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G.R. No.

101630 August 24, 1992 Outright, We discern a procedural misconception by the Court of Appeals of its
jurisdiction over matters brought to it by way of petition for certiorari, prohibition
VICTOR DE JESUS, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, JUDGE EDDIE R. ROJAS, MTCC, Br. and mandamus from Municipal Trial Courts. Obviously, it is error to hold that decisions of
II, General Santos City, CITY PROSECUTOR FRANKLIN GACAL and SALUSTIANO Municipal Trial Courts are not directly reviewable by the Court of Appeals, and that such
SONIDO, respondents. petition should have been filed with the Regional Trial Court being "the proper and
BELLOSILLO, J.: competent tribunal."

Petitioner Victor de Jesus, then Director and Finance Officer of Southern Island Colleges, Under Sec. 9 of B.P. 129, the Court of Appeals has original jurisdiction to issue writs
together with his octogenarian stepmother, Eugenia de Jesus, who was then the of mandamus, prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus and quo warranto, whether or not in
Directress-Chairman of the Board of Directors, was charged with violation of Section 28 aid of its appellate jurisdiction. Such jurisdiction is concurrent with that of Supreme
(h) of the Social Security Law for failure to remit the SSS loan amortizations of private Court 3 and with the Regional Trial Courts, for writs enforceable within their respective
respondent Salustiano Sonido, an employee, in the amount; of P583.35 covering the regions. 4
period from January to August 1988. The Information, signed by Third Assistant City Indeed, the refusal of the Court of Appeals to take cognizance of the petition would have
Prosecutor Andres Lorenzo, Jr., was filed with the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Br. II, been proper prior to the effectivity of B.P. 129 5 when the writ of certiorari was available
General Santos City, docketed as Crim. Case No. 16886-2, presided by respondent Judge in the appellate court only in aid of its appellate jurisdiction. As explained in Breslin vs.
Eddie R. Rojas. Luzon Stevedoring Co. 6
Petitioner filed a motion to quash the Information on the ground that (a) the City A writ of mandamus, prohibition or certiorari against a lower court is said to be in aid of
Prosecutor was not authorized to file the Information in the absence of prior authority the appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals within the meaning of section 30 of
from the SSS; (b) the SSS and not the MTCC has jurisdiction over the case; (c) the criminal Republic Act No. 296, known as the Judiciary Act of 1948, and the corresponding provision
action has been extinguished by the sale of his shares in the school before the complaint of the former Organic Act of the Court of Appeals, if the latter has jurisdiction to review,
for estafa was filed against him and his stepmother; and, (d) damage as an element of by appeal or writ of error, the final orders or decisions of the former, and said writs are
estafa was not present in view of Sec. 22 (b) of the Social Security Law which guarantees issued by the Court of Appeals in the exercise of its supervisory power or jurisdiction over
enjoyment of SSS benefits by the employee notwithstanding failure of his employer to the wrongful acts or omissions of the lower court that are not appealable. But if the Court
remit deductions. of Appeals has no appellate jurisdiction it could not issue writs of mandamus, prohibition
On 27 February 1991, respondent Judge denied the motion to quash for lack of merit. 1 or certiorari in aid of an appellate jurisdiction which it does not have . . .

Petitioner challenged before the Court of Appeals by way of a petition for certiorari, Perforce, the Resolution of 31 July and 28 August 1991 must be reversed for want of basis
prohibition and mandamus the Order of respondent Judge denying his motion to quash. in law.

On 31 July 1991, the appellate court dismissed the petition holding While We are not unaware of the practice of the Court of Appeals of remanding to the
thus — proper Regional Trial Court for appropriate disposition petitions of this nature, yet, this is
done only when there is no cogent reason advanced why the appellate court should hear
We refrain from any discussion on the merits of this case since it involves an Order of a the case. Plainly, therefore, respondent Court of Appeals could still have transmitted the
Municipal Trial Court whose decisions are not directly reviewable by this Court. . . . The petition to the Regional Trial Court of General Santos City not because the former has no
instant petition should have been filed with the Regional Trial Court, the proper and jurisdiction but more of convenience and propriety as the latter court exercises
competent tribunal. 2 administrative supervision over the Municipal Trial Court as the next higher tribunal in
the judicial hierarchy, instead of the Court of Appeals. Indeed, such established practice
His motion for reconsideration having been denied by respondent Court of Appeals on 28
is not without basis. For, in Vergara, Sr. v. Suelto, 7 penned by Chief Justice Andres R.
August 1991, petitioner now comes to Us seeking inter alia to set aside the resolutions
Narvasa (then Associate Justice), this Court discussed quite extensively the concurrent
dismissing his petition.

1
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and Regional Trial Court over On the second ground, petitioner submits that it is the SSS and not the regular courts
judgments and orders of Municipal Courts — which is empowered to prosecute the alleged estafa pursuant to Sec. 5 of the Social
Security Law. This is untenable. Section 5 provides:
We turn now to the second question posed . . . as to the propriety of a direct resort to
this Court for the remedy of mandamus or other extraordinary writ against a municipal Sec. 5. Settlement of Disputes. — (a) Any dispute arising under this Act with respect to
court, instead of an attempt to initially obtain that relief from the Regional Trial Court of coverage, benefits, contributions and penalties thereon or any other matter related
the district or the Court of Appeals, both of which tribunals share this Court's jurisdiction thereto, shall be cognizable by the Commission, and any case filed with respect thereto
to issue the writ. As a matter of policy such a direct recourse to this Court should not be shall be heard by the Commission, or any of its members, or by hearing officers duly
allowed. The Supreme Court is a court of last resort, and must so remain if it is to authorized by the Commission and decided within twenty days after the submission of
satisfactorily perform the functions assigned to it by the fundamental charter and the evidence. The filing, determination and settlement of dispute shall be governed by
immemorial tradition. It cannot and should not be burdened with the task of dealing with the rules and regulations promulgated by the Commission. 9
causes in the first instance. Its original jurisdiction to issue the so-called extraordinary
writs should be exercised only where absolutely necessary or where serious and The foregoing defines the "dispute" falling within the coverage of the Social Security Law
important reasons exist therefor. Hence, that jurisdiction should generally be exercised and lays down the procedure to be followed by the SSS in any case filed before it with
relative to actions or proceedings before the Court of Appeals, or before constitutional or respect to such "dispute." Definitely, prosecution of criminal offenses is not alluded to
other tribunals, bodies or agencies whose acts for some reason or another, are not above, as this will require further legislation to clothe the SSS with the necessary
controllable by the Court of Appeals. Where the issuance of an extraordinary writ is also jurisdiction. Consequently, the SSS is not vested with legal competence to adjudicate
within the competence of the Court of Appeals or a Regional Trial Court, it is in either of criminal complaints and must necessarily seek recourse in the regular courts for the
these courts that the specific action for the writ's procurement must be presented. This prosecution of criminal actions arising from violations of the Revised Penal Code and the
is and should continue to be the policy in this regard, a policy that courts and lawyers Social Security Law. 10
must strictly observe. On the third ground, it must be stressed that criminal liability is personal to the offender
Ordinarily, the next step would be to remand this case to the Court of Appeals to resolve and cannot be transferred to another by contract. Criminal culpability attaches to the
the propriety of the denial of petitioner's motion to quash. But this is no longer necessary. offender upon the commission of the offense, and from that instant, liability appends to
Since the records are with Us, We are now in a position to settle the issue with dispatch. him until extinguished as provided by law. The time of filing of the criminal complaint is
Consequently, We opt to meet the issue right here if only to obviate further delay in this material only for determining prescription. Consequently, petitioner's reported transfer
seemingly uncomplicated case. of his shares in the Southern Island Colleges to Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Colleges did
not extinguish his criminal liability nor transfer the same to his vendee or assignee.
On the first ground raised by petitioner, Sec. 28 (i) of the Social Security Law provides:
On the fourth ground, the argument that there is no estafa for want of damage since the
(i) Criminal action arising from a violation of the provisions of this Act may be commenced employee's entitlement to SSS benefits is not impaired by his employer's neglect to remit
by the SSS or the employee concerned either under this Act or in appropriate cases under loan payments from his compensation is likewise untenable. It must be noted that
the Revised Penal Code: Provided, That such criminal action may be filed by the SSS in the petitioner was charged in connection with Sec. 28 (h) of the Social Security Law which
city or municipality where the SSS provincial or regional office is located if the violation states:
was committed within its territorial jurisdiction or in Metro Manila, at the option of the
SSS. 8 (h) Any employer who, after deducting the monthly contributions or loan amortizations
from his employee's compensation, fails to remit the said deductions to the SSS within
Clearly, prior consent of the Social Security System (SSS) is not essential before an thirty days from the date they became due shall be presumed to have misappropriated
employee can commence a criminal action arising from a violation of the Social Security such contributions or loan amortizations and shall suffer the penalties provided in Article
Law. In other words, whether under the Social Security Law or "in appropriate cases under Three Hundred Fifteen of the Revised Penal Code, 11
the Revised Penal Code," the employee can institute criminal suits independently of the
SSS. and not under Art. 315 of the Revised Penal Code, which is material only in determining
the penalty to be imposed.
2
Section 28 (h) speaks of two elements which must concur: (1) the employer deducts
monthly contributions or loan amortizations from his employee's compensation, and (2)
said employer fails to remit said deductions to the SSS within 30 days from the date they
fall due, after which the employer is ipso facto presumed to have misappropriated such
contributions or amortizations of the employee and accordingly penalized under Art. 315
of the Penal Code. Plainly, damage is not an element in the act punished under Sec. 28 (h)
as differentiated from the ordinary estafa wherein deceit and damage are considered
essential elements.

Other arguments advanced by petitioner which were not contained in his motion to quash
may not be passed upon in this extraordinary petition, for no abuse of discretion may be
ascribed to respondent Judge when he was not provided with the opportunity to rule
thereon.

WHEREFORE, as regards the Resolutions of 31 July and 28 August 1991 of respondent


Court of Appeals, the same are SET ASIDE. However, with respect to the Order of 27
February 1991 of respondent Judge, the writ prayed for is denied and the petition is
DISMISSED for lack of merit, hereby AFFIRMING his Order denying petitioner's motion to
quash. Consequently, respondent Judge is directed to proceed with the trial of Criminal
Case No. 16886-2 pending before his court.

SO ORDERED.

Cruz, Griño-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.

3
G.R. NO. 167103, August 31, 2006 Rule 9 of the Rules of Court (Rules). The Republic also asked that it be allowed to
commence presentation of its evidence ex parte.
MAJOR GENERAL CARLOS F. GARCIA, AFP (RET.), PETITIONER, VS. SANDIGANBAYAN
AND THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, RESPONDENTS. On 30 November 2004, Garcia, et al. filed their Opposition[6] to the Republic's motion in
view of the pendency before this Court of the petition in G.R. No. 165835.
RESOLUTION

TINGA, J.: On 20 January 2005, respondent Sandiganbayan issued a resolution denying the Motion
to Dismiss and granting the Republic's motion of 25 November 2004 by declaring Garcia,
The petition for forfeiture of unlawfully acquired property filed against petitioner Major et al. in default and setting the case for ex parte reception of evidence. In resolving the
General Carlos F. Garcia, his wife, and two sons (Garcia, et al.) before the Sandiganbayan motion, the Sandiganbayan settled these issues: (a) whether it has jurisdiction over
spawned two petitions for certiorari involving different questions of law. The first petition, separate civil actions for forfeiture under R.A. No. 1379, and if it has such jurisdiction,
docketed as G.R. No. 165835, questioned the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over who has authority to file the petition—whether the Solicitor General or the Office of the
petitions for forfeiture of unlawfully acquired property filed under Republic Act No. 1379 Ombudsman; (b) whether the Motion to Dismiss filed by petitioner interrupted the
(RA 1379). The first petition was decided on 22 July 2005, with the Court dismissing the running of the prescriptive period to file the answer; and (c) whether the proceedings
same and affirming the jurisdiction of the Sandiganbayan over such petitions for before it should be deferred in view of the pendency of G.R. No. 165835.
forfeiture.
Resolving the first issue, the Sandiganbayan ruled that it has jurisdiction over petitions for
This disposes of the second petition dated 2 March 2005 filed by petitioner Garcia forfeiture under R.A. No. 1379 and that the authority to file the petition for forfeiture of
assailing respondent Sandiganbayan's Resolution of 20 January 2005[1] which denied his properties unlawfully acquired after 25 February 1986 is lodged with the Office of the
Motion to Dismiss, as well as its Resolution of 3 February 2005[2] denying reconsideration Ombudsman.
thereof.
As to the second issue, the graft court held that the Motion to Dismiss suffers from a fatal
On 27 October 2004, the petition for forfeiture[3] was filed by the Ombudsman against procedural defect in that it does not comply with the mandatory provision of Sec. 5, Rule
Garcia, et al. before the Sandiganbayan. On 17 November 2004, the last day for filing an 15 of the Rules of Court on notice of hearing. Hence, the motion is a mere scrap of paper
answer, Garcia, et al. filed the aforementioned Motion to Dismiss[4] in regard to the and could not interrupt the running of the period to file an answer due to be filed not
petition for forfeiture on the ground of lack of jurisdiction of respondent Sandiganbayan later than 17 November 2004.
over special civil actions for forfeiture under RA 1379. On even date, Garcia filed before
this Court the first petition for certiorari, G.R. No. 165835, which the court dismissed as Finally, it ruled that that the mere filing by Garcia of the petition in G.R. No. 165835 would
earlier mentioned. While G.R. No. 165835 was pending before this Court, the action for not automatically warrant the deferment of the proceedings in the Sandiganbayan,
forfeiture proceeded. especially where no writ of injunction or restraining order was issued in the special civil
action for certiorari.
On 25 November 2004, the Republic filed a motion seeking: (1) to expunge the Motion to
Dismiss of Garcia, et al., (2) to declare Garcia, et al. to be in default, and (3) that judgment On 25 January 2005, Garcia, et al. filed their Motion for Reconsideration and/or to Admit
by default be rendered in favor of petitioner[5] therein (herein respondent Republic). The Attached Answer,[7] arguing that the pendency of the petition in G.R. No. 165835 had the
Republic sought to have the Motion to Dismiss expunged on the ground that the motion effect of holding in abeyance the proceedings in the forfeiture case before the
contained a defective notice of hearing that set the same for hearing three (3) days Sandiganbayan. Furthermore, the insistence of the Sandiganbayan on technicalities,
beyond the ten (10)-day period provided for under Sec. 5, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court. especially in declaring Garcia, et al. in default and allowing presentation of evidence ex
Consequently, the Republic argued, the Motion to Dismiss is a mere scrap of paper which parte, would only pre-empt this Court's action in G.R. No. 165835. They added that the
does not merit consideration and likewise does not toll the running of the period to file principle of judicial courtesy should be applied.
an answer. Hence, since Garcia, et al. failed to file an answer, they should be deemed to
have waived their right to do so and be declared in default in accordance with Section 3, The Republic filed its Opposition to the motion for reconsideration on 31 January 2005,
4
contending that (a) the motion for reconsideration is not the proper remedy to obtain requirements for a notice of hearing is due process, that is, that the adverse party must
relief from a declaration of default; (b) Garcia, et al. failed to establish any of the proper be made aware of exactly when the motion shall be submitted so as to give him an
grounds for relief from an order of default; and (c) Garcia, et al. failed to establish that opportunity to object thereto. Since the motion to dismiss was set for hearing on a
they have a meritorious defense to support their prayer that the order of default be set definite date and time, the motion complies with the principle of due process.
aside and their answer admitted.[8]
In any event, petitioner argues that since the Sandiganbayan had denied the Motion to
The Motion for Reconsideration and/or to Admit Answer was denied on 3 February 2005. Dismiss based on the merits, he had less than five (5) days only within which to file its
The Sandiganbayan ruled the principle of judicial courtesy is inapplicable to the case since answer. Since he received the summons on 2 November 2004, he had until 17 November
it applies only when the action of the lower court in the course of its proceedings will 2004 to file his answer. Petitioner filed the motion to dismiss on the last day. The assailed
result in rendering moot the very issue brought before the higher court. In the present resolution of 20 January 2005 was received the following day, 21 January 2006. Hence,
case, the continuation of the proceedings before the Sandiganbayan will not make he had until 26 January 2005 to file the answer since the motion to dismiss tolled the
academic the issue of jurisdiction raised before the Court in G.R. No. 165835. The running of the period to file the answer. The Motion for Reconsideration and/or to Admit
Sandiganbayan further noted that the issue of application of the principle of judicial Attached Answer was filed on 25 January 2005, or one (1) day before the deadline. The
courtesy to the case was triggered by petitioner's act of forum shopping when they filed answer was thus timely filed and there is no basis to hold petitioner in default, so he
the petition in G.R. No. 165835 before this Court simultaneously with the filing of the concludes. Petitioner thus prays that the Resolutions of 20 January 2005 and 3 February
Motion to Dismiss before the Sandiganbayan. In addition, the Motion for Reconsideration 2005 be set aside.
and/or to Admit Attached Answer does not comply with the requisites in Sec. 3 (b), Rule
9 of the Rules of Court which prescribes the relief from the order of default: On the other hand, respondent Republic contends that the Sandiganbayan correctly
declared petitioner in default. Considering that R.A. No. 1379 does not provide for the
Sec. 3. Default; declaration of.– x x x procedure in cases where motions are filed, respondent posits that the 1997 Rules on
Civil Procedure will apply in a suppletory character. Hence, as provided in Sections 4 and
(b) Relief from order of default. – A party declared in default may at any time after notice 5, Rule 15 of the Rules,[10] every motion must be set for hearing on a certain date and the
hereof and before judgment file a motion under oath to set aside the order of default hearing date must not be later than ten (10) days after the filing of the motion. In
upon proper showing that his failure to answer was due to fraud, accident, mistake or petitioner's Motion to Dismiss, the date and time of the hearing are set beyond the period
excusable negligence and that he has a meritorious defense. In such case, the order of specified under the Rules, clearly in contravention of the mandatory character of Sec. 5,
default may be set aside on such terms and conditions as the judge may impose in the Rule 15. The Republic also finds ludicrous petitioner's claim that since his Motion to
interest of justice. Dismiss was adjudged by the Sandiganbayan to be a mere scrap of paper and that such
According to the Sandiganbayan, the Motion for Reconsideration and/or to Admit judgment is equivalent to a denial of his Motion to Dismiss, therefore he may still file his
Attached Answer does not show the fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence that answer. Since the Motion to Dismiss is a mere scrap of paper, it is as if no pleading was
caused their failure to file an answer or that they have a meritorious defense. Moreover, filed within the reglementary period to file a responsive pleading and therefore did not
the motion contains a defective verification since it was only Garcia who verified the stop the running of the period to file his answer. It was then proper to declare petitioner
allegations in the motion when he should have been joined by the other respondents in in default. Having been declared in default, the Republic further notes, petitioner's proper
the petition for forfeiture, and Garcia's verification was based only on "knowledge and course of action would have been to file a motion to lift the order of default pursuant to
belief" and not on "personal knowledge and authentic records." [9] Sec. 3 (b), Rule 9 of the Rules instead of the Motion for Reconsideration and/or To Admit
Attached Answer. Such motion for reconsideration does not even allege that his failure to
Petitioner Garcia then filed the present Petition to set aside the Resolutions dated 20 file answer was due to fraud, accident, mistake or excusable negligence, nor was he able
January 2005 and 3 February 2005 of the Sandiganbayan. Garcia argues that the Motion to establish that he had a meritorious defense.[11]
to Dismiss was timely filed and thus tolled the running of the period to file an answer.
While petitioner does not dispute that the hearing of the motion was set beyond the ten The Republic refutes Garcia's reliance on Samartino v. Raon[12] and Tan Tiac Chiong v.
(10)-day period prescribed in the Rules, he argues that the underlying principle of the Cosico[13] to support his contention that courts have admitted responsive pleadings and
appeals which had been filed beyond the reglementary periods for filing the same. [14]
5
Samartino involved a wrongful declaration of default by the trial court, based on a to act thereon.[20] The Sandiganbayan recognized that the motion suffered from a fatal
defective service of summons; in the case at bar, Garcia never alleged wrongful service of procedural defect, declaring that "any motion that does not comply with Sec[.] 5, Rule 15
summons upon him. Samartino is an ejectment suit, an action in personam, while the of the Rules must be regarded as "a mere scrap of paper, should not be accepted for filing,
present forfeiture proceeding is an action in rem. Tan Tiac Chiong, meanwhile, has no and if filed, is not entitled to judicial cognizance and does not affect any reglementary
relevance to the case at bar, involving as it does an administrative matter against a Court period involved for the filing of the requisite pleading,'" [21] but nevertheless addressed
of Appeals Associate Justice. According to respondent, the reference to these cases only the issue of lack of jurisdiction. Error may be imputed to the Sandiganbayan in delving
makes it evident that that Garcia is seeking to overstretch the doctrine on liberal into the merits of the Motion to Dismiss since the effect of non-compliance with the
application of the rules by vainly attempting to apply by analogy the relaxation of the requisites for a valid notice of hearing is that the motion is legally non-existent, that is as
reglementary period for the filing of appeals.[15] Respondent insists that while the if it has never been filed. There is actually no motion which the court should act upon; it
dismissal of appeals based on purely technical grounds are generally frowned upon, this was nothing but a piece of paper filed with the court and presented no question which
is inapplicable to the mandatory requirements of Sec. 5, Rule 15.[16] the court could decide. But the error is plainly innocuous. Respondent court's action on
the merits of the motion to dismiss is a mere surplusage. It does not detract from or
The main issue to be resolved is whether the Sandiganbayan committed grave abuse of contradict its ruling that the motion to dismiss is a mere scrap of paper.
discretion. In turn, the resolution of the issue depends on the determination of whether
petitioner was properly declared in default. Accordingly, the Sandiganbayan's resolution dated 20 January 2005 stands and remains
in full force and effect. Thus, the filing of the Motion to Dismiss could not and did not
Garcia alleges that the Motion to Dismiss was timely filed and thus tolled the running of interrupt the running of the period to file an answer. For failing to answer within the time
the period to file an answer and invokes the principle of due process in arguing that the allowed, Garcia was properly declared in default upon motion of the Republic.
motion had substantially complied with the Rules and sufficiently notified the adverse
party of the date and time of the hearing on the motion despite the defect in the notice While Garcia immediately sought recourse via the Motion for Reconsideration and/or To
of hearing. We disagree. To make short shrift of this argument, we refer to the case of Admit Attached Answer, the contentions he raises therein—that the Sandiganbayan
Bacelonia v. Court of Appeals,[17] also cited by the Sandiganbayan, which holds that Sec. should refrain from exercising jurisdiction over the forfeiture case "out of respect for the
5, Rule 15 of the Rules uses the mandatory term "must" in fixing the period within which Supreme Court, and so as not to preempt the latter's action" in G.R. No. 165835 which
the motion shall be scheduled for hearing, so that a motion that fails to comply with this was then pending, and that the Sandiganbayan's act of declaring Garcia, et al. in default
mandatory provision is pro forma and does not merit the attention and consideration of is a play on technicalities that may only render the action of this court in G.R. No. 165835
the court.[18] In the case at bar, Garcia does not even refute the fact that the Motion to moot[22]—do not address the grounds for which he, his wife and sons were declared in
Dismiss was scheduled for hearing on 3 December 2004, or three (3) days beyond the ten default. His line of reasoning in his motion for reconsideration is directed towards the
(10)-day period in Sec. 5, Rule 15. Thus, the motion is a mere scrap of paper which does denial of the Motion to Dismiss and does not lay down the considerations for the lifting
not toll the running of the prescriptive period to file an answer and is not entitled to of the order of default. In fact, as observed by the Sandiganbayan, the motion for
judicial cognizance.[19] reconsideration fails to comply with the requirements of Sec. 3 (b), Rule 9, which is the
proper remedy to lift an order of default. It was as if Garcia considered only the denial of
Garcia then contends that since the Sandiganbayan had resolved the Motion to Dismiss his Motion to Dismiss, even attaching his answer in the mistaken belief that he had a fresh
on the merits by denying it and ruling on the issue of lack of jurisdiction, he had in fact period of five (5) days to file the responsive pleading. It seems Garcia has not taken into
been given a period of five (5) days to file the pleading. Since his Motion for account that portion of the 20 January 2005 Resolution declaring him and his co-
Reconsideration and/or to Admit Attached Answer was timely filed, he should not have respondents in the forfeiture case in default. Thus, the Sandiganbayan acted properly in
been declared in default, he adds. denying the Motion for Reconsideration and/or To Admit Answer.

The argument has no merit. The Motion to Dismiss remains defective and of no legal A final note. The Court reiterates its pronouncement in Republic of the Philippines v.
effect despite the disposition by the Sandiganbayan of the issue raised in the motion. The Sandiganbayan (First Division), et al.[23] that in cases where the Sandiganbayan's
subsequent action of the court on a defective motion does not cure the flaw, for a motion interlocutory orders are challenged before this Court, the Sandiganbayan should continue,
with a fatally defective notice is a useless scrap of paper, and the court has no authority not suspend, proceedings before it where no temporary restraining order or writ of
6
preliminary injunction is issued by this Court and there is an absence of a strong
probability that the issues raised before this Court would be rendered moot by the
continuation of the proceedings.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. The Sandiganbayan Resolutions dated 20 January


2005 and 3 February 2005 are UPHELD. Respondent Sandiganbayan is ORDERED to
resume further proceedings with deliberate dispatch in accordance with this resolution.
Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.

Panganiban, C.J., Puno, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio,


Austria-Martinez, Carpio Morales, Callejo, Sr., Azcuna, Chico-Nazario, Garcia and Velasco,
Jr., JJ., concur.
Corona, J., on leave.

7
G.R. No. L-47270, April 15, 1988 aware of any lease, except that of Angelina Bedonia, and that plaintiff had no cause of
action against him as he was not a party to the lease contract sought to be enforced by
ERNESTO DORIA, PETITIONER, VS. THE HONORABLE JUDGE ARTEMON D. LUNA, JUDGE the plaintiff. In dismissing the complaint against defendant Manuel Oximer, the court a
OF THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, BRANCH I, SILAY CITY; & quo stated:
MANUEL OXIMER, RESPONDENTS.
“x x x Unless a lease is recorded, it shall not be binding upon third persons. Considering
DECISION that when lots 368-A and 362 covered by TCT Nos. T-71274 and T-71275 were sold to
defendant Oximer on July 24, 1975, the 1st lease contract was not yet annotated at the
YAP, J.: back of the TCT'S aforesaid and it was only a month afterwards, or on August 25, 1975
In this petition for certiorari, petitioner seeks to annul the order of the Court of First that the said 1st lease contract was registered, inevitably, the said lease shall not be
Instance of Negros Occidental, Branch I, dated June 30, 1977, dismissing the amended binding upon third persons including defendant Manuel Oximer.”
complaint against defendant Manuel Oximer (herein private respondent), for specific Instead of appealing from the above order of dismissal, the petitioner has chosen to file
performance with damages, docketed as Civil Case No. 707, entitled "Ernesto Doria vs. the instant petition for certiorari. But we have time and again held that the extraordinary
Arcadia Doria, Angelina Bedonia and Manuel Oximer"; to declare that there is a valid remedy of certiorari can not be a substitute for appeal. The petitioner should have
cause of action against respondent; and to order the respondent judge to try the case on appealed the challenged order to the proper appellate court, i.e., the Court of Appeals,
the merits. where alleged errors of fact and law can be corrected.

It appears from the questioned order: 1) that the defendant Arcadia Doria owned three Accordingly, the petition is hereby dismissed for lack of merit.
(3) lots, Lots Nos. 362, 365-A and 368-A of the cadastral survey of Saravia, situated in E.
B. Magalona, Negros Occidental, covered by TCT Nos. T-4150, T-4151 and T-4152, which SO ORDERED.
she leased to plaintiff for a period of seven (7) crop years, starting with crop year 1973-
1974 up to 1979-1980 with an annual rental of P1,500.00; 2) that Arcadia Doria leased Yap Chairman, Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Padilla, and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.
the same lots to Angelina Bedonia on January 10, 1973, for a term of four (4) agricultural
years, covering crop years 1973 to January 1976 with an annual rental of P9,000.00, of
which a downpayment of P6,000.00 was made upon the execution of the contract, and
by virtue of which lease contract Angelina Bedonia took possession of the property; (3)
that on July 24, 1975, Arcadia Doria sold the property in question to defendant Manuel
Oximer (herein private respondent) for P67,500.00, the receipt of which was
acknowledged by Doria, and on condition that vendee would take possession of the
property only after the expiration of the lease contract with Angelina Bedonia; 4) that on
August 25, 1975, plaintiff had his lease contract annotated at the back of the certificates
of title covering the lots in question; 5) that on November 26, 1976 defendant Manuel
Oximer registered the deed of sale in his favor, by virtue of which new transfer certificates
of title were issued in his name, which carried the annotations of plaintiff's lease contract
appearing in the cancelled certificates of title; 6) that on September 25, 1975, plaintiff
filed his complaint against defendant Arcadia Doria for specific performance with
damages, which he amended on November 17, 1976 to include Angelina Bedonia and
Manuel Oximer as defendants; 7) that defendant Arcadia Doria in her answer alleged that
her non-delivery of the leased property to plaintiff was due to the latter's failure to pay
the lease rental agreed upon; that defendant Manuel Oximer on his part maintained that
he bought the properties in good faith and for valuable consideration without being
8
G.R. No. L-44980, February 06, 1990 On said date, petitioner appeared without counsel prompting private respondents,
through their counsel, to move for the dismissal of the case for petitioner's alleged
VIRGINIA MARAHAY, PETITIONER, VS. HON. MENELEO C. MELICOR, AS PRESIDING inability to prosecute her case and for apparent lack of interest.[7]
JUDGE, COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE, BRANCH VI, CARIGARA, LEYTE; ALIWANAG B.
VALLERAMOS, LIGAYA BRAZIL Y PEREZ, FRUTO BRAZIL, MATIBAY BRAZIL Y PALADIN The motion to dismiss, which was made orally in open court, was submitted for resolution
AND DALISAY BRAZIL Y AYASO, RESPONDENTS. by the trial court. As earlier stated, the court below in its order dated February 27, 1976,
dismissed the complaint. Two motions for reconsideration were filed by petitioner but
DECISION the same were denied by respondent judge, hence, the present special civil action.

REGALADO, J.: The sole issue is whether or not respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in ordering the dismissal of the case and,
In this petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, petitioner imputes grave consequently, denying petitioner the right to fully prosecute her case.
abuse of discretion on the part of respondent judge for issuing an order, dated February
27, 1976, in Civil Case No. C-1222, entitled "Virginia Marahay vs. Aliwanag B. Valleramos Before resolving said issue, it would be judicious to first clear the air of any misconception
et. al.," dismissing the complaint; an order, issued on June 26, 1976, denying the motion as to the procedural propriety of giving due course to this petition. An order of dismissal,
for reconsideration filed by therein plaintiff; and an order, dated September 18, 1976, whether right or wrong, is a final order. If it is erroneous, ordinarily the remedy of the
denying her second motion for reconsideration. aggrieved party is appeal, hence the same cannot be assailed by certiorari.[8]

The records show that on June 20, 1974, petitioner filed with respondent court an action Nevertheless, in the broader interests of justice, this Court has given due course to the
for recovery of real property against Aliwanag B. Valleramos. Later, the complaint was present petition in consideration of the fact that this is not the first time we have passed
amended to implead and include other defendants, the other private respondents herein, upon a petition for certiorari, although the proper remedy is appeal,[9] where the equities
as indispensable parties.[1] warrant such extraordinary recourse. This is especially true where, as in the case,
petitioner's affidavit of merits shows that she has a good cause of action, that her
After the issues were joined, the case was set for pre-trial on August 9, 1974, but this was counsel's affidavit of merits avers justifiable reasons for his non-appearance at said
deferred to a later date due to the absence of petitioner and her counsel. [2] On April 4, hearing, and the trial court is faulted with gravely abusing its discretion to the extent of
1975, the same case was again scheduled for pre-trial but the same did not proceed due denying due process to therein plaintiff. Significantly, it was respondent judge himself
to the fact that petitioner appeared without her counsel while only one of the defendants who advised petitioner to avail of said remedy in his order dismissing petitioner's second
appeared with counsel.[3] Later, informed of her lawyer's inability to attend the pre-trial, motion for reconsideration,[10] obviously because appeal would not be a speedy and
petitioner secured the services of another lawyer, Atty. Dominador Monjardin, who was adequate remedy under the circumstances and considering that dismissals on
present at the next pre-trial conference held on October 9, 1975. technicalities are viewed with disapproval.
Trial on the merits commenced on November 13, 1975 with the petitioner taking the Turning now to the main issue, petitioner asseverates that respondent judge acted
witness stand on direct examination.[4] The defense failed to cross-examine her since the capriciously in denying her day in court by not postponing the continuation of the trial to
proceedings were cut short for lack of time and the continuation thereof was set for some future time and giving her an opportunity to secure the services of another lawyer.
January 19, 1976. Parenthetically, it is of record that petitioner is an invalid and moves around in a wheel
On January 7, 1976, Atty. Monjardin filed a motion for postponement for the reason that chair.
he was taking the examination for government prosecutors in Manila on January 15, 1976, The petition has the imprint of merit and the writ will lie.
with a prayer that the case be reset either in the first week of January or the second week
of February of said year.[5] The court eventually issued an order resetting the trial to Section 3, Rule 17 of the Rules of Court provides that —
February 18, 1976 with notice to petitioner and her counsel.[6]
"If plaintiff fails to appear at the time of the trial, or to prosecute his action for an
unreasonable length of time, or to comply with these rules or any order of the court, the

9
action may be dismissed upon motion of the defendant or upon the court's own motion. Indeed, after the issues had been duly joined, a plaintiff is entitled to present his case.
This dismissal shall have the effect of an adjudication on the merits, unless otherwise Seldom does departure from orderly procedure bring satisfactory results.[14]
provided by the court."
While a court can dismiss a case on the ground of non prosequitur, the real test for the
It is, therefore, the absence of the plaintiff, and not the absence of the lawyer, which may exercise of such power is whether, under the circumstances, plaintiff is chargeable with
warrant the dismissal of the case on the ground of non-suit.[11] In the case at bar, only the want of due diligence in failing to proceed with reasonable promptitude.[15] In the absence
counsel for plaintiff was absent, plaintiff herself being in attendance in court. of a pattern or scheme to delay the disposition of the case or a wanton failure to observe
the mandatory requirement of the rules on the part of the plaintiff, as in the case at bar,
While the aforequoted provision also provides sanctions for failure to prosecute for an courts should decide to dispense with rather than wield their authority to dismiss.
unreasonable length of time, despite the presence of the interested parties, it cannot be
said that such neglect or failing obtains in the present case. There is failure to prosecute Further, when a party, without malice, fault, or inexcusable negligence, is not really
when the plaintiff, being present, is not ready or is unwilling to proceed with the prepared for trial, the court would be abusing its discretion if a reasonable opportunity is
scheduled trial.[12] In the instant case, petitioner did not in the least manifest denied him for preparing therefore and for obtaining due process of law.[16]
unwillingness to proceed with the hearing. Upon the call for appearances, petitioner
responded that her counsel was in Manila and that he had not yet returned. Unschooled Time and again, we have emphasized that the rules should be liberally construed in order
as she is in the vagaries of procedural law, petitioner indeed could not have responded to promote their object and assist the parties in obtaining not only speedy but, more
otherwise nor done any better. importantly, just and inexpensive determination of every action or proceeding.[17]

Considering all the attendant circumstances, the least that the trial court could have done ACCORDINGLY, the writ of certiorari is hereby granted and the order of the court a quo
was to afford petitioner a reasonable time, especially considering her handicap, to of February 27, 1976 dismissing petitioner's complaint, as well as its orders dated June 26,
procure the services of another lawyer and, if necessary, with a stern warning that any 1976 and September 18, 1976 denying petitioner's first and second motions for
further postponement of the trial shall cause the dismissal of the case. reconsideration, respectively, are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. Civil Case No. C-1222
is hereby REINSTATED and the Regional Trial Court which replaced Branch VI of the
The counter-argument that petitioner had already moved for postponements in the past defunct Court of First Instance and/or in which this action is now pending is DIRECTED to
should take into account the fact that the circumstances thereof were not of her making continue with the trial of petitioner's action and decide the same on the merits in due
nor intended to be dilatory and that no substantial prejudice has been caused private course.
respondents. Besides, judgments of non-suit are generally disfavored in the same manner
that default judgments are discouraged. Thus, in Padua vs. Ericta, etc., et al.,[13] we had SO ORDERED.
the occasion to rule that: Melencio-Herrera, (Chairman), Paras, Padilla, and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.
"Courts should not brook undue delays in the ventilation and determination of causes. It
should be their constant effort to ensure that litigations are prosecuted and resolved with
dispatch. Postponements of trials and hearings should not be allowed except on
meritorious grounds; and the grant or refusal thereof rests entirely in the sound discretion
of the Judge. It goes without saying, however, that discretion must be reasonably and
wisely exercised, in the light of the attendant circumstances. Some reasonable deferment
of the proceedings may be allowed or tolerated to the end that cases may be adjudged
only after full and free presentation of evidence by all the parties, especially where the
deferment would cause no substantial prejudice to any party. The desideratum of a
speedy disposition of cases should not, if at all possible, result in the precipitate loss of a
party's right to present evidence and either in the plaintiff's being non-suited or of the
defendant's being pronounced liable under an ex-parte judgment."

