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Assignment for September 10, 2016 (Civil Procedure)

Read:
Rule 1 to 14
Sections 3 to 10 &18, 1991 Revised Rules on Summary Procedure
Cases:
Republic Planters Bank vs Molina, 166 SCRA 39
Tijam vs Sibonghanoy, 23 SCRA 29
Cabrera vs Ng, GR No. 201601, March 12, 2014
Sebastian vs Morales, 445 Phil 595, 605
Asia United Bank vs Goodland Co., Inc GR No. 188051, Nov 22, 2010
Tan, Jr vs CA, GR No. 197380, October 8, 2014
Zuniga- Santos vs Santos-Gran, GR No.197380, Oct 8, 2014
Heirs of Magdaleno Ypon vs Ricaforte, et al, GR No. 198680, July 8, 2013
Ada, et al vs Baylo, GR No. 182435, August 13, 2012
Boston Equity Resources, Inc vs CA, GR No. 173946, June 19, 2013
Briones vs CA, et.al, GR No. 204444, January 14, 2015
Pantranco North Express, Inc vs Standard Insurance CO,. Inc et al, GR No. 140746,
March 16, 2005
Fernandez vs Villegas, GR No. 200191, August 20, 2014

MEMORIZE;
RULE 1, SEC. 3&5
RULE 2, SEC. 1,2 & 5
RULE 3, SEC. 2,8 & 9
RULE 4, SEC. 1& 3
RULE 6, SEC. 1& 3
RULE 7, SEC 4 & 5
RULE 10, SEC 2& 3
RULE 14, SEC 6&7
SEC. 9, 19 & 33 B.P 129, As amended
CIVIL CASES on motion of the plaintiff shall render judgment as may be warranted by the facts

SECTION 3- Pleadings alleged in the complaint and limited to what is prayed for therein.

A. Pleadings Allowed- The only pleadings allowed to be filed are: Provided, however, that the court may, in its discretion, reduce the amount of

Complaints damages and attorneys fees claimed for being excessive or otherwise,

Compulsory Counterclaims and cross-claims pleaded in the answer; and unconscionable. This is without prejudice to the applicability of Section 4, Rule 18

The answers thereto. of the Rules of Court, if there are two or more defendants.

B. Verification All pleadings shall be verified.

SECTION 4- Duty of Court- After the court determines that the case falls SECTION 7- Preliminary conference; appearance of parties Not later than 30 days

under summary procedure, it may, from an examination of theallegations therein after the last answer is filed, a preliminary conference shall be held. The rules on

and such evidence as may be attached thereto, dismiss the case outright on any of pre-trial in ordinnary cases shall be applicable to the preliminary conference unless

the grounds apparent therefrom for the dismissal of a civil action. inconsistent with the provisions of this Rule.

If no ground for dismissal is found, it shall forthwith issue summons which shall The failure of the plaintiff to appear in the preliminary conference shall be a cause

state that the summary procedure under this Rule shall apply. for the dismissal of his complaint. The defendant who appears in the absence of

the plaintiff shall be entitled to judgment of his counterclaim in accordance with

SECTION 5- Answer- Within 10 days from service of summons, the defendant shall section 6 hereof. All cross-claims (by the plaintiff or by both?) shall be dismissed.

file his answer to the complaint and serve a copy thereof on the plaintiff. If a sole defendant shall fail to appear, the plaintiff shall be entitled to judgment in

Affirmative and negative defenses (by the defendant) not pleaded therein shall be accordance with section 6 hereof. This rule shall not apply where one of two or

deemed waived, except for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter. more defendants sued under a common cause of action who had pleaded a

Cross-claims and compulsory counterclaims (by the defendant) not asserted in the common defense shall appear at the preliminary conference.

answer shall be considered barred.

The answer to counterclaims and cross-claims (to the plaintiff) shall be filed and SECTION 8-Record of Preliminary Conference- Within 5 days after the termination

served (by the plaintiff) within 10 days from the service of the answer in which they of the preliminary conference, the court shall issue an order stating the matters

are pleaded. taken up therein, including but not limited to:

SECTION 6- Effect of failure to answer- Should the defendant fail to answer the (a) Whether the parties have arrived at an amicable settlement, and if so, the

complaint within the period above provided, (10days), the court, motu proprio or terms thereof;
(b) The stipulations or admissions entered thereto; The court shall not resort to the clarificatory procedure to gain time for the

rendition of the judgment.

(c) Whether, on the basis of the pleadings and the stipulations and admissions

made by the parties, judgment may be rendered without the need of further SECTION 18- Referral to Lupon Cases requiring referral to Lupon for conciliation

proceedings, in which event the judgment shall be rendered within 30 days from under the provisions of PD 1508, where there is no showing of compliance with

issuance of the order; such requirement, shall be dismissed without prejudice, and may be revived only

after such requirement shall have been complied with. This provision shall not

(d) A clear specification of material facts which remain controverted; apply to criminal cases where the accused was arrested without a warrant.

(e) Such other matters intended to expedite the disposition of the case.
SECOND DIVISION

SECTION 9- Submission of affidavits and position papers Within 10 days from

receipt of the order mentioned in the next preceding section, the parties shall
[G.R. No. 141116. February 17, 2003]
submit the affidavits of their witnesses and other evidenceon the factual issues

defined in the order, together with their position papers setting forth the law and

the facts relied upon by them. DAMASO SEBASTIAN and TOMASACARDENAS, petitioners, vs. HON. HORACIO R.
MORALES, Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform, LEONILA
SECTION 10- Rendition of judgment- Within 30 days after receipt of the last [1]
SARENAS , JOSEPHINE SARENAS-DAYRIT, EVANGELINE SARENAS,
affidavits and position papers, or the expiration of the period for filing the same, ESTRELITA SARENAS TAN, CECILIO MARCOS SARENAS, MANUEL DEL
SARENAS, DAISY RITA SARENAS, and JOY SARENAS, respondents.
the court shall render judgment.

However, should the court find it necessary to clarify certain material facts, it may, DECISION

during the said period, issue an order specifying the matters to be clarified, and QUISUMBING, J.:

require the parties to submit affidavits or other evidences on the said matters [2]
On appeal by certiorari is the decision of the Court of Appeals dated March
within 10 days from receipt of said order. 9, 1999 in CA-G.R. SP No. 51288, which dismissed petitioners special civil action for
certiorari and prohibition on the ground that petitioners pursued the wrong mode
[3]
of appeal. Equally assailed is the resolution of the appellate court dated
Judgment shall be rendered within 15 days after the receipt of the last clarificatory December 10, 1999, which denied petitioners motion for reconsideration.

affidavits, or the expiration of the period for filing the same. The facts, as gleaned from the record, are as follows:
Private respondents Leonila Sarenas, Josephine Sarenas-Dayrit, Evangeline prejudicial to the entire landholdings and majority of the farmers
Sarenas, Estrellita Sarenas Tan, Cecilio Marcos Sarenas, Manuel Gil Sarenas, Daisy therein;
Rita Sarenas, and Joy Sarenas are the heirs of the late Guillermo Sarenas, who died
intestate on June 27, 1986. During his lifetime, Guillermo owned the following 2. DIRECTING the Heirs of the late Guillermo Sarenas o[r] their duly
agricultural landholdings, all located in Samon and Mayapyap Sur, Cabanatuan City: authorized representative to coordinate with the MARO concerned
for the segregation of their retained area at their own expense and
1. Agricultural lot with an area of 1.6947 hectares covered by TCT No. to submit a copy of the segregation plan within thirty (30) days
NT-8607 and tenanted by Juanito Gonzales; from approval thereof;

2. Agricultural lot with an area of 3.1663 hectares covered by TCT No. 3. MAINTAINING the tenants in the retained areas as lessees thereof
NT-8608, with petitioner Damaso Sebastian as the tenant; and pursuant to RA 3844 as amended; and

3. Agricultural lot with an area of 2.2723 hectares registered under TCT 4. ACQUIRING the other agricultural landholdings in excess of the
No. NT-8609, with Perfecto Mana as the tenant. retained area, and to distribute the same to identified qualified
farmer-beneficiaries pursuant to RA 6657.
In addition to the foregoing properties, Guillermo was also the registered
[6]
owner of a parcel of agricultural land located at San Ricardo, Talavera, Nueva Ecija, SO ORDERED.
with a total area of 4.9993 hectares, under TCT No. NT-143564. This property was,
in turn, tenanted by Manuel Valentin and Wenceslao Peneyra. On June 16, 1997, petitioner Sebastian moved for reconsideration of the
The tenants tilling the farm lots covered by TCT Nos. NT-8607, 8608, and foregoing order before the DAR Regional Director, Region III, which docketed the
8609 had already been issued emancipation patents pursuant to P.D. No. 27.
[4] case as A.R. Case No. LSD 1083-97. The DAR Regional Director found that the order
dated June 6, 1997 in Docket No. A-0303-1219-96 was contrary to law for violating
[7]
On July 14, 1993, private respondents filed an application with the Section 6 of RA No. 6657 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations. He then
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Regional Office in San Fernando, Pampanga, issued a new order dated October 23, 1997, which instead allowed private
docketed as No. A-0303-1219-96, for retention of over five hectares of the late respondents to retain a parcel of land with an area of 4.9993 hectares, covered by
Guillermos landholdings. Among the lots which private respondents sought to TCT No. 143564, located at San Ricardo, Talavera, Nueva Ecija.
retain under Section 6 of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (R.A. No.
[5]
6657) were those covered by TCT Nos. NT-8608 and 8609. Private respondents then appealed the order of October 23, 1997 to the DAR
Secretary.
On June 6, 1997, the DAR Regional Office in San Fernando, Pampanga
granted private respondents application, thus: On June 18, 1998, the Secretary of Agrarian Reform set aside the order dated
October 23, 1997, and in lieu thereof issued a new one the decretal portion of
which reads:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, an ORDER is hereby issued:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the 23 October 1997 Order of RD Herrera is


1. GRANTING the Application for Retention of not more than five (5) hereby SET ASIDE and a new one issued:
hectares of the Heirs of the late Guillermo Sarenas on their
agricultural landholdings covered by TCT Nos. NT-TCT-8608 and
TCT-8609 situated at Samon and Mayapyap Sur, Cabanatuan City, 1. GRANTING the heirs of Guillermo Sarenas the right to retain 2.8032
and which area must be compact and contiguous and least has. of the landholding covered by TCT No. 8608 located at
Cabanatuan City;
2. AFFIRMING the validity of the coverage of the landholdings covered Consequently, on February 22, 1999, petitioners filed a special civil action for
by TCT Nos. 8607, 8609 and 143564 located at Cabanatuan City certiorari and prohibition, with prayer for writ of preliminary mandatory injunction
and Talavera, Nueva Ecija respectively; with the Court of Appeals, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 51288.

On March 9, 1999, the Court of Appeals, without going into the merits of the
3. MAINTAINING the tenants affected in the retained area as case, dismissed CA-G.R. SP No. 51288 after finding that petitioners pursued the
leaseholders thereof pursuant to RA 3844; [11]
wrong mode of appeal. It found that the orders of the DAR Secretary sought to
be reviewed were final orders for they finally disposed of the agrarian case and left
4. DIRECTING the MARO/PARO to determine the qualification status of nothing more to be decided on the merits. Hence, the proper remedy available to
the FB whose respective tillage is embraced under TCT No. petitioners was a petition for review pursuant to Rule 43, Section 1 of the 1997
[12]
8608, subject of the pending controversy with the DARAB; and Rules of Civil Procedure, and not a special civil action for certiorari under Rule
65. The Court of Appeals also ruled that petitioners failed to attach a certified true
5. DIRECTING the Heirs of the late Guillermo Sarenas or their duly copy or duplicate original of the assailed order of June 18, 1998 as required by Rule
[13]
authorized representative to coordinate with the MARO 46, Section 3, and hence, it had no alternative but to dismiss the action pursuant
concerned for the segregation of their retained area at their to said Section 3.
own expense and to submit a copy of the segregation plan
Petitioners then timely moved for reconsideration, but the appellate court in
within 30 days from approval thereof.
its resolution of December 10, 1999 denied their motion.
[8]
SO ORDERED. Hence, the instant case anchored on the following sole assigned error:

Petitioner Sebastian then filed a motion for reconsideration, but this motion THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR (A) IN NOT TREATING
was denied by the DAR Secretary in an order dated January 26, 1999, the THE PETITION FILED BY PETITIONERS AS A PETITION FOR REVIEW; AND (B) IN NOT
[14]
dispositive portion of which states: RESOLVING THE CASE ON THE MERITS.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, Order is hereby issued DENYING the instant Petitioners submit that the sole issue before us is whether or not the
Motion for Reconsideration for utter lack of merit. Accordingly, as far as this Office dismissal by the Court of Appeals of the petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 51288 is valid
is concerned, this case is considered closed. Further, all persons, other than the and proper.
recognized tenant-farmers, are hereby ordered to cease and desist from further
Petitioners admit that there was error in the remedy resorted to before the
entering and undertaking any activity on the subject landholdings.
Court of Appeals. They insist, however, that a perusal of their initiatory pleading in
[9]
CA-G.R. SP No. 51288 would show that said pleading contained all the features and
SO ORDERED. contents for a petition for review under Rule 43, Section 6 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
[15]
Procedure. Hence, the court a quoshould have treated their special civil action
The Secretary also found that petitioners appeared to have waived their for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 as a petition for review under Rule 43,
rights over the tenanted land in favor of Clemente Bobares and Luzviminda since dismissals based on technicalities are frowned upon. Petitioners contend that
Domingo-Villaroman, and had allowed cultivation of the landholding by a certain procedural rules are but a means to an end and should be liberally construed to
Ricardo Dela Paz. He ruled that it was unlawful/illegal to allow other persons than effect substantial justice.
the tenant-farmers themselves to work on the land except if they are only working
as an aide of the latter otherwise, landowners shall have the recourse against the Private respondents, on the other hand, claim that the Court of Appeals did
tenant-farmers.
[10] not commit any reversible error in dismissing the petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 51288,
for it simply applied the express and categorical mandate of this Court that a
petition shall be dismissed if the wrong remedy is availed of. Private respondents
argue that while it is true that the Rules of Court should be liberally construed, it is We agree with the appellate court that petitioners reliance on Section 54 of
also equally true that the Rules cannot be ignored, since strict observance thereof R.A. No. 6657 is not merely a mistake in the designation of the mode of appeal, but
[20]
is indispensable to the orderly and speedy discharge of judicial business. clearly an erroneous appeal from the assailed Orders. For in relying solely on
[16] Section 54, petitioners patently ignored or conveniently overlooked Section 60 of
Under Rule 1, Section 6 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, liberal R.A. No. 6657, the pertinent portion of which provides that:
construction of the rules is the controlling principle to effect substantial justice.
Thus, litigations should, as much as possible, be decided on their merits and not on
technicalities. This does not mean, however, that procedural rules are to be An appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeals, or from any order, ruling or
ignored or disdained at will to suit the convenience of a party. Procedural law has decision of the DAR, as the case may be, shall be by a petition for review with the
its own rationale in the orderly administration of justice, namely, to ensure the Supreme Court, within a non-extendible period of fifteen (15) days from receipt of
effective enforcement of substantive rights by providing for a system that obviates a copy of said decision. (Emphasis supplied.)
arbitrariness, caprice, despotism, or whimsicality in the settlement of disputes.
Hence, it is a mistake to suppose that substantive law and procedural law are Section 60 of R.A. No. 6657 should be read in relation to R.A. No. 7902
contradictory to each other, or as often suggested, that enforcement of procedural expanding the appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals to include:
rules should never be permitted if it would result in prejudice to the substantive
rights of the litigants. Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions, resolutions,
orders or awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies,
Litigation is not a game of technicalities, but every case must be prosecuted
instrumentalities, boards or commissionsexcept those falling within the appellate
in accordance with the prescribed procedure so that issues may be properly
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution, the Labor
presented and justly resolved. Hence, rules of procedure must be faithfully
Code of the Philippines under Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, the
followed except only when for persuasive reasons, they may be relaxed to relieve a
provisions of this Act, and of subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and
litigant of an injustice not commensurate with his failure to comply with the
subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of
prescribed procedure. Concomitant to a liberal application of the rules of [21]
1948.
procedure should be an effort on the part of the party invoking liberality to explain
[17]
his failure to abide by the rules.
With the enactment of R.A. No. 7902, this Court issued Circular 1-95 dated
In the instant case, petitioners failed to show any compelling reason for not May 16, 1995 governing appeals from all quasi-judicial bodies to the Court of
resorting to the proper remedy. Instead, we find from our perusal of their Appeals by petition for review, regardless of the nature of the question raised. Said
pleadings before the appellate court that they stoutly and persistently insisted that circular was incorporated in Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.
the extraordinary remedy of certiorari was their correct remedy. First, in instituting [22]
CA-G.R. SP No. 51288, petitioners categorically invoked the jurisdiction of the Court Section 61 of R.A. No. 6657 clearly mandates that judicial review of DAR
of Appeals to have the questioned orders of the DAR Secretary declared null and orders or decisions are governed by the Rules of Court. The Rules direct that it is
void for having been issued and promulgated with grave abuse of discretion . . . a Rule 43 that governs the procedure for judicial review of decisions, orders, or
[18] resolutions of the DAR Secretary. By pursuing a special civil action for certiorari
mounting to lack of jurisdiction. Note that it is precisely the office of an action
for certiorari under Rule 65 to correct errors of jurisdiction. Second, after the under Rule 65 rather than the mandatory petition for review under Rule 43,
appellate court dismissed their petition on the ground that the proper remedy was petitioners opted for the wrong mode of appeal. Pursuant to the fourth paragraph
[23]
a petition for review, petitioners continued to insist in their motion for of Supreme Court Circular No. 2-90, an appeal taken to the Supreme Court or
[19] the Court of Appeals by the wrong or inappropriate mode shall be dismissed.
reconsideration that under Section 54 of R.A. No. 6657, a petition for certiorari is
both adequate and proper in CA-G.R. SP No. 51288. It was only as an afterthought Therefore, we hold that the Court of Appeals committed no reversible error in
that they asked the appellate court to treat their special civil action for certiorari as dismissing CA-G.R. SP No. 51288 for failure of petitioners to pursue the proper
a petition for review, after a belated and grudging admission that their reliance on mode of appeal.
Section 54 of R.A. No. 6657 was an honest mistake or excusable error.
But should the appellate court have treated the petition for the extraordinary WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The assailed decision of the
writs of certiorari and prohibition in CA-G.R. SP No. 51288 as a petition for review Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 51288 dated March 4, 1999, as well as the
as petitioners insist? resolution of the appellate court dated December 10, 1999, is AFFIRMED. No
pronouncement as to costs.
That a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 should pro forma satisfy the
requirements for the contents of a petition for review under Rule 43 does not SO ORDERED.
necessarily mean that one is the same as the other. Or that one may be treated as
the other, for that matter. A petition for review is a mode of appeal, while a special Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza, Austria-Martinez, and Callejo, Sr., JJ., concur.
civil action for certiorari is an extraordinary process for the correction of errors of
jurisdiction. It is basic remedial law that the two remedies are distinct, mutually
[24]
exclusive, and antithetical. The extraordinary remedy of certiorari is proper if the
tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions acted Republic of the Philippines
without or in grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction SUPREME COURT
[25]
and there is no appeal or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in law. A Manila
petition for review, on the other hand, seeks to correct errors of judgment
committed by the court, tribunal, or officer. In the instant case, petitioners failed to
FIRST DIVISION
show any grave abuse of discretion amounting to want of jurisdiction on the part of
the DAR Secretary. When a court, tribunal, or officer has jurisdiction over the
person and the subject matter of the dispute, the decision on all other questions G.R. No. L-54287 September 28, 1988
arising in the case is an exercise of that jurisdiction. Consequently, all errors
committed in the exercise of said jurisdiction are merely errors of judgment. Under REPUBLIC PLANTERS BANK petitioner,
prevailing procedural rules and jurisprudence, errors of judgment are not proper vs.
[26]
subjects of a special civil action for certiorari. For if every error committed by the HON. CONRADO M. MOLINA, as Presiding Judge, Court of First Instance of
trial court or quasi-judicial agency were to be the proper subject of review by Manila, Branch XX, SARMIENTO EXPORT CORPORATION, SARMIENTO SECURITIES
certiorari, then trial would never end and the dockets of appellate courts would be CORPORATION and FELICIANO SARMIENTO, JR., respondents.
clogged beyond measure. Hence, no error may be attributed to the appellate court
in refusing to grant petitioners request that their petition for certiorari under Rule Paco, Gutierrez, Dorado, Asia & Associates for petitioner.
65 be treated as a petition for review under Rule 43.

