorneys Fee but only upon the request of Atty. Banzon.
He told her that the document would be shown to the municipal councilors for formalitys sake to prove his authority
to act for and in behalf of Camacho. It was never intended to bind her to pay attorneys fees. [20] She further denied that
she agreed to give to Atty. Banzon 1,000 sq m for handling the seven cases; they never discussed attorneys fees. The
cases stemmed from his assurance that he would take care of any legal problem resulting from the donation of her
property. She was not even a party in some of the cases cited by Atty. Banzon. [21] Lastly, she denied that he had made
demands to deliver the mentioned portions of the property. [22]

In his Reply,[23] Atty. Banzon countered that the Balanga Municipal Council Resolution No. 128 transferring the
market site to Camachos property was enacted precisely because of his letter-proposal[24] to the municipal council.

On August 14, 1977, Camacho and Tuazon entered into a Compromise Agreement, [25] whereby Camacho agreed to
transfer a 1,000-sq-m portion of Lot 261-B in favor of Tuazon; for his part, Tuazon moved to dismiss Civil Case No.
3805 and to remove all the improvements outside the portion of the property which Camacho had agreed to convey to
him. Thus, the RTC rendered a partial decision[26] approving the compromise agreement.
On September 12, 1978, Camacho filed a Motion to Dismiss[27] the Complaint-in-Intervention filed by Atty. Banzon
on the ground that the jurisdiction of the court to try the case ceased to exist because the principal action had been
terminated. The RTC denied the motion in its Order[28] dated March 16, 1979. It held that Atty. Banzon had an interest
over the subject property which he had to protect and that the compromise agreement between Camacho and Tuazon
did not include him. Moreover, the dismissal of the intervention would not achieve its purpose of avoiding multiplicity
of suits. The propriety of the denial of Camachos motion to dismiss was finally settled by this Court in Camacho v.
Court of Appeals[29] where this Court affirmed the denial of the motion.
After trial on the merits, the RTC rendered a Decision[30] on September 1, 1992 in favor of Atty.
Banzon. The fallo reads:
ACCORDINGLY, judgment is hereby rendered:

1. Ordering plaintiff Aurora B. Camacho under the Contract of Attorneys Fees, [to deliver]
5000 square meters of the subject landholding, Lot 261-B-1, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title
No. T-76357, or any other derivative sublots of the original Lot 261-B;

2. Declaring the dismissal of said intervenor from the case at bar as unjustified;

3. Ordering said plaintiff to pay and deliver to said intervenor 1000 square meters of the
property in question, Lot 261-B-1 or any other derivative sublots of the original Lot 261-B in case
of deficiency, for legal services rendered in seven (7) cases;

4. Directing said plaintiff to deliver to said intervenor, under a Provisional Deed of Sale,
80 square meters of the subject property, Lot 261-B-1 or any other derivative sublots of the original
Lot 261 in case of deficiency, after payment of the balance of the purchase price;

5. Ordering said plaintiff to execute the corresponding Deed of Sale in favor of said
intervenor for the aforesaid 80 square meters;

6. Condemning said plaintiff to pay moral damages to said intervenor in the amount
of P100,000.00; attorneys fees in the sum of P30,000.00; and the costs of the suit.

SO ORDERED.[31]

According to the RTC, Camacho had indeed read the contract and freely affixed her signature thereon. Applying the
provisions of Section 7 (now section 9), Rule 130[32] of the Rules of Court, it concluded that the terms of the contract
were embodied in the document itself. Moreover, Camacho did not bother to pay for all the other cases being handled
by Atty. Banzon because she knew that she had agreed already to pay attorneys fees. The court likewise found that
applying the provisions of Sections 24[33] and 26,[34] Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, the area of the lot agreed upon as
attorneys fees appears to be a reasonable compensation for his services.Since Atty. Banzon handled other cases
subsequent to the execution of the contract of attorneys fees, the additional 1,000-sq-m lot which the parties had orally
agreed upon is proper. The RTC declared that Atty. Banzon was entitled to be compensated based on quantum
meruit since his dismissal from the present case was unjustified.It also held that Camacho was obliged to execute the
necessary public instrument covering the 80-sq-m portion of the lot which she had sold to Atty. Banzon. It went further
and awarded moral damages to Atty. Banzon on account of the mental anguish and besmirched reputation he had
suffered.

On October 8, 1992, Atty. Banzon filed a Motion for Execution Pending Appeal. [35] Camacho, on the other hand, filed
a Notice of Appeal. Atty. Banzon filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that since the case originated from the
municipal court, it should be assailed via petition for review. On November 20, 1992, the court issued an
Order[36] denying the motion for execution pending appeal for failure to state good reasons therefor. It likewise granted
the notice of appeal on the ground that the complaint-in-intervention originated from the RTC and not from the MTC;
under the factual backdrop of the case, ordinary appeal is proper.
On appeal to the CA, Camacho raised the following errors:

I.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ALLOWING JUDGE ABRAHAM VERA TO SIGN THE
DECISION IN THE INSTANT CASE, CONSIDERING THAT JUDGE VERA HAD LONG
CEASED TO BE THE JUDGE OF THAT COURT AND WAS THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF
BRANCH 90 OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF QUEZON CITY WHEN THE INSTANT
DECISION WAS SIGNED ON SEPTEMBER 1, 1992.

