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CRISOSTOMO vs SECURITIES AND EXHANGE COMMISSION...................

150
Table of Contents
ENEMECIO vs OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN.......................................... 155
DOCTRINE OF PRIMARY JURISDICTION ........................................................... 3
GONZALES vs ROSAS ............................................................................... 160
SAN MIGUEL PROPERTIES, INC. vs. BF HOMES, INC.................................... 3
WILLY TAN vs PEOPLE OF THEPHILIPPINES ............................................. 164
A. JURISDICTION OF THE SUPREME COURT .................................................. 17
ROBIN M. CANO vs CHIEF OF PHIL. NATIONAL POLICE ........................... 167
LACSON HERMANAS, INC., vs. HEIRS OF CENON IGNACIO ...................... 17
ALCARAZEN vs UNIVET AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS, INC. ....................... 169
HEIRS OF BERTULDO HINOG vs. HON. ACHILLES MELICOR,..................... 20
LINGNER & FISHER GMBH vs IAC ............................................................ 176
FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ vs. HON. ALBERTO G. ROMULO, IN HIS CAPACITY AS
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY ............................................................................. 25 WIDOWS & ORPHANS ASSOCIATION INC vs CA ...................................... 179
GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vs PURGANAN ...... 33 C. JURISDICTION OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT ..................................... 184
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS vs QUIJANO-PADILLA ................................ 47 DURISOL PHILIPPINES, INC vs CA............................................................. 184
BUKLOD NG KAWANING EIIB vs ZAMORA ................................................ 55 RUSSEL ET. AL vs VESTIL ET AL. ............................................................... 188
FORTICH vs CORONA ................................................................................. 60 DEVORAH E. BARDILLON vs BRGY. MASILI OF CALAMBA ....................... 191
BAVIERA VS PAGLINAWAN........................................................................ 63 INIEGO vs PURGANAN ET AL ................................................................... 195
VICENTE DACANAY vs YRASTORZA ........................................................... 68 MENDOZA vs TEH .................................................................................... 199
ERNESTO MORALES vs COURT OF APPEALS.............................................. 70 SPOUSES ROMEO PAJARES vs REMARKABLE LAUNDRY.......................... 201
FELIXBERTO CUBERO ET AL vs LAGUNA WEST MULTI-PURPOSE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM vs ATLANTIC GULF ........................................ 208
COOPERATIVE ........................................................................................... 75 JACOBUS BERNARD HULST vs PR BUILDERS INC ..................................... 212
DAR vs CUENCA ......................................................................................... 78 UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES vs PHILAB INDUSTRIES ....................... 220
ST. MARTIN FUNERAL HOMES vs NLRC..................................................... 85 BARANGAY SAN ROQUE vs HEIRS OF PASTOR ........................................ 227
HEIRS OF BERTULDO HINOG vs MELICOR ................................................. 91 POLOMOLOK WATER DISTRICT vs POLOMOLOK GEN. CONSUMERS ..... 230
CRISTOBAL CRUZ vs CRISTOBAL ................................................................ 97 HEIRS OF GENEROSO SEBE vs HEIRS OF VERONICO SEVILLA .................. 233
HEIRS OF DICMAN VS CARINO ................................................................ 104 SAN PEDRO vs ASDALA ............................................................................ 237
SAFEGUARD SECURITY AGENCY VS TANGCO .......................................... 113 SPS. JORGE J. HUGUETE ET AL vs SPS. TEOFEDO AMARILLO................... 240
NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION vs DELA CRUZ .................................. 129 ORTIGAS & COMPANY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP vs JUDGE HERRERA ....... 243
SPOUSES YU vs NGO YET TE .................................................................... 137 MAKATI DEVT CORPORATION vs TANJUATCO ........................................ 245
B. JURISDICTION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS ............................................ 143 CUIZON vs RAMOLETE ............................................................................. 247
VALDEZ vs CHINA BANKING CORPORATION ........................................... 143 BOLISAY vs ALCID .................................................................................... 250
POLANCO vs CRUZ................................................................................... 147 PACIOLES, JR vs CHUATOCO-CHING ........................................................ 254
COCA vs PANGILINAN.............................................................................. 260
CUNANAN vs AMPARO ........................................................................... 264
VDA. DE MAFIALAC vs OCAMPO (*VDA. DE MAÑALAC) ......................... 267
QUISMONDO vs COURT OF APPEALS...................................................... 269
**REITERATED** DEPT. OF AGRARIAN REFORM vs ROBERTO CUENCA
............................................................................................................. 272
SUMULONG vs COURT OF APPEALS ........................................................ 279
RUBY SHELTER BUILDERS vs FORMARAN ............................................... 286
LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES vs JOSE MARIE M. RUFINO ................. 296
LAND BANK OF THE PHILIPPINES vs J. L. JOCSON AND SONS ................. 302
ONGSUCO VS MALONES ......................................................................... 306
SANDOVAL VS CAÑEBA AND ESTATE DEVELOPERS ................................ 313
FAJARDO vs BAUTISTA ............................................................................ 315
LUPANGCO vs COURT OF APPEALS ......................................................... 319
BERNARDO vs CALTEX ............................................................................. 324
HALAGUEÑA, ET AL vs PHILIPPINE AIRLINES ........................................... 328
PICO vs SALCEDO..................................................................................... 334
ENGR. APOLINARIO DUEÑAS vs ALICE GUCE .......................................... 337
EQUITABLE PCI BANK, INC vs APURILLO ................................................. 342
NAZARENO, ET AL vs CITY OF DUMAGUETE ........................................... 348
DOCTRINE OF PRIMARY JURISDICTION
SMPI completed the payments for the 130 Italia II lots in December 1995. 6 In
G.R. No. 169343, August 05, 2015 compliance with Section 37 of all the three Deeds of Absolute Sale, BF Homes
delivered the Transfer Certificates of Title (TCTs) to SMPI but only for 110 of the 130
SAN MIGUEL PROPERTIES, INC. vs. BF HOMES, INC. Italia II lots purchased by SMPI.

SMPI, thru counsel, sent BF Homes a letter on May 20, 1996 demanding the delivery
DECISION
of the remaining 20 TCTs, specifically:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, J.: TCT No. Area


1. (S-41285) 123526-A 538 sq. m.
Assailed in this Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Revised Rules
2. (S-41261) 123522-A 329 sq. m.
of Court filed by San Miguel Properties, Inc. (SMPI) are: 1) the Decision1 dated January
31, 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 83631, which affirmed with 3. (S-41279) 123520-A 384 sq. m.
modification the Decision dated January 27, 2004 of the Office of the President (OP), 4. (S-41277) 123518-A 380 sq. m.
in O.P. Case No. 03-E-203, and remanded the case to the Housing and Land Use 5. (S-41275) 123516-A 364 sq. m.
Regulatory Board (HLURB) for further proceedings; and 2) the Resolution 2 dated 6. (S-41271) 123512-A 364 sq. m.
August 9, 2005 of the appellate court in the same case, which denied the Motion for 7. (S-41273) 123514-A 364 sq. m.
Reconsideration of SMPI. 8. (S-41269) 123510-A 364 sq. m.
9. (S-41267)123508-A 364 sq. m.
The antecedents of the case are as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
10. (S-41265) 123506-A 429 sq. m.
11. (S-41263) 123505-A 329 sq. m.
BF Homes, Inc. (BF Homes) is the owner of several parcels of land located in the
northern portion of BF Homes Parañaque Subdivision, particularly identified as Italia 12. (S-41261) 19477-A 329 sq. m.
II lots. 13.(S-41258)19476-A 280 sq. m.
14. (S-41257) 23504-A 308 sq. m.
BF Homes, represented by Florencio B. Orendain (Orendain), as rehabilitation 15.(S-41256)23503-A 280 sq. m.
receiver appointed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); and SMPI, 16. (S-41255) 23502-A 308 sq. m.
represented by Federico C. Gonzales, President, entered into three successive Deeds 17. (S-41254)23501-A 280 sq. m.
of Absolute Sale whereby the former sold to the latter a total of 130 Italia II lots with
8. (S-41253) 123500-A 308 sq. m.
a combined area of 44,345 square meters for the aggregate consideration of
19. (S-41557)28372-A 502 sq. m.
P106,247,701.00, broken down as follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
20. (S-41279) 123520-A 665 sq. m.
Deed of Absolute Date of No. of Total Area Consideration
Despite receipt of the afore-mentioned letter, BF Homes failed or refused to heed
Sale Execution Lots (square
meters) the demand of SMPI. Consequently, SMPI filed a Complaint8 for specific performance
with damages before the HLURB on August 24, 2000 to compel BF Homes to deliver
First Deed3 In 1992 76 22,816 P52,134,560.00 the remaining 20 TCTs to SMPI. The case was docketed as HLURB Case No. REM-
Second Deed4 In 1993 13 5,964 P14,990,514.00 082400-11183.
Third Deed5 April 1993 41 15,565 P39,122,627.00
In its Answer (With Counterclaim),9 BF Homes alleged that the Deeds of Absolute Sale
(Third Sale)
executed in 1992 to 1993 were entered into by Orendain in his personal capacity and
Total 130 44,345 P106,247,701.00 without authority, as his appointment as rehabilitation receiver was revoked by the
SEC in an Order dated May 17, 1989. In support of its counterclaims, BF Homes papers and supporting evidence, as well as their draft decisions. Thereafter, the case
averred that the consideration paid by SMPI for the 130 Italia II lots was grossly was deemed submitted for resolution.
inadequate and disadvantageous to BF Homes; and that the Deeds of Absolute Sale
were undated and not notarized. Hence, BF Homes prayed that the HLURB render In her Decision13 dated January 25, 2002, Arbiter Balasolla suspended the
judgment: 1) dismissing the complaint of SMPI; 2) declaring the sale of the 130 Italia proceedings in HLURB Case No. REM-082400-11183 for the following
II lots null and void; 3) ordering SMPI to reconvey to BF Homes the titles for the [110] reasons:cralawlawlibrary
Italia II lots; and 4) ordering SMPI to pay BF Homes exemplary damages, attorney's
fees, and cost of suit. What clearly is the issue to be resolved is whether or not [BF Homes] is obligated to
deliver the title of the remaining twenty (20) lots to [SMPI] notwithstanding that the
SMPI, in its Reply (Answer with Counterclaim dated October 16, 2000), 10 countered latter had fully paid the same.
that the validity of the three Deeds of Absolute Sale was already upheld by the SEC
in its Omnibus Order dated November 7, 1994, and the motion for reconsideration Were this is a simple case of non-delivery of title of the lot or unit to the buyer upon
of BF Homes of said Omnibus Order was denied by the SEC in its subsequent Order full payment, sans the attendant problems, the answer would readily be in the
dated August 22, 1995. Both Orders were deemed final, executory, and unappealable affirmative. But this is not so in the instant case. This is a case of non-delivery of titles
by the SEC in another Omnibus Order dated July 31, 1996. As a result, the Deeds of of a sale of 20 lots between two developers, and the lots sold are from an existing
Absolute Sale were binding on BF Homes. SMPI further maintained that Orendain subdivision, which was under rehabilitation and made by a receiver which authority
was authorized to sign the Deeds of Absolute Sale for and in behalf of FBO Networks had been continuously questioned by the controlling stockholders of a corporation
Management, Inc. - the receiver which the SEC appointed to replace Orendain, upon under rehabilitation.
the latter's motion to convert his involvement in the receivership from an individual
to a corporate capacity. SMPI additionally asserted that absent substantiation, the In the light thereof, it becomes imperative to discuss the antecedent facts that would
allegation of BF Homes of inadequate consideration for the sale of the Italia II lots help in arriving at a judicious resolution of the instant complaint.
was self-serving; and that despite being undated and not notarized, the Deeds of
Absolute Sale were valid since they contained the essential elements of a contract. Sometime in September 1984, respondent [BF Homes] filed with the SEC a petition
And even assuming that the Deeds of Absolute Sale may be rescinded, SMPI argued for rehabilitation and for declaration of suspension of payments. In February 1988,
that BF Homes did not offer and was not prepared to return the consideration paid the SEC appointed Florencio Orendain as [BF Homes'] rehabilitation receiver. In May
by SMPI, plus interest. 1989, the SEC revoked the appointment of Mr. Orendain and appointed FBO
Networks Management, Inc. (FBO) as receiver of the [BF Homes].
BF Homes filed a Rejoinder (To Complainant's Reply) 11 contending that the SEC
Omnibus Order dated July 31, 1996 has not yet become final as BF Homes assailed It was during the time 1992-1993 that [SMPI] bought from [BF Homes] the 130
the said Order in a Petition for Certioraribefore the SEC. In its Decision dated May 8, parcels of land located in the northern portion of BF Homes, Paranaque City.
1997, the SEC neither confirmed the authority of Orendain nor cleared Orendain/FBO
Networks Management, Inc. from any liability for his/its unauthorized acts, but In June 1994, Mr. Orendain, on behalf of FBO, submitted to the SEC the Closing
clarified that the final report of the rehabilitation receiver was not yet approved and Report on [BF Homes] I of the receivership program covering the period from March
was merely admitted as part of the records. BF Homes also stated that although the 1988 to January 1994. [BF Homes] protested and questioned the said report by filing
SEC Order dated September 12, 2000 already terminated the rehabilitation the corresponding pleadings with the SEC praying that the receivership of FBO
proceedings because of the improvement in the solvency status of BF Homes, BF represented by Mr. Orendain be suspended due to violations of trust and breach of
Homes filed a Motion for Clarification and/or Partial Reconsideration of said SEC fiduciary obligation and sought the nullification of the transaction entered into by
Order and sought a resolution of the issues relating to the receiver's irregular acts, Mr. Orendain. In November 1994, FBO was relieved of its duties and responsibilities
including the sale of the Italia II lots to SMPI. BiF Homes insisted that the transactions as rehabilitation receiver and a Committee of Receivers was appointed in lieu
entered into by Orendain were anomalous as the latter sold the 130 Italia II lots to thereof, to undertake and continue the rehabilitation program of [BF Homes].
SMPI at a price that was inadequate and disadvantageous to BF Homes.
In July 1996, the SEC issued an Omnibus Order in regard to rehabilitation case.
Housing and Land Use Arbiter Rowena C. Balasolla (Arbiter Balasolla) issued an Order Subsequently, however, [BF Homes] filed a petition for review for which the SEC
dated January 22, 200112 directing the parties to submit their respective position rendered a decision in May 1997. In the said decision, the SEC held that the admission
of the Receiver's Closing Report is merely for the purpose of receiving and noting Absolute Sale and confirmed the authority of the receiver to sell the 130 Italia II lots
them for inclusion in the records of the case and not an admittance (sic) and to SMPI, and said Orders already became final after BF Homes failed to appeal the
acceptance of the merits and veracity of the contents thereof. same before the Court of Appeals, as provided for in Section 3, 16 Republic Act No.
5434, the law in force at that time; 2) Orendain and/or FBO Networks Management,
In September 2000, the SEC issued another Order terminating the rehabilitation Inc. were immune from suit pursuant to Section 9, Rule 9 17 of the Interim Rules of
proceedings without, however, deciding on the merits and veracity of the contents Procedure Governing Intra-corporate Controversies and Section 17, Rule 418 of the
of the Receiver's Closing Report. Hence, [BF Homes] filed in October 2000 a Motion Interim Rules of Procedure on Corporate Rehabilitation; 3) BF Homes was estopped
for Clarification and/or Partial Reconsideration of the said Order which remains from refusing to deliver the remaining 20 titles since it had already received the
pending with the SEC until the present. consideration and benefits from the sale of the Italia II lots to SMPI and delivered 110
out of 130 TCTs to SMPI; 4) the principle of suspending a case due to a prejudicial
Apparently, it is in the context of the foregoing issues that [BF Homes] refused to question only applies to criminal cases; 5) BF Homes was mandated, under pain of
deliver the remaining twenty (20) titles of the lots sold to [SMPI] as the former criminal sanction under Section 25,19 in relation to Section 3920 of Presidential Decree
claimed, among others, that Mr. Orendain did not have the authority to sell the 130 No. 957,21 also known as "The Subdivision and Condominium Buyer's Protection
parcels of land in the first place. Decree," to deliver the TCTs of the remaining 20 Italia II lots, which had already been
fully paid for by SMPI; 6) assuming that Orendain exceeded his authority as receiver
As the peculiar background of this case would tell, it is inevitable that the resolution of BF Homes in selling the 130 Italia II lots to SMPI, then Orendain could be held liable
of the issues raised in the instant complaint would be largely influenced by the for damages but the titles to said lots acquired by SMPI by reason of the sale would
outcome of the cases pending in other tribunals which are directly and ineluctably be unaffected, absent any action for reconveyance instituted by BF Homes; and 7)
related to the issues brought before this Board. the issue regarding Orendain's authority to undertake the sale of the Italia II lots to
SMPI was rendered moot and academic by the issuance of SEC Order dated
This Board is cognizant of the fact that respondent had questioned the action of its September 12, 2000, terminating the receivership of BF Homes.
rehabilitation receiver before the SEC, raising several issues against him, including
but not limited, to his authority to sell the subject lots to the complainant the After a further exchange of pleadings by the parties, the HLURB Board of
resolution of which is still pending the said body. Commissioners22 rendered its Decision23 dated March 28, 2003, ruling
thus:cralawlawlibrary
Thus, while this Board may have jurisdiction over the instant complaint, the issue on
whether or not Mr. Orendain has overstepped his authority which is pending We find no evidence to support the argument that the SEC had upheld with finality
resolution by the SEC, is to our mind a condition sine qua non, the final resolution of on the sales transaction entered into by Orendain with [SMPI]. On the contrary the
which by said body is a logical antecedent to the issue involved in the instant order of the SEC stated that the closing report of the receiver is being accepted for
complaint and which only the SEC has exclusive jurisdiction to decide. inclusion of the records and not an admittance (sic) or acceptance of the merits and
veracity of the contents thereof. The issue of whether Orendain had authority to sell
Under the circumstances, we are inclined to suspend the proceedings before the the lots is still unresolved.
Board until the SEC shall have resolved with finality on the issue of the authority of
Mr. Orendain/FBO Networks Management to enter into such transactions on behalf While this board may have the competence to rule on the validity of the sales
of [BF Homes]. transaction entered into by Orendain ostensibly in behalf of BF Homes, we decline to
rule on the said issue in deference to the SEC or its successor-in-interest, which has
WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, this Office hereby suspends the proceedings first taken cognizance of the issue, applying the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. Thus,
of the instant complaint until the final resolution of the pending incidents before the in Vidad vs. RTC of Negros Oriental, it was held:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Securities and Exchange Commission.14chanrobleslaw
While no prejudicial question strictly arises where one is a civil case and the other is
15 an administrative proceeding, in the interest of good order, it behooves the court to
SMPI filed a Petition for Review (Re: Decision dated January 25, 2002) with the
suspend its action on the cases before it pending the final outcome of the
HLURB Board of Commissioners, asseverating that: 1) the SEC, in its Orders dated
administrative proceedings. The doctrine of primary jurisdiction does not warrant a
November 7, 1994 and August 22, 1995, had upheld the validity of the Deeds of
court to arrogate unto itself the authority to resolve a controversy the jurisdiction
over which is initially lodged with an administrative body [of special competence]. There can be no quibbling about the following postulates: 1) The existence of a
perfected deed of absolute sale covering the said lots; 2) SMPI appears to be an
Wherefore, the petition for review is denied and the decision of the office below is innocent purchaser for value; 3) Full payment and receipt by [BF Homes] of the
affirmed.24 stipulated purchase price; 4) Admission by the SEC of FBO's audited Closing Report;
chanrobleslaw 5). Termination of the rehabilitation proceedings, and 6) The obligation of the owner
or developer under Sec. 25 of PD 957 to "deliver the title of the lot or units to the
buyer upon [full] payment of the lot or unit."
SMPI appealed the foregoing Decision of the HLURB Board of Commissioners before
the OP. The appeal was docketed as O.P. Case No. 03-E-203. The OP, in its
Decision25 dated January 27, 2004, adjudged that the HLURB should have resolved Given the foregoing perspective, the question thus formulated should be answered
in the affirmative. [BF Homes'] challenge against the validity of the conveying deed
HLURB Case No. REM-082400-11183:cralawlawlibrary
on the ground of inadequacy of the purchase price cannot be given cogency. As a
The basic complaint in this case is one for specific performance under Section 25 of matter of law, lesion or inadequacy of cause shall not invalidate a contract, save in
Presidential Decree (PD) 957 - "The Subdivision and Condominium Buyers' cases specified by law or unless there has been fraud, mistake or undue influence
Protective", infra. (Art. 1355, Civil Code). Thus, [BF Homes'] allegation about the inadequacy of price for
the twenty (20) lots, even if true, cannot invalidate the sale in question, absent a
As early as August 1987, the Supreme Court already recognized the authority of the showing that such sale is a case exempted by law from the operation of said article
HLURB, as successor agency of the National Housing Authority (NHA), to regulate, or that fraud, mistake or undue influence attended the sale (Auyong Hian vs. CTA, 59
pursuant to PD 957 in relation to PD 1344, the real estate trade, with exclusive SCRA 110).
jurisdiction to hear and decide cases "involving specific performance of contractual
and statutory obligations filed by buyers of subdivision lots . . . against the owner, [BF Homes'] posture regarding the invalidity of the same sales transaction owing to
developer, dealer, broker or salesman" (Antipolo Realty Corp. vs. National Housing Orendain's alleged lack of authority to execute the corresponding deed may be
Authority (153 SCRA). Then came the reiterative rulings in Solid Homes vs. accorded serious consideration were it not for its acceptance and retention of the
Pavawal (177 SCRA 72 [1989]), United Housing Corp. vs. Dayrit (181 SCRA 295 purchase price for the covered lots. As aptly argued in this appeal, citing
[1990]), and Realty Exchange Venture Corp. vs. Sendino, 233 SCRA 665 [1994]. And jurisprudence, estoppel attached to [BF Homes] when it accepted the benefits arising
as stressed in Realty Exchange, citing C.T. Torres Enterprises, Inc. vs. Hibionada (191 from the performance of SMPI of its undertaking under the contract of sale. By the
SCRA 268 [1990], the HLURB, in the exercise of its adjudicatory powers and doctrine of estoppel, a party is barred from repudiating or canceling an otherwise
functions, "must interpret and apply contracts, determine the rights of the parties defective or rescissible contract by his receipt of payments due thereunder (Republic
under these contracts and award damages whenever appropriate." v. Acoje Mining Co., Inc., 7 SCRA 361; Angeles v. Calasanz, 135 SCRA 332); the bar of
estoppel also precludes one who, by his conduct, had induced another to act in a
Given its clear statutory mandate, the HLURB's decision to await for some other particular manner, from adopting an inconsistent position that thereby causes
forum to decide - if ever one is forthcoming - the issue on the authority of Orendain prejudice to another (Cruz vs. CA, 293 SCRA 239).
to dispose of subject lots before it peremptorily resolves the basic complaint is
unwarranted, the issues thereon having been joined and the respective position Significantly, Orendain signed the three deeds of sale adverted to covering 130 lots
papers and the evidence of the parties having been submitted. To us, it behooved in 1992 and 1993, or during FBO's watch as receiver. Yet, [BF Homes] opted to fully
the HLURB to adjudicate, with usual dispatch, the right and obligations of the parties implement the transactions covered by two of these deeds and partially implement
in line with its appreciation of the obtaining facts and applicable law. To borrow the third by delivering the titles to 110 lots. In net effect, [BF Homes] did recognize
from Mabuhay Textile Mills Corp. vs. Ongpin(141 SCRA 437), it does not have to rely the authority of Orendain to execute those contracts. But if Orendain was indeed
on the findings of others to discharge this adjudicatory functions. 26chanrobleslaw bereft of authority during the time material, as [BF Homes] would have this Office
believe, how explain (sic) its inaction to recover damages against one it veritably
depicts as an impostor?
The OP then proceeded to resolve the question of whether or not SMPI was entitled
to the delivery of the 20 TCTs:cralawlawlibrary x x x x

Much has been made about the sale of the 130 lots not having been approved by the
SEC. It bears to stress in this regard that the Closing Report which, doubtless includes following:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
the said sale, had been confirmed and admitted by the SEC Hearing Panel. It may be
that the Commission en banc did not specifically confirm and approve the sale. But SECTION 1. In the exercise of its functions to regulate the real estate trade and
neither did it interpose objection thereto, let alone disapprove the same. Be that as business and in addition to its powers provided for in Presidential Decree No. 957,
it may, the presumptive validity and enforceability of such sale must be posited. 27 the National Housing Authority shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide
chanrobleslaw cases of the following nature:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

The OP denied the claims for damages of both parties for insufficiency of evidence A. Unsound real estate business practices;ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
but awarded attorney's fees in the amount of PI00,000.00 to SMPI, which was
B. Claims involving refund and any other claims filed by subdivision lot or
compelled to litigate. In the end, the OP decreed:cralawlawlibrary
condominium unit buyer against the project owner, developer, dealer, broker or
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby entered ordering BF Homes, salesman; and
Inc., to deliver to San Miguel Properties, Inc., the corresponding titles to the lots
subject of the instant case, free from all liens aind encumbrances, except to the C. Cases involving specific performance of contractual and statutory obligations
subdivision restrictions referred to in the conveying deed of sale, and to pay the latter filed by buyers of subdivision lot or condominium unit asainst the owner, developer,
the sum of P100,000.00 as and. by way of attorneys' fees. All other claims and dealer, broker or salesman. (Emphasis supplied.)
counterclaims are hereby DISMISSED. The decision of the HLURB dated 28 March
2003 is accordingly REVERSED and SET ASIDE.28chanrobleslaw Thereafter, the regulatory and quasi-judicial functions of the NHA were transferred
to the Human Settlements Regulatory Commission (HSRC) by virtue of Executive
Order No. 648 dated 7 February 1981. Section 8 thereof specifies the functions of
BF Homes filed a Motion for Reconsideration but it was denied by the OP in a the NHA that were transferred to the HSRC including the authority to hear and
Resolution29 dated March 26, 2004. decide "cases on unsound real estate business practices; claims involving refund
filed against project owners, developers, dealers, brokers or salesmen and cases of
Aggrieved, BF Homes sought recourse from the Court of Appeals by way of a Petition specific performance." Executive Order No. 90 dated 17 December 1986 renamed
for Review30 under Rule 43 of the Revised Rules of Court, which was docketed as CA- the HSRC as the Housing and Land Use Resulatory Board (HLURB). (Underscoring
G.R. SP No. 83631. In its Decision31dated January 31, 2005, the Court of Appeals supplied.)
agreed with the OP that the HLURB had the primary and exclusive jurisdiction to
resolve the complaint for specific performance and damages of SMPI and should not Certainly, in the instant case, [SMPI] is a buyer within the contemplation of P.D. 957.
have suspended the proceedings until the SEC had ruled with finality on the issue of Clearly, the acquisition of the one hundred thirty (130) lots was for a valuable
Orendain's authority to sell the 130 Italia II lots to SMPI:cralawlawlibrary consideration.

Presidential Decree No. 957 was issued on 12 July 1976. It was promulgated to cover The jurisdiction of the SEC, on the other hand, is defined by P.D. No. 902-A, as
questions that relate to subdivisions and condominiums. Its object is to provide for amended, as follows:
an appropriate government agency, the HLURB, to which all parties aggrieved in the Sec. 5. In addition to the regulatory and adjudicative functions of the Securities and
enforcement of contractual rights with respect to said category of real estate may Exchange Commission over corporations, partnerships and other forms of
take course. associations registered with it as expressly granted under existing laws and
decrees, it shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide cases
In the case of JESUS LIM ARRANZA vs. B.F. HOMES, INC., the Supreme Court involving.
said:cralawlawlibrary
(a) Devices or schemes employed by or any acts, of the board of directors, business
Section 3 ofP.D. No. 957 empowered the National Housing Authority (NHA) with the associates, its officers or partnership, amounting to fraud and misrepresentation
"exclusive jurisdiction to regulate the real estate trade and business." On 2 April which may be detrimental to the interest of the public and/or of the stockholder,
partners, members of associations or organizations registered with the
1978, P.D. No. 1344 was issued to expand the jurisdiction of the NHA to include the Commission;ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
In the above-mentioned case of Arranza, the Supreme Court also said:
(b) Controversies arising out of intra-corporate or partnership relations, between P.D. No. 902-A, as amended, defines the jurisdiction of the SEC; while P.D. No. 957, as
and among stockholders, members, or associates; between any or all of them and amended, delineates that of the HLURB. These two quasi-judicial agencies exercise
the corporation, partnership or association of which they are stockholders, functions that are distinct from each other. The SEC has authority over the operation
members or associates, respectively; and between such corporation, partnership or of all kinds of corporations, partnerships or associations with the end in view of
association and the state insofar as it concerns their individual franchise or right to protecting the interests of the investing public and creditors. On the other hand, the
exist as such entity; and HLURB has jurisdiction over matters relating to observance of laws governing
corporations engaged in the specific business of development of subdivisions and
(c) Controversies in the election or appointments of directors, trustees, officers or condominiums. The HLURB and the SEC being bestowed with distinct powers and
managers of such corporations, partnerships or associations. functions, the exercise of those functions by one shall not abate the performance by
the other of its own functions. As respondent puts it, "there is no contradiction
In the ARRANZA case, the Supreme Court said that:
between P.D. No. 902-A and P.D. No. 957."
For the SEC to acquire jurisdiction over any controversy under these provisions, two
elements must be considered: (1) the status or relationship of the parties; and (2) Hence, the powers of the HLURB can not be in derogation of the SEC's authority. P.D.
the nature of the Question that is the subject of their controversy. Nos. 902-A and 957 are laws in pari materia. This is because P.D. No. 902-A relates to
all corporations, while P.D. No. 957 pertains to corporations engaged in the particular
The first element requires that the controversy must arise "out of intra-corporate business of developing subdivisions and condominiums.
or partnership relations between and among stockholders, members or associates;
between any or all of them and the corporation, partnership or association of which Next, this brings us to the collateral issue of whether or not HLURB properly
they are stockholders, members or associates, respectively; and between such suspended the proceeding until SEC shall have resolved with finality the issue of
corporation, partnership or association and the State in so far as it concerns their authority of Mr. Orendain.
individual franchises.
In the instant case, [SMPI] is not a stockholder, member or associate of [BF Homes]. Given the foregoing perspective, the collateral issue thus formulated should be
answered in the negative. Furthermore, in several cases decided by the Supreme
It is a lot buyer in the subdivision developed by [BF Homes.]
Court, the High Court has consistently ruled that the NHA or the HLURB has
The second element requires that the dispute among the parties be intrinsically jurisdiction over complaints arising from contracts between the subdivision
connected with the regulation or the internal affairs of the corporation, partnership developer and the lot buyer or those aimed at compelling the subdivision developer
to comply with its contractual and statutory obligations.
or association.

In the case at hand, [SMPI's] complaint before the HLURB is for specific performance Hence, the HLURB should take jurisdiction over respondent's complaint because it
pertains to matters within the HLURB's competence and expertise. The proceedings
to enforce its rights as purchaser of subdivision lots as regards the delivery of twenty
before the HLURB should not be suspended. 32chanrobleslaw
(20) TCTs. Certainly, the issue in this case is not related to the "regulation" of [BF
Homes] or to [BF Homes'] "internal affairs."
The Court of Appeals, however, differed from the OP Decision by ordering the;
As a matter of fact, Section 25 of PD 957 provides: remand of the case to the HLURB in recognition of the doctrine of primary
Section 25. Issuance of Title. The owner or developer shall deliver the title of the lot jurisdiction. The dispositive portion of the Decision of the appellate court
or unit to the buyer upon full payment of the lot or unit. No fee, except those reads:cralawlawlibrary
required for the registration of the deed of sale in the Registry of Deeds, shall be
collected for the issuance of such title. In the event a mortgage over the lot or unit WHEREFORE, the questioned Decision of the Office of the President [is] AFFIRMED
is outstanding at the time of the issuance of the title to the buyer, the owner or with modification. The case is REMANDED to the Housing and Land Use Regulatory
developer shall redeem the mortgage or the corresponding portion thereof within Board for continuation of proceedings with dispatch.33
six months from such issuance in order that the title over any fully paid lot or unit SMPI filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration (Re: Decision dated January 31,
may be secured and delivered to the buyer in accordance herewith, (underscoring 2005)34 insofar as the Court of Appeals remanded the case to the HLURB for further
supplied.) proceedings. The appellate court denied said Motion in a Resolution 35 dated August
9, 2005. 1. THE ISSUE HERE BEING A SIMPLE QUESTION OF LAW ON WHETHER
OR NOT SMPI WAS ENTITLED TO THE DELIVERY OF THE BALANCE
SMPI now comes before this Court,. through the instant Petition, assailing the OF 130 FULLY PAID LOTS/TITLES OR EQUIVALENT TO TWENTY (20)
aforementioned Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals based on the TITLES, THE COURT OF APPEALS SHOULD HAVE AFFIRMED THE
following assignment of errors:cralawlawlibrary DECISION ON THE MERITS OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT.

I. 2. IN FACT, THE RELEVANT FACTS OF THE CASE, E.G. FULL PAYMENT


OF THE PURCHASE PRICE OF THE SUBJECT LOTS IN FAVOR OF [BF
THE COURT OF APPEALS' DECISION DATED 31 JANUARY 2005 REMANDING THE CASE HOMES] AND NON-DELIVERY TO SMPI OF THE TITLES OVER THE
TO THE HLURB IS CONSTITUTIONALLY FLAWED AND A PATENT NULLITY CONSIDERING SUBJECT LOTS BY [BF HOMES], WERE UNDISPUTED AND MORE SO
THAT:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary ADMITTED BY THE PARTIES IN THEIR RESPECTIVE HLURB POSITION
PAPERS AND OTHER PLEADINGS FOR WHICH NO TRIABLE
1. IT MISERABLY FAILED TO DISCUSS CLEARLY AND DISTINCTLY THE EVIDENTIARY MATTER IS LEFT TO BE RESOLVED BY THE HLURB.
LEGAL BASIS AND/OR JUSTIFICATION FOR REMANDING THE CASE
TO THE HLURB AS MANDATED BY SECTION 14, ARTICLE VIII, 1987 3. INDEED, THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, PER ITS DECISION DATED
CONSTITUTION. 27 JANUARY 2004, CORRECTLY RESOLVED THIS SIMPLE ISSUE, AND
FORTUNATELY IN FAVOR OF SMPI, BASED ON THE PLEADINGS AND
2. WORSE, THE COURT OF APPEALS FAILED TO IDENTIFY THE FACTUAL POSITION PAPERS FILED BY THE PARTIES IN ACCORDANCE WITH
MATTERS THAT IT CLAIMS NEED STILL BE TRIED OR DETERMINED SECTION 5, RULE VI, HLURB RULES. THE COURT OF APPEALS OUGHT
BY THE HLURB THAT WOULD HAVE JUSTIFIED THE REMAND OF THE TO HAVE SIMILARLY ENFORCED THIS HLURB RULE.
CASE.
4. FURTHER PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE HLURB IS DILATORY,
3. IN ANY EVENT, [BF HOMES] AND THE COURT OF APPEALS' CLAIMED UNNECESSARY, SUPERFLUOUS AND CIRCUITOUS. HIERARCHICALLY
DOCTRINE OF PRIMARY JURISDICTION IS FOREVER BARRED AS IT (sic), THE HLURB IS PRECLUDED AND BARRED FROM REOPENING,
COULD NOT BE INVOKED FOR THE FIRST TIME ON APPEAL. MUCH LESS REVERSING THE DECISION OF THE OFFICE OF THE
PRESIDENT.
4. EVEN ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THE DOCTRINE OF PRIMARY
JURISDICTION IS STILL INVOCABLE, IT IS NONETHELESS 5. THE COURT OF APPEALS' STANCE IS TANTAMOUNT TO A RE-
INAPPLICABLE SINCE THE PARTIES HAD DULY AMPLIFIED THEIR OPENING OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT'S DECISION, HENCE
RESPECTIVE CAUSES OF ACTION AND DEFENSES VIA THEIR WOULD WREAK HAVOC TO THE DOCTRINE OF SUBSTANTIAL RES
SUBMISSION OF PLEADINGS AND POSITION PAPERS BEFORE THE JUDICATA.
HLURB, AND UPON WHICH THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
DECIDED ON THE MERITS. 6. IF AT ALL, THE HLURB NEED ONLY BE DIRECTED TO RESOLVE SMPI'S
PENDING MOTION FOR EXECUTION, AND NOT CONDUCT FURTHER
PROCEEDINGS FOR RECEPTION OF THE PARTIES' EVIDENCE THAT
II. ARE UNSPECIFIED.

EVEN THEN, THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE, SERIOUS AND REVERSIBLE
ERROR WHEN IT REMANDED THE CASE TO THE HLURB FOR FURTHER "PRESENTATION III.
OF EVIDENCE" DESPITE THE DECISION ON THE MERITS OF THE OFFICE OF THE
PRESIDENT IN THAT:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED GRAVE, SERIOUS AND REVERSIBLE ERROR
WHEN IT FAILED AND/OR REFUSED TO AFFIRM THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT'S
DECISION DATED 27 JANUARY 2004 IN THAT:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
1. THE SUBJECT SALE TRANSACTIONS, DULY APPROVED AND 7. ACCORDINGLY, SINCE SMPI WAS CONSTRAINED TO LITIGATE DUE
CONFIRMED BY THE SEC PER ITS ORDERS DATED 07 NOVEMBER TO [BF HOMES'] UNJUSTIFIED REFUSAL TO DELIVER THE SUBJECT
1994 AND 31 JULY-1996, ARE PRESUMED VALID AND REGULAR TITLES, SMPI IS ENTITLED TO THE PAYMENT OF ATTORNEY'S FEES.37
SINCE THESE WERE OFFICIAL ACTS OF SEC-APPOINTED RECEIVER
MR. FLORENCIO B. ORENDAIN. chanrobleslaw

2. IN FACT, SEC RECEIVER ORENDAIN'S ACTS CANNOT BE IMPUGNED


The Petition is meritorious.
BY [BF HOMES] SINCE UNDER SECTION 9, RULE 9, INTERIM RULES
OF PROCEDURE GOVERNING INTRA- CORPORATE CONTROVERSIES
Presidential Decree No. 95738 dated July 12, 1976 conferred exclusive jurisdiction to
AND SECTION 17, RULE 4, INTERIM RULES OF
regulate the real estate trade and business upon the National Housing Authority
PROCEDURE ON CORPORATE REHABILITATION, WHICH OPERATES
(NHA).39 Presidential Decree No. 134440dated April 2, 1978 expanded the quasi-
RETROACTIVELY BEING A PROCEDURAL RULE, RECEIVERS ENJOY
judicial powers of NHA by providing as follows:cralawlawlibrary
IMMUNITY FROM SUITS ARISING FROM THE EXERCISE OF THEIR
FUNCTIONS AND DUTIES.
Section 1. In the exercise of its functions to regulate the real estate trade and business
and in addition to its powers provided for in Presidential Decree No. 957, the National
3. NONETHELESS, [BF HOMES] IS ESTOPPED FROM REFUSING TO
Housing Authority shall have exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide cases of the
DELIVER THE REMAINING 20 TCTs SINCE IT HAD PREVIOUSLY
following nature:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
DELIVERED TO SMPI 110 TCTs OUT OF 130 TCTs FOR WHICH [BF
HOMES] HAD DULY .RECEIVED FULL PAYMENT THEREFOR IN THE
TOTAL AMOUNT PHP104,600,402.47.36 CONSEQUENTLY, [BF A. Unsound real estate business
HOMES] IS OBLIGED TO DELIVER THE TITLES TO SMPI PURSUANT practices;ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
TO SECTION 25, P.D. 957.
B. Claims involving refund and any other claims filed by subdivision lot
4. THE MATTER OF THE PURCHASE PRICE IS IRRELEVANT or condominium unit buyer against the project owner, developer,
CONSIDERING THE BIG VOLUME INVOLVED. IN FACT, THE AVERAGE dealer, broker or salesman; and
PURCHASE PRICE OF THE LOTS IN THE AMOUNT OF PHP2,500.00
PER SQ. M. IS VALID AND REASONABLE SINCE THE SALE INVOLVED C. Cases involving specific performance of contractual and statutory
A TOTAL OF 130 LOTS AMOUNTING TO PHP 104,600,402.47. obligations filed by buyers of subdivision lot or condominium unit
against the owner, developer, dealer, broker or salesman."
5. EVEN ASSUMING ARGUENDO THAT THERE MAY BE SUBSTANTIAL (Emphases ours.)
DISPARITY BETWEEN THE AVERAGE PURCHASE PRICE OF
PHP2.500/SQ.M. AND THE MARKET VALUE AT PHP3,500/SQ.M. AS chanrobleslaw
[BF HOMES] CLAIMS, MERE INADEQUACY OF THE PURCHASE PRICE,
STANDING ALONE AND WITHOUT PROOF OF ACTUAL FRAUD, Per Executive Order No. 64841 dated February 7, 1981, the powers of the NHA were
CANNOT INVALIDATE THE PARTIES' SALES CONTRACT PER ARTICLE transferred to the Human Settlements Regulatory Commission, which, pursuant to
1355, NEW CIVIL CODE. Executive Order No. 90 dated December 17, 1986, was subsequently renamed as
HLURB.42 In Siasoco v. Narvaja,43 the Court highlighted the exclusive jurisdiction of
6. IF AT ALL, [BF HOMES'] REMEDY IS TO FILE THE APPROPRIATE the HLURB over complaints for specific performance in certain real estate
ACTION FOR RECONVEYANCE WITH THE REGULAR COURT, ABSENT transactions:cralawlawlibrary
WHICH, IT IS LEGALLY BOUND TO DELIVER TO SMPI THE SUBJECT
TITLES. Under the Executive Order creating it, the HLURB has exclusive jurisdiction to "hear
and decide cases of unsound real estate business practices; claims involving refund
filed against project owners, developers, dealers, brokers, or salesmen; and cases of
specific performance." Accordingly, in United Housing Corporation v. Dayrit, we
ruled that it is the HLURB, not the trial court, which has jurisdiction over complaints determine the contractual obligations of BF Homes and SMPI, as seller and buyer of
for specific performance filed against subdivision developers to compel the latter subdivision lots, respectively, under the terms and conditions of the Deeds of
to execute deeds of absolute sale and to deliver the certificates of title to Absolute Sale in relation to the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 957. In contrast,
buyers. (Emphases supplied.)chanrobleslaw the proceedings before the SEC involved the receivership of BF Homes, an intra-
corporate matter, as pointed out by the Court of Appeals. While the HLURB and SEC
proceedings may be related (i.e., Orendain executed the Deeds of Absolute Sale of
The Court reiterated in Bank of the Philippines Islands v. ALS Management and
the 130 Italia II lots as receiver of BF Homes), the two cases could proceed
Development Corporation44 that:cralawlawlibrary
independently of one another. A ruling by the SEC that Orendain did not have or had
[T]he jurisdiction of the HLURB over cases enumerated in Section 1 of PD No. 1344 exceeded his authority as receiver in executing the Deeds of Absolute Sale is not
is exclusive. Thus, we have ruled that the board has sole jurisdiction in a complaint absolutely determinative of the fate of the complaint for specific performance of
of specific performance for the delivery of a certificate of title to a buyer of a SMPI before the HLURB. It would not automatically result in the nullification or
subdivision lot; for claims of refund regardless of whether the sale is perfected or rescission of the said Deeds or justify the refusal of BF Homes to deliver the 20 TCTs
not; and for determining whether there is a perfected contract of sale. (Emphases to SMPI as there would be other issues which need to be considered, such as the
supplied.) good faith or bad faith of SMPI as buyer, ratification by BF Homes of the
chanrobleslaw Deeds, etc., and the HLURB is not obliged to suspend its proceedings until all of these
issues are resolved or decided by other courts/tribunals. HLURB could already make
a preliminary finding on the validity of the Deeds of Absolute Sale executed by
It is clear from the plain language of Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1344 and Orendain for the purpose of ascertaining the right of SMPI to the delivery of the 20
aforecited jurisprudence that the HLURB had exclusive jurisdiction over the TCTs. The HLURB is behooved to settle the controversy brought before it with
complaint for specific performance filed by SMPI against BF Homes for the delivery dispatch if only to achieve the purpose of Presidential Decree No. 957, to
of the remaining 20 TCTs. wit:cralawlawlibrary

In fact, in the instant case, the HLURB did exercise jurisdiction over and did take The provisions of P.D No. 957 were intended to encompass all questions regarding
cognizance of the complaint of SMPI. Arbiter Balasolla received pleadings and subdivisions and condominiums. The intention was to provide for an appropriate
evidences from the parties, and after the period for filing position papers and draft government agency, the HLURB, to which all parties - buyers and sellers of subdivision
decisions by the parties had lapsed, deemed the case submitted for decision. and condominium units - may seek remedial recourse. The law recognized, too, that
However, at this stage, Arbiter Balasolla demurred, and instead of deciding the case, subdivision and condominium development involves public interest and welfare and
suspended the proceedings until the SEC ruled on the issue of whether or not should be brought to a body, like the HLURB, that has technical expertise. In the
Orendain, the receiver of BF Homes, had authority to execute the Deeds of Absolute exercise of its powers, the HLURB, on the other hand, is empowered to interpret and
Sale over the 130 Italia II lots in favor of SMPI. On appeal, the HLURB Board of apply contracts, and determine the rights of private parties under these contracts.
Commissioners affirmed the suspension of proceedings. This ancillary power, generally judicial, is now no longer with the regular courts to
the extent that the pertinent HLURB laws provide. 45
When the case was appealed to the OP by SMPI, and then to the Court of Appeals by chanrobleslaw
BF Homes, both the OP and the Court of Appeals sustained the jurisdiction of HLURB
over the complaint for specific performance filed by SMPI, the only difference being
Nonetheless, the Court disagrees with the Court of Appeals and finds no more need
that the OP proceeded to resolve the case on the merits based on the evidence on
to remand the case to the HLURB.
record while the appellate court remanded the case to the HLURB for further
proceedings.
To recall, the parties were able to file pleadings and submit evidence before Arbiter
Balasolla. The case was already deemed submitted for resolution with Arbiter
The OP and the Court of Appeals are correct that the HLURB, in the exercise of its
Balasolla stopping short only of actually rendering a decision. Taking into account
exclusive jurisdiction, did not have to suspend the proceedings and should have went
ahead to resolve the complaint for specific performance filed by SMPI given its that the necessary pleadings and evidence of the parties are already on record,
returning the instant case to the HLURB for further proceedings will simply be
statutory mandate under Section 1 of Presidential Decree No. 1344 and its technical
circuitous and inconsistent with the summary nature of HLURB proceedings.46 The
competence and expertise over the subject matter. The HLURB was called upon to
Court keeps in mind the shared objective of Rule 1, Section 2 of the 1996 Rules of judicial sense, for in the former a formal or trial-type hearing is not always necessary,
Procedure of the HLURB, as amended, and Rule 1, Section 6 of the Revised Rules of and technical rules of procedure are not strictly applied."51 In the instant case, SMPI
Court to promote a just, speedy, and inexpensive disposition/determination of every and BF Homes were afforded the opportunity to present and address each other's
action.47 arguments through an exchange of pleadings, as well as to submit their respective
evidence before Arbiter Balasolla. To recall, the case was already submitted for
Pursuant to the doctrine of primary jurisdiction, "the courts cannot or will not decision before Arbiter Balasolla, meaning, there is nothing more left for the parties
determine a controversy involving a question which is within the jurisdiction of an to submit or do. To remand the case and repeat the entire process once again before
administrative tribunal, where the question demands the exercise of sound the HLURB Arbiter will not only be impractical, but also unreasonable and oppressive
administrative discretion requiring the special knowledge, experience, and services for SMPI.
of the administrative tribunal to determine technical and intricate matters of fact,
and a uniformity of ruling is essential to comply with the purposes of the regulatory Relevant herein are the following pronouncements of the Court in Ching v. Court of
statute administered."48However, said doctrine is not an absolute or inflexible rule. Appeals52:cralawlawlibrary
The Court recognized several exceptions in Republic v. Lacap,49viz.:cralawlawlibrary
[T]he Supreme Court may, on certain exceptional instances, resolve the merit:? of a
[T]he doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies and the corollary doctrine of case on the basis of the records and other evidence before it, most especially when
primary jurisdiction, which are based on sound public policy and practical the resolution of these issues would best serve the ends of justice and promote the
considerations, are not inflexible rules. There are many accepted exceptions, such as: speedy disposition of cases.
(a) where there is estoppel on the part of the party invoking the doctrine; (b) where
the challenged administrative act is patently illegal, amounting to lack of jurisdiction; Thus, considering the peculiar circumstances attendant in the instant case, this Court
(c) where there is unreasonable delay or official inaction that will irretrievably sees the cogency to exercise its plenary power:
prejudice the complainant; (d) where the amount involved is relatively small so as to "It is a rule of procedure for the Supreme Court to strive to settle the entire
make the rule impractical and oppressive; (e) where the question involved is purely controversy in a single proceeding leaving no root or branch to bear the seeds of
legal and will ultimately have to be decided by the courts of justice; (f) where judicial future litigation. No useful purpose will be served if a case or the determination of an
intervention is urgent; (g) when its application may cause great and irreparable issue in a case is remanded to the trial court only to have its decision raised again to
damage; (h) where the controverted acts violate due process; (i) when the issue of the Court of Appeals and from there to the Supreme Court (citing Board
non-exhaustion of administrative remedies has been rendered moot; (j) when there of Commissioners vs. Judge Joselito de la Rosa and Judge Capulong, G.R. Nos. 95122-
is no other plain, speedy and adequate remedy; (k)when strong public interest is 23).
involved; and, (1) in quo warranto proceedings, x x x. (Emphases
supplied.)chanrobleslaw "We have laid down the rule that the remand of the case or of an issue to the lower
court for further reception of evidence is not necessary where the Court is in position
The contractual relationship between BF Homes as owner and SMPI as buyer of to resolve the dispute based on the records before it and particularly where the ends
of justice would not be subserved by the remand thereof (Escudem vs. Dulay, 158
subdivision lots is governed by Presidential Decree No. 957 and is undeniably imbued
SCRA 69). Moreover, the Supreme Court is clothed with ample authority to review
with public interest. Hence, it is crucial that the dispute between them be resolved
matters, even those not raised on appeal if it finds that their consideration is
as swiftly as possible. In Spouses Chua v. Ang,50 the Court declared that "public
necessary in arriving at a just disposition of the case."
interest and welfare are involved in subdivision and condominium development, as
the terms of Presidential Decree Nos. 957 and 1344 expressly reflect, x x x Shelter is On many occasions, the Court, in the public interest and for the expeditious
a basic human need whose fulfillment cannot afford any kind of delay." administration of justice, has resolved actions on the merits instead of remanding
them to the trial court for further proceedings, such as where the ends of justice
Even if the case is no longer remanded, BF Homes cannot claim denial of due process. would not be subserved by the remand of the case.
"The essence of due process is to be heard, and, as applied to administrative chanrobleslaw
proceedings, this means a fair and reasonable opportunity to explain one's side, or
an opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of.
Consequently, the Court proceeds to resolve the primary issue in this case: Whether
Administrative due process cannot be fully equated with due process in its strict
or not SMPI is entitled to the delivery of the remaining 20 TCTs for the lots it
purchased from BF Homes. loan NHA had extended for the construction of the fifth floor.

The Court answers affirmatively. The Court observes the frequent allusion of petitioner to its predicament brought
about by the abandonment of the project by the first contractor. But such is
Section 25 of Presidential Decree No. 957 explicitly mandates that "[t]he owner or irrelevant in light of Sec. 25 of P.D. 957 as well as of the Contract to Sell of the
developer shall deliver the title of the [subdivision] lot or [condominium] unit to the parties. While we empathize with petitioner in its financial dilemma we cannot
buyer upon full payment of the lot or unit." make innocent parties suffer the consequences of the former's lack of business
acumen. Upon full payment of a unit, petitioner loses all its rights and interests to
Section 3 of all the three Deeds of Absolute Sale also reads:cralawlawlibrary the unit in favor of the buyer, x x x. (Emphases supplied.)chanrobleslaw

3. [BF Homes] likewise covenants to deliver to [SMPI] the properties free and clear of
To justify its refusal to deliver the remaining 20 TCTs to SMPI, BF Homes asserts that
tenants, if any, and shall submit any and all titles, documents and/or papers which
1) the Deeds of Absolute Sale were undated and not notarized; 2) Orendain did not
may be required to effect the transfer of the properties to [SMPI][.] 53chanrobleslaw
have or exceeded his authority as receiver in entering into the contracts of sale of the
Italia II lots with SMPI; and 3) the consideration for the said Italia II lots were grossly
In the case at bench, SMPI submitted adequate proof showing full payment to and inadequate and disadvantageous for BF Homes.
receipt by BF Homes of the purchase price for the 130 Italia II lots as fixed in the
Deeds of Absolute Sale.54 BF Homes expressly admitted receipt of some payments, The Court is not persuaded.
while it remained silent as to the others without presenting controverting evidence.
Article 1358(1) of the Civil Code requires that "[a]cts and contracts which have for
Upon full payment by SMPI of the purchase price for the 130 Italia II lots to BF Homes, their object the creation, transmission, modification or extinguishment of real rights
it became mandatory upon BF Homes to deliver the TCTs for said lots to SMPI. As the over immovable property" must appear in a public document; and sales of real
Court held in G.O.A.L., Inc. v. Court of Appeals55:cralawlawlibrary property or of an interest therein shall be governed by Article 1403(2) and 1405 of
the same Code. Pertinent portions of Articles 1403(2) and 1405 of the Civil Code are
Upon full payment of the agreed price, petitioner is mandated by law to deliver the reproduced below:cralawlawlibrary
title of the lot or unit to the buyer. Both the "Contract to Sell" of petitioner and
private respondents, and Sec. 25 of P.D. 957 state - Art. 1403. The following contracts are unenforceable, unless they are
Sec. III (Contract to Sell). - Title and Ownership of Unit. Upon full payment by the ratified:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
vendees of the full amount of the purchase price stipulated under Sec. Ill hereof, the
assessments and expenses under Sec. IV and otherwise upon compliance by the x x x x
VENDEES of all obligations therein, the VENDOR will convey to the VENDEE all rights
and interests of the former and to the Unit, subject hereof together with the interest (2) Those that do not comply with the Statute of Frauds as set forth in this number.
in the common area and in the Condominium Corporation appurtenant to such unit In the following cases an agreement hereafter made shall be unenforceable by
x x x." action, unless the same, or some note or memorandum, thereof, be in writing, and
subscribed by the party charged, or by his agent; evidence, therefore, of the
Sec. 25, P.D. 957 - Issuance of Title. - The owner or developer shall deliver the title agreement cannot be received without the writing, or a secondary evidence of its
of the lot or unit to the buyer upon full payment of the lot or unit x x x. In the event contents:
a mortgage over the lot or unit is outstanding at the time of the issuance of the title x x x x
to the buyer, the owner or developer shall redeem the mortgage or the
corresponding portion thereof within six months from such issuance in order that the (e) An agreement of the leasing for a longer period than one year, or for the sale of
title over any paid lot or unit may be secured and delivered to the buyer in real property or of an interest therein;ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
accordance herewith."
Petitioner also attempts to justify its failure to deliver the certificate of title of private xxxx
respondent Teng by claiming that it used the title as part collateral for the additional
Art. 1405. Contracts infringing the Statute of Frauds, referred to in No. 2 of Article render it enforceable. Evidence of the agreement cannot be received without the
1403, are ratified by the failure to object to the presentation of oral evidence to prove writing or a secondary evidence of its contents.
the same, or by the acceptance of benefit under them.chanrobleslaw
The Statute, however, simply provides the method by which the contracts
The contracts of sale of the 130 Italia II lots between BF Homes and SMPI were enumerated therein may be proved but does not declare them invalid because they
are not reduced to writing. By law, contracts are obligatory in whatever form they
actually reduced into writing into the three Deeds of Absolute Sale which were signed
may have been entered into, provided all the essential requisites for their validity are
by the representatives of the two corporations. The only defect was that the Deeds
were not notarized and, therefore, were not public documents as required by Article present. However, when the law requires that a contract be in some form in order
1358(1) of the Civil Code. Cenido v. Spouses Apacionado56 involved a closely similar that it may be valid or enforceable, or that a contract be proved in a certain way,
that requirement is absolute and indispensable. Consequently, the effect of non-
situation and the Court adjudged therein that:cralawlawlibrary
compliance with the requirement of the Statute is simply that no action can be
The sale of real property should be in writing and subscribed by the party charged for enforced unless the requirement is complied with. Clearly, the form required is for
it to be enforceable. The "Pagpapatunay" is in writing and subscribed by Bonifacio evidentiary purposes only. Hence, if the parties permit a contract to be proved,
Aparato, the vendor; hence, it is enforceable under the Statute of Frauds. Not without any objection, it is then just as binding as if the Statute has been complied
having been subscribed and sworn to before a notary public, however, the with.
"Pagpapatunay" is not a public document, and therefore does not comply with
Article 1358, Paragraph 1 of the Civil Code. The purpose of the Statute is to prevent fraud and perjury in the enforcement of
obligations depending for their evidence on the unassisted memory of witnesses, by
The requirement of a public document in Article 1358 is not for the validity of the requiring certain enumerated contracts and transactions to be evidenced by a writing
instrument but for its efficacy. Although a conveyance of land is not made in a signed by the party to be charged.
public document, it does not affect the validity of such conveyance. Article 1358
does not require the accomplishment of the acts or contracts in a public instrument However, for a note or memorandum to satisfy the Statute, it must be complete in
in order to validate the act or contract but only to insure its efficacy, so that after the itself and cannot rest partly in writing and partly in parol. The note or memorandum
existence of said contract has been admitted, the party bound may be compelled to must contain the names of the parties, the terms and conditions of the contract, and
execute the proper document, x x x. a description of the property sufficient to render it capable of identification. Such
note or memorandum must contain the essential elements of the contract expressed
x x x x with certainty that may be ascertained from the note or memorandum itself, or some
other writing to which it refers or within which it is connected, without resorting to
The private conveyance of the house and lot is therefore valid between Bonifacio parol evidence.
Aparato and respondent spouses, x x x For greater efficacy of the contract,
convenience of the parties and to bind third persons, respondent spouses have the x x x x
right to compel the vendor or his heirs; to execute the necessary document to
properly convey the property.chanrobleslaw The Statute of Frauds is applicable only to contracts which are executory and not
to those which have been consummated either totally or partially. If a contract has
been totally or partially performed, the exclusion of parol evidence would promote
Also instructive is the following discussion of the Court in Swedish Match v. Court of fraud or bad faith, for it would enable the defendant to keep the benefits already
Appeals,57 on the Statute of Frauds:cralawlawlibrary derived by him from the transaction in litigation, and at the same time, evade the
obligations, responsibilities or liabilities assumed or contracted by him thereby.
The Statute of Frauds embodied in Article 1403, paragraph (2), of the Civil Code This rule, however, is predicated on the fact of ratification of the contract within
requires certain contracts enumerated therein to be evidenced by some note or the meaning of Article 1405 of the Civil Code either (1) by failure to object to the
memorandum in order to be enforceable. The term "Statute of Frauds" is descriptive presentation of oral evidence to prove the same, or (2) by the acceptance of
of statutes which require certain classes of contracts to be in writing. The Statute benefits under them. x x x. (Emphases supplied.)chanrobleslaw
does not deprive the parties of the right to contract with respect to the matters
therein involved, but merely regulates the formalities of the contract necessary to
Management, Inc. did act without or beyond his/its authority as receiver in entering
Based on the afore-quoted jurisprudence, the Deeds of Absolute Sale are into the contracts of sale of the 130 Italia II lots with SMPI, then the said contracts
enforceable. First, the Deeds are already in writing and signed by the parties, and were merely unenforceable and could be ratified, Article 1403(1) of the Civil Code
only lack notarization, a formality which SMPI could compel BF Homes to comply provides:cralawlawlibrary
with. As private documents, the Deeds are still binding between the parties and the
conveyance of the 130 Italia II lots by BF Homes to SMPI by virtue of said Deeds is ARTICLE 1403. The following contracts are unenforceable, unless they are
valid. And second, the Deeds were already ratified as BF Homes had accepted the ratified:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
benefits from said contracts when it received full payment from SMPI of the purchase
price for the 130 Italia II lots. The Deeds were also substantially performed (1) Those entered into in the name of another person by one who has been given no
considering that BF Homes had previously delivered to SMPI the TCTs for 110 out of authority or legal representation, or who has acted beyond his
the 130 lots, only refusing to deliver the TCTs for the remaining 20 lots. powers[.]chanrobleslaw

BF Homes cannot insist on the lack of authority of Orendain as receiver to sign the As the OP observed, BF Homes ratified the Deeds of Absolute Sale with SMPI by
Deeds of Absolute Sale for the 130 Italia II lots. While it is true the SEC revoked the accepting full payment from SMPI of the purchase price for the 130 Italia II lots, and
appointment of Orendain as rehabilitation receiver of BF Homes in 1989, the SEC fully implementing the transaction covered by the first two Deeds and partially
thereafter immediately appointed FBO Networks Management, Inc., in replacement implementing the third by delivering the TCTs for 110 of the 130 lots.
as receiver. Orendain was the Chairman of FBO Networks Management, Inc. Hence,
when Orendain signed the Deeds of Absolute Sale for the 130 Italia II lots, he did so Receiving full payment for the 130 Italia II lots from SMPI also estops BF Homes from
as Chairman of FBO Networks Management, Inc., the appointed receiver of BF denying the authority of Orendain/FBO Networks Management, Inc. to enter into the
Homes. Deeds of Absolute Sale. The Court applies by analogy its declarations in Bisaya Land
Transportation, Inc. v. Sanchez,61 which involved the acts of a court-appointed
Under Section 6(d) of Presidential Decree No. 902-A, otherwise known as the SEC receiver for an estate:cralawlawlibrary
Reorganization Act, the management committee or rehabilitation receiver is
empowered to take custody and control of all existing assets and properties of such Furthermore, it is clear that BISTRANCO received material benefits from the contracts
corporations under management; to evaluate the existing assets and liabilities, of agency of Sanchez, based upon the monthly statements of income of BISTRANCO,
earnings and operations of such corporations; to determine the best way to salvage upon which the commissions of Sanchez were based, x x x.
and protect the interest of investors and creditors; to study, review and evaluate the
feasibility of continuing operations, and restructure and rehabilitate such entities if x x x x
determined to be feasible by the SEC.58 The acts of the receiver, being an appointed
officer of the SEC,59 enjoy the presumption of regularity.60 [I]n our considered opinion, the doctrine of estoppel precludes BISTRANCO from
repudiating an obligation voluntarily assumed by it, after having accepted benefits
In the instant case, the acts of FBO Networks Management, Inc., as receiver of BF therefrom.' To countenance such repudiation would be contrary to equity and would
Homes, undertaken through Orendain, including the sale of the 130 Italia II lots to put a premium on fraud or misrepresentation, which this Court will not
SMPI in 1992 and 1993, are so far presumed to have been regularly performed absent sanction.chanrobleslaw
evidence to the contrary. While BF Homes questioned the acts of Orendain/FBO
Networks Management, Inc. as receiver before the SEC, the SEC terminated the
rehabilitation proceedings without definitively ruling on the same and recognized the Furthermore, the averment of BF Homes of inadequacy of the purchase price for the
transfer of jurisdiction over such subject matter to the Regional Trial Courts (RTC) 130 Italia II lots deserves scant consideration. Section 3(p), Rule 131 of the Revised
with the passage of Republic Act No. 8799, otherwise known as the Securities Rules of Court presumes that private transactions have been fair and regular. The
Regulation Code. There is no showing herein whether BF Homes pursued before the only evidence submitted by BF Homes in support of its claim is the appraisal report
RTC any case to nullify or invalidate the alleged unauthorized or irregular acts of which valued the lots at P3,500.00 and P3,000.00 per square meter. The appraisal
Orendain/FBO Networks Management, Inc. as receiver. report, however, does not necessarily prove that the purchase price for the lots
agreed upon in the Deeds of Absolute Sale, averaged at P2,500.00 per square meter,
Moreover, even assuming for the sake of argument that Orendain/FBO Networks is grossly inadequate and disadvantageous to BF Homes. There are considerations for
which sellers may agree to sell their property for less than the market value, such as
the urgent financial need of the seller, cash or immediate payment, and/or the high
number of properties purchased at the same time. In this case, SMPI explained that
it was granted a lower purchase price because it bought the Italia II lots in volume,
and BF Homes was unable to repudiate said explanation.