As a final salvo, petitioners urge us to review the factual findings of the DAR Benjamin M. Reyes for respondents.
Secretary. Settled is the rule that factual questions are not the proper subject of an
appeal by certiorari, as a petition for review under Rule 45 is limited only to
[27]
questions of law. Moreover, it is doctrine that the errors which may be reviewed
[28]
by this Court in a petition for certiorari are those of the Court of Appeals, and
GANCAYCO, J.:
not directly those of the trial court or the quasi-judicial agency, tribunal, or officer
which rendered the decision in the first instance. Finally, it is settled that factual
findings of administrative agencies are generally accorded respect and even finality The principal issue raised in this case is whether the trial court committed a grave
[29]
by this Court, if such findings are supported by substantial evidence, a situation abuse of discretion when it ordered Civil Case No. 129829 dismissed on the ground
that obtains in this case. The factual findings of the Secretary of Agrarian Reform of resjudicata it appearing that Civil Case No. 116028 was dismissed on May 21,
who, by reason of his official position, has acquired expertise in specific matters 1979, for failure of petitioner to prosecute within a reasonable length of time,
within his jurisdiction, deserve full respect and, without justifiable reason, ought although in the said case, the trial court never acquired jurisdiction over the
not to be altered, modified or reversed. persons of private respondents.
It is not disputed that both complaints in Civil Case No. 116028 (Branch XXXVI, Under the foregoing undisputed facts, the Court finds this petition to be impressed
Manila, Judge Alfredo C. Florendo) and in Civil Case No. 129829 (Branch XX, Manila, with merit.
Judge Conrado M. Molina) were filed by petitioner Republic Planters Bank against
private respondent, for the collection of a sum of money based on a promissory The questioned orders of the trial court in Civil Case No. 129829 supporting private
note dated January 26, 1970, in the amount of P100,000.00. respondent's motion to dismiss on the ground of res judicata are without cogent
basis. We sustain petitioner's claim that respondent trial judge acted without or in
On May 21, 1979, Judge Alfredo C. Florendo dismissed Civil Case No. 116028 for excess of jurisdiction when he issued said orders because he thereby traversed the
failure of the petitioner "to prosecute its case within a reasonable length of constitutional precept that "no person shall be deprived of property without due
1
time. A motion for reconsideration of that order was denied on January 15, process of law" and that jurisdiction is vitally essential for any order or adjudication
2
1979. to be binding. Justice cannot be sacrificed for technicality. Originally, the action for
collection of the loan, evidenced by a promissory note, was only for P100,000.00
When Civil Case No. 129829 was filed by petitioner, a motion to dismiss was but petitioner claims that as of March 5, 1981, the obligation was already
submitted by private respondents on the ground that the cause of action is barred P429,219.74. It is a cardinal rule that no one must be allowed to enrich himself at
by a prior judgment (res judicata) in Civil Case No. 116028. Private respondents the expense of another without just cause.
opined that said order was an adjudication upon the merits. Petitioner opposed the
motion to dismiss, claiming that res judicata does not apply because the summons In the very order of dismissal of Civil Case No. 116028, the trial court admitted that
and complaint in Civil Case No. 116028 were never served upon private it did not acquire jurisdiction over the persons of private respondents and yet, it
respondents and, as such, the trial court never acquired jurisdiction over private held that it was of no moment as to the dismissal of the case. We disagree. For the
respondents and, consequently, over the case. Petitioner maintains that the order court to have authority to dispose of the case on the merits, it must acquire
of dismissal in Civil Case No. 11 6028 never became final as against private jurisdiction over the subject matter and the parties. If it did not acquire jurisdiction
respondents. over the private respondents as parties to Civil Case No. 116028, it cannot render
any binding decision, favorable or adverse to them, or dismiss the case with
7
The trial court (Branch XX), in its order dated May 8, 1980, dismissed the complaint prejudice which, in effect, is an adjudication on the merits. The controverted
in Civil Case No. 129829 on the ground that the orders dated May 21, 1979 and orders in Civil Case No. 116028 disregarded the fundamental principles of remedial
June 15, 1979 issued by Judge Alfredo C. Florendo, dismissing Civil Case No. law and the meaning and the effect of jurisdiction. A judgment, to be
116028, had become final. The trial court ruled that the dismissal of Civil Case No. considered res judicata, must be binding, and must be rendered by a court of
116028 had the effect of an adjudication upon the merits, that the dismissal was competent jurisdiction. Otherwise, the judgment is a nullity.
with prejudice since the order was unconditional, and that the lack of jurisdiction
over defendants (private respondents) in Civil Case No. 116028 was of no The order of dismissal in Civil Case No. 116028 does not have the effect of an
3
moment. adjudication on the merits of the case because the court that rendered the same
did not have the requisite jurisdiction over the persons of the defendants therein.
In a motion for reconsideration of the order of May 8, 1980, petitioner reiterated
its allegation that in Civil Case No. 116028, the court did not acquire jurisdiction This being so, it cannot be the basis of res judicata and it cannot be a bar to a
over private respondents and that at the time the court ordered its dismissal, a lawful claim. If at all, such a dismissal may be considered as one without
8
motion for an alias writ of summons was pending resolution inasmuch as the prejudice.
4
sheriff had not acted on the same. The motion for reconsideration was denied by
5
the trial court on June 26, 1980 in Civil Case No. 129829. Trial courts have the duty to dispose of controversies after trial on the merits
whenever possible. In this case, there are no indications that petitioner
Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals both questioned orders of respondent intentionally failed to prosecute the case. The delay could not be attributed to its
6
court in Civil Case No. 129829. But then, petitioner sought a more speedy remedy fault. Petitioner pursued the case with diligence, but jurisdiction could not be
in questioning said orders by filing this petition for certiorari before this Court. acquired over defendants-private respondents. The sheriff had not yet submitted
his return of the alias summons when the action was precipitately dismissed by the Villaluz Law Office, Velasco Law Office, Pages and Soberano for defendant-
trial court. These are proven circumstances that negate the action of respondent appellant Manila Surety and Fidelity Company, Inc.
judge that the dismissal of Civil Case No. 116028 has the effect of an adjudication
upon the merits and constitutes a bar to the prosecution of Civil Case No. 129829. DIZON, J.:
The court finds that the two questioned orders of the trial court are irregular,
improper, and, were issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to excess of
On July 19, 1948 barely one month after the effectivity of Republic Act No. 296
jurisdiction.
known as the Judiciary Act of 1948 the spouses Serafin Tijam and Felicitas
Tagalog commenced Civil Case No. R-660 in the Court of First Instance of Cebu
Petitioner correctly states that its appeal to the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. No. against the spouses Magdaleno Sibonghanoy and Lucia Baguio to recover from
67288 pertaining to the questioned orders of the trial court is not an adequate them the sum of P1,908.00, with legal interest thereon from the date of the filing
remedy, because petitioner was not able to present evidence in the trial court. The of the complaint until the whole obligation is paid, plus costs. As prayed for in the
sole issue involved in this case is one of jurisdiction, which is appropriate for complaint, a writ of attachment was issued by the court against defendants'
resolution by the instant petition. properties, but the same was soon dissolved upon the filing of a counter-bond by
defendants and the Manila Surety and Fidelity Co., Inc. hereinafter referred to as
WHEREFORE, and by reason of the foregoing, the questioned orders dated May 8, the Surety, on the 31st of the same month.
1980 and June 26, 1980 issued in Civil Case No. 129829 are hereby REVERSED and
SET ASIDE. The records of the case are ordered returned to the trial court for trial After being duly served with summons the defendants filed their answer in which,
and disposition on the merits. No costs. This decision is immediately executory. after making some admissions and denials of the material averments of the
complaint, they interposed a counterclaim. This counterclaim was answered by the
SO ORDERED. plaintiffs.

Narvasa, Cruz, Grio-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur. After trial upon the issues thus joined, the Court rendered judgment in favor of the
plaintiffs and, after the same had become final and executory, upon motion of the
Republic of the Philippines latter, the Court issued a writ of execution against the defendants. The writ having
SUPREME COURT been returned unsatisfied, the plaintiffs moved for the issuance of a writ of
Manila execution against the Surety's bond (Rec. on Appeal, pp. 46-49), against which the
Surety filed a written opposition (Id. pp. 49) upon two grounds, namely, (1) Failure
to prosecute and (2) Absence of a demand upon the Surety for the payment of the
EN BANC
amount due under the judgment. Upon these grounds the Surety prayed the Court
not only to deny the motion for execution against its counter-bond but also the
G.R. No. L-21450 April 15, 1968 following affirmative relief : "to relieve the herein bonding company of its liability,
if any, under the bond in question" (Id. p. 54) The Court denied this motion on the
SERAFIN TIJAM, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellees, ground solely that no previous demand had been made on the Surety for the
vs. satisfaction of the judgment. Thereafter the necessary demand was made, and
MAGDALENO SIBONGHANOY alias GAVINO SIBONGHANOY and LUCIA upon failure of the Surety to satisfy the judgment, the plaintiffs filed a second
BAGUIO, defendants, motion for execution against the counterbond. On the date set for the hearing
MANILA SURETY AND FIDELITY CO., INC. (CEBU BRANCH) bonding company and thereon, the Court, upon motion of the Surety's counsel, granted the latter a
defendant-appellant. period of five days within which to answer the motion. Upon its failure to file such
answer, the Court granted the motion for execution and the corresponding writ
F. S. Urot and G. A. Uriate for plaintiffs-appellees. was issued.
Carlos J. Cuizon for defendants Gavino Sibonghanoy and Lucia Baguio.
Subsequently, the Surety moved to quash the writ on the ground that the same and to dismiss the case. By resolution of January 16, 1963 the Court of Appeals
was issued without the required summary hearing provided for in Section 17 of required the appellees to answer the motion to dismiss, but they failed to do so.
Rule 59 of the Rules of Court. As the Court denied the motion, the Surety appealed Whereupon, on May 20 of the same year, the Court resolved to set aside its
to the Court of Appeals from such order of denial and from the one denying its decision and to certify the case to Us. The pertinent portions of its resolution read
motion for reconsideration (Id. p. 97). Its record on appeal was then printed as as follows:
required by the Rules, and in due time it filed its brief raising therein no other
question but the ones covered by the following assignment of errors: It would indeed appear from the record that the action at bar, which is a
suit for collection of money in the sum of exactly P1,908.00 exclusive of
I. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in issuing its order dated interest, was originally instituted in the Court of First Instance of Cebu on
November 2, 1957, by holding the incident as submitted for resolution, July 19, 1948. But about a month prior to the filing of the complaint,
without a summary hearing and compliance with the other mandatory more specifically on June 17, 1948, the Judiciary Act of 1948 took effect,
requirements provided for in Section 17, Rule 59 of the Rules of Court. depriving the Court of First Instance of original jurisdiction over cases in
which the demand, exclusive of interest, is not more than P2,000.00.
II. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in ordering the issuance of (Secs. 44[c] and 86[b], R.A. No. 296.)
execution against the herein bonding company-appellant.
We believe, therefore, that the point raised in appellant's motion is an
III. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in denying the motion to quash important one which merits serious consideration. As stated, the
the writ of execution filed by the herein bonding company-appellant as complaint was filed on July 19, 1948. This case therefore has been
well as its subsequent motion for reconsideration, and/or in not quashing pending now for almost 15 years, and throughout the entire proceeding
or setting aside the writ of execution. appellant never raised the question of jurisdiction until after receipt of
this Court's adverse decision.
Not one of the assignment of errors it is obvious raises the question of lack of
jurisdiction, neither directly nor indirectly. There are three cases decided by the Honorable Supreme Court which
may be worthy of consideration in connection with this case, namely:
Tyson Tan, et al. vs. Filipinas Compaia de Seguros, et al., G.R. No. L-
Although the appellees failed to file their brief, the Court of Appeals, on December
10096, March 23, 1956; Pindangan Agricultural Co., Inc. vs. Jose P. Dans,
11, 1962, decided the case affirming the orders appealed from.
etc., et al., G.R. No. L-14591, September 26, 1962; and Alfredo
Montelibano, et al. vs. Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co., Inc., G.R. No. L-15092,
On January 8, 1963 five days after the Surety received notice of the decision, it September 29, 1962, wherein the Honorable Supreme Court frowned
filed a motion asking for extension of time within which to file a motion for upon the 'undesirable practice' of appellants submitting their case for
reconsideration. The Court of Appeals granted the motion in its resolution of decision and then accepting the judgment, if favorable, but attacking it
January 10 of the same year. Two days later the Surety filed a pleading entitled for lack of jurisdiction when adverse.
MOTION TO DISMISS, alleging substantially that appellees action was filed in the
Court of First Instance of Cebu on July 19, 1948 for the recovery of the sum of
Considering, however, that the Supreme Court has the "exclusive"
P1,908.00 only; that a month before that date Republic Act No. 296, otherwise
appellate jurisdiction over "all cases in which the jurisdiction of any
known as the Judiciary Act of 1948, had already become effective, Section 88 of
inferior court is in issue" (See. 1, Par. 3[3], Judiciary Act of 1948, as
which placed within the original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts all civil
amended), we have no choice but to certify, as we hereby do certify, this
actions where the value of the subject-matter or the amount of the demand does
case to the Supreme Court.1wph1.t
not exceed P2,000.00, exclusive of interest and costs; that the Court of First
Instance therefore had no jurisdiction to try and decide the case. Upon these
premises the Surety's motion prayed the Court of Appeals to set aside its decision ACCORDINGLY, pursuant to Section 31 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 as
amended, let the record of this case be forwarded to the Supreme Court.
It is an undisputed fact that the action commenced by appellees in the Court of Laches, in a general sense is failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and
First Instance of Cebu against the Sibonghanoy spouses was for the recovery of the unexplained length of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or
sum of P1,908.00 only an amount within the original exclusive jurisdiction of should have been done earlier; it is negligence or omission to assert a right within a
inferior courts in accordance with the provisions of the Judiciary Act of 1948 which reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it
had taken effect about a month prior to the date when the action was commenced. either has abandoned it or declined to assert it.
True also is the rule that jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred upon the
courts exclusively by law, and as the lack of it affects the very authority of the court The doctrine of laches or of "stale demands" is based upon grounds of public policy
to take cognizance of the case, the objection may be raised at any stage of the which requires, for the peace of society, the discouragement of stale claims and,
proceedings. However, considering the facts and circumstances of the present case unlike the statute of limitations, is not a mere question of time but is principally a
which shall forthwith be set forth We are of the opinion that the Surety is question of the inequity or unfairness of permitting a right or claim to be enforced
now barred by laches from invoking this plea at this late hour for the purpose of or asserted.
annuling everything done heretofore in the case with its active participation.
It has been held that a party can not invoke the jurisdiction of a court to sure
As already stated, the action was commenced in the Court of First Instance of Cebu affirmative relief against his opponent and, after obtaining or failing to obtain such
on July 19, 1948, that is, almost fifteen years before the Surety filed its motion to relief, repudiate or question that same jurisdiction (Dean vs. Dean, 136 Or. 694, 86
dismiss on January 12, 1963 raising the question of lack of jurisdiction for the first A.L.R. 79). In the case just cited, by way of explaining the rule, it was further said
time. that the question whether the court had jurisdiction either of the subject-matter of
the action or of the parties was not important in such cases because the party is
It must be remembered that although the action, originally, was exclusively against barred from such conduct not because the judgment or order of the court is valid
the Sibonghanoy spouses the Surety became a quasi-party therein since July 31, and conclusive as an adjudication, but for the reason that such a practice can not be
1948 when it filed a counter-bond for the dissolution of the writ of attachment tolerated obviously for reasons of public policy.
issued by the court of origin (Record on Appeal, pp. 15-19). Since then, it acquired
certain rights and assumed specific obligations in connection with the pending Furthermore, it has also been held that after voluntarily submitting a cause and
case, in accordance with sections 12 and 17, Rule 57, Rules of Court (Bautista vs. encountering an adverse decision on the merits, it is too late for the loser to
Joaquin, 46 Phil. 885; Kimpang & Co. vs. Javier, 65 Phil. 170). question the jurisdiction or power of the court (Pease vs. Rathbun-Jones etc., 243
U.S. 273, 61 L. Ed. 715, 37 S. Ct. 283; St. Louis etc. vs. McBride, 141 U.S. 127, 35 L.
Upon the filing of the first motion for execution against the counter-bond the Ed. 659). And in Littleton vs. Burgess, 16 Wyo. 58, the Court said that it is not right
Surety not only filed a written opposition thereto praying for its denial but also for a party who has affirmed and invoked the jurisdiction of a court in a particular
asked for an additional affirmative relief that it be relieved of its liability under matter to secure an affirmative relief, to afterwards deny that same jurisdiction to
the counter-bond upon the grounds relied upon in support of its opposition lack escape a penalty.
of jurisdiction of the court a quo not being one of them.
Upon this same principle is what We said in the three cases mentioned in the
Then, at the hearing on the second motion for execution against the counter-bond, resolution of the Court of Appeals of May 20, 1963 (supra) to the effect that we
the Surety appeared, through counsel, to ask for time within which to file an frown upon the "undesirable practice" of a party submitting his case for decision
answer or opposition thereto. This motion was granted, but instead of such answer and then accepting the judgment, only if favorable, and attacking it for lack of
or opposition, the Surety filed the motion to dismiss mentioned heretofore. jurisdiction, when adverse as well as in Pindagan etc. vs. Dans, et al., G.R. L-
14591, September 26, 1962; Montelibano, et al., vs. Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co.,
A party may be estopped or barred from raising a question in different ways and Inc., G.R. L-15092; Young Men Labor Union etc. vs. The Court of Industrial Relation
for different reasons. Thus we speak of estoppel in pais, or estoppel by deed or by et al., G.R. L-20307, Feb. 26, 1965, and Mejia vs. Lucas, 100 Phil. p. 277.
record, and of estoppel by laches.
The facts of this case show that from the time the Surety became a quasi-party on November 2, 1957. On October 31, 1957, the surety received copy of said
July 31, 1948, it could have raised the question of the lack of jurisdiction of the motion and notice of hearing.
Court of First Instance of Cebu to take cognizance of the present action by reason
of the sum of money involved which, according to the law then in force, was within It appears that when the motion was called on November 2, 1957, the
the original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts. It failed to do so. Instead, at surety's counsel asked that he be given time within which to answer the
several stages of the proceedings in the court a quo as well as in the Court of motion, and so an order was issued in open court, as follows:1wph1.t
Appeals, it invoked the jurisdiction of said courts to obtain affirmative relief and
submitted its case for a final adjudication on the merits. It was only after an
As prayed for, Atty. Jose P. Soberano, Jr., counsel for the Manila
adverse decision was rendered by the Court of Appeals that it finally woke up to
Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc., Cebu Branch, is given until
raise the question of jurisdiction. Were we to sanction such conduct on its part, We
Wednesday, November 6, 1957, to file his answer to the motion
would in effect be declaring as useless all the proceedings had in the present case
for the issuance of a writ of execution dated October 30, 1957
since it was commenced on July 19, 1948 and compel the judgment creditors to go
of the plaintiffs, after which this incident shall be deemed
up their Calvary once more. The inequity and unfairness of this is not only patent
submitted for resolution.
but revolting.