II.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE VALIDITY AND DUE EXECUTION OF
CONTRACT EXH. C AND IN ORDERING PLAINTIFF TO DELIVER TO INTERVENOR 5,000
SQUARE METERS OF LOT 261-B-1, T.C.T. T-76357, CONSIDERING THAT THIS LOT IS
NOT SPECIFIED IN EXH. C.

III.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DECLARING THAT INTERVENORS DISCHARGE AS
PLAINTIFFS COUNSEL IN THE CASE AT BAR WAS UNJUSTIFIED, IN AWARDING
INTERVENOR MORAL DAMAGES, AND IN DISMISSING PLAINTIFFS
COUNTERCLAIMS.

IV.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN AWARDING INTERVENOR 1,000 SQUARE METERS OF
PLAINTIFFS LAND FOR HIS HANDLING OF ALLEGED SEVEN CASES.

V.
THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING PLAINTIFF TO EXECUTE A FINAL DEED OF
SALE FOR 80 SQUARE METERS OUT OF LOT 261-B-1, CONSIDERING THAT LOT 261-B-
1 IS NOT SPECIFIED IN THE PROVISIONAL DEED OF SALE. [37]

On October 29, 1996, the CA rendered a decision[38] affirming with modification the RTC ruling. The fallo reads:

WHEREFORE, foregoing considered, the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED with


modification requiring plaintiff Camacho to DELIVER 5,000 sq.m. and 1,000 sq. m. of Lot261-B-
1 to Intervenor as his attorneys fee and 80 sq. m. also from Lot 261 subject to the conditions
embodied under no. 4 of the dispositive portion of the assailed decision all within thirty (30) days
from the finality of this decision.

SO ORDERED.[39]

The CA held that all the elements of a valid contract were present: Camacho (a dentistry graduate and an experienced
businesswoman conversant in English) cannot plead that she did not understand the undertaking she had entered into;
the object of the contract is certain since the genus of the object was expressed although there was no determination
of the individual specie; and the cause of the obligation to negotiate and offer a site where the public market will be
constructed is not unlawful and cannot be considered as influence peddling. As to the alleged violation of the terms
of the special power of attorney, the court held that Camacho was estopped from claiming damages by reason thereof.

The CA likewise found the award of moral damages to be in order; that the discharge of Atty. Banzon as counsel for
Camacho was not justified and his discharge does not in any way deprive him of his right to attorneys fees. Lastly, the
CA held that the RTC erred in requiring Camacho to deliver Lot 261-B-1, since Atty. Banzon cannot demand a portion
of superior quality in the same way that appellant cannot transfer an inferior quality.
On December 3, 1996, the CA issued a Resolution[40] instituting petitioner Aurora Fe Camacho as substitute for the
deceased Aurora B. Camacho.

Atty. Banzon filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the CA Decision, as well as a Motion to Declare Decision
Final insofar as Camacho was concerned. On the other hand, Camacho moved to cancel the notice of lis pendens. In
the meantime, petitioner had filed the petition before this Court. Thus, the CA no longer acted on the motions on the
ground that it had already lost jurisdiction over the case. [41]

In the present petition, petitioner raises the following issues:


1. WHETHER OR NOT INTERVENOR CAN BE AWARDED A FAVORABLE JUDGMENT
DESPITE ABSENCE OF ANY FINDINGS OF FACT IN THE DECISION WHICH SHOW THAT
HE WAS ABLE TO PROVE THE (SIC) HIS MATERIAL ALLEGATIONS UPON WHICH HE
BASIS (SIC) HIS CLAIM UNDER CONTRACT OF ATTORNEYS FEE, EXH. C, ESPECIALLY
PAR. 7 OF THE COMPLAINT-IN-INTERVENTION.

CAN THE BURDEN OF PROVING THE AND (SIC) DUE EXECUTION OF CONTRACT EXH.
C BE SHIFTED TO PLAINTIFF CAMACHO WITHOUT VIOLATING SECT. 1, RULE 131, OF
THE RULES OF COURT?

2. DID THE COURT OF APPEALS CORRECTLY APPLY THE PROVISION OF ART. 1246 OF
THE CIVIL CODE TO THE INSTANT CASE IN RULING THAT CONTRACT EXH. C IS
VALID AS TO OBJECT?

WILL THE DECISION REQUIRING THE DELIVERY OF 5,000 SQUARE METERS


OF LOT 261 BASED ON THE SAID ART. 1246, IN WHICH INTERVENOR CANNOT
DEMAND A THING OF SUPERIOR QUALITY AND NEITHER CAN PLAINTIFF CAMACHO
DELIVER A THING OF INFERIOR QUALITY, BE SUSCEPTIBLE OF IMPLEMENTATION
WITHOUT NEED OF A NEW CONTRACT OR AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE PARTIES?

IF SO, WILL THAT NOT ALL THE MORE PROVE THAT TE OBJECT OF CONTRACT EXH.
C IS INDETERMINATE PURSUANT [TO] ART. 1349 OF THE CIVIL CODE?

3. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS WAS IN A POSITION TO PROCLAIM


THE LEGALITY OR ILLEGALITY OF THE ALLEGED CONTRACT WITHOUT FIRST
REVEALING OR SETTING FORTH THE REAL NATURE OF THIS OR THESE
UNDERTAKINGS BASED ON THE ALLEGATIONS AND TESTIMONIES OF
INTERVENOR. HENCE, WHETHER OR NOT THE TWO UNDERTAKINGS IN CONTRACT
EXH. C ARE LAWFUL.

4. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMIT A GRAVE ABUSE OF


DISCRETION BY TREATING LIKE A MATTER OUT OF RECORD THE ALLEGED
REASONS OF PLAINTIFF CAMACHO FOR DISMISSING INTERVENOR AS HER COUNSEL
IN THE CASE AT BAR, WHICH WERE ENUMERATED AND DISCUSSED ON PAGES 42-60
OF HER APPELLANTS BRIEF, ANNEX B, AND WHICH WERE PRINCIPALLY AND
SPECIFICALLY COVERED IN HER THIRD ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS AND
CONSIDERING THAT ONE OF THESE ALLEGED REASONS ALSO CONSTITUTE
PLAINTIFF CAMACHOS COUNTERCLAIM FOR WHICH SHE IS SEEKING MORAL
DAMAGES OF P100,000.

DID NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMIT GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN


REPRESENTING PLAINTIFF CAMACHOS THIRD ASSIGNED ERROR ASREFERRING
MERELY TO THE ISSUE OF WHETHER OR NOT THE AWARD OF MORAL DAMAGES TO
INTERVENOR IS JUSTIFIED.
WAS NOT PLAINTIFF CAMACHO THEREBY DEPRIVED OF HER CONSTITUTIONAL
RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW?

5. WHETHER OR NOT THE AWARD OF 1,000 SQ. M. OF LOT 261 ATTORNEYS FEE FOR
ALLEGED HANDLING OF SEVEN CASES HAS ANY LEGAL BASIS CONSIDERING THAT
THERE IS NO SHOWING IN THE DECISION THAT THE ORAL CONTRACT ALLEGED BY
INTERVENOR TO BE THE BASIS OF THE SAID ATTORNEYS FEE WAS DULY POROVEN
(SIC).[42]

Petitioner argues that the findings of facts in the assailed decision are mere conclusions, without citation of evidence
to support them. She likewise avers that consent was not clearly proven; the conclusion of the CA was based on the
presumption that the document was read prior to being signed. Petitioner insists that there is no object certain to speak
of since the exact location of the subject property cannot be determined; in short, the issue is not the quality of the
property but its identity. Petitioner further asserts that the cause of the contract pirating of the municipalitys market
project and ejecting the tenant to convert the property into a commercial establishment is illegal. She further insists
that respondent failed to accomplish the twin objective of ejecting Silvestre Tuazon and converting the remaining land
into a commercial area; thus, he is not entitled to the 5,000-sq-m lot. She further contends that the CA erred in awarding
moral damages because respondent did not ask for it in his complaint-in-intervention. Lastly, she asserts that the CA
erred in affirming the award of the 1,000-sq-m lot pursuant to a verbal contract between Camacho and respondent,
especially considering the prevailing jurisprudence against a lawyers acquisition of a clients lot in litigation without
the latters consent.

In his Comment,[43] respondent counters that the elements of a valid contract are present: Camachos consent to the
contract is evidenced by her signature which was in fact admitted by the latter; that while it is true that the identity of
the 5,000-sq-m portion of Lot 261 has not been specified due to the absence of the necessary technical descriptions, it
is capable of being made determinate without the need of a new agreement between the parties; as to the validity of
the cause of the contract, the general principle of estoppel applies.

The Ruling of the Court


Article 1305 of the New Civil Code defines a contract as a meeting of minds between two persons whereby one binds
himself, with respect to the other, to give something or to render some service. Contracts shall be obligatory in
whatever form they may have been entered into, provided all the essential requisites for their validity are present. [44]

In general, there are three (3) essential requisites for a valid contract: (1) consent of the contracting parties; (2)
an object certain which is the subject of the contract; and (3) the cause of the obligation which is established.[45]

The first element


Consent of the contracting parties
Is shown by their signatures on the
Contract
Consent is manifested by the meeting of the offer and the acceptance upon the thing and the cause which are to
constitute the agreement.[46] In this case, Camacho admitted the existence of the contract as well as the genuineness
of her signature. However, she claimed that she signed only upon the request of Atty. Banzon, who told her that the
document would only be shown to the municipal councilors (for formalitys sake) to prove his authority in her behalf.
It was never intended to bind her to pay him attorneys fees; [47] in short, petitioner insists that Camacho had not given
her consent to the contract.

We, however, do not agree. The contract between Camacho and respondent is evidenced by a written document signed
by both parties denominated as Contract of Attorneys Fee. It is an established rule that written evidence is so much
more certain and accurate than that which rests in fleeting memory only; that it would be unsafe, when parties have
expressed the terms of their contract in writing, to admit weaker evidence to control and vary the stronger, and to show
that the parties intended a different contract from that expressed in the writing signed by them. [48] Moreover, the
moment a party affixes her signature thereon, he or she is bound by all the terms stipulated therein and is open to all
the legal obligations that may arise from their breach.[49]

In the instant case, Camacho voluntarily signed the document evidencing the contract. Camachos claim that the
document was intended only to show respondents authority to represent her with respect to the transaction is flimsy,
since a special power of attorney could just as easily have accomplished that purpose. In fact, Camacho did execute a
Special Power of Attorney[50] after the Contract of Attorneys Fee was executed, and if Camacho were to be believed,
the Contract of Attorneys Fee should have been immediately canceled thereafter since it was no longer needed. As
correctly held by the CA, Camacho was an experienced businesswoman, a dentistry graduate and is conversant in the
English language. We note that the words and phrases used in the Contract of Attorneys Fee are very simple and clear;
thus, she cannot plead that she did not understand the undertaking she had entered into. [51] Considering that her
undertaking was to part with a 5,000-sq-m portion of her property, she should have been more vigilant in protecting
her rights.
Even assuming that the contract did not reflect the true intention of the parties as to their respective obligations, it is
nevertheless binding. The existence of the written contract, coupled with Camachos admission that the signature
appearing thereon was hers, constitute ineluctable evidence of her consent to the agreement. It cannot be overcome by
mere denial and allegations that they did not intend to be bound thereby. We also note that Camacho did not avail of
the remedy of reformation of the instrument in order to reflect what, according to her, was the true agreement.