Finally, as to the award of attorney's fees, Article 2208 of the Civil Code allows the
recovery of attorney's fees and expenses of litigation, other than judicial costs, even
in the absence of stipulation, "[w]here the defendant acted in gross and evident bad
faith in refusing to satisfy the plaintiffs plainly valid, just and demandable claim."
SMPI obviously had a valid and demandable claim against BF Homes, which
unjustifiably and inexcusably refused to comply with the mandate in Presidential
Decree No. 957 and undertaking in the Deeds of Absolute Sale to deliver the titles to
the subdivision lots upon complete payment for said properties. The sudden refusal
of BF Homes to deliver the last 20 TCTs, after having previously delivered the other
110 TCTs, constitutes bad faith and justifies the award of attorney's fees in favor of
SMPI, which was forced to litigate to enforce its rights. The amount of P100,000.00
awarded by the OP as attorney's fees is just and reasonable under the circumstances.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Petition for Review on Certiorari of San


Miguel Properties, Inc. is GRANTED. The Decision dated January 31, 2005 and
Resolution dated August 9, 2005 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 83631
ordering the remand of the case to the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board
is REVERSED and SET ASIDE; and the Decision dated January 27, 2004 of the Office of
the President in O.P. Case No. 03-E-203 is REINSTATED.

SO ORDERED.
subdivision lot is not a ground to deprive the court of its jurisdiction. 6Petitioner’s
A. JURISDICTION OF THE SUPREME COURT motion for reconsideration was denied.7

Hence, the instant petition.


G.R. No. 165973 June 29, 2005
The petition lacks merit.
LACSON HERMANAS, INC.,
At the outset, the instant petition for certiorari should have been filed with the Court
vs. of Appeals and not with this Court pursuant to the doctrine of hierarchy of courts.
HEIRS OF CENON IGNACIO, herein represented by their atty-in-fact, AMALIA Disregard of this rule warrants the outright dismissal of the petition. While the
IGNACIO, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 48, CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, presided Court’s original jurisdiction to issue a writ of certiorari is concurrent with the Regional
by the HON. JUDGE SERAFIN B. DAVID,Respondents. Trial Courts and the Court of Appeals in certain cases, we emphasized in Liga ng mga
Barangay National v. Atienza, Jr.,8 that such concurrence does not allow an
DECISION
unrestricted freedom of choice of court forum, thus –
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
This concurrence of jurisdiction is not, however, to be taken as according to parties
Assailed in this petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Civil seeking any of the writs an absolute, unrestrained freedom of choice of the court to
Procedure are the September 9, 20041 and October 15 20042 Orders of the Regional which application therefore will be directed. There is after all a hierarchy of courts.
Trial Court of San Fernando City, Branch 48,3 which denied petitioner’s motion to That hierarchy is determinative of the venue of appeals, and also serves as a general
dismiss and motion for reconsideration, respectively. determinant of the appropriate forum for petitions for the extraordinary writs. A
becoming regard of that judicial hierarchy most certainly indicates that petitions for
The undisputed facts show that on April 29, 2004, private respondents filed a the issuance of extraordinary writs against first level ("inferior") courts should be filed
complaint4 for recovery of real property against petitioner Lacson Hermanas, Inc. with the Regional Trial Court, and those against the latter, with the Court of Appeals.
They alleged that their predecessor-in-interest, Cenon Ignacio (Cenon), purchased A direct invocation of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction to issue these writs
from petitioner a 1,000 square meter portion of a parcel of land covered by Transfer should be allowed only when there are special and important reasons therefor,
Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 261974-R for P50,000.00 which was fully paid on clearly and specifically set out in the petition. It is a policy necessary to prevent
September 24, 1989. Cenon thereafter took possession of the subject area and inordinate demands upon the Court’s time and attention which are better devoted
fenced the boundaries thereof for the construction of Seventh Day Adventist Chapel. to those matters within its exclusive jurisdiction, and to prevent further over-
On January 11, 1996, however, Cenon died. crowding of the Court’s docket.9
Sometime in 2002, private respondents demanded the delivery of the lot’s title and In the present case, petitioner adduced no special and important reason why direct
the segregation of the portion sold to Cenon but was informed by petitioner that the recourse to this Court should be allowed. Thus, we reaffirm the judicial policy that
same lot has been sold to Rowena T. Coleman. Hence, the instant case to compel this Court will not entertain a direct invocation of its jurisdiction unless the redress
petitioner to execute the necessary deed of sale and to deliver the owner’s duplicate desired cannot be obtained in the appropriate courts, and exceptional and
copy of title. compelling circumstances justify the resort to the extraordinary remedy of writ
of certiorari.
Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss5 contending, among others, that the case is
cognizable by the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) and not the trial Although the invocation of this Court’s jurisdiction is available to petitioner on the
court because it is sued as a subdivision developer and the property involved is a ground that this case raises a pure question of law, specifically, the issue of
subdivision lot. jurisdiction,10 the proper recourse is not a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 but an
appeal via a petition for review on certiorari in accordance with Rule 45 of the
The trial court denied the motion to dismiss holding that it has jurisdiction over the
Revised Rules of Civil Procedure,11 which should have been filed within 15 days from
subject matter. It added that petitioner’s allegation that the lot involved is a
notice of the denial of its motion for reconsideration 12 on October 22, 2004. Even if
we treat the instant petition as an appeal under Rule 45, the same will not prosper the subject lot as Lot No. 44, Plan 15 with an area of 139.4 sq. meters situated in the
having been filed only on November 30, 2004, way beyond the 15 day reglementary District of Sampaloc covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 131305 of the
period. Registry of Deeds of Manila. We note that such description was used when referring
to the subject lot. What appears from the complaint was the fact that the subject lot
Then too, even if we gloss over these procedural infirmities, the instant petition must
was sold to petitioners in an ordinary sale of a lot on installment basis; that
fail for lack of merit.
petitioners allegedly defaulted in the payment of their monthly installments for
Section 1 of PD 134413 vests the National Housing Authority (now HLURB) with which reason respondent seeks to recover possession thereof. Thus, the trial court
exclusive jurisdiction to hear and decide the following cases: (a) unsound real estate has jurisdiction over the case.
business practice; (b) claims involving refund and any other claims filed

by subdivision lot or condominium unit buyer against the project owner, developer,
dealer, broker, or salesman; and (c) cases involving specific performance of [T]he use of the phrase "regular subdivision project" does not automatically make
contractual and statutory obligations filed by buyers of subdivision lot or the instant case fall under the jurisdiction of the HLURB. In Sps. Kakilala vs.
condominium unit against the owner, developer, dealer, broker or salesman. Faraon, notwithstanding the allegations of petitioners in their complaint that the
subject lot is "a subdivision lot" in a "subdivision project," we held that such
It is a settled rule that jurisdiction over the subject matter is determined by the
allegations were not sufficient to vest the HLURB of jurisdiction over the case, thus:
allegations in the complaint and is not affected by the pleas or the theories set up by
the defendant in an answer or a motion to dismiss. Otherwise, jurisdiction would Jurisdiction is determined by the averments of the complaint and not by the defense
become dependent upon the whims of the defendant. contained in the answer. Hence, the jurisdictional issue involved here shall be
determined on the basis of the allegations of petitioner’s complaint before the
Here, the allegations in private respondents’ complaint clearly vest jurisdiction in the
HLURB. Petitioners simply alleged therein that the subject lot is "a subdivision lot" in
trial court. Nothing therein shows that the questioned property is a subdivision lot
"a subdivision project." Under Section 2(d) and (e) of PD 957, "subdivision project"
and sold by petitioner as a subdivision developer. It simply referred to petitioner as
and "subdivision lot" are defined as follows:
a corporation and the seller of a lot described as "portion of a parcel of land,
particularly a 1,000 sq. m. area thereof … covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. d) Subdivision project – "Subdivision project" shall mean a tract or a parcel of land
261974-R …"14 registered under Act No. 496 which is partitioned primarily for residential purposes
into individual lots with or without improvements thereon, and offered to the public
Mere assertion by petitioner that it is a subdivision developer and the land involved
for sale, in cash or in installment terms. It shall include all residential, commercial,
is a subdivision lot, will not automatically strip the trial court of its jurisdiction and
industrial and recreational areas as well as open spaces and other community and
authorize the HLURB to take cognizance of the complaint. Indeed, it does not always
public areas in the project.
follow that each sale made by petitioner is undertaken in its capacity as a subdivision
developer, in the same manner that sales made in such capacity are not at all times e) Subdivision lot. – "Subdivision lot" shall mean any of the lots, whether residential,
intended for subdivision development. commercial, industrial, or recreational, in a subdivision project.

In Javellana v. Presiding Judge, RTC, Branch 30, Manila,15 the Court sustained the There is no allegation in the complaint that the lot purchased by petitioners is part of
denial of a motion to dismiss, holding that jurisdiction lies with the regular courts and a tract of land partitioned primarily for residential purposes into individual lots and
not with the HLURB because the averments in the complaint reveal that the offered to the public for sale. There is likewise no allegation that the tract of land
transaction involved an installment sale of a lot and not a sale of a subdivision lot. It includes recreational areas and open spaces. Nor does the "Contract to Sell", which
further held that even the allegation – a subdivision lot in a subdivision project, is not forms part of the complaint, describe the subject property as a subdivision lot. What
sufficient to vest jurisdiction with the HLURB, thus – the contract strongly suggests is that the property is simply a lot offered by
respondents, as vendors, to the petitioners, as vendees, for sale on installment. As
A reading of the complaint does not show that the subject lot was a subdivision lot
can be clearly gleaned from the same contract, respondents are not acting as
which would fall under the jurisdiction of the HLURB. The complaint clearly described
subdivision owners, developers, brokers or salesmen, nor are they engaged in the
real estate business. What is plain is that the parties are acting only as ordinary sellers
and buyers of a specific lot, a portion of a big tract of land co-owned by the heirs of
Mariano Faraon. Neither are there undertakings specified in the contract that
respondents shall develop the land, like providing for the subdivision concrete roads
and sidewalks, street lights, curbs and gutters, underground drainage system,
independent water system, landscaping, developed park, and 24-hour security guard
service. Even the rights and obligations of the sellers and buyers of a subdivision lot
are not provided in the agreement. All these provisions are usually contained in a
standard contract involving a sale of a subdivision lot.16

In the instant case, the parties never mentioned if the contract was embodied in a
written instrument which may shed light on the nature of their transaction. At any
rate, the allegations in private respondents’ complaint which determine the tribunal
that may lawfully take cognizance of the case, clearly show that jurisdiction in the
present controversy is lodged with the trial court and not with the HLURB.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The September 9, 2004 and October 15, 2004
Orders of the Regional Trial Court of San Fernando City, Branch 48, which denied
petitioner’s motion to dismiss and motion for reconsideration, respectively,
are AFFIRMED.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 140954. April 12, 2005 On August 4, 1998, Atty. Sulpicio A. Tinampay withdrew as counsel for Bertuldo as
his services were terminated by petitioner Bertuldo Hinog III. Atty. Veronico G.
HEIRS OF BERTULDO HINOG Petalcorin then entered his appearance as new counsel for Bertuldo.4
vs. On September 22, 1998, Atty. Petalcorin filed a motion to expunge the complaint
HON. ACHILLES MELICOR, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, RTC, Branch 4, from the record and nullify all court proceedings on the ground that private
7th Judicial Region, Tagbiliran City, Bohol, and CUSTODIO BALANE, RUFO BALANE, respondents failed to specify in the complaint the amount of damages claimed so as
HONORIO BALANE, and TOMAS BALANE,Respondents. to pay the correct docket fees; and that under Manchester Development Corporation
vs. Court of Appeals,5 non-payment of the correct docket fee is jurisdictional.6
DECISION
In an amended motion, filed on October 2, 1998, Atty. Petalcorin further alleged that
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
the private respondents failed to pay the correct docket fee since the main subject
Before us is a petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules of matter of the case cannot be estimated as it is for recovery of ownership, possession
Court which assails the Orders dated March 22, 1999, August 13, 1999 and October and removal of construction.7
15, 1999 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 4, of Tagbilaran City, Bohol in Civil Case
Private respondents opposed the motion to expunge on the following grounds: (a)
No. 4923.
said motion was filed more than seven years from the institution of the case; (b) Atty.
The factual background of the case is as follows: Petalcorin has not complied with Section 16, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court which
provides that the death of the original defendant requires a substitution of parties
On May 21, 1991, private respondents Custodio, Rufo, Tomas and Honorio, all before a lawyer can have legal personality to represent a litigant and the motion to
surnamed Balane, filed a complaint for "Recovery of Ownership and Possession, expunge does not mention of any specific party whom he is representing; (c)
Removal of Construction and Damages" against Bertuldo Hinog (Bertuldo for brevity). collectible fees due the court can be charged as lien on the judgment; and (d)
They alleged that: they own a 1,399- square meter parcel of land situated in Malayo considering the lapse of time, the motion is merely a dilatory scheme employed by
Norte, Cortes, Bohol, designated as Lot No. 1714; sometime in March 1980, they petitioners.8
allowed Bertuldo to use a portion of the said property for a period of ten years and
construct thereon a small house of light materials at a nominal annual rental of In their Rejoinder, petitioners manifested that the lapse of time does not vest the
₱100.00 only, considering the close relations of the parties; after the expiration of court with jurisdiction over the case due to failure to pay the correct docket fees. As
the ten-year period, they demanded the return of the occupied portion and removal to the contention that deficiency in payment of docket fees can be made as a lien on
of the house constructed thereon but Bertuldo refused and instead claimed the judgment, petitioners argued that the payment of filing fees cannot be made
ownership of the entire property. dependent on the result of the action taken.9

Accordingly, private respondents sought to oust Bertuldo from the premises of the On January 21, 1999, the trial court, while ordering the complaint to be expunged
subject property and restore upon themselves the ownership and possession from the records and the nullification of all court proceedings taken for failure to pay
thereof, as well as the payment of moral and exemplary damages, attorney’s fees the correct docket fees, nonetheless, held:
and litigation expenses "in amounts justified by the evidence." 2
The Court can acquire jurisdiction over this case only upon the payment of the exact
On July 2, 1991, Bertuldo filed his Answer. He alleged ownership of the disputed prescribed docket/filing fees for the main cause of action, plus additional docket fee
property by virtue of a Deed of Absolute Sale dated July 2, 1980, executed by one for the amount of damages being prayed for in the complaint, which amount should
Tomas Pahac with the knowledge and conformity of private respondents. 3 be specified so that the same can be considered in assessing the amount of the filing
fees. Upon the complete payment of such fees, the Court may take appropriate
After the pre-trial, trial on the merits ensued. On November 18, 1997, private action in the light of the ruling in the case of Manchester Development Corporation
respondents rested their case. Thereupon, Bertuldo started his direct examination. vs. Court of Appeals, supra.10
However, on June 24, 1998, Bertuldo died without completing his evidence.
Accordingly, on January 28, 1999, upon payment of deficiency docket fee, private On November 24, 1999, petitioners filed before us the present petition
respondents filed a manifestation with prayer to reinstate the case. 11 Petitioners for certiorari and prohibition.27 They allege that the public respondent committed
opposed the reinstatement12 but on March 22, 1999, the trial court issued the first grave abuse of discretion in allowing the case to be reinstated after private
assailed Order reinstating the case.13 respondents paid the docket fee deficiency since the trial court had earlier expunged
the complaint from the record and nullified all proceedings of the case and such
On May 24, 1999, petitioners, upon prior leave of court, 14 filed their supplemental
ruling was not contested by the private respondents. Moreover, they argue that the
pleading, appending therein a Deed of Sale dated November 15, 1982. 15 Following
public respondent committed grave abuse of discretion in allowing the case to be
the submission of private respondents’ opposition thereto,16 the trial court, in its
filed and denying the manifestation with motion to dismiss, despite the defect in the
Order dated July 7, 1999, denied the supplemental pleading on the ground that the
complaint which prayed for damages without specifying the amounts, in violation of
Deed of Absolute Sale is a new matter which was never mentioned in the original
SC Circular No. 7, dated March 24, 1988.
answer dated July 2, 1991, prepared by Bertuldo’s original counsel and which
Bertuldo verified; and that such new document is deemed waived in the light of In their Comment, private respondents aver that no grave abuse of discretion was
Section 1, Rule 917 of the Rules of Court. The trial court also noted that no formal committed by the trial court in reinstating the complaint upon the payment of
substitution of the parties was made because of the failure of defendant’s counsel to deficiency docket fees because petitioners did not object thereto within the
give the names and addresses of the legal representatives of Bertuldo, so much so reglementary period. Besides, Atty. Petalcorin possessed no legal personality to
that the supposed heirs of Bertuldo are not specified in any pleading in the case. 18 appear as counsel for the heirs of Bertuldo until he complies with Section 16, Rule 3
of the Rules of Court.28
On July 14, 1999, petitioners manifested that the trial court having expunged the
complaint and nullified all court proceedings, there is no valid case and the complaint At the outset, we note the procedural error committed by petitioners in directly filing
should not be admitted for failure to pay the correct docket fees; that there should the instant petition before this Court for it violates the established policy of strict
be no case to be reinstated and no case to proceed as there is no complaint filed. 19 observance of the judicial hierarchy of courts.

After the submission of private respondents’ opposition 20 and petitioners’ Although the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and the Regional Trial Courts have
rejoinder,21 the trial court issued the second assailed Order on August 13, 1999, concurrent jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo
essentially denying petitioners’ manifestation/rejoinder. The trial court held that the warranto, habeas corpus and injunction, such concurrence does not give the
issues raised in such manifestation/rejoinder are practically the same as those raised petitioner unrestricted freedom of choice of court forum. 29 As we stated in People vs.
in the amended motion to expunge which had already been passed upon in the Order Cuaresma:30
dated January 21, 1999. Moreover, the trial court observed that the Order dated
This Court's original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari is not exclusive. It is shared
March 22, 1999 which reinstated the case was not objected to by petitioners within
by this Court with Regional Trial Courts and with the Court of Appeals. This
the reglementary period or even thereafter via a motion for reconsideration despite
concurrence of jurisdiction is not, however, to be taken as according to parties
receipt thereof on March 26, 1999.22
seeking any of the writs an absolute, unrestrained freedom of choice of the court to
On August 25, 1999, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration 23 but the same was which application therefor will be directed. There is after all a hierarchy of courts.
denied by the trial court in its third assailed Order dated October 15, 1999. The trial That hierarchy is determinative of the venue of appeals, and also serves as a general
court held that the Manchester rule was relaxed in Sun Insurance Office, Ltd. vs. determinant of the appropriate forum for petitions for the extraordinary writs. A
Asuncion.24 Noting that there has been no substitution of parties following the death becoming regard for that judicial hierarchy most certainly indicates that petitions for
of Bertuldo, the trial court directed Atty. Petalcorin to comply with the provisions of the issuance of extraordinary writs against first level ("inferior") courts should be filed
Section 16, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court. The trial court also reiterated that the Order with the Regional Trial Court, and those against the latter, with the Court of Appeals.
dated March 22, 1999 reinstating the case was not assailed by petitioners within the A direct invocation of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction to issue these writs
reglementary period, despite receipt thereof on March 26, 1999. 25 should be allowed only when there are special and important reasons therefor,
clearly and specifically set out in the petition. This is [an] established policy. It is a
On November 19, 1999, Atty. Petalcorin complied with the directive of the trial court
policy necessary to prevent inordinate demands upon the Court’s time and attention
to submit the names and addresses of the heirs of Bertuldo. 26
which are better devoted to those matters within its exclusive jurisdiction, and to After recognizing the jurisdiction of the trial court by seeking affirmative relief in their
prevent further over-crowding of the Court’s docket.31 motion to serve supplemental pleading upon private respondents, petitioners are
effectively barred by estoppel from challenging the trial court’s jurisdiction. 38 If a
The rationale for this rule is two-fold: (a) it would be an imposition upon the precious
party invokes the jurisdiction of a court, he cannot thereafter challenge the court’s
time of this Court; and (b) it would cause an inevitable and resultant delay, intended
jurisdiction in the same case.39 To rule otherwise would amount to speculating on the
or otherwise, in the adjudication of cases, which in some instances had to be
fortune of litigation, which is against the policy of the Court.40
remanded or referred to the lower court as the proper forum under the rules of
procedure, or as better equipped to resolve the issues because this Court is not a trier Nevertheless, there is a need to correct the erroneous impression of the trial court
of facts.32 as well as the private respondents that petitioners are barred from assailing the
Order dated March 22, 1999 which reinstated the case because it was not objected
Thus, this Court will not entertain direct resort to it unless the redress desired cannot
to within the reglementary period or even thereafter via a motion for reconsideration
be obtained in the appropriate courts, and exceptional and compelling
despite receipt thereof on March 26, 1999.
circumstances, such as cases of national interest and of serious implications, justify
the availment of the extraordinary remedy of writ of certiorari, calling for the exercise It must be clarified that the said order is but a resolution on an incidental matter
of its primary jurisdiction. Exceptional and compelling circumstances were held which does not touch on the merits of the case or put an end to the proceedings. 41 It
present in the following cases: (a) Chavez vs. Romulo33 on citizens’ right to bear arms; is an interlocutory order since there leaves something else to be done by the trial
(b) Government of the United States of America vs. Purganan 34 on bail in extradition court with respect to the merits of the case.42 As such, it is not subject to a
proceedings; (c) Commission on Elections vs. Quijano-Padilla35 on government reglementary period. Reglementary period refers to the period set by the rules for
contract involving modernization and computerization of voters’ registration list; appeal or further review of a final judgment or order, i.e., one that ends the litigation
(d) Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB vs. Zamora36 on status and existence of a public office; in the trial court.
and (e) Fortich vs. Corona37 on the so-called "Win-Win Resolution" of the Office of the
Moreover, the remedy against an interlocutory order is generally not to resort
President which modified the approval of the conversion to agro-industrial area.
forthwith to certiorari, but to continue with the case in due course and, when an
In this case, no special and important reason or exceptional and compelling unfavorable verdict is handed down, to take an appeal in the manner authorized by
circumstance analogous to any of the above cases has been adduced by the law.43 Only when the court issued such order without or in excess of jurisdiction or
petitioners so as to justify direct recourse to this Court. The present petition should with grave abuse of discretion and when the assailed interlocutory order is patently
have been initially filed in the Court of Appeals in strict observance of the doctrine erroneous and the remedy of appeal would not afford adequate and expeditious
on the hierarchy of courts. Failure to do so is sufficient cause for the dismissal of the relief will certiorari be considered an appropriate remedy to assail an interlocutory
petition at bar. order.44Such special circumstances are absolutely wanting in the present case.

In any event, even if the Court disregards such procedural flaw, the petitioners’ Time and again, the Court has held that the Manchester rule has been modified
contentions on the substantive aspect of the case fail to invite judgment in their in Sun Insurance Office, Ltd. (SIOL) vs. Asuncion 45 which defined the following
favor. guidelines involving the payment of docket fees:

The unavailability of the writ of certiorari and prohibition in this case is borne out of 1. It is not simply the filing of the complaint or appropriate initiatory pleading, but
the fact that petitioners principally assail the Order dated March 22, 1999 which they the payment of the prescribed docket fee, that vests a trial court with jurisdiction
never sought reconsideration of, in due time, despite receipt thereof on March 26, over the subject-matter or nature of the action. Where the filing of the initiatory
1999. Instead, petitioners went through the motion of filing a supplemental pleading pleading is not accompanied by payment of the docket fee, the court may allow
and only when the latter was denied, or after more than three months have passed, payment of the fees within a reasonable time but in no case beyond the applicable
did they raise the issue that the complaint should not have been reinstated in the prescriptive or reglementary period.
first place because the trial court had no jurisdiction to do so, having already ruled
2. The same rule applies to permissive counterclaims, third-party claims and similar
that the complaint shall be expunged.
pleadings, which shall not be considered filed until and unless the filing fee prescribed
therefor is paid. The court may also allow payment of said fee within a reasonable It is worth noting that when Bertuldo filed his Answer on July 2, 1991, he did not raise
time but also in no case beyond its applicable prescriptive or reglementary period. the issue of lack of jurisdiction for non-payment of correct docket fees. Instead, he
based his defense on a claim of ownership and participated in the proceedings before
3. Where the trial court acquires jurisdiction over a claim by the filing of the
the trial court. It was only in September 22, 1998 or more than seven years after filing
appropriate pleading and payment of the prescribed filing fee but, subsequently, the
the answer, and under the auspices of a new counsel, that the issue of jurisdiction
judgment awards a claim not specified in the pleading, or if specified the same has
was raised for the first time in the motion to expunge by Bertuldo’s heirs.
been left for determination by the court, the additional filing fee therefor shall
constitute a lien on the judgment. It shall be the responsibility of the Clerk of Court After Bertuldo vigorously participated in all stages of the case before the trial court
or his duly authorized deputy to enforce said lien and assess and collect the additional and even invoked the trial court’s authority in order to ask for affirmative relief,
fee. petitioners, considering that they merely stepped into the shoes of their predecessor,
are effectively barred by estoppel from challenging the trial court’s jurisdiction.
Plainly, while the payment of the prescribed docket fee is a jurisdictional
Although the issue of jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the proceedings as
requirement, even its non-payment at the time of filing does not automatically cause
the same is conferred by law, it is nonetheless settled that a party may be barred
the dismissal of the case, as long as the fee is paid within the applicable prescriptive
from raising it on ground of laches or estoppel.52
or reglementary period, more so when the party involved demonstrates a willingness
to abide by the rules prescribing such payment.46 Thus, when insufficient filing fees Moreover, no formal substitution of the parties was effected within thirty days from
were initially paid by the plaintiffs and there was no intention to defraud the date of death of Bertuldo, as required by Section 16, Rule 3 53 of the Rules of Court.
government, the Manchester rule does not apply.47 Needless to stress, the purpose behind the rule on substitution is the protection of
the right of every party to due process. It is to ensure that the deceased party would
Under the peculiar circumstances of this case, the reinstatement of the complaint
continue to be properly represented in the suit through the duly appointed legal
was just and proper considering that the cause of action of private respondents,
representative of his estate.54 Non-compliance with the rule on substitution would
being a real action, prescribes in thirty years,48 and private respondents did not really
render the proceedings and judgment of the trial court infirm because the court
intend to evade the payment of the prescribed docket fee but simply contend that
acquires no jurisdiction over the persons of the legal representatives or of the heirs
they could not be faulted for inadequate assessment because the clerk of court made
on whom the trial and the judgment would be binding.55 Thus, proper substitution of
no notice of demand or reassessment.49 They were in good faith and simply relied on
heirs must be effected for the trial court to acquire jurisdiction over their persons
the assessment of the clerk of court.
and to obviate any future claim by any heir that he was not apprised of the litigation
Furthermore, the fact that private respondents prayed for payment of damages "in against Bertuldo or that he did not authorize Atty. Petalcorin to represent him.
amounts justified by the evidence" does not call for the dismissal of the complaint
The list of names and addresses of the heirs was submitted sixteen months after the
for violation of SC Circular No. 7, dated March 24, 1988 which required that all
death of Bertuldo and only when the trial court directed Atty. Petalcorin to comply
complaints must specify the amount of damages sought not only in the body of the
with the provisions of Section 16, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court. Strictly speaking
pleadings but also in the prayer in order to be accepted and admitted for filing. Sun
therefore, before said compliance, Atty. Petalcorin had no standing in the court a
Insurance effectively modified SC Circular No. 7 by providing that filing fees for
quo when he filed his pleadings. Be that as it may, the matter has been duly corrected
damages and awards that cannot be estimated constitute liens on the awards finally
by the Order of the trial court dated October 15, 1999.
granted by the trial court.50
To be sure, certiorari under Rule 6556 is a remedy narrow in scope and inflexible in
Thus, while the docket fees were based only on the real property valuation, the trial
character. It is not a general utility tool in the legal workshop.57 It offers only a limited
court acquired jurisdiction over the action, and judgment awards which were left for
form of review. Its principal function is to keep an inferior tribunal within its
determination by the court or as may be proven during trial would still be subject to
jurisdiction.58 It can be invoked only for an error of jurisdiction, that is, one where the
additional filing fees which shall constitute a lien on the judgment. It would then be
act complained of was issued by the court, officer or a quasi-judicial body without or
the responsibility of the Clerk of Court of the trial court or his duly authorized deputy
in excess of jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion which is tantamount to lack
to enforce said lien and assess and collect the additional fees. 51
or in excess of jurisdiction,59 not to be used for any other purpose,60 such as to cure
errors in proceedings or to correct erroneous conclusions of law or fact. 61 A contrary
rule would lead to confusion, and seriously hamper the administration of justice.

Petitioners utterly failed to show that the trial court gravely abused its discretion in
issuing the assailed resolutions. On the contrary, it acted prudently, in accordance
with law and jurisprudence.

WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is DISMISSED for lack of merit.
G.R. No. 157036 June 9, 2004 OWNERS MAY NO LONGER BRING THEIR FIREARMS OUTSIDE THEIR RESIDENCES.
THOSE WHO WANT TO USE THEIR GUNS FOR TARGET PRACTICE WILL BE GIVEN
FRANCISCO I. CHAVEZ vs. HON. ALBERTO G. ROMULO, IN HIS SPECIAL AND TEMPORARY PERMITS FROM TIME TO TIME ONLY FOR THAT PURPOSE.
CAPACITY AS EXECUTIVE SECRETARY AND THEY MAY NOT LOAD THEIR GUNS WITH BULLETS UNTIL THEY ARE IN THE
PREMISES OF THE FIRING RANGE.

DECISION WE CANNOT DISREGARD THE PARAMOUNT NEED FOR LAW AND ORDER. JUST AS WE
CANNOT BE HEEDLESS OF OUR PEOPLE’S ASPIRATIONS FOR PEACE."
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
Acting on President Arroyo’s directive, respondent Ebdane issued the assailed
The right of individuals to bear arms is not absolute, but is subject to regulation. The Guidelines quoted as follows:
maintenance of peace and order1 and the protection of the people against violence
are constitutional duties of the State, and the right to bear arms is to be construed in "TO : All Concerned
connection and in harmony with these constitutional duties.
FROM : Chief, PNP
Before us is a petition for prohibition and injunction seeking to enjoin the
SUBJECT : Guidelines in the Implementation of the Ban on the Carrying of Firearms
implementation of the "Guidelines in the Implementation of the Ban on the Carrying
Outside of Residence.
of Firearms Outside of Residence"2 (Guidelines) issued on January 31, 2003, by
respondent Hermogenes E. Ebdane, Jr., Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP). DATE : January 31, 2003

The facts are undisputed: 1. Reference: PD 1866 dated June 29, 1983 and its Implementing Rules and
Regulations.
In January 2003, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo delivered a speech before the
members of the PNP stressing the need for a nationwide gun ban in all public places 2. General:
to avert the rising crime incidents. She directed the then PNP Chief, respondent
The possession and carrying of firearms outside of residence is a privilege granted by
Ebdane, to suspend the issuance of Permits to Carry Firearms Outside of Residence
(PTCFOR), thus: the State to its citizens for their individual protection against all threats of lawlessness
and security.
"THERE IS ALSO NEED TO FOCUS ON THE HIGH PROFILE CRIMES THAT TEND TO
As a rule, persons who are lawful holders of firearms (regular license, special permit,
DISTURB THE PSYCHOLOGICAL PERIMETERS OF THE COMMUNITY – THE LATEST
certificate of registration or MR) are prohibited from carrying their firearms outside
BEING THE KILLING OF FORMER NPA LEADER ROLLY KINTANAR. I UNDERSTAND WE
of residence. However, the Chief, Philippine National Police may, in meritorious cases
ALREADY HAVE THE IDENTITY OF THE CULPRIT. LET US BRING THEM TO THE BAR OF
JUSTICE. as determined by him and under conditions as he may impose, authorize such person
or persons to carry firearms outside of residence.
THE NPA WILL FIND IT MORE DIFFICULT TO CARRY OUT THEIR PLOTS IF OUR LAW
3. Purposes:
ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES CAN RID THEMSELVES OF RASCALS IN UNIFORM, AND
ALSO IF WE ENFORCE A GUN BAN IN PUBLIC PLACES. This Memorandum prescribes the guidelines in the implementation of the ban on the
carrying of firearms outside of residence as provided for in the Implementing Rules
THUS, I AM DIRECTING THE PNP CHIEF TO SUSPEND INDEFINITELY THE ISSUANCE OF
and Regulations, Presidential Decree No. 1866, dated June 29, 1983 and as directed
PERMIT TO CARRY FIREARMS IN PUBLIC PLACES. THE ISSUANCE OF PERMITS WILL
by PGMA. It also prescribes the conditions, requirements and procedures under
NOW BE LIMITED ONLY TO OWNERSHIP AND POSSESSION OF GUNS AND NOT TO
which exemption from the ban may be granted.
CARRYING THEM IN PUBLIC PLACES. FROM NOW ON, ONLY THE UNIFORMED MEN IN
THE MILITARY AND AUTHORIZED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS CAN CARRY 4. Specific Instructions on the Ban on the Carrying of Firearms:
FIREARMS IN PUBLIC PLACES, AND ONLY PURSUANT TO EXISTING LAW. CIVILIAN
a. All PTCFOR are hereby revoked. Authorized holders of licensed firearms covered initial processing before they are forwarded to the office of the PTCFOR Secretariat.
with valid PTCFOR may re-apply for a new PTCFOR in accordance with the conditions The processors, after ascertaining that the documentary requirements are in order,
hereinafter prescribed. shall issue the Order of Payment (OP) indicating the amount of fees payable by the
applicant, who in turn shall pay the fees to the Land Bank. b. Applications, which are
b. All holders of licensed or government firearms are hereby prohibited from carrying
duly processed and prepared in accordance with existing rules and regulations, shall
their firearms outside their residence except those covered with mission/letter
be forwarded to the OCPNP for approval. c. Upon approval of the application, OCPNP
orders and duty detail orders issued by competent authority pursuant to Section 5,
will issue PTCFOR valid for one (1) year from date of issue. d. Applications for renewal
IRR, PD 1866, provided, that the said exception shall pertain only to organic and
of PTCFOR shall be processed in accordance with the provisions of par. 6 above. e.
regular employees.
Application for possession and carrying of firearms by diplomats in the Philippines
5. The following persons may be authorized to carry firearms outside of residence. shall be processed in accordance with NHQ PNP Memo dated September 25, 2000,
with Subj: Possession and Carrying of Firearms by Diplomats in the Philippines. 8.
a. All persons whose application for a new PTCFOR has been approved, provided, that Restrictions in the Carrying of Firearms: a. The firearm must not be displayed or
the persons and security of those so authorized are under actual threat, or by the exposed to public view, except those authorized in uniform and in the performance
nature of their position, occupation and profession are under imminent danger. of their official duties. b. The firearm shall not be brought inside public drinking and
amusement places, and all other commercial or public establishments."
b. All organic and regular employees with Mission/Letter Orders granted by their
respective agencies so authorized pursuant to Section 5, IRR, PD 1866, provided, that Petitioner Francisco I. Chavez, a licensed gun owner to whom a PTCFOR has been
such Mission/Letter Orders is valid only for the duration of the official mission which issued, requested the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to
in no case shall be more than ten (10) days. reconsider the implementation of the assailed Guidelines. However, his request was
denied. Thus, he filed the present petition impleading public respondents Ebdane, as
c. All guards covered with Duty Detail Orders granted by their respective security
Chief of PNP; Alberto G. Romulo, as Executive Secretary; and Gerry L. Barias, as Chief
agencies so authorized pursuant to Section 4, IRR, PD 1866, provided, that such DDO
of the PNP-Firearms and Explosives Division. He anchored his petition on the
shall in no case exceed 24-hour duration. d. Members of duly recognized Gun Clubs
following grounds:
issued Permit to Transport (PTT) by the PNP for purposes of practice and competition,
provided, that such firearms while in transit must not be loaded with ammunition "I
and secured in an appropriate box or case detached from the person. e. Authorized
members of the Diplomatic Corps. 6. Requirements for issuance of new PTCFOR: a. THE PRESIDENT HAS NO POWER OR AUTHORITY – MUCH LESS BY A MERE SPEECH –
Written request by the applicant addressed to Chief, PNP stating his qualification to TO ALTER, MODIFY OR AMEND THE LAW ON FIREARMS BY IMPOSING A GUN BAN
possess firearm and the reasons why he needs to carry firearm outside of residence. AND CANCELING EXISTING PERMITS FOR GUNS TO BE CARRIED OUTSIDE RESIDENCES.
b. Xerox copy of current firearm license duly authenticated by Records Branch, FED;
II
c. Proof of actual threat, the details of which should be issued by the Chief of
Police/Provincial or City Directors and duly validated by C, RIID; d. Copy of Drug Test OFFICIALLY, THERE IS NO PRESIDENTIAL ISSUANCE ON THE GUN BAN; THE
Clearance, duly authenticated by the Drug Testing Center, if photocopied; e. Copy of PRESIDENTIAL SPEECH NEVER INVOKED POLICE POWER TO JUSTIFY THE GUN BAN;
DI/ RIID clearance, duly authenticated by ODI/RIID, if photocopied; f. Copy of Neuro- THE PRESIDENT’S VERBAL DECLARATION ON GUN BAN VIOLATED THE PEOPLE’S
Psychiatric Clearance duly authenticated by NP Testing Center, if photocopied; g. RIGHT TO PROTECT LIFE AND THEIR PROPERTY RIGHT TO CARRY FIREARMS.
Copy of Certificate of Attendance to a Gun Safety Seminar, duly validated by Chief,
III
Operations Branch, FED; h. NBI Clearance; i. Two (2) ID pictures (2" x 2") taken not
earlier than one (1) year from date of filing of application; and j. Proof of Payment THE PNP CHIEF HAS NO POWER OR AUTHORITY TO ISSUE THE QUESTIONED
GUIDELINES BECAUSE:
7. Procedures: a. Applications may be filed directly to the Office of the PTCFOR
Secretariat in Camp Crame. In the provinces, the applications may also be submitted 1) THERE IS NO LAW, STATUTE OR EXECUTIVE ORDER WHICH GRANTS THE PNP CHIEF
to the Police Regional Offices (PROs) and Provincial/City Police Offices (P/CPOs) for THE AUTHORITY TO PROMULGATE THE PNP GUIDELINES.
2) THE IMPLEMENTING RULES AND REGULATIONS OF PD 1866 CANNOT BE THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF ITS PURPOSE – TO DETER AND PREVENT CRIME –THEREBY
SUBJECT OF ANOTHER SET OF IMPLEMENTING GUIDELINES. BECOMING UNDULY OPPRESSIVE TO LAW-ABIDING GUN-OWNERS.

3) THE PRESIDENT’S SPEECH CANNOT BE A BASIS FOR THE PROMULGATION OF VII


IMPLEMENTNG GUIDELINES ON THE GUN BAN.
THE PNP GUIDELINES ARE UNJUST, OPPRESSIVE AND CONFISCATORY SINCE IT
IV REVOKED ALL EXISTING PERMITS TO CARRY WITHOUT, HOWEVER, REFUNDING THE
PAYMENT THE PNP RECEIVED FROM THOSE WHO ALREADY PAID THEREFOR.
ASSUMING ARGUENDO, THAT THE PNP GUIDELINES IMPLEMENT PD 1866, AND THE
AMENDMENTS THERETO, THE PNP CHIEF STILL HAS NO POWER OR AUTHORITY TO VIII
ISSUE THE SAME BECAUSE –
THE PNP GUIDELINES VIOLATE THE EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE OF THE
1) PER SEC 6, RA 8294, WHICH AMENDS PD 1866, THE IRR SHALL BE PROMULGATED CONSTITUTION BECAUSE THEY ARE DIRECTED AT AND OPPRESSIVE ONLY TO LAW-
JOINTLY BY THE DOJ AND THE DILG. ABIDING GUN OWNERS WHILE LEAVING OTHER GUN-OWNERS – THE LAWBREAKERS
(KIDNAPPERS, ROBBERS, HOLD-UPPERS, MNLF, MILF, ABU SAYYAF COLLECTIVELY,
2) SEC. 8, PD 1866 STATES THAT THE IRR SHALL BE PROMULGATED BY THE CHIEF OF
AND NPA) – UNTOUCHED.
THE PHILIPPINE CONSTABULARY.
IX
V
THE PNP GUIDELINES ARE UNJUST, OPPRESSIVE AND UNFAIR BECAUSE THEY WERE
THE PNP GUIDELINES VIOLATE THE DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF THE CONSTITUTION
IMPLEMENTED LONG BEFORE THEY WERE PUBLISHED.
BECAUSE:
X
1) THE RIGHT TO OWN AND CARRY A FIREARM IS NECESSARILY INTERTWINED WITH
THE PEOPLE’S INHERENT RIGHT TO LIFE AND TO PROTECT LIFE. THUS, THE PNP THE PNP GUIDELINES ARE EFFECTIVELY AN EX POST FACTO LAW SINCE THEY APPLY
GUIDELINES DEPRIVE PETITIONER OF THIS RIGHT WITHOUT DUE PROCESS OF LAW RETROACTIVELY AND PUNISH ALL THOSE WHO WERE ALREADY GRANTED PERMITS
FOR: TO CARRY OUTSIDE OF RESIDENCE LONG BEFORE THEIR PROMULGATION."

A) THE PNP GUIDELINES DEPRIVE PETITIONER OF HIS MOST POTENT, IF NOT HIS Petitioner’s submissions may be synthesized into five (5) major issues:
ONLY, MEANS TO DEFEND HIMSELF.
First, whether respondent Ebdane is authorized to issue the assailed Guidelines;
B) THE QUESTIONED GUIDELINES STRIPPED PETITIONER OF HIS MEANS OF
Second, whether the citizens’ right to bear arms is a constitutional right?;
PROTECTION AGAINST CRIME DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE STATE COULD NOT
POSSIBLY PROTECT ITS CITIZENS DUE TO THE INADEQUACY AND INEFFICIENCY OF THE Third, whether the revocation of petitioner’s PTCFOR pursuant to the assailed
POLICE FORCE. Guidelines is a violation of his right to property?;
2) THE OWNESHIP AND CARRYING OF FIREARMS ARE CONSTITUTIONALLY Fourth, whether the issuance of the assailed Guidelines is a valid exercise of police
PROTECTED PROPERTY RIGHTS WHICH CANNOT BE TAKEN AWAY WITHOUT DUE power?; and
PROCESS OF LAW AND WITHOUT JUST CAUSE.
Fifth, whether the assailed Guidelines constitute an ex post facto law?
VI
The Solicitor General seeks the dismissal of the petition pursuant to the doctrine of
ASSUMING ARGUENDO, THAT THE PNP GUIDELINES WERE ISSUED IN THE EXERCISE hierarchy of courts. Nonetheless, in refutation of petitioner’s arguments, he
OF POLICE POWER, THE SAME IS AN INVALID EXERCISE THEREOF SINCE THE MEANS contends that: (1) the PNP Chief is authorized to issue the assailed Guidelines; (2)
USED THEREFOR ARE UNREASONABLE AND UNNCESSARY FOR THE petitioner does not have a constitutional right to own and carry firearms; (3) the
assailed Guidelines do not violate the due process clause of the Constitution; and (4) to approve or disapprove applications of any person for a license to deal in firearms
the assailed Guidelines do not constitute an ex post facto law. or to possess the same for personal protection, hunting and other lawful purposes;
and (2) to revoke such license any time.10 Further, it authorized him to issue
Initially, we must resolve the procedural barrier.
regulations which he may deem necessary for the proper enforcement of the
On the alleged breach of the doctrine of hierarchy of courts, suffice it to say that the Act.11 With the enactment of Act No. 2711, the "Revised Administrative Code of
doctrine is not an iron-clad dictum. In several instances where this Court was 1917," the laws on firearms were integrated.12 The Act retained the authority of the
confronted with cases of national interest and of serious implications, it never Governor General provided in Act No. 1780. Subsequently, the growing complexity in
hesitated to set aside the rule and proceed with the judicial determination of the the Office of the Governor-General resulted in the delegation of his authority to the
cases.3 The case at bar is of similar import as it involves the citizens’ right to bear Chief of the Constabulary. On January 21, 1919, Acting Governor-General Charles E.
arms. Yeater issued Executive Order No. 813 authorizing and directing the Chief of
Constabulary to act on his behalf in approving and disapproving applications for
I personal, special and hunting licenses. This was followed by Executive Order No.
6114 designating the Philippine Constabulary (PC) as the government custodian of all
Authority of the PNP Chief
firearms, ammunitions and explosives. Executive Order No. 215,15 issued by
Relying on the principle of separation of powers, petitioner argues that only Congress President Diosdado Macapagal on December 3, 1965, granted the Chief of the
can withhold his right to bear arms. In revoking all existing PTCFOR, President Arroyo Constabulary, not only the authority to approve or disapprove applications for
and respondent Ebdane transgressed the settled principle and arrogated upon personal, special and hunting license, but also the authority to revoke the same. With
themselves a power they do not possess – the legislative power. the foregoing developments, it is accurate to say that the Chief of the Constabulary
had exercised the authority for a long time. In fact, subsequent issuances such as
We are not persuaded. Sections 2 and 3 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Presidential Decree
It is true that under our constitutional system, the powers of government are No. 186616 perpetuate such authority of the Chief of the Constabulary. Section 2
distributed among three coordinate and substantially independent departments: the specifically provides that any person or entity desiring to possess any firearm "shall
legislative, the executive and the judiciary. Each has exclusive cognizance of the first secure the necessary permit/license/authority from the Chief of the
matters within its jurisdiction and is supreme within its own sphere.4 Constabulary." With regard to the issuance of PTCFOR, Section 3 imparts: "The Chief
of Constabulary may, in meritorious cases as determined by him and under such
Pertinently, the power to make laws – the legislative power – is vested in conditions as he may impose, authorize lawful holders of firearms to carry them
Congress.5 Congress may not escape its duties and responsibilities by delegating that outside of residence." These provisions are issued pursuant to the general power
power to any other body or authority. Any attempt to abdicate the power is granted by P.D. No. 1866 empowering him to promulgate rules and regulations for
unconstitutional and void, on the principle that "delegata potestas non potest the effective implementation of the decree.17 At this juncture, it bears emphasis that
delegari" – "delegated power may not be delegated."6 P.D. No. 1866 is the chief law governing possession of firearms in the Philippines and
that it was issued by President Ferdinand E. Marcos in the exercise of his legislative
The rule which forbids the delegation of legislative power, however, is not absolute
power.18 In an attempt to evade the application of the above-mentioned laws and
and inflexible. It admits of exceptions. An exception sanctioned by immemorial
regulations, petitioner argues that the "Chief of the PNP" is not the same as the "Chief
practice permits the legislative body to delegate its licensing power to certain
of the Constabulary," the PC being a mere unit or component of the newly
persons, municipal corporations, towns, boards, councils, commissions,
established PNP. He contends further that Republic Act No. 829419 amended P.D. No.
commissioners, auditors, bureaus and directors.7 Such licensing power includes the
1866 such that the authority to issue rules and regulations regarding firearms is now
power to promulgate necessary rules and regulations.8
jointly vested in the Department of Justice and the DILG, not the Chief of the
The evolution of our laws on firearms shows that since the early days of our Republic, Constabulary.20
the legislature’s tendency was always towards the delegation of power. Act No.
Petitioner’s submission is bereft of merit.
1780,9 delegated upon the Governor-General (now the President) the authority (1)
By virtue of Republic Act No. 6975,21 the Philippine National Police (PNP) absorbed duty.24 Thus, when President Arroyo directed respondent Ebdane to suspend the
the Philippine Constabulary (PC). Consequently, the PNP Chief succeeded the Chief issuance of PTCFOR, she was just directing a subordinate to perform an assigned
of the Constabulary and, therefore, assumed the latter’s licensing authority. Section duty. Such act is well within the prerogative of her office.
24 thereof specifies, as one of PNP’s powers, the issuance of licenses for the
II
possession of firearms and explosives in accordance with law.22 This is in conjunction
with the PNP Chief’s "power to issue detailed implementing policies and instructions" Right to bear arms: Constitutional or Statutory?
on such "matters as may be necessary to effectively carry out the functions, powers
and duties" of the PNP.23 Petitioner earnestly contends that his right to bear arms is a constitutionally-
protected right. This, he mainly anchors on various American authorities. We
Contrary to petitioner’s contention, R.A. No. 8294 does not divest the Chief of the therefore find it imperative to determine the nature of the right in light of American
Constabulary (now the PNP Chief) of his authority to promulgate rules and jurisprudence.
regulations for the effective implementation of P.D. No. 1866. For one, R.A. No. 8294
did not repeal entirely P.D. No. 1866. It merely provides for the reduction of penalties The bearing of arms is a tradition deeply rooted in the English and American society.
for illegal possession of firearms. Thus, the provision of P.D. No. 1866 granting to the It antedates not only the American Constitution but also the discovery of firearms. 25
Chief of the Constabulary the authority to issue rules and regulations regarding
A provision commonly invoked by the American people to justify their possession of
firearms remains effective. Correspondingly, the Implementing Rules and
firearms is the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of
Regulations dated September 15, 1997 jointly issued by the Department of Justice
America, which reads:
and the DILG pursuant to Section 6 of R.A. No. 8294 deal only with the automatic
review, by the Director of the Bureau of Corrections or the Warden of a provincial or "A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of free state, the right of
city jail, of the records of convicts for violations of P.D. No. 1866. The Rules seek to the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
give effect to the beneficent provisions of R.A. No. 8294, thereby ensuring the early
release and reintegration of the convicts into the community. An examination of the historical background of the foregoing provision shows that it
pertains to the citizens’ "collective right" to take arms in defense of the State, not to
Clearly, both P.D. No. 1866 and R.A. No. 6975 authorize the PNP Chief to issue the the citizens’ "individual right" to own and possess arms. The setting under which the
assailed guidelines. right was contemplated has a profound connection with the keeping and
maintenance of a militia or an armed citizenry. That this is how the right was
Corollarily, petitioner disputes President Arroyo’s declaration of a nationwide gun
construed is evident in early American cases.
ban, arguing that "she has no authority to alter, modify, or amend the law on firearms
through a mere speech." The first case involving the interpretation of the Second Amendment that reached
the United States Supreme Court is United States vs. Miller.26 Here, the indictment
First, it must be emphasized that President Arroyo’s speech was just an expression of
charged the defendants with transporting an unregistered "Stevens shotgun"
her policy and a directive to her subordinate. It cannot, therefore, be argued that
without the required stamped written order, contrary to the National Firearms Act.
President Arroyo enacted a law through a mere speech.
The defendants filed a demurrer challenging the facial validity of the indictment on
Second, at the apex of the entire executive officialdom is the President. Section 17, the ground that the National Firearms Act offends the inhibition of the Second
Article VII of the Constitution specifies his power as Chief Executive, thus: "The Amendment. The District Court sustained the demurrer and quashed the indictment.
President shall have control of all the executive departments, bureaus and offices. He On appeal, the Supreme Court interpreted the right to bear arms under the Second
shall ensure that the laws be faithfully executed." As Chief Executive, President Amendment as referring to the collective right of those comprising the Militia – a
Arroyo holds the steering wheel that controls the course of her government. She lays body of citizens enrolled for military discipline. It does not pertain to the individual
down policies in the execution of her plans and programs. Whatever policy she right of citizen to bear arm. Miller expresses its holding as follows:
chooses, she has her subordinates to implement them. In short, she has the power
"In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a ‘shotgun
of control. Whenever a specific function is entrusted by law or regulation to her
having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length’ at this time has some
subordinate, she may act directly or merely direct the performance of a
reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, Counsel does not expressly rely upon the prohibition in the United States
we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear Constitution against the infringement of the right of the people of the United States
such an instrument. Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any to keep and bear arms (U. S. Constitution, amendment 2), which is not included in
part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the the Philippine Bill. But it may be well, in passing, to point out that in no event could
common defense. this constitutional guaranty have any bearing on the case at bar, not only because
it has not been expressly extended to the Philippine Islands, but also because it has
The same doctrine was re-echoed in Cases vs. United States.27 Here, the Circuit Court
been uniformly held that both this and similar provisions in State constitutions
of Appeals held that the Federal Firearms Act, as applied to appellant, does not
apply only to arms used in civilized warfare (see cases cited in 40 Cyc., 853, note
conflict with the Second Amendment. It ruled that:
18); x x x."
"While [appellant’s] weapon may be capable of military use, or while at least
Evidently, possession of firearms by the citizens in the Philippines is the exception,
familiarity with it might be regarded as of value in training a person to use a
not the rule. The right to bear arms is a mere statutory privilege, not a constitutional
comparable weapon of military type and caliber, still there is no evidence that the
right. It is a mere statutory creation. What then are the laws that grant such right to
appellant was or ever had been a member of any military organization or that his
the Filipinos? The first real firearm law is Act No. 1780 enacted by the Philippine
use of the weapon under the circumstances disclosed was in preparation for a
Commission on October 12, 1907. It was passed to regulate the importation,
military career. In fact, the only inference possible is that the appellant at the time
acquisition, possession, use and transfer of firearms. Section 9 thereof provides:
charged in the indictment was in possession of, transporting, and using the firearm
and ammunition purely and simply on a frolic of his own and without any thought "SECTION 9. Any person desiring to possess one or more firearms for personal
or intention of contributing to the efficiency of the well regulated militia which the protection, or for use in hunting or other lawful purposes only, and ammunition
Second amendment was designed to foster as necessary to the security of a free therefor, shall make application for a license to possess such firearm or firearms or
state." ammunition as hereinafter provided. Upon making such application, and before
receiving the license, the applicant shall make a cash deposit in the postal savings
With the foregoing jurisprudence, it is erroneous to assume that the US Constitution
bank in the sum of one hundred pesos for each firearm for which the license is to be
grants upon the American people the right to bear arms. In a more explicit language,
issued, or in lieu thereof he may give a bond in such form as the Governor-General
the United States vs. Cruikshank28 decreed: "The right of the people to keep and bear
may prescribe, payable to the Government of the Philippine Islands, in the sum of
arms is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any way dependent
two hundred pesos for each such firearm: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, That persons who
upon that instrument." Likewise, in People vs. Persce,29 the Court of Appeals said:
are actually members of gun clubs, duly formed and organized at the time of the
"Neither is there any constitutional provision securing the right to bear arms which
passage of this Act, who at such time have a license to possess firearms, shall not be
prohibits legislation with reference to such weapons as are specifically before us for
required to make the deposit or give the bond prescribed by this section, and the
consideration. The provision in the Constitution of the United States that the right
bond duly executed by such person in accordance with existing law shall continue to
of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed is not designed to control
be security for the safekeeping of such arms."
legislation by the state."
The foregoing provision was restated in Section 88731 of Act No. 2711 that integrated
With more reason, the right to bear arms cannot be classified as fundamental under
the firearm laws. Thereafter, President Ferdinand E. Marcos issued P.D. No. 1866. It
the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Our Constitution contains no provision similar to
codified the laws on illegal possession, manufacture, dealing in, acquisition of
the Second Amendment, as we aptly observed in the early case of United States vs.
firearms, ammunitions or explosives and imposed stiffer penalties for their violation.
Villareal:30
R.A. No. 8294 amended some of the provisions of P.D. No. 1866 by reducing the
"The only contention of counsel which would appear to necessitate comment is the imposable penalties. Being a mere statutory creation, the right to bear arms cannot
claim that the statute penalizing the carrying of concealed weapons and prohibiting be considered an inalienable or absolute right.
the keeping and the use of firearms without a license, is in violation of the provisions
III
of section 5 of the Philippine Bill of Rights.
Vested Property Right
Section 1, Article III of the Constitution provides that "no person shall be deprived of concealed weapons licenses depends ‘largely upon the extent to which the statute
life, liberty or property without due process of law." Petitioner invokes this provision, contains mandatory language that restricts the discretion of the [issuing authority]
asserting that the revocation of his PTCFOR pursuant to the assailed Guidelines to deny licenses to applicants who claim to meet the minimum eligibility
deprived him of his "vested property right" without due process of law and in requirements. x x x Where state law gives the issuing authority broad discretion to
violation of the equal protection of law. grant or deny license application in a closely regulated field, initial applicants do not
have a property right in such licenses protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. See
Petitioner cannot find solace to the above-quoted Constitutional provision.
Jacobson, supra, 627 F.2d at 180 (gaming license under Nevada law);"
In evaluating a due process claim, the first and foremost consideration must be
Similar doctrine was announced in Potts vs. City of Philadelphia, 37 Conway vs.
whether life, liberty or property interest exists. 32 The bulk of jurisprudence is that a
King,38 Nichols vs. County of Sta. Clara,39 and Gross vs. Norton.40 These cases
license authorizing a person to enjoy a certain privilege is neither a property nor
enunciated that the test whether the statute creates a property right or interest
property right. In Tan vs. The Director of Forestry,33 we ruled that "a license is merely
depends largely on the extent of discretion granted to the issuing authority.
a permit or privilege to do what otherwise would be unlawful, and is not a contract
between the authority granting it and the person to whom it is granted; neither is it In our jurisdiction, the PNP Chief is granted broad discretion in the issuance of
property or a property right, nor does it create a vested right." In a more emphatic PTCFOR. This is evident from the tenor of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of
pronouncement, we held in Oposa vs. Factoran, Jr.34 that: P.D. No. 1866 which state that "the Chief of Constabulary may, in meritorious cases
as determined by him and under such conditions as he may impose, authorize
"Needless to say, all licenses may thus be revoked or rescinded by executive action.
lawful holders of firearms to carry them outside of residence." Following the
It is not a contract, property or a property right protected by the due process clause
American doctrine, it is indeed logical to say that a PTCFOR does not constitute a
of the Constitution."
property right protected under our Constitution.
Petitioner, in arguing that his PTCFOR is a constitutionally protected property right,
Consequently, a PTCFOR, just like ordinary licenses in other regulated fields, may be
relied heavily on Bell vs. Burson35 wherein the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that "once a
revoked any time. It does not confer an absolute right, but only a personal privilege
license is issued, continued possession may become essential in the pursuit of
to be exercised under existing restrictions, and such as may thereafter be reasonably
livelihood. Suspension of issued licenses thus involves state action that adjudicates
imposed.41 A licensee takes his license subject to such conditions as the Legislature
important interest of the licensees."
sees fit to impose, and one of the statutory conditions of this license is that it might
Petitioner’s reliance on Bell is misplaced. This case involves a driver’s license, not a be revoked by the selectmen at their pleasure. Such a license is not a contract, and
license to bear arms. The catena of American jurisprudence involving license to bear a revocation of it does not deprive the defendant of any property, immunity, or
arms is perfectly in accord with our ruling that a PTCFOR is neither a property nor a privilege within the meaning of these words in the Declaration of Rights. 42 The US
property right. In Erdelyi vs. O’Brien,36 the plaintiff who was denied a license to carry Supreme Court, in Doyle vs. Continental Ins. Co,43 held: "The correlative power to
a firearm brought suit against the defendant who was the Chief of Police of the City revoke or recall a permission is a necessary consequence of the main power. A mere
of Manhattan Beach, on the ground that the denial violated her constitutional rights license by the State is always revocable."
to due process and equal protection of the laws. The United States Court of Appeals
The foregoing jurisprudence has been resonating in the Philippines as early as 1908.
Ninth Circuit ruled that Erdelyi did not have a property interest in obtaining a license
Thus, in The Government of the Philippine Islands vs. Amechazurra44 we ruled:
to carry a firearm, ratiocinating as follows:
"x x x no private person is bound to keep arms. Whether he does or not is entirely
"Property interests protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
optional with himself, but if, for his own convenience or pleasure, he desires to
Amendment do not arise whenever a person has only ‘an abstract need or desire for’,
possess arms, he must do so upon such terms as the Government sees fit to impose,
or ‘unilateral expectation of a benefit. x x x Rather, they arise from ‘legitimate claims
for the right to keep and bear arms is not secured to him by law. The Government
of entitlement… defined by existing rules or understanding that stem from an
can impose upon him such terms as it pleases. If he is not satisfied with the terms
independent source, such as state law. x x x Concealed weapons are closely regulated
imposed, he should decline to accept them, but, if for the purpose of securing
by the State of California. x x x Whether the statute creates a property interest in
possession of the arms he does agree to such conditions, he must fulfill them."
IV public peace. With the promotion of public peace as its objective and the revocation
of all PTCFOR as the means, we are convinced that the issuance of the assailed
Police Power
Guidelines constitutes a reasonable exercise of police power. The ruling in United
At any rate, assuming that petitioner’s PTCFOR constitutes a property right protected States vs. Villareal,47 is relevant, thus:
by the Constitution, the same cannot be considered as absolute as to be placed
"We think there can be no question as to the reasonableness of a statutory regulation
beyond the reach of the State’s police power. All property in the state is held subject
prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons as a police measure well calculated to
to its general regulations, necessary to the common good and general welfare.
restrict the too frequent resort to such weapons in moments of anger and
In a number of cases, we laid down the test to determine the validity of a police excitement. We do not doubt that the strict enforcement of such a regulation would
measure, thus: tend to increase the security of life and limb, and to suppress crime and lawlessness,
in any community wherein the practice of carrying concealed weapons prevails, and
(1) The interests of the public generally, as distinguished from those of a particular this without being unduly oppressive upon the individual owners of these weapons.
class, require the exercise of the police power; and It follows that its enactment by the legislature is a proper and legitimate exercise of
the police power of the state."
(2) The means employed are reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the
purpose and not unduly oppressive upon individuals. V
Deeper reflection will reveal that the test merely reiterates the essence of the Ex post facto law
constitutional guarantees of substantive due process, equal protection, and non-
impairment of property rights. In Mekin vs. Wolfe,48 an ex post facto law has been defined as one – (a) which makes
an action done before the passing of the law and which was innocent when done
It is apparent from the assailed Guidelines that the basis for its issuance was the need criminal, and punishes such action; or (b) which aggravates a crime or makes it
for peace and order in the society. Owing to the proliferation of crimes, particularly greater than it was when committed; or (c) which changes the punishment and
those committed by the New People’s Army (NPA), which tends to disturb the peace inflicts a greater punishment than the law annexed to the crime when it was
of the community, President Arroyo deemed it best to impose a nationwide gun ban. committed; or (d) which alters the legal rules of evidence and receives less or
Undeniably, the motivating factor in the issuance of the assailed Guidelines is the different testimony than the law required at the time of the commission of the
interest of the public in general. offense in order to convict the defendant.
The only question that can then arise is whether the means employed are We see no reason to devote much discussion on the matter. Ex post facto law
appropriate and reasonably necessary for the accomplishment of the purpose and prohibits retrospectivity of penal laws.49 The assailed Guidelines cannot be
are not unduly oppressive. In the instant case, the assailed Guidelines do not entirely considered as an ex post facto law because it is prospective in its application.
prohibit possession of firearms. What they proscribe is merely the carrying of Contrary to petitioner’s argument, it would not result in the punishment of acts
firearms outside of residence. However, those who wish to carry their firearms previously committed.
outside of their residences may re-apply for a new PTCFOR. This we believe is a
reasonable regulation. If the carrying of firearms is regulated, necessarily, crime WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.
incidents will be curtailed. Criminals carry their weapon to hunt for their victims; they
SO ORDERED.
do not wait in the comfort of their homes. With the revocation of all PTCFOR, it would
be difficult for criminals to roam around with their guns. On the other hand, it would
be easier for the PNP to apprehend them.