10
G.R. No. L-44980 February 6, 1990 of February of said year. 5 The court eventually issued an order resetting the trial to
February 18, 1976 with notice to petitioner and her counsel. 6
VIRGINIA MARAHAY, petitioner,
vs. On said date, petitioner appeared without counsel prompting private respondents,
HON. MENELEO C. MELICOR, as Presiding Judge, Court of First Instance, Branch VI, through their counsel, to move for the dismissal of the case for petitioner's alleged
Carigara, Leyte; ALIWANAG B. VALLERAMOS, LIGAYA BRAZIL y PEREZ, FRUTO BRAZIL, inability to prosecute her case and for apparent lack of interest. 7
MATIBAY BRAZIL Y PALADIN and DALISAY BRAZIL Y AYASO, respondents.
The motion to dismiss, which was made orally in open court, was submitted for resolution
Buenaventura A. Reposar for petitioner. by the trial court. As earlier stated, the court below in its order dated February 27, 1976,
dismissed the complaint. Two motions for reconsideration were filed by petitioner but
Wenceslao Yu for respondents.\ the same were denied by respondent judge, hence, the present special civil action.

The sole issue is whether or not respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion
REGALADO, J.: amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in ordering the dismissal of the case and,
consequently, denying petitioner the right to fully prosecute her case.
In this petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, petitioner imputes grave
abuse of discretion on the part of respondent judge for issuing an order, dated February Before resolving said issue, it would be judicious to first clear the air of any misconception
27, 1976, in Civil Case No. C-1222, entitled "Virginia Marahay vs. Aliwanag B. Valleramos as to the procedural propriety of giving due course to this petition. An order of dismissal,
et. al.," dismissing the complaint; an order, issued on June 26, 1976, denying the motion whether right or wrong, is a final order. If it is erroneous, ordinarily the remedy of the
for reconsideration filed by therein plaintiff, and an order, dated September 18, 1976, aggrieved party is appeal, hence the same cannot be assailed by certiorari. 8
denying her second motion for reconsideration. Nevertheless, in the broader interests of justice, this Court has given due course to the
The records show that on June 20, 1974, petitioner filed with respondent court an action present petition in consideration of the fact that this is not the first time we have passed
for recovery of real property against Aliwanag B. Valleramos. Later, the complaint was upon a petition for certiorari, although the proper remedy is appeal, 9 where the equities
amended to implead and include other defendants, the other private respondents herein, warrant such extraordinary recourse. This is especially true where, as in the case,
as indispensable parties. 1 petitioner's affidavit of merits shows that she has a good cause of action, that her
counsel's affidavit of merits avers justifiable reasons for his non-appearance at said
After the issues were joined, the case was set for pre-trial on August 9,1974, but this was hearing, and the trial court is faulted with gravely abusing its discretion to the extent of
deferred to a later date due to the absence of petitioner and her counsel. 2 On April 4, denying due process to therein plaintiff. Significantly, it was respondent judge himself
1975, the same case was again scheduled for pre-trial but the same did not proceed due who advised petitioner to avail of said remedy in his order dismissing petitioner's second
to the fact that petitioner appeared without her counsel while only one of the defendants motion for reconsideration, 10 obviously because appeal would not be a speedy and
appeared with counsel. 3 Later, informed of her lawyer's inability to attend the pre-trial, adequate remedy under the circumstances and considering that dismissals on
petitioner secured the services of another lawyer, Atty. Dominador Monjardin, who was technicalities are viewed with disapproval.
present at the next pre-trial conference held on October 9, 1975.
Turning now to the main issue, petitioner asseverates that respondent-judge acted
Trial on the merits commenced on November 13, 1975 with the petitioner taking the capriciously in denying her day in court by not postponing the continuation of the trial to
witness stand on direct examination. 4 The defense failed to cross-examine her since the some future time and giving her an opportunity to secure the services of another lawyer.
proceedings were cut short for lack of time and the continuation thereof was set for Parenthetically, it is of record that petitioner is an invalid and moves around in a wheel
January 19, 1976. chair.

On January 7, 1976, Atty. Monjardin filed a motion for postponement for the reason that The petition has the imprint of merit and the writ will lie.
he was taking the examination for government prosecutors in Manila on January 15, 1976,
with a prayer that the case be reset either in the first week of January or the second week Section 3, Rule 17 of the Rules of Court provides that —

11
If plaintiff fails to appear at the time of the trial, or to prosecute his action for an party's right to present evidence and either in the plaintiffs being non-suited or of the
unreasonable length of time, or to comply with these rules or any order of the court, the defendant's being pronounced liable under an ex-parte judgment.
action may be dismissed upon motion of the defendant or upon the court's own motion.
This dismissal shall have the effect of an adjudication on the merits, unless otherwise Indeed, after the issues had been duly joined, a plaintiff is entitled to present his case.
provided by the court. Seldom does departure from orderly procedure bring satisfactory results. 14

It is, therefore, the absence of the plaintiff, and not the absence of the lawyer, which may While a court can dismiss a case on the ground of non prosequitur, the real test for the
warrant the dismissal of the case on the ground of non-suit. 11 In the case at bar, only the exercise of such power is whether, under the circumstances, plaintiff is chargeable with
counsel for plaintiff was absent, plaintiff herself being in attendance in court. want of due diligence in failing to proceed with reasonable promptitude. 15 In the absence
of a pattern or scheme to delay the disposition of the case or a wanton failure to observe
While the aforequoted provision also provides sanctions for failure to prosecute for an the mandatory requirement of the rules on the part of the plaintiff, as in the case at bar,
unreasonable length of time, despite the presence of the interested parties, it cannot be courts should decide to dispense with rather than wield their authority to dismiss.
said that such neglect or failing obtains in the present case. There is failure to prosecute
when the plaintiff, being present, is not ready or is unwilling to proceed with the Further, when a party, without malice, fault, or inexcusable negligence, is not really
scheduled trial. 12 In the instant case, petitioner did not in the least manifest unwillingness prepared for trial, the court would be abusing its discretion if a reasonable opportunity is
to proceed with the hearing. Upon the call for appearances, petitioner responded that denied him for preparing therefor and for obtaining due process of law. 16
her counsel was in Manila and that he had not yet returned. Unschooled as she is in the Time and again, we have emphasized that the rules should be liberally construed in order
vagaries of procedural law, petitioner indeed could not have responded otherwise nor to promote their object and assist the parties in obtaining not only speedy but, more
done any better. importantly, just and inexpensive determination of every action or proceeding. 17
Considering all the attendant circumstances, the least that the trial court could have done ACCORDINGLY, the writ of certiorari is hereby granted and the order of the court a quo of
was to afford petitioner a reasonable time, especially considering her handicap, to February 27, 1976 dismissing petitioner's complaint, as well as its orders dated June 26,
procure the services of another lawyer and, if necessary, with a stern warning that any 1976 and September 18, 1976 denying petitioner's first and second motions for
further postponement of the trial shall cause the dismissal of the case. reconsideration, respectively, are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. Civil Case No. C-1222
The counter-argument that petitioner had already moved for postponements in the past is hereby REINSTATED and the Regional Trial Court which replaced Branch VI of the
should take into account the fact that the circumstances thereof were not of her making defunct Court of First Instance and/or in which this action is now pending is DIRECTED to
nor intended to be dilatory and that no substantial prejudice has been caused private continue with the trial of petitioner's action and decide the same on the merits in due
respondents. Besides, judgments of non-suit are generally disfavored in the same manner course.
that default judgments are discouraged. Thus, in Padua vs. Ericta, etc., et al ., 13 we had SO ORDERED.
the occasion to rule that:
Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.
Courts should not brook undue delays in the ventilation and determination of causes. It
should be their constant effort to ensure that litigations are prosecuted and resolved with
dispatch. Postponements of trials and hearings should not be allowed except on
meritorious grounds; and the grant or refusal thereof rests entirely in the sound discretion
of the Judge. It goes without saying, however, that discretion must be reasonably and
wisely exercised, in the light of the attendant circumstances. Some reasonable deferment
of the proceedings may be allowed or tolerated to the end that cases may be adjudged
only after full and free presentation of evidence by all the parties, especially where the
deferment would cause no substantial prejudice to any party. The desideratum of a
speedy disposition of cases should not, if at all possible, result in the precipitate loss of a

12
G.R. No. 91003, May 23, 1991 reach the appellate court.[1]

JESUS MORALES, PETITIONER, VS. COURT OF APPEALS AND LAZARO CALDERON, Upon the filing of a replevin bond executed by the Sanpiro Insurance Corp., a writ of
RESPONDENTS. replevin was issued by the trial court; the vehicle was found in the possession of and was
seized by Deputy Sheriff Rodolfo Tarmida, pursuant to the writ, from one Bernabe
DECISION Caguioa on 20 December 1983, who filed on the following day a so-called notice of Third-
DAVIDE, JR., J.: Party claim with the Deputy Sheriff.

This is an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court for the review Petitioner filed with the trial court an Answer In Intervention with Counterclaim and
of the Decision of 27 March 1989 and the Resolution of 7 November 1989 of the Court of Crossclaim, dated 28 February 1984, wherein he alleges that he is the owner of the vehicle
Appeals in C.A.-G.R. CV No. 12087 which, respectively, affirmed in toto the decision of the in question having purchased it from defendant Asuncion on 15 February 1983 (the
Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 136, in Civil Case No. 5459 and denied petitioner's purchase price was allegedly P17,000.00); before he purchased it he took the necessary
motion to reconsider said 27 March 1989 decision. precaution to examine the title and/or right over the vehicle of Asuncion, the registered
owner; he is, therefore, a buyer in good faith. He further claims that plaintiff is not the
The following facts are not disputed: true owner of the vehicle because he even admitted in his complaint that he agreed to
register the vehicle in the name of defendant with the LTC, an act which placed plaintiff
On 19 October 1983, Lazaro Calderon filed with the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Metro in estoppel to further claim ownership of said vehicle; Asuncion always asserted her
Manila, a complaint against Angelita Asuncion and one John Doe for the recovery of absolute right to the vehicle and she never mentioned the name of plaintiff; if ever a deed
personal property. He alleges therein that he is the owner of a rebuilt jeepney with Motor of acknowledgement, dated 2 September 1982, was signed by Asuncion acknowledging
No. C221-316228, Serial No. CMCI-86296, Plate No. NVS-832, which he caused to be that plaintiff is the owner of the vehicle, he is not privy to it and the same is designed to
rebuilt by "3" Aces Motorworks at Malibay, Pasay City at a total cost of P40,000.00, defraud, deceive and fool him so as to deprive him of the ownership and possession of
including labor; it was thereafter registered with the Land Transportation Commission in the vehicle for which he already spent P70,000.00; the possibility of conspiracy or
the name of defendant Angelita Asuncion pursuant to an agreement with her to the effect connivance between plaintiff and defendant Asuncion is very apparent and patent and
that the vehicle be registered in her name for the purpose only of having it operated as a the filing of the malicious complaint is an unholy scheme between the plaintiff and
public utility vehicle since she is a franchise holder; defendant Asuncion acknowledged defendant; by reason of the filing of the complaint he suffered actual damages in the sum
the ownership of plaintiff by signing an Acknowledgement (Annex "A" of the Complaint), of P70,000.00, and he was compelled to hire the services of counsel to whom he bound
and although it was registered in her name, plaintiff was in possession thereof; sometime himself to pay P20,000.00 as attorney's fees plus P400.00 per appearance. He prays for
in April of 1983 Asuncion requested from plaintiff that she be allowed to use the vehicle judgment dismissing the complaint and ordering plaintiff and defendant, solidarily, to pay
for one day; plaintiff readily acceded to the request; however, said defendant failed and him P70,000.00 as actual damages, P20,000.00 as exemplary damages, and P20,000.00
refused to return the vehicle; in August of 1983, due to plaintiff's incessant request, as attorney's fees plus P400.00 for every appearance of his counsel. [2]
Asuncion revealed that she entrusted the physical custody of the vehicle to Jesus Morales
who owns a compound at 93 Quirino Ave., Caloocan City; when asked by plaintiff and his Defendant Asuncion did not file any Answer; so she was declared in default.
mother how he came to be in possession of the vehicle, Mr. Morales merely said that it
was a matter between him and Asuncion; and up to the filing of the complaint the On 8 May 1984 the spouses Bernabe and Cornelia Caguioa filed a so-called Third-Party
defendant failed and refused to return the vehicle to plaintiff. Plaintiff further alleges Claim wherein they claim that they bought the vehicle in question on 19 October 1983
that by reason of the failure and refusal of defendant to return the vehicle, he was from Jesus Morales for P70,000.00, subject to the following conditions, among others:
deprived of a net income of not less than P3,000.00 a month for the operation of the
vehicle and a daily income of at least P40.00 as driver thereof since he personally "a) P20,000.00 shall be paid as down-payment, the balance of P50,000,00, which shall
operated the vehicle; he had been deprived of the income since April 1983; in filing the earn interest at 2% per month until fully paid, shall be paid on installment at the rate of
complaint he was constrained to hire the services of counsel to whom he bound himself P500.00 per week commencing 19 November 1983;
to pay attorney's fees of P5,000.00 in the first instance and P10,000.00 should the case
13
b) The possession and use of the vehicle shall be delivered to vendee upon execution of Art. 1431. Through estoppel an admission or representation is rendered conclusive upon
the deed of sale; however, ownership thereof shall remain with the vendor until the full the person making it, and cannot be denied or disproved as against the person relying
purchase price plus interest and all charges shall have been paid; thereon.

c) In the event Vendee fails to pay three consecutive daily installments, all prior payments Plaintiff contends that intervenor “cannot be considered as buyer in good faith for value”,
made by vendee shall be forfeited in favor of vendor as liquidated damages." inviting the Court "to take judicial notice that P17,000.00 could not be the value of the
jeepney that has just been rebuilt for P41,000.00". However, the rule where the price of
they introduced improvements on the vehicle worth P30,000.00 and they spent the sale is grossly inadequate is as stated in the following Codal precept:
P4,000.00 as cooperative fees and expenses to make the vehicle run as a passenger
jeepney and P3,600.00 for insurance premiums; by reason of the unlawful seizure of the Art. 1470. Gross inadequacy of price does not affect a contract of sale, except as it may
vehicle they suffered actual damages in the amounts of P3,120.00 a month representing indicate a defect in the consent, or that the parties really intended a donation or some
the jeepney's monthly income, and P1,300.00 a month as Bernabe's monthly income as other act or contract.
driver thereof at the rate of P50.00 per day for 26 days a month; they were not able to The above provision of the Code leads us to the next issue: whether the purported deed
pay the weekly amortization of P500.00 beginning 19 November 1983; and they were not of sale executed by defendant in favor of intervenor (Exh. 4) is in reality a mortgage.
aware of any flaw or defect in the certificate of registration of the vehicle in the name of
Morales, hence they were buyers in good faith. They ask for an award for moral damages The admission was made by defendant that the vehicle was mortgaged by her to
due to the sleepless nights and embarrassments they suffered by reason of the seizure of intervenor. This, however, is an extrajudicial declaration, not a testimony given in court
the vehicle, exemplary damages, and attorney's fees in the sum of P15,000.00.[3] in this case and, hence, is not admissible against intervenor. But the Code accords
significance to the gross inadequacy of the price of the purported sale to such extent as
The Caguioas abandoned, however, their Third-Party Claim, and, upon motion of their to create therefrom the presumption that the transaction is an equitable mortgage. (Arts.
counsel, the Court dismissed it.[4] 1602 (2) in relation to Article 1604). This presumption is reinforced by these undisputed
facts: defendant is indebted to intervenor; and the latter allowed seven months to elapse
After trial, the Regional Trial Court, upon the following findings and conclusion: -- presumably the period given defendant to pay off her debt -- before he finally registered
"Since the subject vehicle unquestionably belonged to plaintiff when defendant the vehicle in his name. Consequently, the Court holds that the purported sale must be
unauthorizedly executed the deed of sale Exhibit 4 in favor of intervenor, the transaction treated as an equitable mortgage, which constituted a security for defendant's obligation
is void insofar as plaintiff is concerned -- unless he is barred by estoppel from questioning of P17,000.00 stated as the price of the purported deed of sale.
its binding effect on him.
The obligation secured must be held to have been extinguished though: the income
The first issue, then, is whether facts or circumstances obtain which operate to estop earned by the jeepney while in the possession of intervenor from February 13, 1983, the
plaintiff from questioning the transaction's validity and efficacy against him. The Court date of the deed of sale Exhibit 4, up to December 20, 1983, when plaintiff got back the
holds the affirmative view. Plaintiff and defendant, in causing, pursuant to their jeepney through replevin was P3,000.00 a month, based on the uncontradicted testimony
agreement contained in the notarial acknowledgment Exhibit G, the registration of the of plaintiff that the operation of the jeepney earns that much; this gives a total of around
subject vehicle in the latter's name as owner, represented to the whole world that P31,500.00; out of this, an amount equal to the obligation of P17,000.00 shall be applied
defendant owned the vehicle, with the concomittant right to perform acts of strict to the payment thereof, pursuant to Article 2102 in relation to Article 2141 of the
dominion with respect to it, such as selling or mortgaging it. Intervenor, for his part, Code. There results an excess of P14,500.00, to which plaintiff, as owner of the jeepney,
avows in his testimony that before he bought the vehicle from defendant, he checked the is entitled to.
records thereof in the Land Transportation Commission. No evidence exists to show that
he knew that the vehicle did not belong to defendant but to plaintiff. The situation thus Plaintiff is entitled to recover from defendant the same amount of P31,500.00 as
falls within the purview of the below-quoted provisions of the Civil Code: unrealized income, minus the above-mentioned P14,500.00 which intervenor is required
to pay to plaintiff. Defendant must also answer for the unrealized income of plaintiff as
driver of the vehicle, which he showed, through his testimony as P1,000.00 a
14
month. Moreover, it is but just and fair, under the circumstances, that defendant be
sentenced to pay plaintiff attorney's fees in the amount of P5,000.00. In the Brief[6] he submitted in said case petitioner assigned the following errors:

On the issue of whether intervenor did spend P53,000.00 for repairs and "I
improvement done on the vehicle, the Court is unable to sustain his claim, absent a single
receipt to substantiate it. Withal, the Court finds intervenor's claim improbable, THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE OWNERSHIP AND POSSESSION OF THE
considering the undisputed fact that the jeepney was newly rebuilt in January, 1982, or SUBJECT VEHICLE PERTAINS TO THE PLAINTIFF.
barely a year before he got possession of it."
II
decreed as follows:

"WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered: THE COURT A QUO ERRED THAT THE PURPORTED DEED OF SALE IS AN EQUITABLE
MORTGAGE SECURING AN OBLIGATION OF DEFENDANT TO INTERVENOR IN THE
1) Declaring that -- AMOUNT OF P17,000.00 WHICH IS, HOWEVER, TO BE DEEMED EXTINGUISHED BY THE
APPLICATION OF PAYMENT OUT OF THE INCOME OF THE VEHICLE WHILE OPERATED BY
-- the ownership and possession of the subject motor vehicle pertain to plaintiff; INTERVENOR.

III
-- the purported deed of sale Exhibit 4 is an equitable mortgage securing an obligation
of defendant to intervenor in the amount of P17,000.00 which is, however, to be deemed
extinguished by the application of payment out of the income of the vehicle while THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN ORDERING THE INTERVENOR TO PAY TO PLAINTIFF THE
operated by intervenor; AMOUNT OF P14,500.00, REPRESENTING THE BALANCE OF THE INCOME OF THE VEHICLE
AFTER DEDUCTING THE PAYMENT FOR DEFENDANT'S OBLIGATION.
2) Ordering intervenor to pay to plaintiff the amount of P14,500.00, representing the
balance of the income of the vehicle after deducting the payment for defendant's IV
obligation; and
THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN NOT GIVING ATTORNEY'S FEES AND DAMAGES TO THE
3) Ordering defendant to pay plaintiff the following amounts --
INTERVENOR-APPELLANT TO BE PAID BY PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE.

-- P17,000.00 representing, together with the aforesaid amount of P14,500.00 which The Court of Appeals found the assigned errors to be without merit, and in its decision of
intervenor is required to pay plaintiff, unrealized income of the vehicle during the period 27 March 1989,[7] it affirmed in toto the decision of the Regional Trial Court. His motion
that he was deprived of it; to reconsider the same having been denied in the resolution of the Court of Appeals of 7
November 1989,[8] petitioner instituted this present petition wherein, as admitted by him,
-- P10,500.00 representing unrealized income as driver of the jeep during the same he assigns "same errors raised in C. A., but differently stated:
period; and
1. Both the C. A. and the RTC, after correctly finding and concluding that the plaintiff
-- P5,000.00 for attorney's fees, with costs. Lazaro Calderon (respondent herein) is estopped from assailing the validity of the sale of
the motor vehicle in question to intervenor Jesus Morales (petitioner), erred in executing
SO ORDERED.”[5] in the same breath a turn-about by "declaring that the ownership and possession of the
subject motor vehicle pertains to the plaintiffs' (respondent herein) as against the
Not satisfied with the decision, petitioner appealed therefrom to the Court of intervenor Jesus Morales (petitioner).
Appeals. The appeal was docketed as C.A.-G.R. CV No. 12087.

15
2. Both the C. A. and the RTC erred in declaring respondent Lazaro Calderon as the owner evidence submitted by the parties' (Santa Ana, Jr. v. Hernandez, G. R. No. L-16394,
and rightful possessor of the subject motor vehicle although there is no evidence on December 17, 1966, 18 SCRA 973).
record to support the finding, thereby committing a grave abuse of discussion (sic)
amounting to lack of jurisdiction. In several decisions of recent vintage (Rizal Cement Co., Inc. v. Villareal, G. R. No. L-30272,
February 28, 1985, 135 SCRA 15; Ramos v. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. L-25463, April 4,
3. The C. A. and the RTC erred in ordering intervenor Jesus Morales to pay damages to the 1975, 63 SCRA 331; Garcia v. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. L-26490, June 30, 1970, 33 SCRA
respondent Lazaro Calderon to compensate the alleged loss of earning of the latter. 623; Ramos v. Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co., G. R. No. L-22533, February 9, 1967, 19 SCRA 289),
the Court summarized and enumerated the exceptional circumstances that would compel
4. The C. A. and the RTC erred in declaring that the deed of sale of the motor vehicle in the Supreme Court to review findings of fact of the Court of Appeals, to wit:
question executed by defendant Angelita Asuncion in favor of the petitioner Jesus
Morales is an equitable mortgage. (1) when the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or
conjectures (Joaquin v. Navarro, 93 Phil. 257 (1953));
5. The C. A. and the RTC erred in applying Articles 2102 and 2141 of the Civil Code.

6. The RTC and the C. A. erred in not making the respondent Lazaro Calderon and Sanpiro (2) when the inference made is manifestly absurd, mistaken or impossible (Luna v.
Insurance Corporation jointly and severally liable for the wrongful issuance of the writ of Linatoc, 74 Phil. 15 (1942));
replevin.

7. The C. A. and the RTC erred in not awarding in favor of the petitioner Jesus Morales
attorney's fees and other damages."[9] (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts (Buyco v.
People, 95 Phil. 253 (1954));
We find no compelling reason to reverse the subject decision of the Court of Appeals.

The issues raised principally involve questions of fact. The rule is well stated that findings
(4) when the judgment is premised on a misapprehension of facts (De la Cruz v.
of facts of the Court of Appeals are conclusive upon this Court. In Paciano Remalante vs.
Sosing, 94 Phil. 26 (1953); Castillo v. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. L-48290,
Cornelia Tibe and Court of Appeals, 158 SCRA 138, 144-146, We said:
September 29, 1983, 124 SCRA 808);
"The rule in this jurisdiction is that only questions of law may be raised in a petition for
certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court. 'The Jurisdiction of the Supreme
Court in cases brought to it from the Court of Appeals is limited to reviewing and revising
(5) when the findings of fact are conflicting (Casica v. Villaseca, 101 Phil. 1205
the errors of law imputed to it, its findings of fact being conclusive' (Chan v. Court of
(1957)); and
Appeals, G. R. No. L-27488, June 30, 1970, 33 SCRA 737, reiterating a long line of
decisions). This Court has emphatically declared that 'it is not the function of the Supreme
Court to analyze or weigh such evidence all over again, its jurisdiction being limited to
reviewing errors of law that might have been committed by the lower court' (Tiongco v. (6) when the Court of Appeals, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the
De la Merced, G. R. No. L-24426, July 25, 1974, 58 SCRA 89; Corona v. Court of Appeals, case and the same is contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee
G. R. No. 62482, April 28, 1983, 121 SCRA 865; Baniqued v. Court of Appeals, G. R. No. L- (Evangelista v. Alto Surety & Ins. Co., Inc., 103 Phil. 401 (1958)).[***]
47531, February 20, 1984, 127 SCRA 596). 'Barring, therefore, a showing that the findings
complained of are totally devoid of support in the record, or that they are so glaringly However, in Garcia, supra, the Court considered exception Nos. 7, 8 and 9 as
erroneous as to constitute serious abuse of discretion, such findings must stand, for this circumstances that, taken together, compelled it to go into the record of the case in order
Court is not expected or required to examine or contrast the oral and documentary to find out whether or not it fell within any of the six established exceptions.

16
On the other hand, exception No. 10 may be considered as an illustration of the fourth
exception - that the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts." Finally, it is apparent that as early as August of 1983 intervenor already knew that plaintiff
claimed ownership of the vehicle. Plaintiff specifically alleged in his complaint that:
Petitioner miserably failed to show that this case falls under any of the foregoing
exceptions. "9. Sometime in August 1983, due to plaintiff's incessant request, defendant revealed
that she had entrusted the physical custody of the vehicle to one Mr. Jesus Morales who
The first assigned error is based on a wrong premise and is the result of a deliberate owns the compound at 93 Quirino Avenue, Caloocan City, Metro Manila;
misreading or misapprehension of what the courts below stated. It assumes that the
"sale" in favor of petitioner was in fact a "sale". Both courts, however, ruled that it was 10. That when pressed why she could not return the vehicle and why Mr. Morales came
merely an equitable mortgage, which also binds the plaintiff. Therefore, it did not in possession and custody of the same, defendant was evasive and non-committal but
transfer ownership of the vehicle to petitioner. simply fails and refuses to return the same to its rightful owner the plaintiff herein;

The disquisition of the Court of Appeals on this point is so clear and unequivocal as to 11. That plaintiff and his mother inquired from Mr. Morales how he came in possession
leave no room for a possible misapprehension: of the vehicle in question, but Mr. Morales said that it was a matter between him and
Angelita Asuncion, the defendant."[13]
". . . As between plaintiff and Asuncion, plaintiff remains the owner. He is only estopped
from repudiating transactions that were entered into by Asuncion in relation to the Yet, despite the specific allegation as against him, petitioner, in his Answer in Intervention
property (Article 1431, N.C.C.). If Asuncion actually sold the property to the appellant with Counterclaim and Crossclaim, answered the aforesaid paragraph 11, and other
then plaintiff is estopped from questioning the validity of the sale. But if as found by the paragraphs, merely by saying that “he has no knowledge or information sufficient to form
court a quo, the real transaction between defendant Asuncion and appellant is a mere a belief as to its truth." While it may be true that under the Rules one could avail of this
equitable mortgage, then plaintiff as real owner may validly exercise whatever rights statement as a means of a specific denial, nevertheless, if an allegation directly and
Asuncion may have as ostensible owner and redeem the property if in fact it was merely specifically charges a party to have done, performed or committed a particular act but
a mortgage before it is foreclosed in accordance with law. Intervenor cannot acquire the latter had not in fact done, performed or committed it, a categorical and express
more than what Asuncion as ostensible owner of the vehicle actually gave him."[10] denial must be made. In such a case, the occurrence or non-occurrence of the facts
alleged may be said to be within the party's knowledge. In short, the petitioner herein
The lament then of petitioner that he is deprived of ownership and possession although could have simply expressly and in no uncertain terms denied the allegation if it were
he is an innocent purchaser for value, and therefore punished, while plaintiff and untrue. It has been held that when the matters of which a defendant alleges of having
defendant Asuncion are "handsomely rewarded" is baseless. no knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief, are plainly and necessarily within
his knowledge, his alleged ignorance or lack of information will not be considered as
In the first place, both courts made no express finding that petitioner was a purchaser for specific denial.[14] His denial lacks the element of sincerity and good faith, hence
value in good faith. Having found and concluded that the so-called deed of sale in favor insufficient.[15] Worse, on the very day that the complaint was filed by plaintiff Lazaro
of petitioner was merely an equitable mortgage, it was no longer necessary to belabor Calderon in the Regional Trial Court, i.e., 19 October 1983, he "sold" the vehicle to Third-
the point. This conclusion also renders unnecessary petitioner's peregrinations into the Party claimant Bernabe Caguioa under a so-called conditional sale for P70,000.00, of
law and jurisprudence on estoppel. which P20,000.00 was paid as downpayment and the balance of P50,000.00, which shall
earn interest at 2% per month, was to be paid in installments at the rate of P500.00
In the second place, if indeed the deed of sale reflected the true and real intention of the weekly, beginning 19 November 1983. Possession and use of vehicle were transferred to
parties, We find it rather surprising why petitioner did not present Asuncion as a vendee upon the execution of the sale; however, ownership was to remain with petitioner
witness. Instead, in his brief in C.A.-G.R. CV No. 12087, it was the plaintiff whom he until full payment of the purchase price.[16] The vehicle was in fact seized from Caguioa on
faulted for not presenting Asuncion to testify on the so-called Acknowledgement she 20 December 1983. Surprisingly, despite the fact that he had already allegedly paid the
signed.[11] We find it also surprising why, although the so-called deed of sale was executed downpayment of P20,000.00, and had interposed in his Third-Party Claim claims against
on 15 February 1983 yet, it was registered only in September 1983. A new certificate of plaintiff, the deputy sheriff and the insurance firm (Sanpiro Insurance Corp.) for the
registration, C.R. No. 0911304, was issued to petitioner only on 9 September 1983. [12]
17
refund of P20,000.00 which he allegedly paid to herein petitioner, P30,000.00 for alleged The third, fourth, fifth and seventh assigned errors are as equally baseless as the first and
major improvements he introduced on the vehicle, and P7,600.00 which he paid to the second assigned errors. Respondent Court of Appeals correctly held:
Cooperative Fees and for insurance premiums, and for payment of P4,420.00 a month as
expected income, as well as for moral and exemplary damages, costs, and attorney's fees "In his second assignment of error, appellant has not dealt in the vital issue of gross
of P15,000.00, Caguioa, as stated earlier, abandoned the Third-Party Claim; it was inadequacy of the price which led the court a quo to the conclusion that his transaction
dismissed on 16 September 1985, upon motion of his lawyer. We are unable to with defendant Asuncion is a mere equitable mortgage. He has confined himself to
understand why, if indeed Caguioa also acted in good faith in entering into the contract insisting that the transaction is one of sale and that he is a buyer in good faith.
of conditional sale over the vehicle, he would not pursue his Third-Party Claim, and why
he did not even bother to file any claim against his vendor, herein petitioner. Moreover, Plaintiff's claim that the jeep was rebuilt on January 1982 at a total cost of P41,000.00 is
petitioner deliberately failed to disclose in his Answer in Intervention With Counterclaim corroborated by the testimony of Cresencio Pimentel, owner of the motor shop who
and Crossclaim that the vehicle was the subject of a conditional sale in favor of Caguioa rebuilt the jeepney and finds added support in the receipts, Exhibit A to E, indicating
and that he (petitioner) was not in possession of the vehicle. On the contrary, he stoutly payment of some P39,000.00 for the assembly of a passenger type jeepney. The real
maintained that the filing of the complaint "is an unholy scheme designed to deprived value of the jeep may be gleaned from the sale thereof purportedly executed by appellant
(sic) defendant-intervenor of his ownership and possession of the said jeep, done in to Caguioa in the sum of P70,000.00 from which the court a quo drew the conclusion that
concert and conspiracy, designed to deprive possession and ownership of defendant- the price of P17,000.00 in the purported sale between defendant and appellant is grossly
intervenor of said motor vehicle."[17] inadequate thereby giving rise to the presumption that the contract between them is an
equitable mortgage (Article 1602, N.C.C.). This belief of the court a quo is reinforced by
Finally, although he captioned his Answer in Intervention as one with Counterclaim and its observations that Intervenor is indebted to defendant and allowed seven months to
Crossclaim, petitioner did not make any specific allegations against defendant Asuncion; elapse - presumably the period given defendant to pay off his debt - before he finally
he only expressed suspicion of possible connivance and conspiracy between plaintiff and registered the vehicle in his name (p. 3, Decision).
Asuncion.
Except for the statement that "defendant is indebted to the intervenor" is an undisputed
The foregoing negate petitioner's pretensions of good faith. fact, as there is no adequate evidence to support such statement, which we do not
however find to be decisive, We find no error in the trial court's finding that the price is
Under the second assigned error petitioner maintains that there is no evidence on record grossly inadequate.
to support the finding of the courts below that plaintiff Lazaro Calderon is the owner of
the vehicle in question. He stressed two vital points, namely, (1) all the receipts of The rule is now well-settled that a contract appearing on its face to be a definite sale like
payment for the rebuilding of the vehicle marked in evidence show that all payments the contract in question, may be interpreted as an equitable mortgage if any of the
were made by plaintiff's father, Guillermo Calderon, and (2) on 6 September 1982 plaintiff circumstances mentioned in Article 1602 of the Civil Code such as gross or inadequacy of
sold the vehicle to defendant Asuncion per a Deed of Sale of Motor Vehicle duly the price is present (Article 1604, N.C.C.).
acknowledged before a notary public (Exh. "2"-Morales, Annex "P" of Petition; Rollo,
93). The courts below took into account these pieces of evidence together with the other The transaction having been correctly found by the court a quo as an equitable mortgage
exhibits offered by plaintiff and his testimony as well as the testimony of his witness, Mr. and appellant not having questioned in this appeal, the finding that the income earned
Pimentel, owner of the motor shop contracted to rebuild the vehicle. Petitioner even by the jeepney while in the possession of Intervenor from February 13, 1983 to the date
supplied the best evidence of plaintiff's ownership, the so-called Deed of Sale executed of the deed of sale, Exhibit 4, up to December 20, 1983 when plaintiff got back the vehicle
by Lazaro in favor of Asuncion.[18] or a total amount of P31,500.00, no error was committed by the court a quo in ordering
Intervenor to pay plaintiff P14,500.00 representing the balance of the income of the
However, as against plaintiff, Exh. "2"-Morales would not improve the position of vehicle after deducting the payment of defendant's obligation.
petitioner. It was evidently executed in connection with the agreement to have the
vehicle registered in the name of the franchisee, defendant Asuncion. Parenthetically, the record discloses that in selling the vehicle to Bernabe Caguioa,
appellant was paid P20,000.00 as down payment which is P3,000.00 more than his initial
18
investment. In addition, he was paid P500.00 weekly from November 19, 1983 to Claim.
December 19, 1983 or for four (4) weeks or a total of P2,000.00 plus P1,000.00
representing interest (p[.] 8 [,] Appellee's Brief). IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED for lack of
merit, with costs against petitioner.
No error was likewise committed in ordering defendant to pay plaintiff the sum of
P17,000.00 which was deducted from the income of the vehicle that would have accrued SO ORDERED.
to plaintiff but was applied instead to the satisfaction of defendant's mortgage obligation
to the Intervenor. Plaintiff having in effect paid defendant's obligation the latter should Fernan, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano, and Bidin, JJ., concur.
in turn reimburse the plaintiff for such payment.