Camachos consent to the contract was further manifested in the following events that transpired after the contract was
executed: the execution of the agreement with voluntary surrender signed by Tuazon; the execution of the Deed of
Donation where Atty. Banzon was authorized to sign the same on behalf of Camacho; and the sale of 1200 sq. m.
portion of the property right at the market site. In all these transactions, Atty. Banzon represented Camacho pursuant
to the Contract of Attorneys Fee.
The object of the contract
Is still certain despite the parties
Failure to indicate the specific
Portion of the property to be
Given as compensation for services

Articles 1349 and 1460 of the Civil Code provide the guidelines in determining whether or not the object of the
contract is certain:
Article 1349. The object of every contract must be determinate as to its kind. The fact that the
quantity is not determinate shall not be an obstacle to the existence of the contract, provided it is
possible to determine the same, without the need of a new contract between the parties.

xxxx

Article 1460. A thing is determinate when it is particularly designated and/or physically segregated
from all others of the same class.
The requisite that a thing be determinate is satisfied if at the time the contract is entered into, the
thing is capable of being made determinate without the necessity of a new or further agreement
between the parties.
In this case, the object of the contract is the 5,000-sq-m portion of Lot 261, Balanga Cadastre. The failure of the parties
to state its exact location in the contract is of no moment; this is a mere error occasioned by the parties failure to
describe with particularity the subject property, which does not indicate the absence of the principal object as to render
the contract void.[52] Since Camacho bound herself to deliver a portion of Lot 261 to Atty. Banzon, the description of
the property subject of the contract is sufficient to validate the same.

The Cause or Consideration


Of the contract is not illegal

In general, the cause is the why of the contract or the essential reason which moves the contracting parties to enter
into the contract.[53] For the cause to be valid, it must be lawful such that it is not contrary to law, morals, good customs,
public order or public policy.[54] Petitioner insists that the cause of the subject contract is illegal. However, under the
terms of the contract, Atty. Banzon was obliged to negotiate with the municipal government of Balanga for the transfer
of the proposed new public market to Camachos property (Lot 261); to sell 1,200 square meters right at the market
site; and to take charge of the legal phases incidental to the transaction which include the ejectment of persons
unlawfully occupying the property (whether through amicable settlement or court action), and the execution of the
Deed of Donation and other papers necessary to consummate the transaction. There was thus nothing wrong with the
services which respondent undertook to perform under the contract. They are not contrary to law, morals, good
customs, public order or public policy.

Petitioner argues that the cause of the contract is the pirating of the municipalitys market project and ejecting the
tenant to convert the property into a commercial establishment. This is premised on the fact that the construction of
the new public market at Doa Francisca Subdivision had originally been approved by the municipal council of
Balanga, the Development Bank of the Philippines, and the National Urban Planning Commission; and at the time the
contract was executed, Tuazon occupied the property. The records show, however, that the municipal council was
scouting for a new location because it had reservations regarding the site of the proposed project. And while Lot 261
was considered to be the most ideal (because it stands on higher ground and is not susceptible to flooding) it does not
follow that respondent no longer negotiated for and in Camachos behalf. There were other terms to be negotiated,
such as the mode of transfer (whether sale or donation); the titling of the property in the name of the municipality; the
terms of payment, if any; and such other legalities necessary to consummate the transaction.

It must be stressed that Camacho was not deprived of any property right. The portions of her property which she parted
with (the 17,000-sq-m portion donated to the municipality; the 5,000-sq-m portion given to respondent as attorneys
fees; and the 1,200-sq-m portion which was sold) were either in exchange for services rendered or for monetary
consideration. In fact, all these transactions resulted in the increase in the economic value of her remaining properties.

Thus, the defense of the illegality of respondents undertaking is baseless. The municipal council had the authority to
choose the best site for its project. We also note that the market site was transferred with the active participation of
Camacho, who agreed to donate the 17,000-sq-m portion of her property; the new public market was constructed and
became operational; and the sale of the 1,200-sq-m lot was consummated when Camacho executed the deeds
herself. Thus, petitioner cannot be allowed to evade the payment of Camachos liabilities under the contract with
respondent; a contrary conclusion would negate the rule of estoppel and unjust enrichment.
As to the additional 1,000-sq-m-portion of Lot 261, however, we find and so hold that respondent is not entitled
thereto.

Indeed, it was sufficiently established that an attorney-client relationship existed between Camacho and respondent
and that the latter handled several other cases for his client. The records show that the parties had agreed upon specific
sums of money as attorneys fees for the other cases:
Civil Case No. C-1773 P10,000.00[55]
Civil Case No. 424 P1,000.00[56]
CAR Case No. 278-B70 P2,000.00[57]
CAR Case No. 520-B73 P5,000.00[58]
Civil Case No. 3281 P5,000.00[59]
This clearly negates respondents claim of an additional 1,000-sq-m share as compensation for services
rendered. Likewise, there being no evidence on respondents right over the 800-sq-m allegedly purchased from third
persons, he is likewise not entitled to this portion of the property.