Notably, laws regulating the acquisition or possession of guns have frequently been
upheld as reasonable exercise of the police power. 45 In State vs. Reams,46 it was held
that the legislature may regulate the right to bear arms in a manner conducive to the
GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA vs The second challenged Order, on the other hand, directed the issuance of a
PURGANAN warrant, but at the same time granted bail to Jimenez. The dispositive portion
of the Order reads as follows:

G.R. No. 148571 September 24, 2002 WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the [Court] finds probable cause
against respondent Mark Jimenez. Accordingly let a Warrant for the arrest of
the respondent be issued. Consequently and taking into consideration
Section 9, Rule 114 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure, this Court fixes
the reasonable amount of bail for respondent’s temporary liberty at ONE
GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
MILLION PESOS (Php 1,000,000.00), the same to be paid in cash.
Represented by the Philippine Department of Justice, petitioner,
vs. Furthermore respondent is directed to immediately surrender to this Court
HON. GUILLERMO PURGANAN, Presiding Judge Regional Trial Court of his passport and the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation is likewise
Manila and directed to include the name of the respondent in its Hold Departure List." 4
MARC JIMENEZ a.k.a. MARCIO BATACAN CRESPO, respondent
Essentially, the Petition prays for the lifting of the bail Order, the cancellation
Davide Jr., CJ, Bellosillo, Puno, Vitug, Mendoza, Panganiban, Quisumbing, of the bond, and the taking of Jimenez into legal custody.
Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Corona,
Morales and Callejo, Sr. The Facts

DECISION This Petition is really a sequel to GR No. 139465 entitled Secretary of Justice
v. Ralph C. Lantion. 5
PANGANIBAN, J.:
Pursuant to the existing RP-US Extradition Treaty, 6 the United States
In extradition proceedings, are prospective extraditees entitled to notice and Government, through diplomatic channels, sent to the Philippine
hearing before warrants for their arrest can be issued? Equally important, are Government Note Verbale No. 0522 dated June 16, 1999, supplemented by
they entitled to the right to bail and provisional liberty while the extradition Note Nos. 0597, 0720 and 0809 and accompanied by duly authenticated
proceedings are pending? In general, the answer to these two novel documents requesting the extradition of Mark B. Jimenez, also known as
questions is "No." The explanation of and the reasons for, as well as the Mario Batacan Crespo. Upon receipt of the Notes and documents, the
exceptions to, this rule are laid out in this Decision. secretary of foreign affairs (SFA) transmitted them to the secretary of justice
(SOJ) for appropriate action, pursuant to Section 5 of Presidential Decree (PD)
No. 1069, also known as the Extradition Law.

Upon learning of the request for his extradition, Jimenez sought and was
The Case
granted a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) by the RTC of Manila, Branch
Before us is a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, 25. 7 The TRO prohibited the Department of Justice (DOJ) from filing with the
seeking to void and set aside the Orders dated May 23, 2001 1 and July 3, RTC a petition for his extradition. The validity of the TRO was, however,
2001 2 issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 42. 3 The first assailed by the SOJ in a Petition before this Court in the said GR No. 139465.
assailed Order set for hearing petitioner’s application for the issuance of a Initially, the Court -- by a vote of 9-6 -- dismissed the Petition. The SOJ was
warrant for the arrest of Respondent Mark B. Jimenez. ordered to furnish private respondent copies of the extradition request and
its supporting papers and to grant the latter a reasonable period within which prayer: that in case a warrant should issue, he be allowed to post bail in the
to file a comment and supporting evidence. 8 amount of P100,000.

Acting on the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the SOJ, this Court issued The alternative prayer of Jimenez was also set for hearing on June 15, 2001.
its October 17, 2000 Resolution. 9 By an identical vote of 9-6 -- after three Thereafter, the court below issued its questioned July 3, 2001 Order, directing
justices changed their votes -- it reconsidered and reversed its earlier the issuance of a warrant for his arrest and fixing bail for his temporary liberty
Decision. It held that private respondent was bereft of the right to notice and at one million pesos in cash. 11 After he had surrendered his passport and
hearing during the evaluation stage of the extradition process. This posted the required cash bond, Jimenez was granted provisional liberty via
Resolution has become final and executory. the challenged Order dated July 4, 2001. 12

Finding no more legal obstacle, the Government of the United States of Hence, this Petition. 13
America, represented by the Philippine DOJ, filed with the RTC on May 18,
Issues
2001, the appropriate Petition for Extradition which was docketed as
Extradition Case No. 01192061. The Petition alleged, inter alia, that Jimenez Petitioner presents the following issues for the consideration of this Court:
was the subject of an arrest warrant issued by the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Florida on April 15, 1999. The warrant had been I.
issued in connection with the following charges in Indictment No. 99-00281 The public respondent acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave
CR-SEITZ: (1) conspiracy to defraud the United States and to commit certain abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in adopting a
offenses in violation of Title 18 US Code Section 371; (2) tax evasion, in procedure of first hearing a potential extraditee before issuing an arrest
violation of Title 26 US Code Section 7201; (3) wire fraud, in violation of Title warrant under Section 6 of PD No. 1069.
18 US Code Sections 1343 and 2; (4) false statements, in violation of Title 18
US Code Sections 1001 and 2; and (5) illegal campaign contributions, in II.
violation of Title 2 US Code Sections 441b, 441f and 437g(d) and Title 18 US The public respondent acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave
Code Section 2. In order to prevent the flight of Jimenez, the Petition prayed abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in granting the
for the issuance of an order for his "immediate arrest" pursuant to Section 6 prayer for bail and in allowing Jimenez to go on provisional liberty because:
of PD No. 1069.
‘1. An extradition court has no power to authorize bail, in the absence of any
Before the RTC could act on the Petition, Respondent Jimenez filed before it law that provides for such power.
an "Urgent Manifestation/Ex-Parte Motion," 10 which prayed that petitioner’s
application for an arrest warrant be set for hearing. ‘2. Section 13, Article III (right to bail clause) of the 1987 Philippine
Constitution and Section 4, Rule 114 (Bail) of the Rules of Court, as amended,
In its assailed May 23, 2001 Order, the RTC granted the Motion of Jimenez which [were] relied upon, cannot be used as bases for allowing bail in
and set the case for hearing on June 5, 2001. In that hearing, petitioner extradition proceedings.
manifested its reservations on the procedure adopted by the trial court
allowing the accused in an extradition case to be heard prior to the issuance ‘3. The presumption is against bail in extradition proceedings or proceedings
of a warrant of arrest. leading to extradition.

After the hearing, the court a quo required the parties to submit their ‘4. On the assumption that bail is available in extradition proceedings or
respective memoranda. In his Memorandum, Jimenez sought an alternative proceedings leading to extradition, bail is not a matter of right but only of
discretion upon clear showing by the applicant of the existence of special memoranda and position papers on the matter and thus, the filing of a
circumstances. reconsideration motion would serve no useful purpose; (2) the assailed
orders are a patent nullity, absent factual and legal basis therefor; and (3) the
‘5. Assuming that bail is a matter of discretion in extradition proceedings, the
need for relief is extremely urgent, as the passage of sufficient time would
public respondent received no evidence of ‘special circumstances’ which may
give Jimenez ample opportunity to escape and avoid extradition; and (4) the
justify release on bail.
issues raised are purely of law." 16
‘6. The risk that Jimenez will flee is high, and no special circumstance exists
For resorting directly to this Court instead of the CA, petitioner submits the
that will engender a well-founded belief that he will not flee.
following reasons: "(1) even if the petition is lodged with the Court of Appeals
‘7. The conditions attached to the grant of bail are ineffectual and do not and such appellate court takes cognizance of the issues and decides them,
ensure compliance by the Philippines with its obligations under the RP-US the parties would still bring the matter to this Honorable Court to have the
Extradition Treaty. issues resolved once and for all [and] to have a binding precedent that all
lower courts ought to follow; (2) the Honorable Court of Appeals had in one
‘8. The Court of Appeals Resolution promulgated on May 10, 2001 in the case case 17ruled on the issue by disallowing bail but the court below refused to
entitled ‘Eduardo T. Rodriguez et al. vs. The Hon. Presiding Judge, RTC, Branch recognize the decision as a judicial guide and all other courts might likewise
17, Manila,’ CA-G.R. SP No. 64589, relied upon by the public respondent in adopt the same attitude of refusal; and (3) there are pending issues on bail
granting bail, had been recalled before the issuance of the subject bail both in the extradition courts and the Court of Appeals, which, unless guided
orders.’" 14 by the decision that this Honorable Court will render in this case, would
In sum, the substantive questions that this Court will address are: (1) whether resolve to grant bail in favor of the potential extraditees and would give them
Jimenez is entitled to notice and hearing before a warrant for his arrest can opportunity to flee and thus, cause adverse effect on the ability of the
be issued, and (2) whether he is entitled to bail and to provisional liberty while Philippines to comply with its obligations under existing extradition
the extradition proceedings are pending. Preliminarily, we shall take up the treaties." 18
alleged prematurity of the Petition for Certiorari arising from petitioner’s As a general rule, a petition for certiorari before a higher court will not
failure to file a Motion for Reconsideration in the RTC and to seek relief in the prosper unless the inferior court has been given, through a motion for
Court of Appeals (CA), instead of in this Court. 15 We shall also preliminarily reconsideration, a chance to correct the errors imputed to it. This rule,
discuss five extradition postulates that will guide us in disposing of the though, has certain exceptions: (1) when the issue raised is purely of law, (2)
substantive issues. when public interest is involved, or (3) in case of urgency. 19 As a fourth
The Court’s Ruling exception, the Court has also ruled that the filing of a motion for
reconsideration before availment of the remedy of certiorari is not a sine qua
The Petition is meritorious. non, when the questions raised are the same as those that have already been
Preliminary Matters squarely argued and exhaustively passed upon by the lower court. 20 Aside
from being of this nature, the issues in the present case also involve pure
Alleged Prematurity of Present Petition questions of law that are of public interest. Hence, a motion for
reconsideration may be dispensed with.
Petitioner submits the following justifications for not filing a Motion for
Reconsideration in the Extradition Court: "(1) the issues were fully considered
by such court after requiring the parties to submit their respective
Likewise, this Court has allowed a direct invocation of its original jurisdiction This Court has original jurisdiction, concurrent with that of Regional Trial
to issue writs of certiorari when there are special and important reasons Courts and the Court of Appeals, over petitions for certiorari, prohibition,
therefor. 21 In Fortich v. Corona 22 we stated: mandamus, quo warranto and habeas corpus, and we entertain direct resort
to us in cases where special and important reasons or exceptional and
[T]he Supreme Court has the full discretionary power to take cognizance of
compelling circumstances justify the same."
the petition filed directly [before] it if compelling reasons, or the nature and
importance of the issues raised, warrant. This has been the judicial policy to In the interest of justice and to settle once and for all the important issue of
be observed and which has been reiterated in subsequent cases, namely: Uy bail in extradition proceedings, we deem it best to take cognizance of the
vs. Contreras, et. al., Torres vs. Arranz, Bercero vs. De Guzman, and, Advincula present case. Such proceedings constitute a matter of first impression over
vs. Legaspi, et. al. As we have further stated in Cuaresma: which there is, as yet, no local jurisprudence to guide lower courts.

‘x x x. A direct invocation of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction to issue Five Postulates of Extradition
these writs should be allowed only when there are special and important
The substantive issues raised in this case require an interpretation or
reasons therefor, clearly and specifically set out in the petition. This is
construction of the treaty and the law on extradition. A cardinal rule in the
established policy. x x x.’
interpretation of a treaty or a law is to ascertain and give effect to its
Pursuant to said judicial policy, we resolve to take primary jurisdiction over intent. 25Since PD 1069 is intended as a guide for the implementation of
the present petition in the interest of speedy justice and to avoid future extradition treaties to which the Philippines is a signatory, 26 understanding
litigations so as to promptly put an end to the present controversy which, as certain postulates of extradition will aid us in properly deciding the issues
correctly observed by petitioners, has sparked national interest because of raised here.
the magnitude of the problem created by the issuance of the assailed
1. Extradition Is a Major Instrument for the Suppression of Crime.
resolution. Moreover, x x x requiring the petitioners to file their petition first
with the Court of Appeals would only result in a waste of time and money. First, extradition treaties are entered into for the purpose of suppressing
crime 27 by facilitating the arrest and the custodial transfer 28 of a
That the Court has the power to set aside its own rules in the higher interests
fugitive 29 from one state to the other.
of justice is well-entrenched in our jurisprudence. We reiterate what we said
in Piczon vs. Court of Appeals: 23 With the advent of easier and faster means of international travel, the flight
of affluent criminals from one country to another for the purpose of
‘Be it remembered that rules of procedure are but mere tools designed to
committing crime and evading prosecution has become more frequent.
facilitate the attainment of justice. Their strict and rigid application, which
Accordingly, governments are adjusting their methods of dealing with
would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote
criminals and crimes that transcend international boundaries.
substantial justice, must always be avoided. Time and again, this Court has
suspended its own rules and excepted a particular case from their operation Today, "a majority of nations in the world community have come to look upon
whenever the higher interests of justice so require. In the instant petition, we extradition as the major effective instrument of international co-operation in
forego a lengthy disquisition of the proper procedure that should have been the suppression of crime." 30 It is the only regular system that has been
taken by the parties involved and proceed directly to the merits of the case.’ devised to return fugitives to the jurisdiction of a court competent to try them
in accordance with municipal and international law. 31
In a number of other exceptional cases, 24 we held as follows:
An important practical effect x x x of the recognition of the principle that otherwise, the treaty would not have been signed, or would have been
criminals should be restored to a jurisdiction competent to try and punish directly attacked for its unconstitutionality.
them is that the number of criminals seeking refuge abroad will be reduced.
3. The Proceedings Are Sui Generis
For to the extent that efficient means of detection and the threat of
punishment play a significant role in the deterrence of crime within the Third, as pointed out in Secretary of Justice v. Lantion, 36 extradition
territorial limits of a State, so the existence of effective extradition proceedings are not criminal in nature. In criminal proceedings, the
arrangements and the consequent certainty of return to the locus delicti constitutional rights of the accused are at fore; in extradition which is sui
commissi play a corresponding role in the deterrence of flight abroad in order generis -- in a class by itself -- they are not.
to escape the consequence of crime. x x x. From an absence of extradition
arrangements flight abroad by the ingenious criminal receives direct An extradition [proceeding] is sui generis. It is not a criminal proceeding which
encouragement and thus indirectly does the commission of crime itself." 32 will call into operation all the rights of an accused as guaranteed by the Bill of
Rights. To begin with, the process of extradition does not involve the
In Secretary v. Lantion 33 we explained: determination of the guilt or innocence of an accused. His guilt or innocence
will be adjudged in the court of the state where he will be extradited. Hence,
The Philippines also has a national interest to help in suppressing crimes and
as a rule, constitutional rights that are only relevant to determine the guilt or
one way to do it is to facilitate the extradition of persons covered by treaties
innocence of an accused cannot be invoked by an extraditee x x x.
duly entered [into] by our government. More and more, crimes are becoming
the concern of one world. Laws involving crimes and crime prevention are xxxxxxxxx
undergoing universalization. One manifest purpose of this trend towards
globalization is to deny easy refuge to a criminal whose activities threaten the There are other differences between an extradition proceeding and a criminal
peace and progress of civilized countries. It is to the great interest of the proceeding. An extradition proceeding is summary in nature while criminal
Philippines to be part of this irreversible movement in light of its vulnerability proceedings involve a full-blown trial. In contradistinction to a criminal
to crimes, especially transnational crimes." proceeding, the rules of evidence in an extradition proceeding allow
admission of evidence under less stringent standards. In terms of the
Indeed, in this era of globalization, easier and faster international travel, and quantum of evidence to be satisfied, a criminal case requires proof beyond
an expanding ring of international crimes and criminals, we cannot afford to reasonable doubt for conviction while a fugitive may be ordered extradited
be an isolationist state. We need to cooperate with other states in order to ‘upon showing of the existence of a prima facie case.’ Finally, unlike in a
improve our chances of suppressing crime in our own country. criminal case where judgment becomes executory upon being rendered final,
in an extradition proceeding, our courts may adjudge an individual
2. The Requesting State Will Accord Due Process to the Accused
extraditable but the President has the final discretion to extradite him. The
Second, an extradition treaty presupposes that both parties thereto have United States adheres to a similar practice whereby the Secretary of State
examined, and that both accept and trust, each other’s legal system and exercises wide discretion in balancing the equities of the case and the
judicial process. 34 More pointedly, our duly authorized representative’s demands of the nation’s foreign relations before making the ultimate
signature on an extradition treaty signifies our confidence in the capacity and decision to extradite."
the willingness of the other state to protect the basic rights of the person
Given the foregoing, it is evident that the extradition court is not called upon
sought to be extradited. 35 That signature signifies our full faith that the
to ascertain the guilt or the innocence of the person sought to be
accused will be given, upon extradition to the requesting state, all relevant
extradited. 37 Such determination during the extradition proceedings will only
and basic rights in the criminal proceedings that will take place therein;
result in needless duplication and delay. Extradition is merely a measure of
international judicial assistance through which a person charged with or The present extradition case further validates the premise that persons
convicted of a crime is restored to a jurisdiction with the best claim to try that sought to be extradited have a propensity to flee. Indeed,
person. It is not part of the function of the assisting authorities to enter into
extradition hearings would not even begin, if only the accused were willing to
questions that are the prerogative of that jurisdiction. 38The ultimate purpose
submit to trial in the requesting country. 45 Prior acts of herein respondent --
of extradition proceedings in court is only to determine whether the
(1) leaving the requesting state right before the conclusion of his indictment
extradition request complies with the Extradition Treaty, and whether the
proceedings there; and (2) remaining in the requested state despite learning
person sought is extraditable. 39
that the requesting state is seeking his return and that the crimes he is
4. Compliance Shall Be in Good Faith. charged with are bailable -- eloquently speak of his aversion to the processes
in the requesting state, as well as his predisposition to avoid them at all cost.
Fourth, our executive branch of government voluntarily entered into the
These circumstances point to an ever-present, underlying high risk of flight.
Extradition Treaty, and our legislative branch ratified it. Hence, the Treaty
He has demonstrated that he has the capacity and the will to flee. Having fled
carries the presumption that its implementation will serve the national
once, what is there to stop him, given sufficient opportunity, from fleeing a
interest.
second time?
Fulfilling our obligations under the Extradition Treaty promotes comity 40 with
First Substantive Issue:
the requesting state. On the other hand, failure to fulfill our obligations
thereunder paints a bad image of our country before the world community. Is Respondent Entitled to Notice and Hearing
Such failure would discourage other states from entering into treaties with Before the Issuance of a Warrant of Arrest?
us, particularly an extradition treaty that hinges on reciprocity. 41
Petitioner contends that the procedure adopted by the RTC --informing the
Verily, we are bound by pacta sunt servanda to comply in good faith with our accused, a fugitive from justice, that an Extradition Petition has been filed
obligations under the Treaty. 42 This principle requires that we deliver the against him, and that petitioner is seeking his arrest -- gives him notice to
accused to the requesting country if the conditions precedent to extradition, escape and to avoid extradition. Moreover, petitioner pleads that such
as set forth in the Treaty, are satisfied. In other words, "[t]he demanding procedure may set a dangerous precedent, in that those sought to be
government, when it has done all that the treaty and the law require it to do, extradited -- including terrorists, mass murderers and war criminals -- may
is entitled to the delivery of the accused on the issue of the proper warrant, invoke it in future extradition cases.
and the other government is under obligation to make the
On the other hand, Respondent Jimenez argues that he should not be
surrender." 43 Accordingly, the Philippines must be ready and in a position to
hurriedly and arbitrarily deprived of his constitutional right to liberty without
deliver the accused, should it be found proper.
due process. He further asserts that there is as yet no specific law or rule
5. There Is an Underlying Risk of Flight setting forth the procedure prior to the issuance of a warrant of arrest, after
the petition for extradition has been filed in court; ergo, the formulation of
Fifth, persons to be extradited are presumed to be flight risks. This prima facie
that procedure is within the discretion of the presiding judge.
presumption finds reinforcement in the experience 44 of the executive branch:
nothing short of confinement can ensure that the accused will not flee the Both parties cite Section 6 of PD 1069 in support of their arguments. It states:
jurisdiction of the requested state in order to thwart their extradition to the
SEC. 6. Issuance of Summons; Temporary Arrest; Hearing, Service of Notices.-
requesting state.
(1) Immediately upon receipt of the petition, the presiding judge of the court
shall, as soon as practicable, summon the accused to appear and to answer
the petition on the day and hour fixed in the order. [H]e may issue a warrant Annexes H to G, evidentiary Appendices of various exhibits that constituted
for the immediate arrest of the accused which may be served any where evidence of the crimes charged in the Indictment, with Exhibits 1 to 120 (duly
within the Philippines if it appears to the presiding judge that the immediate authenticated exhibits that constituted evidence of the crimes charged in the
arrest and temporary detention of the accused will best serve the ends of Indictment); (3) Annex BB, the Exhibit I "Appendix of Witness [excerpts]
justice. Upon receipt of the answer, or should the accused after having Statements Referenced in the Affidavit of Angela Byers" and enclosed
received the summons fail to answer within the time fixed, the presiding Statements in two volumes; (4) Annex GG, the Exhibit J "Table of Contents for
judge shall hear the case or set another date for the hearing thereof. Supplemental Evidentiary Appendix" with enclosed Exhibits 121 to 132; and
(5) Annex MM, the Exhibit L "Appendix of Witness [excerpts] Statements
(2) The order and notice as well as a copy of the warrant of arrest, if issued,
Referenced in the Affidavit of Betty Steward" and enclosed Statements in two
shall be promptly served each upon the accused and the attorney having
volumes. 49
charge of the case." (Emphasis ours)
It is evident that respondent judge could have already gotten an impression
Does this provision sanction RTC Judge Purganan’s act of immediately setting
from these records adequate for him to make an initial determination of
for hearing the issuance of a warrant of arrest? We rule in the negative.
whether the accused was someone who should immediately be arrested in
1. On the Basis of the Extradition Law order to "best serve the ends of justice." He could have determined whether
such facts and circumstances existed as would lead a reasonably discreet and
It is significant to note that Section 6 of PD 1069, our Extradition Law, uses prudent person to believe that the extradition request was prima facie
the word "immediate" to qualify the arrest of the accused. This qualification meritorious. In point of fact, he actually concluded from these supporting
would be rendered nugatory by setting for hearing the issuance of the arrest documents that "probable cause" did exist. In the second questioned Order,
warrant. Hearing entails sending notices to the opposing parties, 46 receiving he stated:
facts and arguments 47 from them, 48and giving them time to prepare and
present such facts and arguments. Arrest subsequent to a hearing can no In the instant petition, the documents sent by the US Government in support
longer be considered "immediate." The law could not have intended the word of [its] request for extradition of herein respondent are enough to convince
as a mere superfluity but, on the whole, as a means of imparting a sense of the Court of the existence of probable cause to proceed with the hearing
urgency and swiftness in the determination of whether a warrant of arrest against the extraditee." 50
should be issued.

By using the phrase "if it appears," the law further conveys that accuracy is
not as important as speed at such early stage. The trial court is not expected
We stress that the prima facie existence of probable cause for hearing the
to make an exhaustive determination to ferret out the true and actual
petition and, a priori, for issuing an arrest warrant was already evident from
situation, immediately upon the filing of the petition. From the knowledge
the Petition itself and its supporting documents. Hence, after having already
and the material then available to it, the court is expected merely to get a
determined therefrom that a prima facie finding did exist, respondent judge
good first impression -- a prima facie finding -- sufficient to make a speedy
gravely abused his discretion when he set the matter for hearing upon motion
initial determination as regards the arrest and detention of the accused.
of Jimenez. 51
Attached to the Petition for Extradition, with a Certificate of Authentication
Moreover, the law specifies that the court sets a hearing upon receipt of the
among others, were the following: (1) Annex H, the Affidavit executed on May
answer or upon failure of the accused to answer after receiving the summons.
26, 1999 by Mr. Michael E. Savage -- trial attorney in the Campaign Financing
In connection with the matter of immediate arrest, however, the word
Task Force of the Criminal Division of the US Department of Justice; (2)
"hearing" is notably absent from the provision. Evidently, had the holding of requirement to notify and hear the accused before the issuance of warrants
a hearing at that stage been intended, the law could have easily so provided. of arrest.
It also bears emphasizing at this point that extradition proceedings are
In Ho v. People 54 and in all the cases cited therein, never was a judge required
summary 52 in nature. Hence, the silence of the Law and the Treaty leans to
to go to the extent of conducting a hearing just for the purpose of personally
the more reasonable interpretation that there is no intention to punctuate
determining probable cause for the issuance of a warrant of arrest. All we
with a hearing every little step in the entire proceedings.
required was that the "judge must have sufficient supporting documents
It is taken for granted that the contracting parties intend something upon which to make his independent judgment, or at the very least, upon
reasonable and something not inconsistent with generally recognized which to verify the findings of the prosecutor as to the existence of probable
principles of International Law, nor with previous treaty obligations towards cause." 55
third States. If, therefore, the meaning of a treaty is ambiguous, the
In Webb v. De Leon, 56 the Court categorically stated that a judge was not
reasonable meaning is to be preferred to the unreasonable, the more
supposed to conduct a hearing before issuing a warrant of arrest:
reasonable to the less reasonable x x x ." 53
Again, we stress that before issuing warrants of arrest, judges merely
Verily, as argued by petitioner, sending to persons sought to be extradited a
determine personally the probability, not the certainty of guilt of an accused.
notice of the request for their arrest and setting it for hearing at some future
In doing so, judges do not conduct a de novo hearing to determine the
date would give them ample opportunity to prepare and execute an escape.
existence of probable cause. They just personally review the initial
Neither the Treaty nor the Law could have
determination of the prosecutor finding a probable cause to see if it is
intended that consequence, for the very purpose of both would have been supported by substantial evidence."
defeated by the escape of the accused from the requested state.
At most, in cases of clear insufficiency of evidence on record, judges merely
2. On the Basis of the Constitution further examine complainants and their witnesses. 57 In the present case,
validating the act of respondent judge and instituting the practice of hearing
Even Section 2 of Article III of our Constitution, which is invoked by Jimenez,
the accused and his witnesses at this early stage would be discordant with
does not require a notice or a hearing before the issuance of a warrant of
the rationale for the entire system. If the accused were allowed to be heard
arrest. It provides:
and necessarily to present evidence during the prima facie determination for
Sec. 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, the issuance of a warrant of arrest,
and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature
what would stop him from presenting his entire plethora of defenses at this
and for any purpose shall be inviolable, and no search warrant or warrant of
stage -- if he so desires -- in his effort to negate a prima facie finding? Such a
arrest shall issue except upon probable cause to be determined personally by
procedure could convert the determination of a prima facie case into a full-
the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and
blown trial of the entire proceedings and possibly make trial of the main case
the witnesses he may produce, and particularly describing the place to be
superfluous. This scenario is also anathema to the summary nature of
searched and the persons or things to be seized."
extraditions.
To determine probable cause for the issuance of arrest warrants, the
That the case under consideration is an extradition and not a criminal action
Constitution itself requires only the examination -- under oath or affirmation
is not sufficient to justify the adoption of a set of procedures more protective
-- of complainants and the witnesses they may produce. There is no
of the accused. If a different procedure were called for at all, a more
restrictive one -- not the opposite -- would be justified in view of respondent’s Respondent Mark B. Jimenez maintains that this constitutional provision
demonstrated predisposition to flee. secures the right to bail of all persons, including those sought to be
extradited. Supposedly, the only exceptions are the ones charged with
Since this is a matter of first impression, we deem it wise to restate the proper
offenses punishable with reclusion perpetua, when evidence of guilt is strong.
procedure:
He also alleges the relevance to the present case of Section 4 59 of Rule 114 of
Upon receipt of a petition for extradition and its supporting documents, the the Rules of Court which, insofar as practicable and consistent with the
judge must study them and make, as soon as possible, a prima facie finding summary nature of extradition proceedings, shall also apply according to
whether (a) they are sufficient in form and substance, (b) they show Section 9 of PD 1069.
compliance with the Extradition Treaty and Law, and (c) the person sought is
On the other hand, petitioner claims that there is no provision in the
extraditable. At his discretion, the judge may
Philippine Constitution granting the right to bail to a person who is the subject
require the submission of further documentation or may personally examine of an extradition request and arrest warrant.
the affiants and witnesses of the petitioner. If, in spite of this study and
Extradition Different from Ordinary Criminal Proceedings
examination, no prima facie finding 58 is possible, the petition may be
dismissed at the discretion of the judge. We agree with petitioner. As suggested by the use of the word "conviction,"
the constitutional provision on bail quoted above, as well as Section 4 of Rule
On the other hand, if the presence of a prima facie case is determined, then
114 of the Rules of Court, applies only when a person has been arrested and
the magistrate must immediately issue a warrant for the arrest of the
detained for violation of Philippine criminal laws. It does not apply to
extraditee, who is at the same time summoned to answer the petition and to
extradition proceedings, because extradition courts do not render judgments
appear at scheduled summary hearings. Prior to the issuance of the warrant,
of conviction or acquittal.
the judge must not inform or notify the potential extraditee of the pendency
of the petition, lest the latter be given the opportunity to escape and frustrate Moreover, the constitutional right to bail "flows from the presumption of
the proceedings. In our opinion, the foregoing procedure will "best serve the innocence in favor of every accused who should not be subjected to the loss
ends of justice" in extradition cases. of freedom as thereafter he would be entitled to acquittal, unless his guilt be
proved beyond reasonable doubt." 60 It follows that the constitutional
Second Substantive Issue:
provision on bail will not apply to a case like extradition, where the
presumption of innocence is not at issue.

The provision in the Constitution stating that the "right to bail shall not be
Is Respondent Entitled to Bail? impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended"
does not detract from the rule that the constitutional right to bail is available
Article III, Section 13 of the Constitution, is worded as follows: only in criminal proceedings. It must be noted that the suspension of the
Art. III, Sec. 13. All persons, except those charged with offenses punishable privilege of the writ of habeas corpus finds application "only to persons
by reclusion perpetua when evidence of guilt is strong, shall, before judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected
conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, or be released on recognizance with invasion." 61 Hence, the second sentence in the constitutional provision
as may be provided by law. The right to bail shall not be impaired even when on bail merely emphasizes the right to bail in criminal proceedings for the
the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended. Excessive bail shall aforementioned offenses. It cannot be taken to mean that the right is
not be required." available even in extradition proceedings that are not criminal in nature.
That the offenses for which Jimenez is sought to be extradited are bailable in now has thus become hollow. He already had that opportunity in the
the United States is not an argument to grant him one in the present case. To requesting state; yet, instead of taking it, he ran away.
stress, extradition proceedings are separate and distinct from the trial for the
In this light, would it be proper and just for the government to increase the
offenses for which he is charged. He should apply for bail before the courts
risk of violating its treaty obligations in order to accord Respondent Jimenez
trying the criminal cases against him, not before the extradition court.
his personal liberty in the span of time that it takes to resolve the Petition for
No Violation of Due Process Extradition? His supposed immediate deprivation of liberty without the due
process that he had previously shunned pales against the government’s
Respondent Jimenez cites the foreign case Paretti 62 in arguing that,
interest in fulfilling its Extradition Treaty obligations and in cooperating with
constitutionally, "[n]o one shall be deprived of x x x liberty x x x without due
the world community in the suppression of crime. Indeed, "[c]onstitutional
process of law."
liberties do not exist in a vacuum; the due process rights accorded to
Contrary to his contention, his detention prior to the conclusion of the individuals must be carefully balanced against exigent and palpable
extradition proceedings does not amount to a violation of his right to due government interests." 66
process. We iterate the familiar doctrine that the essence of due process is
Too, we cannot allow our country to be a haven for fugitives, cowards and
the opportunity to be heard 63 but, at the same time, point out that the
weaklings who, instead of facing the consequences of their actions, choose
doctrine does not always call for a prior opportunity to be heard. 64 Where the
to run and hide. Hence, it would not be good policy to increase the risk of
circumstances -- such as those present in an extradition case -- call for it, a
violating our treaty obligations if, through overprotection or excessively
subsequent opportunity to be heard is enough. 65 In the present case,
liberal treatment, persons sought to be extradited are able to evade arrest or
respondent will be given full opportunity to be heard subsequently, when the
escape from our custody. In the absence of any provision -- in the
extradition court hears the Petition for Extradition. Hence, there is no
Constitution, the law or the treaty -- expressly guaranteeing the right to bail
violation of his right to due process and fundamental fairness.
in extradition proceedings, adopting the practice of not granting them bail, as
Contrary to the contention of Jimenez, we find no arbitrariness, either, in the a general rule, would be a step towards deterring fugitives from coming to
immediate deprivation of his liberty prior to his being heard. That his arrest the Philippines to hide from or evade their prosecutors.1âwphi1.nêt
and detention will not be arbitrary is sufficiently ensured by (1) the DOJ’s
The denial of bail as a matter of course in extradition cases falls into place
filing in court the Petition with its supporting documents after a
with and gives life to Article 14 67 of the Treaty, since this practice would
determination that the extradition request meets the requirements of the
encourage the accused to voluntarily surrender to the requesting state to cut
law and the relevant treaty; (2) the extradition judge’s independent prima
short their detention here. Likewise, their detention pending the resolution
facie determination that his arrest will best serve the ends of justice before
of extradition proceedings would fall into place with the emphasis of the
the issuance of a warrant for his arrest; and (3) his opportunity, once he is
Extradition Law on the summary nature of extradition cases and the need for
under the court’s custody, to apply for bail as an exception to the no-initial-
their speedy disposition.
bail rule.
Exceptions to the No Bail Rule
It is also worth noting that before the US government requested the
extradition of respondent, proceedings had already been conducted in that The rule, we repeat, is that bail is not a matter of right in extradition cases.
country. But because he left the jurisdiction of the requesting state before However, the judiciary has the constitutional duty to curb grave abuse of
those proceedings could be completed, it was hindered from continuing with discretion 68 and tyranny, as well as the power to promulgate rules to protect
the due processes prescribed under its laws. His invocation of due process and enforce constitutional rights. 69 Furthermore, we believe that the right to
due process is broad enough to include the grant of basic fairness to not persuaded. In People v. Jalosjos, 72 the Court has already debunked the
extraditees. Indeed, the right to due process extends to the "life, liberty or disenfranchisement argument when it ruled thus:
property" of every person. It is "dynamic and resilient, adaptable to every
When the voters of his district elected the accused-appellant to Congress,
situation calling for its application." 70
they did so with full awareness of the limitations on his freedom of action.
Accordingly and to best serve the ends of justice, we believe and so hold that, They did so with the knowledge that he could achieve only such legislative
after a potential extraditee has been arrested or placed under the custody of results which he could accomplish within the confines of prison. To give a
the law, bail may be applied for and granted as an exception, only upon a more drastic illustration, if voters elect a person with full knowledge that he
clear and convincing showing (1) that, once granted bail, the applicant will is suffering from a terminal illness, they do so knowing that at any time, he
not be a flight risk or a danger to the community; and (2) that there exist may no longer serve his full term in office.
special, humanitarian and compelling circumstances 71 including, as a matter
In the ultimate analysis, the issue before us boils down to a question of
of reciprocity, those cited by the highest court in the requesting state when
constitutional equal protection.
it grants provisional liberty in extradition cases therein.
The Constitution guarantees: ‘x x x nor shall any person be denied the equal
Since this exception has no express or specific statutory basis, and since it is
protection of laws.’ This simply means that all persons similarly situated shall
derived essentially from general principles of justice and fairness, the
be treated alike both in rights enjoyed and responsibilities imposed. The
applicant bears the burden of proving the above two-tiered requirement with
organs of government may not show any undue favoritism or hostility to any
clarity, precision and emphatic forcefulness. The Court realizes that
person. Neither partiality nor prejudice shall be displayed.
extradition is basically an executive, not a judicial, responsibility arising from
the presidential power to conduct foreign relations. In its barest concept, it Does being an elective official result in a substantial distinction that allows
partakes of the nature of police assistance amongst states, which is not different treatment? Is being a Congressman a substantial differentiation
normally a judicial prerogative. Hence, any intrusion by the courts into the which removes the accused-appellant as a prisoner from the same class as all
exercise of this power should be characterized by caution, so that the vital persons validly confined under law?
international and bilateral interests of our country will not be unreasonably
impeded or compromised. In short, while this Court is ever protective of "the The performance of legitimate and even essential duties by public officers has
sporting idea of fair play," it also recognizes the limits of its own prerogatives never been an excuse to free a person validly [from] prison. The duties
and the need to fulfill international obligations. imposed by the ‘mandate of the people’ are multifarious. The accused-
appellant asserts that the duty to legislate ranks highest in the hierarchy of
Along this line, Jimenez contends that there are special circumstances that government. The accused-appellant is only one of 250 members of the House
are compelling enough for the Court to grant his request for provisional of Representatives, not to mention the 24 members of the Senate, charged
release on bail. We have carefully examined these circumstances and shall with the duties of legislation. Congress continues to function well in the
now discuss them. physical absence of one or a few of its members. Depending on the exigency
of Government that has to be addressed, the President or the Supreme Court
1. Alleged Disenfranchisement
can also be deemed the highest for that particular duty. The importance of a
While his extradition was pending, Respondent Jimenez was elected as a function depends on the need for its exercise. The duty of a mother to nurse
member of the House of Representatives. On that basis, he claims that his her infant is most compelling under the law of nature. A doctor with unique
detention will disenfranchise his Manila district of 600,000 residents. We are skills has the duty to save the lives of those with a particular affliction. An
elective governor has to serve provincial constituents. A police officer must
maintain peace and order. Never has the call of a particular duty lifted a We are not overruling the possibility that petitioner may, in bad faith, unduly
prisoner into a different classification from those others who are validly delay the proceedings. This is quite another matter that is not at issue here.
restrained by law. Thus, any further discussion of this point would be merely anticipatory and
academic.
A strict scrutiny of classifications is essential lest[,] wittingly or otherwise,
insidious discriminations are made in favor of or against groups or types of However, if the delay is due to maneuverings of respondent, with all the more
individuals. reason would the grant of bail not be justified. Giving premium to delay by
considering it as a special circumstance for the grant of bail would be
The Court cannot validate badges of inequality. The necessities imposed by
tantamount to giving him the power to grant bail to himself. It would also
public welfare may justify exercise of government authority to regulate even
encourage him to stretch out and unreasonably delay the extradition
if thereby certain groups may plausibly assert that their interests are
proceedings even more. This we cannot allow.
disregarded.
3. Not a Flight Risk?
We, therefore, find that election to the position of Congressman is not a
reasonable classification in criminal law enforcement. The functions and Jimenez further claims that he is not a flight risk. To support this claim, he
duties of the office are not substantial distinctions which lift him from the stresses that he learned of the extradition request in June 1999; yet, he has
class of prisoners interrupted in their freedom and restricted in liberty of not fled the country. True, he has not actually fled during the preliminary
movement. Lawful arrest and confinement are germane to the purposes of stages of the request for his extradition. Yet, this fact cannot be taken to
the law and apply to all those belonging to the same class." 73 mean that he will not flee as the process moves forward to its conclusion, as
he hears the footsteps of the requesting government inching closer and
It must be noted that even before private respondent ran for and won a
closer. That he has not yet fled from the Philippines cannot be taken to mean
congressional seat in Manila, it was already of public knowledge that the
that he will stand his ground and still be within reach of our government if
United States was requesting his extradition. Hence, his constituents were or
and when it matters; that is, upon the resolution of the Petition for
should have been prepared for the consequences of the extradition case
Extradition.
against their representative, including his detention pending the final
resolution of the case. Premises considered and in line with Jalosjos, we are In any event, it is settled that bail may be applied for and granted by the trial
constrained to rule against his claim that his election to public office is by court at anytime after the applicant has been taken into custody and prior to
itself a compelling reason to grant him bail. judgment, even after bail has been previously denied. In the present case, the
extradition court may continue hearing evidence on the application for bail,
2. Anticipated Delay
which may be granted in accordance with the guidelines in this Decision.
Respondent Jimenez further contends that because the extradition
Brief Refutation of Dissents
proceedings are lengthy, it would be unfair to confine him during the
pendency of the case. Again we are not convinced. We must emphasize that The proposal to remand this case to the extradition court, we believe, is
extradition cases are summary in nature. They are resorted to merely to totally unnecessary; in fact, it is a cop-out. The parties -- in particular,
determine whether the extradition petition and its annexes conform to the Respondent Jimenez -- have been given more than sufficient opportunity
Extradition Treaty, not to determine guilt or innocence. Neither is it, as a rule, both by the trial court and this Court to discuss fully and exhaustively private
intended to address issues relevant to the constitutional rights available to respondent’s claim to bail. As already stated, the RTC set for hearing not only
the accused in a criminal action. petitioner’s application for an arrest warrant, but also private respondent’s
prayer for temporary liberty. Thereafter required by the RTC were
memoranda on the arrest, then position papers on the application for bail, 1. The ultimate purpose of extradition proceedings is to determine whether
both of which were separately filed by the parties. the request expressed in the petition, supported by its annexes and the
evidence that may be adduced during the hearing of the petition, complies
This Court has meticulously pored over the Petition, the Comment, the Reply,
with the Extradition Treaty and Law; and whether the person sought is
the lengthy Memoranda and the Position Papers of both parties. Additionally,
extraditable. The proceedings are intended merely to assist the requesting
it has patiently heard them in Oral Arguments, a procedure not normally
state in bringing the accused -- or the fugitive who has illegally escaped -- back
observed in the great majority of cases in this Tribunal. Moreover, after the
to its territory, so that the criminal process may proceed therein.
Memos had been submitted, the parties -- particularly the potential
extraditee -- have bombarded this Court with additional pleadings -- entitled 2. By entering into an extradition treaty, the Philippines is deemed to have
"Manifestations" by both parties and "Counter-Manifestation" by private reposed its trust in the reliability or soundness of the legal and judicial system
respondent -- in which the main topic was Mr. Jimenez’s plea for bail. of its treaty partner, as well as in the ability and the willingness of the latter
to grant basic rights to the accused in the pending criminal case therein.
A remand would mean that this long, tedious process would be repeated in
its entirety. The trial court would again hear factual and evidentiary matters. 3. By nature then, extradition proceedings are not equivalent to a criminal
Be it noted, however, that, in all his voluminous pleadings and verbal case in which guilt or innocence is determined. Consequently, an extradition
propositions, private respondent has not asked for a remand. Evidently, even case is not one in which the constitutional rights of the accused are
he realizes that there is absolutely no need to rehear factual matters. Indeed, necessarily available. It is more akin, if at all, to a court’s request to police
the inadequacy lies not in the factual presentation of Mr. Jimenez. Rather, it authorities for the arrest of the accused who is at large or has escaped
lies in his legal arguments. Remanding the case will not solve this utter lack detention or jumped bail. Having once escaped the jurisdiction of the
of persuasion and strength in his legal reasoning. requesting state, the reasonable prima facie presumption is that the person
would escape again if given the opportunity.
In short, this Court -- as shown by this Decision and the spirited Concurring,
Separate and Dissenting Opinions written by the learned justices themselves 4. Immediately upon receipt of the petition for extradition and its supporting
-- has exhaustively deliberated and carefully passed upon all relevant documents, the judge shall make a prima facie finding whether the petition
questions in this case. Thus, a remand will not serve any useful purpose; it is sufficient in form and substance, whether it complies with the Extradition
will only further delay these already very delayed proceedings, 74 which our Treaty and Law, and whether the person sought is extraditable. The
Extradition Law requires to be summary in character. What we need now is magistrate has discretion to require the petitioner to submit further
prudent and deliberate speed, not unnecessary and convoluted delay. What documentation, or to personally examine the affiants or witnesses. If
is needed is a firm decision on the merits, not a circuitous cop-out. convinced that a prima facie case exists, the judge immediately issues a
warrant for the arrest of the potential extraditee and summons him or her to
Then, there is also the suggestion that this Court is allegedly "disregarding
answer and to appear at scheduled hearings on the petition.
basic freedoms when a case is one of extradition." We believe that this charge
is not only baseless, but also unfair. Suffice it to say that, in its length and 5. After being taken into custody, potential extraditees may apply for bail.
breath, this Decision has taken special cognizance of the rights to due process Since the applicants have a history of absconding, they have the burden of
and fundamental fairness of potential extraditees. showing that (a) there is no flight risk and no danger to the community; and
(b) there exist special, humanitarian or compelling circumstances. The
Summation
grounds used by the highest court in the requesting state for the grant of bail
As we draw to a close, it is now time to summarize and stress these ten points: therein may be considered, under the principle of reciprocity as a special
circumstance. In extradition cases, bail is not a matter of right; it is subject to Regional Trial Court of Manila is directed to conduct the extradition
judicial discretion in the context of the peculiar facts of each case. proceedings before it, with all deliberate speed pursuant to the spirit and the
letter of our Extradition Treaty with the United States as well as our
6. Potential extraditees are entitled to the rights to due process and to
Extradition Law. No costs.
fundamental fairness. Due process does not always call for a prior
opportunity to be heard. A subsequent opportunity is sufficient due to the SO ORDERED.
flight risk involved. Indeed, available during the hearings on the petition and
the answer is the full chance to be heard and to enjoy fundamental fairness
that is compatible with the summary nature of extradition.

7. This Court will always remain a protector of human rights, a bastion of


liberty, a bulwark of democracy and the conscience of society. But it is also
well aware of the limitations of its authority and of the need for respect for
the prerogatives of the other co-equal and co-independent organs of
government.

8. We realize that extradition is essentially an executive, not a judicial,


responsibility arising out of the presidential power to conduct foreign
relations and to implement treaties. Thus, the Executive Department of
government has broad discretion in its duty and power of implementation.

9. On the other hand, courts merely perform oversight functions and exercise
review authority to prevent or excise grave abuse and tyranny. They should
not allow contortions, delays and "over-due process" every little step of the
way, lest these summary extradition proceedings become not only inutile but
also sources of international embarrassment due to our inability to comply in
good faith with a treaty partner’s simple request to return a fugitive. Worse,
our country should not be converted into a dubious haven where fugitives
and escapees can unreasonably delay, mummify, mock, frustrate, checkmate
and defeat the quest for bilateral justice and international cooperation.

10. At bottom, extradition proceedings should be conducted with all


deliberate speed to determine compliance with the Extradition Treaty and
Law; and, while safeguarding basic individual rights, to avoid the legalistic
contortions, delays and technicalities that may negate that purpose.

WHEREFORE, the Petition is GRANTED. The assailed RTC Order dated May 23,
2001 is hereby declared NULL and VOID, while the challenged Order dated
July 3, 2001 is SET ASIDE insofar as it granted bail to Respondent Mark
Jimenez. The bail bond posted by private respondent is CANCELLED. The
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS vs QUIJANO-PADILLA In 1996, the Philippine Congress passed Republic Act No. 8189, otherwise
known as the "Voter's Registration Act of 1996," providing for the
modernization and computerization of the voters' registration list and the
[G. R. No. 151992. September 18, 2002] appropriate of funds therefor "in order to establish a clean, complete,
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS, COMELEC CHAIRMAN ALFREDO L. BENIPAYO, permanent and updated list of voters."[4]
COMELEC COMMISSIONERS RESURRECCION Z. BORRA and FLORENTINO A. Pursuant thereto, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) promulgated
TUASON, JR., petitioners, vs. JUDGE MA. LUISA QUIJANO-PADILLA, Resolution No. 00-0315[5] approving in principle the Voter's Registration and
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF QUEZON CITY, BRANCH 215 and PHOTOKINA Identification System Project (VRIS) Project for brevity). The VRIS Project
MARKETING CORP., respondents. envisions a computerized database system for the May 2004 Elections. The
DECISION idea is to have a national registration of voters whereby each registrant's
fingerprints will be digitally entered into the system and upon completion of
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.: registration, compared and matched with other entries to eliminate double
entries. A tamper-proof and counterfeit-resistant voter's identification card
The contracting prerogative of public officers is circumscribed with a heavy
will then be issues to each registrant as a visual record of the registration.
burden of responsibility. They must exercise utmost caution and observe the
law in order to protect the public from unjust and inequitable government On September 9, 1999, the COMELEC issued invitations to pre-qualify and bid
contracts. for the supply and installations of information technology equipment and
ancillary services for its VRIS Project.[6] Private respondent Photokina
The case at bar provides us with another occasion to stress that with respect
Marketing Corporation (PHOTOKINA) pre-qualified and was allowed to
to government contracts, statutes take precedence over the public officers
participate as one of the bidders. After the public bidding was conducted,
freedom to contract. Here, the primordial question to be resolved is -- may a
PHOTOKINA's bid in the amount of P6.588 Billion Pesos garnered the highest
successful bidder compel a government agency to formalize a contract with
total weighted score and was declared the winning bidder. Thus, on
it notwithstanding that its bid exceeds the amount appropriated by Congress
September 28, 2000, the COMELEC issued Resolution No. 3252[7] approving
for the project?
the Notice of Award to PHOTOKINA, which, in turn, immediately accepted the
Before us is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil same. The parties then proceeded to formalize the contract, with
Procedure, as amended, alleging that respondent Judge Ma. Luisa Quijano- Commissioner Mehol K. Sadain and Atty. Rodrigo D. Sta. Ana, acting as
Padilla of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 215, Quezon City, committed grave negotiators for the COMELEC and PHOTOKINA, respectively.
abuse of discretion in issuing the (a) Resolution[1] dated December 19, 2001
However, under Republic Act No. 8760[8] the budget appropriated by
granting private respondents application for a writ of preliminary prohibitory
Congress for the COMELECs modernization project was only One (1) Billion
injunction in Special Civil Action No. Q-01-45405[2]; and (b)
Pesos and that the actual available funds under the Certificate of Availability
Resolution[3] dated February 7, 2002 denying petitioners Omnibus Motion to
of Funds (CAF) issued by the Chief Accountant of the COMELEC was only P1.2
dismiss the petition and their motion for reconsideration of the same
Billion Pesos.
Resolution and granting private respondent's application for a writ of
preliminary mandatory injunction. In December 2000, then COMELEC Chairman Harriet O. Demetriou issued a
memorandum to the COMELEC en banc expressing her objections to the
The facts are undisputed.
contract. Commissioner Sadain, for his part, submitted a draft of the
contract[9] providing a price that would not exceed the certified available
appropriation but covering only Phase I of the VRIS Project, i.e., issuance of substantial time and resources in the preparation of the bid and the draft
registration cards for 1,000,000 voters in certain areas only.[10] Under the contract.
draft, the subsequent completion of the whole project shall be agreed upon
In support of its application for writs of preliminary prohibitory and
in accordance with the Bid Documents and the annual funds available for
mandatory injunction, PHOTOKINA adopted the evidence it adduced during
it. [11]
the hearing of its application for the issuance of a temporary restraining
On February 2, 2001, the term of former Chairman Demetriou and those of order.
Commissioners Julio F. Desamito and Teresita Dy-Liacco Flores
On December 19, 2001, respondent Judge Ma. Luisa Quijano-Padilla issued
expired. Appointed as their successors were Alfredo L. Benipayo as Chairman
the first assailed Resolution granting PHOTOKINAs application for a writ of
and Resurreccion Z. Borra and Florentino A. Tuason, Jr. as Commissioners.
preliminary prohibitory injunction, thus:
Meanwhile, PHOTOKINA, as the winning bidder, wrote several letters to the
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court resolves to: (1) grant the
COMELEC requesting the formal execution of the contract, but to no avail.[12]
application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction;
Then Chairman Benipayo, through various press releases and public and (2) deny the application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary
statements, announced that the VRIS Project has been scrapped, dropped, mandatory injunction.
junked, or set aside. He further announced his plan to re-engineer the entire
Accordingly, let a writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction issue enjoining
modernization program of the COMELEC, emphasizing his intention to
respondents, their agents, successors and assigns from replacing the VRIS
replace the VRIS Project with his own version, the Triple E Vision.[13]
Project upon petitioners posting of a bond in the amount of P20,000,000.00,
On October 2, 2001, Senator Edgardo J. Angara directed the creation of a which bond shall answer for whatever damages which may be sustained by
technical working group to assist the COMELEC in evaluating all programs for reason of the issuance of the said writ, if it turns out that the plaintiffs are not
the modernization of the COMELEC which will also consider the PHOTOKINA entitled thereto.
contract as an alternative program and various competing programs for the
SO ORDERED"[15]
purpose.
Both parties filed their respective motions for reconsideration. PHOTOKINA
Unsatisfied with the adverse turn of events, PHOTOKINA filed with the
reiterated its plea for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction.[16] For their
Regional Trial Court, Branch 215, Quezon City a petition for mandamus,
part, the COMELEC and its Commissioners, through the Solicitor General,
prohibition and damages (with prayer for temporary restraining order,
prayed that the writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction be set aside and
preliminary prohibitory injunction and preliminary mandatory injunction)
that the petition for mandamus, prohibition and damages be dismissed.[17]
against the COMELEC and all its Commissioners,[14] docketed as Special Civil
Action No. Q- 01- 45405. PHOTOKINA alleged three causes of On February 8, 2002, respondent judge issued the second assailed Resolution
action: first, the deliberate refusal of the COMELEC and its Commissioners to denying the COMELECs Omnibus Motion and, this time, granting
formalize the contract rendered nugatory the perfected contract between PHOTOKINAs application for a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction, thus:
them; second, in announcing that the VRIS Project has been junked and that
he has plans to re-engineer the COMELECs entire modernization "WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court resolves to: (1) deny
program, Chairman Benipayo committed grave abuse of Respondents Omnibus Motion for the dismissal of this case and for the
discretion; and third, the COMELECs failure to perform its duty under reconsideration of this Courts Resolution granting the writ of preliminary
the contract has caused PHOTOKINA to incur damages since it has spent prohibitory injunction; (2) grant Petitioners Motion dated January 2, 2002
insofar as it prays for the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory Commissioners who filed the instant Petition acted without authority from
injunction; (3)Grant the prayer for the reduction of the preliminary the COMELEC en banc to take such action.
prohibitory injunction bond from P20,000,000.00 to
PHOTOKINA filed a Comment with Motion to Dismiss,[21] the present petition,
P10,000,000.00; (4) Clarify its Resolution dated December 19, 2001 to the
on two procedural grounds. First, the petition violates the doctrine of
extent that the writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction will also enjoin
hierarchy of courts. And second, the OSG has no authority and/or standing to
Respondents, their agents, successors and assigns from disregarding the
file the petition considering that the petitioners have not been authorized by
contract for the VRIS Project between Petitioner and Respondent
the COMELEC en banc to take such action. Without the concurrence of at
COMELEC; (5) deny Petitioners motion to declare Respondents in default.
least a majority of the members of the COMELEC, neither petitioners nor the
"Accordingly, let a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction issue directing all OSG could file the petition in behalf of the COMELEC.
respondent Commissioners to immediately resume negotiations to formalize
In refutation of petitioners arguments, PHOTOKINA contends
the execution of the contract with Petitioner for the VRIS Project upon
that mandamus is an appropriate remedy since what is involved in Special
petitioners posting of a bond, separate from the above bond for the writ of
Civil Action No. Q-01-45405 is the performance of a ministerial
preliminary prohibitory injunction, in the amount of P20,000,000.00, which
duty. Citing Isada vs. Bocar,[22] PHOTOKINA maintains that mandamus may
bond shall answer for whatever damages that may be sustained by reason of
be availed of by private parties to compel public officers to act on a contract
the issuance of the said writ, if it turns out that Petitioner is not entitled
entered into pursuant to law. In its Supplemental Comment,[23] PHOTOKINA
thereto.
invites the Courts attention to Metropolitan Manila Development Authority
"SO ORDERED."[18] vs. Jancom Environmental Corporation[24]whereby the winning bidder was
afforded every right to seek enforcement of its perfected contract with the
Hence, the instant petition for certiorari filed by the Office of the Solicitor
government.
General (OSG) in behalf of then COMELEC Chairman Alfredo L. Benipayo and
Commissioners Resurreccion Z. Borra and Florentino A. Tuason, Jr.. The petition is impressed with merit.