Having found the first three assignment of errors to be unmeritorious, the fourth
assignment of error which is merely dependent on the success of the preceding errors
must necessarily fail.

It may, however, be pointed out that in the opening statement under the fourth
assignment of error, appellant claims to have spent P53,000.00 in improving the jeep,
consisting of replacement of injection pump, repairs of transmission, engine overhaul,
changing the four tires to new ones, battery, decoration painting of the vehicle. These
are substantially the same items which Caguioa claims to have introduced in the same
vehicle. The pretense of appellant was totally disbelieved by the court a quo absent a
single receipt to substantiate it. "Withal, the court finds intervenor's claim improbable,
considering the undisputed fact that the jeepney was newly rebuilt in January 1982, or
barely a year before he got possession of it[.]" (page 4[,] Decision).

No effort was made by appellant to dispute the foregoing findings of the court a quo
which has in its favor the presumption of correctness. As aptly put in Corliss v Manila
Railroad Company "In the more traditional terminology, the lower court's judgment has
in its favor the presumption of correctness. It is entitled to great respect. After all, the
lower court had the opportunity of weighing carefully what was testified to and
apparently did not neglect it. There is no affront to justice then if its finding be accorded
acceptance, subject of course to the contingency of ultimate reversal if error or errors,
substantial in character, be shown in the conclusion thus arrived at. It is a fair statement
of the governing principle to say that the appellate function is exhausted when there is
found to be a rational basis for the result reached by the trial court." (27 SCRA 674, Supra).

The sixth assigned error does not merit the slightest consideration. The vehicle in
question was seized pursuant to the writ of replevin from Bernabe Caguioa supported by
the replevin bond executed by Sanpiro Insurance Corp. Caguioa was in possession of the
vehicle by virtue of the so-called conditional sale in his favor executed by petitioner. The
latter, therefore, had no cause of action against plaintiff and Sanpiro. As a matter of fact,
petitioner did not file any claim against Sanpiro. It was Caguioa who did in his Third-Party
19
G.R. No. 74454 September 3, 1998 The petitioners Alfred Pearson, et al. (hereinafter "Pearsons") claim to have inherited the
beneficial interest of the Tambis Gold Dredging Co., Inc. (hereinafter "Tambis Gold") upon
ALFRED PEARSON, for himself and as the attorney-in-fact of his co-heirs/co-successors- its dissolution, owing to the fact that the biggest stockholder of said company and the
in-interest, namely: ELSIE PEARSON-FUENTES, HENRY PEARSON, WILLIAM PEARSON, JR., sole owner of the claims was their ancestor, William F. Pearson, Sr. 6
ROBERT PEARSON, EDUARD PEARSON, CHARLES PEARSON, FREDRIECH PEARSON and
HARRY F. GASSER, petitioners, Private respondents Diamond Mining Corporation, Rosario Mining Development
vs. Corporation and their assignee A. Soriano Corporation (hereinafter "Mining Companies")
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, Hon. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, Branch 155, Pasig, are domestic corporations organized and existing under Philippine laws.
Metro Manila, Hon. Presidential Executive Assistant; Hon. Minister of Natural
Resources; Hon. Director of Mines; DIAMOND MINING CORPORATION, ROSARIO The public respondents are the Director of Mines, the Minister of Natural Resources, the
MINING DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, and A. SORIANO CORPORATION, respondents. Presidential Executive Assistant, the Court of First Instance (CFI), and the Intermediate
Appellate Court (IAC). 7 Each of them had ruled in favor of the Mining Companies.

The facts as found by the respondent Minister of Natural Resources and confirmed by the
respondents Presidential Executive Assistant and the IAC are as follows:
QUISUMBING, J.:
From the records and the documentary evidence at hand, it appears that the Tambis Gold
This Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus with Preliminary Injunction and Dredging Co., Inc. filed in 1919, under the Act of Congress of July 1, 1902, declarations of
Prayer for a Restraining Order seeks to annul the following: location covering the "BAROBO-1" to "BAROBO-5" placer claims located at the barrio of
Bahi, municipality of Lianga, province of Surigao del Sur. These declarations of location
1. Decision dated September 30, 1983 of respondent Intermediate Appellate Court (now were destroyed or lost during the war.
Court of Appeals) in AC-G.R. No. 15439 which in effect upheld herein private respondents'
mining claims and directed respondent Regional Trial Court to resolve the motion to In 1948, the Tambis Gold Dredging Co., Inc. filed with the Bureau of Mines affidavits to
dismiss in Civil Case reconstitute the declarations of location for the "BAROBO" placer claims. The affidavits
No. 45053. 1 were recorded with the mining recorder on January 19, 1949.

2. Order dated July 31, 1984 of the Court of First Instance, Branch X (now Regional Trial On February 29, 1960, the Tambis Gold Dredging Co., Inc. was dissolved. Appellants
Court, Branch 155), Pasig Metro Manila, dismissing Civil Case No. 45053 on the basis of (herein petitioners) were at that time stockholders of the corporation.
an earlier decision of the Court of Appeals upholding the findings of fact of the Minister
of Natural Resources; 2 From May 10 to June 11, 1970, appellee (now respondent) Rosario Mining, through its
agent Marcelino Manabat, discovered and located the, "MARTIN-1", "MARTIN-2",
3. Decision dated August 31, 1981 of the Office of the President, Minister that petitioners "MARTIN-5", "MARTIN-6" and "MARTIN-27" placer claims in the barrio of Bahi,
had abandoned their "BAROBO" mining claims and accordingly dismissed their appeal; 3 municipality of Barobo, province of Surigao del Sur. On June 25, 1970, the declarations of
location therefor, and the Special Power and (sic) Attorney appointing Marcelino
4. Decision dated October 29, 1979 of the Minister of Natural Resources, affirming the Manabat as attorney-in-fact, were registered with the Mining Recorder of Surigao del Sur.
decision of the Director of Mines; 4
On August 31, 1970, the applications for the survey of the "MARTIN" claims were filed,
5. Consolidated Decision dated May 12, 1976 of the Director of Mines in Mines and, on March 13, 1973 and December 18, 1973, the corresponding orders for survey
Administrative Case Nos. V-817 and V-818, upholding the preferential rights of private were issued.
respondents to lease, possess, explore and develop their respective "DIAMOND" and
"MARTIN" mining claims in question; 5 On June 22, 1973, appellee (now respondent) Rosario Mining filed the lease application
covering the "MARTIN" placer claims. After the survey returns of said placer claims were
The petitioners also pray that their mining claims be declared valid and that private approved on January 3, 1975, the notice of lease was published in February 20 and 27,
respondents' mining claims be declared null and void.

20
1975 issues of the "Mindanao Times" and in the February 25 and March 4, 1975 issues of to require the Mining Companies to file a bond in such amount as may be necessary to
the "Times Journal". protect the interests of the Pearsons during the pendency of the case before it. Also, they
prayed for an order for immediate ocular inspection of the area to determine the
Meanwhile, from February 24 to March 5, 1974, appellee (now also respondent) Diamond fundamental issue of the correct tie point of the controverted mining claims. 10
Mining, through its agent Justiniano Deloso, discovered and located the "DIAMOND-1" to
"DIAMOND-7" placer claims in the barrio of Bahi, municipality of Barobo, province of In an Order dated June 23, 1981, the Office of the President granted the motion
Surigao del Sur. On March 25, 1974, the declarations of location therefor, including the concerning the bond but denied the request for ocular inspection. In the order, it was
Special Power of Attorney in favor of Justiniano Deloso, were registered with the Mining stated that "the investigation conducted by the Presidential Investigating Committee of
Recorder of Surigao del Sur. the Bureau of Mines has already considered and determined the issue which require no
more (sic) further verification and clarification." 11 The Pearsons and the Mining
On April 17, 1973, the application for survey of the "DIAMOND" placer claims were filed, Companies separately moved for reconsideration. 12
and, on May 21, 1974, the order for survey was issued.
Subsequently, the Office of the President granted the motion for ocular inspection, and
On April 22, 1974, appellee Diamond Mining filed the lease applications covering the ordered the creation of an Ad Hoc Ocular Inspection Committee on June 23, 1989. 13 The
"DIAMOND" placer claims. Subsequently, after the survey returns of said claims were Mining Companies moved for reconsideration of this order. 14
approved on December 24, 1974 and January 3, 1975, the notice of lease application was
published in the February 25 and March 4, 1975 issues of the "Times Journal" and in the In a Decision dated August 31, 1981, the Office of the President revoked the order
February 27 and March 6, 1975 issues of the "Mindanao Times". allowing ocular inspection, dismissed the appeal for lack of merit, and released all monies
that might have been deposited by the Mining Companies. The pertinent grounds of its
On 10 March 1975, appellants (petitioners herein) filed the adverse claims against dismissal are hereunder quoted: 15
appellees (now private respondents).
. . . We agree with the findings of the Ministry of Natural Resources that Appellant's
After the case was heard by the Panel of Investigators of the Bureau of Mines, the Director mining claims are abandoned, if not null and void. Evidence on record clearly establishes
of Mines rendred (sic) the decision appealed from. the fact that appellants failed to conduct the necessary works on their claim, to file the
In his decision, the Director held that appellants (petitioners) failed to establish the affidavits of annual work obligations, and to pay the real estate taxes. These ommissions
existence of the conflict among the placer claims involved; that the "BAROBO" placer (sic) by appellants constitute abandonment of their claims. Executive Order No. 141 dated
claims are null and void because their tie points, as described in the affidavits to August 1, 1968, explicitly states that unpatented mining claims which were located more
reconstitute the declarations of location therefor, are not the natural objects of than thirty years ago under the provisions of the Philippine Bill of 1902, as amended, and
permanent monuments prescribed under the law and their geographical positions cannot which have not complied with the annual assessment requirement are considered
be accurately determined; that, even if said "BAROBO" claims were validly located, the abandoned and their declaration of location cancelled. On this score, this Office finds no
same have been abandoned due to the failure of the original locators thereof to perform legal justification to modify, much less reverse, the appealed decision."
assessment works therein, to file the corresponding affidavits of annual work obligations, On January 18, 1982, the Office of the President issued a Resolution denying the Pearsons'
and to pay the real estate taxes thereon; and that appellants (petitioners) are not the motion for reconsideration. 16
successors-in-interest of the Tambis Gold Dredging Co., Inc., hence they have no legal
personality to institute the adverse claims. 8 After said denial, the Pearsons filed a petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus,
with a writ of preliminary injunction, before Branch X of the CFI of Pasig to annul the
On appeal, the Minister of Natural Resources in a Decision dated October 29, 1979, aforementioned decisions of public respondents and to restrain private respondents from
affirmed the judgment of the Director of Mines. 9 He agreed with the Director's finding entering and developing the mining claims involved. 17 This was docketed as Civil Case No.
on the issue of abandonment. 45053. The Mining Companies filed their joint motion to dismiss and opposition to the
Not satisfied with the decision of the Minister of Natural Resources, the Pearsons preliminary injunction alleging, among others, that the Decision dated August 31, 1981 of
appealed to the Office of the President. They filed a Manifestation requesting the Office the Office of the President is already final and executory pursuant to Presidential Decree
No. 463, Section 50 which states that:
21
Appeals — Any party not satisfied with the decision or order of the Director, may, within II. ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT IT HAS JURISDICTION OVER THE CASE, WHETHER OR NOT
five (5) days from receipt thereof, appeal to the Secretary. Decisions of the Secretary are RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION, AMOUNTING TO LACK OF
likewise appealable within five (5) days from receipt thereof by the affected party to the JURISDICTION, WHEN IT GAVE DUE COURSE TO AND DECIDED SAID PETITION DESPITE THE
President of the Philippines whose decision shall be final and executory. CLEAR SHOWING BY HEREIN PETITIONER THAT THE ORDERS IN QUESTION ARE MERELY
INTERLOCUTORY AND ARE, THEREFORE, NOT PROPER SUBJECT MATTER OF A PETITION
xxx xxx xxx FOR CERTIORARIUNDER RULE 65 OF THE RULES OF COURT; AND
Instead of expressly resolving the said motion to dismiss, the CFI ordered on October 15, III. ASSUMING AGAIN ARGUENDO THAT THE QUESTIONED INTERLOCUTORY ORDERS ARE
1982 the creation of an Ad Hoc Ocular Inspection Committee "to determine the correct PROPER SUBJECT OF CERTIORARI, WHETHER OR NOT THE DECISION DATED SEPTEMBER
tie-point of private respondents' mineral claim". Both the public and private respondents 30, 1983 OF RESPONDENT INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT IS A PATENT NULLITY FOR
moved for reconsideration of said order. 18 The CFI denied both motions and issued the BEING DEVOID OF ANY FACTUAL OR LEGAL BASIS.
Order dated December 21, 1982 scheduling the ocular inspection for January 3, 1983.
Petitioners maintain that the Supreme Court has the exclusive jurisdiction over all cases
In view of this last order, the Mining Companies filed with the IAC their Petition where the jurisdiction of a lower court is in issue, as well as all cases decided by lower
for Certiorari and Prohibition, assailing the abovementioned orders dated October 15, courts involving pure questions of law, 23 pursuant to paragraph 2(c), Section 5, Art X of
1982 and December 21, 1982 allowing the creation of and setting the schedule for ocular the present Constitution which states that:
inspection by the Ad Hoc Committee, and praying that the latter court be prohibited from
further proceeding with Civil Case No. 45053. The Mining Companies argued that when Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
P.D. Nos. 99-A, 309, and 463 were promulgated, it became unquestionable that the
procedure of adjudicating mining claims was made completely administrative with the xxx xxx xxx
President as the final authority. 19 In their Answer, the Pearsons assailed the propriety of (2) Review and revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari, as the law or the
the petition since its subjects are two interlocutory orders. 20 Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and decrees of inferior courts in —
The IAC issued a Restraining Order dated January 31, 1983, restraining the CFI judge from xxx xxx xxx
implementing his order directing the Ad Hoc Committee to conduct an ocular
inspection. 21 Later on, the IAC granted the writ of certiorari, set aside the orders of the (c) All cases in which the jurisdiction of any inferior court is in issue.
CFI with regard to the Ad Hoc Committee and ocular inspection, and directed the CFI "to
xxx xxx xxx
resolve the joint motion to dismiss filed by the private respondents in said case in light of
what has been stated in this decision." The decision of the IAC was promulgated on Likewise, they assert that the Judiciary Act of 1948 (R.A. No. 296), as amended, also clearly
September 30, 1983, and the same became final and executory with an entry of judgment provides that the Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction over the case, pursuant to
issued by the said IAC on February 17, 1984. Paragraph (3), Sec. 17 thereof, to wit:
As directed by the IAC, the CFI issued an Order on July 31, 1984 dismissing the petition of Sec. 17. Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. —
the Pearsons before it.
xxx xxx xxx
Hence, the petitioners now come before this Court raising in their petition the following
issues: 22 The Supreme Court shall further have exclusive jurisdiction to review, revise, reverse,
modify or affirm on certiorari as the law or rules of court may provide, final judgments
I. WHETHER OR NOT THE DECISION OF RESPONDENT INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT and decrees of inferior courts as herein provided in —
IN CA-G.R. NO. 15439 IS NULL AND VOID FOR LACK OF JURISDICTION OVER THE SUBJECT
MATTER OF THE CASE; xxx xxx xxx

(2) All cases in which the jurisdiction of any inferior court in issue.

22
xxx xxx xxx the trial court is in issue; and second, the orders of the CFI, being merely interlocutory,
could not be the subject of a petition for certiorari in the IAC.
Consequently, they argue that the IAC Decision dated September 30, 1983 is a patent
nullity for utter want of jurisdiction. The petitioners err on both counts.

They further argue that the questioned orders of the CFI dated October 15, 1982 and Firstly, the IAC correctly invoked the ruling of this Court in Uytiepo vs. Aggabao 27, to wit:
December 21, 1982 allowing the creation of and setting the schedule for ocular inspection
by the Ad Hoc Committee were merely interlocutory, and therefore, cannot be subject of As regards the claim that the issues raised by Aggabao in her action filed with the
a petition for certiorari in the IAC. 24 respondent Court of Appeals involve only questions of law and are therefore exclusively
reviewable by this Court, the petitioners apparently confuse the remedy of special civil
Lastly, they claim that the IAC, in its September 30, 1984 decision sustaining the Decision action of certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court in relation to section 30 of the
dated August 31, 1981 of the Office of the President dismissing the appeal of petitioners, Judiciary Act as amended and an appeal by certiorari under Rule 42 also of the Rules of
has no factual and legal bases. They stress that they have lived in their ancestral home in Court in relation to the fourth paragraph of section 17 of the same Act. The first is a
the mining area up to the filing of this petition; they continued performing the assessment remedy available in the Court of Appeals, in aid of its appellate jurisdiction, essentially to
work on their mineral claims up to 1975 when this case arose, and they were enjoined to correct errors of jurisdiction or abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. The
stop their operations by respondent Bureau of Mines; that they have performed second lies within the competence of this Court for the review of errors of inferior courts
assessment work continuously up to 1975; that they filed religiously their affidavits of involving only questions of law. . . .
assessment work; and that they paid their realty taxes due, although they admitted that
certain affidavits were filed and certain taxes were also paid in later years. 25 What private respondents availed of was the first remedy, placing in issue the jurisdiction
of the trial court to create an Ad Hoc Committee and schedule an ocular inspection.
Private respondents, in their Comment dated June 26, 1986, allege that the IAC has
jurisdiction to entertain the original petition for certiorari filed by them against Considered in relation to Section 9 of B.P. Blg. 129 (The Judiciary Reorganization Act of
respondents CFI and the Pearsons under Rule 65 of the New Rules of Court. They argue 1980), now incorporated in Section 4, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which
that under P.D. Nos. 99-A, 309 and 463 governing the procedures of adjudicating vested the then IAC with original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari and prohibition,
conflicting mining claims which were made completely administrative, the decision of the among other auxiliary, writs, "whether or not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction", we find
President on appeal to his Office is final and executory, and therefore, not subject to that respondent appellate court correctly assumed jurisdiction over CA-G.R. No. 15439.
judicial review. 26 It has also been emphasized in a number of cases 28 that while this Court has concurrent
The different issues raised in the instant petition may be subsumed in two principal issues: jurisdiction with the Court of Appeals and the Regional Trial Courts (for writs enforceable
within their respective regions), to issue writs of mandamus, prohibition or certiorari, the
1. Whether or not respondent IAC committed reversible error in assuming jurisdiction litigants are well advised against taking a direct recourse to this Court. Instead, they
over the private respondents' petition for certiorari assailing the trial court's interlocutory should initially seek the proper relief from the lower courts. As a court of last resort, this
orders? Court should not be burdened with the task of dealing with causes in the first instance.
Where the issuance of an extraordinary writ is concurrently within the competence of the
2. Assuming the IAC had validly assumed jurisdiction, whether or not it committed CA or RTC, litigants must observe the principle of hierarchy of courts. This Court's original
reversible errors of law in its decision now before us? jurisdiction to issue extraordinary writs should be exercised only where absolutely
We find the petition entirely devoid of merit. Thus we see, in regard to the first principal necessary, or where serious and important reasons therefor exist.
issue, no reversible error committed by the IAC when it assumed jurisdiction over private Secondly, petitioner's contention that the lower court's orders of October 15, 1982 and
respondents' petition for certiorari involving interlocutory orders of the trial court. December 21, 1982, being merely interlocutory, are not correctible by certiorari, ignores
The petitioners launch a two-pronged attack against the jurisdiction of the respondent this Court's consistent ruling, to wit:
appellate court, to wit: first, the IAC could not adjudicate cases where the jurisdiction of

23
On the procedural issues raised, we hold that where an interlocutory order was allegedly and disputes arising out of mining locations may be made to the Court of Appeals or the
issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, such Supreme Court as the case may be. In contrast, under the decrees issued at the onset of
order may be questioned before the Court on a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of martial law, it has been expressly provided that the decisions of the same Secretary in
the Revised Rules of Court. To delay the review of the order until the appeal from the mining cases are appealable to the President of the Philippines under Section 50 of the
decision of the main case would not afford the party adversely affected by the said order Mineral Resources Development Decree of 1974 (P.D. No. 463) and Section 7 of P.D. No.
a speedy, plain and adequate remedy. 29 1281 in relation to P.D. No. 309. 36

In Marcelo vs. De Guzman, 30 we held that although, as a general rule, an interlocutory The trend at present is to make the adjudication of mining cases a purely administrative
order is not appealable until after the rendition of the judgment on the merits, an matter. 37 This does not mean that administrative bodies have complete rein over mining
exception is made where the remedy of appeal cannot afford an adequate and disputes. The very terms of Section 73 of the Mining Law, as amended by R.A. No. 4388,
expeditious relief. In such exception, certiorari can be allowed as a mode of redress to in requiring that the adverse claim must "state in full detail the nature, boundaries and
prevent irreparable damage and injury to a party. We further held that where the order extent of the adverse claim" show that the conflicts to be decided by reason of such
complained of is a patent nullity, a petition for certiorari and mandamus may properly be adverse claim refer primarily to questions of fact. The controversies to be submitted and
entertained despite the existence of the remedy of appeal. 31This we reiterated resolved by the Director of Mines under the sections referred only to the overlapping of
in Salcedo-Ortañez vs. Court of Appeals. 32 claims and administrative matters incidental thereto. 38 Questions and controversies that
are judicial, not administrative, in nature can be resolved only by the regular courts in
Does the controversy at hand fall under the exception where interlocutory orders may be whom is vested the judicial power to resolve and adjudicate such civil disputes and
the subject of a petition for certiorari in the IAC? In our view, it does. For the trial court controversies between litigants in accordance with the established norms of law and
clearly acted outside of its jurisdiction when it issued the assailed orders creating the Ad justice. 39 Decisions of the Supreme Court on mining disputes have recognized a
Hoc Committee and scheduling the ocular inspection. distinction between (1) the primary powers granted by pertinent provisions of law to the
To begin with the lower court did not have jurisdiction over the mining dispute. With the then Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources (and the bureau directors) of an
issuance of Presidential Decree Nos. 99-A, 309, and 463, 33 the procedure of adjudicating executive or administrative nature, such as "granting of license, permits, lease and
conflicting mining claims has been made completely administrative in character, with the contracts, or approving, rejecting, reinstating or cancelling applications, or deciding
President as the final appeal authority. 34 Section 50 of P.D. 463, providing for a conflicting applications," and (2) controversies or disagreements of civil or contractual
modernized system of administration and disposition of mineral lands, to promote and nature between litigants which are questions of a judicial nature that may be adjudicated
encourage the development and exploitation thereof, mandates on the matter of only by the courts of justice. 40
"Protests, Adverse Claims and Appeals," the following procedure: This distinction is carried on even under the present law. 41 Findings of fact by the Mines
Appeals — Any party not satisfied with the decision or order of the Director may, within Adjudication Board, which exercises appellate jurisdiction over decisions or orders of the
five (5) days from receipt there of appeal to the Secretary. Decisions of the Secretary are panel of arbitrators, shall be conclusive and binding on the parties, and its decision or
likewise appealable within five (5) days from receipt thereof by the affected party to the order shall be final and executory. 42 But resort to the appropriate court, through a
President of the Philippines whose decision shall be final and executory. petition for review by certiorari, involving questions of law, may be made within thirty
days from the receipt of the order or decision of the Mines Adjudication Board. 43
It should be noted that before its amendment, the Mining Law (C.A. No. 137) required
that after the filing of adverse claim with the Bureau of Mines, the adverse claimant had With regard to the second issue, the query boils down to whether the IAC committed
to go to a court of competent jurisdiction for the settlement of the claim. With the reversible error in concluding that petitioners had abandoned their mining claims.
amendment seeking to expedite the resolution of mining conflicts, the Director of Mines As found by the IAC:
became the mandatory adjudicator of adverse claims, instead of the Court of First
instance. 35 Thus, it cannot escape notice that under Section 61 of the Mining Law, as It will not be amiss to state here that the basis of abandonment of the Pearsons of their
amended by Republic Act Nos. 746 and 4388, appeals from the decision of the Secretary mining claims is well established by the evidence already presented to the Bureau of
of Agriculture and Natural Resources (then Minister of Natural Resources) on conflicts Mines and to the Ministry of Natural Resources. We need only to refer to the following

24
reasons found in the decision of the Ministry of Natural Resources, dated October 29, and consistently comply with the requirement for annual works and improvements in the
1975, to wit: located mining claims. 48 Not only should there be a valid and subsisting location of the
mineral land but also there should be, thereafter, continuous compliance with all the
. . . assuming, in gratia argumentis, that the "BAROBO" placer claims were validly located, requirements of law such as the performance of annual assessment works and payment
said claims have been abandoned for failure of the claim owners thereof to conduct works of real estate taxes. 49
therein, to file the affidavits of annual work obligations, and to pay the real estate taxes.
While it is understandable that petitioners would want this Court to reassess the evidence
The evidence indicate that affidavits of annual assessment works have been filed for the presented before the mining officials to support their plea of not having abandoned the
"BAROBO-2" to "BAROBO-5" placer claims from 1946 to 1951. However, the affidavits for mining claim involved, this cannot be done now in this proceeding, for this Court is not a
the years 1957 to 1974, respectively were all filed only on April 8, 1975. Thus, during the trier of facts. Moreover, we find no cogent, much less compelling, reason to depart from
latter years, no proof was submitted to show compliance with the annual assessment established practice and precedents. For where, as in the case at bar, there is no showing
works. So, at the time the "DIAMOND" and "MARTIN" placer claims were located and that there was fraud, collusion, arbitrariness, illegality, imposition or mistake on the part
registered, the "BAROBO" claims had already been deemed abandoned and the areas of the Office of the President or a department head in rendering a questioned decision;
covered thereby open to relocation." nor a total lack of substantial evidence to support their administrative decisions, their
Said decision also took into account Executive Order No. 141, dated August 1, 1968, which factual findings and conclusions are entitled to great weight and respect, and will not be
provides: interfered with. 50

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED, and the assailed Orders and Decisions,
the vested in me by law, do hereby declare unpatented mining claims which were located particularly the Decision of the Intermediate Appellate Court in AC-G.R. No. 15439,
more than thirty years ago under the provisions of the Philippine Bill of 1902, as amended, including the Order of dismissal of Civil Case No. 45053, are hereby AFFIRMED.
and which had not complied with the annual assessment requirement, as abandoned and No pronouncement as to costs.
their declaration of location cancelled. 44
SO ORDERED.
Well established is the rule that findings of fact made in the decision of the Minister of
Natural Resources (then Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources) appealed from Bellosillo, Vitug and Panganiban, JJ., concur.
will not be reviewed by this Court unless there has been a grave abuse of discretion in
making said findings by reason of the total absence of competent evidence in support Davide, Jr., J., Principally for the reason that the instant petition was filed out of time and
thereof. 45 As shown above, the public officials' judgments are well supported by definitely or a substitutes for the lost remedy of opposed.
substantial evidence. Moreover, by the Pearsons' own admission, they failed to file the
affidavit of annual assessment works and to pay the real estate taxes from 1957-1974,
which were filed and paid only later in 1974. 46

In Santa Rosa Mining Co. vs. Hon Minister of Natural Resources Jose Leido, Jr. and Director
of Mines Juanito Fernandez 47, this Court held that while it is recognized that the right of
a locator of a mining claim is a property right, such right is not absolute. It is merely a
possessory right, more so where petitioner's claims are still unpatented. Mere location
does not mean absolute ownership over the affected land or located claim. It merely
segregates the located land or area from the public domain by barring other would-be
locators from locating the same and appropriating for themselves the minerals found
therein. To rule otherwise would imply the location is all that is needed to acquire and
maintain rights over a located mining claim. This cannot be approved or sanctioned
because it is contrary to the intention of the lawmaker that the locator should faithfully
25
G.R. Nos. 89898-99 October 1, 1990 Petitioner filed a motion to lift the garnishment, on the ground that the manner of
payment of the expropriation amount should be done in installments which the
MUNICIPALITY OF MAKATI, petitioner, respondent RTC judge failed to state in his decision. Private respondent filed its
vs. opposition to the motion.
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, HON. SALVADOR P. DE GUZMAN, JR., as Judge
RTC of Makati, Branch CXLII ADMIRAL FINANCE CREDITORS CONSORTIUM, INC., and Pending resolution of the above motions, petitioner filed on July 20, 1988 a
SHERIFF SILVINO R. PASTRANA, respondents. "Manifestation" informing the court that private respondent was no longer the true and
lawful owner of the subject property because a new title over the property had been
Defante & Elegado for petitioner. registered in the name of Philippine Savings Bank, Inc. (PSB) Respondent RTC judge issued
Roberto B. Lugue for private respondent Admiral Finance Creditors' Consortium, Inc. an order requiring PSB to make available the documents pertaining to its transactions
over the subject property, and the PNB Buendia Branch to reveal the amount in
RESOLUTION petitioner's account which was garnished by respondent sheriff. In compliance with this
order, PSB filed a manifestation informing the court that it had consolidated its ownership
over the property as mortgagee/purchaser at an extrajudicial foreclosure sale held on
CORTÉS, J.: April 20, 1987. After several conferences, PSB and private respondent entered into a
compromise agreement whereby they agreed to divide between themselves the
The present petition for review is an off-shoot of expropriation proceedings initiated by compensation due from the expropriation proceedings.
petitioner Municipality of Makati against private respondent Admiral Finance Creditors
Consortium, Inc., Home Building System & Realty Corporation and one Arceli P. Jo, Respondent trial judge subsequently issued an order dated September 8, 1988 which: (1)
involving a parcel of land and improvements thereon located at Mayapis St., San Antonio approved the compromise agreement; (2) ordered PNB Buendia Branch to immediately
Village, Makati and registered in the name of Arceli P. Jo under TCT No. S-5499. release to PSB the sum of P4,953,506.45 which corresponds to the balance of the
appraised value of the subject property under the RTC decision dated June 4, 1987, from
It appears that the action for eminent domain was filed on May 20, 1986, docketed as the garnished account of petitioner; and, (3) ordered PSB and private respondent to
Civil Case No. 13699. Attached to petitioner's complaint was a certification that a bank execute the necessary deed of conveyance over the subject property in favor of petitioner.
account (Account No. S/A 265-537154-3) had been opened with the PNB Buendia Branch Petitioner's motion to lift the garnishment was denied.
under petitioner's name containing the sum of P417,510.00, made pursuant to the
provisions of Pres. Decree No. 42. After due hearing where the parties presented their Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration, which was duly opposed by private
respective appraisal reports regarding the value of the property, respondent RTC judge respondent. On the other hand, for failure of the manager of the PNB Buendia Branch to
rendered a decision on June 4, 1987, fixing the appraised value of the property at comply with the order dated September 8, 1988, private respondent filed two succeeding
P5,291,666.00, and ordering petitioner to pay this amount minus the advanced payment motions to require the bank manager to show cause why he should not be held in
of P338,160.00 which was earlier released to private respondent. contempt of court. During the hearings conducted for the above motions, the general
manager of the PNB Buendia Branch, a Mr. Antonio Bautista, informed the court that he
After this decision became final and executory, private respondent moved for the was still waiting for proper authorization from the PNB head office enabling him to make
issuance of a writ of execution. This motion was granted by respondent RTC judge. After a disbursement for the amount so ordered. For its part, petitioner contended that its
issuance of the writ of execution, a Notice of Garnishment dated January 14, 1988 was funds at the PNB Buendia Branch could neither be garnished nor levied upon execution,
served by respondent sheriff Silvino R. Pastrana upon the manager of the PNB Buendia for to do so would result in the disbursement of public funds without the proper
Branch. However, respondent sheriff was informed that a "hold code" was placed on the appropriation required under the law, citing the case of Republic of the Philippines v.
account of petitioner. As a result of this, private respondent filed a motion dated January Palacio [G.R. No. L-20322, May 29, 1968, 23 SCRA 899].
27, 1988 praying that an order be issued directing the bank to deliver to respondent
sheriff the amount equivalent to the unpaid balance due under the RTC decision dated Respondent trial judge issued an order dated December 21, 1988 denying petitioner's
June 4, 1987. motion for reconsideration on the ground that the doctrine enunciated in Republic v.
Palacio did not apply to the case because petitioner's PNB Account No. S/A 265-537154-

26
3 was an account specifically opened for the expropriation proceedings of the subject proceed to resolve the principal issues presented based on the factual circumstances thus
property pursuant to Pres. Decree No. 42. Respondent RTC judge likewise declared Mr. alleged by petitioner.
Antonio Bautista guilty of contempt of court for his inexcusable refusal to obey the order
dated September 8, 1988, and thus ordered his arrest and detention until his compliance Admitting that its PNB Account No. S/A 265-537154-3 was specifically opened for
with the said order. expropriation proceedings it had initiated over the subject property, petitioner poses no
objection to the garnishment or the levy under execution of the funds deposited therein
Petitioner and the bank manager of PNB Buendia Branch then filed separate petitions amounting to P99,743.94. However, it is petitioner's main contention that inasmuch as
for certiorari with the Court of Appeals, which were eventually consolidated. In a decision the assailed orders of respondent RTC judge involved the net amount of P4,965,506.45,
promulgated on June 28, 1989, the Court of Appeals dismissed both petitions for lack of the funds garnished by respondent sheriff in excess of P99,743.94, which are public funds
merit, sustained the jurisdiction of respondent RTC judge over the funds contained in earmarked for the municipal government's other statutory obligations, are exempted
petitioner's PNB Account No. 265-537154-3, and affirmed his authority to levy on such from execution without the proper appropriation required under the law.
funds.
There is merit in this contention. The funds deposited in the second PNB Account No. S/A
Its motion for reconsideration having been denied by the Court of Appeals, petitioner 263-530850-7 are public funds of the municipal government. In this jurisdiction, well-
now files the present petition for review with prayer for preliminary injunction. settled is the rule that public funds are not subject to levy and execution, unless otherwise
provided for by statute [Republic v. Palacio, supra.; The Commissioner of Public Highways
On November 20, 1989, the Court resolved to issue a temporary restraining order v. San Diego, G.R. No. L-30098, February 18, 1970, 31 SCRA 616]. More particularly, the
enjoining respondent RTC judge, respondent sheriff, and their representatives, from properties of a municipality, whether real or personal, which are necessary for public use
enforcing and/or carrying out the RTC order dated December 21, 1988 and the writ of cannot be attached and sold at execution sale to satisfy a money judgment against the
garnishment issued pursuant thereto. Private respondent then filed its comment to the municipality. Municipal revenues derived from taxes, licenses and market fees, and which
petition, while petitioner filed its reply. are intended primarily and exclusively for the purpose of financing the governmental
Petitioner not only reiterates the arguments adduced in its petition before the Court of activities and functions of the municipality, are exempt from execution [See Viuda De Tan
Appeals, but also alleges for the first time that it has actually two accounts with the PNB Toco v. The Municipal Council of Iloilo, 49 Phil. 52 (1926): The Municipality of Paoay, Ilocos
Buendia Branch, to wit: Norte v. Manaois, 86 Phil. 629 (1950); Municipality of San Miguel, Bulacan v. Fernandez,
G.R. No. 61744, June 25, 1984, 130 SCRA 56]. The foregoing rule finds application in the
xxx xxx xxx case at bar. Absent a showing that the municipal council of Makati has passed an
ordinance appropriating from its public funds an amount corresponding to the balance
(1) Account No. S/A 265-537154-3 — exclusively for the expropriation of the subject
due under the RTC decision dated June 4, 1987, less the sum of P99,743.94 deposited in
property, with an outstanding balance of P99,743.94.
Account No. S/A 265-537154-3, no levy under execution may be validly effected on the
(2) Account No. S/A 263-530850-7 — for statutory obligations and other purposes of the public funds of petitioner deposited in Account No. S/A 263-530850-7.
municipal government, with a balance of P170,098,421.72, as of July 12, 1989.
Nevertheless, this is not to say that private respondent and PSB are left with no legal
xxx xxx xxx recourse. Where a municipality fails or refuses, without justifiable reason, to effect
payment of a final money judgment rendered against it, the claimant may avail of the
[Petition, pp. 6-7; Rollo, pp. 11-12.] remedy of mandamus in order to compel the enactment and approval of the necessary
appropriation ordinance, and the corresponding disbursement of municipal funds
Because the petitioner has belatedly alleged only in this Court the existence of two bank
therefor [See Viuda De Tan Toco v. The Municipal Council of Iloilo, supra; Baldivia v. Lota,
accounts, it may fairly be asked whether the second account was opened only for the
107 Phil. 1099 (1960); Yuviengco v. Gonzales, 108 Phil. 247 (1960)].
purpose of undermining the legal basis of the assailed orders of respondent RTC judge
and the decision of the Court of Appeals, and strengthening its reliance on the doctrine In the case at bar, the validity of the RTC decision dated June 4, 1987 is not disputed by
that public funds are exempted from garnishment or execution as enunciated in Republic petitioner. No appeal was taken therefrom. For three years now, petitioner has enjoyed
v. Palacio [supra.] At any rate, the Court will give petitioner the benefit of the doubt, and possession and use of the subject property notwithstanding its inexcusable failure to

27
comply with its legal obligation to pay just compensation. Petitioner has benefited from
its possession of the property since the same has been the site of Makati West High School
since the school year 1986-1987. This Court will not condone petitioner's blatant refusal
to settle its legal obligation arising from expropriation proceedings it had in fact initiated.
It cannot be over-emphasized that, within the context of the State's inherent power of
eminent domain,

. . . [j]ust compensation means not only the correct determination of the amount to be
paid to the owner of the land but also the payment of the land within a reasonable time
from its taking. Without prompt payment, compensation cannot be considered "just" for
the property owner is made to suffer the consequence of being immediately deprived of
his land while being made to wait for a decade or more before actually receiving the
amount necessary to cope with his loss [Cosculluela v. The Honorable Court of Appeals,
G.R. No. 77765, August 15, 1988, 164 SCRA 393, 400. See also Provincial Government of
Sorsogon v. Vda. de Villaroya, G.R. No. 64037, August 27, 1987, 153 SCRA 291].