SO ORDERED.
Coming now to the merits of the appeal: after going over the entire record, We
have become persuaded that We can do nothing better than to quote in toto, with
approval, the decision rendered by the Court of Appeals on December 11, 1962 as Given in open court, this 2nd day of November, 1957, at Cebu
follows: City, Philippines.

In Civil Case No. R-660 of the Court of First Instance of Cebu, which was a (Sgd.) JOSE M. MENDOZA
suit for collection of a sum of money, a writ of attachment was issued Judge
against defendants' properties. The attachment, however, was
subsequently discharged under Section 12 of Rule 59 upon the filing by (Record on Appeal, pp.
defendants of a bond subscribed by Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. 64-65, emphasis ours)

After trial, judgment was rendered in favor of plaintiffs. Since the surety's counsel failed to file any answer or objection within the
period given him, the court, on December 7, 1957, issued an order
The writ of execution against defendants having been returned totally granting plaintiffs' motion for execution against the surety; and on
unsatisfied, plaintiffs moved, under Section 17 of Rule 59, for issuance of December 12, 1957, the corresponding writ of execution was issued.
writ of execution against Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. to enforce the
obligation of the bond. But the motion was, upon the surety's opposition, On December 24, 1957, the surety filed a motion to quash the writ of
denied on the ground that there was "no showing that a demand had execution on the ground that the same was "issued without the
been made, by the plaintiffs to the bonding company for payment of the requirements of Section 17, Rule 59 of the Rules of Court having been
amount due under the judgment" (Record on Appeal, p. 60). complied with," more specifically, that the same was issued without the
required "summary hearing". This motion was denied by order of
Hence, plaintiffs made the necessary demand upon the surety for February 10, 1958.
satisfaction of the judgment, and upon the latter's failure to pay the
amount due, plaintiffs again filed a motion dated October 31, 1957, for On February 25, 1958, the surety filed a motion for reconsideration of the
issuance of writ of execution against the surety, with notice of hearing on above-stated order of denial; which motion was likewise denied by order
of March 26, 1958.
From the above-stated orders of February 10, 1958 and March 26, 1958 hearing of the motion even if the same are not reduced to writing"
denying the surety's motion to quash the writ of execution and motion (Appellant's brief, p. 4). There is obviously no merit in this pretense
for reconsideration, respectively the surety has interposed the appeal because, as stated above, the record will show that when the motion was
on hand. called, what the surety's counsel did was to ask that he be allowed and
given time to file an answer. Moreover, it was stated in the order given in
The surety insists that the lower court should have granted its motion to open court upon request of the surety's counsel that after the four-day
quash the writ of execution because the same was issued without the period within which to file an answer, "the incident shall be deemed
summary hearing required by Section 17 of Rule 59, which reads; submitted for resolution"; and counsel apparently agreed, as the order
was issued upon his instance and he interposed no objection thereto.
"Sec. 17. When execution returned unsatisfied, recovery had
upon bond. If the execution be returned unsatisfied in whole It is also urged that although according to Section 17 of Rule 59, supra,
or in part, the surety or sureties on any bond given pursuant to there is no need for a separate action, there must, however, be a
the provisions of this role to secure the payment of the separate judgment against the surety in order to hold it liable on the
judgment shall become finally charged on such bond, and bond (Appellant's Brief, p. 15). Not so, in our opinion. A bond filed for
bound to pay to the plaintiff upon demand the amount due discharge of attachment is, per Section 12 of Rule 59, "to secure the
under the judgment, which amount may be recovered from payment to the plaintiff of any judgment he may recover in the action,"
such surety or sureties after notice and summary hearing in the and stands "in place of the property so released". Hence, after the
same action." (Emphasis ours) judgment for the plaintiff has become executory and the execution is
"returned unsatisfied" (Sec. 17, Rule 59), as in this case, the liability of the
bond automatically attaches and, in failure of the surety to satisfy the
Summary hearing is "not intended to be carried on in the formal manner
judgment against the defendant despite demand therefor, writ of
in which ordinary actions are prosecuted" (83 C.J.S. 792). It is, rather, a
execution may issue against the surety to enforce the obligation of the
procedure by which a question is resolved "with dispatch, with the least
bond.
possible delay, and in preference to ordinary legal and regular judicial
proceedings" (Ibid, p. 790). What is essential is that "the defendant is
notified or summoned to appear and is given an opportunity to hear UPON ALL THE FOREGOING, the orders appealed from are hereby affirmed, with
what is urged upon him, and to interpose a defense, after which follows costs against the appellant Manila Surety and Fidelity Company, Inc.
an adjudication of the rights of the parties" (Ibid., pp. 793-794); and as to
the extent and latitude of the hearing, the same will naturally lie upon Reyes, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez, Castro, Angeles and Fernando,
the discretion of the court, depending upon the attending circumstances JJ., concur.
and the nature of the incident up for consideration.

In the case at bar, the surety had been notified of the plaintiffs' motion
for execution and of the date when the same would be submitted for
consideration. In fact, the surety's counsel was present in court when the
motion was called, and it was upon his request that the court a quo gave
him a period of four days within which to file an answer. Yet he allowed
that period to lapse without filing an answer or objection. The surety
cannot now, therefore, complain that it was deprived of its day in court. Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
It is argued that the surety's counsel did not file an answer to the motion
"for the simple reason that all its defenses can be set up during the
5
FIRST DIVISION On August 7, 2007, the RTC rendered a Decision, which ordered the spouses
Cabrera to pay the respondent the following: (1) Two Million Five Hundred Sixty-
G.R. No. 201601 March 12, 2014 Nine Thousand Seventy-Four Pesos (P2,569,074.00) plus legal interest from
inception of the obligation until fully paid; (2) moral damages in the amount of Fifty
Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00); (3) attorneys fees of Twenty Thousand Pesos
MARYLOU CABRERA, Petitioner,
(P20,000.00); and (4) litigation expenses in the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos
vs.
(P10,000.00).
FELIX NG, Respondent.

On August 8, 2007, the spouses Cabrera received a copy of the RTC Decision dated
DECISION
August 7, 2007. On August 14, 2007, the spouses Cabrera filed with the RTC a
6
motion for reconsideration, which they set for hearing on August 17, 2007. On
REYES, J.: even date, the spouses Cabrera sent a copy of their motion for reconsideration to
the respondent thru registered mail; it was actually received by the respondent on
1
Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of August 21, 2007.
2
Court seeking to annul and set aside the Decision dated October 21, 2009 and the
3
Resolution dated March 26, 2012 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. The said motion for reconsideration, however, was not heard on August 17, 2007
03392. The CA denied the petition for certiorari filed by Marylou Cabrera as the new acting presiding judge of the said court had just assumed office. On
4 7
(petitioner), which assailed the Order dated December 19, 2007 of the Regional August 28, 2007, the RTC issued a notice, which set the said motion for
Trial Court (RTC) of Mandaue City, Branch 56, in Civil Case No. MAN-4773. reconsideration for hearing on September 25, 2007.

The Facts 8
On September 20, 2007, the respondent filed an opposition to the motion for
reconsideration filed by the spouses Cabrera. The respondent alleged that the said
On February 14, 2004, Felix Ng (respondent) filed a complaint for sum of money motion for reconsideration is a mere scrap of paper since it violated the three-day
with the RTC against the petitioner and her husband Marionilo Cabrera (spouses notice requirement. The respondent pointed out that the spouses Cabrera sent to
Cabrera), alleging that the latter issued to him the following: (1) Metrobank Check him a copy of their motion for reconsideration, which was set for hearing on
No. 0244694 dated June 30, 2002 for the amount of Thirty-One Thousand Pesos August 17, 2007, via registered mail on August 14, 2007; that he actually received a
(P31,000.00); (2) Metrobank Check No. 0244674 dated August 9, 2002 for the copy thereof only on August 21, 2007 four days after the scheduled hearing
amount of Thirty-Eight Thousand Seventy-Four Pesos and Seventy-Six Centavos thereon.
(P38,074.76); and (3) Metrobank Check No. 0244745 dated August 15, 2005 for
Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P2,500,000.00). That when presented It appears that the scheduled hearing of the spouses Cabreras motion for
for payment, the said checks were all dishonored as the accounts from which they reconsideration on September 25, 2007 did not push through. Consequently, on
had been drawn were already closed. 9
September 26, 2007, the RTC issued another notice, which set the said motion for
reconsideration for hearing on October 26, 2007.
The spouses Cabrera admitted that they issued Metrobank Check No. 0244694 and
Metrobank Check No. 0244674 to the respondent and that the same were 10
On October 26, 2007, the RTC issued an Order, which directed the parties to file
dishonored when presented for payment. However, they claimed that they paid their additional pleadings, after which the motion for reconsideration filed by the
the respondent the amount represented by the said checks through the latters son spouses Cabrera would be deemed submitted for resolution.
Richard Ng. Further, they deny having issued Metrobank Check No. 0244745 to the
respondent, alleging that the said check was forcibly taken from them by Richard 11
On December 19, 2007, the RTC issued an Order which denied the motion for
Ng.
reconsideration filed by the spouses Cabrera. The RTC pointed out that the spouses
Cabrera violated Section 4, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court, which mandates that It appears that petitioners Motion for Reconsideration was set for hearing on 17
every motion required to be heard should be served by the movant in such a August 2007. A copy thereof was mailed to private respondent on 14 August 2007,
manner as to ensure its receipt by the other party at least three days before the and private respondent actually received his copy only on 21 August 2007 or four
date of hearing. Thus: (4) days after the set date of hearing; and thus, depriving him of the opportunity to
oppose the motion. Respondent court, therefore, correctly held that such motion
After a meticulous scrutiny of the records of this case, the court opines that the violated the three (3)-day notice rule; the essence of due process. Respondent
motion was filed beyond the reglementary three (3)[-]day period. court had applied said rule to the given situation, and of no doubt, mere adherence
to the rules cannot be considered grave abuse of discretion on the part of the
15
respondent court. x x x. (Citation omitted)
As the records bear out, the instant motion was mailed to the plaintiffs counsel on
August 14[, 2007] and was set for hearing on August 17, 2007. However, the copy
of said motion had reached plaintiffs side and a copy of which was received by The petitioner sought a reconsideration of the Decision dated October 21, 2009 but
16
plaintiffs counsel only on August 17, 2007[,] four (4) days late after it was it was denied by the CA in its Resolution dated March 26, 2012.
supposed to be heard. Hence, a clear blatant violations [sic] of the rule on notice
12
and hearing. Hence, the instant petition.

The RTC further opined that a motion, which fails to comply with the three-day The Issue
notice requirement is a mere scrap of paper; it is not entitled to judicial cognizance
and would not toll the running of the reglementary period for filing the requisite The sole issue to be resolved by the Court is whether the CA erred in affirming the
pleadings. Accordingly, the RTC held, its Decision dated August 7, 2007 had already RTC Order dated December 19, 2007, which denied the motion for reconsideration
become final for failure of the spouses Cabrera to comply with the three-day notice filed by the spouses Cabrera.
requirement.