On the other hand, Camacho admitted in her Answer[60] to the Complaint-in-Intervention


that respondent had purchased from her an 80-sq-m portion of the property. Since she had merely executed a
Provisional Deed of Sale,[61] we agree with the RTC that respondent has the right to require the execution of a public
instrument evidencing the sale.
It must be understood that a retainer contract is the law that governs the relationship between a client and a
lawyer.[62] Unless expressly stipulated, rendition of professional services by a lawyer is for a fee or compensation and
is not gratuitous.[63] Whether the lawyers services were solicited or they were offered to the client for his assistance,
inasmuch as these services were accepted and made use of by the latter, we must consider that there was a tacit and
mutual consent as to the rendition of the services, and thus gives
[64]
rise to the obligation upon the person benefited by the services to make compensation therefor. Lawyers are thus
as much entitled to judicial protection against injustice on the part of their clients as the clients are against abuses on
the part of the counsel. The duty of the court is not only to see that lawyers act in a proper and lawful manner, but also
to see that lawyers are paid their just and lawful fees. [65] If lawyers are entitled to fees even if there is no written
contract, with more reason that they are entitled thereto if their relationship is governed by a written contract of
attorneys fee.

In her fourth assigned error, petitioner claims that the CA failed to rule on the propriety of the dismissal of respondent
as Camachos counsel.

We do not agree. We uphold the following pronouncement of the CA on the matter:


In this case, the grounds relied upon by plaintiff Camacho as justifications for the discharge of
Intervenor are not sufficient to deprive the latter of his attorneys fees.

Intervenor may see the case in an angle different from that seen by plaintiff Camacho. The
procedures adopted by Intervenor may not be what plaintiff Camacho believes to be the best. But
these do not in any way prove that Intervenor was working to the prejudice of plaintiff Camacho.

Failure of plaintiff Camacho to prove that Intervenor intended to damage her, We consider the
charges of plaintiff Camacho as mere honest difference of opinions.

As to the charge that Intervenor failed to account the money he collected in behalf of plaintiff
Camacho, the same is not supported by any evidence. Suffice it to say that mere allegations cannot
prove a claim.[66]

The ruling of the CA on the award of moral damages is likewise in accordance with the facts and established
jurisprudence:
The act of plaintiff Camacho is a clear case of breach of contract. Worst, when Intervenor demanded
payment, plaintiff Camacho adopted all sorts of strategies to delay payment. This case dragged on
for twenty (20) years. And until this time, plaintiff Camacho continues to unjustifiably refuse the
payment of the attorneys fees due to intervenor.

For these, one can readily imagine the worries and anxiety gone through by Intervenor. Award of
moral damages is but proper.

Moral damages may be granted if the party had proven that he suffered mental anguish, serious
anxiety and moral shock as a consequence of the act of the other party. Moral damages can be
awarded when a party acted in bad faith as in this case by Camacho. [67]

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the appealed decision is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that
the award of a 1,000-square-meter portion of Lot261 to respondent Atty. Angelito Banzon as attorneys fees
is DELETED.

SO ORDERED.
SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. 135634. May 31, 2000]

HEIRS OF JUAN SAN ANDRES (VICTOR S. ZIGA) and SALVACION S. TRIA, petitioners, vs. VICENTE
RODRIGUEZ, respondent.

DECISION

MENDOZA, J.:

This is a petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals[1] reversing the decision of the
Regional Trial Court, Naga City, Branch 19, in Civil Case No. 87-1335, as well as the appellate courts resolution
denying reconsideration. Slxsc

The antecedent facts are as follows:

Juan San Andres was the registered owner of Lot No. 1914-B-2 situated in Liboton, Naga City. On September 28,
1964, he sold a portion thereof, consisting of 345 square meters, to respondent Vicente S. Rodriguez for P2,415.00.
The sale is evidenced by a Deed of Sale.[2]

Upon the death of Juan San Andres on May 5, 1965, Ramon San Andres was appointed judicial administrator of the
decedents estate in Special Proceedings No. R-21, RTC, Branch 19, Naga City. Ramon San Andres engaged the
services of a geodetic engineer, Jose Peero, to prepare a consolidated plan (Exh. A) of the estate. Engineer Peero
also prepared a sketch plan of the 345-square meter lot sold to respondent. From the result of the survey, it was
found that respondent had enlarged the area which he purchased from the late Juan San Andres by 509 square
meters.[3]

Accordingly, the judicial administrator sent a letter,[4] dated July 27, 1987, to respondent demanding that the latter
vacate the portion allegedly encroached by him. However, respondent refused to do so, claiming he had purchased
the same from the late Juan San Andres. Thereafter, on November 24, 1987, the judicial administrator brought an
action, in behalf of the estate of Juan San Andres, for recovery of possession of the 509-square meter lot. Slxmis

In his Re-amended Answer filed on February 6, 1989, respondent alleged that apart from the 345-square meter lot
which had been sold to him by Juan San Andres on September 28, 1964, the latter likewise sold to him the following
day the remaining portion of the lot consisting of 509 square meters, with both parties treating the two lots as one
whole parcel with a total area of 854 square meters. Respondent alleged that the full payment of the 509-square
meter lot would be effected within five (5) years from the execution of a formal deed of sale after a survey is
conducted over said property. He further alleged that with the consent of the former owner, Juan San Andres, he
took possession of the same and introduced improvements thereon as early as 1964.