The State's power of eminent domain should be exercised within the bounds of fair play
and justice. In the case at bar, considering that valuable property has been taken, the
compensation to be paid fixed and the municipality is in full possession and utilizing the
property for public purpose, for three (3) years, the Court finds that the municipality has
had more than reasonable time to pay full compensation.

WHEREFORE, the Court Resolved to ORDER petitioner Municipality of Makati to


immediately pay Philippine Savings Bank, Inc. and private respondent the amount of
P4,953,506.45. Petitioner is hereby required to submit to this Court a report of its
compliance with the foregoing order within a non-extendible period of SIXTY (60) DAYS
from the date of receipt of this resolution.

The order of respondent RTC judge dated December 21, 1988, which was rendered in Civil
Case No. 13699, is SET ASIDE and the temporary restraining order issued by the Court on
November 20, 1989 is MADE PERMANENT.

SO ORDERED.

Fernan, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Feliciano and Bidin, JJ., concur.

28
G.R. No. 102667, February 23, 2000 Although blind, Iglesias as president was knowledgeable enough to run GABI as well as its
business.
AMADO J. LANSANG, PETITIONER, VS. COURT OF APPEALS, GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE
BLIND, INC., AND JOSE IGLESIAS, RESPONDENTS. On the day of the supposed eviction, GABI filed an action for damages and injunction in
the Regional Trial Court against petitioner, Villanueva, and "all persons acting on their
DECISION behalf".[5] The trial court issued a temporary restraining order on the same day. [6]
QUISUMBING, J.:
The TRO expired on March 28, 1988. The following day, GABI was finally evicted by NPDC.
Before us is a petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeals in C.A. G.R. CV No.
27244, which set aside the ruling of the Regional Trial Court, Manila, Branch 8, in Civil GABI’s action for damages and injunction was subsequently dismissed by the RTC, ruling
Case No. 88-43887, and ordered petitioner Amado J. Lansang to pay private respondent that the complaint was actually directed against the State which could not be sued
Jose Iglesias P50,000.00 in moral damages, P10,000.00 in exemplary damages and without its consent. Moreover, the trial court ruled that GABI could not claim damages
P5,000.00 in attorney’s fees. under the alleged oral lease agreement since GABI was a mere accommodation
concessionaire. As such, it could only recover damages upon proof of the profits it could
Like public streets, public parks are beyond the commerce of man. However, private realize from the concession. The trial court noted that no such proof was presented.
respondents were allegedly awarded a "verbal contract of lease" in 1970 by the National
Parks Development Committee (NPDC), a government initiated civic body engaged in the On appeal, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the trial court.
development of national parks, including Rizal Park,[1] but actually administered by high
profile civic leaders and journalists. Whoever in NPDC gave such "verbal" accommodation The Court of Appeals ruled that the mere allegation that a government official is being
to private respondents was unclear, for indeed no document or instrument appears on sued in his official capacity is not enough to protect such official from liability for acts
record to show the grantor of the verbal license to private respondents to occupy a done without or in excess of his authority.[7] Granting that petitioner had the authority to
portion of the government park dedicated to the national hero’s memory. evict GABI from Rizal Park, "the abusive and capricious manner in which that authority
was exercised amounted to a legal wrong for which he must now be held liable for
Private respondents were allegedly given office and library space as well as kiosks area damages"[8] according to the Court of Appeals.
selling food and drinks. One such kiosk was located along T.M. Kalaw St., in front of the
Army and Navy Club. Private respondent General Assembly of the Blind, Inc. (GABI) was The Court of Appeals noted that, as the trial court observed, the eviction of GABI came at
to remit to NPDC, 40 percent of the profits derived from operating the kiosks,[2] without the heels of two significant incidents. First, after private respondent Iglesias extended
again anything shown in the record who received the share of the profits or how they monetary support to striking workers of the NPDC, and second, after Iglesias sent the
were used or spent. Tanodbayan, a letter on November 26, 1987, denouncing alleged graft and corruption in
the NPDC.[9] These, according to the Court of Appeals, should not have been taken against
With the change of government after the EDSA Revolution, the new Chairman of the GABI, which had been occupying Rizal Park for nearly 20 years. GABI was evicted
NPDC, herein petitioner, sought to clean up Rizal Park. In a written notice dated February purportedly for violating its verbal agreement with NPDC.[10] However, the Court of
23, 1988 and received by private respondents on February 29, 1988, petitioner Appeals pointed out that NPDC failed to present proof of such violation. [11]
terminated the so-called verbal agreement with GABI and demanded that the latter
vacate the premises and the kiosks it ran privately within the public park.[3] In another The Court of Appeals found petitioner liable for damages under Articles 19, 21, and 24 of
notice dated March 5, 1988, respondents were given until March 8, 1988 to vacate. [4] the Civil Code.[12]

The latter notice was signed by private respondent Iglesias, GABI president, allegedly to The Court of Appeals absolved from liability all other persons impleaded in GABI’s
indicate his conformity to its contents. However, Iglesias, who is totally blind, claims that complaint since it appeared that they were merely acting under the orders of petitioner.
he was deceived into signing the notice. He was allegedly told by Ricardo Villanueva, then The new officers of NPDC, additionally impleaded by GABI, were likewise absolved from
chief warden of Rizal Park, that he was merely acknowledging receipt of the notice. liability, absent any showing that they participated in the acts complained of. Petitioner
29
was ordered to pay private respondent Iglesias moral and exemplary damages and than to discharge a public duty."[14]
attorney’s fees.
While private respondents recognize the authority of petitioner to terminate the
Hence, this petition, in which petitioner raises the following issues: agreement with GABI "if [the contract] is prejudicial to the interest of the NPDC," [15] they
maintain that petitioner’s personal interest, and not that of the NPDC, was the root cause
I. WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT PRIVATE of GABI’s ejectment.
RESPONDENTS’ COMPLAINT AGAINST PETITIONER, AS CHAIRMAN OF NPDC,
AND HIS CO-DEFENDANTS IN CIVIL CASE NO. 88-43887, IS IN EFFECT A SUIT The doctrine of state immunity from suit applies to complaints filed against public officials
AGAINST THE STATE WHICH CANNOT BE SUED WITHOUT ITS CONSENT. for acts done in the performance of their duties. The rule is that the suit must be regarded
II. WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT COURT ERRED IN NOT HOLDING THAT as one against the state where satisfaction of the judgment against the public official
PETITIONER’S ACT OF TERMINATING RESPONDENT GABI’S CONCESSION IS concerned will require the state itself to perform a positive act, such as appropriation of
VALID AND DONE IN THE LAWFUL PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL DUTY.[13] the amount necessary to pay the damages awarded to the plaintiff. [16]

Petitioner insists that the complaint filed against him is in reality a complaint against the The rule does not apply where the public official is charged in his official capacity for acts
State, which could not prosper without the latter’s consent. He anchors his argument on that are unlawful and injurious to the rights of others. [17] Public officials are not exempt,
the fact that NPDC is a government agency, and that when he ordered the eviction of in their personal capacity, from liability arising from acts committed in bad faith. [18]
GABI, he was acting in his capacity as chairman of NPDC. Petitioner avers that the mere
allegation that he was being sued in his personal capacity did not remove the case from Neither does it apply where the public official is clearly being sued not in his official
the coverage of the law of public officers and the doctrine of state immunity. capacity but in his personal capacity, although the acts complained of may have been
committed while he occupied a public position.
Petitioner points out that Iglesias signed the notice of eviction to indicate his conformity
thereto. He contends that as evidence of private respondents’ bad faith, they sued We are convinced that petitioner is being sued not in his capacity as NPDC chairman but
petitioner instead of complying with their undertaking to vacate their library and kiosk at in his personal capacity. The complaint filed by private respondents in the RTC merely
Rizal Park. identified petitioner as chairman of the NPDC, but did not categorically state that he is
being sued in that capacity.[19] Also, it is evident from paragraph 4 of said complaint that
Petitioner adds that during the actual eviction, no untoward incident occurred. GABI’s petitioner was sued allegedly for having personal motives in ordering the ejectment of
properties were properly inventoried and stored. GABI from Rizal Park.

According to petitioner, the Court of Appeals’ observation that the eviction was prompted "4. Defendant AMADO J. LANSANG, JR., the Chairman of the National Parks Development
by Iglesias’ support for striking NPDC workers and the letter-complaint sent to the Committee, acting under the spirit of revenge, ill-will, evil motive and personal resentment
Tanodbayan is merely conjectural. against plaintiff JOSE IGLESIAS, served on the plaintiff corporation a letter, dated February
23, 1988 terminating plaintiff’s lease agreement with a demand for the plaintiff
Finally, petitioner avers that the move to evict GABI and award the spaces it occupied to corporation to vacate its office premises…"[20] (Italics supplied.)
another group was an executive policy decision within the discretion of NPDC. GABI’s The parties do not dispute that it was petitioner who ordered the ejectment of GABI from
possession of the kiosks as concessionaire was by mere tolerance of NPDC and, thus, such their office and kiosk at Rizal Park. There is also no dispute that petitioner, as chairman of
possession may be withdrawn at any time, with or without cause. the NPDC which was the agency tasked to administer Rizal Park, had the authority to
terminate the agreement with GABI[21] and order the organization’s ejectment. The
On the other hand, private respondents aver that petitioner acted beyond the scope of question now is whether or not petitioner abused his authority in ordering the ejectment
his authority when he showed malice and bad faith in ordering GABI’s ejectment from of private respondents.
Rizal Park. Quoting from the decision of the Court of Appeals, private respondents argue
that petitioner is liable for damages for performing acts "to injure an individual rather
30
We find, however, no evidence of such abuse of authority on record. As earlier stated,
Rizal Park is beyond the commerce of man and, thus, could not be the subject of a lease
contract. Admittedly, there was no written contract. That private respondents were
allowed to occupy office and kiosk spaces in the park was only a matter of
accommodation by the previous administrator. This being so, also admittedly, petitioner
may validly discontinue the accommodation extended to private respondents, who may
be ejected from the park when necessary. Private respondents cannot and does not claim
a vested right to continue to occupy Rizal Park.

The Court of Appeals awarded private respondent Iglesias moral and exemplary damages
and attorney’s fees. However, we find no evidence on record to support Iglesias’ claim
that he suffered moral injury as a result of GABI’s ejectment from Rizal Park. Absent any
satisfactory proof upon which the Court may base the amount of damages suffered, the
award of moral damages cannot be sustained.[22]

Neither can we sustain the award of exemplary damages, which may only be awarded in
addition to moral, temperate, liquidated, or compensatory damages.[23] We also disallow
the award for attorney’s fees, which can only be recovered per stipulation of the parties,
which is absent in this case. There is no showing that any of the exceptions justifying the
award of attorney’s fees absent a stipulation is present in this case. [24]

WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED. The decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-
G.R. CV No. 27244 is hereby SET ASIDE, and the DISMISSAL of the complaint for damages
by the trial court for want of merit is AFFIRMED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.


Buena, J., on leave.

31
G.R. No. 129132, July 08, 1998 Dr. de la Fuente’s case was decided by the Civil Service Commission in a Resolution dated
August 9, 1988. In that Resolution, the Commission made the following conclusion and
ISABELITA VITAL-GOZON, PETITIONER, VS. HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS AND disposition, to wit:
ALEJANDRO DE LA FUENTE, RESPONDENTS.

DECISION “xxx (The Commission) declares the demotion/transfer of appellant dela Fuente, Jr. from
Chief of Clinics to Medical Specialist II as null and void: hence, illegal. Considering further
DAVIDE, JR., J.:* that since the National Children's Hospital was not abolished and the positions therein
This is a sequel to our decision[1] of 5 August 1992 in G.R. No. 101428, entitled Isabelita remained intact although the title or the position of Chief of Clinics was changed to 'Chief
Vital-Gozon v. The Honorable Court of Appeals, et al., which held that the Court of Appeals of Medical Professional Staff' with substantially the same functions and responsibilities,
had jurisdiction, in a special civil action for mandamus against a public officer (docketed the Commission hereby orders that:
therein as CA-G.R. SP No. 16438 and entitled Dr. Alejandro S. de la Fuente v. Dr. Isabelita
Vital-Gozon, et al.), to take cognizance of the claim for damages against respondent public 1. Appellant dela Fuente, Jr. be retained or considered as never having relinquished
officer. his position of Chief of Clinics (now Chief of Medical Professional Staff) without loss of
seniority rights; and
Specifically, the instant petition seeks to reverse the Resolution of 7 May 1997[2] of
respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 16438 awarding to petitioner below, now 2. He be paid back salaries, transportation, representation and housing allowances
private respondent, moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees after hearing the and such other benefits withheld from him from the date of his illegal demotion/transfer.”
evidence thereon sometime after this Court’s decision in G.R. No. 101428 became final.
No motion for reconsideration of this Resolution was ever submitted nor appeal
The factual antecedents then, as found by us in G.R. No. 101428, must be restated, thus: therefrom essayed to the Supreme Court, within the thirty-day period prescribed therefor
In the early months of 1987 -- and pursuant to Executive Order No. 119 issued on January by the Constitution. Consequently, the resolution became final, on September 21, 1988.
30, 1987 by President Corazon C. Aquino -- reorganization of the various offices of the
Ministry of Health commenced; existing offices were abolished, transfers of personnel De la Fuente thereupon sent two (2) letters to Dr. Vital-Gozon, the Medical Center Chief
effected. of the National Children’s Hospital, demanding implementation of the Commission's
decision. Dr. Vital-Gozon referred “de la Fuente’s claims to the Department of Health
At the time of the reorganization, Dr. Alejandro S. de la Fuente was the Chief of Clinics of Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs for appropriate advice and/or action xxx (She did this
the National Children's Hospital, having been appointed to that position on December 20, allegedly because, according to the Solicitor General, she was) unaware when and how a
1978. Prior thereto, he occupied the post of Medical Specialist II, a position to which he CSC Resolution becomes final and executory, whether such Resolution had in fact become
was promoted in 1977 after serving as Medical Specialist I of the same hospital for six (6) final and executory and whether the DOH Legal Department would officially assail the
years (since 1971). mentioned Resolution.” But she did not answer Dr. de la Fuente’s letters, not even to
inform him of the referral thereof to the Assistant Secretary. She chose simply to await
On February 4, 1988 Dr. de la Fuente received notice from the Department of Health that “legal guidance from the DOH Legal Department.” On the other hand, no one in the DOH
he would be re-appointed “Medical Specialist II.” Considering this to be a demotion by no Legal Department bothered to reply to Dr. de la Fuente, or to take steps to comply or
less than two ranks from his post as Chief of Clinics, Dr. de la Fuente filed a protest with otherwise advise compliance, with the final and executory Resolution of the Civil Service
the DOH Reorganization Board. When his protest was ignored, he brought his case to the Commission. In fact, de la Fuente claims that Vital-Gozon had “actually threatened to stop
Civil Service Commission where it was docketed as CSC Case No. 4. In the meantime “the paying xxx (his) salary and allowances on the pretext that he has as yet no 'approved'
duties and responsibilities pertaining to the position of Chief of Clinics were turned over appointment even as ‘Medical Specialist II’ x x x.”
to and were allowed to be exercised by Dr. Jose D. Merencilla, Jr.”
Three months having elapsed without any word from Vital-Gozon or anyone in her behalf,

32
or any indication whatever that the CSC Resolution of August 9, 1988 would be obeyed,
and apprehensive that the funds to cover the salaries and allowances otherwise due him About a month afterwards, de la Fuente filed with the same Court a
would revert to the General Fund, Dr. de la Fuente repaired to the Civil Service “Supplemental/Amended Petition” dated February 2, 1989. The second petition
Commission and asked it to enforce its judgment. He was however “told to file in court a described as one for “quo warranto” aside from “mandamus”, added three respondents
petition for mandamus because of the belief that the Commission had no coercive powers including Dr. Jose Merencilla, Jr.; and alleged inter alia that he (de la Fuente) had “clear
-- unlike a court -- to enforce its final decisions/resolutions.” title” to the position in question [by] virtue of the final and executory judgment of the
Civil Service Commission; that even after the Commission's judgment had become final
So he instituted in the Court of Appeals on December 28, 1988 an action of “mandamus and executory and been communicated to Vital-Gozon, the latter allowed “Dr. Merencilla,
and damages with preliminary injunction” to compel Vital-Gozon, and the Administrative Jr. as ‘OIC Professional Service’ to further usurp, intrude into and unlawfully hold and
Officer, Budget Officer and Cashier of the NCH to comply with the final and executory exercise the public office/position of petitioner (under a duly approved permanent
resolution of the Civil Service Commission. He prayed for the following specific reliefs: appointment as ‘Chief of Clinics’ since 1978). De la Fuente thus prayed, additionally, for
judgment:
“(1) (That) xxx a temporary restraining order be issued immediately, ordering the
principal and other respondents to revert the funds of the NCH corresponding to the “(a) Declaring that principal respondent Dr. Jose D. Merencilla, Jr. is not legally
amounts necessary to implement the final resolution of the CSC in CSC Case No. 4 in favor entitled to the office of ‘Chief of Clinics’ (now retitled/known as ‘Chief of Medical
of herein petitioner, Dr. Alejandro S. de la Fuente, Jr., and to pay such sums which have Professional Staff,’ NCH), ousting him therefrom and ordering said respondent to
accrued and due and payable as of the date of said order; immediately cease and desist from further performing as ‘OIC Professional Service’ any
and all duties and responsibilities of the said office; (and)
(2) After hearing on the prayer for preliminary injunction, that the restraining order be
converted to a writ of preliminary injunction; and that a writ of preliminary mandatory (b) Declaring that the petitioner, Dr. Alejandro S. de la Fuente, Jr., is the lawful or de
injunction be issued ordering principal respondent and the other respondents to jure Chief of Clinics (now known as ‘Chief of the Medical Professional Staff’ and placing
implement in full the said final resolution; and him in the possession of said office/position, without the need of reappointment or new
appointment as held by the Civil Service Commission in its resolution of August 9, 1988,
(3) That, after hearing on the merits of the petition, that judgment be rendered seeking in CSC Case No. 4.
(sic) permanent writs issued and that principal respondent be ordered and commanded
to comply with and implement the said final resolution without further delay; and, xxx."
furthermore, that the principal respondent be ordered to pay to the petitioner the sums
of P100,000.00 and P20,000.00 as moral and exemplary damages, and P10,000.00 for Copy of the “Supplemental/Amended Petition” was sent to “Atty. Jose A. Favia, Counsel
litigation expenses and attorney's fees. for Respondents c/o Dr. Ma. Isabelita Vital-Gozon, etc., National Children's Hospital, E.
Rodriguez Ave., Quezon City (Atty. Fabia's address not being indicated or mentioned in
x x x his motion for Extension of Time).”

The Court of Appeals required the respondents to answer. It also issued a temporary Again the Court of Appeals required answer of the respondents. Again, none was filed.
restraining order as prayed for, and required the respondents to show cause why it should The petitions were consequently “resolved on the basis of their allegations and the
not be converted to a writ of preliminary injunction. The record shows that the annexes.” The Appellate Court promulgated its judgment on June 9, 1989. It held that --
respondents prayed for and were granted an extension of fifteen (15) days to file their
answer “through counsel, who,” as the Court of Appeals was later to point out, “did not “The question of whether petitioner may be divested of his position as Chief of Clinics by
bother to indicate his address, thus notice was sent to him through the individual the expedient of having him appointed to another, lower position is no longer an issue. It
respondents xxx (However, no) answer was filed; neither was there any show cause [sic] ceased to be such when the resolution in CSC Case No. 4 became final. The said resolution
against a writ of preliminary injunction.” It was a certain Atty. Jose Fabia who appeared is explicit in its mandate; petitioner was declared the lawful and de jure Chief of Clinics
in Vital-Gozon's behalf. (Chief of the Medical Professional Staff) of the National Children’s Hospital, and by this
33
token, respondent Dr. Jose D. Merencilla, Jr. is not legally entitled to the office. motion was granted by the Court of Appeals in a Resolution dated July 7, 1989, reading
Respondents, particularly Dr. Isabelita Vital-Gozon, had no discretion or choice on the as follows:
matter; the resolution had to be complied with. It was ill-advised of principal respondent,
and violative of the rule of law, that the resolution has not been obeyed or implemented.” “The decision of June 9, 1989 having become final and executory, as prayed for, let the
writ of execution issue forthwith.”
and accordingly ordered –
The corresponding writ of execution issued on July 13, 1989, on the invoked authority of
“xxx respondents, particularly Dr. Isabelita Vital-Gozon, xxx to forthwith comply with, Section 9, Rule 39. The writ quoted the dispositive portion of the judgment of June 9,
obey and implement the resolution in CSC Case No. 4 (and) xxx Dr. Jose D. Merencilla, Jr., 1989, including, as the Solicitor General’s Office points out, the second paragraph to the
who is not entitled to the office, xx to immediately cease and desist from further effect that the petitions “are not the vehicle nor is the Court the forum for the claim of
performing and acting as OIC Professional Service.” damages; (hence,) the prayer therefor is denied.”

But de la Fuente's prayer for damages -- founded essentially on the refusal of Gozon, et The writ of execution notwithstanding, compliance with the June 9, 1989 judgment was
al. to obey the final and executory judgment of the Civil Service Commission, which thus not effected. Consequently, de la Fuente filed, on July 20, 1989, an “Urgent Ex Parte
compelled him to litigate anew in a different forum -- was denied by the Court of Appeals Manifestation with Prayer to Cite Respondents for Contempt,” complaining that although
on the ground that the “petitions (for mandamus) are not the vehicle nor is the Court the Gozon and her co-parties had been served with the writ of execution on July 14, they had
forum for xxx (said) claim of damages.” not complied therewith. By Resolution dated July 26, 1989, the Court required Gozon and
Merencilla to appear before it on August 3, 1989 to answer the charge and show cause
Gozon acknowledged in writing that she received a copy of the Appellate Tribunal's “why they should not be adjudged in contempt for disobeying and/or resisting the
Decision of June 9, 1989 on June 15, 1989. Respondent de la Fuente acknowledged receipt judgment.”
of his own copy on June 15, 1989. Neither Vital-Gozon nor her co-party, Dr. Merencilla,
Jr., moved for reconsideration of, or attempted to appeal the decision. At the hearing Gozon and Merencilla duly presented themselves, accompanied by their
individual private lawyers -- one for Gozon (Felipe Hidalgo, Jr.), two for Merencilla
It was de la Fuente who sought reconsideration of the judgment, by motion filed through (Bernardo S. Nera and Moises S. Rimando). One other lawyer appeared in their behalf,
new counsel, Atty. Ceferino Gaddi. He insisted that the Appellate Court had competence from the Health Department, Artemio Manalo, who stated that he was there “in behalf
to award damages in a mandamus action. He argued that while such a claim for damages of Jose A. Fabia.” They explained that they had no intention to defy the Court, they had
might not have been proper in a mandamus proceeding in the Appellate Court “before simply referred the matter to their superiors in good faith; and they were perfectly willing
the enactment of B.P. Blg. 129 because the Court of Appeals had authority to issue such to comply with the judgment, undertaking to do so “even in the afternoon” of that same
writs only ‘in aid of its appellate jurisdiction,’ ” the situation was changed by said BP 129 day. The Court consequently ordered them "to comply with their undertaking xxx without
in virtue of which three levels of courts -- the Supreme Court, the Regional Trial Court, any further delay,” and report the action taken towards this end, within five (5) days.
and the Court of Appeals -- were conferred concurrent original jurisdiction to issue said
writs, and the Court of Appeals was given power to conduct hearings and receive evidence On August 9, 1989, Gozon, as “Medical Center Chief,” sent a letter to Associate Justice
to resolve factual issues. To require him to separately litigate the matter of damages, he Pedro A. Ramirez, advising that under Hospital Special Order No. 31 dated August 3, 1989,
continued, would lead to that multiplicity of suits which is abhorred by the law. de la Fuente had been directed to assume the position of Chief of the Medical Professional
Staff, and that a voucher for the payment of his allowances had been prepared and was
While his motion for reconsideration was pending, de la Fuente sought to enforce the being processed.
judgment of the Court of Appeals of June 9, 1989 -- directing his reinstatement pursuant
to the Civil Service Commission’s Resolution of August 9, 1988, supra. He filed on July 4, More than a month later, or more precisely on September 27, 1989, the Court of Appeals
1989 a “Motion for Execution,” alleging that the judgment of June 9, 1989 had become promulgated another Resolution, this time resolving de la Fuente's motion for
final and executory for failure of Gozon, et al. -- served with notice thereof on June 16, reconsideration of June 29, 1989. It modified the Decision of June 9, 1989 by (a) deleting
1989 -- to move for its reconsideration or elevate the same to the Supreme Court. His its last paragraph (disallowing the claim of damages, supra), (b) consequently describing
34
and treating it as a “PARTIAL DECISION,” and (c) scheduling “further proceedings for the on March 19, 1990 in G.R. No. 87977 (Urbano, et al. v. Chavez, et al.) and G.R. No. 88578
purpose of receiving evidence (of damages),” since said question “cannot be resolved by (Co v. Regional Trial Court of Pasig).
mere reference to the pleadings.” This was done in reliance on Section 3, Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court, invoked by de la Fuente, which reads as follows: Notice of this Resolution of January 11, 1991 was served on the Solicitor General’s Office
on January 18, 1991. Again the Solicitor General sought reconsideration, by motion dated
“SEC. 3. Mandamus. -- When any tribunal, corporation, board, or person unlawfully January 25, 1991 and filed on January 30, 1991. Again it was rebuffed. In a Resolution
neglects the performance of an act which the law specifically enjoins as a duty resulting rendered on August 7, 1991, served on the Solicitor General’s Office on August 20, 1991,
from an office, trust, or station, or unlawfully excludes another from the use and the Court of Appeals denied the motion. It ruled that the “question of the authority of the
enjoyment of a right or office to which such other is entitled, and there is no other plain, Solicitor General to appear as counsel for respondent Gozon xxx (had already) been
speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law, the person aggrieved thereby extensively discussed,” and that its “jurisdiction xxx to hear and determine issues on
may file a verified petition in the proper court alleging the facts with certainty and praying damages proceeds from Sec. 9, Batas Pambansa 129 as amended.”
that judgment be rendered commanding the defendant, immediately or at some other
specified time, to do the act required to be done to protect the rights of the petitioner, In an attempt to nullify the adverse dispositions of the Court of Appeals -- and obtain “the
and to pay the damages sustained by the petitioner by reason of the wrongful acts of the ultimate and corollary relief of dismissing respondent de la Fuente’s claim for damages”
defendant.” - the Solicitor General’s Office has instituted the special civil action of certiorari at bar. It
contends that the Court of Appeals is not legally competent to take cognizance of and
At about this time, yet another lawyer, Atty. Pedro F. Martinez entered his appearance decide the question of damages in a mandamus suit. xxx[3]
for Isabelita Gozon. At his instance, the Court gave him an “opportunity to xxx file a
motion for reconsideration” of the Resolution of September 27, 1989. That motion he On 5 May 1993, the Court of Appeals issued a Resolution[4] which noted that our decision
filed by registered mail on November 10, 1989. His basic contentions were (a) that the in G.R. No. 101428 had become final and left the option to reopen the case to de la Fuente.
decision of June 9, 1989 could no longer be altered, having become final and executory
and having in fact been executed, and (b) that under BP 129, the Appellate Court had no In its resolution of 26 October 1995,[5] the Court of Appeals, inter alia, set the hearing for
jurisdiction over the question of damages in a mandamus action. reception of evidence on the matter of damages on 7 December 1995.

The Office of the Solicitor General also put in an appearance in Gozon's behalf at this After de la Fuente presented his evidence, the Court of Appeals set reception of Vital-
juncture, saying that the case had been referred to it only on November 14, 1989. It, too, Gozon’s evidence on 16 and 17 January 1996.[6]
sought reconsideration of the Resolution of September 27, 1989. It filed on November 16,
1989 an “Omnibus Motion: I. For Reconsideration of Resolution dated September 27, At the scheduled hearing on 16 January 1996, Conrado M. Dela Fuente sought to block
1989; and II. To defer hearing on petitioner's claims for damages.” the presentation of Vital-Gozon’s evidence on the ground that the former had not filed
an answer, which the latter refuted. The hearing was then reset to other dates for the
Both motions were denied by the Court of Appeals in a Resolution dated January 11, 1991. parties to prove their respective claims. Vital-Gozon submitted, on 18 January 1996,
In that Resolution, the Court – copies of a “Manifestation and Motion” dated 10 September 1992 to which was attached
an Answer likewise dated 10 September 1992. It was claimed in the Manifestation that
1) declared that the amended decision had already become final and could no the answer to the claim for damages could not have been filed earlier as the jurisdiction
longer be re-opened because, although “a copy of the amendatory resolution was of the Court of Appeals over de la Fuente’s claim for damages had been questioned before
received by counsel who was representing Gozon on October 3, 1989,” the first motion the Supreme Court. Vital-Gozon likewise claimed that copies of the Manifestation and
for reconsideration was not mailed until November 10, 1989 and the Solicitor General’s Motion were received by the Court of Appeals on 18 September 1992 at 3:40 p.m. and
“Omnibus Motion” was not filed until November 16, 1989; and sent by registered mail to counsel for dela Fuente.[7] The filing of the Manifestation and
Motion with the Court of Appeals was confirmed by Remigio M. Escalada, Jr., Division
2) prohibited the Solicitor General from representing Gozon in connection with xx Clerk of Court of the Fifth Division of the Court of Appeals in an undated Report. [8] He
(de la Fuente’s) claim for damages,” on the authority of this Court’s ruling promulgated further disclosed that the pleading was transmitted to the Archives Section on 19
35
September 1992. In its resolution[11] of 21 April 1997, the Court of Appeals denied petitioner’s motion to
reconsider[12] the 20 March 1997 resolution.
The Court of Appeals then ordered the parties to submit their respective memoranda, [9]
after which, the Court of Appeals promulgated, on 20 March 1997, a resolution denying Petitioner then opted not to present her evidence, as she intended to file a petition with
petitioner’s motion to admit her Answer to the petition and supplemental/amended the Supreme Court questioning the validity of the 20 March 1997 resolution and 21 April
petition for mandamus with damages, on the ground that the period to file the answer 1997 order of the Court of Appeals.[13]
had long prescribed, thus:
On 7 May 1997, the Court of Appeals promulgated a Resolution[14] finding petitioner liable
It was too late that the answer was filed in this Court on September 18, 1992, after for damages and ordered her to pay private respondent P50,000.00 as moral damages,
promulgation on August 5, 1992, of the decision of the Supreme Court in G.R. No. 101428. P20,000.00 as exemplary damages and P10,000.00 as attorney’s fees. In support thereof,
The prescribed period to file such answer as well as the extended period had long expired respondent court quoted our finding in G.R. No. 101428,[15] to wit:
on January 24, 1989 (pp. 35, 37, 55, Rollo) by the time respondent’s answer was filed in
this Court on September 18, 1992. She had another opportunity to answer when The record demonstrates that Vital-Gozon was fully aware of the following acts and
petitioner filed a supplemental/amended petition. (pp. 57, 72, Rollo). Still, she filed none. events:
It is evident respondent just ignored the case filed against her or gave no importance to
the petitions and the notices sent to her by this Court. The delay in filing her answer is 1) the proceeding commenced by de la Fuente in the Civil Service Commission in
inexcusable. protest against his demotion;

After promulgation and upon finality of this Court’s decision granting the principal relief 2) the Commission’s Resolution of August 9, 1988 as well, particularly, as the direction
sought by the petitioner, the instant case for mandamus was virtually disposed of with therein that de la Fuente be reinstated and paid all his back salaries and other monetary
the exception of the incidental damages that petitioner has claimed. It was uncontested benefits otherwise due him, this being couched in fairly simple language obviously
in view of respondent’s failure to answer the petition setting up her defenses. understandable to persons of ordinary or normal intelligence;
Consequently, the allegations in the petition and supplemental petition were deemed
admitted; unpleaded defenses were deemed waived and any counterclaim not set up, 3) no less than two (2) written demands of de la Fuente for implementation of the
barred (Sections 1, 2 and 4, Rule 9, Revised Rules of Court). Such procedural rules would CSC’s aforesaid Resolution of August 9, 1988;
become meaningless unless strictly complied with by litigants. As clearly indicated in the
proposed answer, respondent’s purpose is to set up a counterclaim already barred and 4) the petition filed by de la Fuente in the Court of Appeals for enforcement of the CSC
to plead defenses already waived. Resolution of August 9, 1988;

Besides, the parties as well as this Court are bound by the comprehensive findings and 5) the extension granted by said Court of Appeals within which to file answer, notice
conclusions of the Supreme Court in its final decision in G.R. No. 101428, based on the thereof having been sent directly to her and her co-respondents since the attorney who
uncontroverted allegations of the verified petitions. So are they bound thereby in this sought the extension in their behalf (Atty. Fabia) did not set out his address in his motion
proceeding which deals with the lone issue of incidental damages claimed by petitioner. for extension;
What remains to be done by this Court is but the determination of whether respondent’s
wrongful act or refusal/failure to perform an official duty caused injury to the claimant 6) the “supplemental/amended petition” subsequently presented by de la Fuente,
and the amount of the damages that may be awarded in his favor.[10] copy of which was sent to Atty. Fabia, c/o Dr. Vital-Gozon; and

Respondent court then set the hearing of the case on 22-23 April 1997 “for the 7) the Decision and Amendatory Decision sent to her counsel on October 3, 1989.
presentation of [Vital-Gozon’s] evidence to controvert or rebut that of [de la Fuente]
which he has adduced in support of his claim for damages.” To all these, her reaction, and that of the officials of the Department of Health concerned,
was a regrettably cavalier one, to say the least. Neither she nor the Health officials
36
concerned accorded said acts and events any importance. She never bothered to find out was “made on the basis of documentary evidence x x x without supporting oral
what was being done to contest or negate de la Fuente’s petitions and actions, testimonies.” And the award of exemplary damages, in addition to moral damages, was
notwithstanding that as time went by, de la Fuente’s efforts were being met with success. also deemed proper “even if not expressly pleaded in the complaint nor proved.” Such
award of exemplary damages is by way of example or correction for the public good, in
Nothing in the record even remotely suggests that Vital-Gozon merits relief from the final addition to moral damages (Article 2229, Civil Code). Inasmuch as petitioner is entitled to
and executory Resolution of the Civil Service Commission. This Court will not disturb that exemplary damages, he should be awarded attorney’s fees. The award in favor of
Resolution. It is satisfied that no procedural or substantive errors taint that Resolution, or petitioner of moral and exemplary damages are attorney’s fees in the amounts of P50,000,
its becoming final and executory. P20,000 and P10,000, respectively, is but fair and just and not excessive.[16]

