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NORTHERN ISLANDS, CO., INC.

VS SPOUSES GARCIA
G.R. No. 203240, MARCH 18, 2015

DOCTRINE: In view of the nature of a preliminary attachment, the attachment itself cannot be the subject of
a separate action independent of the principal action because the attachment was only an incident of such
action.
It is an auxiliary remedy and cannot have an independent existence apart from the main suit or claim
instituted by the plaintiff against the defendant.isi Being merely ancillary to a principal proceeding, the
attachment must fail if the suit itself cannot be maintained as the purpose of the writ can no longer be
justified.

FACTS:
Petitioner Northern Islands filed a complaint with application for a writ of preliminary attachment before
the RTC against respondents Garcia which was subsequently amended on October 25, 2005. It alleged that
petitioner caused the delivery of various appliances to the respondent with an aggregate amount of more than Php
8M to be payable within 120 days. The goods were allegedly accepted in good order and condition by respondents’
representatives. However, despite repeated demands, respondents failed to pay and they allegedly fraudulently
asserted that petitioner had no proof that they had indeed received the quantity of the subject goods. Instead of filing
an answer, respondents filed an Urgent Motion for Extension of Time to File Proper Pleading and Motion for
Discovery asking the RTC to allow them to photocopy and personally examine the original invoices, delivery cargo
receipts, and bills of lading attached to the Amended Complaint, claiming that they could not "come up with an
intelligent answer" without being presented with the originals of such documents.
The RTC granted petitioner’s application for writ of attachment and issued the writ after the latter has
posted an attachment bond equivalent to the amount of the sum of money sought to be recovered. Thereafter,
respondents filed a Motion to Discharge Excess Attachment alleging that the attachment previously ordered by the
RTC exceeded by more than Php 9.2M as assessed by their appraiser, Lapaz. The RTC denied this motion finding
that the appraisal made by Lapaz was not reflective of the true valuation of the properties, adding too that the bond
posted by petitioner stands as sufficient security for whatever damages respondents may sustain by reason of the
attachment. Respondents filed a Motion for Reconsideration assailing the denial of their Motion to Discharge Excess
Attachment. In this relation, they prayed that the RTC refer to a commissioner, pursuant to Rule 32 of the Rules of
Court, the factual determination of the total aggregate amount of respondents' attached properties so as to ascertain if
the attachment was excessive. Also, they prayed that the order for production and inspection be modified and that
petitioner be ordered to produce the original documents anew for their inspection and copying. However, the RTC
denied the motion. Hence, the respondents elevated the matter to the CA via a petition for certiorari.
In the interim, the RTC rendered a decision in the main case; essentially dismissing the amended complaint
of the petitioner due to the absence of any evidence to prove that respondents had agreed to the pricing of the subject
goods. The petitioner timely appealed this decision to the CA. the respondent on the other hand did not file an
appeal.
Meanwhile, the CA partly granted the certiorari petition of the respondents. It held that: (a) on the issue of
attachment, trial by commissioners under Rule 32 of the Rules of Court was proper so that the parties may finally
settle their conflicting valuations; and (b) on the matter of discovery, petitioner could not be compelled to produce
the originals sought by respondents for inspection since they were not in the former's possession. Aggrieved,
petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration but the same was denied, hence, this petition.

ISSUES:
1. WON RTC had lost jurisdiction over the matter of the preliminary attachment after petitioner appealed the
decision in the Main Case, and thereafter ordered the transmittal of the records to the CA.
2. WON the CA erred in ordering the appointment of a commissioner and the subsequent discharge of any
excess attachment found by said commissioner.

RULING:
Yes, the Supreme Court held that under Section 9, Rule 41 of the Rules of Court provides that in appeals by
notice of appeal, the court loses jurisdiction over the case upon the perfection of the appeals filed in due time and the
expiration of the time to appeal of the other parties. With the RTC's loss of jurisdiction over the Main Case
necessarily comes its loss of jurisdiction all over matters merely ancillary thereto. Thus, the propriety of conducting
a trial by commissioners in order to determine the excessiveness of the subject preliminary attachment, being a mere
ancillary matter to the Main Case, is now mooted by its supervening appeal to the CA.
The consequence is that where the main action is appealed, the attachment which may have been issued as an
incident of that action is also considered appealed and so also removed from the jurisdiction of the court a quo. The
attachment itself cannot be the subject of a separate action independent of the principal action because the
attachment was only an incident of such action.
That being said, it is now unnecessary to discuss the other issues raised herein. In fine, the petition is granted
and the assailed CA rulings are set aside.