13
The Courts Ruling
The petitioner then filed a petition for certiorari with the CA, alleging that the RTC
gravely abused its discretion in denying her motion for reconsideration. The
The petition is meritorious.
petitioner pointed out that the RTC did not actually conduct a hearing on her
motion for reconsideration on August 17, 2007;
Sections 4 and 5, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court provide that:
that her motion for reconsideration was actually heard on October 26, 2007, after
the respondent had already filed his opposition thereto. Thus, the petitioner Sec. 4. Hearing of motion. Except for motions which the court may act upon
claimed, the issue of her failure to comply with the three-day notice requirement without prejudicing the rights of the adverse party, every written motion shall be
had already been rendered moot. In any case, the petitioner asserted, the RTC set for hearing by the applicant.
should have resolved her motion for reconsideration on its merits rather than
simply denying it on mere technicality. Every written motion required to be heard and the notice of the hearing thereof
shall be served in such a manner as to ensure its receipt by the other party at least
14 three (3) days before the date of hearing, unless the court for good cause sets the
On October 21, 2009, the CA, by way of the assailed Decision, denied the petition
for certiorari filed by the petitioner. The CA opined that the RTC did not abuse its hearing on shorter notice.
discretion in denying the motion for reconsideration filed by the spouses Cabrera
since it merely applied the three-day notice requirement under Section 4, Rule 15 Sec. 5. Notice of hearing. The notice of hearing shall be addressed to all parties
of the Rules of Court. Thus: concerned, and shall specify the time and date of the hearing which must not be
later than ten (10) days after the filing of the motion. (Emphasis ours)
The general rule is that the three-day notice requirement in motions under This Court has indeed held time and again, that under Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 15
Sections 4 and 5 of the Rules of Court is mandatory. It is an integral component of of the Rules of Court, mandatory is the requirement in a motion, which is rendered
17
procedural due process. "The purpose of the three-day notice requirement, defective by failure to comply with the requirement. As a rule, a motion without a
which was established not for the benefit of the movant but rather for the adverse notice of hearing is considered pro forma and does not affect the reglementary
party, is to avoid surprises upon the latter and to grant it sufficient time to study period for the appeal or the filing of the requisite pleading.
18
the motion and to enable it to meet the arguments interposed therein."
As an integral component of the procedural due process, the three-day notice
"A motion that does not comply with the requirements of Sections 4 and 5 of Rule required by the Rules is not intended for the benefit of the movant. Rather, the
15 of the Rules of Court is a worthless piece of paper which the clerk of court has requirement is for the purpose of avoiding surprises that may be sprung upon the
19
no right to receive and which the court has no authority to act upon." "Being a adverse party, who must be given time to study and meet the arguments in the
fatal defect, in cases of motions to reconsider a decision, the running of the period motion before a resolution of the court.1wphi1 Principles of natural justice
20
to appeal is not tolled by their filing or pendency." demand that the right of a party should not be affected without giving it an
opportunity to be heard.
Nevertheless, the three-day notice requirement is not a hard and fast rule. When
the adverse party had been afforded the opportunity to be heard, and has been The test is the presence of opportunity to be heard, as well as to have time to study
indeed heard through the pleadings filed in opposition to the motion, the purpose the motion and meaningfully oppose or controvert the grounds upon which it is
22
behind the three-day notice requirement is deemed realized. In such case, the based. x x x
requirements of procedural due process are substantially complied with. Thus, in
21
Preysler, Jr. v. Manila Southcoast Development Corporation, the Court ruled that: (Emphasis supplied and citations omitted)

The three-day notice rule is not absolute. A liberal construction of the procedural It is undisputed that the hearing on the motion for reconsideration filed by the
rules is proper where the lapse in the literal observance of a rule of procedure has spouses Cabrera was reset by the RTC twice with due notice to the parties; it was
not prejudiced the adverse party and has not deprived the court of its authority. only on October 26, 2007 that the motion was actually heard by the RTC. At that
Indeed, Section 6, Rule 1 of the Rules of Court provides that the Rules should be time, more than two months had passed since the respondent received a copy of
liberally construed in order to promote their objective of securing a just, speedy the said motion for reconsideration on August 21, 2007. The respondent was thus
and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding. Rules of procedure are given sufficient time to study the motion and to enable him to meet the arguments
tools designed to facilitate the attainment of justice, and courts must avoid their interposed therein. Indeed, the respondent was able to file his opposition thereto
strict and rigid application which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate on September 20, 2007.
rather than promote substantial justice.
Notwithstanding that the respondent received a copy of the said motion for
In Somera Vda. De Navarro v. Navarro, the Court held that there was substantial reconsideration four days after the date set by the spouses Cabrera for the hearing
compliance of the rule on notice of motions even if the first notice was irregular thereof, his right to due process was not impinged as he was afforded the chance
because no prejudice was caused the adverse party since the motion was not to argue his position. Thus, the R TC erred in denying the spouses Cabrera's motion
considered and resolved until after several postponements of which the parties for reconsideration based merely on their failure to comply with the three-day
were duly notified. notice requirement.

Likewise, in Jehan Shipping Corporation v. National Food Authority, the Court held WHEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing disquisitions, the instant petition is
that despite the lack of notice of hearing in a Motion for Reconsideration, there GRANTED. The Decision dated October 21, 2009 and the Resolution dated March
was substantial compliance with the requirements of due process where the 26, 2012 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 03392, are hereby REVERSED
adverse party actually had the opportunity to be heard and had filed pleadings in and SET ASIDE. The case is hereby REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of
opposition to the motion. The Court held:
Mandaue City, Branch 56, to resolve the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the
spouses Cabrera on the merits within five (5) days from the finality of this Decision. Goodland Company, Inc.s (GOODLAND) notice of appeal for invalid substitution of

counsel.
SO ORDERED.
The antecedents:

Republic of the Philippines


Supreme Court An Ex-Parte Application/Petition for the Issuance of Writ of
Manila [5]
Possession was filed by Asia United Bank (AUB) over a 5,801-square- meter lot
SECOND DIVISION
located in Makati City and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 223120

of the Registry of Deeds of Makati in AUBs name. The property was previously
ASIA UNITED BANK, G.R. No. 188051
Petitioner, registered in the name of GOODLAND under TCT No. 192674 (114645).
Present:
*
CARPIO MORALES, J.,The petition alleged that, on February 20, 2000, GOODLAND executed a Third Party
**
NACHURA,
- versus - Acting Chairperson, Real Estate Mortgage on the property in favor of AUB to secure the P202 million
PERALTA,
***
PEREZ, and credit accommodation extended by the latter to Radiomarine Network (Smartnet)
MENDOZA, JJ. Inc. (Radiomarine).

Promulgated:
GOODLAND COMPANY, INC.,
When Radiomarine defaulted in the payment of its obligation, AUB instituted
Respondent. November 22, 2010
extrajudicial foreclosure proceedings against the real estate mortgage. At the
x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
public auction sale held on December 4, 2006, AUB was declared the highest

bidder. On the same date, a Certificate of Sale was issued in its name and
DECISION
registered with the Registry of Deeds of Makati City.
NACHURA, J.:

With the expiration of the redemption period, AUB proceeded to execute an


[1]
Petitioner assails the February 16, 2009 Decision and the May 18, 2009
Affidavit of Consolidation of Ownership, through its First Vice-President, Florante
[2]
Resolution of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 103304, annulling the
del Mundo. AUB thereafter secured a Certificate Authorizing Registration from the
[3] [4]
August 23, 2007 and February 15, 2008 Orders of the Regional Trial Court (RTC)
Bureau of Internal Revenue to facilitate the transfer of the title.
of Makati City, Branch 150, which in turn denied due course to respondent
On December 8, 2006, TCT No. 192674 (114645) was cancelled and, in substitution of former counsel on record, Atty. Bautista. GOODLAND moved for
[14]
lieu thereof, TCT No. 223120 was issued in the name of AUB. reconsideration, but the same was denied in the Order dated February 15, 2008.

GOODLAND, through its counsel, Atty. Antonio Bautista (Atty. Bautista), GOODLAND elevated the incident to the CA by way of a special

opposed the petition, denying that it executed the real estate mortgage. civil acton for certiorari. In its February 16, 2009 Decision, the CA granted the

GOODLAND further averred that the signature of the notary public appearing on petition and directed the RTC to give due course to the notice of appeal, thus:
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. The
the deed was a forgery, and that no technical description of the property assailed Orders dated August 23, 2007 and February 15, 2008 of
supposedly mortgaged was indicated therein. Concluding that AUBs title was the Regional Trial Court, Branch 150, Makati City are ANNULLED
and SET ASIDE. The trial court is DIRECTED to give due course to
derived from the foreclosure of a fake mortgage, GOODLAND prayed for the petitioners Notice of Appeal.
[6]
petitions denial. [15]
SO ORDERED.

On March 1, 2007, the RTC issued the writ of possession sought by AUB. It
Aggrieved, AUB moved for reconsideration, but the CA denied the motion
ratiocinated that, as the purchaser of the property at the foreclosure sale and as
in its Resolution dated May 18, 2009. Hence, the present petition for review
the new title holder thereof, AUBs right of possession and enjoyment of the same [16]
[7]
on certiorari, praying for the reinstatement of the RTC Order.
had become absolute.

The petition is meritorious.


GOODLAND, through its counsel on record, Atty. Bautista, filed a motion for
[8] [9]
reconsideration and a supplemental motion for reconsideration, but both were
[10]
Under Rule 138, Section 26 of the Rules of Court, for a substitution of
denied in the Order dated April 25, 2007, which was received by Atty. Bautista
[11]
attorney to be effectual, the following essential requisites must concur: (1) there
on June 15, 2007.
must be a written application for substitution; (2) it must be filed with the written

consent of the client; (3) it must be with the written consent of the attorney
Relentless, GOODLAND sought recourse with the CA by initially filing a
[12]
substituted; and (4) in case the consent of the attorney to be substituted cannot be
Notice of Appeal with the RTC, through a certain Atty. Lito Mondragon (Atty.
obtained, there must at least be proof of notice that the motion for substitution
Mondragon) of the Mondragon & Montoya Law Offices. On August 23, 2007, the [17]
[13]
was served on him in the manner prescribed by the Rules of Court.
RTC issued an Order denying due course to GOODLANDs notice of appeal for

being legally inutile due to Atty. Mondragons failure to properly effect the
The courts a quo were uniform and correct in finding that Atty. GOODLAND, on the other hand, insists that the CA committed no

Mondragon failed to observe the prescribed procedure and, thus, no valid reversible error in ordering that the notice of appeal be allowed in order not to

substitution of counsel was actualized. However, they took divergent postures as to frustrate the ends of substantial justice.

the repercussion of such non-compliance, thereby igniting the herein controversy.

We agree with AUB. A revisit of our pronouncements in Land

The RTC strictly imposed the rule on substitution of counsel and held that Bank and Pioneer is in order.

the notice of appeal filed by Atty. Mondragon was a mere scrap of paper.

In Land Bank, we held that the Department of Agrarian Reform

However, relying on our pronouncement in Land Bank of the Philippines Adjudication Board gravely abused its discretion when it denied due course to the

v. Pamintuan Development Co.,


[18]
the CA brushed aside the procedural lapse and Notice of Appeal and Notice of Entry of Appearance filed by petitioners new

took a liberal stance on considerations of substantial justice, viz.: counsel for failure to effect a valid substitution of the former counsel on record.

It is a far better and more prudent course of action We clarified that the new counsel never intended to replace the counsel
for the court to excuse a technical lapse and afford the parties a
review of the case on appeal to attain the ends of justice rather of record because, although not so specified in the notice, they entered their
than dispose of the case on technicality and cause a grave
appearance as collaborating counsel. Absent a formal notice of substitution, all
injustice to the parties, giving a false impression of speedy
disposal of cases while actually resulting in more delay, if not a lawyers who appear before the court or file pleadings in behalf of a client are
miscarriage of justice. Thus, substantial justice would be better
[19] considered counsel of the latter. We pursued a liberal application of the rule in
served by giving due course to petitioners notice of appeal.
order not to frustrate the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of the

controversy.
AUB argues that the liberality applied by the Court in Land Bank is

incompatible with the herein controversy, and that Pioneer Insurance and Surety In Pioneer, we adopted a strict posture and declared the notice of
[20]
Corporation v. De Dios Transportation Co., Inc., which espouses the same view withdrawal of appeal filed by appellants new counsel as a mere scrap of paper for
adopted by the RTC, is more appropriate. his failure to file beforehand a motion for the substitution of the counsel on record.

Provoking such deportment was the absence of a special power of

attorney authorizing the withdrawal of the appeal in addition to the lack of a


administration of justice. There have been some instances
proper substitution of counsel. More importantly, we found that the withdrawal of wherein this Court allowed a relaxation in the application of the
the appeal was calculated to frustrate the satisfaction of the judgment debt rules, but this flexibility was never intended to forge a bastion
for erring litigants to violate the rules with impunity. A liberal
rendered against appellant, thereby necessitating a rigid application of the rules in interpretation and application of the rules of procedure can be
resorted to only in proper cases and under justifiable causes
order to deter appellant from benefiting from its own deleterious manipulation
and circumstances.
thereof.

[24]
In Sebastian v. Hon. Morales, we straightened out the misconception that the
The emerging trend of jurisprudence is more inclined to the liberal and flexible
enforcement of procedural rules should never be permitted if it would prejudice
application of the Rules of Court. However, we have not been remiss in reminding
the substantive rights of litigants:
the bench and the bar that zealous compliance with the rules is still the general

course of action. Rules of procedure are in place to ensure the orderly, just, and Under Rule 1, Section 6 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure,
[21] liberal construction of the rules is the controlling principle to
speedy dispensation of cases; to this end, inflexibility or liberality must be
effect substantial justice. Thus, litigations should, as much as
weighed. The relaxation or suspension of procedural rules or the exemption of a possible, be decided on their merits and not on technicalities.
This does not mean, however, that procedural rules are to be
case from their operation is warranted only by compelling reasons or when the ignored or disdained at will to suit the convenience of a party.
purpose of justice requires it.
[22] Procedural law has its own rationale in the orderly
administration of justice, namely, to ensure the effective
enforcement of substantive rights by providing for a system
[23] that obviates arbitrariness, caprice, despotism, or whimsicality
As early as 1998, in Hon. Fortich v. Hon. Corona, we expounded on these guiding in the settlement of disputes. Hence, it is a mistake to suppose
principles: that substantive law and procedural law are contradictory to
each other, or as often suggested, that enforcement of
procedural rules should never be permitted if it would result in
Procedural rules, we must stress, should be treated prejudice to the substantive rights of the litigants.
with utmost respect and due regard since they are designed to
facilitate the adjudication of cases to remedy the worsening x x x. Hence, rules of procedure must be faithfully
problem of delay in the resolution of rival claims and in the followed except only when for persuasive reasons, they may be
administration of justice. The requirement is in pursuance to relaxed to relieve a litigant of an injustice not commensurate
the bill of rights inscribed in the Constitution which guarantees with his failure to comply with the prescribed procedure. x x x.
that all persons shall have a right to the speedy disposition of
their cases before all judicial, quasi-judicial and administrative
bodies. The adjudicatory bodies and the parties to a case are Indeed, the primordial policy is a faithful observance of the Rules of
thus enjoined to abide strictly by the rules. While it is true that
a litigation is not a game of technicalities, it is equally true that Court, and their relaxation or suspension should only be for persuasive reasons and
every case must be prosecuted in accordance with the
prescribed procedure to ensure an orderly and speedy only in meritorious cases, to relieve a litigant of an injustice not commensurate
with the degree of his thoughtlessness in not complying with the procedure
[25]
prescribed. Further, a bare invocation of the interest of substantial justice will The nature of an ex parte petition for issuance of the possessory writ under Act No.
[26]
not suffice to override a stringent implementation of the rules. 3135 has been described as a non-litigious proceeding and summary in
[32]
nature. As an ex parte proceeding, it is brought for the benefit of one party only,
[33]
A reading of the CAs Decision readily shows that the leniency it granted and without notice to or consent by any person adversely interested.

GOODLAND was merely anchored on substantial justice. The CA overlooked

GOODLANDs failure to advance meritorious reasons to support its plea for the
Subsequent proceedings in the appellate courts would merely involve a
relaxation of Rule 138, Section 26. The fact that GOODLAND stands to lose a
reiteration of the foregoing settled doctrines. The issue involved in the assailed RTC
valuable property is inadequate to dispense with the exacting imposition of a
issuances is conclusively determined by the above cited legal dictum, and it would
rather basic rule.
be unnecessarily vexatious and unjust to allow the present controversy to undergo

protracted litigation.
More importantly, the CA failed to realize that the ultimate

consequences that will come about should GOODLANDs appeal proceed would in
AUBs right of possession is founded on its right of ownership over the
fact contravene substantial justice. The CA and, eventually, this Court will just re-
property which it purchased at the auction sale. Upon expiration of the redemption
litigate an otherwise non-litigious matter and thereby compound the delay
period and consolidation of the title to the property, its possessory rights over the
GOODLAND attempts to perpetrate in order to prevent AUB from rightfully taking
same became absolute. We quote with approval the pronouncement of the
possession of the property.
RTC, viz.:

It is a time-honored legal precept that after the consolidation of titles in the buyer's As the purchaser of the property in the foreclosure sale to
which new title has already been issued, petitioners right over
name, for failure of the mortgagor to redeem, entitlement to a writ of possession the property has become absolute, vesting upon it the right of
[27] possession and enjoyment of the property which this Court
becomes a matter of right. As the confirmed owner, the purchasers right to
must aid in effecting its delivery. Under the circumstances, and
[28]
possession becomes absolute. There is even no need for him to post a following established doctrine, the issuance of a writ of
[29]
possession is a ministerial function whereby the court exercises
bond, and it is the ministerial duty of the courts to issue the same upon proper neither discretion nor judgment x x x. Said writ of possession
[34]
application and proof of title.
[30]
To accentuate the writs ministerial character, the must be enforced without delay x x x.

Court has consistently disallowed injunction to prohibit its issuance despite a


[31]
pending action for annulment of mortgage or the foreclosure itself.
The law does not require that a petition for a writ of possession be granted only

after documentary and testimonial evidence shall have been offered to and
[35]
admitted by the court. As long as a verified petition states the facts sufficient to

entitle petitioner to the relief requested, the court shall issue the writ prayed
[36]
for.

Given the foregoing, we are bound to deny a liberal application of the

rules on substitution of counsel and resolve definitively that GOODLANDs notice of

appeal merits a denial, for the failure of Atty. Mondragon to effect a valid

substitution of the counsel on record. Substantial justice would be better served if

the notice of appeal is disallowed. In the same way that the appellant

in Pioneer was not permitted to profit from its own manipulation of the rules on

substitution of counsel, so too can GOODLAND be not tolerated to foster vexatious

delay by allowing its notice of appeal to carry on.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is GRANTED. The February 16,

2009 Decision and the May 18, 2009 Resolution of the Court of Appeals are

herebyANNULLED and SET ASIDE; and the August 23, 2007 and February 15, 2008

Orders of the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 150, are REINSTATED.