The Court of Appeals then considered the evidence for private respondent and the Unsatisfied, petitioner forthwith filed the instant petition for review on certiorari under
applicable law, thus: Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. She prays that we reverse and set aside the challenged
Resolution on the following grounds:
Upon respondent’s continued refusal without justifiable cause to implement the final
resolution of the Civil Service Commission upholding petitioner’s right to the position he 1. There is absolutely no ground for the award of moral and exemplary damages, as well
has been claiming with back salaries, transportation, representation and housing as attorney’s fees.
allowances and other benefits withheld from him, petitioner is entitled to the damages
he claims. Testifying in his own behalf petitioner declared that he was greatly disturbed, 2. Petitioner’s right to due process was violated.
shocked and frustrated during the three months preceding the filing of his petition; that
he had sleepless nights and suffered from mental anxiety, mental anguish, worry, tension Anent the first ground, petitioner asserts there is no factual basis for the award of moral
and humiliation when respondent ignored and disregarded the final resolution of the Civil damages for, concretely, private respondent was unable to show any causal connection
Service Commission; that he felt harassed by her refusal because he had to go to court to between his supposed injury and petitioner’s alleged actionable wrong. Petitioner argues
obtain relief and had to incur additional expenses for litigation which he could hardly that while testifying, private respondent simply made generalized statements that he had
afford; and that he had to spend no less than P5,000 for court fees and incidental sleepless nights and suffered mental anxiety, mental anguish, worry, tension and
expenses and to pay his counsel P10,000 at the end of the litigation (pp. 6, 7, 12, 13, t.s.n., humiliation. Petitioner next reiterates her stand that she had nothing to do with the Civil
Dec. 7, 1995). All these respondent has not successfully rebutted by her evidence since Service case relative to respondent’s original position, as she was not yet connected with
she adduced none in her behalf. the NCH when said case was filed. Moreover, the failure to immediately reinstate private
respondent was caused by the directive of the Legal Department of the Department of
Petitioner, therefore, is entitled to recover moral damages from respondent for her Health, to which office she forwarded the decision of the Civil Service Commission for
refusal and neglect without just cause to perform her official duty to reinstate petitioner guidance, pursuant to standard procedure. Petitioner, therefore, acted in good faith. She
to the position he was entitled, as ordered by the Civil Service Commission in its decision. likewise faults the Court of Appeals for considering our observations in G.R. No. 101428
While he was reinstated to his position, petitioner had to seek the aid of the courts for as factual findings which bound respondent court.
that purpose. In point is the case of San Luis vs. Court of Appeals, decided by the Supreme
Court on June 26, 1989 (174 SCRA 258, 276), which involves the unlawful suspension and As to exemplary damages, petitioner asserts that she did not act with vindictiveness nor
dismissal by a Provincial Governor of a quarry superintendent and the Governor’s wantonness, hence the award of said damages was unwarranted,[17] as such, there could
obstinate refusal to comply with the final decisions of the Civil Service Commission and likewise be no basis for the award of attorney’s fees.[18]
the Office of the President which declared said suspension and dismissal unlawful or
without just cause. The Supreme Court held that the Governor (who was sued both in his Anent the second ground, petitioner contends that she was sued in her official capacity,
official and private capacities) was personally liable for the damages claimed and awarded hence could not be held liable for damages, and to hold otherwise would violate her right
in favor of the offended party P50,000 as moral damages and P20,000 for attorney’s fees to due process as a private individual, citing Cariño v. Agricultural Credit and Cooperative
and litigation expenses. Tan Kapoe vs. Masa, decided January 21, 1985 (134 SCRA 231), is Financing Administration[19] and Animos v. Philippine Veterans Affairs Office. [20]
also pertinent. There the Supreme Court upheld the award of moral damages although it
Petitioner further argues that the Court of Appeals denied her due process by refusing to
37
admit her answer, considering that: (a) she personally attended each and every hearing January 1989, private respondent, as petitioner below, was granted leave to file a
of the mandamus case; (b) in its decision of 9 June 1989, the Court of Appeals explicitly supplemental/amended petition.[23]
declared that it was not the proper forum for the claim for damages, at which point then
the necessity of an answer had become moot; (c) it was only on 27 September 1989 that The Supplemental/Amended Petition was filed on 3 February 1989,[24] and in the
the Court of Appeals reconsidered its decision of 9 June 1989 thereby upholding its resolution of 9 February 1989,[25] the Court of Appeals required petitioner herein and her
jurisdiction to hear the claims for damages; (d) but then, consistent with her stand that co-respondents in CA-G.R. SP No. 16438 to file their answer thereto within 10 days from
the Court of Appeals had no jurisdiction over the claims for damages, she assailed such notice. However, no such answer was filed, and on 9 June 1989, the Court of Appeals
ruling before this Court, hence she could not have been expected to file an answer; (e) rendered its decision.[26] De la Fuente seasonably filed a motion for reconsideration,[27]
nonetheless, upon receipt of the adverse decision of this Court of 4 August 1992 in G.R. principally as regards the holding that “the petitions are not the vehicle nor is the Court
No. 101428, she immediately filed her answer with a corresponding motion for its the forum for the claim of damages.” A copy of this motion was furnished counsel for
admission; and (f) while her motion for admission of the answer had been pending since respondents. Respondents therein were then required, in the resolution of 5 July 1989, [28]
18 October 1992, the Court of Appeals did not act on it until it was already her turn to to comment within 10 days from notice. However, respondents below once more failed
present her evidence on the claim for damages. to comply. Thus, on 27 September 1989, the Court of Appeals promulgated a resolution[29]
granting the motion for reconsideration by deleting therefrom the challenged portion of
In his comment on the petition submitted in compliance with the Resolution of 21 July its decision of 9 June 1989. Respondent court then set reception of evidence on the claims
1997, private respondent contends that: (a) petitioner’s incomplete and slanted version for damages on 9 and 11 of October 1989.
of the facts of the case cannot be relied upon; (b) the factual findings of this Court in G.R.
No. 101428 are conclusive and binding, hence the Court of Appeals did not err nor abuse Respondents below, represented by new counsel, Atty. Pedro Martinez, and the rest by
its discretion in relying on said findings; (c) petitioner’s invocation of state immunity is the Office of the Solicitor General, filed motions to reconsider the resolution of 27
untenable as she was sued not in her official capacity, and assuming otherwise, petitioner September 1989, primarily on the ground that the Court of Appeals had no jurisdiction
could nevertheless be held liable for damages under Articles 20, 27 and 2176 of the Civil over the claim for damages in the petition for mandamus. The incidental issue of the
Code and Section 3, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court; (d) the Court of Appeals did not err in authority of the Solicitor General to appear for herein petitioner in respect of the claim
denying petitioner’s motion to admit her answer; and (e) the Court of Appeals’ awards of for damages against her in her personal capacity was also raised. These matters became
moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees were proper, fair, reasonable, justified the subject of various pleadings.
and in accord with the law and precedent.
Eventually, on 11 January 1991, the Court of Appeals promulgated a resolution [30] which
Two principal issues thus confront us, viz: (a) whether petitioner was denied due process gave rise to G.R. No. 101428, after the Court of Appeals denied herein petitioner’s motion
when her answer to the petition was not admitted; and (b) whether the awards of moral for reconsideration.
and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees were proper. These will be resolved in
seriatim. Clearly, therefore, petitioner’s failure to file the answer to the petition was due to her
fault or negligence. She was, by formal resolutions of the Court of Appeals, required to
I file answers to both the original petition and the Supplemental/Amended Petition; yet,
she failed to heed both resolutions. As regards the resolution to answer the
We do not hesitate to rule that petitioner was not denied due process. The record of CA- Supplemental/Amended Petition, herein petitioner totally disregarded the same. And if
G.R. SP No. 16438 shows that in the resolution of 29 December 1998, the Court of Appeals only to further evince that herein petitioner had no one to blame but herself for her plight,
gave due course to private respondent’s petition and required herein petitioner and the as regards the resolution to answer the original petition, this she spurned despite the fact
other respondents to answer the petition within 10 days from notice of the resolution.[21] that she asked for and was granted an extension of 15 days within which to do so. That
On 9 January 1988, petitioner and the other respondents, represented by Atty. Jose Fabia, she questioned the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals over the claims for damages is
filed a motion for an extension of 15 days from said date within which to file their answer, entirely irrelevant, considering that she did so only after the Court of Appeals
which respondent court granted in its resolution of 17 January 1989. [22] Likewise, on 17 promulgated its Resolution of 27 September 1989. Up to that time, petitioner had
absolutely no responsive pleading setting forth her defense.
38
besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar
It may likewise be stressed that under Section 2.c.(4) of the Revised Internal Rules of the injury. They may be recovered if they are the proximate result of the defendant’s
Court of Appeals then in force, after the expiration of the period for filing the answer or wrongful act or omission.[32] The instances when moral damages may be recovered are,
the reply in special civil actions, a case is deemed submitted for resolution. Thus, after the inter alia, “acts and actions referred to in Articles 21, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 34 and 35 of
expiration of the 10-day period granted to herein petitioner to file her Answer to the the Civil Code,”[33] which, in turn, are found in the Chapter on Human Relations of the
Supplemental/Amended Petition, and in light of her failure to file her answer to the Preliminary Title of the Civil Code. Relevant to the instant case, which involves public
original petition despite the grant of her motion for extension of time to file it, then the officers, is Article 27,[34] which provides:
case was automatically deemed submitted for decision. After the decision was rendered,
she could then no longer be heard to raise a defense which, by her inaction, she ART. 27. Any person suffering material or moral loss because a public servant or employee
indubitably expressed no desire to raise. refuses or neglects, without just cause, to perform his official duty may file an action for
damages and other relief against the latter, without prejudice to any disciplinary
It cannot then be successfully maintained that the Court of Appeals committed reversible administrative action that may be taken.
error, much less, grave abuse of discretion, when it denied admission to an answer that Article 27 must then be read in conjunction with Section 1 of Article XI (Accountability of
was filed only after this Court’s decision in G.R. No. 101428 had long become final and Public Officers) of the Constitution,[35] which provides:
immutable.
Section 1. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be
What further militates against petitioner’s advocacy is that the Court of Appeals, aside accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and
from affording petitioner an opportunity to be heard through the filing of pleadings, efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.
likewise sustained petitioner’s right to due process at the hearing. What petitioner
It is thus evident that under Article 27, in relation to Articles 2219 and 2217 of the Civil
neglects to mention is that respondent court did not deprive her the right to cross-
Code, a public officer, like petitioner herein, may be liable for moral damages for as long
examine private respondent when the latter testified as to the matter of damages.
as the moral damages suffered by private respondent were the proximate result of
Through the exercise of the right, petitioner could have negated private respondent’s
petitioner’s wrongful act or omission, i.e., refusal to perform an official duty or neglect in
claims by showing the absence of legal or factual basis therefor. Moreover, the Court of
the performance thereof. In fact, if only to underscore the vulnerability of public officials
Appeals explicitly allowed petitioner to present her evidence against the claim for
and employees to suits for damages to answer for any form or degree of misfeasance,
damages. However, petitioner again failed to take the opportunity to have herself heard.
malfeasance or nonfeasance, this Court has had occasion to rule that under Articles 19
and 27 of the Civil Code, a public official may be made to pay damages for performing a
It may be pointed out that in her Answer,[31] she interposed the following defenses against
perfectly legal act, albeit with bad faith or in violation of the “abuse of right” doctrine
the claim for moral and exemplary damages and attorney’s fees, namely: (1) the claim
embodied in the preliminary articles of the Civil Code concerning Human Relations. [36]
was effectively and exclusively a suit against the State, but without its consent; (2) she
had not committed any actionable wrong as she acted in good faith and without malice
Exemplary damages may be imposed by way of example or correction for the public good,
or negligence; and (3) whatever injury private respondent may have suffered were mere
in addition to the moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages. [37]
consequences of his indiscretion, negligence and/or ignorance of the law which, at best,
constituted damnum absque injuria. From the nature of these defenses, they could very
Attorney’s fees and other expenses of litigation may be recovered as actual or
well have been taken up, even indirectly, on cross-examination of private respondent or
compensatory damages when, inter alia, exemplary damages are awarded; when the
in the course of petitioner’s testimony had she chosen to present her evidence. All told,
defendant acted in gross and evident bad faith in refusing to satisfy the plaintiff's plainly
the above discussion should readily refute petitioner’s claim of a denial of due process.
valid, just and demandable claim, and in any other case where the court deems it just and
II equitable that attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation should be recovered. [38]

There can be no question that private respondent was entitled to be restored to his
Moral damages include physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious anxiety, position as Chief of Clinics by virtue of the final and executory decision of the Civil Service

39
Commission. Petitioner, as head or chief of the National Children’s Hospital, then had the Appeals fixed the same at P50,000.00. Since moral damages are, in the language of Article
duty to see to it that the decision be obeyed and implemented. This she failed to do and 2217 of the Civil Code, “incapable of pecuniary estimation,” courts have the discretion to
private respondent’s two official demands for compliance with the Civil Service fix the corresponding amount, not being bound by any self-serving assessment by the
Commission’s decision were merely referred by petitioner to the Legal Department of the claimants. On the other hand, a claimant’s failure to state the monetary value of moral
Department of Health; and as further noted by this Court in its decision in G.R. No. 101428, damages suffered presents no legal obstacle to a court’s determination thereof, as long
“she did not answer [private respondent’s] letters not even to inform him of the referral as there is factual basis for the award such as the claimant’s testimony as to his sufferings.
thereof to the Assistant Secretary [for Legal Affairs]. She chose simply to await ‘legal As a matter of fact, it is not unusual for claimants to leave the determination of the
guidance from the DOH Legal Department.’” This Court further noted: amount of the award to the discretion of the court.

To all these, [petitioner’s] reaction, and that of the officials of the Department of Health Under Article 2233 of the Civil Code, exemplary damages cannot be recovered as a matter
concerned, was a regrettably cavalier one, to say the least. Neither she nor the Health of right; the court will decide whether or not they should be adjudicated. In the instant
Department officials concerned accorded said acts and events any importance. She never case, the Court of Appeals awarded exemplary damages in the amount of P20,000.00.
bothered to find out what was being done to contest or negate [private respondent’s] Considering that a public official is the culprit here, the propriety of such an award cannot
petitions and actions, notwithstanding that as time went by, [private respondent’s] be questioned. It serve as an example or deterrent so that other public officials be always
efforts were being met with success. reminded that they are public servants bound to adhere faithfully to the constitutional
That petitioner then committed an actionable wrong for unjustifiably refusing or injunction that a public office is a public trust. That the aggrieved party happened to be
neglecting to perform an official duty is undeniable. Private respondent testified on the another public official will not serve to mitigate the effects of petitioner’s having failed to
moral damages which he suffered by reason of such misfeasance or malfeasance of observe the required degree of accountability and responsibility.
petitioner, and the attorney’s fees and litigation expenses he incurred to vindicate his
rights and protect his interests. The Court of Appeals which heard him gave full faith and As to attorney’s fees as actual damages, the Court of Appeals’ determination of its
credit to his testimony. Private respondent declared that by reason of the “unjust action” propriety in this case and the extent thereof were well within its discretion. The
or “refusal” of petitioner when she did not recognize, ignored and disregarded the final agreement between private respondent and his counsel as to the amount does not
and executory Civil Service Resolution, he: control.

[W]as actually greatly disturbed, shocked and frustrated during those three ... months. Petitioner’s contention that she cannot be liable for damages since she was sued in her
[He] had sleepless nights and ... suffered from mental anxiety, worry, tension and official capacity is without merit. Whether petitioner was impleaded as respondent in an
humiliation...[39] official capacity, i.e., solely in her capacity as Chief of the National Children’s Hospital, is
best determined from the Petition as well as the Supplemental/Amended Petition. For
Private respondent’s anguish even continued during the 5-month period while the case
one, in the captions in both, she is named as one of the respondents without any express
was pending with the Court of Appeals, thus:
mention that she was so sued in her “capacity, as Chief of the National Children’s Hospital.”
During this period my sleepless nights and my moral sufferings continued. As a matter of For another, the allegations in the body of the Petition clearly show that she was sued in
fact, even worsened. I just could not understand, actually I could not understand the both her official and private capacities. As to the former, paragraphs 1 and 7 respectively
action here of Dr. Gozon for having not followed the decision of the Court of Appeals. And allege petitioner’s position as a public official, and specifically as “Head of the Children’s
that is why I felt very much aggrieved during this period. I could not sleep at all and this Hospital;” her duty to restore private respondent to his position by virtue of the final
has weakened me.[40] decision of the Civil Service Commission; and her refusal to allow private respondent to
perform and discharge his duties and responsibilities as Chief of Clinics. As to the latter,
Private respondent further testified that he “spent not less than P5,000.00 for court fees paragraph 16 of the Petition explicitly speaks of petitioner’s personal liability, thus:
and as incidental expenses” and had committed himself to pay “P10,000.00 to his counsel
at the end of the case.”[41] 16. For causing such mental suffering and anguish, etc.,[42] principal respondent [herein
petitioner] ought to and must be, in accordance with the Civil Code, held personally
While private respondent did not quantify the extent of his moral damages, the Court of answerable and liable to the petitioner in the sum of not less than P100,000.00 as moral
40
damages, and another sum of P20,000.00 as exemplary damages, by way of example or
correction for the public good.[43] (emphasis supplied)

In maintaining then that she was sued merely in her official capacity, petitioner has either
overlooked paragraph 16 or sought to deliberately mislead this Court.

WHEREFORE, for utter failure to show that respondent Court of Appeals committed
reversible error in the challenged resolutions, the instant petition is denied.

Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, Vitug, Panganiban, and Quisumbing, JJ., concur.

41
42
G.R. No. L-60150 December 11, 1987 board, for humanitarian considerations, lowered the penalty to five months. Petitioner
filed a third motion for reconsideration; the same was likewise denied. As a last resort,
PFC ROGELIO R. CASTILLO, petitioner, the petitioner comes to us by way of this special civil action for certiorari.
vs.
NAPOLCOM ADJUDICATION BOARD NO. I Composed of: HON. ARTURO R. ADAMOS, It is immediately noticeable that this petition suffers from a fatal defect in that nowhere
HON. WENCELITO R. ANDANAR, HON. GAUDIOSO A. SOLOMON, HON. ROMEO R. does it raise a question of jurisdiction, which is the only question involved in certiorari.
ROBISO HON. ROMEO C. CRUZ, NAPOLCOM HEARING OFFICER RICARDO T. SANICO, and The petitioner does not allege, nor does he set out to prove, that the respondent board
MR. JESSIE TEOVISIO respondents. acted without jurisdiction, or in excess of its jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion
in rendering the questioned decision and resolutions. Even on this basis alone, this
petition compels a dismissal.
SARMIENTO, J.: The errors alleged by the petitioner to have been committed by the respondent board
This case arose in 1979 from the affidavit-complaint for Grave Misconduct (Arbitrary pertain mainly to its findings of fact based on its appreciation of the evidence adduced by
Detention and Slander by Deed) filed by private respondent Jessie Teovisio against the opposing parties. It is, however, a well-recognized principle that findings of fact by an
petitioner Pfc. Rogelio Castillo with the National Police Commission (NAPOLCOM). administrative board or officials, like the respondent board, following a hearing, are
binding and conclusive upon the courts so long as they are supported by substantial
The petitioner was accused of arresting without legal cause, on May 10, 1979, the private evidence, even if not overwhelming or preponderant. The reviewing courts cannot
respondent and two others, all waiters at the Ang Tunay na Pansit Malabon substitute its judgment for that of the administrative agency on the sufficiency of the
Restaurant situated at Timog Avenue, Quezon City; of handcuffing, slapping, and boxing evidence. Only where it clearly appears that there was no proof before the administrative
on the chest the private respondent and forcing him and his two fellow waiters into the board reasonable enough to support its conclusion would this court be justified in
police car; and of detaining them in the police precinct for eight hours without charges. interfering with the board's decision.

The petitioner and his witnesses denied these imputations and gave their version of the We hold that the findings and conclusion of the respondent board are substantially
incident, as follows: that on the above date, the petitioner along with two other police supported by the record.
officers, went to the said restaurant, owned by Mrs. Estrelita del Rosario, to make a
follow-up of her complaint for Qualified Theft and Oral Defamation filed on May 4, 1979; The petitioner, a public officer, arrested without a warrant on May 10, 1979 the private
that the petitioner merely invited the private respondent and the two other waiters to go respondent and his companions and detained them on the mere suspicion that they had
with him to the police station without forcing them or placing any handcuffs on them; committed "qualified theft" and "oral defamation" in February and April 1979. The fact,
that the trio were released at past eleven o'clock in the evening of the same day on the however, is that the illegal arrest wasperpetrated after the petitioner with two other
order of the inquest fiscal to whom the case. was duly referred. policemen had taken their snacks and after talking to the cashier of the restaurant. The
fact that the petitioner and his two other policemen companions did not effect the arrest
After conducting normal hearings, NAPOLCOM hearing officer Ricardo Sanico found the immediately upon or soon after entering the restaurant strongly indicates that the
petitioner "probably guilty" of a grave offense and consequently recommended his complained subsequent action of the policemen was to accommodate or please the
preventive suspension from the service during the pendency of the administrative case. restaurant owner, a certain Mrs. del Rosario.
Thereafter, the petitioner was preventively suspended effective June 23, 1979 but was
subsequently reinstated on November 12, 1979 by reason of exigency of the service. After xxx xxx xxx
reviewing this report of the hearing officer, Adjudication Board No. I of the NAPOLCOM ... [M]oreover, that the respondent had the intention to arrest complainant and those
rendered a decision dated October 21, 1980 finding the petitioner guilty of Grave against whom Mrs. Del Rosario had a complaint is also manifested by the prior agreement
Misconduct (Arbitrary Detention and Illegal Arrest), and ordering his suspension from the that policemen will go to the place on May 10th, according to respondent's witness,
service without pay for ten months, with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar Trinidad de Guzman. The said Trinidad de Guzman further testified that her aunt, the
offense in the future will be dealt with severely. On petitioner's second motion for restaurant's owner, did not like the existence of the labor union in her restaurant. The
reconsideration of this decision, his first motion having been denied, the respondent President, Vice-President and Sergeant-at-Arms of the said newly organized labor union
43
happened to be complainant and his two companions, Rodolfo Ramirez and Israel
Boranque respectively. 1

xxx xxx xxx

Upon these findings, the respondent board correctly declared the petitioner guilty of
"illegal arrest and "arbitrary detention" constitutive of the offense of grave misconduct.
It is immaterial that "illegal arrest" was not one of the charges filed by the private
respondent against the petitioner, because the facts themselves, as established by the
evidence presented at the hearings, satisfactorily proved the commission of the same.
Besides, proceedings before administrative bodies are governed by their own rules of
procedure which are to be construed liberally in order to effect the just, speedy, and
inexpensive settlement and disposition of disputes between the parties. Since from the
start the detention was without legal grounds, the arrest having been made without a
warrant, an subsequent proceedings were consequently tainted with illegality; hence, the
question as to how many hours may the police complete its investigation and release the
suspect under investigation without violating the law is obviously irrelevant.

In fine, there is no sufficient showing of grave abuse of discretion committed by the


respondent board in rendering and issuing the assailed decision and resolutions.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. The
Temporary Restraining Order issued on April 30, 1982 is accordingly lifted, and the
questioned decision and resolutions of the respondent board are hereby AFFIRMED. This
Decision is immediately executory.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.

Yap (Chairman), Melencio-Herrera, Paras and Padilla, JJ., concur.

44
G.R. No. L-67706 January 29, 1988 In his comment, private respondent alleged that petitioner has been accorded full
opportunity to present his evidence; that despite private respondent's claim that his
ILIGAN CONCRETE PRODUCTS, and/or THE MANAGER, petitioner, name appeared on the payrolls for September 30, 1973 to July 15, 1981, petitioner failed
vs. to produce records to refute said allegation; that although he resigned in 1973, he was
ANASTACIO MAGADAN respondents. subsequently re-employed by petitioner, Nap Lluch, the owner-proprietor; that clearly,
his dismissal by petitioner was illegal; no clearance for such dismissal having been secured
from the Ministry of Labor; that while he was entitled to reinstatement, considering that
YAP, J.: he opted to receive separation pay, he should be paid such pay as awarded in the order
of the Ministry of Labor.
This petition, denominated as "Brief for the Petitioner," seeks to annul the order of the
Ministry of Labor, dated February 28, 1984, the text of which is quoted in frill in the The Court, in its resolution of January 23, 1985, gave due course to the petition and
petition, as follows: required the parties to submit simultaneous memoranda within thirty (30) days from
notice. In compliance with said resolution, the petitioner submitted its memorandum on
Finding no merit in respondent's Motion for Reconsideration of the Order of this Office
May 3, 1985, while private respondent filed his memorandum on April 23, 1985. The
dated May 13, 1983, the same is hereby denied and the Order sought to be reconsidered
Solicitor General submitted a manifestation on May 2, 1985, adopting as his
stands.
memorandum the comment filed on December 20, 1984.
No further motion of similar nature shall be entertained.
We agree with the Solicitor General's contention that the petition is fatally defective for
Manila, Philippines, February 28, 1984. failure to comply with the provisions of Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Petitioner
failed to allege the facts with certainty by not clearly stating in the petition the orders
The petition alleges that petitioner, being engaged in the business of hauling and delivery sought to be annulled, nor attaching certified true copies of said orders and pertinent
of sand and gravel in the City of Iligan, hired private respondent Anastacio Magadan as documents. Instead of remedying the omission, petitioner sought to justify the same by
Collector in February, 1971 until his voluntary resignation, effective at the close of office claiming that the reproduction of the order dated February 28, 1984, on the first page of
hours on September 15, 1973; that on July 22, 1981, private respondent filed a claim the petition was "substantial compliance in lieu of attaching the order of the Minister of
against petitioner with the District Office, Ministry of Labor and Employment, Iligan City, Labor sought to be reviewed." Said order, however, merely stated that the petitioner's
for illegal dismissal, underpayment of wages and underpayment of emergency cost of motion for reconsideration was being denied for lack of merit and that the order dated
living allowance; that the Hearing Officer of Iligan District Office, Ministry of Labor and May 13, 1983 sought to be reconsidered was maintained. While the Court may consider
Employment issued an order (date unspecified) granting private respondent's claim, substantial compliance with the Rules of Court as sufficient, in the instant case, it cannot
which order was affirmed in toto by the Ministry of Labor; that the Ministry of Labor erred be claimed by petitioner that there was such substantial compliance. Without the text of
in holding that there existed an employer-employee relationship between petitioner and the orders sought to be annulled, the Court cannot be expected to act on the petition. As
private respondent from September 15, 1973 to July 15, 1981. we held in Canete vs. Wislizenus 36 Phil. 428, the Court 'is not obliged ... to know what
the plaintiff s cause of action ... and select what the court presumes the pleader intended
Required to comment on the petition (not to file a motion a dismiss), the Solicitor General,
to alleged.
representing public respondent, maintained that the petition was fatally defective for
failure to comply with the mandatory requirements of Section 1, Rule 65 of the Rules of Accordingly, we recall our resolution dated July 23, 1984 giving due course to the petition
Court in that the petition did not allege the facts with certainty and did not attach certified and DISMISS the same for being insufficient in form and substance. Costs against
copies of the pertinent orders sought to be reviewed; and that the public respondent did petitioner.
not err, much less act with grave abuse of discretion in affirming the order of the hearing
officer finding that existence of an employer-employee relationship between petitioner SO ORDERED.
and private respondent, which finding was supported by substantial evidence.
Melencio-Herrera, Paras, Padilla and Sarmiento, JJ., concur.

45
G.R. No. L-63612 January 31, 1985 (h) That on November 24, 1982 petitioners filed their own 'Motion for Reconsideration'
wherein they submitted and insisted that the respondent Court has the exclusive and
SERAFIN DELA CRUZ, ELADIO MACENAS and RODRIGO DIAZ, petitioners, vs. HON. original jurisdiction to pass upon the issues raised in petitioners' complaint;
INTERMEDIATE APPELLATE COURT, HON. ANTONIO P. SOLANO, EDEN GUEVARA DE
BARADI and JOSE BARADI, respondents. (i) That the private respondents in due time filed their opposition;

RELOVA, J.: (j) That on January 14, 1983, the Honorable Respondent Judge, issued an 'Order' denying
the petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration which order was received by petitioners'
Petitioners seek to set aside the orders, dated October 20, 1982, of respondent judge counsel on January 31, 1983. (pp. 88-89, Rollo)
dismissing their complaint, as well as the order, dated January 14, 1983, denying the
motion for reconsideration, and the decision of respondent Intermediate Appellate Court, Petitioners filed with respondent Intermediate Appellate Court a petition for certiorari,
dated February 22, 1983, denying this petition for certiorari for lack of merit; and, pray prohibition and mandamus instead of appealing from the order dismissing the complaint
that We order respondent judge to hear Civil Case No. Q-34657, for annulment of titles for annulment of titles. The appellate court, on February 22, 1983, promulgated a decision,
with damages. the dispositive portion of which reads:

Respondent appellate court rendered its decision on the basis of the following statement WHEREFORE, finding the petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus to be without
of facts: merit, the same is hereby DENIED any further due course and DISMISSED. (p. 93, Rollo)

(a) That sometime on March 11, 1982 the herein petitioners filed a complaint for This petition for certiorari filed before Us rests on the allegation that the respondent
'Annulment and cancellation of T.C.T. Nos. 274534, 274535, 274537 and 274539 with judge had abused his discretion in issuing the order of October 20, 1982, and the
damages' in the Court of First Instance of Rizal, Quezon City, Branch XVI. Said case was subsequent order of January 14, 1983; and that respondent appellate court did abuse its
docketed as Civil Case No. Q-34657 and was assigned to the respondent Judge, Hon. discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction when it dismissed the petition "without even
Antonio P. Solano; a comment from the respondents." (p. 22, Rollo)

(b) That after summons was served, private respondents herein immediately filed their Required to comment on this petition respondents averred that "petitioners' remedy was
Motion to Dismiss on the sole ground of 'lack of jurisdiction' of the court below to take an appeal from the Order of dismissal of the Hon. Judge Antonio P. Solano and not a
cognizance of the said case; petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, (and) it would be an empty gesture to
require the private respondents to comment on the petition. The Intermediate Appellate
(c) That herein petitioners in due time filed their' Opposition to Motion to Dismiss,' Annex Court could validly render a decision, as it did, and avoid delay in the administration of
B, invoking in support thereof paragraph [b] of Section 44 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 as justice." (p. 116, Rollo)
amended;
Indeed, We consider instant petition to be without merit. Time and again We have
(d) That on July 26, 1982, respondent Judge issued an 'Order' denying the private dismissed petitions for certiorari to annul decisions or orders which could have, but have
respondents' motion to dismiss for lack of merit; (Annex C, Petition) not, been appealed. Where the Court has jurisdiction, over the subject matter, as
(e) That on August 13, 1982, the private respondents filed their 'Motion for respondent judge has in this case, the orders or decision upon all questions pertaining to
Reconsideration' contending among other things that the respondent Court has no the cause are orders or decision within its jurisdiction, and however erroneous they may
jurisdiction over the case; be, they cannot be corrected by certiorari. This special civil action does not lie where the
remedy by appeal has been lost because said remedy cannot take the place of an appeal.
(f) That herein petitioner filed their pleading in 'Opposition' thereto;
ACCORDINGLY, this petition must be denied, as it is hereby denied.
(g) That on October 20, 1982, the Honorable respondent Judge, issued the challenged
'Order' in favor of the private respondents in this case and therein granted the Motion for SO ORDERED.
Reconsideration (Annex E, Petition) thereby revoking his previous order dated July 26, Melencio-Herrera, Plana, Gutierrez, Jr. and De la Fuente, JJ., concur.
1982 (Annex D, Petition). As a consequence, petitioners' complaint was dismissed.
46
G.R. No. L-19631 January 31, 1964 appearing in the latter notice was originally October 4, 1960, but the typewritten digit "4"
thereon was exposed out and number "11" hand written in lieu thereof, in ordinary ink,
PASTOR D. AGO, petitioner, without any initial to indicate the identity of the person who had made the correction.
vs.
HON. TEOFILO B. BUSLON, District Judge of the Court of First Instance of Surigao, Ten (10) days later, respondent court received a telegram of petitioner herein, dated
MONICA URBIZTONDO and PEDRO ORCULLO, respondents. October 10, 1960, once more requesting postponement of the hearing alleging this time
that he had "just" been informed of the aforementioned order of October 1, 1960, and
Tupaz and Ortega for petitioner. that he had no time to appear before respondent court, in the Province of Surigao, he
Herculano F. Azarcon for respondents. having gone to Manila to attend the hearings in cases Nos. 36770 and 39990 of the
CONCEPCION, J.: "Manila Court". This motion was, likewise, denied because it had not been served on the
opposing counsel, and the Orcullos and their counsel were ready for trial, they "having
Original action for certiorari. come all the way from Lianga to Tandag, thru rough seas, and their counsel, also, having
come all the way from (the municipality of) Surigao to (that of) Tandag, a distance of 186
On or about April 11, 1960, respondent spouses Urbiztondo and Pedro Orcullo, instituted,
kms."
against petitioner Pastor D. Ago, civil case No. 1349 of the Court of First Instance of
Surigao, to recover the rentals allegedly due for the use, as a private road, for his logging Thereupon, respondent court proceeded to receive respondents, evidence, but it did not
petitions in the municipality of Lianga, Province of Surigao, of portion of a land, allegedly render judgment until over eight (8) months later, or on June 13, 1961, after noting that
belonging to said respondents in the aforementioned municipality and province. In the petitioner had meanwhile "done nothing in the premises." On the date last mentioned,
complaint filed in said case respondents prayed judgment in their favor: decision was rendered sentencing petitioner to pay to the Orcullos: (a) P220 as damages
for trees cut by petitioner; (b) P2,250 as rentals from February, 1957 to October, 1960;
... (a) requiring the defendant to pay rentals for the passage of his private road across the
(c) P50 a month from November, 1960, until the disputed land shall have been vacated
land of the plaintiffs at the rate of P50.00 a month;
by petitioner; (d) P500 as attorney's fees; (e) P90 as incidental expenses; and (f) the costs.
b. ordering defendant to pay the accrued rentals since February, 1957 up to the filing of
On or about July 11, 1961, petitioner filed a motion to set this decision aside and to
this complaint in the total sum of P1,950.00;
dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction, which motion was denied on November 24, 1961.
c. requiring defendant to pay P200.00 for the destroy coconut trees and nipa palms; Notice of the order to this effect was received by petitioner on January 6, 1962, who
instituted the present action for certiorari on April 6, 1962, upon the theory that
d. ordering the closing of the road, if the defends fail to pay the rentals; and respondent court had no jurisdiction to hear and decide said case; that the decision
therein rendered is, accordingly, null and void; and that petitioner has "no appeal, nor
e. requiring defendant to pay attorney's fees in the of P500.00 and to pay the
other plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law."
costs.1äwphï1.ñët
Being a party in said case No. 1349 and having been duly notified, not only of the decision
In his answer to the complaint, petitioner alleged, inter alia, that the aforesaid road
therein rendered, but, also, of the order of November 24, 1961, denying his motion of
traverses, not the land of Orcullos, but that of one Olimpia C. Jalandoni, and that
July 11, 1961, it is obvious that petitioner could have appealed from said decision, and
respondent court had no jurisdiction to try and decide the case. Petitioner, likewise, set
from the aforementioned order of November 24, 1961, and that such an appeal would
up a counterclaim, for alleged damages, aggregating P37,000.00. After the filing of
have been a plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. Yet, he did
respondents answer to this counterclaim, the case was set for hearing on October 11,
not avail of such remedy. What is more, it would appear that the present action has been
1960. Petitioner's counsel moved for the postponement of said hearing, for the reason
resorted to in order to offset petitioner's failure to appeal from the decision and order
that he had, on the same date, another hearing in the Court of First Instance of Manila.
adverted to above. Indeed, although notice of the order of November 24, 1961, denying
On October 1, 1960, this motion was denied upon the ground: (1) that the notice sent to
his motion of July 11, 1961, had been received on January 6, 1962, petitioner took no step
petitioner's counsel, advising him that the case would be heard on October 11, 1960, is
whatsoever to seek any relief from said decision and order until April 6, 1962, or long
dated August 13, 1960, whereas the notice of hearing of the Court of First Instance of
after the expiration of the reglementary period to interpose said appeal. It is well settled
Manila had been sent to him on September 3, 1960; and (2) that the date of hearing
47
that the writ of certiorari may not be availed of to make up for the loss, through omission
or oversight, of the right to appeal (Casilan, et al. vs. Hon. Filomeno B. Ibañez, et al., L-
19968-69, October 31, 1962; Santos vs. Vda. de Cerdenola, et al., L-18412, July 31, 1962;
Francisco, et al. vs. Hon. Hermogenes Caluag, et al., L-15365, December 26, 1961; City of
Manila vs. Hon. Higino B. Macadaeg, et al., L-15134, November 29, 1961; Paringit vs.
Honorato Masakayan, et al., L-16578, July 31, 1961; Hon. Francisco Jose, et al. vs. Zulueta,
et al., L-16598, May 31, 1961; Profeta, et al. vs. Gutierrez David, et al., 71. Phil. 582, see
also, Grospe, et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al., L-11443, September 30, 1959; Ong Sit vs.
Piccio, 79 Phil. 785; Castro vs. Peña, 80 Phil. 488; Gil vs. Gil III, 80 Phil. 791; Gov't. of U.S.
vs. Judge of CFI of Pampanga, 50 Phil. 975, 979; Santos vs. Court of Appeals, 49 Phil. 398;
Ello vs. Judge of First Instance of Antique, 49 Phil. 152; Gonzales vs. Salas, 49 Phil. 1; De
los Santos vs. Mapa, 16 Phil. 791).