As proof of the sale to him of 509 square meters, respondent attached to his answer a receipt (Exh. 2) [5] signed by
the late Juan San Andres, which reads in full as follows: Missdaa

Received from Vicente Rodriguez the sum of Five Hundred (P500.00) Pesos representing an
advance payment for a residential lot adjoining his previously paid lot on three sides excepting on
the frontage with the agreed price of Fifteen (15.00) Pesos per square meter and the payment of
the full consideration based on a survey shall be due and payable in five (5) years period from the
execution of the formal deed of sale; and it is agreed that the expenses of survey and its approval
by the Bureau of Lands shall be borne by Mr. Rodriguez.

Naga City, September 29, 1964.(Sgd.)


JUAN R. SAN ANDRES

Vendor

Noted:

(Sgd.)

VICENTE RODRIGUEZ

Vendee

Respondent also attached to his answer a letter of judicial administrator Ramon San Andres (Exh. 3), [6] asking
payment of the balance of the purchase price. The letter reads:

Dear Inting,

Please accommodate my request for Three Hundred (P300.00) Pesos as I am in need of funds as I
intimated to you the other day.

We will just adjust it with whatever balance you have payable to the subdivision.

Thanks.

Sincerely,

(Sgd.)

RAMON SAN ANDRES

Vicente Rodriguez

Penafrancia Subdivision, Naga City

P.S.

You can let bearer Enrique del Castillo sign for the amount.

Received One Hundred Only

(Sgd.)

RAMON SAN ANDRES

3/30/66

Respondent deposited in court the balance of the purchase price amounting to P7,035.00 for the aforesaid 509-
square meter lot. Sdaadsc
While the proceedings were pending, judicial administrator Ramon San Andres died and was substituted by his son
Ricardo San Andres. On the other hand, respondent Vicente Rodriguez died on August 15, 1989 and was substituted
by his heirs.[7]

Petitioner, as plaintiff, presented two witnesses. The first witness, Engr. Jose Peero, [8] testified that based on his
survey conducted sometime between 1982 and 1985, respondent had enlarged the area which he purchased from the
late Juan San Andres by 509 square meters belonging to the latters estate. According to Peero, the titled property
(Exh. A-5) of respondent was enclosed with a fence with metal holes and barbed wire, while the expanded area was
fenced with barbed wire and bamboo and light materials. Rtcspped

The second witness, Ricardo San Andres,[9] administrator of the estate, testified that respondent had not filed any
claim before Special Proceedings No. R-21 and denied knowledge of Exhibits 2 and 3. However, he recognized the
signature in Exhibit 3 as similar to that of the former administrator, Ramon San Andres. Finally, he declared that the
expanded portion occupied by the family of respondent is now enclosed with barbed wire fence unlike before where
it was found without fence.

On the other hand, Bibiana B. Rodriguez,[10] widow of respondent Vicente Rodriguez, testified that they had
purchased the subject lot from Juan San Andres, who was their compadre, on September 29, 1964, at P15.00 per
square meter. According to her, they gave P500.00 to the late Juan San Andres who later affixed his signature to
Exhibit 2. She added that on March 30, 1966, Ramon San Andres wrote them a letter asking for P300.00 as partial
payment for the subject lot, but they were able to give him only P100.00. She added that they had paid the total
purchase price of P7,035.00 on November 21, 1988 by depositing it in court. Bibiana B. Rodriquez stated that they
had been in possession of the 509-square meter lot since 1964 when the late Juan San Andres signed the receipt.
(Exh. 2) Lastly, she testified that they did not know at that time the exact area sold to them because they were told
that the same would be known after the survey of the subject lot. Korte

On September 20, 1994, the trial court[11] rendered judgment in favor of petitioner. It ruled that there was no contract
of sale to speak of for lack of a valid object because there was no sufficient indication in Exhibit 2 to identify the
property subject of the sale, hence, the need to execute a new contract.

Respondent appealed to the Court of Appeals, which on April 21, 1998 rendered a decision reversing the decision of
the trial court. The appellate court held that the object of the contract was determinable, and that there was a
conditional sale with the balance of the purchase price payable within five years from the execution of the deed of
sale. The dispositive portion of its decisions reads:

IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the judgment appealed from is hereby REVERSED and
SET ASIDE and a new one entered DISMISSING the complaint and rendering judgment against
the plaintiff-appellee:

1. to accept the P7,035.00 representing the balance of the purchase price of the portion and which
is deposited in court under Official Receipt No. 105754 (page 122, Records);

2. to execute the formal deed of sale over the said 509 square meter portion of Lot 1914-B-2 in
favor of appellant Vicente Rodriguez;

3. to pay the defendant-appellant the amount of P50,000.00 as damages and P10,000.00 attorneys
fees as stipulated by them during the trial of this case; and

4. to pay the costs of the suit.

SO ORDERED.
Hence, this petition. Petitioner assigns the following errors as having been allegedly committed by the trial
court: Sclaw

I.THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT THE DOCUMENT


(EXHIBIT "2") IS A CONTRACT TO SELL DESPITE ITS LACKING ONE OF THE
ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF A CONTRACT, NAMELY, OBJECT CERTAIN AND
SUFFICIENTLY DESCRIBED.