SO ORDERED.
FIRST DIVISION her the subject properties and pay damages, including costs of
12
suit. cralawlawlibrary
G.R. No. 197380, October 08, 2014 13
For her part, Gran filed a Motion to Dismiss, contending, inter alia, that (a) the
* action filed by petitioner had prescribed since an action upon a written contract
ELIZA ZUIGA-SANTOS, REPRESENTED BY HER ATTORNEY-IN FACT, NYMPHA Z.
** must be brought within ten (10) years from the time the cause of action accrues, or
SALES,Petitioners, v. MARIA DIVINA GRACIA SANTOS-GRAN AND REGISTER OF
in this case, from the time of registration of the questioned documents before the
DEEDS OF MARIKINA CITY, Respondents. 14
Registry of Deeds; and (b) the Amended Complaint failed to state a cause of
action as the void and voidable documents sought to be nullified were not properly
DECISION identified nor the substance thereof set forth, thus, precluding the RTC from
rendering a valid judgment in accordance with the prayer to surrender the subject
15
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.: properties. cralawlawlibrary

1 2
Before the Court is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Decision dated The RTC Ruling
3
January 10, 2011 and the Resolution dated June 22, 2011 of the Court of Appeals 16
4
(CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 87849 which affirmed the Order dated July 6, 2006 of the In an Order dated July 6, 2006, the RTC granted Grans motion and dismissed the
Regional Trial Court of San Mateo, Rizal, Branch 76 (RTC) in Civil Case No. 2018-06, Amended Complaint for its failure to state a cause of action, considering that the
dismissing the Amended Complaint for annulment of sale and revocation of title on deed of sale sought to be nullified an essential and indispensable part of
17
the ground of insufficiency of factual basis. [petitioners] cause of action was not attached. It likewise held that the
certificates of title covering the subject properties cannot be collaterally attacked
The Facts and that since the action was based on a written contract, the same had already
18
prescribed under Article 1144 of the Civil Code. cralawlawlibrary
On January 9, 2006, petitioner Eliza Zuiga-Santos (petitioner), through her
5 6
authorized representative, Nympha Z. Sales, filed a Complaint for annulment of Dissatisfied, petitioner elevated the matter to the CA.
sale and revocation of title against respondents Maria Divina Gracia Santos-Gran
(Gran) and the Register of Deeds of Marikina City before the RTC, docketed as Civil The CA Ruling
7
Case No. 2018-06. The said complaint was later amended on March 10, 2006 19
(Amended Complaint). In a Decision dated January 10, 2011, the CA sustained the dismissal of
petitioners Amended Complaint but on the ground of insufficiency of factual basis.
8
In her Amended Complaint, petitioner alleged, among others, that: (a) she was the
registered owner of three (3) parcels of land located in the Municipality of It disagreed with the RTCs finding that the said pleading failed to state a cause of
Montalban, Province of Rizal, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) Nos. N- action since it had averred that: (a) petitioner has a right over the subject
9 10 11
5500, 224174, and N-4234 (subject properties) prior to their transfer in the properties being the registered owner thereof prior to their transfer in the name of
name of private respondent Gran; (b) she has a second husband by the name of Gran; (b) Lamberto succeeded in transferring the subject properties to his
Lamberto C. Santos (Lamberto), with whom she did not have any children; (c) she daughter, Gran, through void and voidable documents; and (c) the latters refusal
was forced to take care of Lambertos alleged daughter, Gran, whose birth and failure to surrender to her the subject properties despite demands violated
20
certificate was forged to make it appear that the latter was petitioners daughter; petitioners rights over them. The CA likewise ruled that the action has not yet
(d) pursuant to void and voidable documents, i.e., a Deed of Sale, Lamberto prescribed since an action for nullity of void deeds of conveyance is
21
succeeded in transferring the subject properties in favor of and in the name of imprescriptible. Nonetheless, it held that since the Deed of Sale sought to be
Gran; (e) despite diligent efforts, said Deed of Sale could not be located; and (f) she annulled was not attached to the Amended Complaint, it was impossible for the
discovered that the subject properties were transferred to Gran sometime in court to determine whether petitioners signature therein was a forgery and thus,
November 2005. Accordingly, petitioner prayed, inter alia, that Gran surrender to would have no basis to order the surrender or reconveyance of the subject
22
properties. cralawlawlibrary state a cause of action, by timely objection to its deficiency; or, at the trial, to file a
28
demurrer to evidence, if such motion is warranted.
23
Aggrieved, petitioner moved for reconsideration and attached, for the first time,
24
a copy of the questioned Deed of Sale which she claimed to have recently In the case at bar, both the RTC and the CA were one in dismissing petitioners
recovered, praying that the order of dismissal be set aside and the case be Amended Complaint, but varied on the grounds thereof that is, the RTC held that
remanded to the RTC for further proceedings. there was failure to state a cause of action while the CA ruled that there was
insufficiency of factual basis.
25
In a Resolution dated June 22, 2011, the CA denied petitioners motion and held
that the admission of the contested Deed of Sale at this late stage would be At once, it is apparent that the CA based its dismissal on an incorrect ground. From
contrary to Grans right to due process. the preceding discussion, it is clear that insufficiency of factual basis is not a
ground for a motion to dismiss. Rather, it is a ground which becomes available only
Hence, the instant petition. after the questions of fact have been resolved on the basis of stipulations,
admissions or evidence presented by the plaintiff. The procedural recourse to raise
The Issue Before the Court such ground is a demurrer to evidence taken only after the plaintiffs presentation
of evidence. This parameter is clear under Rule 33 of the Rules of
The primordial issue for the Courts resolution is whether or not the dismissal of Court:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
petitioners Amended Complaint should be sustained.
RULE 33
The Courts Ruling Demurrer to Evidence

Failure to state a cause of action and lack of cause of action are distinct grounds to Section 1. Demurrer to evidence. After the plaintiff has completed the
dismiss a particular action. The former refers to the insufficiency of the allegations presentation of his evidence, the defendant may move for dismissal on the ground
in the pleading, while the latter to the insufficiency of the factual basis for the that upon the facts and the law the plaintiff has shown no right to relief. If his
action. Dismissal for failure to state a cause of action may be raised at the earliest motion is denied he shall have the right to present evidence. If the motion is
stages of the proceedings through a motion to dismiss under Rule 16 of the Rules granted but on appeal the order of dismissal is reversed he shall be deemed to
of Court, while dismissal for lack of cause of action may be raised any time after the have waived the right to present evidence.
questions of fact have been resolved on the basis of stipulations, admissions or
26 27
evidence presented by the plaintiff. In Macaslang v. Zamora, the Court, citing At the preliminary stages of the proceedings, without any presentation of evidence
the commentary of Justice Florenz D. Regalado, even conducted, it is perceptibly impossible to assess the insufficiency of the
explained:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary factual basis on which the plaintiff asserts his cause of action, as in this case.
Therefore, that ground could not be the basis for the dismissal of the action.
Justice Regalado, a recognized commentator on remedial law, has explained the
distinction:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary However, the Amended Complaint is still dismissible but on the ground of failure to
x x x What is contemplated, therefore, is a failure to state a cause of action which is state a cause of action, as correctly held by the RTC. Said ground was properly
provided in Sec. 1(g) of Rule 16. This is a matter of insufficiency of the pleading. raised by Gran in a motion to dismiss pursuant to Section 1, Rule 16 of the Rules of
Sec. 5 of Rule 10, which was also included as the last mode for raising the issue to Court:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
the court, refers to the situation where the evidence does not prove a cause of
action. This is, therefore, a matter of insufficiency of evidence. Failure to state a RULE 16
cause of action is different from failure to prove a cause of action. The remedy in Motion to Dismiss
the first is to move for dismissal of the pleading, while the remedy in the second is
to demur to the evidence, hence reference to Sec. 5 of Rule 10 has been eliminated Section 1. Grounds. Within the time for but before filing the answer to the
in this section. The procedure would consequently be to require the pleading to complaint or pleading asserting a claim, a motion to dismiss may be made on any
of the following grounds:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary statements/documents tracing the root of petitioners title or copies of previous
certificates of title registered in her name. Instead, the certificates of title covering
xxxx the said properties that were attached to the Amended Complaint are in the name
of Gran. At best, the attached copies of TCT Nos. N-5500 and N-4234 only mention
(g) That the pleading asserting the claim states no cause of action; petitioner as the representative of Gran at the time of the covered propertys
registration when she was a minor. Nothing in the pleading, however, indicates
xxxx that the former had become any of the properties owner. This leads to the logical
conclusion that her right to the properties in question at least through the
A complaint states a cause of action if it sufficiently avers the existence of the three manner in which it was alleged in the Amended Complaint remains ostensibly
(3) essential elements of a cause of action, namely: (a) a right in favor of the unfounded. Indeed, while the facts alleged in the complaint are hypothetically
plaintiff by whatever means and under whatever law it arises or is created; (b) an admitted for purposes of the motion, it must, nevertheless, be remembered that
obligation on the part of the named defendant to respect or not to violate such the hypothetical admission extends only to the relevant and material facts well
right; and (c) an act or omission on the part of the named defendant violative of pleaded in the complaint as well as to inferences fairly deductible
35
the right of the plaintiff or constituting a breach of the obligation of defendant to therefrom. Verily, the filing of the motion to dismiss assailing the sufficiency of
the plaintiff for which the latter may maintain an action for recovery of the complaint does not hypothetically admit allegations of which the court will take
29
damages. If the allegations of the complaint do not state the concurrence of judicial notice of to be not true, nor does the rule of hypothetical admission apply
these elements, the complaint becomes vulnerable to a motion to dismiss on the to legally impossible facts, or to facts inadmissible in evidence, or tofacts that
30
ground of failure to state a cause of action. cralawlawlibrary appear to be unfounded by record or document included in the
36
pleadings. cralawlawlibrary
It is well to point out that the plaintiffs cause of action should not merely be
stated but, importantly, the statement thereof should be sufficient. This is why Aside from the insufficiency of petitioners allegations with respect to her right to
the elementary test in a motion to dismiss on such ground is whether or not the the subject properties sought to be recovered, the ultimate facts supposedly
31
complaint alleges facts which if true would justify the relief demanded. As a justifying the annulment of sale, by which the reconveyance of the subject
corollary, it has been held that only ultimate facts and not legal conclusions or properties is sought, were also insufficiently pleaded. The following averments in
32
evidentiary facts are considered for purposes of applying the test. This is the Amended Complaint betray no more than an insufficient narration of
consistent with Section 1, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court which states that the facts:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
complaint need only allege the ultimate facts or the essential facts constituting the
plaintiffs cause of action. A fact is essential if they cannot be stricken out without 6. That pursuant to a voidable [sic] and void documents, the second
33
leaving the statement of the cause of action inadequate. Since the inquiry is into husband of the plaintiff succeed [sic] in transferring the above TITLES in
the sufficiency, not the veracity, of the material allegations, it follows that the the name of MARIA DIVINAGRACIA SANTOS, who is (sic) alleged daughter
analysis should be confined to the four corners of the complaint, and no of LAMBERTO C. SANTOS in violation of Article 1409, Par. 2 of the Civil
34
other. cralawlawlibrary Code;

A judicious examination of petitioners Amended Complaint readily shows its 7. That the said properties [were] transferred to the said defendant by a
failure to sufficiently state a cause of action. Contrary to the findings of the CA, the Deed of Sale (DOS) to the said MARIA DIVINAGRACIA SANTOS through a
allegations therein do not proffer ultimate facts which would warrant an action for void documents [sic] considering that the seller is the alleged mother of
nullification of the sale and recovery of the properties in controversy, hence, defendant is also the buyer of the said properties in favor of defendant;
rendering the same dismissible.
8. x x x.
While the Amended Complaint does allege that petitioner was the registered
owner of the subject properties in dispute, nothing in the said pleading or its
9. That the alleged sale and transfer of the said properties in favor of
annexes would show the basis of that assertion, either through
defendant was only discovered by [plaintiffs] daughter CYNTHIA
BELTRAN-LASMARIAS when [plaintiff] has been requesting for financial considers any objection thereto as waived.
assistance, considering that the said mother of plaintiff [sic] has so many
properties which is now the subject of this complaint; In any event, the Court finds the Amended Complaints dismissal to be in order
considering that petitioners cause of action had already prescribed.
10. That plaintiff then return on [to] the Philippines sometime [in]
November, 2005 and discovered that all [plaintiffs] properties [had] been It is evident that petitioner ultimately seeks for the reconveyance to her of the
transferred to defendant MARIA DIVINAGRACIA SANTOS who is not a subject properties through the nullification of their supposed sale to Gran. An
daughter either by consanguinity or affinity to the plaintiff mother [sic]; action for reconveyance is one that seeks to transfer property, wrongfully
40
registered by another, to its rightful and legal owner. Having alleged the
11. That the titles that [were] issued in the name of MARIA DIVINAGRACIA commission of fraud by Gran in the transfer and registration of the subject
SANTOS by virtue of the said alleged voidable and void documents, properties in her name, there was, in effect, an implied trust created by operation
should be annulled and cancelled as the basis of the transfer is through of law pursuant to Article 1456 of the Civil Code which
void and voidable documents; provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

37
xxxx Art. 1456. If property is acquired through mistake or fraud, the person obtaining it
is, by force of law, considered a trustee of an implied trust for the benefit of the
person from whom the property comes.
Clearly, the claim that the sale was effected through voidable and void
documents partakes merely of a conclusion of law that is not supported by any To determine when the prescriptive period commenced in an action for
averment of circumstances that will show why or how such conclusion was arrived reconveyance, the plaintiffs possession of the disputed property is material. If
at. In fact, what these voidable and void documents are were not properly stated there is an actual need to reconvey the property as when the plaintiff is not in
38
and/or identified. In Abad v. Court of First Instance of Pangasinan, the Court possession, the action for reconveyance based on implied trust prescribes in ten
pronounced that:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary (10) years, the reference point being the date of registration of the deed or the
issuance of the title. On the other hand, if the real owner of the property remains
in possession of the property, the prescriptive period to recover title and
A pleading should state the ultimate facts essential to the rights of action or
possession of the property does not run against him and in such case, the action for
defense asserted, as distinguished from mere conclusions of fact, or conclusions
reconveyance would be in the nature of a suit for quieting of title which is
of law. General allegations that a contract is valid or legal, or is just, fair, and 41
imprescriptible. cralawlawlibrary
reasonable, are mere conclusions of law. Likewise, allegations that a contract is
void, voidable, invalid, illegal, ultra vires, or against public policy, without stating
39 In the case at bar, a reading of the allegations of the Amended Complaint failed to
facts showing its invalidity, are mere conclusions of law. (Emphases supplied)
show that petitioner remained in possession of the subject properties in dispute.
On the contrary, it can be reasonably deduced that it was Gran who was in
Hence, by merely stating a legal conclusion, the Amended Complaint presented no
possession of the subject properties, there being an admission by the petitioner
sufficient allegation upon which the Court could grant the relief petitioner prayed
that the property covered by TCT No. 224174 was being used by Grans mother-in-
for. Thus, said pleading should be dismissed on the ground of failure to state cause 42
law. In fact, petitioners relief in the Amended Complaint for the surrender of
of action, as correctly held by the RTC. 43
three (3) properties to her bolsters such stance. And since the new titles to the
subject properties in the name of Gran were issued by the Registry of Deeds of
That a copy of the Deed of Sale adverted to in the Amended Complaint was 44
Marikina on the following dates: TCT No. 224174 on July 27, 1992, TCT No. N-
subsequently submitted by petitioner does not warrant a different course of 45 46
5500 on January 29, 1976, and TCT No. N-4234 on November 26, 1975, the filing
action. The submission of that document was made, as it was purportedly recently
of the petitioners complaint before the RTC on January 9, 2006 was obviously
recovered, only on reconsideration before the CA which, nonetheless, ruled
beyond the ten-year prescriptive period, warranting the Amended Complaints
against the remand of the case. An examination of the present petition, however,
dismissal all the same.
reveals no counter-argument against the foregoing actions; hence, the Court
repair was P21,415.00, but respondent Standard paid only P8,000.00. Martina
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated January 10, 2011 and the Gicale shouldered the balance of P13,415.00.
Resolution dated June 22, 2011 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 87849 are
hereby AFFIRMED withMODIFICATION in that the Amended Complaint be Thereafter, Standard and Martina, respondents, demanded reimbursement
dismissed on the grounds of (a) failure to state a cause of action, and (b) from petitioners Pantranco and its driver Alexander Buncan, but they refused. This
prescription as herein discussed. prompted respondents to file with the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 94,
Manila, a complaint for sum of money.
SO ORDERED.cral In their answer, both petitioners specifically denied the allegations in the
THIRD DIVISION complaint and averred that it is the Metropolitan Trial Court, not the RTC, which
has jurisdiction over the case.
[3]
On June 5, 1992, the trial court rendered a Decision in favor of respondents
Standard and Martina, thus:
[G.R. No. 140746. March 16, 2005]
WHEREFORE, and in view of the foregoing considerations, judgment is hereby
rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, Standard Insurance Company and Martina
Gicale, and against defendants Pantranco Bus Company and Alexander Buncan,
PANTRANCO NORTH EXPRESS, INC., and ALEXANDER BUNCAN, petitioners, ordering the latter to pay as follows:
vs. STANDARD INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., and MARTINA
GICALE,respondents. (1) to pay plaintiff Standard Insurance the amount of P8,000.00 with interest due
thereon from November 27, 1984 until fully paid;
DECISION

SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: (2) to pay plaintiff Martina Gicale the amount of P13,415.00 with interest due
thereon from October 22, 1984 until fully paid;
[1]
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Decision dated
[2] (3) to pay the sum of P10,000.00 for attorneys fees;
July 23 1999 and Resolution dated November 4, 1999 of the Court of Appeals in
CA-G.R. CV No. 38453, entitled Standard Insurance Company, Inc., and Martina
Gicale vs. PANTRANCO North Express, Inc., and Alexander Buncan. (4) to pay the expenses of litigation and the cost of suit.