Moreover, although an action for the recovery of not more than P5,000 falls within the
exclusive original jurisdiction of justice of the peace courts, the Orcullos premised their
right of action upon their alleged title to the land described in the complaint and
petitioner contested such allegation, thus putting the title to said land in issue, the
determination of which is within the exclusive original competence of Courts of First
Instance. Then, too, petitioner's counterclaim for P37,000.00 was, also, within the
exclusive original jurisdiction of the latter courts, and there are ample precedents to the
effect that "although the original claim involves less than the jurisdictional amount, ...
jurisdiction can be sustained if the counterclaim (of the compulsory type)" — such as the
one set up by petitioner herein, based upon the damages allegedly suffered by him in
consequence of the filing of said complaint — "exceeds the jurisdictional amount".
(Moore Federal Practice, 2nd ed. [1948], Vol. 3, p. 41; Ginsburg vs. Pacific Mutual Life Ins.
Co. of California, 69 Fed. [2d] 97; Home Life Ins. Co. vs. Sipp. 11 Fed. [2d] 474; American
Sheet & Tin Plate Co. vs. Winzeler [D.C.], 227 Fed. 321, 324; Brix vs. People's Mutual Life
Ins. Co. 41, P. 2d. 537, 2 Cal. 2d. 446; Emery vs. Pacific Employees Ins. Co., 67 P. 2d. 1046,
8 Cal. 2d. 663.)

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby denied and the case dismissed, with cost against the
petitioner. It is so ordered.

Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera, Paredes, Dizon,
Regala and Makalintal, JJ., concur.

48
G.R. No. L-31812, March 17, 1978 of Baguio against Ruiz and the Secretary. He prayed that the Secretary's decision be set
aside (Civil Case No. 705).
JUAN COJUANGCO, PETITIONER, VS. HON. PIO R. MARCOS, IN HIS CAPACITY AS JUDGE
OF THE COURT OF FIRST INSTANCE OF BAGUIO, AND ENRIQUE J. L. RUIZ, RESPONDENTS. In the same court Cojuangco sued Ruiz for damages, for the recovery of the excess area
of 179 square meters, and for the demolition of the stonewall constructed by Ruiz (Civil
DECISION Case No. 478).

AQUINO, J.: The trial court found that Ruiz had encroached upon Cojuangco's lot to the extent of 84
square meters. As already noted, it ordered Ruiz, as a builder in bad faith, to demolish his
Juan Cojuangco filed this mandamus action to compel the Court of First Instance of Baguio wall, to pay P2,520 as accrued rentals and P420 as rental per year, plus P1,000 as
to order the execution of the judgment rendered by Judge Jesus de Veyra on April 28, attorney's fees. The Court of Appeals affirmed that decision.
1959. In that judgment Enrique J. L. Ruiz is required to demolish the wall, which he had
constructed on Cojuangco's lot, and to pay rentals and attorney's fees. The facts are as In the other case, the trial court affirmed the decision of the Secretary of Agriculture and
follows: Natural Resources but the Court of Appeals reversed it and ordered that the amount paid
by Cojuangco for the excess of 179 square meters be refunded to him. Both the trial court
In 1934 Cojuangco purchased from the Bureau of Lands Lot 19 of the Kisad Subdivision, and the Court of Appeals found that there was no gap or no public land between the lot
Residence Section A, Baguio, with an area of 3,127 square meters fronting 68th Street. of Ruiz and Cojuangco's lot. (CA-G.R. Nos. 26590-R and 27811-R, November 24, 1964).
After full payment of the price, or on August 2, 1952, the Director of Lands ordered the
issuance of a patent to Cojuangco. The petition of Ruiz for the review of the decision of the Court of Appeals was denied in
this Court's resolution of July 16, 1965 (L-24451 and L-24552, Ruiz vs. Cojuangco).
Due to the loss of the records during the war, the lot was resurveyed. After the resurvey,
Lot 19 was found to contain 3,306 square meters, or an increase of 179 square meters. During the pendency of the two cases in the Court of Appeals, or specifically on October
The increased area was attributable to the fact that the surveyor, instead of giving the 28, 1959, Atty. Antonio C. Masaquel, as counsel of Cojuangco, requested the Director of
street the mandatory width of fifteen meters, assumed that its width was only ten meters. Lands to issue a patent for the uncontested portion of Lot 19 without prejudice to his claim
for the disputed portion with an area of 85 (84) square meters (pp. 129-130, Rollo).
On the western side of Lot 19 is Lot 85-B-4, with an area of 848 square meters fronting
Legarda Road. Ruiz bought that lot in 1952 from Mariano V. Gaerlan. After Cojuangco had Acting favorably on that request, the Director of Lands issued to Cojuangco on September
rejected the offer of Ruiz to buy a portion of Lot 19 to be used as his (Ruiz's) driveway, 16, 1960 a patent for Lot 19-A with an area of 3,040 (instead of the original area of 3,127
Ruiz filed a sales application with the Bureau of Lands for the purchase of the excess area square meters or a difference of 87 square meters). Based on that patent, Original
of 179 square meters. Cojuangco opposed that application. He applied for the purchase Certificate of Title No. P-249 was issued to Cojuangco on November 4, 1960. The
of the same excess area. contested area not included in the title came to be known as Lot 19-C.

While those two sales applications were pending, or in 1953, Ruiz constructed a retaining On January 6, 1966 Cojuangco, through another lawyer, Antonio N. Lucero, Jr., filed a
wall and driveway on the southwestern portion of Lot 19. He ignored the warning of the motion in the lower court for the execution of its final judgment against Ruiz. Judge Pio
land authorities not to introduce any improvement in that area. R. Marcos, who had succeeded Judge De Veyra, granted the motion.

The Director of Lands in 1954 upheld Cojuangco's preemptive right to purchase the excess However, the execution was not implemented because the lower court, in an order dated
of 179 square meters. He directed Ruiz to remove his improvement on the contested July 30, 1966, gave Ruiz ninety days from that date within which to pay the money
portion of Lot 19. Cojuangco paid the price of the excess area. judgment. In a subsequent order Ruiz was given an additional sixty days to satisfy the
judgment.
Ruiz appealed to the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources who in 1957 ruled
that Ruiz should be allowed to purchase 49 square meters for his driveway. Not satisfied As Ruiz did not make any payment, an alias writ of execution was issued and a levy was
with that administrative decision, Cojuangco filed an action in the Court of First Instance made on one of his lots. The levy was not pushed through. In an order dated September
26, 1967 the lower court granted Ruiz, who appeared in the Judge's chambers on that
49
date, sixty days to prepare a sketch plan of the contested area and to file the proper of 3,127 square meters, the area which he claimed to have originally purchased from the
pleading. Bureau of Lands in 1934, and that the contested area, identified now as Lot 19-C, lying
between the lots of Ruiz and Cojuangco, could not be a part of Cojuangco's lot if its area
On November 27, 1967 the lower court granted Ruiz's ex parte motion that the district is 3,040 square meters.
land officer be authorized to make a resurvey of the lots of Ruiz and Cojuangco. On
January 24, 1968 Cojuangco filed a motion for a second alias writ of execution. It was not The petition for mandamus is meritorious. The lower court's orders abrogating its long
acted upon. final and executory judgment were issued with grave abuse of discretion and without due
process of law and they are devoid of factual and legal justification.
On April 2, 1969, the lower court granted the motion of Ruiz (filed on that day without
notice to Cojuangco) to set aside the alias writ of execution. The lower court said that it Although Lot 19-C is not included in Cojuangco's title, it is no longer public land because
appears from the record that the contested area of 85 square meters is public land and is it is really a part of Lot 19, with an area of 3,127 square meters, which was covered by
not a part of Cojuangco's lot. Thus, by means of that order, the lower court nullified its Cojuangco's duly approved sales application and by the 1952 order of the Director of
judgment as affirmed by the Court of Appeals. Lands for the issuance of a patent to him. He has an existing vested right in that contested
portion. The rule is that the order for the issuance of a patent for public land is
Cojuangco's motion of May 6, 1969 for the reconsideration of that order was resolved by tantamount to the issuance of the patent itself. (Tinio vs. Frances, 98 Phil. 32. See Balboa
the lower court three months later in its order of August 22, 1969, a copy of which was vs. Farrales, 51 Phil. 498 and Gold Creek Mining Corporation vs. Rodriguez, 66 Phil. 259).
sent by registered mail to Cojuangco's counsel seven months thereafter, or on March 9,
1970 and received by him on March 17, 1970. The issuance of the Torrens title to Cojuangco for the reduced area of 3,040 square
meters was without prejudice to his claim for the contested area. He did not waive his
In that belated order, the lower court held that its 1959 decision was invalid because it vested right thereto. The lower court erred in characterizing Lot 19-C as public land and
was based on the "erroneous" assumption that the contested area of 85 square meters is in not implementing the writ of execution.
a part of Cojuangco's lot, when, according to the resurvey plan, it is public land. The lower
court noted that to enforce that decision would prejudice the State and unjustly enrich The lower court's erroneous assumption that Lot 19-C is public land means that it
Cojuangco. proceeded on the wrong premise when it voided its 1959 judgment. In truth, Cojuangco
may be entitled to a supplemental patent or an amended patent in order that the
On March 30, 1970 Cojuangco filed the instant mandamus action to compel the lower contested portion may be included in his Torrens title.
court to execute its 1959 judgment. He claimed damages amounting to P10,000 as
attorney's fees and litigation expenses. His petition may be treated also as a petition for It results that it is ministerial and mandatory for the trial court to enforce its judgment.
review under Republic Act No. 5440 of the lower court's orders of April 2 and August 22, This case does not fall within any of the exceptions where a stay of execution is justified
1969 which rendered nugatory its 1959 judgment. (City of Cebu vs. Mendoza, L-26321, August 19, 1975, 66 SCRA 174). Cojuangco is entitled
as a matter of right to the execution of the judgment in his favor. The execution is
Ruiz in his answer invoked the rule that a final judgment cannot be enforced "as to compellable by mandamus (San Diego vs. Montesa, 116 Phil. 512).
matters and things which have arisen after the final judgment was rendered and which
would be a valid defense to the judgment" (Philippine Trust Company vs. Santamaria, 53 The trial court did not have supervisory jurisdiction to interpret or reverse the decision of
Phil. 463). He cited the doctrine that a trial court cannot be compelled by mandamus to the appellate court affirming its judgment (Shioji vs. Harvey, 43 Phil. 333). Its 1959
execute a judgment, where there is evidence of an event or circumstance which would decision is the law of the case and is res judicata. (See Arnedo vs. Llorente and Liongson,
affect or change the rights of the parties, and the holding that a final judgment may be 18 Phil. 257, 263).
modified to harmonize it with justice and the facts if its execution becomes impossible or
unjust (Abellana vs. Dosdos, L-19498, February 26, 1965, 13 SCRA 244; City of Butuan vs. Considering that Ruiz resorted to tactics designed to frustrate the judgment against him
Ortiz, 113 Phil. 636, 639). and that he constrained Cojuangco to file this mandamus action, he should be held liable
for damages in the form of attorney's fees in the sum of one thousand pesos (Sec. 3, Rule
Ruiz pleaded as a supervening fact his discovery that Cojuangco's lot (Lot 19-A, formerly 65, Rules of Court; 3 Moran's Comments on the Rules of Court, 1970 ed., p. 207; Art. 2208,
Lot 19) has an area of only 3,040 square meters as shown in his 1960 Torrens title, instead Civil Code).

50
WHEREFORE, the lower court's orders of April 2 and August 22, 1969 are set aside. The
petition for mandamus is granted. The lower court is directed to issue an alias writ of
execution to enforce its judgment in Civil Case No. 478. Respondent Ruiz is ordered to pay
the petitioner the sum of P1,000 as attorney's fees and the costs.

SO ORDERED.

Fernando, (Chairman), Barredo, Antonio, and Santos, JJ., concur.

Concepcion, Jr., J., no part.

51
G.R. No. L-17323 June 23, 1965 appellant having abandoned his claim to reinstatement, he cannot now demand payment
of the salary corresponding to the period of his suspension because the right to it is
CLAUDIO GABUTAS, petitioner-appellant, vs. GUIDO D. CASTELLANES, in his capacity as merely incidental to his right to reinstatement; and lastly, that mandamus is not the
Municipal Mayor of Calatrava, Negros Occidental, respondent-appellee. proper remedy to enforce appellant's right to the payment of the salary corresponding to
DIZON, J.: his period of suspension.

This is an appeal taken by Claudio Gabutas from the decision of the Court of First Instance Section 4 of Republic Act No. 557, in providing for the suspension of a member of a city
of Negros Occidental in Civil Case No. 4893 dismissing his petition for reinstatement and or municipal police force who is accused in court of any felony or any violation of law and
recovery of back salaries filed against Guido D. Castellanes, in his capacity as Municipal for his right to the payment of his entire salary during the period of his suspension, in case
Mayor of Calatrava, Negros Occidental. of acquittal, does not require, as a condition, that such member of the city or municipal
police force should have civil service eligibility and should have been permanently
It is not disputed that on May 2, 1951 appellant was extended a temporary appointment appointed as such. We cannot read into the law this condition that the lawmaker did not
as member of the Municipal Police Force of Calatrava, Negros Occidental; that on May 10, deem it wise to include therein, especially if it is for the purpose of denying a member of
1955 he was suspended from the service as a result of the filing of Criminal Cases Nos. the city or municipal police force the right to receive back salary in case of acquittal.
4536 and 4537 against him in the Court of First Instance of said Province; that on June 1,
1955, during the period of his suspension, he was given a promotional appointment at On the other hand, it is true that appellant no longer seeks his reinstatement, but this is
the rate of P780.00 per annum, with retroactive effect on July 1, 1954; that on September no justification in law to deny him payment of the entire salary he failed to receive during
12, 1957, while said criminal cases were still pending, appellee notified appellant of his his suspension if the only condition imposed in that connection — his acquittal — has
separation from the service effective September 15, 1957, and that on the 27th of the been fulfilled. In this case, appellant having been acquitted of the charges which had given
same month, judgment was rendered in Criminal Cases Nos. 4536 and 4537 acquitting rise to his suspension, we are of the opinion that he is entitled to the payment of his entire
appellant. Thereafter, appellee having refused to reinstate him to his position as member salary corresponding to the period during which he was suspended. This period, however,
of the Police Force of Calatrava, Negros Occidental, and to pay his back salary covering must necessarily end on the date when he was separated from the service. His
the period of his suspension from May 10, 1955 to September 15, 1957, appellant appointment being temporary, the same was terminable at the pleasure of the appointing
instituted the present action for Mandamus. After appellee had filed his answer disputing authority and such termination naturally ends appellant's right to the emoluments
appellant's right to the relief prayed for in his petition, the court, on September 27, 1958, appertaining to his office. In the present case, appellant precisely seeks nothing more
rendered the appealed judgment. than the payment of his entire salary corresponding to the period from the date of his
suspension to the date of his final separation from office.
In this appeal appellant seeks nothing more than the recovery of his back salary covering
the period from May 10, 1955, the date of his suspension, up to September 15, 1957, the Concerning the last point raised by appellee, namely, that mandamus is not the proper
date when he was separated from the service. He invokes in his favor the provisions of remedy to enforce appellant's right to his back salaries, We have this to say. The legal
Section 4 of Republic Act No. 557 which read as follows: provision mentioned heretofore provides that, in case of acquittal, "the accused shall be
entitled to payment of the entire salary he failed to receive during his suspension." We
SEC. 4. When a member of the provincial guards, city police or municipal police is accused believe that, in the light of the facts of this case, this provision gives appellant a clear legal
in court of any felony or violation of law by the provincial fiscal or city fiscals as the case right demandable from the proper authorities who, in turn, have an imperative legal duty
may be, the provincial governor, the city mayor or municipal mayor shall immediately to respect the same. The present action was instituted against Guido D. Castellanes, not
suspend the accused from office pending the final decision of the case by the court and, personally but in his capacity as municipal mayor of Calatrava, Negros Occidental, and he
in case of acquittal, the accused shall be entitled to payment of the entire salary he failed appeared and defended the action in such capacity. It is, therefore, clear that the real
to receive during his suspension. party in duty bound to pay the back salaries of appellant, namely, the Municipality of
Calatrava, had its full day in court and the decision rendered herein must be deemed
On the other hand, appellee denies appellant's right to the relief sought on the following
binding upon it.
grounds: firstly, that the law relied upon does not apply to one who does not possess any
civil service eligibility and whose appointment is temporary in character; secondly, that

52
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is reversed and another is hereby rendered
ordering the Municipality, of Calatrava, Negros Occidental, to pay the entire salary of
appellant from the date of his suspension, May 10, 1955, up to the date of his final
separation from office, September 15, 1957, at the rate of P780.00 per annum. With costs.

Bengzon, C.J., Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Paredes, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., and
Zaldivar, JJ., concur.
Bautista Angelo, J., took no part.
Barrera, J., is on leave.

53
G.R. No. L-46845 April 27, 1990 190 was Four Hundred Sixty Four Thousand, Seven Hundred (P464,700.00) Pesos while
the assessor determined it to be One Hundred Twenty Three Thousand Nine Hundred
Hon. PEDRO T. SANTIAGO, Judge, Court of First Instance, Branch 2, Bataan, petitioner, Eighty One Pesos and Ninety Six Centavos (P123,981.96). Sold for One Million Three
vs. Hundred Ninety Five Thousand, Nine Hundred Sixty Eight (P1,395,968.00) Pesos was Lot
COURT OF APPEALS, LUZMINIA T. BAGALAWIS, AMADO SAMSON, JULIETA T. No. 293 as contained in the second deed of sale. The declared market value for this lot
BAGALAWIS, CESAR SICAT, CARLOS T. BAGALAWIS, FIDES ARMENGOL and the EXPORT was Twenty Nine Thousand, Nine Hundred Thirteen Pesos and Sixty Centavos
PROCESSING ZONE AUTHORITY, * respondents. (P29,913.60) while the assessor placed it at Twenty Seven Thousand Four Hundred
MEDIALDEA, J.: Twenty Pesos and Eighty Centavos (P27,420.80). Accordingly, in an order dated October
29, 1975, petitioner judge rejected the "amicable settlement," declared it invalid and set
This is a petition for review brought by a trial judge seeking the reinstatement of his order the case for further proceeding. The parties' motion for reconsideration having been
which was reversed and set aside by the Court of Appeals. denied, they elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals which, as aforementioned, set
aside the order of petitioner rejecting the amicable settlement and instead declared it
Petitioner was the presiding judge of the Court of First Instance of Bataan, Branch 2,
valid. Petitioner judge, evidently motivated in protecting the government from what he
where the petition of the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA) for expropriation was
perceived as a manifestly inequitous and illegal contract, filed this present petition for
raffled. The subject of the expropriation was two parcels of land, Lot Nos. 190 and 293
review.
covered by Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 22484 and 22485 respectively, owned by
private respondents who were, therefore, named as defendants in the proceeding. The While the issue in the Court of Appeals and that raised by petitioner now is whether the
power of EPZA to initiate expropriation proceedings was not an issue. The controversy latter abused his discretion in nullifying the deeds of sale and in proceeding with the
was focused on the just compensation EPZA should pay the private respondents for their expropriation proceeding, that question is eclipsed by the concern of whether Judge
land. For the purpose, three (3) commissioners were appointed by the petitioner judge Pedro T. Santiago may file this petition at all.
who later submitted their findings. But before a judgment could be rendered the parties
arrived at an agreement as to the amount of compensation and the further sale to EPZA And the answer must be in the negative, Section 1 of Rule 45 allows a party to appeal
of another parcel of land covered by TCT No. 22493. Consequently, new TCT's were issued by certiorari from a judgment of the Court of Appeals by filing with this Court a petition
in EPZA's name. In view of this development, the parties moved for the dismissal of the for review on certiorari. But petitioner judge was not a party either in the expropriation
case but was denied by the petitioner who ordered the submission to him of the deeds proceeding or in the certiorari proceeding in the Court of Appeals. His being named as
of sale. respondent in the Court of Appeals was merely to comply with the rule that in original
petitions for certiorari, the court or the judge, in his capacity as such, should be named as
Petitioner judge is of the opinion that having acquired jurisdiction over the case, he party respondent because the question in such a proceeding is the jurisdiction of the court
retains such authority and, considering that the amicable settlement was reached during itself (See Mayol vs. Blanco, 61 Phil. 547 [19351, cited in Comments on the Rules of Court,
the pendency of the proceeding, he has the power to determine whether the agreement Moran, Vol. II, 1979 ed., p. 471). "In special proceedings, the judge whose order is under
was contrary to law, morals, good customs, public order and policy. attack is merely a nominal party; wherefore, a judge in his official capacity, should not be
made to appear as a party seeking reversal of a decision that is unfavorable to the action
Examining the deeds of sale, the petitioner judge found that the compensations agreed
taken by him. A decent regard for the judicial hierarchy bars a judge from suing against
upon by the parties were grossly above both the market value as declared by the private
the adverse opinion of a higher court,. . . ." (Alcasid v. Samson, 102 Phil. 785, 740 [19571)
respondents and as determined by the Provincial Assessor, and are, therefore, contrary
to Presidential Decree No. 76 which provides that just compensation, in cases of ACCORDINGLY, this petition is DENIED for lack of legal capacity to sue by the petitioner.
expropriation, shall be the current and fair market value as declared by the owner or the
market value as determined by the assessor whichever is lower. SO ORDERED.

The first deed of sale concerns Lot No. 190 and the other parcel of land covered by TCT Narvasa, Gancayco and Griño-Aquino, JJ., concur.
No. 22483 not subject of the expropriation proceeding which were both sold for Three
Hundred Forty Nine Thousand, Six (P349,006.00) Pesos. The declared market value for Lot

54
G.R. Nos. 103752-53 November 25, 1992 Ministry of Justice Circular No. 36 dated September 1, 1981. 2 But on August 23, 1991,
petitioner denied the motion and directed the issuance of the warrant of arrest against
HON. AMADO M. CALDERON in his capacity as Acting Presiding Judge, RTC, Branch 11, private respondent. 3
Malolos, Bulacan, petitioner,
vs. On August 27, 1991, private respondent filed with the Court of Appeals a petition
THE SOLICITOR GENERAL and MAURO DIONISIO, respondents. for certiorari and prohibition with an urgent prayer for preliminary injunction to nullify
and set aside the orders dated April 29, 1991 and August 23, 1991 issued by the petitioner,
ROMERO, J.: reiterating that the recommended bail bonds were accordance with the guidelines on bail
This is a joint petition for certiorari (G.R. No. 103753) and mandamus (G.R. No. 103752). bonds issued by the then Ministry of Justice and that the increase of the bail bond was
violative of his constitutional rights against excessive bail. 4
In G.R. No. 103753, petitioner seek the review of the decision dated December 17, 1991
and the resolution dated January 28, 1992 of the Court of Appeals declaring null and void On September 4, 1991, the Court of Appeals required the Solicitor General representing
petitioner's orders dated April 29, 1991 and April 23, 1991 which motu propio increased the People of the Philippines to comment on the petition and show cause why a
the bail bonds posted by private respondent who was accused violating Batas Pambansa preliminary injunction should not be issued within ten days from receipt. 5
Blg. 22 (CA-G.R. SP No. 25801), without citing justifiable reason therefor. On December 17, 1991, the Appellate Court nullified the questioned orders issued by
On the other hand, in G.R. No. 103752, petitioner prays for judgment commanding petitioner for failure to show the reasons for the increase of the bail bonds as required
respondent Solicitor General to forthwith represent him by filing a petition before this by Section 17 of Rule 114 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure as amended. Moreover,
Court by way of appeal from the decision of the Appellate Court in CA-G.R. SP No. 25801. the Court of Appeals added that the unwarranted increase of amount violated private
respondent's constitutional right against excessive bail. 6
The undisputed facts are as follows:
On January 13, 1992, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration after he was refused
On January 29, 1990, the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor filed three separate representation by the Office of the Solicitor General. 7 On January 28, 1992, the Court of
informations for violations Batas Pambansa Bilang 22 with the Regional Trial Court of Appeals denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration. 8
Bulacan (Malolos) against accused-private respondent involving the following amounts:
P114,902.00 (Criminal Case 240-M-90), P141,710.00 (Criminal Case 241-M-90) and Hence, this joint special civil action for certiorari and mandamus.
P110,923.00 (Criminal Case 242-M-90). These three informations were assigned to The two issues to be resolved in this case are whether or not petitioner has standing to
different salas. file this instant petition for certiorari and whether or not a writ of mandamus may issue
Subsequently, the Provincial Prosecutor recomended bail of P1,000.00 for each case, and commanding the Solicitor General to appear in behalf of petitioner.
conformably with the recommendations, private respondent filed three separate bail This joint petition for certiorari and mandamus must fail. We see no necessity in
bonds of P1,000.00 for his provisional liberty. discussing the merits of petitioner's order dated April 29, 1991 which motu
On petition of private respondent, the aforementioned cases were consolidated in the proprio increased the bail bond or private respondent because this joint petition
sala of petitioner. for certiorari and mandamus suffers from a procedural infirmity.

On April 29, 1991, "after noting from the records that the bonds posted by the private To recall, this case originally started as "People of the Philippines v. Mauro Dionisio," in
respondent was only P1,000.00 for each of the three case" petitioner issued an order three separate informations for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22. After petitioner
increasing the bail bond to P25,000.00 (Criminal Case No. 240-M-90); P35,000.00 raised the bail bonds of accused, the latter elevated his case before the Appellate Court
(Criminal Case No. 241-M-90) and P25,000.00 (Criminal Case No. 242-M-90). 1 entitled; "Mauro Dionisio v. Hon. Amado Calderon, Presiding Judge, RTC, Malolos,
Bulacan Branch II." Subsequently, petitioner believing that he was a real party in interest
On May 9, 1991, private respondent filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration of said filed this instant petition for certiorari and mandamus against the Solicitor General and
order contending that the recommended bail in the amount of P1,000.00 was in the accused Mauro Dionisio.
accordance with the Bail Bond Guide for the National Prosecution Service pursuant to the
55
Petitioner, with his years in experience in the judiciary, should have known that he has no Court, the Court of Appeals and other courts and tribunals in all civil action and special
standing to file this instant petition because he is merely a nominal party as gleaned from proceedings in which the government or any officer thereof in his official capacity is a
Section 5 of Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court which states that: party." To buttress his contention, he cites our recent case Ramon A. Gonzales
v. Fransisco Chavez. 12
Defendants and the costs in certain case. — When the petition filed relates to the acts or
omissions of a court or judge, the petitioner shall joint, as parties defendant with such Petitioner has not read carefully our decision. In the Gonzales case, we held that the
court or judge, the person or persons interested in sustaining the proceedings in the Solicitor General may not just drop a case without any legal and valid reason because his
court; and it shall be the duty to such person or persons to appear and defend, both in discretion is not unlimited. To quote, "(L)ike the Attorney General who has absolute
his or their own behalf or in behalf of the court or judge affected by the proceedings, and discretion in choosing to prosecute or to abandon a prosecution already started, our own
cost awarded in such proceedings in favor of the petitioner shall be against the person or Solicitor General may even dismiss, abandon, discontinue or compromise suits either with
persons in interest only and not against the court or judge. (Emphasis supplied). or without stipulation with the other party." We added that, "upon receipt of a case
certified to him, the Solicitor General exercises his discretion in the management of the
Accordingly, a judge whose order is being assailed is merely a nominal or formal party. In case. He may start the prosecution of the case by filing the appropriate action in court or
such capacity, therefore, he should not appear as a party seeking the reversal of the he may opt not to file a case at all. He may do everything within his legal authority but
decision that is unfavorable to the action taken by him. 9 always conformably with the national interest and the policy of the government on the
In the case at bar, private complainant being the real party interested in upholding matter at hand."
petitioner's questioned orders increasing the bail bonds, had the legal personality to file On the basis of the aforequoted jurisprudence, it is evident that since the Solicitor General
the instant case. Since he did not even bother to assail the decision of the Court of Appeals has the right to decide when and how to defend or prosecute a case, his duty, therefore,
holding petitioner's actuations as having been issued with grave abuse of discretion, then is discretionary and not ministerial. A duty is ministerial when the discharged of the same
much less should petitioner go out of his way to file this joint petition requires neither the exercise of official discretion nor judgment. 13
for certiorari and mandamus.
What would be the consequence if the Solicitor General were compelled to appear and
Judge Calderon should be reminded of the well-known doctrine that a judge should defend petitioner's act of increasing private respondent's bail? Obviously, he would acting
detach himself from case where his decision is appealed to a higher court for review. contrary to the bail bond guidelines of the Executive Department, specifically the
The raison d'etre for such doctrine is the fact so the judge is not an active combatant in Department of Justice. Taking up the cudgels for the petitioner would place him at cross
such proceeding and must leave the opposing parties to contend their individual positions purpose with the avowed policies of the Executive Department of which he is undeniably
and the appellate court to decide the issues without his active participation. By filing this a part, as expressed in the different circulars issued by said agency.
case, petitioner in a way ceased to be judicial and has become adversarial instead. 10
Clearly, the pleadings show that petitioner is not entitled to the mandamus he seeks from
Considering that petitioner has no standing to file this certiorari proceeding, then logically this Court, for he has neither shown a clear legal right to the thing demanded nor
his petition for mandamusalso deserves scant consideration. Nonetheless, we feel that demonstrated that it is the Solicitor General's imperative duty to defend him on the sole
we would be making a significant contribution to jurisprudence if we definitely settled the ground that he is public officer.
question of whether mandamus will lie to compel the Solicitor General to represent a
judge whose decision has been nullified by the Court of Appeals. It is our considered WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is hereby DISMISSED and the writ
opinion that petitioner cannot compel the Solicitor General to defend his unwarranted of mandamus applied for is hereby DENIED.
act of increasing the private respondent's bail. As a special civil action, mandamus lies
only to compel an officer to perform a ministerial duty but not to compel the performance SO ORDERED.
of the discretionary duty. 11 Narvasa, C.J., Gutierrez, Jr., Cruz, Feliciano, Padilla, Bidin, Griño-Aquino, Regalado, Davide,
In the case at bar, petitioner contends that pursuant to paragraph (1) of Section 35, Jr., Nocon, Bellosillo, Melo and Campos, Jr., JJ., concur.
Chapter 12, of Book IV of the Administrative Code of 1987, it is the specific legal duty of
the Solicitor General "to represent the government and its officers before the Supreme
56
TRANS MIDDLE EAST (PHILS.), G.R. No. 172556 The integrity of the judicial system is founded on the soundness and rationality of the
judgments emanating from it. Decisions which are blatantly erroneous or founded on
Petitioner, oblique reasoning inevitably foment doubt within the dispirited public as to the
Present: impartiality and judiciousness of the magistrates concerned. A critical eye must especially
be cast on rulings which are not only wrong, haphazardly grounded and obtusely one-
PANGANIBAN, C.J., sided, but fortuitously timed to engender the most advantage to the victor and damage
to the loser.
PUNO,
This Petition for Certiorari was filed by petitioner Trans Middle East (Phil.) Equities Inc.
- versus - QUISUMBING,
(TMEE), the registered owners of erstwhile sequestered shares in Equitable-PCI Bank
YNARES-SANTIAGO, (EPCIB) assailing a Resolution[1] promulgated by the Sandiganbayan on 22 May 2006. The
Resolution declared that a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) initially issued 14 years
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, ago by this Court in cases that were closed and terminated ten years ago, remained in
effect, thus disqualifying TMEE from voting on its shares. The annual stockholders
CARPIO,
meeting of EPCIB was scheduled on 23 May 2006, or the day after the Resolution was
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, promulgated, leaving questions as to the timing of the promulgation. In any event, the
Resolution is rooted in dubious and erroneous legal premises. The writ of certiorari lies.
SANDIGANBAYAN (5th Division) CORONA,
A narration of the relevant antecedents ensues.
PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION CARPIO-MORALES,
TMEE is the registered owner of 6,119,067 common shares of stock in the then PCBank,
ON GOOD GOVERNMENT (PCGG), CALLEJO, SR., now Equitable-PCI Bank. On 15 April 1986, these shares were sequestered by the
Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) on the theory that as they actually
The Board of Directors of Equitable AZCUNA,
belong to Benjamin Romualdez they constitute illegally acquired wealth. Thereafter, a
PCI Bank, represented by its Chairman, TINGA, complaint, docketed as Civil Case No. 0035, was filed against Romualdez by the PCGG
before the Sandiganbayan for the recovery of these shares. Upon motion, TMEE was
CORAZON DELA PAZ and SABINO CHICO-NAZARIO, allowed to intervene by the Sandiganbayan, and it sought to enjoin the PCGG from voting
ACUT, JR. (in his capacity as GARCIA, and these shares.