II.THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT PETITIONER IS


OBLIGED TO HONOR THE PURPORTED CONTRACT TO SELL DESPITE NON-
FULFILLMENT BY RESPONDENT OF THE CONDITION THEREIN OF PAYMENT OF
THE BALANCE OF THE PURCHASE PRICE.

III.THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT CONSIGNATION WAS


VALID DESPITE NON-COMPLIANCE WITH THE MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS
THEREOF.

IV.THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN HOLDING THAT LACHES AND


PRESCRIPTION DO NOT APPLY TO RESPONDENT WHO SOUGHT INDIRECTLY TO
ENFORCE THE PURPORTED CONTRACT AFTER THE LAPSE OF 24 YEARS.

The petition has no merit.

First. Art. 1458 of the Civil Code provides:

By the contract of sale one of the contracting parties obligates himself to transfer the ownership of
and to deliver a determinate thing, and the other to pay therefor a price certain in money or its
equivalent.

A contract of sale may be absolute or conditional.

As thus defined, the essential elements of sale are the following:

a) Consent or meeting of the minds, that is, consent to transfer ownership in exchange for the
price;

b) Determinate subject matter; and,

c) Price certain in money or its equivalent.[12]

As shown in the receipt, dated September 29, 1964, the late Juan San Andres received P500.00 from respondent as
"advance payment for the residential lot adjoining his previously paid lot on three sides excepting on the frontage;"
the agreed purchase price was P15.00 per square meter; and the full amount of the purchase price was to be based on
the results of a survey and would be due and payable in five (5) years from the execution of a deed of sale.

Petitioner contends, however, that the "property subject of the sale was not described with sufficient certainty such
that there is a necessity of another agreement between the parties to finally ascertain the identity, size and purchase
price of the property which is the object of the alleged sale." [13] He argues that the "quantity of the object is not
determinate as in fact a survey is needed to determine its exact size and the full purchase price therefor." [14] In
support of his contention, petitioner cites the following provisions of the Civil Code: Sclex
Art. 1349. The object of every contract must be determinate as to its kind. The fact that the
quantity is not determinable shall not be an obstacle to the existence of a contract, provided it is
possible to determine the same without the need of a new contract between the parties.

Art. 1460 . . . The requisite that a thing be determinate is satisfied if at the time the contract is
entered into, the thing is capable of being made determinate without the necessity of a new and
further agreement between the parties.

Petitioners contention is without merit. There is no dispute that respondent purchased a portion of Lot 1914-B-2
consisting of 345 square meters. This portion is located in the middle of Lot 1914-B-2, which has a total area of 854
square meters, and is clearly what was referred to in the receipt as the "previously paid lot." Since the lot
subsequently sold to respondent is said to adjoin the "previously paid lot" on three sides thereof, the subject lot is
capable of being determined without the need of any new contract. The fact that the exact area of these adjoining
residential lots is subject to the result of a survey does not detract from the fact that they are determinate or
determinable. As the Court of Appeals explained:[15]

Concomitantly, the object of the sale is certain and determinate. Under Article 1460 of the New
Civil Code, a thing sold is determinate if at the time the contract is entered into, the thing is
capable of being determinate without necessity of a new or further agreement between the parties.
Here, this definition finds realization.

Appellees Exhibit "A" (page 4, Records) affirmingly shows that the original 345 sq. m. portion
earlier sold lies at the middle of Lot 1914-B-2 surrounded by the remaining portion of the said Lot
1914-B-2 on three (3) sides, in the east, in the west and in the north. The northern boundary is a 12
meter road. Conclusively, therefore, this is the only remaining 509 sq. m. portion of Lot 1914-B-2
surrounding the 345 sq. m. lot initially purchased by Rodriguez. It is quite defined, determinate
and certain. Withal, this is the same portion adjunctively occupied and possessed by Rodriguez
since September 29, 1964, unperturbed by anyone for over twenty (20) years until appellee
instituted this suit.

Thus, all of the essential elements of a contract of sale are present, i.e., that there was a meeting of the minds
between the parties, by virtue of which the late Juan San Andres undertook to transfer ownership of and to deliver a
determinate thing for a price certain in money. As Art. 1475 of the Civil Code provides: Xlaw

The contract of sale is perfected at the moment there is a meeting of minds upon the thing which is
the object of the contract and upon the price. . . .

That the contract of sale is perfected was confirmed by the former administrator of the estates, Ramon San Andres,
who wrote a letter to respondent on March 30, 1966 asking for P300.00 as partial payment for the subject lot. As the
Court of Appeals observed:

Without any doubt, the receipt profoundly speaks of a meeting of the mind between San Andres
and Rodriguez for the sale of the property adjoining the 345 square meter portion previously sold
to Rodriguez on its three (3) sides excepting the frontage. The price is certain, which is P15.00 per
square meter. Evidently, this is a perfected contract of sale on a deferred payment of the purchase
price. All the pre-requisite elements for a valid purchase transaction are present. Sale does not
require any formal document for its existence and validity. And delivery of possession of land sold
is a consummation of the sale (Galar vs. Husain, 20 SCRA 186 [1967]). A private deed of sale is a
valid contract between the parties (Carbonell v. CA, 69 SCRA 99 [1976]). Xsc