Petitioners contend that: (1) a petition for mandamus and prohibition does Initially, we must resolve the procedural roadblocks.
not lie to enforce contractual obligations, hence, PHOTOKINAs proper
PHOTOKINA alleges that the OSG has no standing to file the present petition
recourse before the Regional Trial Court should have been an action for
since its legal position is contrary to that espoused by the majority of the
specific performance; (2) respondent judge, by issuing the injunctive writs,
COMELEC Commissioners. This is a leap to a non-sequitur conclusion. The
already assumed that the VRIS Project was lawfully awarded by the COMELEC
OSG is an independent office. Its hands are not shackled to the cause of its
to PHOTOKINA, and that there is a valid perfected contract between them,
client agency. In the discharge of its task, the primordial concern of the OSG
thus, manifesting her prejudgment; and (3) injunctive writs should not be
is to see to it that the best interest of the government is upheld.[25] This is
issued when an action for damages can adequately compensate for the
regardless of the fact that what it perceived as the best interest of the
injuries. Petitioners pray that the two assailed Resolutions be nullified and
government runs counter to its client agencys position.[26] Endowed with a
Special Civil Action No. Q-01-45405 be dismissed outright.[19]
broad perspective that spans the legal interest of virtually the entire
On February 21, 2002, the majority of the COMELEC Commissioners -- government officialdom, the OSG may transcend the parochial concerns of a
Luzviminda G. Tancangco, Rufino S.B. Javier, Ralph C. Lantion and Mehol K. particular client agency and instead, promote and protect the public
Sadain filed with this Court a Manifestation[20] that the Chairman and the two weal.[27] Our ruling in Orbos vs. Civil Service Commission,[28] is relevant, thus:
"x x x It is incumbent upon him (Solicitor General) to present to the court We now resolve the following substantive issues:
what he considers would legally uphold the best interest of the government
1) Is a petition for mandamus the appropriate remedy to enforce contractual
although it may run counter to a clients position. x x x.
obligations? and 2) May a successful bidder compel a government agency to
"In the present case, it appears that after the Solicitor General studied the formalize a contract with it notwithstanding that its bid exceeds the amount
issues he found merit in the cause of the petitioner based on the applicable appropriated by Congress for the project?
law and jurisprudence. Thus, it is his duty to represent the petitioner as he
I
did by filing this petition. He cannot be disqualified from appearing for the
petitioner even if in so doing his representation runs against the interests No rule of law is better settled than that mandamus does not lie to enforce
of the CSC. the performance of contractual obligations.[34] As early as 1924, Justice
Street, in Quiogue vs. Romualdez,[35] already set forth the justification of this
"This is not the first time that the Office of the Solicitor General has taken a
rule, thus:
position adverse to his clients like the CSC, the National Labor Relations
Commission, among others, and even the People of the Philippines. x x Upon the facts above stated we are of the opinion that the writ
x (Emphasis supplied) of mandamus is not the appropriate, or even an admissible remedy. It is
manifest that whatever rights the petitioner may have, upon the facts stated,
Hence, while petitioners stand is contrary to that of the majority of the
are derived from her contract with the city; and no rule of law is better
Commissioners, still, the OSG may represent the COMELEC as long as in its
settled than that mandamus never lies to enforce the performance of
assessment, such would be for the best interest of the government. For,
private contracts. x x x The petitioners remedy, if any she has, is by an
indeed, in the final analysis, the client of the OSG is not the agency but no less
original action in the Court of First Instance to compel the city to pay the
than the Republic of the Philippines in whom the plenum of sovereignty
agreed price or to pay damages for the breach of contract.
resides.[29]
"x x x. As said in Lowe vs. Phelps (14 Bush, 642):
Moreover, it must be emphasized that petitioners are also public officials
entitled to be represented by the OSG. Under Executive Order No. 292[30] and It must, therefore, appear upon every application for a mandamus that it is
Presidential Decree No. 478,[31] the OSG is the lawyer of the government, its the legal duty of the respondent to do that which it is sought to compel him
agencies and instrumentalities, and its officials or agents. Surely, this to do, and that he has upon proper application refused to perform that duty.'
mandate includes the three petitioners[32] who have been impleaded as (Citing numerous authorities).
public respondents in Special Civil Action No. Q-01-45405.
"It was not intended to aid a plaintiff in the enforcement of a mere contract
Anent the alleged breach of the doctrine of hierarchy of courts, suffice it to right, or to take the place of the other remedies provided by law for the
say that it is not an iron-clad dictum. On several instances where this Court adjudication of disputed claims. Looking at the case from the standpoint of
was confronted with cases of national interest and of serious implications, it appellant, it involves nothing more than an ordinary breach of contract. If, as
never hesitated to set aside the rule and proceed with the judicial contended, the appellant had a valid contract with the school board, it
determination of the case.[33] The case at bar is of similar import. It is in the also had an adequate remedy at law to recover damages for its breach; and
interest of the State that questions relating to government contracts be to permit the writ of mandamus to be used for the purpose of enforcing a
settled without delay. This is more so when the contract, as in this case, mere contract right would be a wide departure from the settled practice in
involves the disbursement of public funds and the modernization of our respect to the character of cases in which relief by mandamus may be
countrys election process, a project that has long been overdue. obtained.
"In Parrott vs. City of Bridgeport (44 Conn., 180), the writ was refused where PHOTOKINA. It has other adequate remedy in law. Moreover, worth stressing
the petitioner sought to compel a city to construct a public street in a certain is the judicial caution that mandamus applies as a remedy only
manner agreeably to the terms of a special agreement between the where petitioner's right is founded clearly in law
[44]
petitioner and the city. In the course of the opinion the court said: and not when itis doubtful. In varying language, the principle echoed and
reechoed is that legal rights may be enforced by mandamus only if those
"* * * The duty, therefore, if any, which rests upon the city in this regard, is
rights are well-defined, clear and certain.[45] Here, the alleged contract, relied
one which it owes to the petitioner as an individual, not to the public, and the
upon by PHOTOKINA as source of its rights which it seeks to be protected, is
special contract is the foundation upon which it rests. But the writ
being disputed, not only on the ground that it was not perfected but also
of mandamus has never been considered as an appropriate remedy for the
because it is illegal and against public policy.
enforcement of contract rights of a private and personal nature and
obligations which rest wholly upon contract and which involve no questions Of course, there are cases in which the writ of mandamus has been used to
of public trusts or official duty. Indeed, strictly speaking, it never lies where compel public officers to perform certain acts, but it will be generally
the party aggrieved has adequate remedy at law, and its aid is only to be observed that in such cases, the contracts have been completely performed
invoked to prevent an absolute failure of justice in cases where ordinary by the petitioner, and nothing remained to be done except for the
legal processes furnish no relief. (Emphasis supplied) government to make compensation. These exceptional cases are cited
in Isada vs. Bocar[46] where the act of the respondent public officer has the
The passage of time has not eroded the wisdom of the
effect of setting aside contracts already in the process of consummation. In
foregoing rule. Its invocation by this Court
[36]
contrast with Isada, the alleged contract here has not yet been fully
in Province of Pangasinan vs. Reparation Commission, Aprueba vs. Ganzo
performed by PHOTOKINA; and though it avers readiness to perform,
n,[37] City of Manila vs. Posadas,[38] Jacinto vs. Director of Lands,[39] National
petitioners raised serious questions as to its validity.Their posture is tenable.
Marketing Corporation vs. Cloribel,[40] Astudillo vs. The Board of Directors of
Peoples Homesite and Housing Corporation,[41] and Sharp International II
Marketing vs. Court of Appeals,[42] virtually reinforces the rule. The present
To spare PHOTOKINA the drudgery of a fruitless pursuit, we deem it
case is our latest addition to the above catena of jurisprudence. We carefully
appropriate to lay down the principles governing government contracts and
read the pleadings filed in Special Civil Action No. Q-01-45405 and we are
to apply them to the instant case. Meanwhile, as PHOTOKINA will later on
convinced that what PHOTOKINA sought to enforce therein are its rights
deduce from the discussion, the contract subject of this controversy is one
under the accepted bid proposal. Its petition alleged that notwithstanding
that can be slain in sight for being patently void and unenforceable.
the COMELECs issuance of a Notice of Award and its (PHOTOKINAs)
subsequent acceptance thereof, the COMELEC still refused to formalize the Enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution is the mandate that "no money
contract. As a relief, PHOTOKINA prayed that after trial, petitioners be shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation
directed to review and finalize the formal contract and to implement the VRIS made by law."[47] Thus, in the execution of government contracts, the precise
Project.[43] Petitioners, on their part, specifically denied the existence of a import of this constitutional restriction is to require the various agencies to
perfected contract and asserted that even if there was one, the same is null limit their expenditures within the appropriations made by law for each fiscal
and void for lack of proper appropriation. Petitioners labeled the contract year.
as illegal and against public policy.
Complementary to the foregoing constitutional injunction are pertinent
Akin to our rulings cited above, we hold that mandamus is not the proper provisions of law and administrative issuances that are designed to effectuate
recourse to enforce the COMELEC's alleged contractual obligations with the above mandate in a detailed manner.[48] Sections 46 and 47, Chapter 8,
Subtitle B, Title I, Book V of Executive Order No. 292, otherwise known as government in an amount in excess of the appropriations for the purpose for
"Administrative Code of 1987," provide: which the contract was attempted to be made.[51] This is a dangerous
precedent.
"SEC. 46. Appropriation Before Entering into Contract. - (1) No contract
involving the expenditure of public funds shall be entered into unless there is In the case at bar, there seems to be an oversight of the legal requirements
an appropriation therefor, the unexpended balance of which, free of other as early as the bidding stage. The first step of a Bids and Awards Committee
obligations, is sufficient to cover the proposed expenditure; and x x x (BAC) is to determine whether the bids comply with the requirements. The
BAC shall rate a bid "passed" only if it complies with all the requirements and
"SEC. 47. Certificate Showing Appropriation to Meet Contract. - Except in the
the submitted price does not exceed the approved budget for the
case of a contract for personal service, for supplies for current consumption
contract."[52]
or to be carried in stock not exceeding the estimated consumption for three
(3) months, or banking transactions of government-owned or controlled Extant on the record is the fact that the VRIS Project was awarded to
banks, no contract involving the expenditure of public funds by any PHOTOKINA on account of its bid in the amount of P6.588 Billion
government agency shall be entered into or authorized unless the proper Pesos. However, under Republic Act No. 8760,[53] the only fund appropriated
accounting official of the agency concerned shall have certified to the for the project was P1 Billion Pesos and under the Certification of Available
officer entering into the obligation that funds have been duly appropriated Funds[54] (CAF) only P1.2 Billion Pesos was available. Clearly, the amount
for the purpose and that the amount necessary to cover the proposed appropriated is insufficient to cover the cost of the entire VRIS Project. There
contract for the current calendar year is available for expenditure on is no way that the COMELEC could enter into a contract with PHOTOKINA
account thereof, subject to verification by the auditor concerned. The whose accepted bid was way beyond the amount appropriated by law for the
certificate signed by the proper accounting official and the auditor who project. This being the case, the BAC should have rejected the bid for being
verified it, shall be attached to and become an integral part of the proposed excessive[55] or should havewithdrawn the Notice of Award on the ground
contract, and the sum so certified shall not thereafter be available for that in the eyes of the law, the same is null and void.[56]
expenditure for any other purpose until the obligation of the government
The objections of then Chairman Demetriou to the implementation of the
agency concerned under the contract is fully extinguished.
VRIS Project, ardently carried on by her successor Chairman Benipayo, are
It is quite evident from the tenor of the language of the law therefore in order.
that the existence of appropriations and the availability of funds are
Even the draft contract submitted by Commissioner Sadain, that provides for
indispensable pre-requisites to or conditions sine qua non for the execution
a contract price in the amount of P1.2 Billion Pesos is unacceptable. Indeed,
of government contracts. The obvious intent is to impose such conditions as
we share the observation of former Chairman Demetriou that it circumvents
a priori requisites to the validity of the proposed contract.[49] Using
the statutory requirements on government contracts. While the contract
this asour premise, we cannot accede to PHOTOKINA's contention that there
price under the draft contract[57] is only P1.2 Billion and, thus, within the
is already a perfected contract. While we held in Metropolitan Manila
certified available funds, the same covers only Phase I of the VRIS Project, i.e.,
Development Authority vs. Jancom Environmental Corporation[50] that "the
the issuance of identification cards for only 1,000,000 voters in specified
effect of an unqualified acceptance of the offer or proposal of the bidder is to
areas.[58] In effect, the implementation of the
perfect a contract, upon notice of the award to the bidder," however, such
VRIS Project will be "segmented" or "chopped" into several phases. Not only
statement would be inconsequential in a government where the acceptance
is such arrangement disallowed by our budgetary laws and practices, it is also
referred to is yet to meet certain conditions. To hold otherwise is to allow a
disadvantageous to the COMELEC because of the uncertainty that will loom
public officer to execute a binding contract that would obligate the
over its modernization project for an indefinite period of time. Should
Congress fail to appropriate the amount necessary for the completion of the 'The prohibition contained in Sec. 85 of PD 1445 (Government Auditing Code)
entire project, what good will the accomplished Phase I serve? As expected, is explicit and mandatory. Fund availability is, as it has always been, an
the project failed "to sell" with the Department of Budget and Management. indispensable prerequisite to the execution of any government contract
Thus, Secretary Benjamin Diokno, per his letter of December 1, 2000, involving the expenditure of public funds by all government agencies at all
declined the COMELEC's request for the issuance of the Notice of Cash levels. Such contracts are not to be considered as final or binding unless such
Availability (NCA) and a multi-year obligational authority to assume payment a certification as to funds availability is issued (Letter of Instruction No. 767,
of the total VRIS Project for lack of legal basis.[59] Corollarily, under Section 33 s. 1978). Antecedent of advance appropriation is thus essential to
of R.A. No. 8760, no agency shall enter into a multi-year contract without a government liability on contracts (Zobel vs. City of Manila, 47 Phil. 169). This
multi-year obligational authority, thus: contract being violative of the legal requirements aforequoted, the same
contravenes Sec. 85 of PD 1445 and is null and void by virtue of Sec.87.'"
"SECTION 33. Contracting Multi-Year Projects. - In the implementation of
multi-year projects, no agency shall enter into a multi-year contract without Verily, the contract, as expressly declared by law, is inexistent and void ab
a multi-year Obligational Authority issued by the Department of Budget and initio.[61] his is to say that the proposed contract is without force and effect
Management for the purpose. Notwithstanding the issuance of the multi- from the very beginning or from its incipiency, as if it had never been entered
year Obligational Authority, the obligation to be incurred in any given into, and hence, cannot be validated either by lapse of time or ratification.[62]
calendar year, shall in no case exceed the amount programmed for
Of course, we are not saying that the party who contracts with the
implementation during said calendar year."
government has no other recourse in law. The law itself affords him the
Petitioners are justified in refusing to formalize the contract with remedy. Section 48 of E.O. No. 292 explicitly provides that any contract
PHOTOKINA. Prudence dictated them not to enter into a contract not backed entered into contrary to the above-mentioned requirements shall be void,
up by sufficient appropriation and available funds. Definitely, to act and the officers entering into the contract shall be liable to the Government
otherwise would be a futile exercise for the contract would inevitably suffer or other contracting party for any consequent damage to the same as if the
the vice of nullity. In Osmea vs. Commission on Audit,[60] this Court held: transaction had been wholly between private parties." So when the
contracting officer transcends his lawful and legitimate powers by acting in
"The Auditing Code of the Philippines (P.D. 1445) further provides that no
excess of or beyond the limits of his contracting authority, the Government is
contract involving the expenditure of public funds shall be entered into unless
not bound under the contract. It would be as if the contract in such case were
there is an appropriation therefor and the proper accounting official of the
a private one, whereupon, he binds only himself, and thus, assumes personal
agency concerned shall have certified to the officer entering into the
liability thereunder.[63] Otherwise stated, the proposed contract is
obligation that funds have been duly appropriated for the purpose and the
unenforceable as to the Government.
amount necessary to cover the proposed contract for the current fiscal year is
available for expenditure on account thereof. Any contract entered into While this is not the proceeding to determine where the culpability lies,
contrary to the foregoing requirements shall be VOID. however, the constitutional mandate cited above constrains us to remind all
public officers that public office is a public trust and all public officers must at
"Clearly then, the contract entered into by the former Mayor Duterte was
all times be accountable to the people. The authority of public officers to
void from the very beginning since the agreed cost for the project
enter into government contracts is circumscribed with a heavy burden of
(P8,368,920.00) was way beyond the appropriated amount (P5,419,180.00)
responsibility. In the exercise of their contracting prerogative, they should be
as certified by the City Treasurer. Hence, the contract was properly declared
the first judges of the legality, propriety and wisdom of the contract they
void and unenforceable in COA's 2nd Indorsement, dated September 4,
1986. The COA declared and we agree, that:
entered into. They must exercise a high degree of caution so that the
Government may not be the victim of ill-advised or improvident action.[64]

In fine, we rule that PHOTOKINA, though the winning bidder, cannot compel
the COMELEC to formalize the contract. Since PHOTOKINAs bid is beyond the
amount appropriated by Congress for the VRIS Project, the proposed contract
is not binding upon the COMELEC and is considered void; and that in issuing
the questioned preliminary writs of mandatory and prohibitory injunction
and in not dismissing Special Civil Action No. Q-01-45405, respondent judge
acted with grave abuse of discretion. Petitioners cannot be compelled by a
writ of mandamus to discharge a duty that involves the exercise of judgment
and discretion, especially where disbursement of public funds is concerned.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Resolutions dated December 19,


2001 and February 7, 2002 issued by respondent Judge Padilla are SET
ASIDE. Special Civil Action No. Q-01-45405 is hereby ordered DISMISSED.

SO ORDERED.
BUKLOD NG KAWANING EIIB vs ZAMORA (d) Supervise, monitor and coordinate all the intelligence and investigation
operations of the operating Bureaus and Offices under the Ministry;

(e) Investigate, hear and file, upon clearance by the Minister, anti-graft and
G.R. Nos. 142801-802 July 10, 2001
corruption cases against personnel of the Ministry and its constituents units;
BUKLOD NG KAWANING EIIB, CESAR POSADA, REMEDIOS G. PRINCESA, BENJAMIN
(f) Perform such other appropriate functions as may be assigned by the Minister or
KHO, BENIGNO MANGA, LULU MENDOZA, petitioners,
his deputies."5
vs.
HON. EXECUTIVE SECRETARY RONALDO B. ZAMORA, HON. SECRETARY JOSE In a desire to achieve harmony of efforts and to prevent possible conflicts among
PARDO, DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE, HON. SECRETARY BENJAMIN DIOKNO, agencies in the course of their anti-smuggling operations, President Aquino issued
DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, HON. SECRETARY ARTEMIO Memorandum Order No. 225 on March 17, 1989, providing, among others, that the
TUQUERO, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, respondents. EIIB "shall be the agency of primary responsibility for anti-smuggling operations in all
land areas and inland waters and waterways outside the areas of sole jurisdiction of
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
the Bureau of Customs."6
In this petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, petitioners Buklod Ng
Eleven years after, or on January 7, 2000, President Joseph Estrada issued Executive
Kawaning EIIB, Cesar Posada, Remedios Princesa, Benjamin Kho, Benigno Manga and
Order No. 191 entitled "Deactivation of the Economic Intelligence and Investigation
Lulu Mendoza, for themselves and in behalf of others with whom they share a
Bureau."7 Motivated by the fact that "the designated functions of the EIIB are also
common or general interest, seek the nullification of Executive Order No.
being performed by the other existing agencies of the government" and that "there
1911 and Executive Order No. 2232 on the ground that they were issued by the Office
is a need to constantly monitor the overlapping of functions" among these agencies,
of the President with grave abuse of discretion and in violation of their constitutional
former President Estrada ordered the deactivation of EIIB and the transfer of its
right to security of tenure.
functions to the Bureau of Customs and the National Bureau of Investigation.
The facts are undisputed:
Meanwhile, President Estrada issued Executive Order No. 1968 creating the
On June 30, 1987, former President Corazon C. Aquino, issued Executive Order No. Presidential Anti-Smuggling Task Force "Aduana."9
1273 establishing the Economic Intelligence and Investigation Bureau (EIIB) as part of
Then the day feared by the EIIB employees came. On March 29, 2000, President
the structural organization of the Ministry of Finance. 4 The EIIB was designated to
Estrada issued Executive Order No. 22310 providing that all EIIB personnel occupying
perform the following functions:
positions specified therein shall be deemed separated from the service effective April
"(a) Receive, gather and evaluate intelligence reports and information and evidence 30, 2000, pursuant to a bona fide reorganization resulting to abolition, redundancy,
on the nature, modes and extent of illegal activities affecting the national economy, merger, division, or consolidation of positions.11
such as, but not limited to, economic sabotage, smuggling, tax evasion, and dollar-
Agonizing over the loss of their employment, petitioners now come before this Court
salting, investigate the same and aid in the prosecution of cases;
invoking our power of judicial review of Executive Order Nos. 191 and 223. They
(b) Coordinate with external agencies in monitoring the financial and economic anchor their petition on the following arguments:
activities of persons or entities, whether domestic or foreign, which may adversely
"A
affect national financial interest with the goal of regulating, controlling or preventing
said activities; Executive Order Nos. 191 and 223 should be annulled as they are unconstitutional
for being violative of Section 2(3), Article IX-B of the Philippine Constitution and/or
(c) Provide all intelligence units of operating Bureaus or Offices under the Ministry
for having been issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
with the general framework and guidelines in the conduct of intelligence and
of jurisdiction.
investigating works;
B. Surely, there exists a distinction between the words "deactivate" and "abolish." To
"deactivate" means to render inactive or ineffective or to break up by discharging or
The abolition of the EIIB is a hoax. Similarly, if Executive Order Nos. 191 and 223 are
reassigning personnel,13 while to "abolish" means to do away with, to annul,
considered to effect a reorganization of the EIIB, such reorganization was made in
abrogate or destroy completely.14 In essence, abolition denotes an intention to do
bad faith.
away with the office wholly and permanently.15 Thus, while in abolition, the office
C. ceases to exist, the same is not true in deactivation where the office continues to
exist, albeit remaining dormant or inoperative. Be that as it may, deactivation and
The President has no authority to abolish the EIIB." abolition are both reorganization measures.
Petitioners contend that the issuance of the afore-mentioned executive orders The Solicitor General only invokes the above distinctions on the mistaken assumption
is: (a) a violation of their right to security of tenure; (b) tainted with bad faith as they that the President has no power to abolish an office.
were not actually intended to make the bureaucracy more efficient but to give way
to Task Force "Aduana," the functions of which are essentially and substantially the The general rule has always been that the power to abolish a public office is lodged
same as that of EIIB; and (c) a usurpation of the power of Congress to decide whether with the legislature.16 This proceeds from the legal precept that the power to create
or not to abolish the EIIB. includes the power to destroy. A public office is either created by the Constitution,
by statute, or by authority of law.17 Thus, except where the office was created by the
Arguing in behalf of respondents, the Solicitor General maintains that: (a) the Constitution itself, it may be abolished by the same legislature that brought it into
President enjoys the totality of the executive power provided under Sections 1 and existence.18
7, Article VII of the Constitution, thus, he has the authority to issue Executive Order
Nos. 191 and 223; (b) the said executive orders were issued in the interest of national The exception, however, is that as far as bureaus, agencies or offices in the executive
economy, to avoid duplicity of work and to streamline the functions of the department are concerned, the President's power of control may justify him to
bureaucracy; and (c) the EIIB was not "abolished," it was only "deactivated." inactivate the functions of a particular office,19 or certain laws may grant him the
broad authority to carry out reorganization measures. 20 The case in point is Larin v.
The petition is bereft of merit. Executive Secretary.21 In this case, it was argued that there is no law which empowers
the President to reorganize the BIR. In decreeing otherwise, this Court sustained the
Despite the presence of some procedural flaws in the instant petition, such as,
following legal basis, thus:
petitioners' disregard of the hierarchy of courts and the non-exhaustion of
administrative remedies, we deem it necessary to address the issues. It is in the "Initially, it is argued that there is no law yet which empowers the President to issue
interest of the State that questions relating to the status and existence of a public E.O. No. 132 or to reorganize the BIR.
office be settled without delay. We are not without precedent. In Dario v.
Mison,12 we liberally decreed: We do not agree.

"The Court disregards the questions raised as to procedure, failure to exhaust xxx xxx
administrative remedies, the standing of certain parties to sue, for two
Section 48 of R.A. 7645 provides that:
reasons, `[b]ecause of the demands of public interest, including the need for
stability in the public service,' and because of the serious implications of these cases 'Sec. 48. Scaling Down and Phase Out of Activities of Agencies Within the Executive
on the administration of the Philippine civil service and the rights of public servants." Branch. – The heads of departments, bureaus and offices and agencies are hereby
directed to identify their respective activities which are no longer essential in the
At first glance, it seems that the resolution of this case hinges on the question - Does
delivery of public services and which may be scaled down, phased out or
the "deactivation" of EIIB constitute "abolition" of an office? However, after coming
abolished, subject to civil service rules and regulations. X x x. Actual scaling down,
to terms with the prevailing law and jurisprudence, we are certain that the ultimate
phasing out or abolition of the activities shall be effected pursuant to Circulars or
queries should be – a) Does the President have the authority to reorganize the
Orders issued for the purpose by the Office of the President.'
executive department? and, b) How should the reorganization be carried out?
Said provision clearly mentions the acts of "scaling down, phasing out and "Sec. 77. Organized Changes. Unless otherwise provided by law or directed by the
abolition" of offices only and does not cover the creation of offices or transfer of President of the Philippines, no changes in key positions or organizational units in
functions. Nevertheless, the act of creating and decentralizing is included in the any department or agency shall be authorized in their respective organizational
subsequent provision of Section 62 which provides that: structures and funded from appropriations provided by this Act."

'Sec. 62. Unauthorized organizational charges. - Unless otherwise created by law or We adhere to the precedent or ruling in Larin that this provision recognizes the
directed by the President of the Philippines, no organizational unit or changes in key authority of the President to effect organizational changes in the department or
positions in any department or agency shall be authorized in their respective agency under the executive structure. Such a ruling further finds support in Section
organization structures and be funded from appropriations by this Act.' (italics ours) 78 of Republic Act No. 8760.22 Under this law, the heads of departments, bureaus,
offices and agencies and other entities in the Executive Branch are directed (a) to
The foregoing provision evidently shows that the President is authorized to effect
conduct a comprehensive review of their respective mandates, missions, objectives,
organizational changes including the creation of offices in the department or
functions, programs, projects, activities and systems and procedures; (b)identify
agency concerned.
activities which are no longer essential in the delivery of public services and which
xxx xxx may be scaled down, phased-out or abolished; and (c) adopt measures that will result
in the streamlined organization and improved overall performance of their respective
Another legal basis of E.O. No. 132 is Section 20, Book III of E.O. No. 292 which states: agencies.23 Section 78 ends up with the mandate that the actual streamlining and
productivity improvement in agency organization and operation shall be effected
'Sec. 20. Residual Powers. – Unless Congress provides otherwise, the President shall
pursuant to Circulars or Orders issued for the purpose by the Office of the
exercise such other powers and functions vested in the President which are provided
President.24 The law has spoken clearly. We are left only with the duty to sustain.
for under the laws and which are not specifically enumerated above or which are not
delegated by the President in accordance with law.' (italic ours) But of course, the list of legal basis authorizing the President to reorganize any
department or agency in the executive branch does not have to end here. We must
This provision speaks of such other powers vested in the President under the law.
not lose sight of the very source of the power – that which constitutes an express
What law then gives him the power to reorganize? It is Presidential Decree No. 1772
grant of power. Under Section 31, Book III of Executive Order No. 292 (otherwise
which amended Presidential Decree No. 1416. These decrees expressly grant the
known as the Administrative Code of 1987), "the President, subject to the policy in
President of the Philippines the continuing authority to reorganize the national
the Executive Office and in order to achieve simplicity, economy and efficiency,
government, which includes the power to group, consolidate bureaus and agencies,
shall have the continuing authority to reorganize the administrative structure of
to abolish offices, to transfer functions, to create and classify functions, services
the Office of the President." For this purpose, he may transfer the functions of other
and activities and to standardize salaries and materials. The validity of these two
Departments or Agencies to the Office of the President. In Canonizado v.
decrees are unquestionable. The 1987 Constitution clearly provides that "all laws,
Aguirre,25 we ruled that reorganization "involves the reduction of personnel,
decrees, executive orders, proclamations, letters of instructions and other executive
consolidation of offices, or abolition thereof by reason of economy or redundancy
issuances not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative until
of functions." It takes place when there is an alteration of the existing structure of
amended, repealed or revoked. So far, there is yet no law amending or repealing said
government offices or units therein, including the lines of control, authority and
decrees." (Emphasis supplied)
responsibility between them. The EIIB is a bureau attached to the Department of
Now, let us take a look at the assailed executive order. Finance.26 It falls under the Office of the President. Hence, it is subject to the
President's continuing authority to reorganize.
In the whereas clause of E.O. No. 191, former President Estrada anchored his
authority to deactivate EIIB on Section 77 of Republic Act 8745 (FY 1999 General It having been duly established that the President has the authority to carry out
Appropriations Act), a provision similar to Section 62 of R.A. 7645 quoted reorganization in any branch or agency of the executive department, what is then left
in Larin, thus; for us to resolve is whether or not the reorganization is valid. In this jurisdiction,
reorganizations have been regarded as valid provided they are pursued in good faith.
Reorganization is carried out in 'good faith' if it is for the purpose of economy or to
make bureaucracy more efficient.27 Pertinently, Republic Act No. 665628 provides for And thirdly, it is evident from the yearly budget appropriation of the government that
the circumstances which may be considered as evidence of bad faith in the removal the creation of the Task Force Aduana was especially intended to lessen EIIB's
of civil service employees made as a result of reorganization, to wit: (a) where there expenses. Tracing from the yearly General Appropriations Act, it appears that the
is a significant increase in the number of positions in the new staffing pattern of the allotted amount for the EIIB's general administration, support, and operations for the
department or agency concerned; (b) where an office is abolished and another year 1995, was P128,031,000;31 for 1996, P182,156,000;32 for
performing substantially the same functions is created; (c) where incumbents are 1998, P219,889,000;33 and, for 1999, P238,743,000.34 Theseamounts were far above
replaced by those less qualified in terms of status of appointment, performance and the P50,000,00035 allocation to the Task Force Aduana for the year 2000.
merit; (d) where there is a classification of offices in the department or agency
While basically, the functions of the EIIB have devolved upon the Task Force Aduana,
concerned and the reclassified offices perform substantially the same functions as
we find the latter to have additional new powers. The Task Force Aduana, being
the original offices, and (e) where the removal violates the order of separation.29
composed of elements from the Presidential Security Group (PSG) and Intelligence
Petitioners claim that the deactivation of EIIB was done in bad faith because four days Service Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), 36 has the essential power to effect
after its deactivation, President Estrada created the Task Force Aduana. searches, seizures and arrests. The EIIB did not have this power. The Task Force
Aduana has the power to enlist the assistance of any department, bureau, office, or
We are not convinced.
instrumentality of the government, including government-owned or controlled
An examination of the pertinent Executive Orders30 shows that the deactivation of corporations; and to use their personnel, facilities and resources. Again, the EIIB did
EIIB and the creation of Task Force Aduana were done in good faith. It was not for not have this power. And, the Task Force Aduana has the additional authority to
the purpose of removing the EIIB employees, but to achieve the ultimate purpose of conduct investigation of cases involving ill-gotten wealth. This was not expressly
E.O. No. 191, which is economy. While Task Force Aduana was created to take the granted to the EIIB.1âwphi1.nêt
place of EIIB, its creation does not entail expense to the government.
Consequently, it cannot be said that there is a feigned reorganization. In Blaquera v.
Firstly, there is no employment of new personnel to man the Task Force. E.O. No. Civil Sevice Commission, 37 we ruled that a reorganization in good faith is one designed
196 provides that the technical, administrative and special staffs of EIIB are to be to trim the fat off the bureaucracy and institute economy and greater efficiency in its
composed of people who are already in the public service, they being employees of operation.
other existing agencies. Their tenure with the Task Force would only be temporary,
Lastly, we hold that petitioners' right to security of tenure is not violated. Nothing is
i.e., only when the agency where they belong is called upon to assist the Task Force.
better settled in our law than that the abolition of an office within the competence
Since their employment with the Task force is only by way of detail or
of a legitimate body if done in good faith suffers from no infirmity. Valid abolition of
assignment, they retain their employment with the existing agencies. And should
offices is neither removal nor separation of the incumbents. 38 In the instructive
the need for them cease, they would be sent back to the agency concerned.
words laid down by this Court in Dario v. Mison,39 through Justice Abraham F.
Secondly, the thrust of E.O. No. 196 is to have a small group of military men under Sarmiento:
the direct control and supervision of the President as base of the government's anti-
Reorganizations in this jurisdiction have been regarded as valid provided they are
smuggling campaign. Such a smaller base has the necessary powers 1) to enlist the
pursued in good faith. As a general rule, a reorganization is carried out in "good faith"
assistance of any department, bureau, or office and to use their respective personnel,
if it is for the purpose of economy or to make bureaucracy more efficient. In that
facilities and resources; and 2) "to select and recruit personnel from within the PSG
event, no dismissal (in case of dismissal) or separation actually occurs because the
and ISAFP for assignment to the Task Force." Obviously, the idea is to encourage the
position itself ceases to exist. And in that case, security of tenure would not be a
utilization of personnel, facilities and resources of the already existing
Chinese wall. Be that as it may, if the 'abolition,' which is nothing else but a
departments, agencies, bureaus, etc., instead of maintaining an independent office
separation or removal, is done for political reasons or purposely to defeat security of
with a whole set of personnel and facilities. The EIIB had proven itself burdensome
tenure, otherwise not in good faith, no valid 'abolition' takes and whatever 'abolition'
for the government because it maintained separate offices in every region in the
is done, is void ab initio. There is an invalid 'abolition' as where there is merely a
Philippines.
change of nomenclature of positions, or where claims of economy are belied by the
existence of ample funds.

Indeed, there is no such thing as an absolute right to hold office. Except constitutional
offices which provide for special immunity as regards salary and tenure, no one can
be said to have any vested right in an office or its salary.40

While we cast a commiserating look upon the plight of all the EIIB employees whose
lives perhaps are now torn with uncertainties, we cannot ignore the unfortunate
reality that our government is also battling the impact of a plummeting economy.
Unless the government is given the chance to recuperate by instituting economy and
efficiency in its system, the EIIB will not be the last agency to suffer the impact. We
cannot frustrate valid measures which are designed to rebuild the executive
department.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
FORTICH vs CORONA reconsideration which is a forbidden motion (Section 2, Rule 52 in relation to
Section 4, Rule 56 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure). The impropriety of
movants' December 3, 1998 motion becomes all the more glaring considering
G.R. No. 131457 August 19, 1999 that all the respondents in this case did not anymore join them (movants) ill
HON. CARLOS O. FORTICH, PROVINCIAL GOVERNOR OF BUKIDNON, HON. seeking a reconsideration of the November 17, 1998 Resolution.1
REY B. BAULA, MUNICIPAL MAYOR OF SUMILAO, BUKIDNON, NQSR Subsequently, respondents, through the Office of the Solicitor General, filed
MANAGEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION, petitioners, their "Motion For Reconsideration Of The Resolution Dated November 17,
vs. 1998 And For Referral Of The Case To This Honorable Court En Banc (With
HON. RENATO C. CORONA, DEPUTY EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, HON. ERNESTO Urgent Prayer For Issuance Of A Restraining Order)" on December 3, 1998,
D. GARILAO, SECRETARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN accompanied by a "Manifestation and Motion"2 and a copy of the Registered
REFORM, respondents. Mail Bill3 evidencing filing of the said motion for reconsideration to this Court
RESOLUTION by registered mail.1âwphi1.nêt

YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: In their respective motions for reconsideration, both respondents and
intervenors pray that this case be referred to this Court en banc. They
This resolves the pending incidents before us, namely, respondents' and contend that inasmuch as their earlier motions for reconsideration (of the
intervenors' separate motions for reconsideration of our Resolution dated Decision dated April 24, 1998) were resolved by a vote of two-two, the
November 17, 1998, as well as their motions to refer this case to this Court En required number to carry a decision, i.e., three, was not met. Consequently,
banc. the case should be referred to and be decided by this Court en banc, relying
on the following constitutional provision:
Respondents and intervenors jointly argue, in fine, that our Resolution dated
November 17, 1998, wherein we voted two-two on the separate motions for Cases or matters heard by a division shall be decided or resolved with the
reconsideration of our earlier Decision or April 24, 1998, as a result of which concurrence of a majority of the Members who actually took part in the
the Decision was deemed affirmed, did not effectively resolve the said deliberations on the issues in the case and voted thereon, and in no case
motions for reconsideration inasmuch as the matter should have been without the concurrence of at least three of such Members. When the
referred to the Court sitting en banc, pursuant to Article VIII, Section 4(3) of required number is not obtained, the case shall be decided en banc: Provided,
the Constitution. Respondents and intervenors also assail our Resolution that no doctrine or principle of law laid down by the Court in a decision
dated January 27, 1999, wherein we noted without action the intervenors' rendered en banc or in division may be modified or reversed except by the
"Motion For Reconsideration With Motion To Refer The Matter To The Court sitting en banc.4
Court En Banc" filed on December 3, 1998, on the following considerations,
to wit: A careful reading of the above constitutional provision, however, reveals the
intention of the framers to draw a distinction between cases, on the one
the movants have no legal personality to further seek redress before the hand, and matters, on the other hand, such that cases are "decided"
Court after their motion for leave to intervene in this case was denied in the while matters, which include motions, are "resolved". Otherwise put, the
April 24, 1998 Decision. Their subsequent motion for reconsideration of the word "decided" must refer to "cases"; while the word "resolved" must refer
said decision, with a prayer to resolve the motion to the Court En Banc, was to "matters", applying the rule of reddendo singula singulis. This is true not
also denied in the November 17, 1998 Resolution of the Court. Besides, their only in the interpretation of the above-quoted Article VIII, Section 4(3), but
aforesaid motion of December 3, 1998 is in the nature of a second motion for also of the other provisions of the Constitution where these words appear.5
With the aforesaid rule of construction in mind, it is clear that only cases are proceedings; and (c) requires the Province of Camarines Sur to obtain the
referred to the Court en banc for decision whenever the required number of approval of the Department of Agrarian Reform to convert or reclassify
votes is not obtained. Conversely, the rule does not apply where, as in this private respondents' property from agricultural to non-agricultural use.
case, the required three votes is not obtained in the resolution of a motion
xxx xxx x x x(Emphasis supplied)
for reconsideration. Hence, the second sentence of the aforequoted
provision speaks only of "case" and not "matter". The reason is simple. The Moreover, the Decision sought to be reconsidered was arrived at by a
above-quoted Article VIII, Section 4(3) pertains to the disposition of cases by unanimous vote of all five (5) members of the Second Division of this Court,
a division. If there is a tie in the voting, there is no decision. The only way to Stated otherwise, this Second Division is of the opinion that the matters
dispose of the case then is to refer it to the Court en banc. On the other hand, raised by movants are nothing new and do not deserve the consideration of
if a case has already been decided by the division and the losing party files a the Court en banc. Thus, the participation of the full Court in the resolution
motion for reconsideration, the failure of the division to resolve the motion of movants' motions for reconsideration would be inappropriate.6
because of a tie in the voting does not leave the case undecided. There is still
the decision which must stand in view of the failure of the members of the The contention, therefore, that our Resolution of November 17, 1998 did not
division to muster the necessary vote for its reconsideration. Quite plainly, if dispose of the earlier motions for reconsideration of the Decision dated April
the voting results in a tie, the motion for reconsideration is lost. The assailed 24, 1998 is flawed. Consequently, the present motions for reconsideration
decision is not reconsidered and must therefore be deemed affirmed. Such necessarily partake of the nature of a second motion for reconsideration
was the ruling of this Court in the Resolution of November 17, 1998. which, according to the clear and unambiguous language of Rule 56, Section
4, in relation to Rule 52, Section 2, of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, is
It is the movants' further contention in support of their plea for the referral prohibited.
of this case to the Court en banc that the issues submitted in their separate
motions are of first impression. In the opinion penned by Mr. Justice Antonio True, there are exceptional cases when this Court may entertain a second
M. Martinez during the resolution of the motions for reconsideration on motion for reconsideration, such as where there are extraordinarily
November 17, 1998, the following was expressed: persuasive reasons. Even then, we have ruled that such second motions for
reconsideration must be filed with express leave of court first obtained.7 In
Regrettably, the issues presented before us by the movants are matters of no this case, not only did movants fail to ask for prior leave of court, but more
extraordinary import to merit the attention of the Court En Banc. Specifically, importantly, they have been unable to show that there are exceptional
the issue of whether or not the power of the local government units to reasons for us to give due course to their second motions for reconsideration.
reclassify lands is subject to the approval of the DAR is no longer novel, this Stripped of the arguments for referral of this incident to the Court en banc,
having been decided by this Court in the case of Province of Camarines Sur, et the motions subject of this resolution are nothing more but rehashes of the
al. vs. Court of Appeals wherein we held that local government units need not motions for reconsideration which have been denied in the Resolution of
obtain the approval of the DAR to convert or reclassify lands from agricultural November 17, 1998. To be sure, the allegations contained therein have
to non-agricultural use. The dispositive portion of the Decision in the already been raised before and passed upon by this Court in the said
aforecited case states: Resolution.
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED and the questioned decision of the The crux of the controversy is the validity of the "Win-Win" Resolution dated
Court of Appeals is set aside insofar as it (a) nullifies the trial court's order November 7, 1997. We maintain that the same is void and of no legal effect
allowing the Province of Camarines Sur to take possession of private considering that the March 29, 1996 decision of the Office of the President
respondent's property (b) orders the trial court to suspended the exportation had already become final and executory even prior to the filing of the motion
for reconsideration which became the basis of the said "Win-Win" Resolution. Reform, intervenors cannot as yet be deemed vested with sufficient interest
This ruling, quite understandably, sparked a litany of protestations on the in the controversy as to be qualified to intervene in this case. Likewise, the
part of respondents and intervenors including entreaties for a liberal issuance of the CLOA's to them does not grant them the requisite standing in
interpretation of the rules. The sentiment was that notwithstanding its view of the nullity of the "Win-Win" Resolution. No legal rights can emanate
importance and far-reaching effects, the case was disposed of on a from a resolution that is null and void.
technicality. The situation, however, is not as simple as what the movants
WHEREFORE, based on the foregoing, the following incidents, namely:
purport it to be. While it may be true that on its face the nullification of the
intervenors' "Motion For Reconsideration With Motion To Refer The Matter
"Win-Win" Resolution was grounded on a procedural rule pertaining to the
To The Court En Banc," dated December 3, 1998; respondents' "Motion For
reglementary period to appeal or move for reconsideration, the underlying
Reconsideration Of The Resolution Dated November 17, 1998 And For
consideration therefor was the protection of the substantive rights of
Referral Of The Case To This Honorable Court En Banc (With Urgent Prayer
petitioners. The succinct words of Mr. Justice Artemio V. Panganiban are
For Issuance Of A Restraining Order)," dated December 2, 1998; and
quoted in the November 17, 1998 opinion of Mr. Justice Martinez, viz.: "Just
intervenors' "Urgent Omnibus Motion For The Supreme Court Sitting En
as a losing party has the right to file an appeal within the prescribed period,
Banc To Annul The Second Division's Resolution Dated 27 January 1999 And
the winning party also has the correlative right to enjoy the finality of the
Immediately Resolve The 28 May 1998 Motion For Reconsideration Filed By
resolution of his/her case."8
The Intervenors," dated March 2, 1999; are all DENIED with FINALITY. No
In other words, the finality of the March 29, 1996 OP Decision accordingly further motion, pleading, or paper will be entertained in this case.
vested appurtenant rights to the land in dispute on petitioners as well as on
SO ORDERED.
the people of Bukidnon and other parts of the country who stand to be
benefited by the development of the property. The issue in this case,
therefore, is not a question of technicality but of substance and merit.9

Before finally disposing of these pending matters, we feel it necessary to rule


once and for all on the legal standing of intervenors in this case. In their
present motions, intervenors insist that they are real parties in interest
inasmuch as they have already been issued certificates of land ownership
award, or CLOAs, and that while they are seasonal farmworkers at the
plantation, they have been identified by the DAR as qualified beneficiaries of
the property. These arguments are, however, nothing new as in fact they
have already been raised in intervenors' earlier motion for reconsideration of
our April 24, 1998 Decision. Again as expressed in the opinion of Mr. Justice
Martinez, intervenors, who are admittedly not regular but seasonal
farmworkers, have no legal or actual and substantive interest over the subject
land inasmuch as they have no right to own the land. Rather, their right is
limited only to a just share of the fruits of the land.10 Moreover, the "Win-
Win" Resolution itself states that the qualified beneficiaries have yet to be
carefully and meticulously determined by the Department of Agrarian
Reform.11 Absent any definitive finding of the Department of Agrarian
BAVIERA VS PAGLINAWAN Before us are two consolidated Petitions for Review on Certiorari assailing the
Decisions of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 873281 and in CA-G.R. SP
No. 85078.2
G.R. No. 168380 February 8, 2007
The common factual antecedents of these cases as shown by the records are:
MANUEL V. BAVIERA, Petitioner,
vs. Manuel Baviera, petitioner in these cases, was the former head of the HR
ESPERANZA PAGLINAWAN, in her capacity as Department of Justice State Service Delivery and Industrial Relations of Standard Chartered Bank-
Prosecutor; LEAH C. TANODRA-ARMAMENTO, In her capacity as Assistant Philippines (SCB), one of herein respondents. SCB is a foreign banking
Chief State Prosecutor and Chairwoman of Task Force on Business Scam; corporation duly licensed to engage in banking, trust, and other fiduciary
JOVENCITO R. ZUNO, in his capacity as Department of Justice Chief State business in the Philippines. Pursuant to Resolution No. 1142 dated December
Prosecutor; STANDARD CHARTERED BANK, PAUL SIMON MORRIS, AJAY 3, 1992 of the Monetary Board of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the
KANWAL, SRIDHAR RAMAN, MARIVEL GONZALES, CHONA REYES, MARIA conduct of SCB’s business in this jurisdiction is subject to the following
ELLEN VICTOR, and ZENAIDA IGLESIAS, Respondents. conditions:

x-----------------------------x 1. At the end of a one-year period from the date the SCB starts its trust
functions, at least 25% of its trust accounts must be for the account of non-
G.R. No. 170602 February 8, 2007 residents of the Philippines and that actual foreign exchange had been
MANUEL V. BAVIERA, Petitioner, remitted into the Philippines to fund such accounts or that the establishment
vs. of such accounts had reduced the indebtedness of residents (individuals or
STANDARD CHARTERED BANK, BRYAN K. SANDERSON, THE RIGHT corporations or government agencies) of the Philippines to non-residents. At
HONORABLE LORD STEWARTBY, EVAN MERVYN DAVIES, MICHAEL the end of the second year, the above ratio shall be 50%, which ratio must be
BERNARD DENOMA, CHRISTOPHER AVEDIS KELJIK, RICHARD HENRY observed continuously thereafter;
MEDDINGS, KAI NARGOLWALA, PETER ALEXANDER SANDS, RONNIE CHI 2. The trust operations of SCB shall be subject to all existing laws, rules and
CHUNG CHAN, SIR CK CHOW, BARRY CLARE, HO KWON PING, RUDOLPH regulations applicable to trust services, particularly the creation of a Trust
HAROLD PETER ARKHAM, DAVID GEORGE MOIR, HIGH EDWARD NORTON, Committee; and
SIR RALPH HARRY ROBINS, ANTHONY WILLIAM PAUL STENHAM (Standard
Chartered Bank Chairman, Deputy Chairman, and Members of the Board), 3. The bank shall inform the appropriate supervising and examining
SHERAZAM MAZARI (Group Regional Head for Consumer Banking), PAUL department of the BSP at the start of its operations.
SIMON MORRIS, AJAY KANWAL, SRIDHAR RAMAN, MARIVEL GONZALES, Apparently, SCB did not comply with the above conditions. Instead, as early
CHONA REYES, ELLEN VICTOR, RAMONA H. BERNAD, DOMINGO as 1996, it acted as a stock broker, soliciting from local residents foreign
CARBONELL, JR., and ZENAIDA IGLESIAS (Standard Chartered Bank- securities called "GLOBAL THIRD PARTY MUTUAL FUNDS" (GTPMF),
Philippines Branch Heads/Officers), Respondents. denominated in US dollars. These securities were not registered with the
DECISION Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These were then remitted
outwardly to SCB-Hong Kong and SCB-Singapore.
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
SCB’s counsel, Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc and Delos Angeles Law
Office, advised the bank to proceed with the selling of the foreign securities
although unregistered with the SEC, under the guise of a "custodianship However, notwithstanding its commitment and the BSP directive, SCB
agreement;" and should it be questioned, it shall invoke Section 723 of the continued to offer and sell GTPMF securities in this country. This prompted
General Banking Act (Republic Act No.337).4 In sum, SCB was able to sell petitioner to enter into an Investment Trust Agreement with SCB wherein he
GTPMF securities worth around ₱6 billion to some 645 investors. purchased US$8,000.00 worth of securities upon the bank’s promise of 40%
return on his investment and a guarantee that his money is safe. After six (6)
However, SCB’s operations did not remain unchallenged. On July 18, 1997,
months, however, petitioner learned that the value of his investment went
the Investment Capital Association of the Philippines (ICAP) filed with the SEC
down to US$7,000.00. He tried to withdraw his investment but was
a complaint alleging that SCB violated the Revised Securities Act,5particularly
persuaded by Antonette de los Reyes of SCB to hold on to it for another six
the provision prohibiting the selling of securities without prior registration
(6) months in view of the possibility that the market would pick up.
with the SEC; and that its actions are potentially damaging to the local mutual
fund industry. Meanwhile, on November 27, 2000, the BSP found that SCB failed to comply
with its directive of August 17, 1998. Consequently, it was fined in the amount
In its answer, SCB denied offering and selling securities, contending that it has
of ₱30,000.00.
been performing a "purely informational function" without solicitations for
any of its investment outlets abroad; that it has a trust license and the The trend in the securities market, however, was bearish and the worth of
services it renders under the "Custodianship Agreement" for offshore petitioner’s investment went down further to only US$3,000.00.
investments are authorized by Section 726 of the General Banking Act; that
On October 26, 2001, petitioner learned from Marivel Gonzales, head of the
its clients were the ones who took the initiative to invest in securities; and it
SCB Legal and Compliance Department, that the latter had been prohibited
has been acting merely as an agent or "passive order taker" for them.
by the BSP to sell GPTMF securities. Petitioner then filed with the BSP a letter-
On September 2, 1997, the SEC issued a Cease and Desist Order against SCB, complaint demanding compensation for his lost investment. But SCB denied
holding that its services violated Sections 4(a)7 and 198 of the Revised his demand on the ground that his investment is "regular."
Securities Act.
On July 15, 2003, petitioner filed with the Department of Justice (DOJ),
Meantime, the SEC indorsed ICAP’s complaint and its supporting documents represented herein by its prosecutors, public respondents, a complaint
to the BSP. charging the above-named officers and members of the SCB Board of
Directors and other SCB officials, private respondents, with
On October 31, 1997, the SEC informed the Secretary of Finance that it
syndicated estafa, docketed as I.S. No. 2003-1059.
withdrew GTPMF securities from the market and that it will not sell the same
without the necessary clearances from the regulatory authorities. For their part, private respondents filed the following as counter-charges
against petitioner: (1) blackmail and extortion, docketed as I.S. No. 2003-
Meanwhile, on August 17, 1998, the BSP directed SCB not to include
1059-A; and blackmail and perjury, docketed as I.S. No. 2003-1278.
investments in global mutual funds issued abroad in its trust investments
portfolio without prior registration with the SEC. On September 29, 2003, petitioner also filed a complaint for perjury against
private respondents Paul Simon Morris and Marivel Gonzales, docketed as I.S.
On August 31, 1998, SCB sent a letter to the BSP confirming that it will
No. 2003-1278-A.
withdraw third-party fund products which could be directly purchased by
investors. On December 4, 2003, the SEC issued a Cease and Desist Order against SCB
restraining it from further offering, soliciting, or otherwise selling its
securities to the public until these have been registered with the SEC.
Subsequently, the SEC and SCB reached an amicable settlement.1awphi1.net Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied in a Resolution
dated May 27, 2005.
On January 20, 2004, the SEC lifted its Cease and Desist Order and approved
the ₱7 million settlement offered by SCB. Thereupon, SCB made a Meanwhile, on February 21, 2005, the Court of Appeals rendered its Decision
commitment not to offer or sell securities without prior compliance with the in CA-G.R. SP No. 85078 (involving petitioner’s charges and respondents’
requirements of the SEC. counter charges) dismissing the petition on the ground that the purpose of a
petition for certiorari is not to evaluate and weigh the parties’ evidence but
On February 7, 2004, petitioner filed with the DOJ a complaint for violation
to determine whether the assailed Resolution of the DOJ was issued with
of Section 8.19 of the Securities Regulation Code against private respondents,
grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack of jurisdiction. Again, petitioner
docketed as I.S. No. 2004-229.
moved for a reconsideration but it was denied in a Resolution of November
On February 23, 2004, the DOJ rendered its Joint Resolution10 dismissing 22, 2005.
petitioner’s complaint for syndicated estafa in I.S. No. 2003-1059; private
Hence, the instant petitions for review on certiorari.
respondents’ complaint for blackmail and extortion in I.S. No. 2003-1059-A;
private respondents’ complaint for blackmail and perjury in I.S. No. 2003- For our resolution is the fundamental issue of whether the Court of Appeals
1278; and petitioner’s complaint for perjury against private respondents erred in concluding that the DOJ did not commit grave abuse of discretion in
Morris and Gonzales in I.S. No. 2003-1278-A. dismissing petitioner’s complaint in I.S. 2004-229 for violation of Securities
Regulation Code and his complaint in I.S. No. 2003-1059 for
Meanwhile, in a Resolution11 dated April 4, 2004, the DOJ dismissed
syndicated estafa.
petitioner’s complaint in I.S. No. 2004-229 (violation of Securities Regulation
Code), holding that it should have been filed with the SEC. G.R. No 168380

Petitioner’s motions to dismiss his complaints were denied by the DOJ. Thus, Re: I.S. No. 2004-229
he filed with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari, docketed as CA-
For violation of the Securities Regulation Code
G.R. SP No. 85078. He alleged that the DOJ acted with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in dismissing his Section 53.1 of the Securities Regulation Code provides:
complaint for syndicated estafa.
SEC. 53. Investigations, Injunctions and Prosecution of Offenses.–
He also filed with the Court of Appeals a separate petition for certiorari
assailing the DOJ Resolution dismissing I.S. No. 2004-229 for violation of the 53. 1. The Commission may, in its discretion, make such investigation as it
Securities Regulation Code. This petition was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. deems necessary to determine whether any person has violated or is about
87328. Petitioner claimed that the DOJ acted with grave abuse of discretion to violate any provision of this Code, any rule, regulation or order thereunder,
tantamount to lack or excess of jurisdiction in holding that the complaint or any rule of an Exchange, registered securities association, clearing agency,
should have been filed with the SEC. other self-regulatory organization, and may require or permit any person to
file with it a statement in writing, under oath or otherwise, as the Commission
On January 7, 2005, the Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision dismissing shall determine, as to all facts and circumstances concerning the matter to be
the petition.1avvphi1.net It sustained the ruling of the DOJ that the case investigated. The Commission may publish information concerning any such
should have been filed initially with the SEC. violations and to investigate any fact, condition, practice or matter which it
may deem necessary or proper to aid in the enforcement of the provisions of
this Code, in the prescribing of rules and regulations thereunder, or in
securing information to serve as a basis for recommending further legislation Verily, no grave abuse of discretion can be ascribed to the DOJ in dismissing
concerning the matters to which this Code relates: Provided, however, That petitioner’s complaint.
any person requested or subpoenaed to produce documents or testify in any
G.R. No. 170602
investigation shall simultaneously be notified in writing of the purpose of such
investigation: Provided, further, That all criminal complaints for violations of Re: I.S. No. 2003-1059 for
this Code and the implementing rules and regulations enforced or
administered by the Commission shall be referred to the Department of Syndicated Estafa
Justice for preliminary investigation and prosecution before the proper Section 5, Rule 110 of the 2000 Rules of Criminal Procedure, as amended,
court: Provided, furthermore, That in instances where the law allows provides that all criminal actions, commenced by either a complaint or an
independent civil or criminal proceedings of violations arising from the act, information, shall be prosecuted under the direction and control of a public
the Commission shall take appropriate action to implement the prosecutor. This mandate is founded on the theory that a crime is a breach of
same: Provided, finally; That the investigation, prosecution, and trial of such the security and peace of the people at large, an outrage against the very
cases shall be given priority. sovereignty of the State. It follows that a representative of the State shall
The Court of Appeals held that under the above provision, a criminal direct and control the prosecution of the offense.13 This representative of the
complaint for violation of any law or rule administered by the SEC must first State is the public prosecutor, whom this Court described in the old case
be filed with the latter. If the Commission finds that there is probable cause, of Suarez v. Platon,14 as:
then it should refer the case to the DOJ. Since petitioner failed to comply with [T]he representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a
the foregoing procedural requirement, the DOJ did not gravely abuse its sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its
discretion in dismissing his complaint in I.S. No. 2004-229. obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal
A criminal charge for violation of the Securities Regulation Code is a prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. As
specialized dispute. Hence, it must first be referred to an administrative such, he is in a peculiar and very definite sense a servant of the law, the
agency of special competence, i.e., the SEC. Under the doctrine of primary twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffers.
jurisdiction, courts will not determine a controversy involving a question Concomitant with his authority and power to control the prosecution of
within the jurisdiction of the administrative tribunal, where the question criminal offenses, the public prosecutor is vested with the discretionary
demands the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the power to determine whether a prima facie case exists or not.15 This is done
specialized knowledge and expertise of said administrative tribunal to through a preliminary investigation designed to secure the respondent from
determine technical and intricate matters of fact.12 The Securities Regulation hasty, malicious and oppressive prosecution. A preliminary investigation is
Code is a special law. Its enforcement is particularly vested in the SEC. Hence, essentially an inquiry to determine whether (a) a crime has been committed;
all complaints for any violation of the Code and its implementing rules and and (b) whether there is probable cause that the accused is guilty
regulations should be filed with the SEC. Where the complaint is criminal in thereof.16 In Pontejos v. Office of the Ombudsman,17probable cause is defined
nature, the SEC shall indorse the complaint to the DOJ for preliminary as such facts and circumstances that would engender a well-founded belief
investigation and prosecution as provided in Section 53.1 earlier quoted. that a crime has been committed and that the respondent is probably guilty
We thus agree with the Court of Appeals that petitioner committed a fatal thereof and should be held for trial. It is the public prosecutor who
procedural lapse when he filed his criminal complaint directly with the DOJ. determines during the preliminary investigation whether probable cause
exists. Thus, the decision whether or not to dismiss the criminal complaint
against the accused depends on the sound discretion of the prosecutor.
Given this latitude and authority granted by law to the investigating complainant’s evidence is ample and sufficient to show prima facie guilt of a
prosecutor, the rule in this jurisdiction is that courts will not interfere with crime. Yet, on the other hand, he is likewise duty-bound to protect innocent
the conduct of preliminary investigations or reinvestigations or in the persons from groundless, false, or malicious prosecution.22
determination of what constitutes sufficient probable cause for the filing of
Hence, we hold that the Court of Appeals was correct in dismissing the
the corresponding information against an offender.18 Courts are not
petition for review against private respondents and in concluding that the
empowered to substitute their own judgment for that of the executive
DOJ did not act with grave abuse of discretion tantamount to lack or excess
branch.19 Differently stated, as the matter of whether to prosecute or not is
of jurisdiction.
purely discretionary on his part, courts cannot compel a public prosecutor to
file the corresponding information, upon a complaint, where he finds the On petitioner’s complaint for violation of the Securities Regulation Code,
evidence before him insufficient to warrant the filing of an action in court. In suffice it to state that, as aptly declared by the Court of Appeals, he should
sum, the prosecutor’s findings on the existence of probable cause are not have filed it with the SEC, not the DOJ. Again, there is no indication here that
subject to review by the courts, unless these are patently shown to have in dismissing petitioner’s complaint, the DOJ acted capriciously or arbitrarily.
been made with grave abuse of discretion.20
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petitions and AFFIRM the assailed Decisions of
Grave abuse of discretion is such capricious and whimsical exercise of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 87328 and in CA-G.R. SP No. 85078.
judgment on the part of the public officer concerned which is equivalent to
an excess or lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must be as patent Costs against petitioner.
and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to SO ORDERED.
perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of law, as
where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason
of passion or hostility.21

In determining whether the DOJ committed grave abuse of discretion, it is


expedient to know if the findings of factof herein public prosecutors were
reached in an arbitrary or despotic manner.