Corporate Secretary of Equitable VELASCO, JR., JJ. In 1991, the Sandiganbayan, upon motion of TMEE, issued resolutions that enjoined the
PCGG from voting the shares of TMEE and authorized TMEE in exercising its voting rights.
PCI Bank), These resolutions were challenged before the Supreme Court, through petitions docketed
as G.R. Nos. 105808 and 105809. The Court then issued a TRO enjoining the
Respondents. Promulgated:
implementation of the Sandiganbayan resolutions. Subsequently, G.R. Nos. 105808 and
June 9, 2006 105809 were consolidated with several other cases, which were collectively resolved the
Court in a 23 January 1995 consolidated decision entitled Republic
x------------------------------------------------------------------------- x v. Sandiganbayan.[2] The Court resolved to maintain the TRO it issued enjoining the
implementation of the 1991 orders of the Sandiganbayan, decreeing as follows:
DECISION
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered:
TINGA, J.
xxxx

57
B. CONFIRMING AND MAINTAINING the temporary restraining orders issued in April 1986 that required writs of sequestration to be issued by at least two commissioners.
G.R. Nos. 104883, 105170, 105206, 105808, 105809, 107233, and 107908, which While TMEE argued that it was entitled to the actual custody and control of the shares, it
shall continue in force and effect during the continuation of the proceedings in nonetheless manifested that it was willing to deposit these shares in escrow to allay any
the corresponding civil actions in the Sandiganbayan, subject to the latters fear of dissipation, loss or wastage of the subject shares, as well as on all future cash and
power to modify or terminate the same in the exercise of its sound discretion stock dividends to be declared on the said shares.
in light of such evidence as may subsequently be adduced.[3] (Emphasis
supplied) In April of 1998, PCGG filed with the Sandiganbayan a Motion for Issuance of Restraining
Order, seeking to enjoin the holding of the EPCIB stockholders meeting on 30 April 1998,
In a subsequent Resolution dated 22 July 1997, concerning pending motions for contempt on the ground that since the 1997 Supreme Court Resolution enjoined both the PCGG and
against PCI Bank and TMEE, the Court found it necessary to render the following rulings: TMEE from voting the sequestered stocks, these shares stood to be diluted considering a
proposal in the agenda to increase the authorized capital stock of EPCIB, among others.
WHEREFORE, the Court Resolved:
In a Resolution dated 29 April 1998, the Sandiganbayan dismissed these fears of the PCGG
xxxx as unfounded. Moreover, in the same Resolution the Sandiganbayanacknowledged that
II. To DIRECT the Sandiganbayan, in reiteration of this Courts prior this Court had granted it the power to modify or terminate this Courts temporary
directives, promptly to adjudicate after due trial and proper proceedings the restraining order in the exercise of its sound discretion in the light of subsequent evidence.
ultimate factual issue of whether or not the movants are the legitimate, bona Accordingly, the Sandiganbayan proceeded to recognize the right of TMEE to vote the
fide owners of the sequestered shares of stock (or the same constitute ill-gotten shares of stock registered in its name, and to allow it to vote at the stockholders meeting
wealth which should revert to and be forefeited in favor of the Republic, of 30 April 1998. The Sandiganbayan justified such recognition based on the following
represented by the PCGG); and pending such adjudication, resolve, with all premises: (a) that the PCGG which bore the burden of proof to show prima
deliberate dispatch but not later than sixty (60) days from notice of this facie foundation for the sequestration of TMEE shares had failed to timely do so; (b) that
Resolution, the preliminary questions of whether there is prima facie factual no damage or dissipation of the sequestered shares would result should TMEE be allowed
foundation for the sequestration of said stock, and for reasonable ground for to vote them; and (c) that on its face, the writ of sequestration was issued only by one
apprehension of dissipation, loss or wastage of assets if the holders of the PCGG Commissioner, in violation of the PCGGs rules and regulations promulgated on 11
sequestered stock are permitted to vote them; April 1986. Thus, the Sandiganbayan ruled:

III. To COMMAND TMEE and the PCGG forthwith to formally request UNDER THE PREMISES:
the Sandiganbayan to set Civil Case No. 0035 for hearing so that the issues set (2) Philippine Commercial and Industrial Banks (PCIB) Chairman of the
out in the immediately preceding paragraph hereof may be determined with all meeting and the secretary thereof are directed to acknowledge the right
deliberate dispatch; and of intervenor Trans Middle East (Phil.) Equities, Inc. (TMEE) to vote the shares
IV. To PROHIBIT from this date and until completion by of stocks registered in its name and allow it to vote at the Stockholders
the Sandiganbayan of its determination of the preliminary questions set out in Meeting scheduled on April 30, 1998 at 9:00 oclock in the morning or at any
paragraph II hereof, the exercise of the right to vote pertaining to the other time to which said stockholders meeting may be continued or reset. TMEE
sequestered PCIB shares of stock in question by either the PCGG or TMEE at any shall post a bond of ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND (P150,000.00) PESOS to
meeting of the PCIB.[4] answer for any undue damage that the plaintiff PCGG or the PCIB shall suffer by
reason of the sequestered shares of stock having been voted by and for
Meanwhile, in January and February of 1997, TMEE filed two motions before said intervenor.[5]
the Sandiganbayan, both urging the nullification or lifting of the writ of sequestration. It
contended that no valid writ of sequestration was ever issued, the sequestration having The pending motion for nullification of the writ of sequestration was left unresolved then.
been effected through a letter dated 15 April 1986 addressed to EPCIB signed by only one On 10 January 2003, the Sandiganbayan issued a Resolution on the motions filed by TMEE
PCGG commissioner, in violation of the PCGG Rules and Regulations promulgated on 11 in 1997 assailing the sequestration order. The Sandiganbayan granted the motion to

58
nullify the writ of sequestration of TMEE shares, ruling that the sequestration order null The Motion for Execution was heard on 5 May 2006, with TMEE making no appearance
and void as it was issued only by one PCGG Commissioner. It cited the decision of this therein. The Sandiganbayan ordered TMEE to comment on the said motion within ten
Court in Republic v. Sandiganbayan[6] wherein it was ruled that a writ of sequestration (10) days.
signed by only one PCGG commissioner was an obvious transgression of the PCGG
rules.[7] At the same time, based on TMEEs manifestation that it was willing to deposit the Then on May 9, 2006, the PCGG filed an Urgent Ex-Parte Motion to Reinforce/Re-issue
subject shares in escrow to allay any fear of dissipation, loss or wastage of the subject TRO, praying that the Sandiganbayan issue an order re-enforcing and/or re-issuing the
shares, the Sandiganbayan ordered that the shares be deposited in escrow with the Land TRO issued by this Court in G.R. Nos. 105808 and 105809 and to execute the TRO under
Bank of the Philippines. the Decision of the Supreme Court dated January 13, 1995. The PCGG argued that due to
the fact that the stockholders meeting of EPCIB was scheduled on 23 May 2006, there
The Resolution decreed: was an urgent need for the re-enforcement or reissuance of the TRO affirmed by the
Supreme Court in its 1995 Decision. The PCGG also alleged that they had received reports
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing: that the Romualdezes are bent on disposing of their shares in EPCIB, and that should they
1) The URGENT MOTION TO NULLIFY WRIT OF SEQUESTRATION gain control of the bank of (sic) electing themselves and/or their dummies/nominees to
dated January 28, 1997 filed by movant Trans Middle East (Phils.) Equities, Inc., the helm of the bank, there is a danger that the sequestered Equitable-PCI Bank shares
is hereby GRANTED.Accordingly, Sequestration Order No. 86-0056 dated April might dissipate or be disposed of.[11]
15, 1986 is hereby declared null and void for having been issued by one PCGG On 22 May 2006, the Sandiganbayan issued the Resolution now assailed before the Court.
Commissioner only in direct contravention of Section 3 of the PCGGs own The Sandiganbayan acknowledged that the 1998 and 2003 Resolutions it earlier issued
Rules and Regulations. Conformably, however, with the manifestation of had indeed modified the TRO issued by this Court, and that it had the authority, as granted
the movant trans Middle East (Phils.) Equities, Inc. itself, the Court will not order by the Court, to modify or terminate such TRO. Nevertheless, the Sandiganbayan ruled
the return of its shares of stocks sequestered per Sequestration Order No. 86- that both resolutions had not yet attained finality since it itself still had to resolve the
0056 dated April 15, 1986, but orders that the same, including the interests motions for reconsideration respectively related thereto filed by the PCGG in 1998 and
earned thereon, to be deposited with the Land Bank of the Philippines in 2003. The Sandiganbayan opined that it could not re-issue the TRO since it was this Court
escrow for the persons, natural or judicial, who shall eventually be adjudged which issued the same. Still, the Sandiganbayan ruled that it could state that the two
lawfully entitled thereto.[8] (emphasis supplied) resolutions modifying this Courts TRO have not attained finality as the motions for
PCGG filed motions for the reconsideration of both the 1998 and 2003 resolutions of reconsiderations thereto have not been resolved by [the Sandiganbayan].
the Sandiganbayan. These motions have not yet been resolved to date. In the meantime, The dispositiveportion of the Resolution read:
TMEE alleged that it has voted the subject shares from 1998 up to 2005.[9] WHEREFORE, pertinent to the instant motion, this Court hereby declares that
On 2 May 2006, the PCGG filed a Motion for Execution of this Courts Decision in G.R. Nos. considering that two resolutions modifying the Supreme Courts TRO have not
105808 and 105809, which was promulgated on 23 January 1995, or more than ten (10) attained finality as the motions for reconsiderations filed thereto have not been
years earlier. It was argued therein that the 1995 Decision became final and executory by resolved by this Court, the TRO, which was issued by the Supreme Court
virtue of an entry of judgment dated 2 April 1996 which was allegedly received by the disqualifying both the PCGG nominees, TMEE, PAH and PAR, from voting the
PCGG only on 2 March 2006.[10] The purported receipt then only of the entry of judgment sequestered shares in the Equitable PCI Bank and Benguet Corporation,
came one (1) day after the EPCIBs proxy validation deadline with closure of the Record respectively is still existing and in full force and effect.[12]
Book of EPCIB. Desiring to exercise its voting rights as upheld by the Supreme Court, the On the following day, 23 May 2003, TMEE filed the instant petition with this Court, with
PCGG prayed of the Sandiganbayan to issue the appropriate order permitting it to vote a prayer for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order or a Writ of Preliminary
the sequestered shares or, in the alternative, to order re-enforced and/or reissued the Injunction to preserve and maintain the status quo wherein TMEE [was] allowed to vote
TRO affirmed by the Supreme Court in the 1995 Decision, which enjoined TMEE from the shares registered in its name and restraining the respondents from enforcing the [22
voting the sequestered shares. May 2003 Sandiganbayan] Resolution granting the motion to re-enforce/re-issue TRO,
until the final resolution of this Court.

59
In the absence of an injunctive order restraining the holding of the stockholders meeting The Court first dispenses with procedural issues raised that are ultimately minor. The
on 23 May 2006, the meeting was held. Over the objections of TMEE, the election of a petition is denominated as one for certiorari with prayer preliminary injunction and/or
new Board of Directors of EPCIB was held. Since TMEE was not allowed to vote its shares, temporary restraining order, under the ambit of Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. Respondent
it was unable to elect any representative to the Board of Directors despite the fact that it Board of Directors of EPCIB argue that the failure of TMEE to file a motion for
maintained enough shares to be entitled to at least one board seat. Thus, in its reconsideration with the Sandiganbayan precluded the immediate resort to the special
Supplemental Petition attached to a Motion for Leave of Court to File Supplemental civil action of certiorari. As a general rule, certiorari as a special civil action does not lie
Petition, TMEE prayed for the issuance of a resolution directing the maintenance of the unless a motion for reconsideration is first filed before the respondent court. However,
status quo prior to the disputed election of directors; restraining the new Board and the this rule does not apply when special circumstances warrant immediate or more direct
officers elected by them from further performing their functions; and directing the action.[14] It is well-settled that the availability of appeal does not foreclose recourse to
Chairman and Corporate Secretary to recognize and allow the old Board and officers to the extraordinary remedies of certiorari
serve in a hold-over capacity until further orders from this Court.[13] or prohibition where appeal is not adequate, orequally beneficial, speedy and
sufficient.[15] Where the exigencies of the case are such that the ordinary methods of
In the course of deliberating the matter of provisional relief sought by TMEE, the self- appeal may not prove adequateeither in point of promptness or completeness, so that a
evident nature of the correct resolution on the points of law emerged, and a consensus partial if not a total failure of justice could resulta writ of certiorari may still be issued.[16]
developed within the Court that the petition be resolved immediately. The challenged
Resolution is ostensibly grounded on an earlier decision of this Court, yet is ultimately It cannot evade notice that the assailed Sandiganbayan Resolution was promulgated one
oblivious to the full import of that decision and other juridical precedents as well. (1) day before the scheduled stockholders meeting of EPCIB. Evidently, TMEE could no
The Sandiganbayan in its Resolution likewise sub silencio contradicts earlier rulings it had longer have relied on the Sandiganbayan to reverse itself literally overnight, in time for
previously rendered in connection with the same issues, yet takes refuge from its the meeting. The filing of a motion for reconsideration would not have been an adequate
inconsistency on its very own inaction on two still pending motions for reconsideration or speedy remedy for TMEE. Hence, resort to the special civil action of certiorari without
filed eight and three years ago, respectively. filing a motion for reconsideration is justified under the circumstances.

Considering that all the respondents have duly filed their respective comments, there is The more consequential procedural objection lies in the failure of TMEE in its petition to
no impediment to the immediate resolution of the case on the merits. We are compelled pray for the annulment of the 22 May 2006 Sandiganbayan Resolution despite the
to act promptly in light of the highly disturbing circumstances attending this case. This denomination of the petition as one for certiorari, and the arguments therein that
Court cannot countenance unabashed trifling with the judicial process, turn a blind eye the Sandiganbayan acted with grave abuse of discretion in rendering the Resolution. On
on a patent simulacrum of judicial adjudication and allow a glaring travesty of justice to this failure, the respondents in their respective comments argue that the petition, which
go unchecked in time. was accompanied by a prayer for writ of preliminary injunction and/or TRO, is effectively
an original action for injunction beyond the jurisdiction of this Court.
The assailed Resolution in this case, promulgated by the Sandiganbayan on 22 May 2006,
has been used to maximum benefit by the respondents, all connected with EPCIB, in an TMEE, in its Supplemental Petition filed seven (7) days after the filing of the petition, did
obvious corporate squabble which saw its apotheosis in the long scheduled annual subsequently pray for the nullification of the Sandiganbayan resolution on the ground of
stockholders meeting on 23 May 2006 wherein TMEE was deprived of its right to vote its grave abuse of discretion. TMEE deserves some blame for failing to include such prayer
shares despite the fact that it would have been able to elect at least one (1) seat on the in its original petition, yet given the attendant circumstances, it would be an act of
Board of Directors. The Court is also impelled by the recognition that the annulment of triviality to dismiss the petition on that ground alone. For one, even assuming that the
the Sandiganbayan resolution would have a pronounced consequent effect on the petition is indeed an original action for injunction, it was ruled in Del Mar v. Pagcor[17]that
financial community, if not the banking public at large. Hence, the need to resolve this this Court has the discretionary power to take cognizance of the petition at bar if
matter promptly. compelling reasons, or the nature and importance of the issues raised, warrant the
immediate exercise of its jurisdiction.[18] Indeed, such compelling reasons, as adverted to
We now accordingly adjudicate. before, are present in this case.

60
More fundamentally, it is evident from the allegations in the petition, replete with continued recognition of a provisional remedy granted a long time ago, the ultimate goal
imputations of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Sandiganbayan when it of the motion is to secure injunctive relief. As such, the rules on injunction must apply.
promulgated its resolution, that the nature of the petition is one for certiorari, with
injunction sought only as an ancillary relief. The nature of an action, as well as which court The relevant antecedent facts actually point to three successive recourses to injunctive
or body has jurisdiction over it, is determined based on the material allegations contained relief which were availed of in this case. The first was the 1986 order of sequestration,
in the petition.[19] Any doubts as to whether TMEE seeks the annulment of sequestration being in itself a form of a provisional remedy, an extraordinary measure
the Sandiganbayan resolution are cleared by the Supplemental Petition, which expressly intended to prevent the destruction, concealment or dissipation of sequestered
seeks such relief. properties and, thereby, to conserve and preserve them, pending the judicial
determination in the appropriate proceeding of whether the property was in truth ill-
The Court is also inclined to view this defect with liberality, considering that TMEE had gotten.[20]
only one (1) calendar day to prepare the petition, which sought to vindicate the exercise
of its voting rights in the EPCIB stockholders meeting, which was enjoined by The second injunctive relief involved in this case came in the form of the TRO issued by
the Sandiganbayan resolution promulgated just the day before such election. The forced this Court in 1992 in G.R. Nos. 105808 and 105809, restraining the implementation of the
haste under which the petition was prepared cannot be attributed to the fault of TMEE, 1992 Sandiganbayan order allowing TMEE to vote its shares. The right to
and any resulting errors in the petition that are of the non-fatal variety can be the TRO is grounded on the subsistence of the sequestration order.
overlooked. The same TRO issued in G.R. Nos. 105808 and 105809 was reaffirmed in the 1995
Respondents, particularly the EPCIB Board of Directors, ascribe a few other procedural Supreme Court Decision in Republic v. Sandiganbayan, an unusual step in itself
errors on the part of the petitioner, but these are so minor that they do not merit the considering that normally, a provisional injunctive order survives only as long as the case
attention of the Court. Suffice it to say, they do not adduce a compulsory rule that would wherein it was issued. But since the said TRO related to pending incidents in Civil Case No.
mandate the dismissal of the petition contrary to the discretion of the Court to do 0035 before the Sandiganbayan, the Court ceded control over the TRO to the anti-graft
otherwise. court, with a specific grant of authority on the latter to to modify or terminate the same
in the exercise of its sound discretion in light of such evidence as may subsequently be
We now turn to the merits of the case. adduced. The Sandiganbayan did just that through its 1998 and 2003 Resolutions which
respectively recognized TMEEs rights to vote the shares and nullified the writ of
The assailed Sandiganbayan resolution was occasioned by an Urgent Ex-Parte Motion to sequestration.
Reinforce/Re-issue TRO filed by the PCGG, which prayed for the issuance of an order re-
enforcing and/or re-issuing the TRO issued by this Court in G.R. Nos. 105808 and 105809. The third mode of injunctive relief involved herein was the PCGGs motion for the re-
The sort of relief sought is unconventional to say the least. No such remedy is provided enforcement or reissuance of the earlier Supreme Court TRO. Palpably, this motion
for under the rules of procedure, although it is not expressly barred. The uniqueness of prayed for the reaffirmation of the TRO granted by the Supreme Court in G.R. Nos. 105808
the relief sought should nonetheless be cause for skepticism on the part of the court & 105809, cases which were closed and terminated nearly 10 years ago; but at the same
hearing the claim. Procedural rules exist to provide a methodical system that would time effectively sought to enjoin the 1998 and 2003 Sandiganbayan Resolutions, praying
facilitate the judicious disposition of cases. A recourse that finds no authorization or as the PCGG did that TMEE be denied the right to vote its shares notwithstanding the
support under the rules could in fact be aimed to subvert orderly procedure, an end that two Sandiganbayan resolutions.
runs contrary to the interest of justice.
For injunctive relief to avail to the PCGG, it must be able to demonstrate the existence of
The judicial duty, when confronted with such a pleading as the motion for the a clear legal right to be entitled to such relief.[21] In the absence of a clear legal right, the
reinforcement/reissuance of the PCGG, is to look beyond the verbiage and ascertain the issuance of the injunctive relief constitutes grave abuse of discretion.[22] There could only
real nature of the action on which the prayer is founded. In this case, it is ineluctable that be two putative sources of such legal right of the PCGG the 1986 sequestration order and
what the PCGG sought through its motion was injunctive relief that would refrain TMEE the 1995 Decision of this Court which affirmed the 1992 TRO issued by the Supreme Court.
from exercising its voting rights in the 2004 EPCIB stockholders meeting, or other Yet closer scrutiny of either reveals no foundational recognition of a clear legal right of
meetings for that matter. While the legal basis for such prayer is suggested on the the PCGG.

61
It is settled that as a general rule, the registered owner of the shares of a corporation, There is no question that the Sandiganbayan did modify the TRO by virtue of its 1998 and
even if they are sequestered by the government through the PCGG, exercises the right 2003 Resolutions. The 1998 Resolution acknowledge[d] the right of intervenor Trans
and the privilege of voting on them.[23] The PCGG as a mere conservator cannot, as a rule, Middle East (Phil.) Equities, Inc. (TMEE) to vote the shares of stocks registered in its
exercise acts of dominion by voting these shares.[24] The registered owner of sequestered name. The 2003 Resolution went even further in declaring null and void the 1986
shares may only be deprived of these voting rights, and the PCGG authorized to exercise sequestration order. Both resolutions thoroughly explained the reasons for granting
the same, only if it is able to establish that (1) there is prima facie evidence showing that favorable reliefs to TMEE.[27] The 1998 Resolution even specifically invoked the 1995
the said shares are ill-gotten and thus belong to the State; and (2) there is an imminent Decision of this Court that categorically declared that the Sandiganbayan had the power
danger of dissipation, thus necessitating the continued sequestration of the shares and to modify or terminate the restraining order in the exercise of its sound discretion in the
authority to vote thereupon by the PCGG while the main issue is pending before light of such evidence as may be subsequently adduced.[28]
the Sandiganbayan.[25]
Respondent Board of Directors contest the argument that the 1998 Resolution either
Clearly, the existence of the writ of sequestration alone would not legally justify barring lifted or terminated the 1992 TRO, alleging that the dispositive portion therein[29] merely
TMEE from voting its shares. Such preclusion may only occur if there is prima allowed TMEE to votes it shares for the stockholders meeting on 30 April 1998, and not
facie evidence showing that the said shares are ill-gotten and there is an imminent danger at other stockholders meetings held in previous years. This claim is belied by a close look
of dissipation. The Sandiganbayan or any other court has yet to pronounce any findings at the dispositive portion of the 1998 Resolution, which directed the then PCI Bank to xxx
to those effects. In fact, the Sandiganbayan, in its 1998 Resolution, instead declared that acknowledge the right of [TMEE] to vote the shares of stocks registered in its
TMEE possessed a prima facie right as owner of the registered owner of the sequestered name and allow it to vote at the Stockholders Meeting scheduled on April 30, 1998.[30]
shares, and that there appeared to be no strong grounds for apprehension of dissipation
or loss of assets of TMEE.[26] Concerns over dissipation have likewise been assuaged that As evidenced by the use of the conjunctive and, there were two directives contained in
the shares have been deposited in escrow with the Land Bank of the Philippines on the that order, namely: that the right of TMEE to vote the shares of stocks registered in its
initiative of TMEE itself. In any event, the nullification in 2003 of the very writ of name; and to allow TMEE to vote at the 1998 stockholders meeting. The first directive,
sequestration by the Sandiganbayan further militates against any recognition that the mandating the recognition of TMEEs right to vote its shares, is not subjected to any
sequestration order established a clear legal right that entitled the PCGG to injunctive limitation as to time or particular circumstance. Neither did
relief. the Sandiganbayans discussion in the body of the 1998 Resolution support the view that
the right of TMEE to vote the shares was limited to the 1998 stockholders meeting.
We now examine whether the legal consequences of the 1995 Decision of the Court
provide a clear legal right to injunctive relief to the PCGG. Respondents are generally silent as to the effect of the 2003 Resolution nullifying the writ
of sequestration. Yet the import of that ruling is equally important to this case.
An examination of the dispositive portion of the 1995 Decision insofar as it pertains to
TMEE puts in doubt whether its execution should have resulted in barring TMEE from The 2003 Resolution nullifying the sequestration order over TMEEs shares was based on
voting its shares in the 2006 stockholders meeting. While the 1995 Decision maintained the fact, of which there appears to be no serious contest, that the said order, dated 15
the earlier TRO barring TMEE from voting its shares, it also authorized April 1986, was signed by only one PCGG commissioner in violation of the PCGG Rules and
the Sandiganbayan to modify or terminate the same in the exercise of its sound Regulations promulgated on 11 April 1986.[31] The 2003 Resolution particularly cited the
discretion in light of such evidence as may subsequently be adduced. Courts 1998 Decision in Republic v. Sandiganbayan,[32] penned by Chief
Justice Panganiban, which categorically ruled that the writ [of sequestration] must bear
In that sense, the 1995 Decision consisted of two (2) phases. The first phase consists of the signatures of two commissioners, because their signatures are the best evidence of
the affirmation of the TRO, a stance that subsisted as a matter of default. The second their approval thereof.[33] The Court also noted that the PCGG Rules took effect on 11
phase, however, consists of either the modification or termination of the TRO by April 1986, and that the signing of sequestration orders by two commissioners had
the Sandiganbayan in light of the evidence subsequently adduced. Should the condition already been encouraged after April 11, 1986.[34]
set in the second phase modification or termination by the Sandiganbayan then the first
phase is ended, and the affirmation of the TRO can no longer be acknowledged as the The binding effect of the same provision of the PCGG Rules on the PCGG after 11 April
default action. 1986 was also affirmed in the 1996 ruling in Republic v. Sandiganbayan,[35] also penned

62
by Chief Justice Panganiban. Quoting the same provision requiring that the writ of such administrator was not yet final and executory because of a pending motion for
sequestration may be issued upon the authority of at least two commissioners, the Court reconsideration. The Court held:
said that the provision was couched in clear and simple language [and] leaves no room
for interpretation. [R]espondents cannot disobey the reasonable exercise of the authority of a
special administrator on the dubious ground that the order appointing
The finding of the Sandiganbayan that the writ of sequestration was null and void was petitioner Valarao as special administratrix had not in the meantime become
material to the determination whether the PCGG had the right to the injunctive relief it final and executory because of a pending motion for reconsideration filed by
sought. This point is especially relevant, since if the sequestration order against TMEE is them. The fallacy of this reasoning is apparent, for an interlocutory order is not
declared null and void, the earlier TRO will become functus officio. The TRO cannot instantly appealable and therefore there is no period nor action to suspend or
continue to exist if the sequestration order is null and void from the beginning. Based on interrupt by a motion for reconsideration; it is even well settled that a special
the 2003 Sandiganbayan Resolution, the sequestration order against TMEE is deemed civil action for certiorari does not suspend the immediate enforceability of an
void as of 15 April 1986, or more than 20 years ago. Not only the clarity, but the very interlocutory order absent a temporary restraining order or an injunction. In
existence of the legal right on which the PCGG grounds its right to relief the same manner, the appointment of a special administrator being an
became controverted as a result of the 2003 Resolution. interlocutory order is not interrupted by a motion for reconsideration and thus
must be obeyed as the proceedings in the probate court progress.[37]
These twin resolutions of the Sandiganbayan pose a critical impediment to a
determination that the PCGG had a clear legal right to protect that would justify injunctive The same characteristics of the interlocutory order in Valarao apply in this case. Since the
relief in its favor. At the very least, these resolutions, issued within the bounds of orders recognizing TMEE to vote its shares and nullifying the writ of sequestration are
authority granted by this Court to the Sandiganbayan, becloud the continued efficacy to both unappealable, they can only be assailed through a special civil action for certiorari,
this day of the 1992 TRO; at most, they confirm that the 1992 TRO no longer subsists. The the filing of which however does not ipso facto inhibit the effectivity of the assailed order
Court is inclined towards the latter view. Clearly, it would be proper to assert that the unless specifically enjoined. For this reason, it cannot be said that the 1998 and 2003
1998 and 2003 Resolutions of the Sandiganbayan were issued not only in compliance with Resolutions, interlocutory as they are in character, are not yet susceptible to enforcement
but in execution and implementation of the 1995 Decision of the Court. Considering that during the motions for reconsideration therefor.
the Sandiganbayan had already modified or terminated the restraining order, pursuant to
the authority granted it by this Court, it may be very well be that there is nothing left in It also bears notice that from the time the 1998 Resolution recognized the right of TMEE
the 1995 Decision to execute. At bare minimum, considering the accomplished to vote its shares until eight (8) years later, no serious challenges were posed against the
modification and virtual termination of the restraining order as of 2003, execution of right of TMEE to vote those shares by reason of the pending motion for reconsideration.
the 1995 Decision in 2006 cannot possibly contemplate the revival of the TRO. There is some dispute as to whether during the last eight years of EPCIB stockholder
meetings, TMEE was actually able to formally vote its shares[38] or merely consented to a
Obviously, the Sandiganbayan failed to consider these points when it rendered the common slate of nominees previously agreed upon to negate the need to conduct an
assailed Resolution. It does not even appear that the Sandiganbayan evaluated actual meeting.[39] Yet whatever the fact may be, these stockholders meetings and
the PCGGsmotion within the frame of mind that a clear legal right must exist to entitle election of the Board of Directors were conducted to the satisfaction of TMEE, which was
the PCGGs prayer. Instead, it engaged in a mechanical application of technicalities in a able to successfully elect at least one nominee to the Board. Those circumstances do not
manner that failed to consider the more crucial issues at hand. bear the mark of TMEE being deprived of the right to vote its shares in the stockholders
meetings from 1998 to 2005, when the contrary should have resulted if the position of
There is an admitted convenience in simply pronouncing, as the Sandiganbayan did, that the respondents were to be believed.
since the motions for reconsideration to the 1998 and 2003 Resolutions had not been
resolved, the efficacy of those resolutions cannot yet be recognized. It cannot be denied For all intents and purposes, the 1998 and 2003 Resolutions had been respected prior to
though that the two resolutions are properly characterized as interlocutory orders, as the current year by the Sandiganbayan and the parties. Given the pending motions for
they do not finally dispose of Civil Case No. 0035. In Valarao v. Pascual,[36] the Court reconsideration, theoretically it is still within the power of the Sandiganbayan to reverse
contended with the question of whether respondents therein were bound to respect the or modify the 1998 and 2003 resolutions. Yet if the Sandiganbayan were so minded to
authority of a special administrator on the ground that the interlocutory order appointing modify or reverse the two earlier resolutions, it should do so directly and explicitly, not

63
only tangentially or by implication as it actually did, and at that based on premises which action to execute or enforce the 1995 Decision of the Supreme Court was barred by
contradict the predicates on which its 1998 and 2003 Resolutions are anchored. In other prescription after 2 April 2006. The filing of the two motions by the PCGG before
words, it may reverse its earlier rulings only on the evidentiary foundations prescribed by the Sandiganbayan was made only in May of 2006.
this Court in its 1995 Decision which have to pertain to the existence of a valid basis for
sequestration or the danger of dissipation of the sequestered shares. In its motion to reinforce/reissue TRO before the Sandiganbayan, the PCGG adverted to
reports that the sequestered shares were in danger of dissipation and diminution as
Until and unless it reconsiders the 1998 and 2003 Resolutions in that fashion and on that the Romualdezes were bent on disposing their shares in Equitable-PCI Bank.[42] The shares
basis, the Sandiganbayan is bound to respect them, moreso because they are its own of EPCIB, including the interests earned thereon, are deposited in escrow with the Land
rulings. It is thus precluded from performing any act or promulgate any issuance Bank of the Philippines, on order of the Sandiganbayan in its 2003 Resolution, at the
inconsistent with the letter, tenor and disposition of those previous rulings which remain instance of no less than TMEE. Unless otherwise ordered by the Sandiganbayan, these
extant. It cannot re-enforce the TRO against TMEE or recognizing the continued legal shares would remain in escrow until Civil Case No. 0035 is finally resolved by
effects of the nullified sequestration order, as it did through the challenged resolutions. the Sandiganbayan. As such, these shares have been apparently insulated from
It can only do so by reconsidering the 1998 and 2003 resolutions. dissipation and diminution. They cannot be simply be disposed of, conveyed or
encumbered by TMEE, even if the sequestration order were voided or the TRO lifted.
Thus, it can be appreciated why the Sandiganbayan in the challenged Resolution merely
opted to declare the TRO confirmed in this Courts 1995 Decision is is still existing and in This being the situation, the only way by which these shares under escrow may be
full force and effect, desisting as it did from ordering the execution of the 1995 diminished or dissipated would be through radical corporate changes within EPCIB, such
Decision. Such declaration, however, is not wholly correct as it is incomplete. It did not as through the increase of capital stock, or even through the dissolution or merger of the
include the fact that the TRO had already been modified by the 1998 and 2003 Resolutions bank itself. However, it remains highly dubious that TMEE could, by exercising its right to
of the Sandiganbayan. Moreover, it failed to consider the well-established doctrine that vote the shares, effect such changes that would diminish or dissipate those stocks that it
the registered owner of sequestered shares is generally entitled to vote the shares. [40] could not dispose of. The shares of TMEE comprise only 7.13% of the outstanding capital
stock of EPCIB,[43] and would entitle TMEE to only one (1) seat in the 15-person Board of
The Court thus rules, with considerable ease, that the 22 May 2006 Resolution of Directors.[44] TMEE is very much a minority stockholder in Equitable-PCI Bank, and on its
the Sandiganbayan was issued with grave abuse of discretion, and must be annulled. own, incapable of imposing its will on the bank.
The Court finds the actions of the PCGG in this case distressing. Its actions and resort to It is not beyond the realm of possibility that these shares of TMEE in EPCIB, minimal as
unconventional modes of relief towards the end of depriving TMEE the right to vote its they may be, could somehow accord TMEE a significant degree of influence in the policies
shares, notwithstanding two Sandiganbayan rulings recognizing such right are and decisions of the bank. At the same time, considering the limited number of shares
tantamount to abuse of the judicial process. TMEE holds, this prospect should be considered, on its face, highly unlikely. Yet the PCGG
For one, concerning the Motion for Execution of Judgment it had filed on 2 May 2006, it staked its motion before the Sandiganbayan on the claim that the allowance of TMEE to
appears highly suspect that the PCGG would await more than ten years before it would vote its shares could somehow diminish or dissipate those shares deposited in escrow, a
move to execute or enforce the 1995 Decision of the Supreme Court. Entry of Judgment highly facile claim considering the circumstances. Still, the Sandiganbayan refused to
on that Decision was dated 2 April 1996. Under Article 1144 of the Civil Code, an action subject such claim to any scrutiny at all, and worse, granted the relief sought on the
based upon a judgment must be brought within ten years from the time the right of action dubious premises.
accrues, or within ten years counted from the time the judgment became final.[41] Under Our attention is also called to the letter dated 22 May 2006, written by PCGG
Section 2, Rule 37, the date of finality of the judgment or final order shall be deemed to Commissioner William Dichoso, and addressed to the Board of Directors of EPCIB.[45] The
be the date of its entry. letter, captioned TRO Issued by the Sandiganbayan in Civil Case No. 0035 (Republic of
Notably, nothing in the rules of procedure provides that the entry of judgment be served the Philippines v. Benjamin Romualdez), bluntly states that the Sandiganbayan has issued
on the parties, or reckons the date of finality of the judgment from the moment the entry a Temporary Restraining Order restraining xxx [TMEE] from voting in the stockholders
of judgment is received by the parties. Hence, the fact that PCGG allegedly was served meeting of [EPCIB], and advises that Copy of the Temporary Restraining Order will
the Entry of Judgment only on 2 March 2006 does not detract from the fact that any follow.[46]

64
No such temporary restraining order was issued by the Sandiganbayan. Certainly, the Court is to declare that one nominee or representative of TMEE is entitled to be seated
challenged Resolution does not contain any directive for the issuance of a separate immediately on the Board of Directors, and to direct the respondents EPCIB Board and
temporary restraining order. All the challenged Resolution affirms is the supposed Board Corporate Secretary to admit and recognize said nominee or representative of
continuing force of the TRO as affirmed by 1995 Decision of the Court. But as earlier TMEE to the Board of Directors in place of the person who was elected to the Board at
discussed, while the 1995 Decision affirmed the earlier TRO issued by the Court, it also the 23 May 2006 annual stockholders meeting had TMEE not been disallowed to vote its
affirmed the right of the Sandiganbayan to modify or terminate such TRO if the evidence shares.
so warranted. The Sandiganbayan has exercised such right and has chosen not to disavow
such exercise. Neither has the modification or termination of the TRO been reversed or The Court, as far back as 1998, already admonished the PCGG and the Sandiganbayan to
set aside by a higher court. speedily proceed with the hearings and resolutions of the main cases for recovery
and reconveyance of alleged
The impression left by the PCGG letter to EPCIB was that the bank had no choice outside
of violating a judicial order but to disallow TMEE from voting its shares. Yet even with the ill-gotten wealth.[50] In ordinary times, what the Court should be resolving right now in the
assailed Resolution of the Sandiganbayan, such a conclusion is not so evident. At the very exercise of judicial review should be the final decisions of the Sandiganbayan on the
least, the PCGG letter conveyed the message that the Sandiganbayan had enjoined the recovery of sequestered assets, and not preliminary matters like those now before us. It
voting of TMEE shares in the 23 May 2006 stockholders meeting when in fact the anti- is this unconscionable delay that has precisely allowed this unwanted circus to march into
graft court did not provide for an injunctive relief in such manner. this Court. The protracted delay serves no end except to foster mockery of the judicial
system.
Still, ultimate blame must be foisted on the Sandiganbayan. Wittingly or unwittingly, it
became complicit in the denial of justice to TMEE when it issued the assailed Resolution, WHEREFORE, the PETITION is GRANTED. The Resolution of the Sandiganbayan dated 22
despite the lack of ample basis to support it. Had it ruled judiciously on the motion, the May 2006 is declared NULL and VOID.
resultant farce would not have been staged. More to the point, had it resolved the The election at the 23 May 2006 annual stockholders meeting of the person to the seat
pending motions for reconsideration in a timely manner, this entire controversy could in the Equitable-PCI Bank Board of Directors to which petitioner Trans Middle East (Phils.),
have been avoided. Inc. is entitled is likewise declared NULL and VOID.
Finally, we consider the consequences of the annulment of the assailed Resolution on the PENDING FINALITY OF THIS DECISION AND IMMEDIATELY UPON RECEIPT HEREOF,
subsequently held stockholders meeting and election of the Board of Directors of EPCIB. It respondents Board of Directors of Equitable-PCI Bank and Corporate
appears that there is no serious dispute that TMEE would have been entitled to one seat Secretary Sabino E. Acut, Jr. are DIRECTED NOT TO RECOGNIZE said person whose
on the Board had it been able to vote its shares. TMEE asserts that it has 51,827,640 EPCIB election to the Board of Directors is set aside and nullified herein and TO RECOGNIZE the
shares,[47] equivalent to 7.13% of the outstanding capital stock of the bank. Respondent nominee or representative of TMEE as a duly elected member of the Board of Directors,
Board of Directors admits that the shares of TMEE constitute 7.13% of the outstanding with all the rights and privileges appertaining to the position.
capital stock of the bank.[48] Since Section 24 of the Corporation Code allows a stockholder
such as TMEE to cumulate all of his shares in the voting for directors, a 7.13 % stock SO ORDERED.
interest in the outstanding capital stock is sufficient to elect one seat in the 15-seat EPCIB
Board of Directors.[49] However, relying on the null and void Resolution of
the Sandiganbayan, respondents Board of Directors and Corporate Secretary prevented
TMEE from voting its shares and electing its nominee or representative to the Board of
Directors.