In the afternoon of October 28, 1984, Crispin Gicale was driving the
SO ORDERED.
passenger jeepney owned by his mother Martina Gicale, respondent herein. It was
then raining. While driving north bound along the National Highway in Talavera, [4]
Nueva Ecija, a passenger bus, owned by Pantranco North Express, Inc., petitioner, On appeal, the Court of Appeals, in a Decision dated July 23, 1999, affirmed
driven by Alexander Buncan, also a petitioner, was trailing behind. When the two the trial courts ruling, holding that:
vehicles were negotiating a curve along the highway, the passenger bus overtook
the jeepney. In so doing, the passenger bus hit the left rear side of the jeepney and The appellants argue that appellee Gicales claim of P13,415.00 and appellee
sped away. insurance companys claim of P8,000.00 individually fell under the exclusive original
jurisdiction of the municipal trial court. This is not correct because under the
Crispin reported the incident to the Talavera Police Station and respondent Totality Rule provided for under Sec. 19, Batas Pambansa Bilang 129, it is the sum
Standard Insurance Co., Inc. (Standard), insurer of the jeepney. The total cost of the of the two claims that determines the jurisdictional amount.
xxx I

In the case at bench, the total of the two claims is definitely more than P20,000.00 WHETHER OR NOT THE TRIAL COURT HAS JURISDICTION OVER THE SUBJECT OF
which at the time of the incident in question was the jurisdictional amount of the THE ACTION CONSIDERING THAT RESPONDENTS RESPECTIVE CAUSE OF ACTION
Regional Trial Court. AGAINST PETITIONERS DID NOT ARISE OUT OF THE SAME TRANSACTION NOR ARE
THERE QUESTIONS OF LAW AND FACTS COMMON TO BOTH PETITIONERS AND
Appellants contend that there was a misjoinder of parties. Assuming that there RESPONDENTS.
was, under the Rules of Court (Sec. 11, Rule 7) as well as under the Rules of Civil
Procedure (ditto), the same does not affect the jurisdiction of the court nor is it a II
ground to dismiss the complaint.
WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONERS ARE LIABLE TO RESPONDENTS CONSIDERING THAT
xxx BASED ON THE EVIDENCE ADDUCED AND LAW APPLICABLE IN THE CASE AT BAR,
RESPONDENTS HAVE NOT SHOWN ANY RIGHT TO THE RELIEF PRAYED FOR.
It does not need perspicacity in logic to see that appellees Gicales and insurance
companys individual claims against appellees (sic) arose from the same vehicular III
accident on October 28, 1984 involving appellant Pantrancos bus and appellee
Gicales jeepney. That being the case, there was a question of fact common to all WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONERS WERE DEPRIVED OF THEIR RIGHT TO DUE
the parties: Whose fault or negligence caused the damage to the jeepney? PROCESS.

Appellants submit that they were denied their day in court because the case was For their part, respondents contend that their individual claims arose out of
deemed submitted for decision without even declaring defendants in default or to the same vehicular accident and involve a common question of fact and law.
have waived the presentation of evidence. This is incorrect. Of course, the court did Hence, the RTC has jurisdiction over the case.
not declare defendants in default because that is done only when the defendant
fails to tender an answer within the reglementary period. When the lower court I
ordered that the case is deemed submitted for decision that meant that the
Petitioners insist that the trial court has no jurisdiction over the case since
defendants were deemed to have waived their right to present evidence. If they
failed to adduce their evidence, they should blame nobody but themselves. They the cause of action of each respondent did not arise from the same transaction and
that there are no common questions of law and fact common to both parties.
failed to be present during the scheduled hearing for the reception of their [5]
evidence despite notice and without any motion or explanation. They did not even Section 6, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court, provides:
file any motion for reconsideration of the order considering the case submitted for
decision. Sec. 6. Permissive joinder of parties. All persons in whom or against whom any right
to relief in respect to or arising out of the same transaction or series of transactions
is alleged to exist, whether jointly, severally, or in the alternative, may, except as
Finally, contrary to the assertion of the defendant-appellants, the evidence
preponderantly established their liability for quasi-delict under Article 2176 of the otherwise provided in these Rules, join as plaintiffs or be joined as defendants in
one complaint, where any question of law or fact common to all such plaintiffs or
Civil Code.
to all such defendants may arise in the action; but the court may make such orders
as may be just to prevent any plaintiff or defendant from being embarrassed or put
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied by the to expense in connection with any proceedings in which he may have no interest.
Appellate Court in a Resolution dated November 4, 1999.

Hence, this petition for review on certiorari raising the following assignments Permissive joinder of parties requires that: (a) the right to relief arises out of
of error: the same transaction or series of transactions; (b) there is a question of law or fact
common to all the plaintiffs or defendants; and (c) such joinder is not otherwise As previously stated, respondents cause of action against petitioners arose
[6]
proscribed by the provisions of the Rules on jurisdiction and venue. out of the same transaction. Thus, the amount of the demand shall be the totality
of the claims.
In this case, there is a single transaction common to all, that is, Pantrancos
bus hitting the rear side of the jeepney. There is also a common question of fact, Respondent Standards claim is P8,000.00, while that of respondent Martina
that is, whether petitioners are negligent. There being a single transaction common Gicale is P13,415.00, or a total of P21,415.00. Section 19 of B.P. Blg. 129 provides
to both respondents, consequently, they have the same cause of action against that the RTC has exclusive original jurisdiction over all other cases, in which the
petitioners. demand, exclusive of interest and cost or the value of the property in controversy,
amounts to more than twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00). Clearly, it is the RTC
To determine identity of cause of action, it must be ascertained whether the that has jurisdiction over the instant case. It bears emphasis that when the
same evidence which is necessary to sustain the second cause of action would have complaint was filed, R.A. 7691 expanding the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan,
[7]
been sufficient to authorize a recovery in the first. Here, had respondents filed Municipal and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts had not yet taken effect. It became
separate suits against petitioners, the same evidence would have been presented effective on April 15, 1994.
to sustain the same cause of action. Thus, the filing by both respondents of the
complaint with the court below is in order. Such joinder of parties avoids II
multiplicity of suit and ensures the convenient, speedy and orderly administration
of justice. The finding of the trial court, affirmed by the Appellate Court, that
petitioners are negligent and thus liable to respondents, is a factual finding which is
Corollarily, Section 5(d), Rule 2 of the same Rules provides: binding upon us, a rule well-established in our jurisprudence. It has been
repeatedly held that the trial court's factual findings, when affirmed by the
Sec. 5. Joinder of causes of action. A party may in one pleading assert, in the Appellate Court, are conclusive and binding upon this Court, if they are not tainted
alternative or otherwise, as many causes of action as he may have against an with arbitrariness or oversight of some fact or circumstance of significance and
opposing party, subject to the following conditions: influence. Petitioners have not presented sufficient ground to warrant a deviation
[10]
from this rule.
xxx III

There is no merit in petitioners contention that they were denied due


(d) Where the claims in all the causes of action are principally for recovery of
process. Records show that during the hearing, petitioner Pantrancos counsel filed
money the aggregate amount claimed shall be the test of jurisdiction.
two motions for resetting of trial which were granted by the trial court.
Subsequently, said counsel filed a notice to withdraw. After respondents had
The above provision presupposes that the different causes of action which presented their evidence, the trial court, upon petitioners motion, reset the
are joined accrue in favor of the same plaintiff/s and against the same defendant/s hearing to another date. On this date, Pantranco failed to appear. Thus, the trial
[8]
and that no misjoinder of parties is involved. The issue of whether respondents court warned Pantranco that should it fail to appear during the next hearing, the
claims shall be lumped together is determined by paragraph (d) of the above case will be submitted for resolution on the basis of the evidence presented.
provision. This paragraph embodies the totality rule as exemplified by Section 33 Subsequently, Pantrancos new counsel manifested that his client is willing to settle
[9]
(1) of B.P. Blg. 129 which states, among others, that where there are several the case amicably and moved for another postponement. The trial court granted
claims or causes of action between the same or different parties, embodied in the the motion. On the date of the hearing, the new counsel manifested that
same complaint, the amount of the demand shall be the totality of the claims in all Pantrancos employees are on strike and moved for another postponement. On the
the causes of action, irrespective of whether the causes of action arose out of the next hearing, said counsel still failed to appear. Hence, the trial court considered
same or different transactions. the case submitted for decision.
We have consistently held that the essence of due process is simply an The Facts
opportunity to be heard, or an opportunity to explain ones side or an opportunity
[11]
to seek for a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. On August 21, 2008, petitioner Lourdes C. Fernandez (Lourdes) and her sister,
Petitioner Pantranco filed an answer and participated during the trial and Cecilia Siapno (Cecilia), represented by her attorney-in-fact, Imelda S. Slater
5
presentation of respondents evidence. It was apprised of the notices of hearing (Imelda), filed a Complaint for Ejectment before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities,
issued by the trial court. Indeed, it was afforded fair and reasonable opportunity to Branch 1, Dagupan City(MTCC), docketed as Civil Case No. 15980, against
explain its side of the controversy. Clearly, it was not denied of its right to due respondent Norma Villegas (Norma) and any person acting in her behalf including
process. What is frowned upon is the absolute lack of notice and hearing which is her family (respondents), seeking to recover possession of a parcel of land situated
not present here. in Guilig Street, Dagupan City covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No.
6
19170 (subject property).
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision dated July 23
1999 and Resolution dated November 4, 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV In their complaint, Lourdes and Cecilia(plaintiffs) averred that they are the
No. 38453 are hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners. registered owners of the subject property on which both Lourdes and respondents
previously lived under oneroof. However, when their house was destroyed by
SO ORDERED.
typhoon "Cosme," Lourdes transferred to a nipahut on the same lot, while Norma,
Panganiban, (Chairman), Corona, Carpio-Morales, and Garcia, JJ., concur. Cecilias daughter-in-law, and her family were advised to relocate but, in the
7
meantime, allowed to use a portion thereof. Instead, respondents erecteda house
thereon over plaintiffs objections and, despite demands, refused to vacate and
8
Republic of the Philippines surrender possession of the subject property. The dispute was referred to the
9
SUPREME COURT Barangay Office of Pugo Chico and the Public Attorneys Office, both of Dagupan
10
Manila City, but no settlement was reached.

11
SECOND DIVISION For their part, respondents, in their Answer, averred that the complaint stated no
cause of action,considering that Lourdes has no standing to question their
possession ofthe subject property as she had already donated her portion in favor
G.R. No. 200191 August 20, 2014 12
of Cecilia, adding too that the latter is bound by her declaration that"the house
13
and lot belong[s] to Eddie," who is Normas late husband. Respondents further
LOURDES C. FERNANDEZ, Petitioner, asserted that there was no compliance with the required conciliation and
14
vs. mediation under the Katarungang Pambarangay Law as no Certificate to File
15
NORMA VILLEGAS and any person acting in her behalf including her Action was attached to the complaint, thereby rendering the complaint
family, Respondents. dismissible.

DECISION The MTCC Ruling

16
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.: In a Decision dated September 30, 2009,the MTCC found that respondents failed
to impugn the validity of plaintiffs ownership over the subject property. As
1 owners, plaintiffs therefore have the right to enjoy the use and receive the fruits
Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari are the Resolutions dated June 22,
2 3 from the saidproperty, as well as to exclude one from its enjoyment pursuant to
2011 and December 28, 2011 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No.
17
116143 which dismissed the petition for review under Rule 42 of the Rules of Articles 428 and 429 of the Civil Code. Accordingly, the MTCC ordered
4 respondents to: (a) vacate the subject property and pay plaintiffs the amount
Court (CA petition) due to defective verification and certification against forum
shopping. of P1,000.00 per month as reasonable compensation for the use and occupation of
the portion of the lot occupied by them, reckoned from the filing of the complaint; latter and to sign the said certification, and neither did the submission of the
18
(b) pay plaintiffs P10,000.00 as attorneys fees; and (c) pay the cost of suit. special powers of attorney of Cecilia and Imelda to that effect constitute
33
substantial compliance with the rules. The CA further noted that plaintiffs failed to
19
Dissatisfied with the MTCCs ruling, respondents filed an appeal before the comply with its prior Resolution dated October 11, 2010 requiring the submission
Regional Trial Court ofDagupan City (RTC), Branch 40, docketed as Civil Case No. of an amended verification/certification against forum shopping within five (5) days
34
2009-0224-D. from notice, warranting the dismissal of the CA petition on this score.

35
The RTC Ruling At odds with the CAs resolution, plaintiffs sought reconsideration but the same
36
was denied in a Resolution dated December 28, 2011, hence, the instant petition
20 filed by Lourdes alone.
In a Decision dated March 16, 2010, the RTC, Branch 40 granted respondents
appeal and ordered the dismissal of plaintiffs complaint based on the following
grounds: (a) there was no substantial compliance with the mandatory conciliation The Issue Before the Court
and mediation process before the barangay, especially considering that the parties
21
are very close relatives; and (b) respondents are builders in good faith and cannot The primordial issue in this case is whether or not the CA erred in dismissing
be summarily ejected from the subject property without compliance with the outright the CA petition due to a defective verification and certification against
22
provisions of Articles 448, 546, and 548 of the Civil Code. forum shopping attached to the CA petition.