The Court of Appeals held that petitioner’s evidence is insufficient to establish


probable cause for syndicated estafa. There is no showing from the record
that private respondents herein did induce petitioner by false
representations to invest in the GTPMF securities. Nor did they act as a
syndicate to misappropriate his money for their own benefit. Rather, they
invested it in accordance with his written instructions. That he lost his
investment is not their fault since it was highly speculative.

Records show that public respondents examined petitioner’s evidence with


care, well aware of their duty to prevent material damage to his
constitutional right to liberty and fair play. In Suarez previously cited, this
Court made it clear that a public prosecutor’s duty is two-fold. On one hand,
he is bound by his oath of office to prosecute persons where the
VICENTE DACANAY vs YRASTORZA Petitioner then filed in the Supreme Court a motion for extension of time to
G.R. No. 150664 September 3, 2009 file a petition for review on certiorari. His motion was denied in a minute
resolution16 because of procedural lapses17 on his part. Petitioner’s motion
VICENTE DACANAY, in his capacity as administrator of the Testate Estate of for reconsideration met the same fate.18
TERESO D. FERNANDEZ,Petitioner,
vs. Consequently, the CA19 and the Supreme Court20 entered judgment on their
HON. RAPHAEL YRASTORZA, SR., in his official capacity as Presiding Judge, rulings. Thus, the RTC decision dismissing petitioner’s complaint and holding
Regional Trial Court of Cebu, Branch 14, LUISSA ANNABELLA TORRANO him personally liable for ₱70,000 to respondent spouses Samaco and
SAMACO, assisted by her husband RAUL SAMACO, ROBERTA I. KERSAW, respondent Mercader became final and executory.
assisted by her husband BRYAN KERSAW and JOHNSON On July 12, 2001, respondent Mercader filed a motion for execution21 of the
MERCADER, Respondents. RTC decision. Petitioner opposed22 the motion, contending that he should not
RESOLUTION be made personally liable for the amount awarded by the RTC. The RTC
judgment should be considered as a claim against the estate of Tereso
CORONA, J.: Fernandez. Thus, the writ of execution should be referred to the court where
On July 14, 1992, petitioner Vicente Dacanay, as administrator of the testate the estate of Tereso Fernandez was being settled.1avvphi1
estate of Tereso D. Fernandez, filed in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu On August 30, 2001, the RTC granted respondent Mercader’s motion for
City a case for recovery of real property against respondent spouses Luissa execution.23 According to the RTC, there was no impediment to the execution
and Raul Samaco and Roberta and Bryan Kersaw.1 On December 22, 1992, of its decision because it had already become final and executory. Moreover,
respondent spouses Samaco filed their answer with counterclaim.2 considering that the decision sought to be executed "(did) not involve money
On May 12, 1993, petitioner amended his complaint to implead respondent claims,"24 the writ of execution could not be directed against the estate of
Johnson Mercader.3 On August 3, 1993, respondent Mercader filed his Tereso Fernandez.
answer with counterclaim.4 Respondent spouses Kersaw were declared in Petitioner’s motion for reconsideration25 went unheeded.26
default5 as they did not file an answer despite service of summons by
publication.6 Refusing to give up, petitioner filed this petition for certiorari27 in this Court.
He reiterates his position that he should not be made personally liable to pay
On May 15, 1994, petitioner filed his second amended complaint7 which the the ₱70,000 awarded by the RTC in favor of respondent spouses Samaco and
court granted. On March 30, 1994, respondent spouses Samaco filed their respondent Mercader.
answer with counterclaim,8 while respondent Mercader filed his on May 30,
1994.9 At the outset, we note that petitioner filed his petition for certiorari directly
in this Court. This is a violation of the doctrine of hierarchy of courts. He
On December 12, 1995, the RTC dismissed10 petitioner’s complaint for lack of should have filed his petition in the CA before seeking relief from this
merit. Petitioner was likewise ordered to pay ₱70,000 to respondent spouses Court.28Thus, this petition can be dismissed outright for being procedurally
Samaco and respondent Mercader by way of attorney’s fees,11litigation infirm.
expenses12 and moral damages.13
Moreover, the petition lacks merit.
Not satisfied, petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA).14 On October
27, 1999, the CA15 affirmed the RTCin toto.
The RTC decision sought to be executed has long attained finality. Hence,
petitioner can no longer question it.

Once a judgment attains finality, it becomes immutable and unalterable. A


final and executory judgment may no longer be modified in any respect, even
if the modification is meant to correct what is perceived to be an erroneous
conclusion of fact or law and regardless of whether the modification is
attempted to be made by the court rendering it or by the highest court of the
land.29 This is the doctrine of finality of judgment. It is grounded on
fundamental considerations of public policy and sound practice that, at the
risk of occasional errors, the judgments or orders of courts must become final
at some definite time fixed by law.30 Otherwise, there will be no end to
litigations, thus negating the main role of courts of justice to assist in the
enforcement of the rule of law and the maintenance of peace and order by
settling justiciable controversies with finality.31

The book of entries of judgment of the CA states that its decision in CA-G.R.
CV No. 52731 on October 27, 1999 (which affirmed the RTC decision
dismissing petitioner’s complaint and awarding ₱70,000 to respondent
spouses Samaco and respondent Mercader) became final on June 22,
2000.32 On the other hand, the book of entries of judgment of the Supreme
Court states that its resolution in G.R. No. 143713 on August 9, 2000 (which
denied petitioner’s motion for extension of time to file petition for review on
certiorari) became final on February 14, 2001.33Thus, respondent Mercader
properly moved for the execution of the RTC decision on July 12, 2001. For
the same reason, there was no legal impediment to the RTC’s issuance of a
writ of execution of its final and executory decision on August 30, 2001.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED.

Costs against petitioner.

SO ORDERED.
ERNESTO MORALES vs COURT OF APPEALS exceed prision correccional or six (6) years and under R.A. No. 7691 it is the
Metropolitan Trial Court which has jurisdiction over the case.

G.R. No. 126623 December 12, 1997 In its Order 8 of 9 May 1996, the RTC denied the motion. It held:

ERNESTO MORALES y DELA CRUZ, petitioner, It is true that under the aforementioned provision, cases punishable with
vs. penalties of not more than six (6) years are within the exclusive jurisdiction
COURT OF APPEALS, HON. ALFREDO J. GUSTILO, as Presiding Judge of RTC, of the Metropolitan Trial Courts. However, the exceptions are "cases falling
Pasay City, Branch 116 and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court. . ." Under
Section 39 of Republic Act No. 6425, the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, the
Court of First Instance now the Regional Trial Court and the Juvenile and
DAVIDE, JR., J.: Domestic Relations Court, which no longer exist, "shall have concurrent
original jurisdiction over all cases involving offenses punishable under this
The key issue in this case is whether, in light of R.A. No. 7659 1 as interpreted Act." It is therefore clear that this case, which is a violation of Republic Act
in People v. Simon, 2 and R.A. No. 7691, 3 Regional Trial Courts have No. 6425, although punishable by a penalty of less than six (6) years, falls
jurisdiction over violations of R.A. No. 6425, otherwise known as the within the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court.
Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended, when the imposable penalty is
not more than six (6) years. His motion for the reconsideration 9 of the order having been denied, 10 the
petitioner filed with respondent Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari
The petitioner was charged with the violation of Section 15 in relation to under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. 11 The case was docketed as CA-G.R. SP
Section 20 of R.A. No. 6425, as amended by R.A. No. 7659, in an information No. 40670.
filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasay City on 13 March 1996.
The accusatory portion of the said information reads as follows: In its Comment 12 in CA-G.R. SP No. 40670, the Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG) agreed with the petitioner that the RTC had no jurisdiction to try the
That on or about the 11th day of March 1996, in Pasay, Metro Manila, criminal case. It, however, asserted that the Court of Appeals had no
Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the above- jurisdiction over the special civil action for certiorari, as the same involved
named accused, Ernesto Morales y De la Cruz, without authority of law, did only the question of jurisdiction of an inferior court, hence, cognizable by the
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously sell and deliver to another Supreme Court alone pursuant to Section 9 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 129, in
0.4587 grams of Metamphetamine Hydrochloride (shabu), a regulated drug. connection with Section 5(2)(c), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution and
Section 17 of Republic Act No. 5440. The OSG then recommended that the
CONTRARY TO LAW. 4
case be elevated to the Supreme Court for disposition, or that the Court of
The case was docketed as Criminal Case No. 96-8443 and raffled to Branch Appeals grant the petition and set aside the challenged order of the RTC
116 of the said court. should it rule that it had jurisdiction over petition.
Upon his arraignment, the petitioner entered a plea of not In its Resolution 13 of 8 August 1996, the Court of Appeals dismissed the
guilty. 5 Subsequently, on 30 April 1996, the petitioner filed a Motion to petition for certiorari for lack of jurisdiction over the action. Explaining its
Dismiss6 on the ground that the RTC had no jurisdiction to try the case ruling, it declared:
considering that pursuant to Section 20 of R.A. No. 7659 as construed in
People v. Simon, 7 the penalty imposable for the offense charged should not
In his Comment to the petition, the Solicitor General, inter alia, contended of Appeals 18 wherein this Court held that the original jurisdiction of the Court
that this Court has no jurisdiction over the petition for it properly falls within of Appeals under Section 9 of B.P. Blg. 129 is concurrent with that of the
the exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Supreme Court, and with that of Regional Trial Courts for writs enforceable
within their respective regions. The petitioner further maintains that Section
We fully agree.
5(2)(c) of Article VIII of the Constitution and Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of
Section 5, Article VIII of the Constitution provides: 1948, as amended by R.A. No. 5440, relied upon by the Court Appeals are not
applicable inasmuch as they relate to the appellate jurisdiction of this Court
Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers; . . . and not to an original action under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
(2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari as the law As regards the second issue, the petitioner asserts that the RTC below has no
or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts jurisdiction over the offense charged considering that only 0.4587 grams of
in: . . . methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu) is involved. In light of Section 20 of
(c) All cases in which the jurisdiction of any lower court is in issue. . . . R.A. No. 7659, 19 as interpreted in People v. Simon 20 and further explained
in People v. Santos 21 and Ordoñez v. Vinarao, 22 the imposable penalty
Section 17 of R.A. 5446 otherwise known as the Judiciary Act of 1948 says therefor would not exceed prision correccional, whose maximum period is six
that the Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction to review, revise, reverse, (6) years. Hence, under R.A. No. 7691 exclusive original jurisdiction therein is
modify or affirm on certiorari final judgments and decrees of inferior courts vested in Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal
in all cases in which the jurisdiction of any inferior court is on issue. It is Circuit Trial Courts.
hereby stressed that the issue in the petition at bench is purely a question of
jurisdiction which is resolvable on the basis of the records. In its Comment on the petition, the OSG submits that all violations of R.A. No.
6425, as further amended by R.A. No. 7659, which are punishable by
After the denial 14 on 13 September 1996 of his motion for imprisonment not exceeding six years now fall under the jurisdiction of the
reconsideration, 15 the petitioner came to this Court via this petition for Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial
review wider Rule 45 of the Rules of Court raising the following issues: Courts. Since on the basis of the quantity of the regulated drug involved in
I. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS HAS JURISDICTION TO this case the penalty imposable does not exceed prision correccional, it is the
ENTERTAIN A PETITION FOR CERTIORARI UNDER RULE 65 OF THE RULES OF Metropolitan Trial Court of Pasay City which has jurisdiction over the case. It
COURT WHERE THE ISSUE IS THE JURISDICTION OF RESPONDENT RTC JUDGE disagreed with the opinion of the RTC that violations of R.A. No. 6425, as
TO TRY THE ALLEGED VIOLATION OF R.A. 6425; AND. amended, still fall within the jurisdiction of the RTC because the latter's
jurisdiction thereon mandated by Section 39 of R.A. No. 6425 has been
II. WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT RTC JUDGE/COURT HAS JURISDICTION TO preserved by the exception provided for in the opening sentence of Section
TRY ALLEGED VIOLATION OF SECTION 15, IN RELATION TO SECTION 20, ART. 32 of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended by Section 2 of R.A. No. 7691. It submits that
III OF R.A. 6425, AS AMENDED, INVOLVING ONLY 0.4587 GRAMS OF SHABU. Section 39 of R.A. No. 6425 was repealed by Section 6 of R.A. No. 7691, which
provides:
As to the first, the petitioner insists that respondent Court of Appeals has
concurrent original jurisdiction with this Court over petitions Sec. 6. All laws, decrees, and orders inconsistent with the provisions of this
for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court involving decisions or orders Act shall be considered amended or modified accordingly.
of Regional Trial Courts pursuant to Section 9(1) 16 of B.P. Blg. 129 in relation
to Section 5(1) 17 of Article VIII of the Constitution. He cites De Jesus v. Court In support of its submission, it cites this Court's resolution in Gulhoran
v. Escaño, Jr. 23
The OSG further contends that respondent Court of Appeals was correct in for certiorari where a lower court has acted without or in excess of
dismissing the petition for certiorari for lack of jurisdiction in view of Section jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in denying a motion to dismiss
9(3) of B.P. Blg. 129; Sec. 5(2)(c) of Article VIII of the Constitution; and Section or to quash. 25 The petitioner believed that the RTC below did so; hence, the
17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended by R.A. No. 5440. Nevertheless, special civil action for certiorari before the Court of Appeals appeared to be
it prays that this petition "be given due course and that Criminal Case No. 96- the proper remedy.
8443 be remanded to the proper metropolitan trial court for further
The next most logical step then is for us to simply set aside the challenged
proceedings."
resolutions and to direct the Court of Appeals to resolve on the merits the
We resolved to give due course to this petition. petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 40670. But, that would further delay the case.
Considering the special importance of the lone legal issue raised, which can
The Court of Appeals erred in holding that it had no jurisdiction over
be resolved on the basis of the pleadings heretofore filed, and the fact that
petitioner's special civil action for certiorariunder Rule 65 of the Rules of
this Court has concurrent jurisdiction over petitioner's special action in CA-
Court.
G.R. SP No. 40670, we deem it more practical and in the greater interest of
Under Section 9(1) of B.P. Blg. 129, the Court of Appeals has concurrent justice not to remand the case to the Court of Appeals but, instead, to take
original jurisdiction with the Supreme Court pursuant to Section 5(1) of direct cognizance thereof and resolve it once and for all. 26
Article VIII of the Constitution and Section 17(1) of the Judiciary Act of 1948,
We now address the second issue.
and with the Regional Trial Court pursuant to Section 21(7) of B.P. Blg. 129 to
issue writs of certiorari, mandamus, prohibition, habeas corpus, and quo Applying by analogy the ruling in People v. Simon, 27 People v. De
warranto. 24 These are original actions, not modes of appeals. Lara, 28 People v. Santos, 29 and Ordoñez v. Vinarao, 30 the imposable penalty
in this case which involves 0.4587grams of shabu should not exceed prision
Since what the petitioner filed in CA-G.R. SP No. 40670 was a special civil
correccional. We say by analogy because these cases involved marijuana, not
action for certiorari under Rule 65, the original jurisdiction of the Court of
methamphetamine hydrochloride (shabu). In Section 20 of R.A. No. 6425, as
Appeals thereon is beyond doubt.
amended by Section 17 of R.A. No. 7659, the maximum quantities of
This error of the Court of Appeals was due to its misapplication of Section marijuana and methamphetamine hydrochloride for purposes of imposing
5(2)(c) of Article VIII of the Constitution and of that portion of Section 17 of the maximum penalties are not the same. For the latter, if the quantity
the Judiciary Act of 1948 vesting upon the Supreme Court exclusive involved is 200 grams or more, the penalty of reclusion perpetua to death and
jurisdiction to review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on certiorari as the a fine ranging from P500,000 to P10 million shall be imposed. Accordingly, if
law or rules of court may provide, final judgments and decrees of inferior the quantity involved is below 200 grams, the imposable penalties should be
courts in all cases in which the jurisdiction of any inferior court is in issue. It as follows:
forgot that this constitutional and statutory provisions pertain to
a) reclusion temporal — if the quantity involved is
the appellate — not original — jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, as correctly
from 134 to 199 grams;
maintained by the petitioner. An appellate jurisdiction refers to a process
which is but a continuation of the original suit, not a commencement of a new b) prision mayor — if the quantity involved is
action, such as that of a special civil action for certiorari. The general rule is from 66 to 133 grams;
that a denial of a motion to dismiss or to quash in criminal cases is
c) prision correccional — if the quantity involved is 65
interlocutory and cannot be the subject of an appeal or of a special civil action
grams or below.
for certiorari. Nevertheless, this Court has allowed a special civil action
Clearly, the penalty which may be imposed for the offense charged in Criminal jurisdiction over specific criminal cases, e.g., (a) Article 360 of the Revised
Case No. 96-8443 would at most be only prision correccional whose duration Penal Code, as amended by R.A. Nos. 1289 and 4363 on written defamation
is from six (6) months and one (1) day to six (6) years. Does it follow then that, or libel; (b) Decree on intellectual Property (P.D. No. 49, as amended), which
as the petitioner insists, the RTC has no jurisdiction thereon in view of the vests upon Courts of First Instance exclusive jurisdiction over the cases
amendment of Section 32 of B.P. Blg. 129 by R.A. No. 7691, which vested therein mentioned regardless of the imposable penalty; and (c) more
upon Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit appropriately for the case at bar, Section 39 of R.A. No. 6425, as amended by
Trial Courts' exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with P.D. No. 44, which vests on Courts of First Instance, Circuit Criminal Courts,
imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the amount of fine and the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts concurrent exclusive original
and regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties? This section jurisdiction over all cases involving violations of said Act.
32 as thus amended now reads:
Jurisdiction is, of course, conferred by the Constitution or by Congress.
Sec. 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Outside the cases enumerated in Section 5(2) of Article VIII of the
Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in Criminal Cases. — Except in cases falling Constitution, Congress has the plenary power to define, prescribe and
within the exclusive original jurisdiction of Regional Trial Court and of the apportion the jurisdiction of various courts. 32 Accordingly, Congress may, by
Sandiganbayan, the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and law, provide that a certain class of cases should be exclusively heard and
Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise: determined by one court. Such would be a special law and must be construed
as an exception to the general law on jurisdiction of courts, namely, the
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with
Judiciary Act of 1948 as amended, or the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980.
imprisonment not exceeding six (6) years irrespective of the amount of fine,
In short, the special law prevails over the general law.
and regardless of other imposable accessory or other penalties, including the
civil liability arising from such offender or predicated thereon, irrespective of R.A. No. 7691 can by no means be considered another special law on
kind, nature, value or amount thereof: Provided, however, That in offenses jurisdiction but merely an amendatory law intended to amend specific
involving damage to property through criminal negligence, they shall have sections of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980. Hence, it does not have
exclusive original jurisdiction thereof. the effect of repealing or modifying Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code;
Section 57 of the Decree on Intellectual Property; and Section 39 of R.A. No.
The exception in the opening sentence is of special significance which we
6425, as amended by P.D. No. 44. In a manner of speaking, R.A. No. 7691 was
cannot disregard. By virtue thereof, the exclusive original jurisdiction of the
absorbed by the mother law, the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980.
Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts in criminal cases does not cover those cases which by provision of law That Congress indeed did not intend to repeal these special laws vesting
fall within the exclusive original jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts and of the exclusive jurisdiction in the Regional Trial Courts over certain cases is clearly
Sandiganbayan regardless of the prescribed penalty. Otherwise put, even if evident from the exception provided for in the opening sentence of Section
such cases are punishable by imprisonment not exceeding six years 32 of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended by R.A. No. 7691. These special laws are not,
(i.e., prision correccional, arresto mayor, or arresto menor), jurisdiction, therefore, covered by the repealing clause (Section 6) of R.A. No. 7691.
thereon is retained by the Regional Trial Courts or the Sandiganbayan, as the
Neither can it be successfully argued that Section 39 of R.A. No. 6425, as
case may be.
amended by P.D. No. 44, is no longer operative because Section 44 of B.P.
The aforementioned exception refers not only to Section 20 of B.P. Blg. 129 Blg. 129 abolished the Courts of First Instance, Circuit Criminal Courts, and
providing for the jurisdiction of Regional Trial Courts in criminal cases,31 but Juvenile and Domestic Relations Courts. While, indeed, Section 44 provides
also to other laws which specifically lodge in Regional Trial Courts exclusive that these courts were to be "deemed automatically abolished" upon the
declaration by the President that the reorganization provided in B.P. Blg. 129 the Regional Trial Courts therein designated as special courts. As to the latter,
had been completed, this Court should not lose sight of the fact that the this Court in its Resolution of 15 April 1997 in A.M. No. 96-11-421-
Regional Trial Courts merely replaced the Courts of First Instance as clearly RTC, 35 resolved as follows:
borne out by the last two sentences of Section 44, to wit:
. . . to AMEND Administrative Order No. 104-96, dated October 21, 1996, with
Upon such declaration, the said courts shall be deemed automatically respect only to the violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972, as amended,
abolished and the incumbents thereof shall cease to hold office. The cases if the imposable penalty is reclusion perpetua to death. Thus, if the imposable
pending in the old Courts shall be transferred to the appropriate Courts penalty is below reclusion perpetua the drug related cases will be raffled
constituted pursuant to this Act, together with the pertinent functions, among the regular courts as ordinary criminal cases.
records, equipment, property and necessary personnel.
Thereafter, in Circular No. 31-97 dated 15 May 1997, the Court Administrator
In short, there was a change in name only — from Courts of First Instance directed Judges of "special courts for Kidnapping, Robbery, Carnapping,
to Regional Trial Courts. The Interim Rules and Guidelines Relative to the Dangerous Drugs and other Heinous Crimes" to comply with the aforesaid
Implementation of B.P. Blg. 129 promulgated by this Court on 11 January amendment to Administrative Order No. 104-96. To avoid any further
1983 also provides that the reference to the courts of first instance in the confusion or misunderstanding, we hereby declare that the term "regular
Rules of Court shall be deemed changed to the regional trial courts. courts" found in the above amendment refers exclusively to the Regional Trial
Courts and was not intended to include Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal
Consequently, it is not accurate to state that the "abolition" of the Courts of
Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts.
First Instance carried with it the abolition of their exclusive original
jurisdiction in drug cases vested by Section 39 of R.A. No. 6425, as amended In view of the foregoing, the Court hereby abandons the resolution
by P. D. No. 44. If that were so, then so must it be with respect to Article 360 in Gulhoran v. Escaño 36 where, through the Second Division, we ruled, in
of the Revised Penal Code and Section 57 of the Decree on Intellectual effect, that Section 39 of R.A. No. 6425, as amended, was repealed by virtue
Property. On the contrary, in the resolution of 19 June 1996 in Caro v. Court of the repealing clause of R.A. No. 7691.
of Appeals 33 and in the resolution of 26 February 1997 in Villalon
The RTC then did not commit any error in denying petitioner's motion to
v. Baldado, 34 this Court expressly ruled that Regional Trial Courts have the
dismiss Civil Case No. 96-8443.
exclusive original jurisdiction over libel cases pursuant to Article 360 of the
Revised Penal Code. In Administrative Order No. 104-96 this Court mandates WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED, but only insofar as the issue of
that: jurisdiction of respondent Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 40670 is
concerned. The Resolutions of 8 August and 13 September 1996 of the Court
LIBEL CASES SHALL BE TRIED BY THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS HAVING
of Appeals are SET ASIDE, while the challenged orders in Criminal Case No.
JURISDICTION OVER THEM TO THE EXCLUSION OF THE METROPOLITAN TRIAL
96-8443 of the Regional Trial Court of Pasay City, Branch 116, are AFFIRMED.
COURTS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS IN CITIES, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS
The trial court is hereby DIRECTED to proceed with the trial of Criminal Case
AND MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL COURT.
No. 96-8443 with all reasonable dispatch.
It likewise provides that jurisdiction over cases involving violations of
No pronouncements as to costs.
intellectual property rights are "confined exclusively to the Regional Trial
Courts." SO ORDERED.
The same Administrative Order recognizes that violations of RA. No. 6426, as
amended, regardless of the quantity involved, are to be tried and decided by
FELIXBERTO CUBERO ET AL vs LAGUNA WEST MULTI-PURPOSE Deeds allegedly failed to carry over to the TCTs of individual petitioners under
COOPERATIVE the Property Registration Decree5.

In its petitions before the RTC, respondent Laguna West Cooperative claimed
G.R. No. 166833 December 5, 2006 that as early as April 1996 it entered into separate Joint Venture Agreements
(JVAs) with the herein individual petitioners' predecessors-in-interest
FELIXBERTO CUBERO, NERISSA C. NATIVIDAD, JUDY U. LIM, MANUEL R. Zacarias P. Narvaez, Filizardo6 N. Contreras, Eladio Contreras, Anacleto P.
LAHOZ, SOTERO DIOLA and BELLE CORPORATION, petitioners, Narvaez, Victor P. Ortilla, Rafael Maranan, Felipe Maranan, Elino B.
vs. Mangubat, Joaquin N. Olaes and Salvador Alberto;7 and that it registered the
LAGUNA WEST MULTI-PURPOSE COOPERATIVE, INC., and ATTY. ABRAHAM JVAs in August 2000 on the previous owners' titles by way of an Adverse Claim
BERMUDEZ, in his capacity as Registrar of Deeds, Tanauan City, under Entry No. 199352 and/or 168016.
Batangas, respondents.
Laguna West Cooperative added that the petitions were filed to rectify the
omission or error and to protect its vested, subsisting and valid rights under
the JVAs.
DECISION Accompanying the petitions were Notices of Lis Pendens8 addressed to the
Register of Deeds, Tanauan, Batangas.9

Getting wind of the petitions filed by Laguna West Cooperative, petitioners


also filed a Complaint10 with the RTC of Tanauan, for "Annulment of Joint
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
Venture Agreements with prayer for the issuance of a TRO and/or writs of
The present petition raises the issue of jurisdiction over the subject matter. Preliminary Injunction and Preliminary Mandatory Injunction and for
Damages" against herein respondents Laguna West Cooperative and Atty.
Individual petitioners Felixberto Cubero, Nerrisa1 C. Natividad, Judy U. Lim,
Abraham Bermudez11 in the latter's capacity as Registrar of Deeds of
Manuel R. Lahoz and Sotero Diola are the registered owners of various parcels
Tanauan.
of land covered by twelve (12) Transfer Certificates of Title (TCTs).2 The
properties cover a total land area of about 78,178 square meters located in In their Complaint, petitioners asserted that the April 1996 JVAs between
Barangay Suplang, Tanauan, Batangas. Laguna West Cooperative and individual petitioners' predecessors-in-interest
are void ab initio since they were executed within the 10-year prohibitory
In August 2003, each of the individual petitioners entered into a Joint Venture
period under Republic Act No. 6657 (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of
Development Agreement with co-petitioner Belle Corporation to develop the
1988),12 the titles covering the properties having emanated from
properties as part of an agricultural farm lot subdivision project known as
emancipation patents granted in November 1988 pursuant to Presidential
"Plantation Hills at Tagaytay Greenlands Phase I" (the Project) for eventual
Decree No. 27.
sale to the public.3
Petitioners alleged too in their complaint that the JVAs fall under
With the development of the Project in full swing in mid-2004, respondent
management contracts prohibited under Republic Act No. 6657.
Laguna West Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Inc. (Laguna West Cooperative)
filed 9 ex-parte petitions4 with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Tanauan City, Invoking Article 140913 of the Civil Code, petitioners urged the RTC to declare
for inscription of an adverse claim, the annotation of which the Registrar of the JVAs inexistent and void for being contrary to law and public policy.
By Order of September 15, 2004, the RTC dismissed petitioners' complaint, There is no question that the instant case does not involve agrarian dispute
finding and that the parties have no tenurial relationship. The Court dismissed the
complaint not because the subject of the questioned JVAs is an agricultural
. . . that [as] the JVAs cover or involve land grants under the Presidential
land as erroneously assumed by the plaintiffs. The complaint was dismissed
Decree No. 27 and allied agrarian reform laws, the Department of Agrarian
because it involves controversy or issue in the implementation of R.A. 6657 –
Reform, through its adjudication board (DARAB), has primary jurisdiction to
that is – whether or not the agricultural land beneficiaries has reneged its (sic)
determine the validity or invalidity thereof.14
obligation by entering in the joint venture agreements and whether the terms
For lack of merit, the RTC denied petitioners' motion for reconsideration, thereof are violative of Sections 27 and 73 of the said Act including the
hence, the present petition for review on certiorari which raises a pure restrictions annotated on the emancipation patents
22
question of law. certificates[.] (Underscoring supplied)

The petition fails. The finding of the RTC that petitioners' complaint does not involve an
agrarian dispute is a narrow and restrictive view of the nature of an agrarian
It is axiomatic that what determines the nature of an action, as well as which dispute. In the recent case of Islanders CARP-Farmers Beneficiaries Multi-
court has jurisdiction over it, are the allegations in the complaint and the Purpose Cooperative Development, Inc. v. Lapanday Agricultural and
character of the relief sought.15 In the determination of jurisdiction, the Development Corp.,23 this Court elucidated on the scope of an agrarian
status or relationship of the parties, as well as the nature of the question that dispute, viz:
is the subject of their controversy, is also considered.16
The Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB) has
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is vested with primary jurisdiction jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate all agrarian disputes involving the
to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters, with exclusive original implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL). Included
jurisdiction over all matters involving the implementation of agrarian reform in the definition of agrarian disputes are those arising from other tenurial
except those falling under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Department of arrangements beyond the traditional landowner-tenant or lessor-lessee
Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural relationship. Expressly, these arrangements are recognized by Republic Act
Resources.17 Original jurisdiction means jurisdiction to take cognizance of a No. 6657 as essential parts of agrarian reform. Thus, the DARAB has
cause at its inception, try it and pass judgment upon the law and facts, while jurisdiction over disputes arising from the instant Joint Production Agreement
exclusive jurisdiction precludes the idea of co-existence and refers to entered into by the present parties.24 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied).
jurisdiction possessed to the exclusion of others.18
In that case, the petitioner filed with the RTC a complaint for declaration of
The DARAB has been created to assume the adjudicative powers and nullity of a Joint Production Agreement. Upon motion, the case was dismissed
functions of the DAR.19 Thus, the DARAB has been vested with jurisdiction to for lack of jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal. The
try and decide all agrarian disputes, cases, controversies, and matters or petitioner elevated the matter to this Court, contending that there being no
incidents involving the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian tenancy or leasehold relationship between the parties, the case does not
Reform Program (CARP).20 Its jurisdiction encompasses cases involving the constitute an agrarian dispute cognizable by the DARAB.
"rights and obligations of persons, whether natural or juridical, engaged in
the management, cultivation and use of all agricultural lands" covered by In denying the petition in Islanders, this Court held that while the relationship
Republic Act No. 6657 and other agrarian laws.21 between the parties was not one of tenancy or agricultural leasehold, the
controversy nonetheless fell within the sphere of agrarian disputes, citing,
The RTC amplified its dismissal of petitioners' complaint in this wise:
among other authorities, Department of Agrarian Reform v. Cuenca,25 which
held:

All controversies on the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian


Reform Program (CARP) fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of
Agrarian Reform (DAR), even though they raise questions that are also legal
or constitutional in nature. All doubts should be resolved in favor of the DAR,
since the law has granted it special and original authority to hear and
adjudicate agrarian matters.26

The JVAs subject of the petition for annulment of petitioners precisely involve
the development and utilization of the subject agricultural lands. As
successors-in-interest of the beneficiaries of the agricultural lands, individual
petitioners seek to nullify the JVAs. Since the controversy involves the rights
and obligations of persons engaged in the management, cultivation and use
of an agricultural land covered by CARP, the case falls squarely within the
jurisdictional ambit of the DAR.27

It bears emphasis that a resolution of the instant case principally entails a


determination of the alleged commission of prohibited acts under Sections
27 and 7328 of Republic Act No. 6645. In cases where allegations of violation
or circumvention of land reform laws have been raised, this Court has
declined to address them, it stating that petitioners must first plead their case
with the DARAB.29 There is no reason why this Court should now hold
otherwise.

WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED.

SO ORDERED.
DAR vs CUENCA The Facts

The CA narrated the facts as follows:


G.R. No. 154112 September 23, 2004 "Private respondent Roberto J. Cuenca is the registered owner of a parcel of
DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM, petitioner, land designated as Lot No. 816-A and covered by TCT No. 1084, containing an
vs. area of 81.6117 hectares, situated in Brgy. Haguimit, La Carlota City and
ROBERTO J. CUENCA and Hon. ALFONSO B. COMBONG JR., in His Capacity devoted principally to the planting of sugar cane.
as the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 63, La Carlota "On 21 September 1999, Noe Fortunado, Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer
City, respondents. (MARO) of La Carlota City issued and sent a NOTICE OF COVERAGE to private
DECISION respondent Cuenca placing the above-described landholding under the
compulsory coverage of R.A. 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive
PANGANIBAN, J.: Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). The NOTICE OF COVERAGE also stated that
All controversies on the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) will determine the value of the subject
Reform Program (CARP) fall under the jurisdiction of the Department of land pursuant to Executive Order No. 405 dated 14 June 1990.
Agrarian Reform (DAR), even though they raise questions that are also legal "On 29 September 1999, private respondent Cuenca filed with the Regional
or constitutional in nature. All doubts should be resolved in favor of the DAR, Trial Court, Branch 63, La Carlota City, a complaint against Noe Fortunado and
since the law has granted it special and original authority to hear and Land Bank of the Philippines for ‘Annulment of Notice of Coverage and
adjudicate agrarian matters. Declaration of Unconstitutionality of E.O. No. 405, Series of 1990, With
The Case Preliminary Injunction and Restraining Order.’ The case was docketed as Civil
Case No. 713.
Before us is a Petition for Review1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court,
assailing the March 15, 2002 Decision2 and the June 18, 2002 Resolution3 of "In his complaint, Cuenca alleged, inter alia, that the implementation of CARP
the Court of Appeals in CA-GR SP No. 58536. In the challenged Decision, the in his landholding is no longer with authority of law considering that, if at all,
CA disposed as follows: the implementation should have commenced and should have been
completed between June 1988 to June 1992, as provided in the
"As previously stated, the principal issue raised in the court below involves a Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL); that the placing of the subject
pure question of law. Thus, it being clear that the court a quo has jurisdiction landholding under CARP is without the imprimatur of the Presidential
over the nature and subject matter of the case below, it did not commit grave Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) and the Provincial Agrarian Reform
abuse of discretion when it issued the assailed order denying petitioner’s Coordinating Committee (PARCOM) as required by R.A. 7905; that Executive
motion to dismiss and granting private respondent’s application for the Order No. 405 dated 14 June 1990 amends, modifies and/or repeals CARL
issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. and, therefore, it is unconstitutional considering that on 14 June 1990, then
President Corazon Aquino no longer had law-making powers; that the NOTICE
"WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is denied due course and is
OF COVERAGE is a gross violation of PD 399 dated 28 February 1974.
accordingly DISMISSED."4
"Private respondent Cuenca prayed that the Notice of Coverage be declared
The assailed Resolution, on the other hand, denied petitioner’s Motion for
null and void ab initio and Executive Order No. 405 dated 14 June 1990 be
Reconsideration.
declared unconstitutional.
"On 05 October 1999, MARO Noe Fortunado filed a motion to dismiss the ‘SECTION 68 – IMMUNITY OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES FROM COURT’S
complaint on the ground that the court a quo has no jurisdiction over the INTERFERENCE – No injunction, Restraining Order, prohibition or mandamus
nature and subject matter of the action, pursuant to R.A. 6657. shall be issued by the lower court against the Department of Agrarian Reform
(DAR), the Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Environment
"On 12 January 2000, the respondent Judge issued a Temporary Restraining
and Natural Resources (DENR), and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the
Order directing MARO and LBP to cease and desist from implementing the
implementation of their program.’
Notice of Coverage. In the same order, the respondent Judge set the hearing
on the application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction on "Petitioner contends that by virtue of the above provisions, all lower courts,
January 17 and 18, 2000. such as the court presided over by respondent Judge, ‘are barred if not
prohibited by law to issue orders of injunctions against the Department of
"On 14 January 2000, MARO Fortunado filed a Motion for Reconsideration of
Agrarian Reform in the full implementation of the Notice of Coverage which
the order granting the TRO contending inter alia that the DAR, through the
is the initial step of acquiring lands under R.A. 6657.’
MARO, in the course of implementing the Notice of Coverage under CARP
cannot be enjoined through a Temporary Restraining Order in the light of "Petitioner also contends that the nature and subject matter of the case
Sections 55 and 68 of R.A. 6657. below is purely agrarian in character over which the court a quo has no
jurisdiction and that therefore, it had no authority to issue the assailed
"In an order dated 16 February 2000, the respondent Judge denied MARO
injunction order."5
Noe Fortunado’s motion to dismiss and issued a Writ of Preliminary
Injunction directing Fortunado and all persons acting in his behalf to cease Ruling of the Court of Appeals
and desist from implementing the Notice of Coverage, and the LBP from
Stressing that the issue was not simply the improper issuance of the Notice
proceeding with the determination of the value of the subject land.
of Coverage, but was mainly the constitutionality of Executive Order No. 405,
"The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) [thereafter filed before the CA] a the CA ruled that the Regional Trial Court (RTC) had jurisdiction over the case.
petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, Consonant with that authority, the court a quo also had the power to issue
assailing the writ of preliminary injunction issued by respondent Judge on the writs and processes to enforce or protect the rights of the parties.
ground of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.
The appellate court likewise held that petitioner’s reliance on Sections 55 and
"It is the submission of the petitioner that the assailed order is ‘in direct 68 of RA 6657 had been misplaced, because the case was not about a purely
defiance… of Republic Act 6657, particularly Section 55 and 68’ thereof, which agrarian matter. It opined that the prohibition in certain statutes against such
read: writs pertained only to injunctions against administrative acts, to
controversies involving facts, or to the exercise of discretion in technical
‘SECTION 55. NO RESTRAINING ORDERS OR PRELIMINARY INJUNCTIONS – No
cases. But on issues involving pure questions of law, courts were not
court in the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order
prevented from exercising their power to restrain or prohibit administrative
or writ of preliminary injunction against the PARC or any of its duly authorized
acts.
or designated agencies in any case, dispute or controversy arising from,
necessary to, or in connection with the application, implementation, or Hence, this Petition.6
enforcement or interpretation of this Act and other pertinent laws on
Issues
agrarian reform.’
In its Memorandum, petitioner raises the following issues:
"1. The Honorable Court of Appeals committed serious error by not taking the complaint and the character of the relief sought.9 The defenses resorted
into cognizance that the issues raised in the complaint filed by the private to in the answer or motion to dismiss are disregarded; otherwise, the
respondent, which seeks to exclude his land from the coverage of the CARP, question of jurisdiction would depend entirely upon the whim of the
is an agrarian reform matter and within the jurisdiction of the DAR, not with defendant.10
the trial court.
Grant of Jurisdiction
"2. The Honorable Court of Appeals, with due respect, gravely abused its
Ever since agrarian reform legislations began, litigants have invariably sought
discretion by sustaining the writ of injunction issued by the trial court, which
the aid of the courts. Courts of Agrarian Relations (CARs) were organized
is a violation of Sections 55 and 68 of Republic Act No. 6657."7
under RA 126711 "[f]or the enforcement of all laws and regulations governing
The Court’s Ruling the relation of capital and labor on all agricultural lands under any system of
cultivation." The jurisdiction of these courts was spelled out in Section 7 of
The Petition has merit.
the said law as follows:
First Issue:
"Sec. 7. Jurisdiction of the Court. - The Court shall have original and exclusive
Jurisdiction jurisdiction over the entire Philippines, to consider, investigate, decide, and
settle all questions, matters, controversies or disputes involving all those
In its bare essentials, petitioner’s argument is that private respondent, in his relationships established by law which determine the varying rights of
Complaint for Annulment of the Notice of Coverage, is asking for the persons in the cultivation and use of agricultural land where one of the parties
exclusion of his landholding from the coverage of the Comprehensive works the land, and shall have concurrent jurisdiction with the Court of First
Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). According to the DAR, the issue involves Instance over employer and farm employee or labor under Republic Act
the implementation of agrarian reform, a matter over which the DAR has Numbered six hundred two and over landlord and tenant involving violations
original and exclusive jurisdiction, pursuant to Section 50 of the of the Usury Law (Act No. 2655, as amended) and of inflicting the penalties
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (RA 6657). provided therefor."
On the other hand, private respondent maintains that his Complaint assails All the powers and prerogatives inherent in or belonging to the then Courts
mainly the constitutionality of EO 405. He contends that since the Complaint of First Instance12 (now the RTCs) were granted to the CARs. The latter were
raises a purely legal issue, it thus falls within the jurisdiction of the RTC. We further vested by the Agricultural Land Reform Code (RA 3844) with original
do not agree. and exclusive jurisdiction over the following matters:
Conflicts involving jurisdiction over agrarian disputes are as tortuous as the "(1) All cases or actions involving matters, controversies, disputes, or money
history of Philippine agrarian reform laws. The changing jurisdictional claims arising from agrarian relations: x x x
landscape is matched only by the tumultuous struggle for, and resistance to,
the breaking up and distribution of large landholdings. "(2) All cases or actions involving violations of Chapters I and II of this Code
and Republic Act Number eight hundred and nine; and
Two Basic Rules
"(3) Expropriations to be instituted by the Land Authority: x x x."13
Two basic rules have guided this Court in determining jurisdiction in these
cases. First, jurisdiction is conferred by law.8 And second, the nature of the Presidential Decree (PD) No. 946 thereafter reorganized the CARs,
action and the issue of jurisdiction are shaped by the material averments of streamlined their operations, and expanded their jurisdiction as follows:
"Sec. 12. Jurisdiction over Subject Matter. - The Courts of Agrarian Relations The CARs were abolished, however, pursuant to Section 4414 of Batas
shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over: Pambansa Blg. 12915 (approved August 14, 1981), which had fully been
implemented on February 14, 1983. Jurisdiction over cases theretofore given
a) Cases involving the rights and obligations of persons in the cultivation and
to the CAR’s was vested in the RTCs.16
use of agricultural land except those cognizable by the National Labor
Relations Commission; x x x ; Then came Executive Order No. 229.17 Under Section 17 thereof, the DAR
shall exercise "quasi-judicial powers to determine and adjudicate agrarian
b) Questions involving rights granted and obligations imposed by laws,
reform matters, and shall have exclusive jurisdiction over all matters involving
Presidential Decrees, Orders, Instructions, Rules and Regulations issued and
implementation of agrarian reform, except those falling under the exclusive
promulgated in relation to the agrarian reform program; Provided, however,
original jurisdiction of the DENR and the Department of Agriculture [DA]." The
That matters involving the administrative implementation of the transfer of
DAR shall also have the "powers to punish for contempt and to issue
the land to the tenant-farmer under Presidential Decree No. 27 and
subpoena, subpoena duces tecum and writs to enforce its orders or
amendatory and related decrees, orders, instructions, rules and regulations,
decisions."
shall be exclusively cognizable by the Secretary of Agrarian Reform, namely:
In Quismundo v. CA,18 this provision was deemed to have repealed Section 12
(1) classification and identification of landholdings;
(a) and (b) of Presidential Decree No. 946, which vested the then Courts of
(2) x x x; Agrarian Relations with "original exclusive jurisdiction over cases and
questions involving rights granted and obligations imposed by presidential
(3) parcellary mapping; issuances promulgated in relation to the agrarian reform program."
(4) x x x; Under Section 4 of Executive Order No. 129-A, the DAR was also made
xxx xxx xxx "responsible for implementing the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform
Program." In accordance with Section 5 of the same EO, it possessed the
m) Cases involving expropriation of all kinds of land in furtherance of the following powers and functions:
agrarian reform program;
"(b) Implement all agrarian laws, and for this purpose, punish for contempt
xxx xxx xxx and issue subpoena, subpoena duces tecum, writs of execution of its
p) Ejectment proceedings instituted by the Department of Agrarian Reform decisions, and other legal processes to ensure successful and expeditious
and the Land Bank involving lands under their administration and disposition, program implementation; the decisions of the Department may in proper
except urban properties belonging to the Land Bank; cases, be appealed to the Regional Trial Courts but shall be immediately
executory notwithstanding such appeal;
q) Cases involving violations of the penal provisions of Republic Act
Numbered eleven hundred and ninety-nine, as amended, Republic Act xxx xxx xxx
Numbered thirty eight hundred and forty-four, as amended, Presidential "(h) Provide free legal services to agrarian reform beneficiaries and resolve
Decrees and laws relating to agrarian reform; Provided, however, That agrarian conflicts and land-tenure related problems as may be provided for
violations of the said penal provisions committed by any Judge shall be tried by law;
by the courts of general jurisdiction; and
xxx xxx xxx
r) Violations of Presidential Decrees Nos. 815 and 816.
"(l) Have exclusive authority to approve or disapprove conversion of "x x x. The Act [RA 6657] makes references to and explicitly recognizes the
agricultural lands for residential, commercial, industrial, and other land uses effectivity and applicability of Presidential Decree No. 229. More particularly,
as may be provided x x x." the Act echoes the provisions of Section 17 of Presidential Decree No. 229,
supra, investing the Department of Agrarian Reform with original jurisdiction,
The above grant of jurisdiction to the DAR covers these areas:
generally, over all cases involving agrarian laws, although, as shall shortly be
(a) adjudication of all matters involving implementation of agrarian reform; pointed out, it restores to the Regional Trial Court, limited jurisdiction over
two groups of cases. Section 50 reads as follows:
(b) resolution of agrarian conflicts and land tenure related problems; and
‘SEC. 50. Quasi-Judicial Powers of the DAR. — The DAR is hereby vested with
(c) approval or disapproval of the conversion, restructuring or readjustment primary jurisdiction to determine and adjudicate agrarian reform matters and
of agricultural lands into residential, commercial, industrial, and other non- shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over all matters involving the
agricultural uses. implementation of agrarian reform, except those falling under the exclusive
The foregoing provision was as broad as those "theretofore vested in the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture [DA] and the Department of
Regional Trial Court by Presidential Decree No. 946," as the Court ruled in Environment and Natural Resources [DENR].
Vda. de Tangub v. CA,19 which we quote: xxx xxx xxx
"x x x. The intention evidently was to transfer original jurisdiction to the ‘It shall have the power to summon witnesses, administer oaths, take
Department of Agrarian Reform, a proposition stressed by the rules testimony, require submission of reports, compel the production of books
formulated and promulgated by the Department for the implementation of and documents and answers to interrogatories and issue subpoena and
the executive orders just quoted. The rules included the creation of the subpoena duces tecum and to enforce its writs through sheriffs or other duly
Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board designed to exercise the adjudicatory deputized officers. It shall likewise have the power to punish direct and
functions of the Department, and the allocation to it of — indirect contempt in the same manner and subject to the same penalties as
‘x x x [O]riginal and exclusive jurisdiction over the subject matter vested upon provided in the Rules of Court.’"21
it by law, and all cases, disputes, controversies and matters or incidents Nonetheless, we have held that the RTCs have not been completely divested
involving the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform of jurisdiction over agrarian reform matters. Section 56 of RA 6657 confers
Program under Executive Order No. 229, Executive Order No. 129-A, Republic special jurisdiction on "Special Agrarian Courts," which are actually RTCs
Act No. 3844, as amended by Republic Act No. 6289, Presidential Decree No. designated as such by the Supreme Court.22 Under Section 57 of the same
27 and other agrarian laws and their implementing rules and regulations.’ law, these Special Agrarian Courts have original and exclusive jurisdiction
"The implementing rules also declare that ‘(s)pecifically, such jurisdiction over the following matters:
shall extend over but not be limited to x x x (that theretofore vested in the "1) ‘all petitions for the determination of just compensation to land-owners,’
Regional Trial Courts, i.e.) (c)ases involving the rights and obligations of and
persons engaged in the cultivation and use of agricultural land covered by the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and other agrarian laws x x "2) ‘the prosecution of all criminal offenses under x x x [the] Act.’"
x."20
The above delineation of jurisdiction remains in place to this date.
In the same case, the Court also held that the jurisdictional competence of Administrative Circular No. 29-200223 of this Court stresses the distinction
the DAR had further been clarified by RA 6657 thus: between the quasi-judicial powers of the DAR under Sections 50 and 55 of RA
6657 and the jurisdiction of the Special Agrarian Courts referred to by "13. That as reflected in said Pre-Ocular Inspection Report, copy of which is
Sections 56 and 57 of the same law. hereto attached as annex ‘D’ forming part hereof, [respondent’s] land is
above eighteen percent (18%) slope and therefore, automatically exempted
Allegations of the Complaint
and excluded from the operation of Rep. Act 6657, x x x.25 (Italics supplied)
A careful perusal of respondent’s Complaint24 shows that the principal
In contrast, the 14-page Complaint touches on the alleged unconstitutionality
averments and reliefs prayed for refer -- not to the "pure question of law"
of EO 405 by merely making these two allegations:
spawned by the alleged unconstitutionality of EO 405 -- but to the annulment
of the DAR’s Notice of Coverage. Clearly, the main thrust of the allegations is "10. Executive Order No. 405 dated 14 June 1990 (issued by the then
the propriety of the Notice of Coverage, as may be gleaned from the following President Corazon Aquino) is unconstitutional for it plainly amends, modifies
averments, among others: and/or repeals CARL. On 14 June 1990, then President Corazon Aquino had
no longer law-making powers as the Philippine Congress was by then already
"6. This implementation of CARP in the landholding of the [respondent] is
organized, existing and operational pursuant to the 1987 Constitution. A copy
contrary to law and, therefore, violates [respondent’s] constitutional right
of the said Executive Order is hereto attached as Annex ‘B’ forming part
not to be deprived of his property without due process of law. The coverage
hereof.
of [respondent’s] landholding under CARP is NO longer with authority of law.
If at all, the implementation of CARP in the landholding of [respondent] "11. Our constitutional system of separation of powers renders the said
should have commenced and [been] completed between June 1988 to June Executive Order No. 405 unconstitutional and all valuations made, and to be
1992 as provided for in CARL, to wit: x x x; made, by the defendant Land Bank pursuant thereto are null and void and
without force and effect. Indispensably and ineludibly, all related rules,
"7. Moreover, the placing of [respondent’s] landholding under CARP as of 21
regulations, orders and other issuances issued or promulgated pursuant to
September 1999 is without the imprimatur of the Presidential Agrarian
said Executive Order No. 405 are also null and void ab initio and without force
Reform Council (PARC) and the Provincial Agrarian Reform Coordinating
and effect."26
Committee (PARCOM) as mandated and required by law pursuant to R.A.
7905 x x x; We stress that the main subject matter raised by private respondent before
the trial court was not the issue of compensation (the subject matter of EO
xxx xxx xxx
40527). Note that no amount had yet been determined nor proposed by the
"9. Under the provisions of CARL, it is the PARC and/or the DAR, and not x x x DAR. Hence, there was no occasion to invoke the court’s function of
Land Bank, which is authorized to preliminarily determine the value of the determining just compensation.28
lands as compensation therefor, thus – x x x;
To be sure, the issuance of the Notice of Coverage29 constitutes the first
xxx xxx xxx necessary step towards the acquisition of private land under the CARP. Plainly
then, the propriety of the Notice relates to the implementation of the CARP,
"12. That the aforementioned NOTICE OF COVERAGE with intendment and which is under the quasi-judicial jurisdiction of the DAR. Thus, the DAR could
purpose of acquiring [respondent’s] aforementioned land is a gross violation not be ousted from its authority by the simple expediency of appending an
of law (PD 399 dated 28 February 1974 which is still effective up to now) allegedly constitutional or legal dimension to an issue that is clearly agrarian.
inasmuch as [respondent’s] land is traversed by and a road frontage as
admitted by the DAR’s technician and defendant FORTUNADO (MARO) x x x;" In view of the foregoing, there is no need to address the other points pleaded
by respondent in relation to the jurisdictional issue. We need only to point
that in case of doubt, the jurisprudential trend is for courts to refrain from
resolving a controversy involving matters that demand the special
competence of administrative agencies, "even if the question[s] involved
[are] also judicial in character,"30 as in this case.

Second Issue:

Preliminary Injunction

Having declared the RTCs to be without jurisdiction over the instant case, it
follows that the RTC of La Carlota City (Branch 63) was devoid of authority to
issue the assailed Writ of Preliminary Injunction. That Writ must perforce be
stricken down as a nullity. Such nullity is particularly true in the light of the
express prohibitory provisions of the CARP and this Court’s Administrative
Circular Nos. 29-2002 and 38-2002. These Circulars enjoin all trial judges to
strictly observe Section 68 of RA 6657, which reads:

"Section 68. Immunity of Government Agencies from Undue Interference. –


No injunction, restraining order, prohibition or mandamus shall be issued by
the lower courts against the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), the
Department of Agriculture (DA), the Department of Environment and Natural
Resources (DENR) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in their
implementation of the program."

WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby GRANTED, and the challenged Decision


and Resolution REVERSED AND SET ASIDE. Accordingly, the February 16,
2000 Order of the Regional Trial Court of La Carlota City (Branch 63)
is ANNULLED and a new one entered, DISMISSING the Complaint in Civil Case
713. The Writ of Preliminary Injunction issued therein is also
expressly VOIDED. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
ST. MARTIN FUNERAL HOMES vs NLRC As a consequence, the latter filed a complaint charging that petitioner had
illegally terminated his employment.2

G.R. No. 130866 September 16, 1998 Based on the position papers of the parties, the labor arbiter rendered a
decision in favor of petitioner on October 25, 1996 declaring that no
ST. MARTIN FUNERAL HOME, petitioner, employer-employee relationship existed between the parties and, therefore,
vs. his office had no jurisdiction over the case. 3
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION and BIENVENIDO
ARICAYOS, respondents. Not satisfied with the said decision, private respondent appealed to the NLRC
contending that the labor arbiter erred (1) in not giving credence to the
evidence submitted by him; (2) in holding that he worked as a "volunteer"
and not as an employee of St. Martin Funeral Home from February 6, 1995 to
REGALADO, J.: January 23, 1996, or a period of about one year; and (3) in ruling that there
was no employer-employee relationship between him and petitioner.4
The present petition for certiorari stemmed from a complaint for illegal
dismissal filed by herein private respondent before the National Labor On June 13, 1997, the NLRC rendered a resolution setting aside the
Relations Commission (NLRC), Regional Arbitration Branch No. III, in San questioned decision and remanding the case to the labor arbiter for
Fernando, Pampanga. Private respondent alleges that he started working as immediate appropriate proceedings.5 Petitioner then filed a motion for
Operations Manager of petitioner St. Martin Funeral Home on February 6, reconsideration which was denied by the NLRC in its resolution dated August
1995. However, there was no contract of employment executed between him 18, 1997 for lack of merit,6 hence the present petition alleging that the NLRC
and petitioner nor was his name included in the semi-monthly payroll. On committed grave abuse of discretion.7
January 22, 1996, he was dismissed from his employment for allegedly Before proceeding further into the merits of the case at bar, the Court feels
misappropriating P38,000.00 which was intended for payment by petitioner that it is now exigent and opportune to reexamine the functional validity and
of its value added tax (VAT) to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). 1 systemic practicability of the mode of judicial review it has long adopted and
Petitioner on the other hand claims that private respondent was not its still follows with respect to decisions of the NLRC. The increasing number of
employee but only the uncle of Amelita Malabed, the owner of petitioner St. labor disputes that find their way to this Court and the legislative changes
Martin's Funeral Home. Sometime in 1995, private respondent, who was introduced over the years into the provisions of Presidential Decree (P.D.) No.
formerly working as an overseas contract worker, asked for financial 442 (The Labor Code of the Philippines and Batas Pambansa Blg. (B.P. No.)
assistance from the mother of Amelita. Since then, as an indication of 129 (The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980) now stridently call for and
gratitude, private respondent voluntarily helped the mother of Amelita in warrant a reassessment of that procedural aspect.
overseeing the business. We prefatorily delve into the legal history of the NLRC. It was first established
In January 1996, the mother of Amelita passed away, so the latter then took in the Department of Labor by P.D. No. 21 on October 14, 1972, and its
over the management of the business. She then discovered that there were decisions were expressly declared to be appealable to the Secretary of Labor
arrears in the payment of taxes and other government fees, although the and, ultimately, to the President of the Philippines.
records purported to show that the same were already paid. Amelita then On May 1, 1974, P.D. No. 442 enacted the Labor Code of the Philippines, the
made some changes in the business operation and private respondent and same to take effect six months after its promulgation. 8 Created and
his wife were no longer allowed to participate in the management thereof. regulated therein is the present NLRC which was attached to the Department
of Labor and Employment for program and policy coordination only.9 Initially, Sec. 9. Jurisdiction. — The Intermediate Appellate Court shall exercise:
Article 302 (now, Article 223) thereof also granted an aggrieved party the
(1) Original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus,
remedy of appeal from the decision of the NLRC to the Secretary of Labor,
prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, and quo warranto, and auxiliary writs
but P.D. No. 1391 subsequently amended said provision and abolished such
or processes, whether or not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction;
appeals. No appellate review has since then been provided for.
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgments of
Thus, to repeat, under the present state of the law, there is no provision for
Regional Trial Courts; and
appeals from the decision of the NLRC. 10 The present Section 223, as last
amended by Section 12 of R.A. No. 6715, instead merely provides that the (3) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions,
Commission shall decide all cases within twenty days from receipt of the resolutions, orders, or awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial
answer of the appellee, and that such decision shall be final and executory agencies, instrumentalities, boards, or commissions, except those falling
after ten calendar days from receipt thereof by the parties. within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the
Constitution, the provisions of this Act, and of subparagraph (1) of the third
When the issue was raised in an early case on the argument that this Court
paragraph and subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the
has no jurisdiction to review the decisions of the NLRC, and formerly of the
Judiciary Act of 1948.
Secretary of Labor, since there is no legal provision for appellate review
thereof, the Court nevertheless rejected that thesis. It held that there is an The Intermediate Appellate Court shall have the power to try cases and
underlying power of the courts to scrutinize the acts of such agencies on conduct hearings, receive evidence and perform any and all acts necessary to
questions of law and jurisdiction even though no right of review is given by resolve factual issues raised in cases falling within its original and appellate
statute; that the purpose of judicial review is to keep the administrative jurisdiction, including the power to grant and conduct new trials or further
agency within its jurisdiction and protect the substantial rights of the parties; proceedings.
and that it is that part of the checks and balances which restricts the
separation of powers and forestalls arbitrary and unjust adjudications. 11 These provisions shall not apply to decisions and interlocutory orders issued
under the Labor Code of the Philippines and by the Central Board of
Pursuant to such ruling, and as sanctioned by subsequent decisions of this Assessment Appeals. 15
Court, the remedy of the aggrieved party is to timely file a motion for
reconsideration as a precondition for any further or subsequent Subsequently, and as it presently reads, this provision was amended by R.A.
remedy, 12 and then seasonably avail of the special civil action No. 7902 effective March 18, 1995, to wit:
of certiorari under Rule 65, 13 for which said Rule has now fixed the Sec. 9. Jurisdiction. — The Court of Appeals shall exercise:
reglementary period of sixty days from notice of the decision. Curiously,
although the 10-day period for finality of the decision of the NLRC may (1) Original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus,
already have lapsed as contemplated in Section 223 of the Labor Code, it has prohibition, certiorari, habeas corpus, and quo warranto, and auxiliary writs
been held that this Court may still take cognizance of the petition or processes, whether or not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction;
for certiorari on jurisdictional and due process considerations if filed within (2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgments of
the reglementary period under Rule 65. 14 Regional Trial Courts; and
Turning now to the matter of judicial review of NLRC decisions, B.P. No. 129 (3) Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions,
originally provided as follows: resolutions, orders or awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial
agencies, instrumentalities, boards or commissions, including the Securities This, then, brings us to a somewhat perplexing impassè, both in point of
and Exchange Commission, the Social Security Commission, the Employees purpose and terminology. As earlier explained, our mode of judicial review
Compensation Commission and the Civil Service Commission, except those over decisions of the NLRC has for some time now been understood to be by
falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. This is, of course,
with the Constitution, the Labor Code of the Philippines under Presidential a special original action limited to the resolution of jurisdictional issues, that
Decree No. 442, as amended, the provisions of this Act, and of subparagraph is, lack or excess of jurisdiction and, in almost all cases that have been brought
(1) of the third paragraph and subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of to us, grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction.
Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948.
It will, however, be noted that paragraph (3), Section 9 of B.P. No. 129 now
The Court of Appeals shall have the power to try cases and conduct hearings, grants exclusive appellate jurisdiction to the Court of Appeals over all final
receive evidence and perform any and all acts necessary to resolve factual adjudications of the Regional Trial Courts and the quasi-judicial agencies
issues raised in cases falling within its original and appellate jurisdiction, generally or specifically referred to therein except, among others, "those
including the power to grant and conduct new trials or further proceedings. falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance
Trials or hearings in the Court of Appeals must be continuous and must be with . . . the Labor Code of the Philippines under Presidential Decree No. 442,
completed within, three (3) months, unless extended by the Chief Justice. as amended, . . . ." This would necessarily contradict what has been ruled and
said all along that appeal does not lie from decisions of the NLRC. 17 Yet, under
It will readily be observed that, aside from the change in the name of the
such excepting clause literally construed, the appeal from the NLRC cannot
lower appellate court, 16 the following amendments of the original provisions
be brought to the Court of Appeals, but to this Court by necessary implication.
of Section 9 of B.P. No. 129 were effected by R.A. No. 7902, viz.:
The same exceptive clause further confuses the situation by declaring that
1. The last paragraph which excluded its application to the Labor Code of the
the Court of Appeals has no appellate jurisdiction over decisions falling within
Philippines and the Central Board of Assessment Appeals was deleted and
the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the
replaced by a new paragraph granting the Court of Appeals limited powers to
Constitution, the provisions of B.P. No. 129, and those specified cases in
conduct trials and hearings in cases within its jurisdiction.
Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948. These cases can, of course, be properly
2. The reference to the Labor Code in that last paragraph was transposed to excluded from the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals.
paragraph (3) of the section, such that the original exclusionary clause therein However, because of the aforementioned amendment by transposition, also
now provides "except those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the supposedly excluded are cases falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the
Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution, the Labor Code of the Supreme Court in accordance with the Labor Code. This is illogical and
Philippines under Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, the provisions of impracticable, and Congress could not have intended that procedural gaffe,
this Act, and of subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and subparagraph (4) since there are no cases in the Labor Code the decisions, resolutions, orders
of the fourth paragraph of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948." (Emphasis or awards wherein are within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
supplied). or of any other court for that matter.

3. Contrarily, however, specifically added to and included among the quasi- A review of the legislative records on the antecedents of R.A. No. 7902
judicial agencies over which the Court of Appeals shall have exclusive persuades us that there may have been an oversight in the course of the
appellate jurisdiction are the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Social deliberations on the said Act or an imprecision in the terminology used
Security Commission, the Employees Compensation Commission and the Civil therein. In fine, Congress did intend to provide for judicial review of the
Service Commission. adjudications of the NLRC in labor cases by the Supreme Court, but there was
an inaccuracy in the term used for the intended mode of review. This Supreme Court without depriving the litigants of the privilege of review by an
conclusion which we have reluctantly but prudently arrived at has been appellate tribunal.
drawn from the considerations extant in the records of Congress, more
In closing, allow me to quote the observations of former Chief Justice
particularly on Senate Bill No. 1495 and the Reference Committee Report on
Teehankee in 1986 in the Annual Report of the Supreme Court:
S. No. 1495/H. No. 10452. 18
. . . Amendatory legislation is suggested so as to relieve the Supreme Court of
In sponsoring Senate Bill No. 1495, Senator Raul S. Roco delivered his
the burden of reviewing these cases which present no important issues
sponsorship speech 19 from which we reproduce the following excerpts:
involved beyond the particular fact and the parties involved, so that the
The Judiciary Reorganization Act, Mr. President, Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, Supreme Court may wholly devote its time to cases of public interest in the
reorganized the Court of Appeals and at the same time expanded its discharge of its mandated task as the guardian of the Constitution and the
jurisdiction and powers. Among others, its appellate jurisdiction was guarantor of the people's basic rights and additional task expressly vested on
expanded to cover not only final judgment of Regional Trial Courts, but also it now "to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of
all final judgment(s), decisions, resolutions, orders or awards of quasi-judicial discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or
agencies, instrumentalities, boards and commissions, except those falling instrumentality of the Government.
within the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in accordance with the
We used to have 500,000 cases pending all over the land, Mr. President. It
Constitution, the provisions of BP Blg. 129 and of subparagraph 1 of the third
has been cut down to 300,000 cases some five years ago. I understand we are
paragraph and subparagraph 4 of Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948.
now back to 400,000 cases. Unless we distribute the work of the appellate
Mr. President, the purpose of the law is to ease the workload of the Supreme courts, we shall continue to mount and add to the number of cases pending.
Court by the transfer of some of its burden of review of factual issues to the
In view of the foregoing, Mr. President, and by virtue of all the reasons we
Court of Appeals. However, whatever benefits that can be derived from the
have submitted, the Committee on Justice and Human Rights requests the
expansion of the appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals was cut short
support and collegial approval of our Chamber.
by the last paragraph of Section 9 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 which excludes
from its coverage the "decisions and interlocutory orders issued under the xxx xxx xxx
Labor Code of the Philippines and by the Central Board of Assessment Appeals.
Surprisingly, however, in a subsequent session, the following Committee
Among the highest number of cases that are brought up to the Supreme Amendment was introduced by the said sponsor and the following
Court are labor cases. Hence, Senate Bill No. 1495 seeks to eliminate the proceedings transpired: 20
exceptions enumerated in Section 9 and, additionally, extends the coverage
of appellate review of the Court of Appeals in the decision(s) of the Securities Senator Roco. On page 2, line 5, after the line "Supreme Court in accordance
and Exchange Commission, the Social Security Commission, and the with the Constitution," add the phrase "THE LABOR CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES
Employees Compensation Commission to reduce the number of cases UNDER P.D. 442, AS AMENDED." So that it becomes clear, Mr. President, that
elevated to the Supreme Court. (Emphases and corrections ours) issues arising from the Labor Code will still be appealable to the Supreme
Court.
xxx xxx xxx
The President. Is there any objection? (Silence) Hearing none, the
Senate Bill No. 1495 authored by our distinguished Colleague from Laguna amendment is approved.
provides the ideal situation of drastically reducing the workload of the
Senator Roco. On the same page, we move that lines 25 to 30 be deleted. This Incidentally, it was noted by the sponsor therein that some quarters were of
was also discussed with our Colleagues in the House of Representatives and the opinion that recourse from the NLRC to the Court of Appeals as an initial
as we understand it, as approved in the House, this was also deleted, Mr. step in the process of judicial review would be circuitous and would prolong
President. the proceedings. On the contrary, as he commendably and realistically
emphasized, that procedure would be advantageous to the aggrieved party
The President. Is there any objection? (Silence) Hearing none, the
on this reasoning:
amendment is approved.
On the other hand, Mr. President, to allow these cases to be appealed to the
Senator Roco. There are no further Committee amendments, Mr. President.
Court of Appeals would give litigants the advantage to have all the evidence
Senator Romulo. Mr. President, I move that we close the period of Committee on record be reexamined and reweighed after which the findings of facts and
amendments. conclusions of said bodies are correspondingly affirmed, modified or
reversed.
The President. Is there any objection? (Silence) Hearing none, the
amendment is approved. (Emphasis supplied). Under such guarantee, the Supreme Court can then apply strictly the axiom
that factual findings of the Court of Appeals are final and may not be reversed
xxx xxx xxx on appeal to the Supreme Court. A perusal of the records will reveal appeals
Thereafter, since there were no individual amendments, Senate Bill No. 1495 which are factual in nature and may, therefore, be dismissed outright by
was passed on second reading and being a certified bill, its unanimous minute resolutions. 24
approval on third reading followed. 21 The Conference Committee Report on While we do not wish to intrude into the Congressional sphere on the matter
Senate Bill No. 1495 and House Bill No. 10452, having theretofore been of the wisdom of a law, on this score we add the further observations that
approved by the House of Representatives, the same was likewise approved there is a growing number of labor cases being elevated to this Court which,
by the Senate on February 20, 1995, 22 inclusive of the dubious formulation not being a trier of fact, has at times been constrained to remand the case to
on appeals to the Supreme Court earlier discussed. the NLRC for resolution of unclear or ambiguous factual findings; that the
The Court is, therefore, of the considered opinion that ever since appeals Court of Appeals is procedurally equipped for that purpose, aside from the
from the NLRC to the Supreme Court were eliminated, the legislative increased number of its component divisions; and that there is undeniably an
intendment was that the special civil action of certiorari was and still is the imperative need for expeditious action on labor cases as a major aspect of
proper vehicle for judicial review of decisions of the NLRC. The use of the constitutional protection to labor.
word "appeal" in relation thereto and in the instances we have noted could Therefore, all references in the amended Section 9 of B.P. No. 129 to
have been a lapsus plumae because appeals by certiorari and the original supposed appeals from the NLRC to the Supreme Court are interpreted and
action for certiorari are both modes of judicial review addressed to the hereby declared to mean and refer to petitions for certiorari under Rule 65.
appellate courts. The important distinction between them, however, and Consequently, all such petitions should hence forth be initially filed in the
with which the Court is particularly concerned here is that the special civil Court of Appeals in strict observance of the doctrine on the hierarchy of
action of certiorari is within the concurrent original jurisdiction of this Court courts as the appropriate forum for the relief desired.
and the Court of Appeals; 23 whereas to indulge in the assumption that
appeals by certiorari to the Supreme Court are allowed would not subserve, Apropos to this directive that resort to the higher courts should be made in
but would subvert, the intention of Congress as expressed in the sponsorship accordance with their hierarchical order, this pronouncement in Santiago vs.
speech on Senate Bill No. 1495. Vasquez, et al. 25 should be taken into account:
One final observation. We discern in the proceedings in this case a propensity
on the part of petitioner, and, for that matter, the same may be said of a
number of litigants who initiate recourses before us, to disregard the
hierarchy of courts in our judicial system by seeking relief directly from this
Court despite the fact that the same is available in the lower courts in the
exercise of their original or concurrent jurisdiction, or is even mandated by
law to be sought therein. This practice must be stopped, not only because of
the imposition upon the precious time of this Court but also because of the
inevitable and resultant delay, intended or otherwise, in the adjudication of
the case which often has to be remanded or referred to the lower court as
the proper forum under the rules of procedure, or as better equipped to
resolve the issues since this Court is not a trier of facts. We, therefore,
reiterate the judicial policy that this Court will not entertain direct resort to it
unless the redress desired cannot be obtained in the appropriate courts or
where exceptional and compelling circumstances justify availment of a
remedy within and calling for the exercise of our primary jurisdiction.

WHEREFORE, under the foregoing premises, the instant petition


for certiorari is hereby REMANDED, and all pertinent records thereof ordered
to be FORWARDED, to the Court of Appeals for appropriate action and
disposition consistent with the views and ruling herein set forth, without
pronouncement as to costs.

SO ORDERED.
HEIRS OF BERTULDO HINOG vs MELICOR Accordingly, private respondents sought to oust Bertuldo from the premises
of the subject property and restore upon themselves the ownership and
possession thereof, as well as the payment of moral and exemplary damages,
G.R. No. 140954. April 12, 2005 attorney’s fees and litigation expenses "in amounts justified by the
HEIRS OF BERTULDO1 HINOG: Bertuldo Hinog II, Bertuldo Hinog III, Bertuldo evidence." 2
Hinog, Jr., Jocelyn Hinog, Bertoldo Hinog IV, Bertoldo Hinog V, Edgardo On July 2, 1991, Bertuldo filed his Answer. He alleged ownership of the
Hinog, Milagros H. Pabatao, Lilian H. King, Victoria H. Engracia, Terisita C. disputed property by virtue of a Deed of Absolute Sale dated July 2, 1980,
Hinog, Paz H. Besana, Roberto C. Hinog, Vicente C. Hinog, Roel C. Hinog, executed by one Tomas Pahac with the knowledge and conformity of private
Marilyn C. Hinog, Bebot C. Hinog, lordes C. Hinog, Pablo Chiong, Arlene respondents.3
Lanasang (All respresented by Bertuldo Hinog III), Petitioners,
vs. After the pre-trial, trial on the merits ensued. On November 18, 1997, private
HON. ACHILLES MELICOR, in his capacity as Presiding Judge, RTC, Branch 4, respondents rested their case. Thereupon, Bertuldo started his direct
7th Judicial Region, Tagbiliran City, Bohol, and CUSTODIO BALANE, RUFO examination. However, on June 24, 1998, Bertuldo died without completing
BALANE, HONORIO BALANE, and TOMAS BALANE,Respondents. his evidence.

DECISION On August 4, 1998, Atty. Sulpicio A. Tinampay withdrew as counsel for


Bertuldo as his services were terminated by petitioner Bertuldo Hinog III.
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: Atty. Veronico G. Petalcorin then entered his appearance as new counsel for
Before us is a petition for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 of the Rules Bertuldo.4
of Court which assails the Orders dated March 22, 1999, August 13, 1999 and On September 22, 1998, Atty. Petalcorin filed a motion to expunge the
October 15, 1999 of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 4, of Tagbilaran City, complaint from the record and nullify all court proceedings on the ground
Bohol in Civil Case No. 4923. that private respondents failed to specify in the complaint the amount of
The factual background of the case is as follows: damages claimed so as to pay the correct docket fees; and that
under Manchester Development Corporation vs. Court of Appeals,5 non-
On May 21, 1991, private respondents Custodio, Rufo, Tomas and Honorio, payment of the correct docket fee is jurisdictional.6
all surnamed Balane, filed a complaint for "Recovery of Ownership and
Possession, Removal of Construction and Damages" against Bertuldo Hinog In an amended motion, filed on October 2, 1998, Atty. Petalcorin further
(Bertuldo for brevity). They alleged that: they own a 1,399- square meter alleged that the private respondents failed to pay the correct docket fee since
parcel of land situated in Malayo Norte, Cortes, Bohol, designated as Lot No. the main subject matter of the case cannot be estimated as it is for recovery
1714; sometime in March 1980, they allowed Bertuldo to use a portion of the of ownership, possession and removal of construction.7
said property for a period of ten years and construct thereon a small house Private respondents opposed the motion to expunge on the following
of light materials at a nominal annual rental of ₱100.00 only, considering the grounds: (a) said motion was filed more than seven years from the institution
close relations of the parties; after the expiration of the ten-year period, they of the case; (b) Atty. Petalcorin has not complied with Section 16, Rule 3 of
demanded the return of the occupied portion and removal of the house the Rules of Court which provides that the death of the original defendant
constructed thereon but Bertuldo refused and instead claimed ownership of requires a substitution of parties before a lawyer can have legal personality
the entire property. to represent a litigant and the motion to expunge does not mention of any
specific party whom he is representing; (c) collectible fees due the court can
be charged as lien on the judgment; and (d) considering the lapse of time, the that the supposed heirs of Bertuldo are not specified in any pleading in the
motion is merely a dilatory scheme employed by petitioners.8 case. 18

In their Rejoinder, petitioners manifested that the lapse of time does not vest On July 14, 1999, petitioners manifested that the trial court having expunged
the court with jurisdiction over the case due to failure to pay the correct the complaint and nullified all court proceedings, there is no valid case and
docket fees. As to the contention that deficiency in payment of docket fees the complaint should not be admitted for failure to pay the correct docket
can be made as a lien on the judgment, petitioners argued that the payment fees; that there should be no case to be reinstated and no case to proceed as
of filing fees cannot be made dependent on the result of the action taken.9 there is no complaint filed.19

On January 21, 1999, the trial court, while ordering the complaint to be After the submission of private respondents’ opposition20 and petitioners’
expunged from the records and the nullification of all court proceedings rejoinder,21 the trial court issued the second assailed Order on August 13,
taken for failure to pay the correct docket fees, nonetheless, held: 1999, essentially denying petitioners’ manifestation/rejoinder. The trial court
held that the issues raised in such manifestation/rejoinder are practically the
The Court can acquire jurisdiction over this case only upon the payment of
same as those raised in the amended motion to expunge which had already
the exact prescribed docket/filing fees for the main cause of action, plus
been passed upon in the Order dated January 21, 1999. Moreover, the trial
additional docket fee for the amount of damages being prayed for in the
court observed that the Order dated March 22, 1999 which reinstated the
complaint, which amount should be specified so that the same can be
case was not objected to by petitioners within the reglementary period or
considered in assessing the amount of the filing fees. Upon the complete
even thereafter via a motion for reconsideration despite receipt thereof on
payment of such fees, the Court may take appropriate action in the light of
March 26, 1999.22
the ruling in the case of Manchester Development Corporation vs. Court of
Appeals, supra.10 On August 25, 1999, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration23 but the
same was denied by the trial court in its third assailed Order dated October
Accordingly, on January 28, 1999, upon payment of deficiency docket fee,
15, 1999. The trial court held that the Manchester rule was relaxed in Sun
private respondents filed a manifestation with prayer to reinstate the
Insurance Office, Ltd. vs. Asuncion.24 Noting that there has been no
case.11 Petitioners opposed the reinstatement12 but on March 22, 1999, the
substitution of parties following the death of Bertuldo, the trial court directed
trial court issued the first assailed Order reinstating the case.13
Atty. Petalcorin to comply with the provisions of Section 16, Rule 3 of the
On May 24, 1999, petitioners, upon prior leave of court,14 filed their Rules of Court. The trial court also reiterated that the Order dated March 22,
supplemental pleading, appending therein a Deed of Sale dated November 1999 reinstating the case was not assailed by petitioners within the
15, 1982.15 Following the submission of private respondents’ opposition reglementary period, despite receipt thereof on March 26, 1999.25
thereto,16 the trial court, in its Order dated July 7, 1999, denied the
On November 19, 1999, Atty. Petalcorin complied with the directive of the
supplemental pleading on the ground that the Deed of Absolute Sale is a new
trial court to submit the names and addresses of the heirs of Bertuldo.26
matter which was never mentioned in the original answer dated July 2, 1991,
prepared by Bertuldo’s original counsel and which Bertuldo verified; and that On November 24, 1999, petitioners filed before us the present petition
such new document is deemed waived in the light of Section 1, Rule 917 of the for certiorari and prohibition.27 They allege that the public respondent
Rules of Court. The trial court also noted that no formal substitution of the committed grave abuse of discretion in allowing the case to be reinstated
parties was made because of the failure of defendant’s counsel to give the after private respondents paid the docket fee deficiency since the trial court
names and addresses of the legal representatives of Bertuldo, so much so had earlier expunged the complaint from the record and nullified all
proceedings of the case and such ruling was not contested by the private
respondents. Moreover, they argue that the public respondent committed those matters within its exclusive jurisdiction, and to prevent further over-
grave abuse of discretion in allowing the case to be filed and denying the crowding of the Court’s docket.31
manifestation with motion to dismiss, despite the defect in the complaint
The rationale for this rule is two-fold: (a) it would be an imposition upon the
which prayed for damages without specifying the amounts, in violation of SC
precious time of this Court; and (b) it would cause an inevitable and resultant
Circular No. 7, dated March 24, 1988.
delay, intended or otherwise, in the adjudication of cases, which in some
In their Comment, private respondents aver that no grave abuse of discretion instances had to be remanded or referred to the lower court as the proper
was committed by the trial court in reinstating the complaint upon the forum under the rules of procedure, or as better equipped to resolve the
payment of deficiency docket fees because petitioners did not object thereto issues because this Court is not a trier of facts.32
within the reglementary period. Besides, Atty. Petalcorin possessed no legal
Thus, this Court will not entertain direct resort to it unless the redress desired
personality to appear as counsel for the heirs of Bertuldo until he complies
cannot be obtained in the appropriate courts, and exceptional and
with Section 16, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court.28
compelling circumstances, such as cases of national interest and of serious
At the outset, we note the procedural error committed by petitioners in implications, justify the availment of the extraordinary remedy of writ
directly filing the instant petition before this Court for it violates the of certiorari, calling for the exercise of its primary jurisdiction. Exceptional
established policy of strict observance of the judicial hierarchy of courts. and compelling circumstances were held present in the following cases:
(a) Chavez vs. Romulo33 on citizens’ right to bear arms; (b) Government of the
Although the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and the Regional Trial Courts
United States of America vs. Purganan34 on bail in extradition proceedings;
have concurrent jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari,
(c) Commission on Elections vs. Quijano-Padilla35 on government contract
prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction, such
involving modernization and computerization of voters’ registration list;
concurrence does not give the petitioner unrestricted freedom of choice of
(d) Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB vs. Zamora36 on status and existence of a public
court forum.29 As we stated in People vs. Cuaresma:30
office; and (e) Fortich vs. Corona37 on the so-called "Win-Win Resolution" of
This Court's original jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari is not exclusive. It the Office of the President which modified the approval of the conversion to
is shared by this Court with Regional Trial Courts and with the Court of agro-industrial area.
Appeals. This concurrence of jurisdiction is not, however, to be taken as
In this case, no special and important reason or exceptional and compelling
according to parties seeking any of the writs an absolute, unrestrained
circumstance analogous to any of the above cases has been adduced by the
freedom of choice of the court to which application therefor will be directed.
petitioners so as to justify direct recourse to this Court. The present petition
There is after all a hierarchy of courts. That hierarchy is determinative of the
should have been initially filed in the Court of Appeals in strict observance of
venue of appeals, and also serves as a general determinant of the appropriate
the doctrine on the hierarchy of courts. Failure to do so is sufficient cause for
forum for petitions for the extraordinary writs. A becoming regard for that
the dismissal of the petition at bar.
judicial hierarchy most certainly indicates that petitions for the issuance of
extraordinary writs against first level ("inferior") courts should be filed with In any event, even if the Court disregards such procedural flaw, the
the Regional Trial Court, and those against the latter, with the Court of petitioners’ contentions on the substantive aspect of the case fail to invite
Appeals. A direct invocation of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction to judgment in their favor.
issue these writs should be allowed only when there are special and
The unavailability of the writ of certiorari and prohibition in this case is borne
important reasons therefor, clearly and specifically set out in the petition.
out of the fact that petitioners principally assail the Order dated March 22,
This is [an] established policy. It is a policy necessary to prevent inordinate
1999 which they never sought reconsideration of, in due time, despite receipt
demands upon the Court’s time and attention which are better devoted to
thereof on March 26, 1999. Instead, petitioners went through the motion of Time and again, the Court has held that the Manchester rule has been
filing a supplemental pleading and only when the latter was denied, or after modified in Sun Insurance Office, Ltd. (SIOL) vs. Asuncion45 which defined the
more than three months have passed, did they raise the issue that the following guidelines involving the payment of docket fees:
complaint should not have been reinstated in the first place because the trial
1. It is not simply the filing of the complaint or appropriate initiatory pleading,
court had no jurisdiction to do so, having already ruled that the complaint
but the payment of the prescribed docket fee, that vests a trial court with
shall be expunged.
jurisdiction over the subject-matter or nature of the action. Where the filing
After recognizing the jurisdiction of the trial court by seeking affirmative relief of the initiatory pleading is not accompanied by payment of the docket fee,
in their motion to serve supplemental pleading upon private respondents, the court may allow payment of the fees within a reasonable time but in no
petitioners are effectively barred by estoppel from challenging the trial case beyond the applicable prescriptive or reglementary period.
court’s jurisdiction.38 If a party invokes the jurisdiction of a court, he cannot
2. The same rule applies to permissive counterclaims, third-party claims and
thereafter challenge the court’s jurisdiction in the same case.39 To rule
similar pleadings, which shall not be considered filed until and unless the filing
otherwise would amount to speculating on the fortune of litigation, which is
fee prescribed therefor is paid. The court may also allow payment of said fee
against the policy of the Court.40
within a reasonable time but also in no case beyond its applicable prescriptive
Nevertheless, there is a need to correct the erroneous impression of the trial or reglementary period.
court as well as the private respondents that petitioners are barred from
3. Where the trial court acquires jurisdiction over a claim by the filing of the
assailing the Order dated March 22, 1999 which reinstated the case because
appropriate pleading and payment of the prescribed filing fee but,
it was not objected to within the reglementary period or even thereafter via
subsequently, the judgment awards a claim not specified in the pleading, or
a motion for reconsideration despite receipt thereof on March 26, 1999.
if specified the same has been left for determination by the court, the
It must be clarified that the said order is but a resolution on an incidental additional filing fee therefor shall constitute a lien on the judgment. It shall
matter which does not touch on the merits of the case or put an end to the be the responsibility of the Clerk of Court or his duly authorized deputy to
proceedings.41 It is an interlocutory order since there leaves something else enforce said lien and assess and collect the additional fee.
to be done by the trial court with respect to the merits of the case.42 As such,
Plainly, while the payment of the prescribed docket fee is a jurisdictional
it is not subject to a reglementary period. Reglementary period refers to the
requirement, even its non-payment at the time of filing does not
period set by the rules for appeal or further review of a final judgment or
automatically cause the dismissal of the case, as long as the fee is paid within
order, i.e., one that ends the litigation in the trial court.
the applicable prescriptive or reglementary period, more so when the party
Moreover, the remedy against an interlocutory order is generally not to involved demonstrates a willingness to abide by the rules prescribing such
resort forthwith to certiorari, but to continue with the case in due course and, payment.46 Thus, when insufficient filing fees were initially paid by the
when an unfavorable verdict is handed down, to take an appeal in the manner plaintiffs and there was no intention to defraud the government,
authorized by law.43 Only when the court issued such order without or in the Manchester rule does not apply.47
excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion and when the assailed
Under the peculiar circumstances of this case, the reinstatement of the
interlocutory order is patently erroneous and the remedy of appeal would
complaint was just and proper considering that the cause of action of private
not afford adequate and expeditious relief will certiorari be considered an
respondents, being a real action, prescribes in thirty years,48 and private
appropriate remedy to assail an interlocutory order.44Such special
respondents did not really intend to evade the payment of the prescribed
circumstances are absolutely wanting in the present case.
docket fee but simply contend that they could not be faulted for inadequate
assessment because the clerk of court made no notice of demand or Moreover, no formal substitution of the parties was effected within thirty
reassessment.49 They were in good faith and simply relied on the assessment days from date of death of Bertuldo, as required by Section 16, Rule 353 of the
of the clerk of court. Rules of Court. Needless to stress, the purpose behind the rule on
substitution is the protection of the right of every party to due process. It is
Furthermore, the fact that private respondents prayed for payment of
to ensure that the deceased party would continue to be properly represented
damages "in amounts justified by the evidence" does not call for the dismissal
in the suit through the duly appointed legal representative of his
of the complaint for violation of SC Circular No. 7, dated March 24, 1988
estate.54 Non-compliance with the rule on substitution would render the
which required that all complaints must specify the amount of damages
proceedings and judgment of the trial court infirm because the court acquires
sought not only in the body of the pleadings but also in the prayer in order to
no jurisdiction over the persons of the legal representatives or of the heirs on
be accepted and admitted for filing. Sun Insurance effectively modified SC
whom the trial and the judgment would be binding.55 Thus, proper
Circular No. 7 by providing that filing fees for damages and awards that
substitution of heirs must be effected for the trial court to acquire jurisdiction
cannot be estimated constitute liens on the awards finally granted by the trial
over their persons and to obviate any future claim by any heir that he was not
court.50
apprised of the litigation against Bertuldo or that he did not authorize Atty.
Thus, while the docket fees were based only on the real property valuation, Petalcorin to represent him.
the trial court acquired jurisdiction over the action, and judgment awards
The list of names and addresses of the heirs was submitted sixteen months
which were left for determination by the court or as may be proven during
after the death of Bertuldo and only when the trial court directed Atty.
trial would still be subject to additional filing fees which shall constitute a lien
Petalcorin to comply with the provisions of Section 16, Rule 3 of the Rules of
on the judgment. It would then be the responsibility of the Clerk of Court of
Court. Strictly speaking therefore, before said compliance, Atty. Petalcorin
the trial court or his duly authorized deputy to enforce said lien and assess
had no standing in the court a quo when he filed his pleadings. Be that as it
and collect the additional fees.51
may, the matter has been duly corrected by the Order of the trial court dated
It is worth noting that when Bertuldo filed his Answer on July 2, 1991, he did October 15, 1999.
not raise the issue of lack of jurisdiction for non-payment of correct docket
To be sure, certiorari under Rule 6556 is a remedy narrow in scope and
fees. Instead, he based his defense on a claim of ownership and participated
inflexible in character. It is not a general utility tool in the legal workshop.57 It
in the proceedings before the trial court. It was only in September 22, 1998
offers only a limited form of review. Its principal function is to keep an inferior
or more than seven years after filing the answer, and under the auspices of a
tribunal within its jurisdiction.58 It can be invoked only for an error of
new counsel, that the issue of jurisdiction was raised for the first time in the
jurisdiction, that is, one where the act complained of was issued by the court,
motion to expunge by Bertuldo’s heirs.
officer or a quasi-judicial body without or in excess of jurisdiction, or with
After Bertuldo vigorously participated in all stages of the case before the trial grave abuse of discretion which is tantamount to lack or in excess of
court and even invoked the trial court’s authority in order to ask for jurisdiction,59 not to be used for any other purpose,60 such as to cure errors in
affirmative relief, petitioners, considering that they merely stepped into the proceedings or to correct erroneous conclusions of law or fact.61 A contrary
shoes of their predecessor, are effectively barred by estoppel from rule would lead to confusion, and seriously hamper the administration of
challenging the trial court’s jurisdiction. Although the issue of jurisdiction may justice.
be raised at any stage of the proceedings as the same is conferred by law, it
Petitioners utterly failed to show that the trial court gravely abused its
is nonetheless settled that a party may be barred from raising it on ground of
discretion in issuing the assailed resolutions. On the contrary, it acted
laches or estoppel.52
prudently, in accordance with law and jurisprudence.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.
CRISTOBAL CRUZ vs CRISTOBAL More than six decades later, petitioners learned that private respondents had
executed an extrajudicial partition of the subject property and transferred its
title to their names.
G.R. No. 140422 August 7, 2006
Petitioners filed a petition in their barangay to attempt to settle the case
MERCEDES CRISTOBAL CRUZ, ANSELMO A. CRISTOBAL and ELISA CRISTOBAL between them and private respondents, but no settlement was reached.
SIKAT, Petitioners, Thus, a Complaint 2 for Annulment of Title and Damages was filed before the
vs. RTC by petitioners against private respondents to recover their alleged pro-
EUFROSINA CRISTOBAL, FLORENCIO CRISTOBAL, JOSE CRISTOBAL, HEIRS OF indiviso shares in the subject property. In their prayer, they sought the
NORBERTO CRISTOBAL and THE COURT OF APPEALS, Respondents. annulment of the Deed of Partition executed by respondents on 24 February
1948; the cancellation of TCTs No. 165132, No. 165133, No. 165134 and No.
165135 issued in the individual names of private respondents; re-partitioning
DECISION of the subject property in accordance with the law of succession and the
payment of P1,000,000.00 as actual or compensatory damages; P300,000.00
CHICO-NAZARIO, J.:
as moral damages; P50,000.00 as attorney’s fees and P100,000.00 as
This Petition assails the Decision 1 of the Court of Appeals dated 22 July 1999 exemplary damages.
in CA-G.R. CV No. 56402, affirming in toto the Decision of the Regional Trial
To prove their filiation with the deceased Buenaventura Cristobal, the
Court (RTC) of Pasig City, Branch 156, in Civil Case No. 65035 entitled,
baptismal certificates of Elisa, 3 Anselmo, 4and the late Socorro 5 were
"Mercedes Cristobal, Anselmo A. Cristobal and Elisa Cristobal Sikat vs.
presented. In the case of Mercedes who was born on 31 January 1909, she
Eufrosina Cristobal, Florencio Cristobal, Jose Cristobal, Heirs of Norberto
produced a certification 6 issued by the Office of the Local Civil Registrar of
Cristobal and The Register of Deeds, San Juan, M.M."
San Juan, Metro Manila, attesting to the fact that records of birth for the
Facts of the case are as follows: years 1901, 1909, 1932 to 1939, 1940, 1943, and 1948 were all destroyed due
to ordinary wear and tear.
Petitioners (Mercedes Cristobal, Anselmo Cristobal, the heirs of the deceased
Socorro Cristobal, and Elisa Cristobal-Sikat) claim that they are the legitimate The testimonies of the parties as summarized by the trial court are as follows:
children of Buenaventura Cristobal during his first marriage to Ignacia
Witness [petitioner Elisa] further testified that her mother died when she was
Cristobal. On the other hand, private respondents (Norberto, Florencio,
only one year and seven months old. She lived with the sister of her father
Eufrosina and Jose, all surnamed Cristobal) are also the children of
because the latter married his second wife, Donata Enriquez. Her brother
Buenaventura Cristobal resulting from his second marriage to Donata
Anselmo and sister Socorro lived with their father and the latter’s family in
Enriquez.
the subject property at P. Parada St., San Juan, Metro Manila.
On 18 June 1926, Buenaventura Cristobal purchased a parcel of land with an
She claimed that when their father died on February 12, 1930, his brother
area of 535 square meters located at 194 P. Parada St., Sta. Lucia, San Juan,
Anselmo stayed with her and her auntie while Socorro stayed with their
Metro Manila, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 10878-2 (the
eldest sister, Mercedes, who was then married.
subject property).
Meanwhile, when her stepmother Donata Enriquez died, the children from
Sometime in the year 1930, Buenaventura Cristobal died intestate.
the second marriage lived with them and her aunt Martina Cristobal.
Witness testified that she is now residing at No. 194 P. Parada St., Sta. Lucia, children of Buenaventura Cristobal from the latter’s first marriage and the
San Juan, Metro Manila, the property subject of the present litigation. She Norberto, Florencio, Eufrosina, and Jose are the children of Buenaventura
has been living in the said property since 1948. She claimed that there are Cristobal from the latter’s second marriage.
other houses in the area particularly those which belong to her half brothers
The said witness testified that Buenaventura Cristobal and his first family
and sisters which were now converted into factories.
lived right across where she stayed.
She claimed that out of the five hundred thirty-five (535) square meters she
Witness corroborated the testimony of Elisa Cristobal Sikat regarding that the
occupies only thirty-six (36) square meters of the subject lot.
fact that Martina Cristobal is the sister of Buenaventura Cristobal. The said
She testified that the [private respondents] divided the property among sister of Buenaventura Cristobal allegedly took care of Elisa. Anselmo and
themselves without giving the [petitioners] their share. She said that she was Socorro were taken care of by Buenaventura Cristobal and the latter’s second
offered by [private respondent] Eufrosina to choose between a portion of the wife, Donata Enriquez, at P. Parada St., San Juan, Metro Manila.
land in question or money because one of the children of defendant Jose
When Buenaventura Cristobal died Anselmo was taken care of by Martina
Cristobal wanted to construct an apartment on the lot. She said that she will
Cristobal together with Elisa. Socorro on the other hand lived with Mercedes
have to ask the opinion of her other brothers and sisters.
who was then married.
Thereafter witness testified that she made an inquiry regarding the land and
Witness testified that she and Elisa were classmates from Grade I until they
she found out that the property belonging to their father Buenaventura
finished high school at the Philippine School of Commerce in Manila.
Cristobal had been transferred to the defendants as evidenced by transfer
certificates of title issued under the names of Florencio Cristobal (Exhibit "E"), When the second wife of Buenaventura Cristobal died, Martina Cristobal took
Norberto Cristobal (Exhibit "F"), Eufrosina Cristobal (Exhibit "G") and Jose care of Norberto, Florencio, Eufrosina and Jose Cristobal.
Cristobal (Exhibit "H").
Witness said that the brothers and sisters from the first and second marriages
She declared that she felt bad when she learned that the title to the property lived together with their aunt Martina Cristobal for a long time.
belonging to her father had been transferred to her half brothers and sisters
with the exclusion of herself and the other children from the first marriage. When Elisa got married, she and her husband built their house on the lot
located at 194 P. Parada St., San Juan, Metro Manila. Until at present, Elisa
She filed a petition in the barangay to settle the issue among themselves, and her family lives in the said vicinity.
however, no settlement was reached therein. This prompted the [petitioners]
to file the present case. Witness Ester Santos declared that the children from the second marriage
namely Norberto, Eufrosina, Florencio and Jose built their houses and factory
On cross-examination, [petitioner] Elisa Cristobal Sikat admitted that she was at 194 P. Parada St., San Juan, Metro Manila.
aware that the subject property was owned by her father Buenaventura
Cristobal even before the latter died. She likewise stated that the [private She said that the children from the first and second marriages of
respondents] are the ones paying the real estate tax due on the lot. Buenaventura Cristobal had a harmonious relationship until sometime in
1994 when [petitioners] and Elisa Cristobal’s grandchildren were called
Ester Santos testified for the [petitioners]. In her "Sinumpaang Salaysay" she "squatters" by the [private respondents] and their grandchildren for residing
claimed that she was a neighbor of Mercedes, Anselmo, Socorro, Elisa, in the subject parcel of land.
Norberto, Florencio, Eufrosina and Jose Cristobal in San Juan, Metro Manila.
She said that she knows that Mercedes, Anselmo, Socorro and Elisa are the
On cross-examination, witness Ester Santos said she cannot recall the name She claimed that the [private respondents] have been paying all the taxes due
of the first wife of Buenaventura Cristobal and that she only knew them to be on the parcel of land and that title to the property has been subdivided under
married although she is not aware of the date when they were married. their respective names.

[Petitioners] presented Jose Cristobal to bolster the claim that they are On cross-examination, she said that when their parents passed away they
brothers and sisters of the [private respondents]. were taken care of by their aunt Martina who was the sister of her father. She
testified that she addressed Elisa Cristobal as "Kaka" and that since the time
He claimed that the only time when he became aware that [petitioners] are
they were kids, she had known that the [petitioners] are their brothers and
his brothers and sisters was when he lived with their aunt Martina.
sisters. 7
He said that the reason why they were giving a portion of the lot in question
After trial on the merits, the trial court rendered a judgment 8 on 11 July 1997,
to Elisa Cristobal Sikat was because the [private respondents] want her to
dismissing the case, ruling that petitioners failed to prove their filiation with
have a piece of property of her own and is not an admission that she is their
the deceased Buenaventura Cristobal as the baptismal and birth certificates
sister.
presented have scant evidentiary value and that petitioners’ inaction for a
[Private respondents] on the other hand presented Eufrosina Cristobal as long period of time amounts to laches.
their first witness. She testified that her parents, Buenaventura Cristobal and
Not satisfied, petitioners sought recourse in the Court of Appeals which, in its
Donata Enriquez were married on March 24, 1919 at San Felipe Neri,
Decision 9 dated 22 July 1999, ruled that they were able to prove their filiation
Mandaluyong, Metro Manila. Out of the said union, Norberto, Florentino,
with the deceased Buenaventura Cristobal thru "other means allowed by the
Eufrosina and Jose Cristobal were born.
Rules of Court and special laws," but affirmed the ruling of the trial court
The witness professed that on June 18, 1926, her parents were able to buy a barring their right to recover their share of the subject property because of
certain property containing five hundred thirty-five (535) square meters. laches.

Said witness claimed that her brother Norberto died on September 20, 1980 Hence, this Petition anchored on the sole ground that:
leaving his wife Marcelina and children Buenaflor and Norberto, Jr.
RESPONDENT COURT GRIEVOUSLY ERRED IN APPLYING THE PRINCIPLE OF
The witness presented marked as Exhibit "33" for Norberto, Exhibit "34" for LACHES TO THE CASE AT BAR RESULTING AS IT DOES TO GROSS INJUSTICE
Florencio, Exhibit "35" for Eufrosina and Exhibit "36’ for Jose the birth AND INEQUITY WHICH ARE EXACTLY THE VERY EVILS SOUGHT TO BE
certificates of her brothers and sisters. PREVENTED BY SUCH PRINCIPLE 10

On February 24, 1948, Eufrosina admitted having executed an Extrajudicial The petition is impressed with merit. We agree with petitioners that the Court
Partition (Exhibit "D-4") with her brothers and sisters of the property left by of Appeals committed reversible error in upholding the claim of private
their parents. respondents that they acquired ownership of the entire subject property and
that the claim of petitioners to the subject property was barred by laches.
She declared that since her father died in 1930, Elisa, Mercedes, and Anselmo
never asserted their alleged right over the property subject of the present Before anything else, it must be noted that the title of the original complaint
litigation. filed by petitioners before the RTC was denominated as "Annulment of Title
and Damages"; nevertheless, the complaint prayed for the following:
1. Declaring the Extrajudicial Partition executed by the defendants reveals that, more than property rights, the action involves hereditary or
NORBERTO CRISTOBAL, FLORENCIO CRISTOBAL, EUFROCINA CRISTOBAL and successional rights of petitioners to their deceased father’s estate solely,
JOSE CRISTOBAL on February 24, 1948 as null and void for being fraudulent composed of the subject property.
contrary to law on succession.
Thus, even if the original complaint filed by petitioners before the RTC is
2. Canceling the following Transfer Certificates of Titles issued by the Register denominated as "Annulment of Title and Damages," we find it practicable to
of Deeds for the Province of Rizal to wit: rule on the division of the subject property based on the rules of succession
as prayed for in the complaint, considering that the averments in the
(a) TCT No. 165132 issued in the name of FLORENCIO CRISTOBAL married to
complaint, not the title are controlling. 12
MAURA RUBIO;
To arrive at the final resolution of the instant Petition and the lone
(b) TCT No. 165133 issued in the name of NORBERTO CRISTOBAL, married to
assignment of error therein, the following need to be resolved first: (1)
PAULINA IBANEZ;
whether or not petitioners were able to prove their filiation with the
(c) TCT No. 165134 issued in the name of EUFROCINA CRISTOBAL married to deceased Buenaventura Cristobal; (2) whether or not the petitioners are
FORTUNATO DELA GUERRA; and bound by the Deed of Partition of the subject property executed by the
private respondents; (3) whether or not petitioners’ right to question the
(d) TCT No. 165135 issued in the name of JOSE CRISTOBAL married to Deed of Partition had prescribed; and (4) whether or not petitioners’ right to
ADELAIDA IBANEZ and/or TCT No. 3993- ( if TCT No. 165035 was cancelled recover their share of the subject property is barred by laches.
and in lieu thereof to ISABELITA/MA. VICTORIA, EMMA, MA. CRISTINA,
JOSELITO and NELIA, all surnamed CRISTOBAL and children of JOSE Undeniably, the foregoing issues can be resolved only after certain facts have
CRISTOBAL, one of the defendants.) been established. Although it is settled that in the exercise of the Supreme
Court’s power of review, the findings of facts of the Court of Appeals are
3. Re-partitioning the subject property left by deceased BUENAVENTURA conclusive and binding on the Supreme Court, there are recognized
CRISTOBAL according to the law on succession applicable at the time of his exceptions to this rule, namely: (1) when the findings are grounded entirely
death. on speculation, surmises or conjectures; (2) when the inference made is
4. Awarding ONE-HALF of the subject property to herein plaintiffs as their manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) when there is grave abuse of
lawful portions in the inheritance. discretion; (4) when the judgment is based on misapprehension of facts; (5)
when the findings of facts are conflicting; (6) when in making the findings the
5. Ordering the defendants to pay to the plaintiffs the following sums of Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case, or its findings are
money, to wit: contrary to the admissions of both the appellee and the appellant; (7) when
a. P1,000,000.00 as actual or compensatory damages the findings are contrary to the trial court; (8) when the findings are
conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are based; (9)
b. P300,000.00 as moral damages when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioner’s main and
reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent; (10) when the findings of
c. P50,000.00 as attorney’s fees
facts are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by
d. P100,000.0 as exemplary damages 11 the evidence on record; and (11) when the Court of Appeals manifestly
overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties, which if
While the title of the complaint alone implies that the action involves
properly considered, would justify a different conclusion. 13 Since exceptions
property rights to a piece of land, the afore-quoted prayer in the complaint
(4) and (11) are present in the case at bar, this Court shall make its own Testimonies of witnesses were also presented to prove filiation by continuous
determination of the facts relevant for the resolution of the case. possession of the status as a legitimate child. 19

The initial fact that needs to be established is the filiation of petitioners with In contrast, it bears to point out that private respondents were unable to
the deceased Buenaventura Cristobal. present any proof to refute the petitioners’ claim and evidences of filiation to
Buenaventura Cristobal.
Article 172 of the Family Code provides:
The foregoing evidence thus suffice to convince this Court that petitioners
Art. 172. The filiation of legitimate children is established by any of the
are, indeed, children of the late Buenaventura Cristobal during the first
following:
marriage.
(1) The record of birth appearing in the civil register or a final judgment; or
As to the validity of the Deed of Partition of the subject property executed by
(2) An admission of legitimate filiation in a public document or a private the private respondents among themselves to the exclusion of petitioners,
handwritten instrument and signed by the parent concerned. the applicable rule is Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court, which states:

In the absence of the foregoing evidence, the legitimate filiation shall be The fact of the extrajudicial settlement or administration shall be published
proved by: in a newspaper of general circulation in the manner provided in the next
succeeding section; but no extrajudicial settlement shall be binding upon any
(1) the open and continuous possession of the status of a legitimate child; or person who has not participated therein or had no notice
(2) Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and special laws. thereof. (Underscoring supplied)

"Any other means allowed by the Rules of Court and Special Laws," may Under the said provision, without the participation of all persons involved in
consist of the child’s baptismal certificate, a judicial admission, a family bible the proceedings, the extrajudicial settlement is not binding on said
in which the child’s name has been entered, common reputation respecting persons. 20 In the case at bar, since the estate of the deceased Buenaventura
the child’s pedigree, admission by silence, the testimony of witnesses, and Cristobal is composed solely of the subject property, the partition thereof by
other kinds of proof of admission under Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. 14 the private respondents already amounts to an extrajudicial settlement of
Buenaventura Cristobal’s estate. The partition of the subject property by the
In the present case, the baptismal certificates of Elisa, 15 Anselmo, 16 and the private respondents shall not bind the petitioners since petitioners were
late Socorro 17 were presented. Baptismal certificate is one of the acceptable excluded therefrom. Petitioners were not aware of the Deed of Partition
documentary evidence to prove filiation in accordance with the Rules of Court executed by private respondents among themselves in 1948. Petitioner Elisa
and jurisprudence. In the case of Mercedes, who was born on 31 January became aware of the transfer and registration of the subject property in the
1909, she produced a certification 18 issued by the Office of the Local Civil names of private respondents only in 1994 when she was offered by private
Registrar of San Juan, Metro Manila, attesting to the fact that records of birth respondent Eufrocina to choose between a portion of the subject property or
for the years 1901, 1909, 1932 to 1939, 1940, 1943, and 1948 were all money, as one of the children of private respondent Jose wanted to construct
destroyed due to ordinary wear and tear. an apartment on the subject property. 21 This led petitioner Elisa to inquire as
Petitioners likewise presented Ester Santos as witness who testified that to the status of the subject property. She learned afterwards that the title to
petitioners enjoyed that common reputation in the community where they the subject property had been transferred to the names of private
reside as being the children of Buevaventura Cristobal with his first wife. respondents, her half brothers and sisters, to the exclusion of herself and her
siblings from the first marriage of Buenaventura Cristobal. The Deed of
Partition excluded four of the eight heirs of Buenaventura Cristobal who were At the time of death of Buenaventura Cristobal in 1930, Donata was only
also entitled to their respective shares in the subject property. Since entitled to the usufruct of the land pursuant to Article 834 of the Old Civil
petitioners were not able to participate in the execution of the Deed of Code, which provides:
Partition, which constitutes as an extrajudicial settlement of the estate of the
ART. 834. A widower or widow who, on the death of his or her spouse, is not
late Buenaventura Cristobal by private respondents, such settlement is not
divorced, or should be so by the fault of the deceased, shall be entitled to a
binding on them. 22 As the extrajudicial settlement executed by the private
portion in usufruct equal to that corresponding by way of legitime to each of
respondents in February 1948 did not affect the right of petitioners to also
the legitimate children or descendants who has not received any betterment.
inherit from the estate of their deceased father, it was incorrect for the trial
and appellate court to hold that petitioners’ right to challenge the said If only one legitimate child or descendant survives, the widow or widower
settlement had prescribed. Respondents defense of prescription against an shall have the usufruct of the third availment for betterment, such child or
action for partition is a vain proposition. Pursuant to Article 494 of the Civil descendant to have the naked ownership until, on the death of the surviving
Code, "no co-owner shall be obliged to remain in the co-ownership. Such co- spouse, the whole title is merged in him.
owner may demand at anytime the partition of the thing owned in common,
insofar as his share is concerned." In Budlong v. Bondoc, 23 this Court has Donata’s right to usufruct of the subject property terminated upon her death
interpreted said provision of law to mean that the action for partition is in 1936.
imprescriptible. It cannot be barred by prescription. For Article 494 of the Civil Accordingly, the pro-indiviso shares of Buenaventura Cristobal’s eight
Code explicitly declares: "No prescription shall lie in favor of a co-owner or children and their heirs, by right of representation, upon his death in 1930,
co-heirs as long as he expressly or impliedly recognizes the co-ownership." 24 are as follows:
Considering that the Deed of Partition of the subject property does not affect (1) Mercedes Cristobal- 66.875 square meters
the right of petitioners to inherit from their deceased father, this Court shall
then proceed to divide the subject property between petitioners and private (2) Amselmo Crostobal- 66.875 square meters
respondents, as the rule on succession prescribes. (3) Socorrro Crostobal- 66.875 square meters
It appears that the 535 square meters subject property was a conjugal (4) Elisa Crostobal-Sikat- 66.875 square meters
property of Buenaventura Cristobal and Donata Enriquez, the second wife, as
the property was purchased in 1926, during the time of their (5) Norberto Cristobal-66.875 square meters
marriage. 25Upon the deaths of Buenaventura in 1930 and Donata in 1936,
(6) Florencio Cristobal-66.875 square meters
both deaths occurring before the enactment of the New Civil Code in 1950,
all the four children of the first marriage and the four children of the second (7) Eufrocina Cristobal-66.875 square meters
marriage shall share equally in the subject property in accordance with the
(8) Jose Cristobal - 66.875 square meters
Old Civil Code. Absent any allegation showing that Buenaventura Cristobal
left any will and testament, the subject property shall be divided into eight The Court will now determine whether petitioners’ right to their shares in the
equal parts pursuant to Articles 921 26 and 931 27 of the Old Civil Code on subject property can be barred by laches.
intestate succession, each receiving 66.875 square meters thereof.
Respondents’ defense of laches is less than convincing. Laches is the
negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting
a presumption that the party entitled to assert it has abandoned it or declined
to assert it. It does not involve mere lapse or passage of time, but is principally award is given in view of the peculiar circumstances cited and the special
an impediment to the assertion or enforcement of a right, which has become reasons extant in the present case; 33
under the circumstances inequitable or unfair to permit. 28
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, this Court rules as follows:
In our view, the doctrine of laches does not apply in the instant case. Note
(1) The Petition is GRANTED, and the assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals
that upon petitioner Elisa’s knowledge in 1994 that the title to the subject
is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE;
property had been transferred to the private respondents to the exclusion of
herself and her siblings from the first marriage of Buenaventura Cristobal, (2) Petitioners are RECOGNIZED and DECLARED as children of the late
petitioners filed in 1995 a petition with their barangay to settle the case Buenaventura Cristobal from his first marriage to Ignacia Cristobal;
among themselves and private respondents, but since no settlement was
had, they lodged a complaint before the RTC on 27 March 1995, to annul (3) The Deed of Partition executed by private respondents is DECLARED not
private respondents’ title over the land. There is no evidence showing failure binding upon petitioners who were not notified or did not participate in the
or neglect on their part, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, execution thereof;
to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done (4) The subject property, covered by TCTs No. 165132, No. 165133, 165134,
earlier. The doctrine of stale demands would apply only where for the reason and No. 165135, in the name of private respondents consisting of 535 square
of the lapse of time, it would be inequitable to allow a party to enforce his meters is ORDERED to be partitioned and distributed in accordance with this
legal rights. Decision and appropriate certificates of title be issued in favor of each of the
Moreover, absence any strong or compelling reason, this Court is not recognized heirs of the late Cristobal Buenaventura, and
disposed to apply the doctrine of laches to prejudice or defeat the rights of (5) Petitioners are AWARDED the amount of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND
an owner. 29 Laches is a creation of equity and its application is controlled by (P100,000.00) PESOS as damages, to be paid by private respondents.
equitable considerations. Laches cannot be used to defeat justice or
perpetuate an injustice. Neither should its application be used to prevent the Costs against private respondents.
rightful owners of a property from recovering what has been fraudulently SO ORDERED.
registered in the name of another. 30

Considering that (1) petitioners were unlawfully deprived of their legal


participation in the partition of the subject property; (2) this case has dragged
on for more than a decade, and (3) undoubtedly, petitioners sustained injury
but the exact amount of which, unfortunately, was not proved, we find it
reasonable to grant in petitioners’ favor nominal damages. Nominal damages
is adjudicated in order that a right of the plaintiff, which has been violated
and invaded by defendant, may be vindicated and recognized, and not for the
purpose of indemnifying the plaintiff for any loss suffered. 31 Where these are
allowed, they are not treated as an equivalent of a wrong but simply in
recognition of the existence of a technical injury. The amount to be awarded
as such damages should at least be commensurate to the injury sustained by
the petitioners considering the concept and purpose of said damages. 32 Such
HEIRS OF DICMAN VS CARINO controversy, had been employed by Sioco Cariño as his cattle herder. On the
advice of his lawyers, and because there were already many parcels of land
recorded in his name,4 Sioco Cariño caused the survey of the land in
G.R. No. 146459 June 8, 2006 controversy in the name of Ting-el Dicman.
HEIRS OF DICMAN, namely: ERNESTO DICMAN, PAUL DICMAN, FLORENCE On October 22, 1928, Ting-el Dicman executed a public instrument entitled
DICMAN FELICIANO TORRES, EMILY TORRES, TOMASITO TORRES and HEIRS "Deed of Conveyance of Part Rights and Interests in Agricultural Land" with
OF CRISTINA ALAWAS and BABING COSIL, * Petitioners, Sioco Cariño. The deed reads:
vs.
JOSE CARIÑO and COURT OF APPEALS, Respondents. DEED OF CONVEYANCE OF PART RIGHTS AND
INTERESTS IN AGRICULTURAL LAND.
DECISION
KNOW ALL PERSONS BY THESE PRESENTS:
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
That I, Ting-el Diac-man, of legal age, widower, and resident of the sitio
This refers to the petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules known as "Atab", near Camp Seven, City of Baguio, Philippine Islands, DO
of Court questioning the Decision1dated June 30, 2000 of the Court of Appeals HEREBY STATE, viz: —
(CA) in C.A.-G.R. CV No. 33731, which affirmed in toto the Decision dated
November 28, 1990 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 7 (Baguio City), That I am the applicant for a free-patent of a parcel of land (public), having a
La Trinidad, Benguet; and the CA Resolution dated December 15, 2000 which surface of over ten (10) hectares, surveyed by the District Land Office of
denied the petitioners’ motion for reconsideration. Baguio for me, and located in the place known as Camp Seven, Baguio;

The petition originated from an action for recovery of possession of the That to-date I have not as yet received the plan for said survey;
eastern half of a parcel of land situated in Residence Section "J", Camp Seven, That Mr. Sioco Cariño has advanced all expenses for said survey for me and
Baguio City, consisting of 101,006 square meters, more or less, and identified in my name, and also all other expenses for the improvement of said land, to
as Lot 46, Ts-39, Plan SWO-37115.2 date;
The antecedent facts are clear: That for and in consideration of said advance expenses, to me made and
The subject land, at the turn of the 20th century, had been part of the land delivered by said Mr. Sioco Cariño, I hereby pledge and promise to convey,
claim of Mateo Cariño. Within this site, a sawmill and other buildings had deliver and transfer unto said Sioco Cariño, of legal age, married to Guilata
been constructed by H.C. Heald in connection with his lumber business. On Acop, and resident of Baguio, P.I., his heirs and assigns, one half (1/2) of my
March 14, 1916, H.C. Heald sold the buildings to Sioco Cariño, son of Mateo title, rights, and interest to and in the aforesaid parcel of land; same to be
Cariño and grandfather of private respondent Jose Cariño. Sioco Cariño then delivered, conveyed and transferred in a final form, according to law, to him,
took possession of the buildings and the land on which the buildings were his heirs and assigns, by me, my heirs, and assigns, as soon as title for the
situated. same is issued to me by proper authorities.