Clearly, TMEE is entitled to one seat on the Board of Directors of EPCIB. There is the option
of annulling the entire election, but such step would be too drastic in light of the fact that
only one of the 15 seats should be necessarily affected upon the seating
of TMEEs nominee to the Board of Directors. The more prudent step on the part of the

65
G.R. No. 153537 May 5, 2006 On January 25, 1999, petitioners jointly moved for the issuance of execution orders in the
two civil cases as the period of appeal had elapsed without respondent filing an appeal.
YOLANDA R. BALAYAN, Assisted by her husband JUAN UNARI, and FLORDELIZA On May 25, 2000, the MCTC issued an order directing the issuance of a writ of execution.
JIMENEZ, Petitioners, On October 19, 2000, the MCTC issued the writ of execution in both civil cases.
vs.
MIGUEL ACORDA, Respondent. On February 12, 2001, respondent filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure with the RTC, Ilagan, Isabela. The petition, docketed as Civil Case
DECISION No. 1168, prayed for the annulment of the May 25, 2000 MCTC order for the issuance of
TINGA, J.: a writ of execution. In support of his petition for certiorari, respondent claimed that he
had no knowledge of the November 9, 1998 Decision in Civil Case Nos. 757-96 and 758-
This is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of Civil 96 until January 22, 1999. Respondent claimed that he forthwith filed a notice of appeal
Procedure assailing the May 16, 2002 Order of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 18, in both civil cases, which petitioners countered by filing a motion to dismiss the notice of
Ilagan, Isabela in Civil Case No. 1168. The assailed Order denied petitioners’ motion for appeal. According to respondent, without first ruling on his notice of appeal or on
reconsideration of the RTC’s Order dated November 22, 2001, which gave due course to petitioners’ motion to dismiss, MCTC Judge Angerico B. Ramirez issued the assailed order
respondent’s petition for certiorari. directing the issuance of a writ of execution. Respondent further alleged that despite the
issuance of the writ of execution on October 19, 2000 and its implementation on
The instant petition originated from two separate complaints for accion publiciana filed
December 16, 2000, no sheriff’s return was issued and could be found in the case records.
by petitioners Yolanda R. Balayan and Flordeliza Jimenez with the Municipal Circuit Trial
Court (MCTC) of Gamu-Burgos. Petitioner Balayan’s complaint was docketed as Civil Case Petitioners filed an answer to the petition for certiorari, arguing, among others, that the
No. 757-96 while that of petitioner Jimenez was docketed as Civil Case No. 758-96. Named petition was filed beyond the reglementary period of sixty (60) days from the receipt of
as defendant in both complaints was respondent Miguel Acorda. Subject of Civil Case No. the assailed order. On this score, the RTC dismissed respondent’s petition in an Order
757-96 was a parcel of land situated at Barangay Upi, Gamu, Isabela, known as Lot 1 of issued on July 6, 2001. The RTC, however, indicated in the same Order that the failure of
subdivision plan Psd-2-02-017333 and registered as TCT No. T-233887 in the name of MCTC Judge Ramirez to resolve respondent’s notices of appeal and petitioners’ motion
Spouses Yolanda Balayan and Juan Urani. Subject of Civil Case No. 758-96 was a parcel of to dismiss the notices of appeal constituted a "patent and gross abuse of discretion as to
land adjacent to Lot 1, known as Lot 2 of subdivision plan Psd-2-02-017333 and registered amount to an evasion of positive duty or to virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by
as TCT No. T-151149 in the name of petitioner Jimenez. Both complaints alleged that law."1
respondent entered into the subject parcels of land sometime in January 1996 and
planted agricultural crops thereon. Respondent allegedly refused to heed petitioners’ Relying upon said pronouncement, respondent moved for the reconsideration of the July
demand to vacate, prompting the latter to file the aforementioned civil cases. 6, 2001 Order on the ground that the May 25, 2005 Order may be assailed anytime as it
was void for being issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
Respondent denied the allegations and claimed that he was the actual owner of the lots, jurisdiction. Respondent also argued that the petition for certiorari was filed within the
having been in possession thereof as early as 1987 when he bought the same from a reglementary sixty (60)-day period reckoned from the implementation of the writ of
certain Lucia Rosete. Respondent alleged that petitioners’ titles were spurious and, thus, execution on December 16, 2000.
sued for quieting of title by way of a counterclaim.
In an Order issued on November 22, 2001, the RTC granted respondent’s motion for
After joinder of issues and the completion of a relocation survey, petitioners moved for a reconsideration and nullified the May 25, 2000 Order of MCTC Judge Ramirez and all
summary judgment, which the MCTC granted. processes issued pursuant thereto. Thereafter, petitioners sought the reconsideration of
the November 22, 2001 Order but the RTC denied the same for lack of merit when it
On November 9, 1998, the MCTC rendered separate judgments in Civil Cases Nos. 757-96
issued the assailed Order dated May 16, 2002.
and 758-96 in favor of both petitioners by ordering respondent to vacate the properties
in question. Hence, the instant petition, mainly raising the issue of whether the RTC correctly gave
due course to respondent’s petition for certiorari, which sought to nullify the May 25,

66
2000 Order of MCTC Judge Ramirez. Citing Section 4, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Certiorari being an extraordinary remedy, the party who seeks to avail of the same must
Procedure,2 petitioners contend that the RTC erred in giving due course to respondent’s strictly observe the rule laid down by law.7 The New Rules on Civil Procedure, in Section
petition for certiorari which was filed out of time. 4, Rule 65 thereof, prescribes a period of 60 days within which to file a petition for
certiorari. The 60-day period is deemed reasonable and sufficient time for a party to mull
The petition is meritorious. over and prepare a petition asserting grave abuse of discretion by a lower court. The
It bears emphasis that the special civil action for certiorari is a limited form of review and period was specifically set to avoid any unreasonable delay that would violate the
is a remedy of last recourse. The Court has often reminded members of the bench and constitutional rights of parties to a speedy disposition of their case. For these reasons, the
bar that this extraordinary action lies only where there is no appeal nor plain, speedy and 60-day period ought to be considered inextendible.8
adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. It cannot be allowed when a party to a WHEREFORE, the petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED. The November 22, 2001
case fails to appeal a judgment despite the availability of that remedy, certiorari not being Order of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 18, Ilagan, Isabela in Civil Case No. 1168 is
a substitute for a lapsed or lost appeal.3 Where an appeal is available, certiorari will not REVERSED and SET ASIDE and its Order dated July 6, 2001 is REINSTATED.
prosper, even if the ground therefor is grave abuse of discretion. 4 Also, generally, a
motion for reconsideration must first be filed with the lower court prior to resorting to SO ORDERED.
the extraordinary writ of certiorari since a motion for reconsideration is still considered
an adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. The rationale for the filing of a motion DANTE O. TINGA
for reconsideration is to give an opportunity to the lower court to correct its imputed
errors. Generally, only when a motion for reconsideration has been filed and
subsequently denied can petitioner avail of the remedy of the writ of certiorari.5

In the instant case, respondent filed a petition for certiorari to annul the May 25, 2000
Order directing the issuance of a writ of execution subsequently issued on October 19,
2000. While it is true that no appeal may be taken from an order of execution,6 certiorari,
however, is not the only available remedy to respondent. He could have easily filed with
the MCTC a motion to quash said order and the writ of execution on grounds stated in
the petition for certiorari, to allow the MCTC the opportunity to correct its imputed errors.
Before invoking the certiorari jurisdiction of the RTC, respondent should have waited for
the MCTC to resolve the matters raised in the motion to quash the writ of execution and
to deny said motion. This respondent failed to do. The records do not indicate that
respondent was barred from filing a motion to quash the order and writ of execution for
reasons other than his own omission. Respondent has only himself to blame for
immediately resorting to the filing of a petition for certiorari without first availing of the
other reliefs provided by law. Thus, the petition for certiorari filed with the RTC should
have been dismissed outright for being an inappropriate remedy.1avvphil.net

Assuming without conceding that the petition for certiorari is the only available recourse
to respondent, the petition should be dismissed just the same for having been filed out
of time. Respondent filed the petition for certiorari on February 12, 2001, or more than
three months after the writ of execution was issued. Undoubtedly, the belated filing of
the petition for certiorari was fatal to respondent’s cause.

67
G.R. No. 167726 July 20, 2006 identified as Elizabeth Navarro-Arguelles (Navarro-Arguelles), Representative Navarro's
daughter and confidential assistant, herself a married woman.8
ROBERTO M. VILLANUEVA, petitioner,
vs. Villanueva's immediate supervisor, Jose Ma. Antonio B. Tuano, Chief of the Cashiering and
COURT OF APPEALS and HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Represented by ROBERTO P. Administrative Records Division, lodged the complaint against the former. 9 Incidentally,
AZCUNA, NAZARENO, in his capacity as Secretary General, respondents. no charges were filed against Navarro-Arguelles as the House Disciplinary Board has no
jurisdiction over confidential assistants of Representatives.10
DECISION
The House Disciplinary Board, after hearing, found Villanueva guilty as charged and
TINGA, J.: suspended him for one (1) year without pay with a stern warning that any infraction in
Assailed in this Rule 45 Petition for Review1 is the Decision2 dated 27 August 2003 of the the future will be dealt with more severely.11 However, acting on Villanueva's motion for
Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. SP No. 75002, and its Resolution3 dated 29 March 2005 reconsideration, the House Disciplinary Board increased the penalty to dismissal with
denying herein petitioner Roberto M. Villanueva's (Villanueva) Motion for forfeiture of all benefits.12
Reconsideration.4 The dispositive portion of the challenged Decision reads as follows: Speaker Manuel B. Villar, Jr. affirmed the latter Decision of the House Disciplinary Board
WHEREFORE, the writ of certiorari is GRANTED. The questioned resolutions of the Civil in a Resolution13 dated 5 October 2000. Villanueva moved for a reconsideration of the
Service Commission is (sic) hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE, and the said Decision but this was denied by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., in a Resolution 14 dated
respondent ORDERED to CEASE AND DESIST from implementing the same. The Decision 28 May 2001.15
of the House of Representatives Disciplinary Board dated 07 June 2000 is Villanueva then interposed an appeal before the Civil Service Commission (the
hereby REINSTATED, and respondent Villanueva is ORDERED DISMISSED from the service Commission) which, on 12 April 2002, modified the penalty to suspension. The dispositive
with forfeiture of all benefits. portion of the Commission's Resolution No. 02053616reads as follows:
No Costs. WHEREFORE, the appeal of Robert[o] M. Villanueva is hereby partly GRANTED. The
SO ORDERED.5 Commission holds that Villanueva is guilty of Disgraceful and Immoral Conduct for which
he is meted the penalty of one (1) year suspension. In all other respects, the decisions
The antecedents are as follows: appealed from are affirmed.

On 24 November 1997, Villanueva, married man and the Legislative Assistant II of the Considering that Villanueva has been out of the service for more than the imposed
Cashiering and Administrative Records Division of the House of Representatives (the suspension, he should now be reinstated to his former position. It is understood that this
House), was charged with Grave Misconduct, Disgraceful and Immoral Conduct Prejudicial reinstatement shall not carry with it the payment of back salaries and other entitlements,
to the Best Interest of the Service before the House Disciplinary Board. The charges were for he is not totally exonerated.17
based on an entry in the Official Log Book as well as a Spot Inspection Report
accomplished, respectively, by Frederick Maramba (Maramba) and Orencio Castillo In its motion for reconsideration, the House prayed for the re-imposition of the penalty
(Castillo), both security officers of the House who were on regular roving patrol duty on of dismissal on Villanueva. For his part, Villanueva moved for partial reconsideration,
the night of 16 October 1997. Their routine inspection tour included Room 305, seeking that he be awarded his benefits for the period of January 1999 to February 2001.
Northwing Building, Office of Representative Constantino H. Navarro, Jr., of the First The Commission denied both motions in Resolution No. 02149218 dated 18 November
District of Surigao Del Norte.6 2002, a copy of which the House received on 21 November 2002.19

Maramba and Castillo narrated that when they came upon said office at around 9:30 of In a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure filed on 20
that night, they saw Villanueva, a married man7 and a female asleep on the couch, both January 2003 before the Court of Appeals, the House ascribed grave abuse of discretion
naked, with the woman's arm resting on Villanueva's body. The female was later to the Commission for reducing the penalty to a mere suspension.

68
In its challenged Decision, the Court of Appeals granted the petition for certiorari and that employees of the legislature, just like employees of the judiciary, should be subject
sustained the Decision of the House Disciplinary Board dismissing Villanueva. In arriving to the same exacting standards of morality and decency in their professional and private
at this conclusion, the Court of Appeals emphasized the similarity of the factual conduct.33
circumstances of the case at bar with Dicdican v. Fernan, Jr.,20 wherein the Court
dismissed the court personnel found guilty of disgraceful and immoral conduct. 21 The Lastly, the House posits that since Villanueva was found guilty of Grave Misconduct,
appellate court stated that adherence to case law dictates the imposition of a similar Disgraceful and Immoral Conduct and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the
penalty for the similar offense in the case at bar. Otherwise, the Court would be imposing Service, dismissal indeed is the appropriate penalty.34
on judicial employees more stringent standards than employees of the Legislature or the In his Reply,35 Villanueva maintains, among other things, that even if an appeal before the
Executive.22 Court of Appeals does not stop the execution of the Commission's Decision the House
The appellate court likewise pointed out that the Commission gravely erred in failing to could have applied for a restraining order or injunction to stay it,36 noting that Section 82,
recognize the gravity of Villanueva's misconduct, stressing that Villanueva not only Rule VI of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service 37 provides, thus:
disregarded his marriage vows but also exhibited total disrespect of the marital status of Section 82. Effect of Pendency of Petition for Review/Certiorari with the Court. — The
Elizabeth Navarro-Arguelles.23 filing and pendency of a petition for review with the Court of Appeals or certiorari with
Moreover, the Court of Appeals held that Villanueva's offense relates to his official the Supreme Court shall not stop the execution of the final decision of the Commission
functions as it was made possible precisely by his official functions. By virtue of his unless the Court issues a restraining order or an injunction.
position, Villanueva had free rein inside the building even after office hours. Clearly, Moreover, Villanueva points out that the House could have easily availed of the remedy
therefore, Villanueva used his office to commit the misconduct for which he was of appeal under Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. The House received a copy
charged,24 it concluded. of the assailed resolution of the Commission on 21 November 2002. According to the
Finally, the appellate court disclosed its desire to improve the public regard of the Rules, the House had fifteen (15) days, or until 6 December 2002, to perfect an appeal
government sector by safeguarding morality in the ranks.25 which apparently, it did not do. Instead, it filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 to
make up for the lost remedy of appeal.38
The Court of Appeals likewise denied Villanueva's Motion for Reconsideration.26 Thus,
Villanueva filed the instant petition. The Court finds merit in the petition.

In the instant petition, Villanueva insists that the appellate court did not have jurisdiction At the outset, we find that the Court of Appeals erred in giving due course to the House's
over the House's petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure petition for certiorari as it was filed in lieu of an appeal which is the prescribed remedy.
as it was a substitute for lost appeal.27 Villanueva also maintains that the Commission Section 5, Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure states that final orders or
acted well within the confines of its jurisdiction when it imposed the penalty prescribed resolutions of the Commission are appealable to the Court of Appeals through a petition
by law for disgraceful and immoral conduct.28 Villanueva likewise contends that for review. However, instead of availing of the remedy of appeal, the House resorted to
the Dicdican adjudication finds no application in the instant case as it was arrived at in the the wrong remedy of certiorari.
Court's exercise of its administrative jurisdiction over its personnel. 29 Further, Villanueva Notably, the House received the assailed resolution of the Commission on 21 November
points out that his misconduct is in no way connected with his official functions and it 2002, and thus it had until 6 December 2002 or fifteen (15) days after, to file an appeal.
cannot thus be equated with grave misconduct as defined by law.30 Despite the sufficient time, the House allowed the period to elapse and instead filed a
In its Comment,31 the House contends that an appeal from the decision of the Commission petition for certiorari under Rule 65 on 20 January 2003, close to two (2) months after its
would not constitute a speedy and adequate remedy thus necessitating the resort to the receipt of the resolution. Failing to undertake an appeal, the House interposed a special
remedy of certiorari under Rule 65. The House reasons that the decision of the civil action of certiorari. Evidently, the House intended to make up for the lost remedy of
Commission was immediately executory and its execution would not have been stayed by appeal and substituted it with a petition for certiorari under Rule 65.
an ordinary appeal.32 The House also maintains that the ruling of the appellate court is in
accordance with law and jurisprudence, particularly the Dicdican case. The House argues
69
Settled is the rule that a special civil action of certiorari is not a substitute for a lost or misconduct consists in the act of an official or fiduciary person who unlawfully and
lapsed remedy of appeal.39 As the Court aptly held in David v. Cordova,40 to wit: wrongfully uses his station or character to procure some benefit for himself or for another
person, contrary to duty and the rights of others. 45
x x x x Where appeal is available to the aggrieved party, the action for certiorari will not
be entertained. The remedies of appeal (including petitions for review) and certiorari are In the present case, Villanueva's offense was in no way connected with the performance
mutually exclusive, not alternative or successive. Hence, certiorari is not and cannot be a of his functions and duties as a public officer. Sure, his office was used as a venue for the
substitute for an appeal, especially if one's own negligence or error in one's choice of commission of the offense and definitely, his offense speaks despicably of his character
remedy occasioned such loss or lapse. One of the requisites of certiorari is that there be as a man but it in no way evinced any failure on his part to discharge his duties as a public
no available appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy. Where an appeal is officer. Yes, Villanueva's offense is gravely immoral and reprehensible but it falls short of
available, certiorari will not prosper, even if the ground therefor[e] is grave abuse of grave misconduct as defined by law.
discretion.41
To determine whether a public officer committed misconduct, it is necessary to separate
That appeals to the Court of Appeals do not stop the execution of decisions of the the character of the man from the character of the officer.46 Here, Villanueva's
Commission is not sufficient justification for resorting to the remedy of certiorari. As transgression laid bare the values of his inner being but did not expose any of his
correctly pointed out by Villanueva, the execution of the decision of the Commission may shortcoming as a public officer. Who Villanueva is and what he believes in are
be stayed if the House applies for and the appellate court so issues a restraining order or inconsequential in concluding whether his misdemeanor amounts to misconduct. Rather,
an injunction.42 This thus enunciates the reality that, under the circumstances, an appeal what is material is whether Villanueva properly discharged his public functions which we
from the decision of the Commission was an adequate and speedy remedy foreclosing believe in no way was compromised or affected by the commission of his offense.
the need for a Rule 65 petition for certiorari.
However, as correctly found by the Commission, we believe that Villanueva is guilty of
As the House failed to file a timely appeal, the Court of Appeals should have denied Disgraceful and Immoral Conduct for having engaged in an illicit affair. In a catena of cases,
outright its petition for certiorari. Moreover, even if such petition was not procedurally the Court has ruled that government employees engaged in illicit relations are guilty of
flawed, still and all, it was bereft of merit and the appellate court erred in granting it. "disgraceful and immoral conduct" for which he/she may be held administratively liable.47

First, the appellate court erred when it concurred with the House's contention that According to Section 22 (o), Rule XVI of the Omnibus Rules Implementing Book V of the
Villanueva's offense should be classified as grave misconduct. Administrative Code of 1987 and Section 52 A (15) of the Uniform Rules on Administrative
Cases in the Civil Service,48 the first offense of Disgraceful and Immoral Conduct is
Following a string of precedents, Amosco v. Magro43 defines misconduct in this wise: punishable by suspension of six (6) months and one (1) day to one (1) year. A second
Misconduct in office has a definite and well understood legal meaning. By uniform legal offense is punishable by dismissal.
definition, it is a misconduct such as affects his performance of his duties as an officer and As Villanueva is a first-time offender, the proper penalty is suspension. The Commission
not such only as affects his character as a private individual…. It is settled that misconduct, therefore correctly meted out said penalty. It clearly acted in accordance with law and no
misfeasance, or malfeasance warranting removal from office of an officer, must have grave abuse of discretion can be ascribed to it contrary to the appellate court's finding.
direct relation to and be connected with the performance of official duties amounting
either to maladministration or willful, intentional neglect and failure to discharge the Moreover, we do not agree with the appellate court's ruling that Dicdican should be the
duties of the office.44 controlling precedent such that the penalty of dismissal should be imposed in the instant
case.
Misconduct means intentional wrongdoing or deliberate violation of a rule of law or
standard of behavior, especially by a government official. To constitute an administrative As correctly pointed out by Villanueva, when the Supreme Court acts on complaints
offense, misconduct should relate to or be connected with the performance of the official against judges or any of the personnel under its supervision and control, it acts as
functions and duties of a public officer. In grave misconduct as distinguished from simple personnel administrator imposing discipline and not as a court judging justiciable
misconduct, the elements of corruption, clear intent to violate the law or flagrant controversies.49
disregard of established rule, must be manifest. Corruption as an element of grave

70
In Dicdican, the Court sanctioned its errant personnel according to what it believed to be
the commensurate punishment. We deemed it wise to impose more stringent standards
primarily to show that we are serious in policing our ranks. We imposed punishment
in Dicdican as we deemed it proper, according to our own policies, but not without the
guidance of the rules in the civil service. In this case, however, we are not acting as a
personnel administrator but rather as the adjudicative appellate tribunal of last resort
reviewing the decisions of lower courts. It is our responsibility to confirm whether the
lower courts upheld the law. The law in this case clearly states that the proper penalty is
suspension and not dismissal as held by the appellate court, hence, suspension it must be.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated 27 August 2003 of the Court
of Appeals in C.A.- G.R. SP No. 75002 and its Resolution dated 29 March 2005 denying
petitioner's motion for reconsideration are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Resolution No.
020536 dated 12 April 2002 and Resolution No. 021492 dated 18 November 2002 of the
Civil Service Commission are AFFIRMED and REINSTATED.

SO ORDERED.

Panganiban, C.J., Puno, Quisumbing, Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Austria-


Martinez, Corona, Carpio-Morales, Callejo, Sr., Azcuna, Chico-Nazario, Garcia, Velasco, Jr.,
J.J., concur.
Carpio, J., on official leave.

71
G.R. No. 157075 July 17, 2006 sale was issued and published for three consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general
circulation.
RAMCAR, INCORPORATED, petitioner,
vs. On 28 November 1985, or the day before the scheduled auction sale, the spouses Bohol
HI-POWER MARKETING, LEONIDAS D. BOHOL, and RHODORA A. BOHOL, respondents. and Hi-Power Marketing filed a case against Ramcar before the RTC, docketed as Civil
Case No. Q-46683, praying that their obligation be declared extinguished and their
DECISION property released from the mortgage on the ground that they have already overpaid their
TINGA, J.: account.10

Before the Court is a Petition for Certiorari filed by Ramcar, Incorporated (Ramcar), raising Nonetheless, the auction sale pushed through on 29 November 1985, with Ramcar
the same questions of fact passed upon by both the lower court1 and the Court of Appeals. emerging as the highest bidder.11 After the period to redeem the property had expired,
Ramcar caused the transfer of the certificate of title to its name. Thus, on 11 February
The antecedents are as follows: 1987, TCT No. 354635 was issued in favor of Ramcar in place of the old certificate of title
in the name of Bohol.12 On 4 May 1987, Ramcar filed a Petition for a Writ of Possession
Respondent Leonidas Bohol (Bohol) is a distributor of Ramcar products in Quezon City
with the RTC of Quezon City, docketed as LRC Case No. Q-3696.13
and San Pablo City using the business name Hi-Power Marketing.
Almost one year later, the decision on the appeal by the spouses Bohol in CA-G.R. CV No.
On 4 March 1982, Ramcar and Bohol entered into a loan agreement whereby Ramcar
11496 was promulgated on 8 March 1988. The CA declared that the main issue to be
allotted P300,000.00 as a trade credit line for the batteries to be distributed by Bohol,
threshed out was whether there was indeed default in payment on the part of the spouses
and released another P300,000.00 as a straight loan to the latter.2 To secure the payment
Bohol.14 This issue was not thoroughly passed upon by the trial court. Thus, the CA found
of the loan, Bohol executed a Real Estate Mortgage3 over a parcel of land and its
the need to remand the case for further hearing on the question of default. It held:
improvements covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 285976. 4 Bohol also
signed an undated promissory note5 stipulating the schedule of payments and the Since default was the principal ground relied upon for the foreclosure of mortgage,
breakdown of the principal amount and the interest to be paid. RAMCAR was called upon to prove it and it was absolutely necessary to make a finding
that there was in fact a default. While the parties opted to submit the case upon position
Subsequently, on the premise that Bohol had defaulted on his loan, Ramcar petitioned
papers, the latter unfortunately did not provide any clarification. On the contrary, the
the sheriff of Quezon City to foreclose the mortgage to satisfy an indebtedness
parties presented positions seriously at odds with each other, and the issue remained as
of P370,429.42 plus interest. The auction sale was set on 6 July 1984.6
murky as it was before the submission of the papers. RAMCAR's brief is not of any
On 3 July 1984, Bohol and his wife (spouses Bohol) filed a Petition for Prohibition with assistance either; it merely reiterates the amount stated in its application for foreclosure
Preliminary Injunction before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 101, and contains no explanation of the issues.
docketed as Special Civil Action No. Q-42032, to prevent the sheriff from conducting the
There was therefore urgent need to receive evidence, from the Bohols, that they might
auction sale. The RTC issued a status quo order on 4 July 1984, thereby temporarily
prove their claim of overpayment, from RAMCAR, that it might establish not only the fact
averting the scheduled sale.7
of default but also the particular loan availment it sought to satisfy with the aborted
After trial, finding that Bohol had defaulted in the performance of his obligation, the RTC foreclosure. The decision was clearly premature.15
rendered its decision dismissing the petition for prohibition. The spouses Bohol filed a
As both Civil Case No. Q-46683 (verified complaint for the extinguishment of Bohol's
Motion for Reconsideration and For New Trial8which was denied by the RTC on 4
obligation) and LRC Case No. Q-3697 (for ex-parte issuance of a writ of possession in favor
November 1985.9 They then appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA), with the appeal
of Ramcar) were pending at the time Special Civil Action No. Q-42032 was ordered
docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 11496.
remanded to the trial court, and there being interrelated issues, the three cases were
While the case was pending before the CA, Ramcar requested the Office of the Sheriff of consolidated before RTC Branch 101, Quezon City.16
Quezon City to proceed with the implementation of the extrajudicial foreclosure in view
of the dismissal of the petition for prohibition of the spouses Bohol. A notice of sheriff's
72
After trial and reception of the parties' respective evidence, the RTC in a Decision 17 dated The spouses Bohol, in their Comment,21 assert that the instant petition is not the proper
19 January 1999 ruled in favor of Ramcar, finding that Bohol had an outstanding unpaid remedy as the CA did not commit grave abuse of discretion in rendering the assailed
obligation in the amount of P370,959.62. It also declared the extrajudicial foreclosure Decision. They also refute the allegation of Ramcar that they have not fully paid the
valid and consequently affirmed the validity of the transfer of Bohol's property to loaned amount. After a lengthy discussion of the facts of the case and the computations
Ramcar.18 made by the CA, they posit that the documents on record clearly show that they have
already fulfilled their obligation to Ramcar. Further, they submit that the documents
Bohol went up to the CA with the appeal docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 52593. The CA which Ramcar attached to its petition have not been presented before the RTC, are utterly
reversed the RTC decision, declared the obligation of the spouses Bohol to Ramcar self-serving, and should not be accorded any probative value.
extinguished by payment, and the extrajudicial foreclosure of the real estate mortgage
null and void. The appellate court also set aside the writ of possession issued in favor of Ultimately, the issue to be decided in this case is whether Bohol has already satisfied his
Ramcar, cancelled the latter's TCT No. 354635, and reinstated Bohol's TCT No. 285976. obligation to Ramcar in full.
The CA ruled:
The present petition must be dismissed for failure of Ramcar to prove that the CA
The pivotal question in these cases is whether the Bohols were in default in the payment committed grave abuse of discretion. A writ of certiorari may be issued only for the
of their loan obligation to Ramcar at the time Ramcar foreclosed the mortgage on the correction of errors of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
Bohol['s] property. x x x of jurisdiction. The writ cannot be used for any other purpose as its function is limited to
keeping the inferior courts within the bounds of its jurisdiction.22
xxxx
In this case, although Ramcar alleged in its Petition that the CA committed grave abuse of
From comparison of the two sets of computations, it appears the Bohols had paid to discretion, it did not in any manner show how the appellate court committed such abuse.
Ramcar more than the amount that Ramcar is seeking to collect from them. The reason It is an empty allegation bereft of any substantiation.
for this is that the Bohols had shown payments and deliveries that were not taken into
consideration by Ramcar when it computed the account of the Bohols. Ramcar failed to The original action for certiorari may be directed against an interlocutory order of the
prove that the amounts paid by the Bohols, as reflected by the Exhibits C to G, were court prior to appeal from the judgment or where there is no appeal or any other plain,
already credited to them in the statement of account Exhibit 18, which in turn was the speedy or adequate remedy.23 There was a plain, speedy or adequate remedy available
basis for the extrajudicial foreclosure. Resultantly, the Bohols had overpaid the to Ramcar. It could and should have filed an appeal assailing the Decision of the CA.
mortgaged obligation and may not, therefore, be considered in default. The extrajudicial
foreclosure proceedings instituted against them lacks legal basis and its consequences It is worth mentioning that Ramcar received the Resolution of the CA denying its Motion
must be rectified accordingly in the interest of justice. 19 for Reconsideration on 23 December 2002.24 Ramcar filed its Petition for Certiorari on 21
February 2003 or sixty (60) days after receipt of the Resolution. Since Ramcar failed to
Ramcar filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was denied by the CA in its Resolution appeal within fifteen (15) days from its receipt of the Resolution, the decision of the CA
dated 22 November 2002.20 had become final and executory. It is well-settled that the filing of the petition for
certiorari cannot serve as a substitute for the lost remedy of appeal.25 Where the issue or
On 21 February 2003, Ramcar filed this Petition for Certiorari against the spouses Bohol question involves or affects the wisdom or legal soundness of the decision—not the
and Hi-Power Marketing alleging that the CA committed grave abuse of discretion: (1) in jurisdiction of the court to render said decision—the same is beyond the province of a
refusing to consider the evidence of Ramcar showing that Bohol still has an outstanding petition for certiorari.26
balance on his loan; and (2) in reversing the final order of the RTC granting the writ of
possession in favor of Ramcar. The fact that this Petition for Certiorari raises questions of fact further militates against it.
In Day v. RTC of Zamboanga City, Br. XIII,27 the Court held that in an original action for
Ramcar contends that Bohol, by means of double crediting and wrong posting, made it certiorari, questions of fact cannot be raised much less passed upon by the respondent
appear that he has already fully paid the obligation. Ramcar also questions the court. Only established or admitted facts can be considered.28
nullification of the extrajudicial sale, contending that the legal requirements were
observed by the sheriff in proceeding with the sale.

73
In any case, even if we dispense with the technicalities and reevaluate the questions of correctly pointed out by Bohol, the annexes were not presented before the RTC in
fact raised by Ramcar as an exception29 to the general rule that such questions cannot be Ramcar's Formal Offer of Evidence31
reviewed by this Court, the petition should still be dismissed.
and the person who prepared the documents did not authenticate the documents in
The CA, in ruling for the spouses Bohol, held that: court. The Court cannot even determine the identity of the person who prepared the
documents as only the signature was affixed to the lower right hand corner of each page
The Bohols on the other hand, sought to establish overpayment with figures contained of the documents.
in: (1) their summaries, Exhibit C, D, E of deliveries of wooden crates to Ramcar with
supporting delivery receipts, (2) list of credit memos, Exhibit F, issued by Ramcar to Bohol Our rule on evidence provides the procedure on how to present documentary evidence
showing discounts and price adjustments given to the Bohols, with supporting credit before the court, as follows: firstly, the documents should be authenticated and proved
memos; and (3) cash payments, Exhibit G., with official receipts showing remittances to in the manner provided in the rules of court; secondly, the documents should be
Ramcar. In the hearing on August 11, 1995, as appearing on page 17 of the transcript, the identified and marked; and thirdly, it should be formally offered to the court and shown
trial court directed the petitioners to underline the entries in their records of payments to the opposing party so that the latter may have the opportunity to object thereto. 32
and deliveries which were not credited to them by Ramcar. In compliance, they made
undelinings in Exhibit C, D, E, F and G. They also presented two more statements, Exhibit We have carefully examined the documentary evidence presented by the parties in the
H and I, which were supposed to reflect additional credit memos and payments to Ramcar, RTC and the CA and found that the documents now being presented by Ramcar, i.e. the
but because these were not supported by evidence, unlike the previous statements, we purchases of Hi-Power Marketing, payments of battery account, and credit memos issued
chose to ignore them. x x x x30 by Ramcar applied to Hi-Power Market thru offsetting were not part of the records in the
lower court or the appellate court. They were submitted for the first time to this Court.
It is significant to note that the CA closely analyzed and discussed the merits of the case, This being the case, we shall not take them into account.
taking into consideration the alleged double crediting and wrong posting of Bohol. It
concluded, after weighing the respective evidence adduced by the parties, that Bohol has In view of the foregoing, we find that the Court of Appeals committed neither grave abuse
fully satisfied his obligation to Ramcar. In fact, according to the CA, Bohol even made of discretion nor any error in judgment in rendering the assailed Decision.
excess payments to Ramcar. The CA extensively computed the statements of account and WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED. The Decision of the Court of
the receipts presented and found that Bohol should prevail in the present dispute. Appeals dated 28 June 2002 is hereby AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioner.
In contrast, the trial court's decision is bereft of any meaningful evaluation of the evidence SO ORDERED.
choosing instead merely to replicate the allegations of the various parties particularly the
calculations offered by Ramcar. Quisumbing, Chairperson, Carpio, Carpio-Morales, Velasco, Jr., J.J., concur.

It should also be stressed that in the instant petition, Ramcar neither denied the veracity
of the receipts and credit memos Bohol presented to the lower court nor effectively
repudiated these documents. Ramcar merely claims wrong posting on the part of Bohol
in arriving at a conclusion of overpayment. While Ramcar questions the CA's finding of
overpayment by Bohol, it did not focus its petition on this issue but gave a protracted and
irrelevant discussion regarding the redemption of a mortgaged property.

Ramcar also presented to this Court annexes "F", "G" and "H" showing the breakdown of
purchases Bohol had made from January 1982 to August 1983, the alleged payments
made by Bohol from February 1982 to October 1983, and the credit memos issued by
Ramcar thru offsetting from February 1982 to February 1984, respectively. These
documents tend to prove that Bohol still has an outstanding balance. However, as

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