The RTC, Branch 40 further ordered plaintiffs to jointly and severally pay The Courts Ruling
23
respondents the amount of P50,000.00 as attorneys fees.
The present petition has merit.
24
Aggrieved, plaintiffs filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the
25 26
RTC, Branch 44 in a Resolution dated August 18, 2010, prompting the filing of The Court laid down the following guidelines with respect to noncompliance with
the CA petition. the requirements on or submission of a defective verification and certification
against forum shopping, viz.:
The CA Proceedings
1) A distinction must be madebetween non-compliance with the
In response to plaintiffs CA petition, respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss Appeal requirement on or submission of defective verification, and
on the grounds that: (a) Cecilia failed to personally verify the petition; and (b) the noncompliance with the requirement on or submission of defective
27
appeal is dilatory. In their comment, plaintiffs maintained that Lourdes, as co- certification against forum shopping.
owner of the subject property, has the right tofile an ejectment case by herself,
without joining her co-owner, Cecilia, as provided under Article 487 of the Civil 2) As to verification, non-compliance therewith or a defect therein does
Code. Moreover, Lourdes was specially authorized by Imelda to file the CA not necessarily render the pleading fatally defective. The court may order
28
petition. its submission or correction or act on the pleading if the attending
circumstances are such that strictcompliance with the Rule may be
29
In a Resolution dated June 22, 2011, the CA granted respondents Motion to dispensed with in order that the endsof justice may be served thereby.
30
Dismiss Appeal, holding that the verification and certification against forum
shopping attached to the CA petition was defective since it was signed only by 3) Verification is deemed substantially compliedwith when one who has
31
Lourdes, one of the plaintiffs in the case, in violation of Section 5, Rule 7 of the ample knowledge to swear tothe truth of the allegations in the complaint
32
Rules of Court which requires all the plaintiffs to sign the same. There was also no or petition signs the verification, and when matters alleged in the petition
showing that Lourdes was authorized by her co-plaintiff, Cecilia, to represent the have been made in goodfaith or are true and correct.
4) As to certification against forum shopping, non-compliance therewith Hence, the lone signature of Lourdes on the verification attached to the CA petition
39
or a defect therein, unlike in verification, is generally not curable by its constituted substantial compliance with the rules. As held in the case of Medado
40
subsequent submission orcorrection thereof, unless there is a need to v. Heirs of the Late Antonio Consing:
relax the Rule on the ground of "substantial compliance" or presence of
"special circumstances or compelling reasons." [W]here the petitioners are immediate relatives, who share a common interestin
the property subject of the action, the fact that only one of the petitioners
5) The certification against forum shopping must be signed by all the executed the verification or certification of forum shopping will not deter the court
41
plaintiffs or petitioners in a case; otherwise, those who did not sign will from proceeding with the action. (Emphases and underscoring supplied)
be dropped as parties to the case. Under reasonable or justifiable
circumstances, however, as when all the plaintiffs or petitioners share a Besides, it is settled that the verification of a pleading is only a formal, not a
common interestand invoke a common cause of action or defense, the jurisdictional requirement intended to secure the assurance that the matters
signature of only one of them in the certification against forum shopping alleged in a pleading are true and correct. Therefore, the courts may simply order
substantially complies with the Rule. the correction of the pleadings oract on them and waive strict compliance with the
42
rules, as in this case.
6) Finally, the certification against forum shopping must be executed by
the party-pleader, not by his counsel. If, however, for reasonable or B. Substantial Compliance with the Certification Against Forum Shopping
justifiable reasons, the party-pleader is unable to sign, he must execute a Requirement.
Special Power of Attorney designating his counsel of record to sign on his
37
behalf. (Emphases supplied)
Following paragraph 5 of the guidelinesas aforestated, there was also substantial
compliance with the certification against forum shopping requirement,
Applying these guidelines to the caseat bar, particularly, those stated in paragraphs notwithstanding the fact that only Lourdes signed the same.
3 and 5 highlighted above, the Court finds that the CA committed reversible error
in dismissing the CA petition due to a defective verification and certification against
It has been held that under reasonable or justifiable circumstances - as in this case
forum shopping.
where the plaintiffs or petitioners share a common interest and invoke a common
cause of action or defense - the rule requiring all such plaintiffs or petitioners to
A. Substantial Compliance with the Verification Requirement. 43
sign the certification against forum shopping may be relaxed. Consequently, the
CA erred in dismissing the petition on this score.
It is undisputed that Lourdes is not only a resident of the subject property but is a
co-owner thereof together with her co-plaintiff/sister, Cecilia. As such, she is "one Similar to the rules on verification, the rules on forum shopping are designed to
who has ample knowledge to swear to the truth of the allegations in the x x x [CA] promote and facilitate the orderly administration of justice; hence, it should not be
petition" and is therefore qualified to "sign x x x the verification" attached thereto interpreted with such absolute literalness as to subvert its own ultimate and
in view of paragraph 3 of the above-said guidelines.1wphi1 legitimate objectives. The requirement of strict compliance with the provisions on
certification against forum shopping merely underscores its mandatory nature to
In fact, Article 487 of the Civil Code explicitly provides that any of the co-owners the effect that the certification cannot altogether be dispensed with or its
may bring an action for ejectment, without the necessity of joining all the other co- requirements completely disregarded. It does not prohibit substantial compliance
44
owners as co-plaintiffs because the suit is deemed to be instituted for the benefit with the rules under justifiable circumstances, as also in this case.
38
of all. To reiterate, both Lourdes and Cecilia are co-plaintiffs in the ejectment suit.
Thus, they share a commonality of interest and cause of action as against As there was substantial compliance with the above-discussed procedural
respondents. Notably, even the petition for review filed before the CA indicated requirements at the onset, plaintiffs' subsequent failure to file an amended
that they are the petitioners therein and that the same was filed on their behalf.
9 10
verification and certification, as directed by the October 11, 2010 CA Resolution, 6, 2007, he purportedly executed a promissory note, loan agreement, and deed
11
should not have warranted the dismissal of the CA petition. of real estate mortgage covering the subject property (subject contracts) in favor
of Cash Asia in order to obtain a loan in the amount of P3,500,000.00 from the
12
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Resolutions dated January 22, 2011 and latter; and (b) since the said loan was left unpaid, Cash Asia proceeded to
13
December 28, 2011 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 116143 are foreclose his property. In this relation, Briones claimed that he never contracted
hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Accordingly, the case is REINSTATED and any loans from Cash Asia as he has been living and working in Vietnam since
REMANDED to the CA for proper and immediate disposition. October 31, 2007. He further claimed that he only went back to the Philippines on
December 28, 2007 until January 3, 2008 to spend the holidays with his family, and
that during his brief stay in the Philippines, nobody informed him of any loan
SO ORDERED.
agreement entered into with Cash Asia. Essentially, Briones assailed the validity of
the foregoing contracts claiming his signature to be
14
forged. chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
15
FIRST DIVISION For its part, Cash Asia filed a Motion to Dismiss dated August 25, 2010, praying
for the outright dismissal of Brioness complaint on the ground of improper
16
G.R. No. 204444, January 14, 2015 venue. In this regard, Cash Asia pointed out the venue stipulation in the subject
contracts stating that all legal actions arising out of this notice in connection with
the Real Estate Mortgage subject hereof shall only be brought in or submitted to
VIRGILIO C. BRIONES, Petitioner, v. COURT OF APPEALS AND CASH ASIA CREDIT 17
the jurisdiction of the proper court of Makati City. In view thereof, it contended
CORPORATION, Respondents. that all actions arising out of the subject contracts may only be exclusively brought
in the courts of Makati City, and as such, Brioness complaint should be dismissed
18
DECISION for having been filed in the City of Manila. chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
19
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.: In response, Briones filed an opposition, asserting, inter alia, that he should not
be covered by the venue stipulation in the subject contracts as he was never a
1 2 party therein. He also reiterated that his signatures on the said contracts were
Assailed in this petition for certiorari are the Decision dated March 5, 2012 and 20
3 forgeries. chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
the Resolution dated October 4, 2012 of the Court of Appeals(CA) in CA-G.R. SP
4
No. 117474, which annulled the Orders dated September 20, 2010 and October
5
22, 2010 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 173 (RTC) in Civil Case No. The RTC Ruling
10-124040, denying private respondent Cash Asia Credit Corporations (Cash Asia) 21
motion to dismiss on the ground of improper venue.cralawred In an Order dated September 20, 2010, the RTC denied Cash Asias motion to
dismiss for lack of merit. In denying the motion, the RTC opined that the parties
must be afforded the right to be heard in view of the substance of Brioness cause
The Facts 22
of action against Cash Asia as stated in the complaint. chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
6
The instant case arose from a Complaint dated August 2, 2010 filed by Virgilio C. 23
Cash Asia moved for reconsideration which was, however, denied in an
Briones (Briones) for Nullity of Mortgage Contract, Promissory Note, Loan 24 25
Order dated October 22, 2010. Aggrieved, it filed a petition for certiorari before
Agreement, Foreclosure of Mortgage, Cancellation of Transfer Certificate of Title
7 the CA.cralawred
(TCT) No.290846, and Damages against Cash Asia before the RTC. In his complaint,
Briones alleged that he is the owner of a property covered by TCT No. 160689
(subject property),and that, on July 15, 2010, his sister informed him that his The CA Ruling
property had been foreclosed and a writ of possession had already been issued in 26
8
favor of Cash Asia. Upon investigation, Briones discovered that: (a) on December In a Decision dated March 5, 2012, the CA annulled the RTC Orders, and
accordingly, dismissed Brioness complaint without prejudice to the filing of the property, or interest therein, shall be commenced and tried in the proper court
27
same before the proper court in Makati City. It held that the RTC gravely abused which has jurisdiction over the area wherein the real property involved, or a
its discretion in denying Cash Asias motion to dismiss, considering that the subject portion thereof, is situated.
contracts clearly provide that actions arising therefrom should be exclusively filed
28
before the courts of Makati City only. As such, the CA concluded that Brioness Forcible entry and detainer actions shall be commenced and tried in the municipal
complaint should have been dismissed outright on the ground of improper trial court of the municipality or city wherein the real property involved, or a
29
venue, this, notwithstanding Brioness claim of forgery. portion thereof, is situated.
30
Dissatisfied, Briones moved for reconsideration, which was, however, denied in a SEC. 2. Venue of personal actions. All other actions may be commenced and
31
Resolution dated October 4, 2012, hence, this petition. tried where the plaintiff or any of the principal plaintiffs resides, or where the
defendant or any of the principal defendants resides, or in the case of a non-
The Issue Before the Court resident defendant where he may be found, at the election of the plaintiff.

The primordial issue for the Courts resolution is whether or not the CA gravely SEC. 3. Venue of actions against nonresidents. If any of the defendants does not
abused its discretion in ordering the outright dismissal of Brioness complaint on reside and is not found in the Philippines, and the action affects the personal status
the ground of improper venue. of the plaintiff, or any property of said defendant located in the Philippines, the
action may be commenced and tried in the court of the place where the plaintiff
The Courts Ruling resides, or where the property or any portion thereof is situated or found.

The petition is meritorious. SEC. 4. When Rule not applicable. This Rule shall not apply

At the outset, the Court stresses that [t]o justify the grant of the extraordinary (a) In those cases where a specific rule or law provides otherwise; or
remedy of certiorari, [the petitioner] must satisfactorily show that the court or
quasi-judicial authority gravely abused the discretion conferred upon it. Grave (b) Where the parties have validly agreed in writing before the filing of the action
abuse of discretion connotes judgment exercised in a capricious and whimsical on the exclusive venue thereof.
manner that is tantamount to lack of jurisdiction. To be considered grave,
discretion must be exercised in a despotic manner by reason of passion or personal Based therefrom, the general rule is that the venue of real actions is the court
hostility, and must be so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive which has jurisdiction over the area wherein the real property involved, or a
duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined by or to act at all in portion thereof, is situated; while the venue of personal actions is the court which
32 has jurisdiction where the plaintiff or the defendant resides, at the election of the
contemplation of law. chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary 33
plaintiff. As an exception, jurisprudence in Legaspi v. Rep. of the Phils. instructs
Guided by the foregoing considerations, the Court finds that the CA gravely abused that the parties, thru a written instrument, may either introduce another venue
its discretion in ordering the outright dismissal of Brioness complaint against Cash where actions arising from such instrument may be filed, or restrict the filing of
Asia, without prejudice to its re-filing before the proper court in Makati City. said actions in a certain exclusive venue, viz.:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Rule 4 of the Rules of Court governs the rules on venue of civil actions, to The parties, however, are not precluded from agreeing in writing on an exclusive
wit:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary venue, as qualified by Section 4 of the same rule. Written stipulations as to venue
may be restrictive in the sense that the suit may be filed only in the place agreed
Rule 4 upon, or merely permissive in that the parties may file their suit not only in the
VENUE OF ACTIONS place agreed upon but also in the places fixed by law. As in any other agreement,
what is essential is the ascertainment of the intention of the parties respecting the
SECTION 1. Venue of real actions. Actions affecting title to or possession of real matter.
As regards restrictive stipulations on venue, jurisprudence instructs that it must Sereno, C.J., (Chairperson), Leonardo-De Castro, Bersamin, and Perez, JJ., concur.
be shown that such stipulation is exclusive. In the absence of qualifying or
restrictive words, such as exclusively, waiving for this purpose any other
venue, shall only preceding the designation of venue, to the exclusion of the
other courts, or words of similar import, the stipulation should be deemed as
merely an agreement on an additional forum, not as limiting venue to the
34 [G.R. No. 136368. January 16, 2002]
specified place. (Emphases and underscoring supplied)

In this relation, case law likewise provides that in cases where the complaint assails
only the terms, conditions, and/or coverage of a written instrument and not its
validity, the exclusive venue stipulation contained therein shall still be binding on JAIME TAN, JR., as Judicial Administrator of the Intestate Estate of Jaime C.
the parties, and thus, the complaint may be properly dismissed on the ground of Tan, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS (Ninth Special Div.) and
35
improper venue. Conversely, therefore, a complaint directly assailing the validity JOSE A. MAGDANGAL and ESTRELLA MAGDANGAL, respondents.
of the written instrument itself should not be bound by the exclusive venue
stipulation contained therein and should be filed in accordance with the general DECISION
rules on venue.To be sure, it would be inherently consistent for a complaint of this
nature to recognize the exclusive venue stipulation when it, in fact, precisely assails PUNO, J.:
the validity of the instrument in which such stipulation is contained.
This is a petition for review of the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated July
[1] [2]
In this case, the venue stipulation found in the subject contracts is indeed 15, 1998 and its Resolution dated November 9, 1998 denying petitioners motion
restrictive in nature, considering that it effectively limits the venue of the actions for reconsideration in CA-G.R. SP-41738.
arising therefrom to the courts of Makati City. However, it must be emphasized
that Brioness complaint directly assails the validity of the subject contracts, The facts are as stated in the impugned Decision, viz:
claiming forgery in their execution. Given this circumstance, Briones cannot be
expected to comply with the aforesaid venue stipulation, as his compliance Involved in this case is a parcel of land, designated as Lot No. 645-C, with an area of
therewith would mean an implicit recognition of their validity. Hence, pursuant to 34,829 square meters, more or less, situated in Bunawan, Davao City. The lot was
the general rules on venue, Briones properly filed his complaint before a court in once covered by TCT No. T-72067 of the Registry of Deeds of Davao City in the
the City of Manila where the subject property is located. name of the late Jaime C. Tan (Tan, for short) married to Praxedes V. Tan.

In conclusion, the CA patently erred and hence committed grave abuse of From the petition, the motion to dismiss petition, their respective annexes and
discretion in dismissing Brioness complaint on the ground of improper other pleadings, we gather the following factual antecedents:
venue.chanrobleslaw
On January 22, 1981, Tan, for a consideration of P59,200.00, executed a deed of
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. Accordingly, the Decision dated March 5,
absolute sale over the property in question in favor of
2012 and the Resolution dated October 4, 2012 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
spouses Jose Magdangal and Estrella Magdangal. Simultaneous with the execution
SP No. 117474 are herebyANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The Orders dated September
of this deed, the same contracting parties entered into another
20, 2010 and October 22, 2010 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 173 in
agreement whereunder Tan was given one (1) year within which to redeem or
Civil Case No. 10-124040 are REINSTATED.
repurchase the property.
SO ORDERED.cralawlawlibrary
Albeit given several opportunities and/or extensions to exercise the From the above, the Magdangals appealed to this Court in CA-G.R. CV No. 33657.
option, Tan failed to redeem the property until his death on January 4, 1988.
In a decision promulgated on September 28, 1995, this Court, thru its then Special
On May 2, 1988, Tans heirs filed before the Regional Trial Court at Davao City a suit Third Division, affirmed in toto the appealed decision of the lower court. Copy of
against the Magdangals for reformation of instrument. Docketed as CIVIL CASE this affirmatory judgment was each received by the Magdangals and Tan, Jr.
NO. 19049-88, the complaint alleged that, while Tan and on October 5, 1995.
the Magdangals denominated their agreement as deed of absolute sale, their real
intention was to conclude an equitable mortgage. On March 13, 1996, the Clerk of this Court entered in the Book of Entries of
Judgment the Decision in CA-G.R. CV No. 33657 and issued the corresponding Entry
Barely hours after the complaint was stamped received, the Magdangals were able of Judgment which, on its face, stated that the said Decision has on October 21,
to have Tans title over the lot in question canceled and to secure in their names 1995 become final and executory (Annex L, Petition; Emphasis added).
TCT No. T-134470. This development prompted the heirs of Tan, who were to be
later substituted by Jaime V. Tan, Jr. (Tan, Jr.) as plaintiff, to file a supplemental On March 21, 1996, the Magdangals filed in the lower court a MOTION FOR
complaint. CONSOLIDATION AND WRIT OF POSSESSION, therein alleging that they did
not appeal from the aforesaid decision of this Court, adding [T]hat the appealed
The intervening legal tussles are not essential to this narration. What is material is judgment of the Court of Appeals has become final and executory 15 days from
that on June 4, 1991, Branch 11 of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City rendered October 5, 1995 or up to October 20, 1995, which the 120 days redemption period
judgment finding for Tan, Jr., as plaintiff therein. The dispositive portion of the commences. And noting that the redemption period has expired without Tan, Jr.
decision reads:. exercising his option, the Magdangals thus prayed that the title in the name of
Jaime C. Tan and Praxedes Tan be consolidated and confirmed in the name of the
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered: (Magdangals) x x x and pending such issuance, a writ of possession be ordered
issued (Annex C, Petition).
1. The Deed of Absolute Sale (Exhibits B, B-1) is, in accordance with the true
intention of the parties, hereby declared and reformed an equitable mortgage; In opposition to this motion (Annex F, Petition), Tan, Jr. alleged, among other
things, that until an entry of judgment has been issued by the Court of Appeals and
copy thereof furnished the parties, the appealed decision of the court a quo in this
2. The plaintiff is ordered to pay the defendants within 120 days after the finality
case cannot be considered final and executory. Pressing the point, Tan, Jr.,
of this decision P59,200 plus interest at the rate of 12% per annum from May 2,
citing Cueto vs. Collantes, infra., would then assert that the period of redemption
1988, the date the complaint was filed, until paid;
on his part commenced to run from receipt of entry of judgment in CA-G.R. CV No.
33657.
3. In order to avoid multiplicity of suits and to fully give effect to the true intention
of the parties, upon the payment of the aforesaid amount, TCT No. T-134470 in the
Meanwhile, Tan, Jr. via a motion for execution dated March 27, 1996, which he
name of defendants Jose Magdangal andEstrella Magdangal (Exh. 13) and shall be
filed directly with this court, prayed this court to direct the court a quo to
deemed canceled and null and void and TCT No. T-72067 in the name of Jaime C.
issue the corresponding writ of execution in Civil Case No. 19049-88. In a related
Tan and Praxedes Valles Tan (Exh. A) be reinstated.
move, Tan, Jr. filed on April 16, 1996, a MANIFESTATION AND MOTION therein
advising the court a quo of his intention to redeem the property in question and of
No pronouncement as to costs. the fact that, on such date, he has deposited with its clerk of court the repurchase
price, plus interest, as required by its original decision. By way of relief, Tan, Jr.
SO ORDERED. (Annex B, Petition; Emphasis added). prayed that the Magdangals be ordered to claim the amount thus deposited and
the Register of Deeds of Davao City, to reinstate the title of Jaime Tan
and Praxedes Tan.
Jointly acting on the aforementioned MOTION FOR CONSOLIDATION AND WRIT OF II. Appeal not certiorari was the appropriate remedy of private
POSSESSION of the Magdangals (Annex C, Petition), MANIFESTATION AND MOTION respondents as there was no grave abuse of discretion as
of Tan, Jr. (Annex I, Petition), the court a quo presided by the respondent judge, to amount to lack of or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the trial
came out with the first challenged order of June 10, 1996 (Annex N, judge.Neither is delay in resolving the main case a ground for giving
Petition), dispositively reading, as follows: due course to the petition.

III. Cueto vs. Collantes, 97 Phil. 325, was disregarded by the Court of
WHEREFORE, x x x the Motion for Consolidation and a Writ of Possession is hereby Appeals in resolving the petition of private respondents. It is still
DENIED for lack of merit. good case law and was in effect made a part of section 2 of Rule 68
of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure on Foreclosure of Mortgage.
The deposit of the amount of P116,032.00 made by plaintiff with the Office of the
Clerk of Court x x x on April 17, 1996 is hereby considered full payment of the IV. The St. Dominic vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 138 SCRA 242 case
redemption price and the Clerk of Court is hereby ordered to deliver said amount is not applicable to the case at bar; on the other hand the
to herein defendants. ruling in Gutierrez Hermanos vs. de La Riva, 46 Phil. 827, applies.

V. Equity considerations justify giving due course to this


The Register of Deeds of Davao City x x x is hereby directed to cancel TCT No. T- [4]
petition. (emphasis ours)
134470 in the name of Jose Magdangal and Estrella Magdangal and, thereafter, to
reinstate TCT No. 72067 in the name of Jaime C. Tan and Praxedes Valles Tan and We will immediately resolve the key issue of what rule should govern the
to submit her compliance thereto within ten (10) days from receipt of this Order. finality of judgment favorably obtained in the trial court by the petitioner.