Ting-el Dicman,3 predecessor-in-interest of the petitioners, namely, Ernesto That this conveyance, transfer, or assignment, notwithstanding its temporary
Dicman, Paul Dicman, Florence Dicman, Babing Cosil, Feliciano Torres, nature, shall have legal force and effect; once it is approved by the approving
Cristina Alawas, Emily Torres and Tomasito Torres, and resident of Atab, a authorities all the final papers and documents, this instrument shall be
sitio within the City of Baguio but located at some distance from the land in considered superseded.
After I have received my title to said parcel of land I bind myself, my heirs and In a letter dated January 15, 1938, Sioco Cariño asked his son, Guzman Cariño,
assigns, to execute the final papers and forward same for approval of the who had been doing business in Damortis, Sto. Tomas, La Union, to take
competent authorities at Mr. Sioco Cariño’s expense. possession of the subject land and building.7 Guzman Cariño moved to Baguio
as requested and occupied the property. Evidence was adduced in the RTC to
WITNESS MY HAND in the City of Baguio, P.I., this, the 22nd day of October,
the effect that Guzman Cariño took possession of the property publicly,
1928, A.D.
peacefully, and in the concept of owner: the directory of Baguio Telephones
his right thumbmark5 published in October 1940 lists the residence of Guzman A. Cariño at Camp 7,
TING-EL DIAC-MAN Baguio City, along with his telephone number; pictures were taken of him and
his family, including the private respondent who was then an infant, depicting
After the execution of the foregoing deed, Sioco Cariño, who had been in the property in the background; U.S. Army authorities obtained permission
possession of the land in controversy since 1916, continued to stay thereon. from Guzman Cariño to use a part of the land in question after the war; he
On January 10, 1938, Sioco Cariño executed, as seller, a public instrument introduced various improvements on the property over the years and
entitled "Deed of Absolute Sale" covering the subject land and its exercised acts of ownership over them; he permitted the use of portions of
improvements with his son, Guzman Cariño, as buyer. The contract states in the land to Governor Eulogio Rodriguez, Jr. and the Boy Scouts of Rizal
part: Province; he leased out portions of the land to Bayani Pictures, Inc.; and his
neighbors confirmed the possession and occupation over the property of
x x x for and in consideration of the sum of ONE PESO (P 1.00) Philippine Guzman Cariño and, after him, his son, herein private respondent Jose Cariño.
Currency and other valuable considerations which I had received from my These findings of fact were either confirmed or uncontroverted by the CA.8
son, Guzman A. Cariño x x x have ceded, transferred and conveyed as by these
presents do hereby cede, convey and transfer unto the [sic] said Guzman A. On July 27, 1954, Guzman Cariño had the entire Lot 46 resurveyed so as to
Cariño, his heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, all my rights, title, indicate the half portion that belonged to him and the other half that
interests in and participation to that parcel of land (public) covered by an belonged to the petitioners. The resurvey evenly divided the lot into Lot 76-
application for free patent with a surface area of Ten (10) hectares, surveyed A and 76-B, and purportedly indicated that Lot 76-A, consisting of 50,953
by the District Land Office of Baguio in the name of Pingel Dicman, and who square meters, belonged to the petitioners, while Lot 76-B, also consisting of
ceded, conveyed and transferred one half of his title, rights and interests to 50,953 square meters, formerly pertained to Sioco Cariño and, later, to
me under an instrument executed by the said owner in the city of Baguio, Guzman Cariño. Additionally, the resurvey indicated the house where private
Philippines, on the 22nd day of October, 1928 A.D. and duly ratified before respondent Jose Cariño resided and, before him, where his predecessors-in-
Notary Public x x x together with all improvements therein, consisting of interest, Sioco and Guzman Cariño, also resided.
oranges, mangoes, and other fruit trees and a building of strong materials On May 23, 1955, Guzman Cariño filed a Free Patent Application over the land
(half finished) x x x, which building was purchased by me from H.C. Heald on in question. The application was given due course, but Guzman later
March 14, 1916, free from all liens and encumbrances, with full rights and withdrew it when he decided to file his opposition to the petition later filed
authority to the said Guzman A. Cariño to perfect his claim with any by the heirs of Ting-el Dicman. This petition, entitled "Petition of the Heirs of
government agency the proper issuance of such patent or title as may be Dicman to Reopen Civil Reservation Case No. 1, G.L.R.O. 211," was filed by
permitted to him under existing laws. Felipe Dicman, Bobing Dicman and Cating Dicman, in their capacity as
x x x x6 compulsory heirs of Ting-el Dicman on April 24, 1959 with the Court of First
Instance of Baguio. The petition sought to establish ownership over Lot 76-A
and Lot 76-B which, taken together, covered an area of 10.1006 hectares.
Guzman Cariño opposed the petition insofar as he insisted ownership over After the dismissal of the case, Guzman Cariño was left undisturbed in his
Lot 76-B, the land in controversy. The Estate of Sioco Cariño likewise filed an possession of the subject property until his death on August 19, 1982. His
opposition. remains are buried on the land in question, next to the large house purchased
in 1916 by his father, Sioco Cariño (the grandfather of private respondent),
On March 6, 1963, the trial court rendered a partial judgment and confirmed
from H.C. Heald. Guzman’s widow and son, private respondent Jose Sioco C.
that the title over Lot 76-A belonged to the heirs of Ting-el Dicman, there
Cariño, continued possession of the subject property.10
having been no adverse claim. But as to Lot 76-B, the trial court found it
necessary to hold further hearing in order to decide on the adverse claims of On April 20, 1983, petitioners, suing as compulsory heirs of Ting-el Dicman,
the parties. revived the foregoing case by filing a complaint for recovery of possession
with damages involving the subject property with the RTC, docketed as Civil
Meanwhile, on January 8, 1960, while the foregoing petition was pending in
Case No. 59-R. As earlier stated, petitioners, then complainants, originally
the trial court, President Carlos P. Garcia issued Proclamation No. 628
sought to recover possession of the eastern half of the parcel of land situated
"excluding from the operation of the Baguio Townsite Reservation certain
in Residence Section "J", Camp Seven, Baguio City, consisting of 101,006
parcels of public land known as ‘Igorot Claims’ situated in the City of Baguio
square meters, more or less, and identified as Lot 46, Ts-39, Plan SWO-37115.
and declaring the same open to disposition under the provisions of Chapter
VII of the Public Land Act." The Proclamation further provided that the "Igorot Petitioners, then plaintiffs, averred in their complaint:
Claims" enumerated therein shall be "subject to the condition that except in
10. That however, this Honorable Court was not able to decide the [ ] petition
favor of the government or any of its branches, units, or institutions, lands
for reopening as far as the remaining eastern half portion of the above-
acquired by virtue of this proclamation shall not be encumbered or alienated
described property is concerned due to the fact that the said petition was
within a period of fifteen years from and after the date of issuance of patent."
dismissed for alleged lack of jurisdiction; x x x
One such claim pertained to the "Heirs of Dicman," to wit:
11. That because of the above-mentioned dismissal, the conflict between
Name Lot No. Survey Plan Residence Section Area (Sq.m.)
herein plaintiffs and defendant over the half eastern portion of the above-
Heirs of 46 Swo-37115 "J" 101,006 described property which was one of the issues supposed to be decided in
the said judicial reopening case remains undecided;
Dicman
12. That after the dismissal of the abovementioned petition and before the
Before the trial court could dispose of the case, the Supreme Court
dispute between herein plaintiffs and defendant over the eastern half portion
promulgated Republic v. Marcos9 which held that Courts of First Instance of
of the above-described property, defendant unlawfully and illegally continue
Baguio have no jurisdiction to reopen judicial proceedings on the basis of
to occupy portion [sic] of the above-described property to the clear damage
Republic Act No. 931. As a consequence, on July 28, 1978, the trial court
and prejudice of herein plaintiffs;
dismissed the petition to reopen Civil Reservation Case No. 1, G.L.R.O. 211
insofar as Lot 76-B was concerned, and the certificate of title issued pursuant 13. That the defendant has no valid claim of ownership and possession over
to the partial decision involving Lot 76-A was invalidated. The trial court any of the portions of the above-described property;
stated that the remedy for those who were issued titles was to file a petition
14. That plaintiffs and their predecessors-in-interest have been religiously
for revalidation under Presidential Decree No. 1271, as amended by
paying the realty taxes covering the above-described property x x x11
Presidential Decrees No. 1311 and 2034.
Private respondent Jose Cariño filed his answer and prayed for dismissal. He land in question;13 that no tax declaration over the land declared in the name
alleged that his predecessors-in-interest had acquired the land by onerous of the Estate of Sioco Cariño had been submitted as evidence, and that the
title through the "Deed of Absolute Sale" dated January 10, 1938 executed by intervenor-estate presented tax declarations over the building only; that it
his grandfather, Sioco Cariño, as seller, and his father, Guzman Cariño, as was Guzman Cariño alone who declared for taxation purposes both the land
buyer; that the property was earlier acquired by Sioco Cariño by virtue of the and the improvements thereon in his name;14 that there is no evidence to the
"Deed of Conveyance of Part Rights and Interests in Agricultural Land" dated
effect that petitioners ever filed any action to challenge the validity of the
October 22, 1928 executed between Sioco Cariño and Ting-el Dicman; and
"Deed of Conveyance of Part Rights and Interests in Agricultural Land" dated
that he has been in possession of the subject property for 55 years peacefully,
October 22, 1928; that even assuming that this instrument may be invalid for
in good faith, and in concept of owner and therefore perfected title over the
whatever reason, the fact remains that Sioco Cariño and his successors-in-
same through acquisitive prescription.
interest had been in possession of the subject property publicly, adversely,
On June 13, 1983, the administratrix of the Estate of Sioco Cariño filed a continuously and in concept of owner for at least 55 years before the filing of
motion to intervene with the RTC. On July 1, 1983, the RTC granted said the action;15 that Sioco’s successor, Guzman Cariño, had been in open and
motion. On July 11, 1983, the Estate of Sioco Cariño filed its Complaint-in- continuous possession of the property in good faith and in the concept of
Intervention, praying for quieting of title among the adverse claimants. owner from 1938 until his death in 1982 and, hence, the Estate of Sioco
Cariño has lost all rights to recover possession from Guzman Cariño or his
The RTC, through an ocular inspection on February 15, 1984, found that the
heirs and assigns; and that although the Estate of Sioco Cariño attempted to
larger building still stands on the land in controversy and, together with the
assail the genuineness and due execution of the "Deed of Absolute Sale"
surrounding area, constituted the residence and was in the possession of
dated January 10, 1938 executed by Sioco Cariño in favor of his son, Guzman
private respondent and his family.
Cariño, the challenge failed since no evidence had been adduced to support
On November 28, 1990, the RTC rendered its decision in favor of private the allegation of forgery.16
respondent, the dispositive portion of which states:
On January 23, 1991, petitioners seasonably filed their notice of appeal. The
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, judgment is hereby rendered as follows: RTC, however, denied the motion for reconsideration and motion to admit
appeal filed by the Estate of Sioco Cariño on July 3, 1991 for being filed out of
1. Plaintiffs’ complaint is hereby DISMISSED; time.
2. Plaintiffs’-Intervenors complaint-in-intervention is hereby dismissed; Petitioners raised the following issues before the Court of Appeals:
3. Defendant is hereby declared the lawful possessor and as the party who 1. THE HONORABLE TRIAL COURT SERIOUSLY ERRED IN NOT CONSIDERING
has the better right over the land subject matter [sic] of this action and as THE DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE OF THE PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS AND THE
such he may apply for the confirmation of his title thereto in accordance with STRAIGHTFORWARD DECLARATIONS OF THEIR WITNESS.
law (R.A. No. 894012 )[.] Defendant’s counterclaim is dismissed;
2. THE HONORABLE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONSIDERING THE DEED OF
4. Costs is [sic] adjudged against the plaintiff and plaintiff-intervenor. CONVEYANCE [OF] PART RIGHTS AND INTERESTS IN AGRICULTURAL LAND
SO ORDERED. EXECUTED BY DICMAN IN FAVOR OF SIOCO CARIÑO DESPITE ITS NULLITY.

To support its ruling, the RTC found that the tax declarations and their 3. THE HONORABLE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DECLARING DEFENDANT-
revisions submitted as evidence by the petitioners made no reference to the APPELLEE TO HAVE A BETTER RIGHT TO THE PROPERTY IN DISPUTE.
4. THE HONORABLE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN DISMISSING THE COMPLAINT THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN THE APPLICATION OF THE RULING IN
AND NOT GRANTING THE RELIEFS PRAYED FOR THEREIN. BORROMEO V. FRANCO (5 PHIL 49 [1905]) THAT AN AGREEMENT ON THE
PART OF THE PARTY TO A CONTRACT TO PERFECT THE TITLE PAPERS TO A
On June 30, 2000, the CA dismissed the petition and affirmed in toto the
CERTAIN PROPERTY WITHIN A CERTAIN TIME IS NOT A CONDITION
ruling of the RTC. On December 15, 2000, the CA issued a Resolution denying
SUBSEQUENT OR ESSENTIAL OF THE OBLIGATION TO SELL [sic].
petitioners’ motion for reconsideration.
C.
The CA based its ruling on the following reasons: that the petitioners raised
for the first time on appeal the issue on whether the "Deed of Conveyance of THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE PROPERTY SUBJECT OF
Part Rights and Interests in Agricultural Land" is void ab initio under Sections LITIGATION AND OVER WHICH RESPONDENT’S IMPROVEMENTS ARE BUILT
145 and 146 of the Administrative Code of Mindanao and Sulu17 (which was BELONGS TO RESPONDENT NOTWITHSTANDING UNCONTROVERTED
made applicable later to the Mountain Province and Nueva Viscaya by Act EVIDENCE THAT PETITIONERS’ PREDECESSOR-IN-INTEREST PING-EL DICMAN
2798, as amended by Act 2913, and then to all other cultural minorities found HAD APPLIED FOR FREE PATENT OVER THE SUBJECT AREA AND HAD BEEN
within the national territory by virtue of Section 120 of the Public Land Act18 ) ISSUED PLAN SWO-37115 IN HIS NAME BY THE BUREAU OF LANDS IN 1954
and, hence, cannot be considered by the reviewing court;19 that, even if this AND HAD BEEN IN ACTUAL, OPEN, PEACEFUL, ADVERSE AND CONTINUOUS
issue were considered, the records fail to show that Ting-el Dicman, though POSSESSION OF THE PROPERTY SINCE THE EARLY 1900s UNTIL HIS DEATH
an Igorot, is a non-Christian and, hence, the foregoing laws are not WHEN HIS GRANCHILDREN AND SUCCESSORS-IN-INTEREST, THE
applicable;20 that there was sufficient proof of consideration for the said PETITIONERS, TOOK OVER AND CONTINUED THE POSSESSION OF THEIR
deed;21 and that even if the deed were a mere contract to sell and not an GRANDFATHER, PING-EL DICMAN.
absolute sale, under Borromeo v. Franco22 the obligation on the part of the
On March 2, 2001, petitioners filed their Manifestation and Motion to
purchaser to perfect the title papers within a certain time is not a condition
Substitute Babing Cosil and Cristina Alawas With Their Respective Heirs
subsequent nor essential to the obligation to sell, but rather the same is an
stating, among others, that Julio F. Dicman, son of petitioner Ernesto Dicman,
incidental undertaking the failure to comply therewith not being a bar to the
had been appointed by the petitioners to sign the petition for and in their
sale agreed upon.23
behalf, but due to distance and time constraints between Makati City and
On February 12, 2001, petitioners, through newly retained counsel, filed their Baguio, he was not able to submit the same in time for the deadline for the
petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. petition on February 12, 2001. Petitioners attached the Special Power of
Attorney seeking to formalize the appointment of Julio F. Dicman as their
Petitioners raise the following grounds for the petition:
attorney-in-fact and to ratify his execution of the verification and certification
A. of non-forum shopping for and on behalf of the petitioners.

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE PROVISIONS OF ACT NO. On March 15, 2001, private respondent filed with this Court a Motion for
2798 ARE NOT APPLICABLE TO THE "DEED OF CONVEYANCE" EXECUTED BY Leave of Court to File Motion to Dismiss and/or Deny Due Course, arguing
PING-EL DICMAN ON THE GROUNDS THAT THERE IS NO PROOF THAT HE WAS that the petition failed to comply with the requirements for verification and
A NON-CHRISTIAN AND THAT BAGUIO CITY IS NOT COVERED BY THE SAID certification of non-forum shopping. The affiant of the petition, according to
ACT. private respondent, is not a principal party in the case; rather, he is merely
the son of Ernesto Dicman, one of the petitioners. The verification and
B. certification reads:
VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION one who signs the verification and certification has been authorized to
execute the same by, and on behalf of, the co-plaintiff or co-petitioner.28 But
I, JULIO F. DICMAN, of legal age, Filipino, with residence address at Camp 7,
it must be stressed that the requirement the principal party himself should
Montecillo Road, Baguio City, after being first duly sworn in accordance with
sign the certification applies only to a natural person and not to a juridical
law, do hereby depose and state:
person which can only act through its officer or duly authorized agent.29
1. I am one of the petitioners in the above-entitled case;
However, the Court has also held that the rules on forum shopping were
x x x (emphasis supplied) designed to promote and facilitate the orderly administration of justice and
thus should not be interpreted with such absolute literalness as to subvert its
To private respondent, since Ernesto Dicman, one of the petitioners, appears own ultimate and legitimate objective. The rule of substantial compliance
to be alive, he excludes his son as the successor-in-interest of Ting-el Dicman. may be availed of with respect to the contents of the certification. This is
The verification, therefore, is false in view of the statement under oath that because the requirement of strict compliance with the provisions regarding
Julio F. Dicman is a petitioner when in fact he is not, and should be cause for the certification of non-forum shopping merely underscores its mandatory
the dismissal of the case and indirect contempt of court, without prejudice to nature in that the certification cannot be altogether dispensed with or its
administrative and criminal action. requirements completely disregarded.30 Thus, under justifiable
On May 2, 2001, in their Manifestation and Motion for Leave to File the circumstances, the Court has relaxed the rule requiring the submission of
Attached Reply and Reply, petitioners argued that while it may be true that such certification considering that although it is obligatory, it is not
the verification and certification to the petition were signed by Julio F. jurisdictional.31lawphil.net
Dicman, the son of one of the petitioners, they subsequently confirmed his But a perusal of the relevant decisions handed down by this Court
authority to sign on behalf of all the petitioners through the Special Power of consistently shows that substantial compliance may be invoked and the
Attorney submitted to the Court in a Manifestation and Motion to Substitute procedural lapse overlooked provided that, where the petitioner is a natural
Babing Cosil and Cristina Alawas With Their Respective Heirs filed on March person as in the case at bar, the authorized signatory must also be a principal
2, 2001. Petitioners invoked substantial compliance and prayed that the party or co-petitioner.32 Petitioners, as natural persons, cannot therefore
Court overlook the procedural lapse in the interest of substantial justice. The appoint a non-party to sign for them, especially since only the petitioners
parties thereafter submitted their respective memoranda. occupy the best position to know whether they actually filed or caused the
The petition must be dismissed on the following grounds: filing of a petition in this case and who personally know the facts stated in the
petition. On this point alone the petition should be dismissed.
1. Section 5, Rule 7 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, which requires the
pleader to submit a certificate of non-forum shopping to be executed by the 2. It is a settled rule that in the exercise of the Supreme Court’s power of
plaintiff or principal party, is mandatory, and non-compliance therewith is a review, the Court is not a trier of facts and does not normally undertake the
sufficient ground for the dismissal of the petition.24 The forum shopping re-examination of the evidence presented by the contending parties during
certification must be signed by the party himself as he has personal the trial of the case considering that the findings of facts of the CA are
knowledge of the facts therein stated.25 Obviously, it is the plaintiff or conclusive and binding on the Court. While jurisprudence has recognized
principal party who is in the best position to know whether he actually filed several exceptions in which factual issues may be resolved by this Court,
or caused the filing of a petition in the case.26 Where there are two or more namely: (1) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises
plaintiffs or petitioners, all of them must sign the verification and non-forum or conjectures; (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd
certification, and the signature of only one of them is insufficient,27 unless the or impossible; (3) when there is grave abuse of discretion; (4) when the
judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when the findings of and arguments raised belatedly would amount to trampling on the basic
facts are conflicting; (6) when in making its findings the CA went beyond the principles of fair play, justice and due process.36
issues of the case, or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the
4. Even if this Court should declare the sale null and void or the agreement
appellant and the appellee; (7) when the findings are contrary to the trial
merely a contract to sell subject to a suspensive condition that has yet to
court; (8) when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific
occur, private respondent nonetheless acquired ownership over the land in
evidence on which they are based; (9) when the facts set forth in the petition
question through acquisitive prescription.37
as well as in the petitioner’s main and reply briefs are not disputed by the
respondent; (10) when the findings of fact are premised on the supposed The records show that as early as 1938, the land in controversy had been in
absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record; and (11) the possession of Guzman Cariño, predecessor-in-interest of private
when the CA manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the respondent, continuously, publicly, peacefully, in concept of owner, and in
parties, which, if properly considered, could justify a different good faith with just title, to the exclusion of the petitioners and their
conclusion,33 none of these exceptions has been shown to apply in the predecessors-in-interest, well beyond the period required under law to
present case and, hence, this Court may not review the findings of fact made acquire title by acquisitive prescription which, in this case, is 10 years.38 The
by the lower courts. findings of fact of the lower courts, and which this Court has no reason to
disturb, inescapably point to this conclusion: immediately after the "Deed of
3. Petitioners argue on appeal that the "Deed of Conveyance of Part Rights
Absolute Sale," a public instrument dated January 10, 1938, had been
and Interests in Agricultural Land" dated October 22, 1928 executed between
executed by Sioco Cariño in favor of his son, Guzman Cariño (the father of
Sioco Cariño and Ting-el Dicman is void ab initio for lack of approval of
private respondent), the latter immediately occupied the property; the 1940
competent authorities as required under Section 145 in relation to Section
directory of Baguio Telephones lists his residence at Camp 7, Baguio City
146 of the Administrative Code of Mindanao and Sulu, the application of
along with his telephone number; his permitting the use of portions of the
which was later extended to the Mountain Province and Nueva Viscaya and,
property to various third parties; his introduction of improvements over the
thereafter, throughout the entire national territory;34 that the sale was
land in controversy; the testimonial accounts of his neighbors; and that it was
without valid consideration; and that the said deed is not an absolute sale but
Guzman Cariño alone who declared for tax purposes both the land and the
merely a contract to sell subject to the suspensive condition that the papers
improvements thereon in his name, while the tax declarations of the other
evidencing the title must first be perfected. These arguments were lumped
claimants made no reference to the subject property.39 Although arguably
under the following issue in their appeal to the CA:
Sioco Cariño may not have been the owner of the subject property when he
2. THE HONORABLE TRIAL COURT ERRED IN CONSIDERING THE DEED OF executed the "Deed of Absolute Sale" in 1938 in favor of his son, the
CONVEYANCE [OF] PART RIGHTS AND INTERESTS IN AGRICULTURAL LAND requirement of just title is nonetheless satisfied, which means that the mode
EXECUTED BY DICMAN IN FAVOR OF SIOCO CARIÑO DESPITE ITS NULLITY. of transferring ownership should ordinarily have been valid and true, had the
grantor been the owner.40 By the time the successors-in-interest of Ting-el
The foregoing issue and the incidents thereunder were never raised by the
Dicman sought to establish ownership over the land in controversy by filing
petitioners during the proceedings before the RTC. Suffice it to say that issues
their "Petition of the Heirs of Dicman to Reopen Civil Reservation Case No. 1,
raised for the first time on appeal and not raised timely in the proceedings in
G.L.R.O. 211" on April 24, 1959 with the trial court, and which Guzman timely
the lower court are barred by estoppel.35 Matters, theories or arguments not
opposed, more than 20 years had already elapsed. Thus, the 10-year period
brought out in the original proceedings cannot be considered on review or
for acquisitive prescription is deemed satisfied well before Guzman’s
appeal where they are raised for the first time. To consider the alleged facts
possession can be said to be civilly interrupted by the filing of the foregoing
petition to reopen.41 After the dismissal of that case on July 28, 1978, Guzman
Cariño was left undisturbed in his possession of the subject property until his 2. b. Delay in asserting the complainant’s rights, the complainant having had
death on August 19, 1982. His remains are buried on the land in question. knowledge or notice, of the defendant’s conduct and having been afforded
Thereafter, Guzman’s widow and son, herein private respondent, continued an opportunity to institute a suit;
possession of the subject property in the same manner. When petitioners,
3. c. Lack of knowledge or notice on the part of the defendant that the
heirs of Ting-el Dicman, tried to revive the case on April 20, 1983, they had,
complainant would assert the right on which he bases his suit; and
far before that time, lost all rights to recover possession or ownership.
d. Injury or prejudice to the defendant in the event relief is accorded to the
5. Prescinding from the issue on prescription, the petitioners and their
complainant, or the suit is not held to be barred.50
predecessors-in-interest are nonetheless guilty of laches.
As correctly held by the RTC, there is no evidence to the effect that Ting-el
Laches has been defined as such neglect or omission to assert a right, taken
Dicman or his successors-in-interest ever filed any action to question the
in conjunction with the lapse of time and other circumstances causing
validity of the "Deed of Conveyance of Part Rights and Interests in Agricultural
prejudice to an adverse party, as will operate as a bar in equity.42 It is a delay
Land" after its execution on October 22, 192851 despite having every
in the assertion of a right which works disadvantage to another43 because of
opportunity to do so. Nor was any action to recover possession of the
the inequity founded on some change in the condition or relations of the
property from Guzman Cariño instituted anytime prior to April 24, 1959, a
property or parties.44 It is based on public policy which, for the peace of
time when the period for acquisitive prescription, reckoned from Guzman’s
society,45ordains that relief will be denied to a stale demand which otherwise
occupation of the property in 1938, had already transpired in his favor. No
could be a valid claim.46 It is different from and applies independently of
evidence likewise appears on the record that Sioco Cariño or his Estate ever
prescription. While prescription is concerned with the fact of delay, laches is
filed any action to contest the validity of the "Deed of Absolute Sale" dated
concerned with the effect of delay. Prescription is a matter of time; laches is
January 10, 1938.52 Though counsel for the Estate of Sioco Cariño tried to
principally a question of inequity of permitting a claim to be enforced, this
assail the deed as a forgery in the trial court, the attempt failed and no appeal
inequity being founded on some change in the condition of the property or
was lodged therefrom. It will be difficult for this Court to assume that the
the relation of the parties. Prescription is statutory; laches is not. Laches
petitioners and their predecessors were all the while ignorant of the adverse
applies in equity, whereas prescription applies at law. Prescription is based
possession of private respondent and his predecessors given the publicity of
on a fixed time, laches is not.47 Laches means the failure or neglect for an
their conduct and the nature of their acts. Private respondent and his
unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, by exercising
predecessors-in-interest were made to feel secure in the belief that no action
due diligence, could or should have been done earlier; it is negligence or
would be filed against them by such passivity. There is no justifiable reason
omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting the
for petitioners’ delay in asserting their rights—the facts in their entirety show
presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned or
that they have slept on them. For over 30 years reckoned from the "Deed of
declined to assert it.48 It has been held that even a registered owner of
Conveyance of Part Rights and Interests in Agricultural Land" dated October
property under the Torrens Title system may be barred from recovering
22, 1928, or 20 years reckoned from the "Deed of Absolute Sale" dated
possession of property by virtue of laches.49
January 10, 1938, they neglected to take positive steps to assert their
Given the foregoing findings of fact, all the four (4) elements of laches, as dominical claim over the property. With the exception of forgery, all other
prescribed by the decisions of this Court, are present in the case, to wit: issues concerning the validity of the two instruments abovementioned, as
well as the averment that the former was in the nature of a contract to sell,
1. a. Conduct on the part of the defendant, or of one under whom he claims,
were issues raised only for the first time on appeal and cannot therefore be
giving rise to the situation of which complaint is made and for which the
taken up at this late a stage. The features of this case are not new. The Court
complaint seeks a remedy;
has on several occasions held in particular that despite the judicial pursuit of the loftiest ends ordained by the Constitution this Court finds that
pronouncement that the sale of real property by illiterate ethnic minorities is the law is clear and leaves no room for doubt, it shall decide according to the
null and void for lack of approval of competent authorities, the right to principles of right and justice as all people conceive them to be, and with due
recover possession has nonetheless been barred through the operation of the appreciation of the rights of all persons concerned.
equitable doctrine of laches.53
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED and the assailed Decision and
6. Petitioners argue that Proclamation No. 628 issued by then President Resolution of the Court of Appeals are AFFIRMED.
Carlos P. Garcia on January 8, 1960 had the effect of "segregating" and
No pronouncement as to costs.
"reserving" certain Igorot claims identified therein, including one purportedly
belonging to the "Heirs of Dicman," and prohibiting any encumbrance or SO ORDERED.
alienation of these claims for a period of 15 years from acquisition of patent.
But by the time the Proclamation had been issued, all rights over the property
in question had already been vested in private respondent. The executive
issuance can only go so far as to classify public land, but it cannot be
construed as to prejudice vested rights. Moreover, property rights may not
be altered or deprived by executive fiat alone without contravening the due
process guarantees54 of the Constitution and may amount to unlawful taking
of private property to be redistributed for public use without just
compensation.55

The recognition, respect, and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples


to preserve and develop their cultures, traditions, and institutions are vital
concerns of the State and constitute important public policies which bear
upon this case. To give life and meaning unto these policies the legislature
saw it fit to enact Republic Act No. 8371, otherwise known as The Indigenous
Peoples Rights Act of 1997, as a culminating measure to affirm the views and
opinions of indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities

on matters that affect their life and culture.56 The provisions of that law unify
an otherwise fragmented account of constitutional, jurisprudential and
statutory doctrine which enjoins the organs of government to be vigilant for
the protection of indigenous cultural communities as a marginalized
sector,57 to protect their ancestral domain and ancestral lands and ensure
their economic, social, and cultural well-being,58 and to guard their patrimony
from those inclined to prey upon their ignorance or ductility.59 As the final
arbiter of disputes and the last bulwark of the Rule of Law this Court has
always been mindful of the highest edicts of social justice especially where
doubts arise in the interpretation and application of the law. But when in the
SAFEGUARD SECURITY AGENCY VS TANGCO 2000.3 On appeal to the CA, the RTC decision was affirmed with modification
as to the penalty in a Decision4 dated July 31, 2000. Entry of Judgment was
made on August 25, 2001.
G.R. No. 165732 December 14, 2006
Meanwhile, on January 14, 1998, respondents filed with RTC, Branch 273,
SAFEGUARD SECURITY AGENCY, INC., and ADMER PAJARILLO, petitioners, Marikina City, a complaint5 for damages against Pajarillo for negligently
vs. shooting Evangeline and against Safeguard for failing to observe the diligence
LAURO TANGCO, VAL TANGCO, VERN LARRY TANGCO, VAN LAURO of a good father of a family to prevent the damage committed by its security
TANGCO, VON LARRIE TANGCO, VIEN LARI TANGCO and VIVIEN LAURIZ guard. Respondents prayed for actual, moral and exemplary damages and
TANGCO, respondent. attorney's fees.

In their Answer,6 petitioners denied the material allegations in the complaint


and alleged that Safeguard exercised the diligence of a good father of a family
DECISION in the selection and supervision of Pajarillo; that Evangeline's death was not
due to Pajarillo's negligence as the latter acted only in self-defense.
Petitioners set up a compulsory counterclaim for moral damages and
attorney's fees.
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: Trial thereafter ensued. On January 10, 2003, the RTC rendered its
Decision,7 the dispositive portion of which reads:
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari filed by Safeguard Security
Agency, Inc. (Safeguard) and Admer Pajarillo (Pajarillo) assailing the WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, the heirs
Decision1 dated July 16, 2004 and the Resolution2 dated October 20, 2004 of Evangeline Tangco, and against defendants Admer Pajarillo and Safeguard
issued by the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 77462. Security Agency, Inc. ordering said defendants to pay the plaintiffs, jointly and
severally, the following:
On November 3, 1997, at about 2:50 p.m., Evangeline Tangco (Evangeline)
went to Ecology Bank, Katipunan Branch, Quezon City, to renew her time 1. ONE HUNDRED FIFTY SEVEN THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED THIRTY PESOS
deposit per advise of the bank's cashier as she would sign a specimen card. (P157,430.00), as actual damages
Evangeline, a duly licensed firearm holder with corresponding permit to carry
the same outside her residence, approached security guard Pajarillo, who was 2. FIFTY THOUSAND PESOS (P50,000.00) as death indemnity;
stationed outside the bank, and pulled out her firearm from her bag to 3. ONE MILLION PESOS (P1,000,000.00), as moral damages;
deposit the same for safekeeping. Suddenly, Pajarillo shot Evangeline with his
service shotgun hitting her in the abdomen instantly causing her death. 4. THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P300,000.00), as exemplary
damages;
Lauro Tangco, Evangeline's husband, together with his six minor children
(respondents) filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, a 5. THIRTY THOUSAND PESOS (P30,000.00), as attorney's fees; and
criminal case of Homicide against Pajarillo, docketed as Criminal Case No. 0- 6. costs of suit.
97-73806 and assigned to Branch 78. Respondents reserved their right to file
a separate civil action in the said criminal case. The RTC of Quezon City For lack of merit, defendants' counterclaim is hereby DISMISSED.
subsequently convicted Pajarillo of Homicide in its Decision dated January 19,
SO ORDERED. 8 sentence in Muntinlupa, he must be adjudged civilly liable under the
provisions of Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code since the civil liability
The RTC found respondents to be entitled to damages. It rejected Pajarillo's
recoverable in the criminal action is one solely dependent upon conviction,
claim that he merely acted in self-defense. It gave no credence to Pajarillo's
because said liability arises from the offense charged and no other; that this
bare claim that Evangeline was seen roaming around the area prior to the
is also the civil liability that is deemed extinguished with the extinction of the
shooting incident since Pajarillo had not made such report to the head office
penal liability with a pronouncement that the fact from which the civil action
and the police authorities. The RTC further ruled that being the guard on duty,
might proceed does not exist; that unlike in civil liability arising from quasi-
the situation demanded that he should have exercised proper prudence and
delict, the defense of diligence of a good father of a family in the employment
necessary care by asking Evangeline for him to ascertain the matter instead
and supervision of employees is inapplicable and irrelevant in civil liabilities
of shooting her instantly; that Pajarillo had already been convicted of
based on crimes or ex-delicto; that Article 103 of the Revised Penal Code
Homicide in Criminal Case No. 0-97-73806; and that he also failed to proffer
provides that the liability of an employer for the civil liability of their
proof negating liability in the instant case.
employees is only subsidiary, not joint or solidary.
The RTC also found Safeguard as employer of Pajarillo to be jointly and
Petitioners filed their Motion for Reconsideration which the CA denied in a
severally liable with Pajarillo. It ruled that while it may be conceded that
Resolution dated October 20, 2004.
Safeguard had perhaps exercised care in the selection of its employees,
particularly of Pajarillo, there was no sufficient evidence to show that Hence, the instant Petition for Review on Certiorari with the following
Safeguard exercised the diligence of a good father of a family in the assignment of errors, to wit:
supervision of its employee; that Safeguard's evidence simply showed that it
The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in finding petitioner Pajarillo
required its guards to attend trainings and seminars which is not the
liable to respondents for the payment of damages and other money claims.
supervision contemplated under the law; that supervision includes not only
the issuance of regulations and instructions designed for the protection of The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred when it applied Article 103 of
persons and property, for the guidance of their servants and employees, but the Revised Penal Code in holding petitioner Safeguard solidarily [sic] liable
also the duty to see to it that such regulations and instructions are faithfully with petitioner Pajarillo for the payment of damages and other money claims.
complied with.
The Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in failing to find that petitioner
Petitioners appealed the RTC decision to the CA. On July 16, 2004, the CA Safeguard Security Agency, Inc. exercised due diligence in the selection and
issued its assailed Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads: supervision of its employees, hence, should be excused from any liability.10
IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED, The issues for resolution are whether (1) Pajarillo is guilty of negligence in
with the modification that Safeguard Security Agency, Inc.'s civil liability in shooting Evangeline; and (2) Safeguard should be held solidarily liable for the
this case is only subsidiary under Art. 103 of the Revised Penal Code. No damages awarded to respondents.
pronouncement as to costs.9
Safeguard insists that the claim for damages by respondents is based
In finding that Safeguard is only subsidiarily liable, the CA held that the on culpa aquiliana under Article 217611 of the Civil Code, in which case, its
applicable provisions are not Article 2180 in relation to Article 2176 of the liability is jointly and severally with Pajarillo. However, since it has established
Civil Code, on quasi-delicts, but the provisions on civil liability arising from that it had exercised due diligence in the selection and supervision of
felonies under the Revised Penal Code; that since Pajarillo had been found Pajarillo, it should be exonerated from civil liability.
guilty of Homicide in a final and executory judgment and is said to be serving
We will first resolve whether the CA correctly held that respondents, in filing enforced against the offender subject to the caveat under Article 2177 of the
a separate civil action against petitioners are limited to the recovery of Civil Code that the offended party cannot recover damages twice for the
damages arising from a crime or delict, in which case the liability of Safeguard same act or omission or under both causes.13
as employer under Articles 102 and 103 of the Revised Penal Code12 is
It is important to determine the nature of respondents' cause of action. The
subsidiary and the defense of due diligence in the selection and supervision
nature of a cause of action is determined by the facts alleged in the complaint
of employee is not available to it.
as constituting the cause of action.14 The purpose of an action or suit and the
The CA erred in ruling that the liability of Safeguard is only subsidiary. law to govern it is to be determined not by the claim of the party filing the
action, made in his argument or brief, but rather by the complaint itself, its
The law at the time the complaint for damages was filed is Rule 111 of the
allegations and prayer for relief.15
1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure, as amended, to wit:
The pertinent portions of the complaint read:
SECTION 1. Institution of criminal and civil actions. - When a criminal action is
instituted, the civil action for the recovery of civil liability is impliedly 7. That Defendant Admer A. Pajarillo was the guard assigned and posted in
instituted with the criminal action, unless the offended party waives the civil the Ecology Bank – Katipunan Branch, Quezon City, who was employed and
action, reserves his right to institute it separately, or institutes the civil action under employment of Safeguard Security Agency, Inc. hence there is
prior to the criminal action. employer-employee relationship between co-defendants.

Such civil action includes recovery of indemnity under the Revised Penal The Safeguard Security Agency, Inc. failed to observe the diligence of a good
Code, and damages under Articles 32, 33, 34, and 2176 of the Civil Code of father of a family to prevent damage to herein plaintiffs.
the Philippines arising from the same act or omission of the accused.
8. That defendant Admer Pajarillo upon seeing Evangeline Tangco, who
Respondents reserved the right to file a separate civil action and in fact filed brought her firearm out of her bag, suddenly without exercising necessary
the same on January 14, 1998. caution/care, and in idiotic manner, with the use of his shotgun, fired and
burst bullets upon Evangeline M. Tangco, killing her instantly. x x x
The CA found that the source of damages in the instant case must be the
crime of homicide, for which he had already been found guilty of and serving xxxx
sentence thereof, thus must be governed by the Revised Penal Code.
16. That defendants, being employer and the employee are jointly and
We do not agree. severally liable for the death of Evangeline M. Tangco.16

An act or omission causing damage to another may give rise to two separate Thus, a reading of respondents' complaint shows that the latter are invoking
civil liabilities on the part of the offender, i.e., (1) civil liability ex delicto, under their right to recover damages against Safeguard for their vicarious
Article 100 of the Revised Penal Code; and (2) independent civil liabilities, responsibility for the injury caused by Pajarillo's act of shooting and killing
such as those (a) not arising from an act or omission complained of as a Evangeline under Article 2176, Civil Code which provides:
felony, e.g., culpa contractual or obligations arising from law under Article 31
ARTICLE 2176. Whoever by act or omission causes damage to another, there
of the Civil Code, intentional torts under Articles 32 and 34, and culpa
being fault or negligence, is obliged to pay for the damage done. Such fault
aquiliana under Article 2176 of the Civil Code; or (b) where the injured party
or negligence, if there is no pre-existing contractual relation between the
is granted a right to file an action independent and distinct from the criminal
parties is called a quasi-delict and is governed by the provisions of this
action under Article 33 of the Civil Code. Either of these liabilities may be
Chapter.
The scope of Article 2176 is not limited to acts or omissions resulting from It would appear that plaintiffs instituted this action on the assumption that
negligence. In Dulay v. Court of Appeals,17 we held: defendant Pontino's negligence in the accident of May 10, 1969 constituted
a quasi-delict. The Court cannot accept the validity of that assumption. In
x x x Well-entrenched is the doctrine that Article 2176 covers not only acts
Criminal Case No. 92944 of this Court, plaintiffs had already appeared as
committed with negligence, but also acts which are voluntary and intentional.
complainants. While that case was pending, the offended parties reserved
As far back as the definitive case of Elcano v. Hill (77 SCRA 98 [1977]), this
the right to institute a separate civil action. If, in a criminal case, the right to
Court already held that:
file a separate civil action for damages is reserved, such civil action is to be
"x x x Article 2176, where it refers to "fault or negligence," covers not only based on crime and not on tort. That was the ruling in Joaquin vs. Aniceto, L-
acts "not punishable by law" but also acts criminal in character, whether 18719, Oct. 31, 1964.
intentional and voluntary or negligent. Consequently, a separate civil action
We do not agree. The doctrine in the case cited by the trial court is
lies against the offender in a criminal act, whether or not he is criminally
inapplicable to the instant case x x x.
prosecuted and found guilty or acquitted, provided that the offended party is
not allowed, if he is actually charged also criminally, to recover damages on xxxx
both scores, and would be entitled in such eventuality only to the bigger
In cases of negligence, the injured party or his heirs has the choice between
award of the two, assuming the awards made in the two cases vary. In other
an action to enforce the civil liability arising from crime under Article 100 of
words, the extinction of civil liability referred to in Par. (e) of Section 3, Rule
the Revised Penal Code and an action for quasi-delict under Article 2176-
111, refers exclusively to civil liability founded on Article 100 of the Revised
2194 of the Civil Code. If a party chooses the latter, he may hold the employer
Penal Code, whereas the civil liability for the same act considered as quasi-
solidarily liable for the negligent act of his employee, subject to the
delict only and not as a crime is not extinguished even by a declaration in the
employer's defense of exercise of the diligence of a good father of the family.
criminal case that the criminal act charged has not happened or has not been
committed by the accused. Briefly stated, We here hold, in reiteration of In the case at bar, the action filed by appellant was an action for damages
Garcia, that culpa aquiliana includes voluntary and negligent acts which may based on quasi-delict. The fact that appellants reserved their right in the
be punishable by law." (Emphasis supplied) criminal case to file an independent civil action did not preclude them from
choosing to file a civil action for quasi-delict.20 (Emphasis supplied)
The civil action filed by respondents was not derived from the criminal liability
of Pajarillo in the criminal case but one based on culpa aquiliana or quasi- Although the judgment in the criminal case finding Pajarillo guilty of Homicide
delict which is separate and distinct from the civil liability arising from is already final and executory, such judgment has no relevance or importance
crime.18 The source of the obligation sought to be enforced in the civil case is to this case.21 It would have been entirely different if respondents' cause of
a quasi-delict not an act or omission punishable by law. action was for damages arising from a delict, in which case the CA is correct
in finding Safeguard to be only subsidiary liable pursuant to Article 103 of the
In Bermudez v. Melencio-Herrera,19 where the issue involved was whether
Revised Penal Code.22
the civil action filed by plaintiff-appellants is founded on crime or on quasi-
delict, we held: As clearly shown by the allegations in the complaint, respondents' cause of
action is based on quasi-delict. Under Article 2180 of the Civil Code, when the
x x x The trial court treated the case as an action based on a crime in view of
injury is caused by the negligence of the employee, there instantly arises a
the reservation made by the offended party in the criminal case (Criminal
presumption of law that there was negligence on the part of the master or
Case No. 92944), also pending before the court, to file a separate civil action.
the employer either in the selection of the servant or employee, or in the
Said the trial court:
supervision over him after selection or both. The liability of the employer
under Article 2180 is direct and immediate. Therefore, it is incumbent upon pointed at him. Any movement could have prompted Evangeline to pull the
petitioners to prove that they exercised the diligence of a good father of a trigger to shoot him.
family in the selection and supervision of their employee.
Petitioner Pajarillo would like to justify his action in shooting Evangeline on
We must first resolve the issue of whether Pajarillo was negligent in shooting his mere apprehension that Evangeline will stage a bank robbery. However,
Evangeline. such claim is befuddled by his own testimony. Pajarillo testified that prior to
the incident, he saw Evangeline roaming under the fly over which was about
The issue of negligence is factual in nature. Whether a person is negligent or
10 meters away from the bank28 and saw her talking to a man thereat;29 that
not is a question of fact, which, as a general rule, we cannot pass upon in a
she left the man under the fly-over, crossed the street and approached the
petition for review on certiorari, as our jurisdiction is limited to reviewing
bank. However, except for the bare testimony of Pajarillo, the records do not
errors of law.23 Generally, factual findings of the trial court, affirmed by the
show that indeed Evangeline was seen roaming near the vicinity of the bank
CA, are final and conclusive and may not be reviewed on appeal. The
and acting suspiciously prior to the shooting incident. In fact, there is no
established exceptions are: (1) when the inference made is manifestly
evidence that Pajarillo called the attention of his head guard or the bank's
mistaken, absurd or impossible; (2) when there is grave abuse of discretion;
branch manager regarding his concerns or that he reported the same to the
(3) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculations, surmises or
police authorities whose outpost is just about 15 meters from the bank.
conjectures; (4) when the judgment of the CA is based on misapprehension
of facts; (5) when the findings of fact are conflicting; (6) when the CA, in Moreover, if Evangeline was already roaming the vicinity of the bank, she
making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case and the same is could have already apprised herself that Pajarillo, who was posted outside
contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee; (7) when the the bank, was armed with a shotgun; that there were two guards inside the
findings of fact are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which bank30manning the entrance door. Thus, it is quite incredible that if she really
they are based; (8) when the CA manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts had a companion, she would leave him under the fly-over which is 10 meters
not disputed by the parties and which, if properly considered, would justify a far from the bank and stage a bank robbery all by herself without a back-up.
different conclusion; and (9) when the findings of fact of the CA are premised In fact, she would have known, after surveying the area, that aiming her gun
on the absence of evidence and are contradicted by the evidence on at Pajarillo would not ensure entrance to the bank as there were guards
record. [24] manning the entrance door.

A thorough review of the records of the case fails to show any cogent reason Evidence, to be believed, must not only proceed from the mouth of a credible
for us to deviate from the factual finding of the trial court and affirmed by the witness, but it must be credible in itself — such as the common experience
CA that petitioner Pajarillo was guilty of negligence in shooting Evangeline. and observation of mankind can approve as probable under the
circumstances. We have no test of the truth of human testimony, except its
Respondents' evidence established that Evangeline's purpose in going to the
conformity to our knowledge, observation and experience. Whatever is
bank was to renew her time deposit.25On the other hand, Pajarillo claims that
repugnant to these belongs to the miraculous and is outside judicial
Evangeline drew a gun from her bag and aimed the same at him, thus, acting
cognizance.31
instinctively, he shot her in self-defense.
That Evangeline just wanted to deposit her gun before entering the bank and
Pajarillo testified that when Evangeline aimed the gun at him at a distance of
was actually in the act of pulling her gun from her bag when petitioner
about one meter or one arm's length26he stepped backward, loaded the
Pajarillo recklessly shot her, finds support from the contentions raised in
chamber of his gun and shot her.27 It is however unimaginable that petitioner
petitioners' petition for review where they argued that when Evangeline
Pajarillo could still make such movements if indeed the gun was already
approached the bank, she was seen pulling a gun from inside her bag and
petitioner Pajarillo who was suddenly beset by fear and perceived the act as supervision of its employee. Safeguard further claims that it conducts
a dangerous threat, shot and killed the deceased out of pure instinct;32 that monitoring of the activities of its personnel, wherein supervisors are assigned
the act of drawing a gun is a threatening act, regardless of whether or not the to routinely check the activities of the security guards which include among
gun was intended to be used against petitioner Pajarillo;33 that the fear that others, whether or not they are in their proper post and with proper
was created in the mind of petitioner Pajarillo as he saw Evangeline Tangco equipment, as well as regular evaluations of the employees' performances;
drawing a gun from her purse was suddenly very real and the former merely that the fact that Pajarillo loaded his firearm contrary to Safeguard's
reacted out of pure self-preservation.34 operating procedure is not sufficient basis to say that Safeguard had failed its
duty of proper supervision; that it was likewise error to say that Safeguard
Considering that unlawful aggression on the part of Evangeline is absent,
was negligent in seeing to it that the procedures and policies were not
Pajarillo's claim of self-defense cannot be accepted specially when such claim
properly implemented by reason of one unfortunate event.
was uncorroborated by any separate competent evidence other than his
testimony which was even doubtful. Pajarillo's apprehension that Evangeline We are not convinced.
will shoot him to stage a bank robbery has no basis at all. It is therefore clear
Article 2180 of the Civil Code provides:
that the alleged threat of bank robbery was just a figment of Pajarillo's
imagination which caused such unfounded unlawful aggression on his part. Art. 2180. The obligation imposed by Article 2176 is demandable not only for
one's own acts or omissions, but also for those of persons for whom one is
Petitioners argue that Evangeline was guilty of contributory negligence.
responsible.
Although she was a licensed firearm holder, she had no business bringing the
gun in such establishment where people would react instinctively upon xxxx
seeing the gun; that had Evangeline been prudent, she could have warned
Pajarillo before drawing the gun and did not conduct herself with suspicion Employers shall be liable for the damages caused by their employees and
by roaming outside the vicinity of the bank; that she should not have held the household helpers acting within the scope of their assigned tasks, even
gun with the nozzle pointed at Pajarillo who mistook the act as hold up or though the former are not engaged in any business or industry.
robbery. xxxx
We are not persuaded. The responsibility treated of in this article shall cease when the persons
As we have earlier held, Pajarillo failed to substantiate his claim that herein mentioned prove that they observed all the diligence of a good father
Evangeline was seen roaming outside the vicinity of the bank and acting of a family to prevent damage.
suspiciously prior to the shooting incident. Evangeline's death was merely As the employer of Pajarillo, Safeguard is primarily and solidarily liable for
due to Pajarillo's negligence in shooting her on his imagined threat that the quasi-delict committed by the former. Safeguard is presumed to be
Evangeline will rob the bank. negligent in the selection and supervision of his employee by operation of
Safeguard contends that it cannot be jointly held liable since it had law. This presumption may be overcome only by satisfactorily showing that
adequately shown that it had exercised the diligence required in the selection the employer exercised the care and the diligence of a good father of a family
and supervision of its employees. It claims that it had required the guards to in the selection and the supervision of its employee.
undergo the necessary training and to submit the requisite qualifications and In the selection of prospective employees, employers are required to
credentials which even the RTC found to have been complied with; that the examine them as to their qualifications, experience, and service records.35 On
RTC erroneously found that it did not exercise the diligence required in the the other hand, due diligence in the supervision of employees includes the
formulation of suitable rules and regulations for the guidance of employees collaboration with Safeguard. It was established that the concept of such
and the issuance of proper instructions intended for the protection of the training was purely on security of equipments to be guarded and protection
public and persons with whom the employer has relations through his or its of the life of the employees.43
employees and the imposition of necessary disciplinary measures upon
It had not been established that after Pajarillo's training in Toyota, Safeguard
employees in case of breach or as may be warranted to ensure the
had ever conducted further training of Pajarillo when he was later assigned
performance of acts indispensable to the business of and beneficial to their
to guard a bank which has a different nature of business with that of Toyota.
employer. To this, we add that actual implementation and monitoring of
In fact, Pajarillo testified that being on duty in a bank is different from being
consistent compliance with said rules should be the constant concern of the
on duty in a factory since a bank is a very sensitive area.44
employer, acting through dependable supervisors who should regularly
report on their supervisory functions.36 To establish these factors in a trial Moreover, considering his reactions to Evangeline's act of just depositing her
involving the issue of vicarious liability, employers must submit concrete firearm for safekeeping, i.e., of immediately shooting her, confirms that there
proof, including documentary evidence. was no training or seminar given on how to handle bank clients and on human
psychology.
We agree with the RTC's finding that Safeguard had exercised the diligence in
the selection of Pajarillo since the record shows that Pajarillo underwent a Furthermore, while Safeguard would like to show that there were inspectors
psychological and neuro-psychiatric evaluation conducted by the St. Martin who go around the bank two times a day to see the daily performance of the
de Porres Center where no psychoses ideations were noted, submitted a security guards assigned therein, there was no record ever presented of such
certification on the Pre-licensing training course for security guards, as well daily inspections. In fact, if there was really such inspection made, the alleged
as police and NBI clearances. suspicious act of Evangeline could have been taken noticed and reported.
The RTC did not err in ruling that Safeguard fell short of the diligence required Turning now to the award of damages, we find that the award of actual
in the supervision of its employee, particularly Pajarillo. In this case, while damages in the amount P157,430.00 which were the expenses incurred by
Safeguard presented Capt. James Camero, its Director for Operations, who respondents in connection with the burial of Evangeline were supported by
testified on the issuance of company rules and regulations, such as the receipts. The award of P50,000.00 as civil indemnity for the death of
Guidelines of Guards Who Will Be Assigned To Banks,37 Weapons Evangeline is likewise in order.
Training,38 Safeguard Training Center Marksmanship Training Lesson
Plan,39Disciplinary/Corrective Sanctions,40 it had also been established during As to the award of moral damages, Article 2206 of the Civil Code provides
Camero's cross-examination that Pajarillo was not aware of such rules and that the spouse, legitimate children and illegitimate descendants and
regulations.41 Notwithstanding Camero's clarification on his re-direct ascendants of the deceased may demand moral damages for mental anguish
examination that these company rules and regulations are lesson plans as a by reason of the death of the deceased. Moral damages are awarded to
basis of guidelines of the instructors during classroom instructions and not enable the injured party to obtain means, diversions or amusements that will
necessary to give students copy of the same,42 the records do not show that serve to alleviate the moral suffering he/she has undergone, by reason of the
Pajarillo had attended such classroom instructions. defendant's culpable action. Its award is aimed at restoration, as much as
possible, of the spiritual status quo ante; thus it must be proportionate to the
The records also failed to show that there was adequate training and suffering inflicted.45 The intensity of the pain experienced by the relatives of
continuous evaluation of the security guard's performance. Pajarillo had only the victim is proportionate to the intensity of affection for him and bears no
attended an in-service training on March 1, 1997 conducted by Toyota Sta. relation whatsoever with the wealth or means of the offender.46
Rosa, his first assignment as security guard of Safeguard, which was in
In this case, respondents testified as to their moral suffering caused by
Evangeline's death was so sudden causing respondent Lauro to lose a wife
and a mother to six children who were all minors at the time of her death.
In People v. Teehankee, Jr.,47 we awarded one million pesos as moral
damages to the heirs of a seventeen-year-old girl who was murdered.
In Metro Manila Transit Corporation v. Court of Appeals,48 we likewise
awarded the amount of one million pesos as moral damages to the parents
of a third year high school student and who was also their youngest child who
died in a vehicular accident since the girl's death left a void in their lives.
Hence, we hold that the respondents are also entitled to the amount of one
million pesos as Evangeline's death left a void in the lives of her husband and
minor children as they were deprived of her love and care by her untimely
demise.

We likewise uphold the award of exemplary damages in the amount


of P300,000.00. Under Article 2229 of the Civil Code, exemplary damages are
imposed by way of example or correction for the public good, in addition to
moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory damages.49 It is awarded as a
deterrent to socially deleterious actions. In quasi-delict, exemplary damages
may be granted if the defendant acted with gross negligence.50

Pursuant to Article 2208 of the Civil Code, attorney's fees may be recovered
when, as in the instant case, exemplary damages are awarded. Hence, we
affirm the award of attorney's fees in the amount of P30,000.00.

WHEREFORE, the petition for review is DENIED. The Decision dated July 16,
2004 of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with MODIFICATION that the civil
liability of petitioner Safeguard Security Agency, Inc.
is SOLIDARYand PRIMARY under Article 2180 of the Civil Code.