In the same vein, after the late Juan R. San Andres received the P500.00 downpayment on March
30, 1966, Ramon R. San Andres wrote a letter to Rodriguez and received from Rodriguez the
amount of P100.00 (although P300.00 was being requested) deductible from the purchase price of
the subject portion. Enrique del Castillo, Ramons authorized agent, correspondingly signed the
receipt for the P100.00. Surely, this is explicitly a veritable proof of the sale over the remaining
portion of Lot 1914-B-2 and a confirmation by Ramon San Andres of the existence thereof. [16]

There is a need, however, to clarify what the Court of Appeals said is a conditional contract of sale. Apparently, the
appellate court considered as a "condition" the stipulation of the parties that the full consideration, based on a survey
of the lot, would be due and payable within five (5) years from the execution of a formal deed of sale. It is evident
from the stipulations in the receipt that the vendor Juan San Andres sold the residential lot in question to respondent
and undertook to transfer the ownership thereof to respondent without any qualification, reservation or condition.
In Ang Yu Asuncion v. Court of Appeals,[17] we held: Sc

In Dignos v. Court of Appeals (158 SCRA 375), we have said that, although denominated a "Deed
of Conditional Sale," a sale is still absolute where the contract is devoid of any proviso that title is
reserved or the right to unilaterally rescind is stipulated, e.g., until or unless the price is paid.
Ownership will then be transferred to the buyer upon actual or constructive delivery (e.g., by the
execution of a public document) of the property sold. Where the condition is imposed upon the
perfection of the contract itself, the failure of the condition would prevent such perfection. If the
condition is imposed on the obligation of a party which is not fulfilled, the other party may either
waive the condition or refuse to proceed with the sale. (Art. 1545, Civil Code)

Thus, in one case, when the sellers declared in a "Receipt of Down Payment" that they received an amount as
purchase price for a house and lot without any reservation of title until full payment of the entire purchase price, the
implication was that they sold their property.[18] In Peoples Industrial and Commercial Corporation v. Court of
Appeals,[19] it was stated:

A deed of sale is considered absolute in nature where there is neither a stipulation in the deed that title to the
property sold is reserved in the seller until full payment of the price, nor one giving the vendor the right to
unilaterally resolve the contract the moment the buyer fails to pay within a fixed period. Scmis

Applying these principles to this case, it cannot be gainsaid that the contract of sale between the parties is absolute,
not conditional. There is no reservation of ownership nor a stipulation providing for a unilateral rescission by either
party. In fact, the sale was consummated upon the delivery of the lot to respondent. [20] Thus, Art. 1477 provides that
the ownership of the thing sold shall be transferred to the vendee upon the actual or constructive delivery thereof.

The stipulation that the "payment of the full consideration based on a survey shall be due and payable in five (5)
years from the execution of a formal deed of sale" is not a condition which affects the efficacy of the contract of
sale. It merely provides the manner by which the full consideration is to be computed and the time within which the
same is to be paid. But it does not affect in any manner the effectivity of the contract. Consequently, the contention
that the absence of a formal deed of sale stipulated in the receipt prevents the happening of a sale has no
merit. Missc

Second. With respect to the contention that the Court of Appeals erred in upholding the validity of a consignation of
P7,035.00 representing the balance of the purchase price of the lot, nowhere in the decision of the appellate court is
there any mention of consignation. Under Art. 1257 of this Civil Code, consignation is proper only in cases where
an existing obligation is due. In this case, however, the contracting parties agreed that full payment of purchase price
shall be due and payable within five (5) years from the execution of a formal deed of sale. At the time respondent
deposited the amount of P7,035.00 in the court, no formal deed of sale had yet been executed by the parties, and,
therefore, the five-year period during which the purchase price should be paid had not commenced. In short, the
purchase price was not yet due and payable.

This is not to say, however, that the deposit of the purchase price in the court is erroneous. The Court of Appeals
correctly ordered the execution of a deed of sale and petitioners to accept the amount deposited by respondent.

Third. The claim of petitioners that the price of P7,035.00 is iniquitous is untenable. The amount is based on the
agreement of the parties as evidenced by the receipt (Exh. 2). Time and again, we have stressed the rule that a
contract is the law between the parties, and courts have no choice but to enforce such contract so long as they are not
contrary to law, morals, good customs or public policy. Otherwise, courts would be interfering with the freedom of
contract of the parties. Simply put, courts cannot stipulate for the parties nor amend the latters agreement, for to do
so would be to alter the real intentions of the contracting parties when the contrary function of courts is to give force
and effect to the intentions of the parties. Misspped

Fourth. Finally, petitioners argue that respondent is barred by prescription and laches from enforcing the contract.
This contention is likewise untenable. The contract of sale in this case is perfected, and the delivery of the subject lot
to respondent effectively transferred ownership to him. For this reason, respondent seeks to comply with his
obligation to pay the full purchase price, but because the deed of sale is yet to be executed, he deemed it appropriate
to deposit the balance of the purchase price in court. Accordingly, Art. 1144 of the Civil Code has no application to
the instant case.[21] Considering that a survey of the lot has already been conducted and approved by the Bureau of
Lands, respondents heirs, assigns or successors-in-interest should reimburse the expenses incurred by herein
petitioners, pursuant to the provisions of the contract. Spped

WHEREFORE, the decision of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with the modification that respondent is
ORDERED to reimburse petitioners for the expenses of the survey.Jospped

SO ORDERED.