The operative facts show that in its Decision of June 4, 1991, the trial court
SO ORDERED. held that: (1) the contract between the parties is not an absolute sale but an
equitable mortgage; and (2) petitioner Tan should pay to the
Explaining her action, the respondent judge wrote in the same order: respondents Magdangal within 120 days after the finality of this
decision P59,200.00 plus interest at the rate of 12% per annum from May 2, 1988,
[5]
Following the ruling of the Supreme Court in Cueto vs. Collantes, et al., 97 Phil. 325, the date the complaint was filed, until paid.
the 120 days period for plaintiff to pay the amount of P59,200.00 plus interest On September 28, 1995 in CA-G.R. CV No. 33657, the Special Third Division of
x x x should be reckoned from the date of Entry of Judgment x x x which was March the Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court in toto. Both parties
13, 1996. The plaintiff made a deposit on April 17, 1996 well within the 120-day received the decision of the appellate court on October 5, 1995. On March 13,
period mandated by the decision of this Court. 1996, the clerk of court of the appellate court entered in the Book of Entries
of Judgement the decision in CA-G.R. CV No. 33657 and issued the corresponding
In due time, the Magdangals moved for a reconsideration. However, in her next Entry of Judgment which, on its face, stated that the said decision has on October
[6]
assailed order of July 24, 1996 (Annex R, Petition), the respondent judge denied the 21, 1995 become final and executory.
[3]
motion for being pro-forma and fatally defective.
The respondents Magdangal filed in the trial court a Motion for Consolidation
[7]
and Writ of Possession. They alleged that the 120-day period of redemption of the
Petitioner assails the aforequoted Decision as follows: petitioner has expired.They reckoned that the said period began 15 days
I. Petitioners right to due process was violated when the Court of after October 5, 1995, the date when the finality of the judgment of the trial court
Appeals rendered a judgment on the merits of private respondents as affirmed by the appellate court commenced to run.
petition without granting to petitioner the opportunity to On the other hand, petitioner filed on March 27, 1996 a motion for execution
controvert the same. in the appellate court praying that it direct the court a quo to issue the
[8]
corresponding writ of execution in Civil Case No. 19049-88. On April 17, 1996,
petitioner deposited with the clerk of court the repurchase price of the lot plus the 90-day period fixed in the original decision and, therefore, defendants should
interest as ordered by the decision. execute the deed of reconveyance required in said decision. Appellants contend
that, the final judgment of the Court of Appeals having been entered on July 8,
On June 10, 1996, the trial court allowed the petitioner to redeem the lot in 1953, the 90-day period for the exercise of the right of redemption has
question. It ruled that the 120-day redemption period should be reckoned from the long expired, it appearing that plaintiff deposited the redemption money with the
[9]
date of Entry of Judgment in the appellate court or from March 13, 1996. The clerk of court only on October 17, 1953, or, after the expiration of 101
redemption price was deposited on April 17, 1996. As aforestated, the Court of days. Appellee brands this computation as erroneous, or one not in accordance
Appeals set aside the ruling of the trial court. with the procedure prescribed by the rules of court.
From 1991-1996, the years relevant to the case at bar, the rule that governs
finality of judgment is Rule 51 of the Revised Rules of Court. Its sections 10 and 11 Appellees contention should be sustained. The original decision provides
provide: that appellee may exercise his right of redemption within the period of 90 days
from the date the judgment has become final. It should be noted that appellee had
SEC. 10. Entry of judgments and final resolutions. If no appeal or motion for new appealed from this decision. This decision was affirmed by the court of appeals and
trial or reconsideration is filed within the time provided in these Rules, the final judgment was entered on July 8, 1953. Does this mean that the judgment
judgment or final resolution shall forthwith be entered by the clerk in the book of became final on that date?
entries of judgments. The date when the judgment or final resolution
becomes executory shall be deemed as the date of its entry. The record shall Let us make a little digression for purposes of clarification. Once a decision is
contain the dispositive part of the judgment or final resolution and shall be signed rendered by the Court of Appeals a party may appeal therefrom by certiorari by
by the clerk, with a certificate that such judgment or final resolution has become filing with the Supreme Court a petition within 10 days from the date of entry of
final and executory. (2a, R36) such decision (Section 1, Rule 46). The entry of judgment is made after it has
become final, i.e., upon the expiration of 15 days after notice thereof to the parties
SEC. 11. Execution of judgment. Except where the judgment or final order or (Section 8, Rule 53, as modified by a resolution of the Supreme Court dated
resolution, or a portion thereof, is ordered to be immediately executory, the October 1, 1945). But, as Chief Justice Moran has said, such finality *** is subject to
motion for its execution may only be filed in the proper court after its entry. the aggrieved partys right of filing a petition for certiorari under this section, which
means that the Court of Appeals shall remand the case to the lower court for the
execution of its judgment, only after the expiration of ten (10) days from the date
In original actions in the Court of Appeals, its writ of execution shall be of such judgment, if no petition for certiorari is filed within that period. (1 Moran,
accompanied by a certified true copy of the entry of judgment or final resolution
Comments on the Rules of Court, 1952 ed., p. 950) It would therefore appear that
and addressed to any appropriate officer for its enforcement. the date of entry of judgment of the Court of Appeals is suspended when a
In appealed cases, where the motion for execution pending appeal is filed in petition for review is filed to await the final entry of the resolution or decision of
the Court of Appeals at a time that it is in possession of the original record or the the Supreme Court.
record on appeal, the resolution granting such motion shall be transmitted to the
lower court from which the case originated, together with a certified true copy of Since in the present case appellee has filed a petition for review within
the judgment or final order to be executed, with a directive for such court of origin the reglementary period, which was dismissed by resolution of July 6, 1953, and for
to issue the proper writ for its enforcement. lack of a motion for reconsideration the entry of final judgment was made on
August 7, 1953, it follows that the 90-day period within which appellee may
This rule has been interpreted by this Court in Cueto vs. Collantes as exercise his right of redemption should be counted from said date, August 7,
[10]
follows: 1953. And appelleehaving exercised such right on October 17, 1953 by depositing
the redemption money with the clerk of court, it is likewise clear that the motion
The only error assigned by appellants refer to the finding of the lower court that be filed for the exercise of such right is well taken and is within the purview of the
[11]
plaintiff can still exercise his right of redemption notwithstanding the expiration of decision of the lower court.
On April 18, 1994, this Court issued Circular No. 24-94, viz: April 18, 1994.

TO: COURT OF APPEALS, SANDIGANBAYAN, COURT OF TAX APPEALS,


REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS, METROPOLITAN TRIAL COURTS, (Sgd.) ANDRES R. NARVASA
MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS, MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURTS,
AND ALL MEMBERS OF THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES Chief Justice

SUBJECT: RESOLUTION OF THE COURT EN BANC APPROVING AND


The Circular took effect on June 1, 1994.
PROMULGATING THE REVISED PROVISION ON EXECUTION OF
JUDGMENTS, SPECIFICALLY IN APPEALED CASES, AND AMENDING
SECTION 1, RULE 39 OF THE RULES OF COURT The 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, however, amended the rule on
finality of judgment by providing in section 1, Rule 39 as follows:
It appears that in a number of instances, the execution of judgments in appealed
cases cannot be promptly enforced because of undue administrative delay in the Section 1. Execution upon judgments or final orders. Execution shall issue as a
remand of the records to the court of origin, aggravated at times by misplacement matter of right, on motion, upon a judgment or order that disposes of the action or
or misdelivery of said records. The Supreme Court Committee on the Revision of proceeding upon the expiration of the period to appeal therefrom if no appeal has
the Rules of Court has drafted proposals including a provision which can remedy been duly perfected. (1a)
the procedural impasse created by said contingencies.
If the appeal has been duly perfected and finally resolved, the execution may
Accordingly, pending approval by the Court of the revised rules on Civil Procedure, forthwith be applied for in the court of origin, on motion of the judgment obligee,
and to provide a solution to the aforestated problems, the Court Resolved to submitting therewith certified true copies of the judgment or judgments or final
approve and promulgate the following section thereof on execution of judgments, order or orders sought to be enforced and of the entry thereof, with notice to the
amending Section 1, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court: adverse party.

Section 1. Execution upon judgments or final orders. Execution shall issue as a The appellate court may, on motion in the same case, when the interest of justice
matter of right, on motion, upon a judgment or order that disposes of the action or so requires, direct the court of origin to issue the writ of execution.
proceeding upon expiration of the period to appeal therefrom if no appeal has
been duly perfected. The rationale of the new rule is explained by retired Justice F.D. Regalado as
[12]
follows:
If the appeal has been duly perfected and finally resolved, such execution may
forthwith be applied for in the lower court from which the action originated, on 1. The term final order is used in two senses depending on whether it is used on
motion of the judgment obligee, submitting therewith certified true copies of the the issue of appealability or on the issue of binding effect. For purposes of appeal,
judgment or judgments or the final order or orders sought to be enforced and of an order is final if it disposes of the action, as distinguished from an interlocutory
the entry thereof, with notice to the adverse party. order which leaves something to be done in the trial court with respect to the
merits of the case (De la Cruz, et al. vs. Paras, et al., L-41053, Feb. 27, 1976). For
The appellate court may, on motion in the same case, when the interest of justice purposes of binding effect or whether it can be subject of execution, an order is
so requires, direct the court of origin to issue the writ of execution. final or executory after the lapse of the reglementary period to appeal and no
appeal has been perfected (see Perez, et al. vs.Zulueta, L-10374, Sept. 30,
1959; cf. Denso [Phil.], Inc. vs. IAC, et al., G.R. No. 75000, Feb. 27, 1987; Montilla vs.
This resolution shall be published in two (2) newspapers of general circulation and
CA, et al., L-47968, May 9, 1988).
shall take effect on June 1, 1994.
2. On the aspect of appealability, these revised Rules use the adjective final with The third paragraph of this section, likewise a new provision, is due to the
respect to orders and resolutions, since to terminate a case the trial courts issue experience of the appellate courts wherein the trial court, for reasons of its own or
orders while the appellate courts and most of the quasi-judicial agencies issue other unjustifiable circumstances, unduly delays or unreasonably refuses to act on
resolutions. Judgments are not so qualified since the use of the so-called the motion for execution or issue the writ therefor. On motion in the same case
interlocutory judgments is not favored in this jurisdiction, while the categorization while the records are still with the appellate court, or even after the same have
of an order or a resolution for purposes of denoting that it is appealable is to been remanded to the lower court, the appellate court can direct the issuance of
distinguish them from interlocutory orders or resolutions. However, by force of the writ of execution since such act is merely in the enforcement of its judgment
extended usage the phrase final and executory judgment is sometimes used and and which it has the power to require.
tolerated, although the use of executory alone would suffice. These observations
also apply to the several and separate judgments contemplated in Rule 36, or It is evident that if we apply the old rule on finality of judgment, petitioner
partial judgments which totally dispose of a particular claim or severable part of redeemed the subject property within the 120-day period of redemption reckoned
the case, subject to the power of the court to suspend or defer action on an appeal from the appellate courts entry of judgment. The appellate court, however, did not
from or further proceedings in such special judgment, or as provided by Rule 35 on apply the old rule but the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. In fine, it applied
the matter of partial summary judgments which are not considered the new rule retroactively and we hold that given the facts of the case at bar this is
as appealable (see Sec. 4, Rule 35 and the explanation therein). an error.

The second paragraph of this section is an innovation in response to complaints There is no dispute that rules of procedure can be given retroactive
over the delay caused by the former procedure in obtaining a writ of execution of a effect. This general rule, however, has well-delineated exceptions. We
[13]
judgment, which has already been affirmed on appeal, with notice to the quote author Agpalo:
parties. As things then stood, after the entry of judgment in the appellate court,
the prevailing party had to wait for the records of the case to be remanded to the 9.17. Procedural laws.
court of origin when and where he could then move for the issuance of a writ of
execution. The intervening time could sometimes be substantial, especially if the Procedural laws are adjective laws which prescribe rules and forms of procedure of
court a quo is in a remote province, and could also be availed of by the losing party enforcing rights or obtaining redress for their invasion; they refer to rules of
to delay or thwart actual execution. procedure by which courts applying laws of all kinds can properly administer
justice. They include rules of pleadings, practice and evidence. As applied to
On these considerations, the Supreme Court issued Circular No. 24-94, criminal law, they provide or regulate the steps by which one who commits a crime
dated April 18, 1994, approving and promulgating in advance this amended Section is to be punished.
1 of Rule 39 and declaring the same effective as ofJune 1, 1994.
The general rule that statutes are prospective and not retroactive does not
Under the present procedure, the prevailing party can secure certified true copies ordinarily apply to procedural laws. It has been held that a retroactive law, in a
of the judgment or final order of the appellate court and the entry thereof, and legal sense, is one which takes away or impairs vested rights acquired under laws,
submit the same to the court of origin with and to justify his motion for a writ of or creates a new obligation and imposes a new duty, or attaches a new disability, in
execution, without waiting for its receipt of the records from the appellate respect of transactions or considerations already past. Hence, remedial statutes or
court. That motion must be with notice to the adverse party, with a hearing when statutes relating to remedies or modes of procedure, which do not create new or
the circumstances so require, to enable him to file any objection thereto or bring to take away vested rights, but only operate in furtherance of the remedy or
the attention of said court matters which may have transpired during confirmation of rights already existing, do not come within the legal conception of
the pendency of the appeal and which may have a bearing on the execution sought a retroactive law, or the general rule against the retroactive operation of
to enforce the judgment. statutes. The general rule against giving statutes retroactive operation whose
effect is to impair the obligations of contract or to disturb vested rights does not
prevent the application of statutes to proceedings pending at the time of their
enactment where they neither create new nor take away vested rights. A new vested rights. Under appropriate circumstances, courts may deny the retroactive
statute which deals with procedure only is presumptively applicable to all actions application of procedural laws in the event that to do so would not be feasible or
those which have accrued or are pending. would work injustice. Nor may procedural laws be applied retroactively to pending
actions if to do so would involve intricate problems of due process or impair the
Statutes regulating the procedure of the courts will be construed as applicable to independence of the courts.
actions pending and undetermined at the time of their passage. Procedural laws
are retroactive in that sense and to that extent.The fact that procedural statutes We hold that section 1, Rule 39 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Procedure
may somehow affect the litigants rights may not preclude their retroactive should not be given retroactive effect in this case as it would result in great
application to pending actions. The retroactive application of procedural laws is injustice to the petitioner.Undoubtedly, petitioner has the right to redeem the
not violative of any right of a person who may feel that he is adversely subject lot and this right is a substantive right. Petitioner followed the procedural
affected. Nor is the retroactive application of procedural statutes constitutionally rule then existing as well as the decisions of this Court governing the reckoning
objectionable. The reason is that as a general rule no vested right may attach to, date of the period of redemption when he redeemed the subject lot. Unfortunately
nor arise from, procedural laws. It has been held that a person has no vested right for petitioner, the rule was changed by the 1997 Revised Rules of Procedurewhich
in any particular remedy, and a litigant cannot insist on the application to the trial if applied retroactively would result in his losing the right to redeem the subject
of his case, whether civil or criminal, of any other than the existing rules of lot. It is difficult to reconcile the retroactive application of this procedural rule with
procedure. the rule of fairness.Petitioner cannot be penalized with the loss of the subject lot
when he faithfully followed the laws and the rule on the period of redemption
Thus, the provision of Batas Bilang 129 in Section 39 thereof prescribing that no when he made the redemption. The subject lot may only be 34,829 square meters
record on appeal shall be required to take an appeal is procedural in nature and but as petitioner claims, it is the only property left behind by their
[14]
should therefore be applied retroactively to pending actions. Hence, the question father, a private law practitioner who was felled by an assassins bullet.
as to whether an appeal from an adverse judgment should be dismissed for failure Petitioner fought to recover this lot from 1988. To lose it because of a change
of appellant to file a record on appeal within thirty days as required under the old of procedure on the date of reckoning of the period of redemption
rules, which question is pending resolution at the time Batas Bilang 129 took effect, is inequitous. The manner of exercising the right cannot be changed and the
became academic upon the effectivity of said law because the law no longer change applied retroactively if to do so will defeat the right of redemption of the
requires the filing of a record on appeal and its retroactive application removed the petitioner which is already vested.
legal obstacle to giving due course to the appeal. A statute which transfers the
jurisdiction to try certain cases from a court to a quasi-judicial tribunal is a remedial IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 15,
statute that is applicable to claims that accrued before its enactment but 1998 and its Resolution dated November 9, 1998 in CA-G.R. SP-41738 are annulled
formulated and filed after it took effect, for it does not create new nor take away and set aside. The Orders dated June 10, 1996 and July 24, 1996 of the RTC
th
vested rights. The court that has jurisdiction over a claim at the time it accrued of Davao City, 11 Judicial Region, Branch 11, in Civil Case No. 19049-88 are
cannot validly try the claim where at the time the claim is formulated and filed the reinstated. No costs.
jurisdiction to try it has been transferred by law to a quasi-judicial tribunal, for even
actions pending in one court may be validly taken away and transferred to another SO ORDERED.
and no litigant can acquire a vested right to be heard by one particular court. Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Kapunan, Pardo and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.

9.18. Exceptions to the rule.

The rule that procedural laws are applicable to pending actions or proceedings
admits certain exceptions. The rule does not apply where the statute itself
expressly or by necessary implication provides that pending actions are excepted
from its operation, or where to apply it to pending proceedings would impair