SO ORDERED.
G.R. Nos. 141810 & 141812 February 2, 2007 monitor the developments in their cases. They should provide full support to
their lawyers and even work hand in hand with them to ensure the diligent
VICENTE DELOS SANTOS, ROBERTO DELOS SANTOS, PACIFICO DELOS
pursuit and effective prosecution of their cases. Inevitably, their failure to do
SANTOS, CORAZON DELOS SANTOS, CONSTANCIA DELOS SANTOS, joined by
so could result in prejudicial consequences.
her husband ELEODORO PRADO; NORMA DELOS SANTOS, joined by her
husband WILFREDO PRADO; LUDOVICO DELOS SANTOS, ALICIA DELOS The Case
SANTOS, joined by her husband RONALDO DEGRAS; DEMOCRITO DELOS
This Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court
SANTOS, FELICISIMA DELOS SANTOS, joined by her husband TEODULO
seeks to reverse and set aside the May 11, 1999 Decision1 of the Court of
ARCIBAL; ADELA S. CASTRO, joined by her husband LUBERATO LAKANDULA;
Appeals (CA), dismissing petitioners’ appeal based on a compromise
FELISA S. CASTRO, joined by her husband PAQUITO CASIDSID; NELLY C.
agreement and considering their appeal as abandoned in CA-G.R. CV No.
SUALOG, joined by her husband LEONARDO YANKY; REMEDIOS C. SUALOG,
54136 and CA-G.R. SP No. 48475; and the January 31, 2000 Resolution2 of the
MARIA C. SUALOG, WINIFREDO SUALOG, VICENTE C. SUALOG, FELOGENIA
CA, denying petitioners’ Motion for Reconsideration.3 The CA appeal
C. SUALOG, joined by her husband DANILO DIGNADICE; PATRICIO C.
stemmed from the Kalibo, Aklan Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch VI April
SUALOG, BUENAVENTURA C. SUALOG, ROMEO C. SUALOG, CONCEPCION
29, 1996 Decision4 in Civil Case No. 3683, declaring intervenors Jesus delos
ANDRES, AGNES LEVI A. SUALOG, DIONESIO C. SERRANO, ZENAIDA C.
Santos and Rosita delos Santos-Flores as lawful owners of two-thirds (2/3) of
SERRANO, CESAR C. SERRANO, ABUNDIO C. SERRANO, VIOLETA C.
the disputed land, and Fred and Joan Elizalde as owners of the remaining one-
SERRANO, ROMEO C. SERRANO, EFREN C. SERRANO, THELMA CASTRO-
third (1/3) of the land.
SALIBIO, JESUS S. FERNANDO, RODRIGO DELOS SANTOS, CLARITA DELOS
SANTOS, DANILO TUMALA, ERLINDA TUMALA, EDGARDO TUMALA, The Facts
DOMINGO TUMALA, MARIO TUMALA, RONALD TUMALA, FERDINAND
TUMALA, ANASTACIA DELOS SANTOS, joined by her husband FRANCISCO On December 15, 1986, petitioners filed a Complaint for Quieting of Title,
TUMALA; ARSENIO DELOS SANTOS, JR., VICTORINO DELOS SANTOS, Damages and Attorney’s Fees before the Kalibo, Aklan RTC, involving four (4)
ERLINDA DELOS SANTOS, NATIVIDAD DELOS SANTOS, joined by her adjoining lots designated as Lots 393-A, 393-B, 394-D, and 394-E, with areas
husband LITO PRADO; HERMINIGILDO DELOS SANTOS, and PETER DELOS of 1,515 square meters (sqm), 1,010 sqm, 5,764 sqm, and 6,482 sqm,
SANTOS, Petitioners, respectively, for a total land area of 14,771 sqm, located in Boracay Island,
vs. Malay, Aklan.5 An amended complaint was thereafter filed on May 8, 1991.
FRED ELIZALDE and JOAN ELIZALDE, JESUS DELOS SANTOS and ROSITA Petitioners claimed the aforementioned lots as their inheritance from the late
DELOS SANTOS-FLORES, GLORIA MARTIN, DOMINGO CASIMERO, SERGIO Mariano delos Santos, their common ascendant, either by their own right or
CASIMERO, ABUNDIO CASIMERO, and TEODORO CASIMERO, Respondents. by right of representation. Petitioners alleged that the late Mariano delos
DECISION Santos was the original owner of the lots. On the other hand, respondents
spouses Fred and Joan Elizalde, the first set of intervenors before the trial
VELASCO, JR., J.: court, claimed that they purchased the lots on June 18, 1974 from the heirs
of Leonardo delos Santos, he being the rightful and exclusive owner of the
Diligence is the mother of good fortune.
said lots. Respondents Gloria Martin, Domingo Casimero, Sergio Casimero,
––Miguel De Cervantes
Abundio Casimero, and Teodoro Casimero, the second set of intervenors
Parties should not leave the entire business of litigation solely to their before the trial court, claimed ownership over Lots 393-B and 394-E, as heirs
counsels. Basic diligence requires that parties themselves should closely of Tomasa Prado, who also allegedly owned said lots. Respondents Rosita
delos Santos-Flores and Jesus delos Santos, the third set of intervenors and SO ORDERED.6
two of the three legitimate children of the late Leonardo delos Santos,
Thus, petitioners and respondent Fred Elizalde filed their separate Notices of
claimed 2/3 of the disputed lots as their rightful inheritance. Respondents
Appeal dated June 6, 19967 and May 16, 1996,8 respectively. The cases were
delos Santos alleged that they did not sell nor assign their share in the
docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 48475 for respondent Elizalde and CA-G.R. CV No.
property to anyone, including respondent Fred Elizalde.
54136 for petitioners. Subsequently, the CA issued the June 2, 1998 Notice to
After due hearing of the case, the trial court issued the April 29, 1996 File Brief,9 requiring petitioners and respondent Elizalde to file their briefs
Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads: within forty-five (45) days from receipt of said notice.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing considerations, judgment is hereby On July 27, 1998, petitioners filed by registered mail a July 27, 1998 Motion
rendered as follows: for Extension of Time to File Brief for Plaintiffs-Appellants.10 In their motion,
petitioners admitted having received a copy of the Notice to File Brief on June
(1.) Dismissing the complaint filed by the plaintiffs as well as the complaint in
15, 1998; thus, they had until July 30, 1998 to file their brief, and prayed for
intervention filed by the second set of intervenors Casimeros, et al. for lack
an extension of forty-five (45) days from July 30, 1998 to September 13, 1998.
of merit;
On September 10, 1998, petitioners filed another motion for
(2.) Declaring the two deeds of sale (Exhibits 29 and 30) as null and void extension,11seeking another forty five (45)-day extension, or until October 27,
insofar as they affect the two-thirds (2/3) share of intervenors Jesus and 1998, within which to file their brief.
Rosita;
In the meantime, respondents Fred Elizalde, Jesus delos Santos, and Rosita
(3.) Declaring intervenors Jesus delos Santos and Rosita delos Santos Flores delos Santos-Flores filed an October 6, 1998 Joint Manifestation and
as the lawful owners of the two-thirds portion of the land in question or 9,915 Motion,12 whereby respondent Elizalde abandoned his appeal by virtue of an
square meters on the northwest portion, representing as their shares in the amicable settlement between the parties through the May 27, 1997
intestate estate of Leonardo delos Santos; Agreement.13 They agreed to swap and re-adjust the areas adjudged by the
trial court in their favor, without prejudice to a final judgment by the CA. In
(4.) Declaring defendant Fred Elizalde as the rightful owner of one-third of the addition, Elizalde moved that his appeal be considered as withdrawn and that
land in question or 4,957 square meters on the southeast portion, segregated he be excused from filing an appellant’s brief.
by a boundary line running from the seashore to the inland or from the
southwest to northeast; On October 27, 1998, petitioners filed an Ex-Parte Motion for Final Extension
of Period to File Brief for Plaintiffs-Appellants,14 seeking an extension of thirty
(5.) Ordering the cancellation or revision of Tax Declaration No. 4422 in the (30) days, or until November 27, 1998, within which to file their brief. On
name of Fred Elizalde (Exhibit 26) and all tax declarations issued subsequent November 27, 1998, petitioners filed another motion for extension,15 asking
thereto to conform to paragraphs 3 and 4 hereof as well as the issuance of a for another thirty (30)-day extension. And yet again, on December 28, 1998,
new tax declaration to intervenors Jesus delos Santos and Rosita Flores petitioners filed another motion for extension,16 asking for another thirty
covering their two-thirds (2/3) share; (30)-day extension to file their brief, such that the period sought to file
(6.) Ordering the plaintiffs or any persons claiming interest therein to deliver appellant’s brief would be until January 27, 1999. In sum, petitioners had a
complete possession of the land to defendants and first set intervenors. total extension of one hundred eighty (180) days from July 27, 1998, when
they filed a motion for extension before the CA for the first time.
No pronouncement as to costs.
Respondents delos Santos opposed the foregoing motions for extension and dismissing their appeal be reconsidered; (4) their appeal be reinstated; and
moved for the dismissal of the appeal for petitioners’ failure to file the (5) they be granted a period of ninety (90) days within which to file their
required appellants’ brief. appellants’ brief.

However, on April 8, 1999, petitioners, through their former counsel Atty. On July 16, 1999, respondents delos Santos then filed an Opposition to
Napoleon M. Victoriano, filed an Ex-Parte Motion to Withdraw Appeal.17 Said Motion for Reconsideration.24 The opposition was based on the following: (1)
motion sought the withdrawal of the appeal on the ground that petitioners that petitioners’ motion should be considered as mere scrap of paper for not
and respondents delos Santos entered into an amicable settlement, containing any notice of hearing; (2) that the appeal was validly dismissed for
denominated as an Undertaking executed on September 19, 1998,18 whereby petitioners’ failure to file their appellants’ brief; and (3) that the Agreement
petitioners would be paid the amount of Four Million Pesos (PhP was valid.
4,000,000.00), in consideration of their leaving the disputed lots peacefully.
Petitioners subsequently filed a Reply (To Opposition) on July 30,
Notably, the Undertaking was signed by 39 of the 46 petitioners,19 and
1999,25 refuting the allegations made by respondents delos Santos; and
notarized by Atty. Edgar S. Calizo. More so, it was alleged in said motion that
attached to the reply a handwritten note in Filipino,26 stating that: (1) the
the counsel for respondents delos Santos, Atty. Romeo R. Robiso, executed a
signatories did not sign the alleged Agreement; (2) they did not receive a
promissory note on October 15, 199820 on behalf of petitioners, for the
single centavo of the money alleged in the Agreement; (3) they did not
amount of Four Million Pesos (PhP 4,000,000.00).
authorize Atty. Victoriano to withdraw their appeal; and (4) Atty. Victoriano
On May 11, 1999, the CA issued the assailed Decision dismissing CA-G.R. CV did not furnish them a copy of the Decision of the CA. The note was
No. 54136 and SP No. 48475 and considering them withdrawn. It justified its purportedly signed by Vicente delos Santos, Constancia delos Santos, Terry
Decision in this wise: "For failure to file their respective appellants’ briefs, and Ann S. Carnacete, Greta delos Santos, Daisy delos Santos, Jose delos Santos,
in accordance with the prayer in the ‘Joint Manifestation and Motion’, and in Herminigildo delos Santos, Peter delos Santos, Vivar delos Santos, Ibarra
the ‘Ex-Parte Motion to Withdraw Appeal’, the appeal should be dismissed, delos Santos, Rosemarie Tuazon, Natividad Prado, Lito Prado, Felisa Casidsid,
and considered as withdrawn."21 Ricardo Fernando, Jesus Fernando, Rogelio Lacandula, Mergie C. Nieves,
Anita C. Baltazar, and Claire S. Lacandula. Of the signatories, only eight (8) are
Thereafter, an Entry of Appearance22 was filed on June 17, 1999 by Atty. Cesar
among the forty-six (46) petitioners before the appellate court.
T. Verano, allegedly in representation of petitioners. The entry contained the
solitary conformity of petitioner Vicente delos Santos. On the same day, On January 31, 2000, the CA issued the assailed Resolution, wherein it was
petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration of Decision with Prayer for ruled that:
Reinstatement of Appeal,23which was verified solely by petitioner Vicente
The "Motion for Reconsideration With Prayer for the Reinstatement of
delos Santos. In their Motion for Reconsideration, petitioners alleged that: (1)
Appeal" filed on June 17, 1999 by the said new counsel for plaintiffs-
they did not have any knowledge of the promulgation of the assailed Decision
appellants, to which an Opposition has been filed by the first set of
of the CA; (2) they never entered into any amicable settlement with
intervenors-appellees, is DENIED admission for being late by nine (9) days.
respondents delos Santos; (3) their alleged signatures in the May 27, 1997
The records show that plaintiffs-appellants’ counsel of record, Atty. Napoleon
Agreement were forged; and (4) they never authorized their former counsel,
M. Victoriano, who has not filed any notice of withdrawal as counsel as per
Atty. Victoriano, to withdraw their appeal. Thus, petitioners prayed that: (1)
report of the Judicial Records Division, received copy of the Court’s Decision
their Motion for Reconsideration be considered as filed on time; (2) the said
dated May 11, 1998, on May 24, 1999. Thus, appellants had only until June 8,
Agreement allegedly entered into by petitioners and respondents delos
1999 to file their Motion for Reconsideration.27
Santos be considered as invalid; (3) the portion of the assailed Decision
Hence, this petition is before us. IS NULL AND VOID AND WITHOUT FORCE AND EFFECT BECAUSE THEIR
ALLEGED SIGNATURES THEREIN WERE FORGED, [AND BESIDES,] THEY NEVER
The Issues
RECEIVED A SINGLE CENTAVO OF THE ALLEGED CONSIDERATION OF THE
Petitioners raise the following issues: AGREEMENT. MOREOVER, PETITIONERS’ APPEAL FROM THE TRIAL COURT’S
DECISION IS MERITORIOUS AS THEIR CLAIM THAT THEY ARE OWNERS OF THE
I. DISPUTED PROPERTIES ARE SUPPORTED BY SUSBTANTIAL AND COMPETENT
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS SERIOUSLY ERRED IN DENYING EVIDENCE.28
ADMISSION TO PETITIONERS’ MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION WITH The Ruling of the Court
PRAYER FOR THE REINSTATEMENT OF APPEAL FILED BY THEIR NEW COUNSEL
FOR HAVING BEEN FILED NINE (9) DAYS LATE, OVERLOOKING AND The petition must be denied.
DISREGARDING THE FACT:
Petitioners argue that their Motion for Reconsideration was filed on time as
A. THAT PETITIONERS LEARNED OF THE DECISION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS the reglementary period for the filing of it should be counted from the time
DATED MAY 11, 1999 ONLY ON JUNE 2, 1999, AND ON JUNE 17, 1999, OR when petitioners themselves obtained a copy of the assailed Decision of the
WITHIN THE FIFTEEN (15)-DAY REGLEMENTARY PERIOD THEY FILED THEIR CA on June 2, 1999, and not from the time that their former counsel, Atty.
AFORESAID MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION; Victoriano, received a copy of said Decision on May 24, 1999.

B. THAT PETITIONERS’ FORMER COUNSEL, ATTY. NAPOLEON M. VICTORIANO, However, petitioners’ allegation is incorrect.
DID NOT FILE A MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION WITHIN THE FIFTEEN [15]-
Reglementary period for filing a Motion for Reconsideration
DAY REGLEMENTARY PERIOD FROM HIS RECEIPT OF A COPY OF THE COURT
OF APPEALS’ DECISION ON MAY 24, 1999, SAID COUNSEL WAS CLEARLY AT Section 1 of Rule 37, in conjunction with Section 3 of Rule 41 of the Rules of
FAULT AND/OR GROSSLY NEGLIGENT IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTIES Court, provides for the period within which a Motion for Reconsideration may
TO HIS CLIENTS. MOREOVER, THE COUNTING OF THE 15-DAY PERIOD TO FILE be filed, to wit:
MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION SHOULD BE COUNTED FROM PETITIONERS’
Section 1. Grounds of and period for filing motion for new trial or
KNOWLEDGE OF THE DECISION ON JUNE 2, 1999, AND NOT ON ATTY.
reconsideration.—Within the period for taking an appeal, the aggrieved party
VICTORIANO’S RECEIPT OF A COPY THEREOF; AND
may move the trial court to set aside the judgment or final order and grant a
C. THAT THE NON-ADMISSION OF PETITIONERS’ MOTION FOR new trial for one or more of the following causes materially affecting the
RECONSIDERATION FOR HAVING BEEN FILED NINE (9) DAYS LATE IS substantial rights of said party:
MANIFESTLY UNJUST AND INEQUITABLE BECAUSE IT GIVES PREMIUM TO
xxxx
TECHNICALITIES RATHER ON SUBSTANTIAL JUSTICE.
Within the same period, the aggrieved party may also move for
II.
reconsideration upon the grounds that the damages awarded are excessive,
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN DISMISSING that the evidence is insufficient to justify the decision or final order, or that
PETITIONERS’ APPEAL FROM THE TRIAL COURT’S DECISION AND the decision or final order is contrary to law.
CONSIDERING THE APPEAL WITHDRAWN AS PRAYED FOR BY COUNSEL FOR
Section 3. Period of ordinary appeal.—The appeal shall be taken within fifteen
PETITIONERS CONSIDERING THAT THE ALLEGED AGREEMENT BETWEEN
(15) days from notice of the judgment or final order appealed from. Where a
PETITIONERS AND FIRST SET [OF] INTERVENORS THROUGH THEIR COUNSEL
record on appeal is required, the appellant shall file a notice of appeal and a In GCP-Manny Transport Services, Inc. v. Principe, the Court ruled that unless
record on appeal within thirty (30) days from notice of the judgment or final the change of attorneys is carried out properly, the counsel of record shall
order. still be considered as the party’s counsel, and the notice sent to such counsel
shall be considered as notice to the party represented.32
The period of appeal shall be interrupted by a timely motion for new trial or
reconsideration. No motion for extension of time to file a motion for new trial In the present case, the assailed CA Decision was rendered on May 11, 1999,
or reconsideration shall be allowed. (Emphasis supplied.) and the notice of it was received by Atty. Victoriano on May 24, 1999.
Petitioners’ current counsel, Atty. Verano, filed his appearance only on June
The abovementioned fifteen (15)-day period begins to run upon receipt of
17, 1999, with the sole conformity of Vicente delos Santos. The CA correctly
notice of the decision or final order appealed from. Such period has been
served a copy of the Decision on Atty. Victoriano, which is considered notice
considered to begin upon receipt of notice by the counsel of record, which is
to petitioners themselves. Therefore, May 24, 1999 is the correct reckoning
considered notice to the parties.29 Service of judgment on the party is
point for the reglementary period of filing a Motion for Reconsideration to
prohibited and is not considered the official receipt of the judgment.30
the assailed Decision which ended on June 8, 1999. Hence, petitioners’
Thus, the fifteen (15)-day period should run from May 24, 1999, when Atty. Motion for Reconsideration filed on June 17, 1999 was belatedly filed and
Victoriano received a copy of the assailed Decision of the CA, and not from correctly rejected by the CA.
June 2, 1999, when petitioners claimed to have been informed of the CA
Liberal application of the period for filing a Motion for Reconsideration
decision.31
Even assuming that, indeed, their Motion for Reconsideration was filed out
To reiterate, service upon the parties’ counsels of record is tantamount to
of time, petitioners further allege that a delay of nine (9) days in the filing of
service upon the parties themselves, but service upon the parties themselves
their Motion for Reconsideration cannot justify why the CA did not admit it.
is not considered service upon their lawyers. The reason is simple—the
In support of such contention, petitioners cite Republic v. Court of
parties, generally, have no formal education or knowledge of the rules of
Appeals,33 and Ramos v. Bagasao,34 where this Court allowed the filing of an
procedure, specifically, the mechanics of an appeal or availment of legal
appeal six (6) and four (4) days beyond the reglementary period, respectively.
remedies; thus, they may also be unaware of the rights and duties of a litigant
relative to the receipt of a decision. More importantly, it is best for the courts In Neypes v. Court of Appeals, the Court stressed that "[s]eldom have we
to deal only with one person in the interest of orderly procedure—either the condoned late filing of notices of appeal, and only in very exceptional
lawyer retained by the party or the party him/herself if s/he does not intend instances to better serve the ends of justice"; and also emphasized that the
to hire a lawyer. liberal application of the rules is confined to "situations where technicalities
were dispensed with, our decisions were not meant to undermine the force
Even assuming that petitioners had replaced Atty. Victoriano prior to his
and effectivity of the periods set by law. But we hasten to add that in those
receipt of the assailed Decision, the reglementary period for filing a Motion
rare cases where procedural rules were not stringently applied, there always
for Reconsideration would still be reckoned from his receipt of the Decision.
existed a clear need to prevent the commission of a grave injustice (emphasis
Section 26 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court requires that "[i]n case of supplied)."35
substitution, the name of the attorney newly employed shall be entered on
In Republic,36 cited by petitioners, We ruled that the CA should have admitted
the docket of the court in place of the former one, and written notice of the
the Motion for Reconsideration filed by petitioners to prevent gross
change shall be given to the adverse party."
miscarriage of justice, as the government stood to lose close to three hundred
(300) hectares of prime sugar land already titled in its name and devoted to
educational purposes; while in Ramos, it was enunciated that a four (4)-day However, the Ginete case is not a precedent to the case at bar because in said
delay "in filing a notice of appeal and a motion of extension of time to file a case, the party had no participatory negligence, while in the case at bar,
record on appeal can be excused on the basis of equity and considering that petitioners were negligent in not monitoring the developments in their case.
the record on appeal is now with the respondent judge."37 Petitioners’ acts are considered inexcusable negligence in line with our ruling
in Bernardo v. Court of Appeals (Special Sixth Division), where we explicated
In the instant case, there is no exceptional circumstance to justify the
the vital participation of the parties in the effective handling of the case by
disregard of the reglementary period for filing a motion for reconsideration.
their lawyers, thus:
Hence, petitioners’ position is devoid of merit.
Worth mentioning is the fact that petitioner was likewise not entirely
Furthermore, petitioners contend that despite their Motion for
blameless in his alleged deprivation of his day in court. In a recent case, this
Reconsideration had been filed out of time, this should have been admitted
Court enunciated:
on the ground of equity. However, equitable grounds cannot be sought when
the party is guilty of negligence. Thus, We ruled in Mesina v. Meer that "this "Litigants, represented by counsel, should not expect that all they need to do
Court will not allow petitioners, in guise of equity, to benefit from their own is sit back, relax and await the outcome of their case. They should give the
negligence."38 necessary assistance to their counsel for what is at stake is their interest in
the case."
Petitioners’ are guilty of inexcusable negligence
In his concurring opinion in Republic vs. Sandiganbayan, Mr. Justice Teodoro
Petitioners attribute the dismissal of their appeal and their failure to file a
R. Padilla emphasized the value and significance of the party’s presence and
motion for reconsideration within the reglementary period to their former
diligence in the advancement of his cause, thus:
counsel’s negligence, Atty. Victoriano. Thus, petitioners seek the liberal
application of the rules, citing Ginete v. Court of Appeals, wherein the counsel "x x x An almost lifetime of experience in litigation is the best witness to the
of record did not file an appellant’s brief within the prescribed period and indispensability of party’s presence (aside from his lawyer, in case he has the
continued with the case for fear of reprisal from respondents who were assistance of counsel) in order to litigate with any reasonable opportunity of
judges. In said case, We ruled that the negligence of the clients’ counsel does success. x x x especially during the cross-examination of adverse party’s
not bind them. The departure from the rule was explained, thus: witnesses—where the truth must be determined—every counsel worth his
salt must have the assistance and presence of his client on the spot, for the
[T]he lawyer’s negligence without any participatory negligence on the part of
client invariably knows the facts far better than his counsel. In short, even in
petitioners is a sufficient reason to set aside the resolutions of the Court of
civil cases, the presence of party (as distinguished from his lawyer alone) is
Appeals. Aside from matters of life, liberty, honor or property which would
essential to due process."
warrant the suspension of the rules of the most mandatory character and an
examination and review by the appellate court of the lower court’s findings True enough, the party-litigant should not rely totally on his counsel to litigate
of fact, the other elements that should be considered are the following: (1) his case even if the latter expressly assures that the former’s presence in
the existence of special or compelling circumstances, (2) the merits of the court will no longer be needed. No prudent party will leave the fate of his
case, (3) a cause not entirely attributable to the fault or negligence of the case entirely to his lawyer. Absence in one or two hearings may be negligible
party favored by the suspension of the rules, (4) a lack of any showing that but want of inquiry or update on the status of his case for several months
the review sought is merely frivolous and dilatory, (5) the other party will not (four, in this case) is inexcusable. It is the duty of a party-litigant to be in
be unjustly prejudiced thereby.39(Emphasis supplied.) contact with his counsel from time to time in order to be informed of the
progress of his case. Petitioner simply claims that he was busy with his gravel
and sand and trading businesses which involved frequent traveling from trial. Of course, the rule admits of exceptions. So it is that in Insular Life
Manila to outlying provinces. But this was not a justifiable excuse for him to Assurance Company, Ltd. vs. CA, we wrote:
fail to ask about the developments in his case or to ask somebody to make
"[i]t is a settled rule that in the exercise of the Supreme Court's power of
the query for him. Petitioner failed to act with prudence and diligence; hence,
review, the Court is not a trier of facts and does not normally undertake the
his plea that he was not accorded the right to due process cannot elicit this
re-examination of the evidence presented by the contending parties' during
Court’s approval or even sympathy.40 (Emphasis supplied.)
the trial of the case considering that the findings of facts of the CA are
Concurrently, petitioners did not even know that Atty. Victoriano failed to file conclusive and binding on the Court. However, the Court had recognized
an appellants’ brief on their behalf during the more than one hundred eighty several exceptions to this rule, to wit: (1) when the findings are grounded
(180)-day extension that he sought from the CA, aside from their failure to entirely on speculation, surmises or conjectures; (2) when the inference
learn of the Decision of the appellate court. Ordinary prudence would dictate made is manifestly mistaken, absurd or impossible; (3) when there is grave
that petitioners must give utmost importance to the case considering that it abuse of discretion; (4) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of
involves their residences, presumably their most valued material possession, facts; (5) when the findings of facts are conflicting; (6) when in making its
and considering further that they had already lost at the trial court. findings the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case, or its
Petitioners’ failure to apprise themselves of the status of the case from the findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the
time that Atty. Victoriano received a copy of the notice to file brief on June appellee; (7) when the findings are contrary to the trial court; (8) when the
15, 1998 up to June 2, 1999, when petitioners allegedly obtained a copy of findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they
the assailed Decision from the CA, is unjustified. Petitioners cannot be are based; (9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the
shielded from the repercussions of their counsel’s and their own negligence. petitioner's main and reply briefs are not disputed by the respondent; (10)
Petitioners themselves are as much to blame in losing their appeal. when the findings of fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence
and contradicted by the evidence on record; and (11) when the Court of
The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts
Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the
Finally, petitioners claim that the Undertaking or Agreement allegedly parties, which, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion."42
entered into by them and respondents delos Santos is invalid considering that
A perusal of the exceptions enumerated above reveals that the instant case
their purported signatures in it were forged. They argue that the motion to
does not fall under any of them. Thus, this Court cannot entertain the factual
withdraw is likewise invalid; therefore, there is no basis for the withdrawal of
issues raised in the petition, which include the issue of authenticity of the
the appeal. In other words, petitioners question the authenticity of said
Undertaking or Agreement, as well as the issue of non-payment of the
documents, raising a question of fact.
amount mentioned, particularly, in the Undertaking.
There is a "question of fact" when "the doubt or controversy arises as to the
Failure to file appellants’ brief
truth or falsity of the alleged facts."41This is distinguished from a question of
law when the doubt or difference arises as to what the law is on a certain Assuming arguendo that the withdrawal of the appeal was groundless, the CA
state of facts, and which does not call for an examination of the probative still did not commit a reversible error in dismissing the appeal for petitioners’
value of the evidence presented by the parties-litigants. failure to file an appellant’s brief.

Furthermore, in Sampayan v. Court of Appeals, this Court ruled, thus: Contrary to petitioners’ allegation, the assailed Decision did not dismiss the
case solely on the basis of the motion to withdraw filed by their former
[S]ettled is the rule that this Court is not a trier of facts and does not normally
counsel. To reiterate, the Decision stated that "[f]or failure to file their
embark on a re-examination of the evidence adduced by the parties during
respective appellants’ briefs, and in accordance with the prayer in the ‘Joint
Manifestation and Motion’, and in the ‘Ex-Parte Motion to Withdraw Appeal’,
the appeal should be dismissed, and considered as withdrawn (emphasis
supplied)."43

Section 7 of Rule 44 of the Rules of Court provides forty-five (45) days from
receipt of notice within which to file an appellant’s brief, while Section 12
declares that an extension of time for filing of briefs shall not be allowed
except for a good and sufficient cause.1awph?1.net

The general rule is that motions for extension of time to file an appellant’s
brief shall not be granted except for a good cause. No such justification is
present in this case. Petitioners’ failure to apprise themselves of the status of
their case during its pendency before the CA is inexcusable. Moreover, their
former counsel’s failure or neglect to file the required appellant’s brief shall
bind them.

No meritorious cause

With the loss of their right of appeal to the CA, we see no need to resolve the
issue of ownership. Such issue should have been first resolved by the CA, but
it was not able to do so because of the dismissal of the appeal. Thus, the claim
of ownership is a non-issue before this Court.

WHEREFORE, We DENY the petition and AFFIRM the May 11, 1999 Decision
and the January 31, 2000 Resolution of the CA in CA-G.R. CV No. 54136 and
SP No. 48475, with no costs.

SO ORDERED.
NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION vs DELA CRUZ and T-454278. The affected areas were 51.55, 18.25, and 14.625 square
meters, respectively, or a total of 84.425 square meters.

G.R. No. 156093 February 2, 2007 After respondents filed their respective answers to petitioner’s Complaint,
petitioner deposited PhP 5,788.50 to cover the provisional value of the land
NATIONAL POWER CORP., Petitioner, in accordance with Section 2, Rule 67 of the Rules of Court.5 Then, on
vs. February 25, 1999, petitioner filed an Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for the
SPOUSES NORBERTO AND JOSEFINA DELA CRUZ, METROBANK, Dasmariñas, Issuance of a Writ of Possession, which the trial court granted in its March 9,
Cavite Branch, REYNALDO FERRER, and S.K. DYNAMICS MANUFACTURER 1999 Order. The trial court issued a Writ of Possession over the lots owned
CORP., Respondents. by respondents spouses de la Cruz and respondent Ferrer on March 10, 1999
DECISION and April 12, 1999, respectively.

VELASCO, JR., J.: However, the trial court dropped the Dela Cruz spouses and their mortgagee,
Metrobank, as parties-defendants in its May 11, 1999 Order,6 in view of the
The Case Motion to Intervene filed by respondent/intervenor Virgilio M. Saulog, who
claimed ownership of the land sought to be expropriated from respondents
In this petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, petitioner
spouses Dela Cruz.
National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) seeks to annul and set aside the
November 18, 2002 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. On June 24, 1999, the trial court terminated the pre-trial in so far as
67446, which affirmed the December 28, 1999 Order2 of the Imus, Cavite respondent Ferrer was concerned, considering that the sole issue was the
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch XX in Civil Case No. 1816-98, which fixed amount of just compensation, and issued an Order directing the constitution
the fair market value of the expropriated lots at PhP 10,000.00 per square of a Board of Commissioners with respect to the property of respondent S.K.
meter. Dynamics. The trial court designated Mr. Lamberto C. Parra, Cavite Provincial
Assessor, as chairman, while petitioner nominated the Municipal Assessor of
The Facts
Dasmariñas, Mr. Regalado T. Andaya, as member. Respondent S.K. Dynamics
Petitioner NAPOCOR is a government-owned and controlled corporation did not nominate any commissioner.
created under Republic Act No. 6395, as amended, with the mandate of
As to the just compensation for the property of Saulog, successor-in-interest
developing hydroelectric power, producing transmission lines, and
of the Dela Cruz spouses, the trial court ordered the latter and petitioner to
developing hydroelectric power throughout the Philippines. NAPOCOR
submit their compromise agreement.
decided to acquire an easement of right-of-way over portions of land within
the areas of Dasmariñas and Imus, Cavite for the construction and The commissioners conducted an ocular inspection of S.K. Dynamics’
maintenance of the proposed Dasmariñas-Zapote 230 kV Transmission Line property, and on October 8, 1999, they submitted a report to the trial court,
Project.3 with the following pertinent findings:
On November 27, 1998, petitioner filed a Complaint4 for eminent domain and In arriving our [sic] estimate of values our studies and analysis include the
expropriation of an easement of right-of-way against respondents as following:
registered owners of the parcels of land sought to be expropriated, which
were covered by Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) Nos. T-313327, T-671864, I. PROPERTY LOCATION
As shown to us on-site during our ocular inspection, the appraised property Public transportation consisting of passenger jeepneys and buses as well
is land only, identified as the area affected by the construction of the National taxicabs are [sic] regularly available along Gen. E. Emilio Aguinaldo Highway
Power Corporation (NPC) Dasmariñas-Zapote 230KV Transmission Lines [sic].
Project, located within Barangay Salitran, Dasmariñas, Cavite registered in
xxxx
the name of S.K. Dynamic[s] Manufacture[r], Corp., under Transfer Certificate
of Title No. T-454278. IV. HIGHEST AND MOST PROFITABLE USE
II. NEIGHBORHOOD DESCRIPTION xxxx
The neighborhood particularly in the immediate vicinity is within a mixed The subject property is situated within the residential/commercial zone and
residential and commercial area, situated in the northern section of the considering the area affected and taking into consideration, their location,
Municipality of Dasmariñas which was transversed [sic] by Gen. Emilio shape, lot topography, accessibility and the predominant uses of properties
Aguinaldo Highway [where] several residential subdivisions and commercial in the neighborhood, as well as the trend of land developments in the vicinity,
establishment[s] are located. we are on the opinion that the highest and most profitable use of the
property is good for residential and commercial purposes.
Considered as some of the important improvements [on] the vicinity are
(within 1.5 radius) V. VALUATION OF LAND MARKET DATA
Orchard Golf and Country Club xxxx
Golden City Subdivision Based on the analysis of data gathered and making the proper adjustments
with respect to the location, area, shape, accessibility, and the highest and
Southfield Subdivisions
best use of the subject properties, it is the opinion of the herein
Arcontica Sports Complex commissioners that the fair market value of the subject real properties is
P10,000.00 per square meter, as of this date, October 05, 1999.7
Max’s Restaurant
Thus, both commissioners recommended that the property of S.K. Dynamics
Waltermart Shopping Mall
to be expropriated by petitioner be valued at PhP 10,000.00 per square
UMC Medical Center meter.

Several savings and Commercial Banks as well as several Gasoline stations. The records show that the commissioners did not afford the parties the
opportunity to introduce evidence in their favor, nor did they conduct
Community centers such as, [sic] churches, public markets, shopping malls, hearings before them. In fact, the commissioners did not issue notices to the
banks and gasoline stations are easily accessible from the subject real parties to attend hearings nor provide the concerned parties the opportunity
properties. to argue their respective causes.
Convenience facilities such as electricity, telephone service as well as pipe Upon the submission of the commissioners’ report, petitioner was not
potable water supply system are all available along Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo notified of the completion or filing of it nor given any opportunity to file its
Highway. objections to it.
On December 1, 1999, respondent Ferrer filed a motion adopting in toto the Finding the opinion of the Commissioners to be in order, this Court approves
commissioners’ report with respect to the valuation of his property.8 On the same. Accordingly, the Motion filed by [respondent] Reynaldo Ferrer
December 28, 1999, the trial court consequently issued the Order approving adopting said valuation report is granted.
the commissioners’ report, and granted respondent Ferrer’s motion to adopt
SO ORDERED. 9
the subject report. Subsequently, the just compensation for the disparate
properties to be expropriated by petitioner for its project was uniformly On January 20, 2000, petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the
pegged at PhP 10,000.00 per square meter. abovementioned Order, but said motion was denied in the trial court’s March
23, 2000 Order, which states that:
Incidentally, on February 11, 2000, respondent S.K. Dynamics filed a motion
informing the trial court that in addition to the portion of its property covered The basis of [petitioner] in seeking to set aside the Order dated December 28,
by TCT No. T-454278 sought to be expropriated by petitioner, the latter also 1999 is its claim that the Commissioners’ Report fixing the just compensation
took possession of an 8.55-square meter portion of S.K. Dynamics’ property at P10,000.00 per square meter is exorbitant, unjust and unreasonable. To
covered by TCT No. 503484 for the same purpose––to acquire an easement support its contention, [petitioner] invoked Provincial Appraisal Committee
of right-of-way for the construction and maintenance of the proposed Report No. 08-95 dated October 25, 1995 which set the just compensation of
Dasmariñas-Zapote 230 kV Transmission Line Project. Respondent S.K. lots along Gen. Aguinaldo Highway at P3,000.00 per sq.m. only.
Dynamics prayed that said portion be included in the computation of the just
compensation to be paid by petitioner. By way of opposition, [respondent] Dynamics countered that the valuation of
a lot under expropriation is reckoned at the time of its taking by the
On the same date, the Imus, Cavite RTC granted S.K. Dynamics’ motion to government. And since in the case at bar, the writ of possession was issued
have the 8.55-square meter portion of its property included in the on March 10, 1999, the price or value for 1999 must be the one to be
computation of just compensation.1awphi1.net considered.
The Ruling of the Regional Trial Court We find for the defendant.
As previously stated, in its December 28, 1999 Order, the trial court fixed the The PAR Resolution alluded to by [petitioner] was passed in 1995 or four (4)
just compensation to be paid by petitioner at PhP 10,000.00 per square years [before] the lot in question was taken over by the government. This
meter. The relevant portion of the said Order reads as follows: explains why the price or cost of the land has considerably increased. Besides,
the valuation of P10,000.00 per sq.m. was the one recommended by the
On October 8, 1999, a Commissioner’s Valuation Report was submitted in
commissioner designated by [petitioner] itself and concurred in by the
Court by the Provincial Assessor of Cavite and by the Municipal Assessor of
Provincial Assessor of Cavite.
Dasmariñas, Cavite. Quoting from said Report, thus:
Be that as it may, the Motion for Reconsideration is denied.
"Based on the analysis of data gathered and making the proper adjustments
with respect to location, area, shape, accessibility, and the highest and best SO ORDERED.10
use of the subject properties, it is the opinion of herein commissioners that
the fair market value of the subject real properties is ₧10,000.00 per square The Ruling of the Court of Appeals
meter, as of this date, October 05, 1999." Unsatisfied with the amount of just compensation, petitioner filed an appeal
before the CA. In resolving the appeal, the CA made the following findings:
We find nothing on record which would warrant the reversal of the Order The CA ultimately rendered its judgment, as follows:
dated December 28, 1999 of the court a quo.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the present appeal is hereby DISMISSED
[Petitioner] submits that the order of the court a quo adopting the for lack of merit. The Order dated December 28, 1999 and March 23, 2000 of
Commissioners [sic] Valuation Report, fixing the just compensation for the the court a quo are hereby AFFIRMED by this Court.
subject lots in the amount of P10,000.00 per square meter is exhorbitant [sic],
SO ORDERED.12
highly speculative and without any basis. In support thereto, [petitioner]
presented before the court a quo the Provincial Appraisal Committee of Significantly, petitioner did not file a Motion for Reconsideration of the CA
Cavite Resolution No. 08-95 x x x which fixed the fair market value of lots November 18, 2002 Decision, but it directly filed a petition for review before
located along Gen. Aguinaldo Highway, Dasmariñas, Cavite, which us.
incidentally includes the lots subject of this proceedings [sic], in the amount
of P3,000.00 per square meter. The Issues

We do not agree. In this petition for review, the issues are the following:

"The nature and character of the land at the time of its taking is the principal PETITIONER WAS DENIED DUE PROCESS WHEN IT WAS NOT ALLOWED TO
criterion to determine just compensation to the land owner." (National PRESENT EVIDENCE ON THE REASONABLE VALUE OF THE EXPROPRIATED
Power Corporation vs. Henson, 300 SCRA 751-756). PROPERTY BEFORE THE BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS.

The CA then cited Section 4, Rule 67 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure11 to THE VALUATION OF JUST COMPENSATION HEREIN WAS NOT BASED FROM
explain why Resolution No. 08-95 could not "be used as [a] basis for THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD AND OTHER AUTHENTIC DOCUMENTS.13
determining the just compensation of the subject lots, which by reason of the The Court’s Ruling
changed commercial conditions in the vicinity, could have increased its value
greater than its value three (3) years ago." The said resolution, which fixed We find this petition meritorious.
the fair market value of the lots, including that of the disputed lots along Gen. It is beyond question that petitions for review may only raise questions of law
Aguinaldo Highway, was approved on October 25, 1995, while petitioner filed which must be distinctly set forth;14thus, this Court is mandated to only
the Complaint for the expropriation of the disputed lots on November 27, consider purely legal questions in this petition, unless called for by
1998, or more than three (3) years had elapsed after said resolution was extraordinary circumstances.
approved. Reflecting on the commissioners’ report, the CA noted that since
the property underwent important changes and improvements, "the highest In this case, petitioner raises the issue of denial of due process because it was
and most profitable use of the property is good for residential and allegedly deprived of the opportunity to present its evidence on the just
commercial purposes." compensation of properties it wanted to expropriate, and the sufficiency of
the legal basis or bases for the trial court’s Order on the matter of just
As regards the commissioners’ failure to conduct a hearing "to give the compensation. Unquestionably, a petition for review under Rule 45 of the
parties the opportunity to present their respective evidence," as alleged by Rules of Court is the proper vehicle to raise the issues in question before this
petitioner, the CA opined that "[t]he filing by [petitioner] of a motion for Court.
reconsideration accorded it ample opportunity to dispute the findings of the
commissioners, so that [petitioner] was as fully heard as there might have In view of the significance of the issues raised in this petition, because this
been hearing actually taken place x x x." case involves the expenditure of public funds for a clear public purpose, this
Court will overlook the fact that petitioner did not file a Motion for estate shall have been passed upon by them, and may render judgment upon
Reconsideration of the CA November 18, 2002 Decision, and brush aside this such partial report, and direct the commissioners to proceed with their work
technicality in favor of resolving this case on the merits. as to subsequent portions of the property sought to be expropriated, and may
from time to time so deal with such property. The commissioners shall make
First Issue: Petitioner was deprived of due process when it was not given the
a full and accurate report to the court of all their proceedings, and such
opportunity to present evidence before the commissioners
proceedings shall not be effectual until the court shall have accepted their
It is undisputed that the commissioners failed to afford the parties the report and rendered judgment in accordance with their recommendations.
opportunity to introduce evidence in their favor, conduct hearings before Except as otherwise expressly ordered by the court, such report shall be filed
them, issue notices to the parties to attend hearings, and provide the within sixty (60) days from the date the commissioners were notified of their
opportunity for the parties to argue their respective causes. It is also appointment, which time may be extended in the discretion of the court.
undisputed that petitioner was not notified of the completion or filing of the Upon the filing of such report, the clerk of the court shall serve copies thereof
commissioners’ report, and that petitioner was also not given any on all interested parties, with notice that they are allowed ten (10) days
opportunity to file its objections to the said report. within which to file objections to the findings of the report, if they so desire.

A re-examination of the pertinent provisions on expropriation, under Rule 67 SEC. 8. Action upon commissioners’ report.—Upon the expiration of the
of the Rules of Court, reveals the following: period of ten (10) days referred to in the preceding section, or even before
the expiration of such period but after all the interested parties have filed
SEC. 6. Proceedings by commissioners.—Before entering upon the their objections to the report or their statement of agreement therewith, the
performance of their duties, the commissioners shall take and subscribe an court may, after hearing, accept the report and render judgment in
oath that they will faithfully perform their duties as commissioners, which accordance therewith; or, for cause shown, it may recommit the same to the
oath shall be filed in court with the other proceedings in the case. Evidence commissioners for further report of facts; or it may set aside the report and
may be introduced by either party before the commissioners who are appoint new commissioners; or it may accept the report in part and reject it
authorized to administer oaths on hearings before them, and the in part; and it may make such order or render such judgment as shall secure
commissioners shall, unless the parties consent to the contrary, after due to the plaintiff the property essential to the exercise of his right of
notice to the parties to attend, view and examine the property sought to be expropriation, and to the defendant just compensation for the property so
expropriated and its surroundings, and may measure the same, after which taken.
either party may, by himself or counsel, argue the case. The commissioners
shall assess the consequential damages to the property not taken and deduct Based on these provisions, it is clear that in addition to the ocular inspection
from such consequential damages the consequential benefits to be derived performed by the two (2) appointed commissioners in this case, they are also
by the owner from the public use or purpose of the property taken, the required to conduct a hearing or hearings to determine just compensation;
operation of its franchise by the corporation or the carrying on of the business and to provide the parties the following: (1) notice of the said hearings and
of the corporation or person taking the property. But in no case shall the the opportunity to attend them; (2) the opportunity to introduce evidence in
consequential benefits assessed exceed the consequential damages their favor during the said hearings; and (3) the opportunity for the parties to
assessed, or the owner be deprived of the actual value of his property so argue their respective causes during the said hearings.
taken.
The appointment of commissioners to ascertain just compensation for the
SEC. 7. Report by commissioners and judgment thereupon.—The court may property sought to be taken is a mandatory requirement in expropriation
order the commissioners to report when any particular portion of the real cases. In the instant expropriation case, where the principal issue is the
determination of just compensation, a hearing before the commissioners is In this respect, we are constrained to disagree with the CA ruling, and
indispensable to allow the parties to present evidence on the issue of just therefore, set it aside.
compensation. While it is true that the findings of commissioners may be
While it is true that there is jurisprudence supporting the rule that the filing
disregarded and the trial court may substitute its own estimate of the value,
of a Motion for Reconsideration negates allegations of denial of due process,
the latter may only do so for valid reasons, that is, where the commissioners
it is equally true that there are very specific rules for expropriation cases that
have applied illegal principles to the evidence submitted to them, where they
require the strict observance of procedural and substantive due
have disregarded a clear preponderance of evidence, or where the amount
process,17 because expropriation cases involve the admittedly painful
allowed is either grossly inadequate or excessive. Thus, "trial with the aid of
deprivation of private property for public purposes and the disbursement of
the commissioners is a substantial right that may not be done away with
public funds as just compensation for the private property taken. Therefore,
capriciously or for no reason at all."15
it is insufficient to hold that a Motion for Reconsideration in an expropriation
In this case, the fact that no trial or hearing was conducted to afford the case cures the defect in due process.
parties the opportunity to present their own evidence should have impelled
As a corollary, the CA’s ruling that "denial of due process cannot be
the trial court to disregard the commissioners’ findings. The absence of such
successfully invoked by a party who has had the opportunity to be heard on
trial or hearing constitutes reversible error on the part of the trial court
his motion for reconsideration," citing Vda. de Chua v. Court of Appeals, is not
because the parties’ (in particular, petitioner’s) right to due process was
applicable to the instant case considering that the cited case involved a lack
violated.
of notice of the orders of the trial court in granting letters of administration.
The Court of Appeals erred in ruling that the petitioner was not deprived of It was essentially a private dispute and therefore, no public funds were
due process when it was able to file a motion for reconsideration involved. It is distinct from this expropriation case where grave consequences
attached to the orders of the trial court when it determined the just
In ruling that petitioner was not deprived of due process because it was able
compensation.
to file a Motion for Reconsideration, the CA had this to say:
The Court takes this opportunity to elucidate the ruling that the opportunity
[Petitioner], further, asserts that "the appointed commissioners failed to
to present evidence incidental to a Motion for Reconsideration will suffice if
conduct a hearing to give the parties the opportunity to present their
there was no chance to do so during the trial. We find such situation to be
respective evidence. According to [petitioner], the Commissioners Valuation
the exception and not the general rule. The opportunity to present evidence
Report was submitted on October 8, 1999 in violation of the appellant’s right
during the trial remains a vital requirement in the observance of due process.
to due process as it was deprived of the opportunity to present evidence on
The trial is materially and substantially different from a hearing on a Motion
the determination of the just compensation."
for Reconsideration. At the trial stage, the party is usually allowed several
We are not persuaded. hearing dates depending on the number of witnesses who will be presented.
At the hearing of said motion, the trial court may not be more
The filing by [petitioner] of a motion for reconsideration accorded it ample accommodating with the grant of hearing dates even if the movant has many
opportunity to dispute the findings of the commissioners, so that [petitioner] available witnesses. Before the decision is rendered, a trial court has an open
was as fully heard as there might have been hearing actually taken place. mind on the merits of the parties’ positions. After the decision has been
"Denial of due process cannot be successfully invoked by a party who has had issued, the trial court’s view of these positions might be inclined to the side
the opportunity to be heard on his motion for reconsideration." (Vda. De of the winning party and might treat the Motion for Reconsideration and the
Chua vs. Court of Appeals, 287 SCRA 33, 50).16 evidence adduced during the hearing of said motion perfunctorily and in a
cavalier fashion. The incident might not receive the evaluation and judgment more, and a seller in urgent need of funds would agree to accept less, than
of an impartial or neutral judge. In sum, the constitutional guarantee of due what it is actually worth. x x x
process still requires that a party should be given the fullest and widest
Among the factors to be considered in arriving at the fair market value of the
opportunity to adduce evidence during trial, and the availment of a motion
property are the cost of acquisition, the current value of like properties, its
for reconsideration will not satisfy a party’s right to procedural due process,
actual or potential uses, and in the particular case of lands, their size, shape,
unless his/her inability to adduce evidence during trial was due to his/her
location, and the tax declarations thereon.
own fault or negligence.
It is settled that just compensation is to be ascertained as of the time of the
Second Issue: The legal basis for the determination of just compensation was
taking, which usually coincides with the commencement of the expropriation
insufficient
proceedings. Where the institution of the action precedes entry into the
In this case, it is not disputed that the commissioners recommended that the property, the just compensation is to be ascertained as of the time of the
just compensation be pegged at PhP 10,000.00 per square meter. The filing of the complaint.18
commissioners arrived at the figure in question after their ocular inspection
We note that in this case, the filing of the complaint for expropriation
of the property, wherein they considered the surrounding structures, the
preceded the petitioner’s entry into the property.
property’s location and, allegedly, the prices of the other, contiguous real
properties in the area. Furthermore, based on the commissioners’ report, the Therefore, it is clear that in this case, the sole basis for the determination of
recommended just compensation was determined as of the time of the just compensation was the commissioners’ ocular inspection of the
preparation of said report on October 5, 1999. properties in question, as gleaned from the commissioners’ October 5, 1999
report. The trial court’s reliance on the said report is a serious error
In B.H. Berkenkotter & Co. v. Court of Appeals, we held, thus:
considering that the recommended compensation was highly speculative and
Just compensation is defined as the full and fair equivalent of the property had no strong factual moorings. For one, the report did not indicate the fair
sought to be expropriated. The measure is not the taker’s gain but the market value of the lots occupied by the Orchard Golf and Country Club,
owner’s loss. The compensation, to be just, must be fair not only to the owner Golden City Subdivision, Arcontica Sports Complex, and other business
but also to the taker. Even as undervaluation would deprive the owner of his establishments cited. Also, the report did not show how convenience
property without due process, so too would its overvaluation unduly favor facilities, public transportation, and the residential and commercial zoning
him to the prejudice of the public. could have added value to the lots being expropriated.

To determine just compensation, the trial court should first ascertain the Moreover, the trial court did not amply explain the nature and application of
market value of the property, to which should be added the consequential the "highest and best use" method to determine the just compensation in
damages after deducting therefrom the consequential benefits which may expropriation cases. No attempt was made to justify the recommended "just
arise from the expropriation. If the consequential benefits exceed the price" in the subject report through other sufficient and reliable means such
consequential damages, these items should be disregarded altogether as the as the holding of a trial or hearing at which the parties could have had
basic value of the property should be paid in every case. adequate opportunity to adduce their own evidence, the testimony of
realtors in the area concerned, the fair market value and tax declaration,
The market value of the property is the price that may be agreed upon by
actual sales of lots in the vicinity of the lot being expropriated on or about the
parties willing but not compelled to enter into the contract of sale. Not
date of the filing of the complaint for expropriation, the pertinent zonal
unlikely, a buyer desperate to acquire a piece of property would agree to pay
valuation derived from the Bureau of Internal Revenue, among others.
More so, the commissioners did not take into account that the Asian financial
crisis in the second semester of 1997 affected the fair market value of the
subject lots. Judicial notice can be taken of the fact that after the crisis hit the
real estate market, there was a downward trend in the prices of real estate
in the country.

Furthermore, the commissioners’ report itself is flawed considering that its


recommended just compensation was pegged as of October 5, 1999, or the
date when the said report was issued, and not the just compensation as of
the date of the filing of the complaint for expropriation, or as of November
27, 1998. The period between the time of the filing of the complaint (when
just compensation should have been determined), and the time when the
commissioners’ report recommending the just compensation was issued (or
almost one [1] year after the filing of the complaint), may have distorted the
correct amount of just compensation.

Clearly, the legal basis for the determination of just compensation in this case
is insufficient as earlier enunciated. This being so, the trial court’s ruling in
this respect should be set aside.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The December 28, 1999 and March
23, 2000 Orders of the Imus, Cavite RTC and the November 18, 2002 Decision
of the CA are hereby SET ASIDE. This case is remanded to the said trial court
for the proper determination of just compensation in conformity with this
Decision. No costs.

SO ORDERED.
SPOUSES YU vs NGO YET TE land (known as Lot No. 11)11 and four units of motor vehicle, specifically, a
Toyota Ford Fierra, a jeep, a Canter delivery van, and a passenger bus.12

G.R. No. 155868 February 6, 2007 On April 21, 1993, Spouses Yu filed an Answer13 with counterclaim for
damages arising from the wrongful attachment of their properties,
SPOUSES GREGORIO and JOSEFA YU, Petitioners, specifically, actual damages amounting to ₱1,500.00 per day; moral damages,
vs. ₱1,000,000.00; and exemplary damages, ₱50,000.00. They also sought
NGO YET TE, doing business under the name and style, ESSENTIAL payment of ₱120,000.00 as attorney’s fees and ₱80,000.00 as litigation
MANUFACTURING, Respondent. expenses.14 On the same date, Spouses Yu filed an Urgent Motion to Dissolve
DECISION Writ of Preliminary Attachment.15 They also filed a Claim Against Surety
Bond16 in which they demanded payment from Visayan Surety and Insurance
AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: Corporation (Visayan Surety), the surety which issued the attachment bond,
of the sum of ₱594,240.00, representing the damages they allegedly
Before us is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of
sustained as a consequence of the wrongful attachment of their properties.
Court assailing the March 21, 2001 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in
CA-G.R. CV No. 522462 and its October 14, 2002 Resolution.3 While the RTC did not resolve the Claim Against Surety Bond, it issued an
Order17 dated May 3, 1993, discharging from attachment the Toyota Ford
The antecedent facts are not disputed.
Fierra, jeep, and Canter delivery van on humanitarian grounds, but
Spouses Gregorio and Josefa Yu (Spouses Yu) purchased from Ngo Yet Te (Te) maintaining custody of Lot No. 11 and the passenger bus. Spouses Yu filed a
bars of detergent soap worth ₱594,240.00, and issued to the latter three Motion for Reconsideration18 which the RTC denied.19
postdated checks 4 as payment of the purchase price. When Te presented the
Dissatisfied, they filed with the CA a Petition for Certiorari,20 docketed as CA-
checks at maturity for encashment, said checks were returned dishonored
G.R. SP No. 31230, in which a Decision21 was rendered on September 14,
and stamped "ACCOUNT CLOSED".5 Te demanded6 payment from Spouses Yu
1993, lifting the RTC Order of Attachment on their remaining properties. It
but the latter did not heed her demands. Acting through her son and
reads in part:
attorney-in-fact, Charry Sy (Sy), Te filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
Branch 75, Valenzuela, Metro Manila, a Complaint,7 docketed as Civil Case In the case before Us, the complaint and the accompanying affidavit in
No. 4061-V-93, for Collection of Sum of Money and Damages with Prayer for support of the application for the writ only contains general averments.
Preliminary Attachment. Neither pleading states in particular how the fraud was committed or the
badges of fraud purportedly committed by the petitioners to establish that
In support of her prayer for preliminary attachment, Te attached to her
the latter never had an intention to pay the obligation; neither is there a
Complaint an Affidavit executed by Sy that Spouses Yu were guilty of fraud in
statement of the particular acts committed to show that the petitioners are
entering into the purchase agreement for they never intended to pay the
in fact disposing of their properties to defraud creditors. x x x.
contract price, and that, based on reliable information, they were about to
move or dispose of their properties to defraud their creditors.8 xxxx
Upon Te’s posting of an attachment bond,9 the RTC issued an Order of Moreover, at the hearing on the motion to discharge the order of attachment
Attachment/Levy10 dated March 29, 1993 on the basis of which Sheriff x x x petitioners presented evidence showing that private respondent has
Constancio Alimurung (Sheriff Alimurung) of RTC, Branch 19, Cebu City levied been extending multi-million peso credit facilities to the petitioners for the
and attached Spouses Yu’s properties in Cebu City consisting of one parcel of past seven years and that the latter have consistently settled their
obligations. This was not denied by private respondent. Neither does the 3) The Court hereby adjudicates a reasonable attorney’s fees and litigation
private respondent contest the petitioners’ allegations that they have been expenses of ₱10,000.00 in favor of the plaintiff;
recently robbed of properties of substantial value, hence their inability to pay
4) On the counterclaim, this Court declines to rule on this, considering that
on time. By the respondent court’s own pronouncements, it appears that the
the question of the attachment which allegedly gave rise to the damages
order of attachment was upheld because of the admitted financial reverses
incurred by the defendants is being determined by the Supreme Court.
the petitioner is undergoing.
SO ORDERED.27 (Emphasis ours)
This is reversible error. Insolvency is not a ground for attachment especially
when defendant has not been shown to have committed any act intended to Spouses Yu filed with the RTC a Motion for Reconsideration28 questioning the
defraud its creditors x x x. disposition of their counterclaim. They also filed a Manifestation29 informing
the RTC of our June 8, 1994 Resolution in G.R. No. 114700.
For lack of factual basis to justify its issuance, the writ of preliminary
attachment issued by the respondent court was improvidently issued and The RTC issued an Order dated August 9, 1994, which read:
should be discharged.22
xxxx
23
From said CA Decision, Te filed a Motion for Reconsideration but to no avail.
(2) With regard the counter claim filed by the defendants against the plaintiff
Te filed with us a Petition for Review on Certiorari24 but we denied the same for the alleged improvident issuance of this Court thru its former Presiding
in a Resolution dated June 8, 1994 for having been filed late and for failure to Judge (Honorable Emilio Leachon, Jr.), the same has been ruled with
show that a reversible error was committed by the CA.25 Entry of Judgment definiteness by the Supreme Court that, indeed, the issuance by the Court of
of our June 8, 1994 Resolution was made on July 22, 1994.26 Thus, the finding the writ of preliminary attachment appears to have been improvidently
of the CA in its September 14, 1993 Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 31230 on the done, but nowhere in the decision of the Supreme Court and for that
wrongfulness of the attachment/levy of the properties of Spouses Yu became matter, the Court of Appeal’s decision which was in effect sustained by the
conclusive and binding. High Court, contains any ruling or directive or imposition, of any damages
to be paid by the plaintiff to the defendants, in other words, both the High
However, on July 20, 1994, the RTC, apparently not informed of the SC
Court and the CA, merely declared the previous issuance of the writ of
Decision, rendered a Decision, the dispositive portion of which reads:
attachment by this Court thru its former presiding judge to be improvidently
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court finds that the plaintiff has issued, but it did not award any damages of any kind to the defendants,
established a valid civil cause of action against the defendants, and therefore, hence, unless the High Court or the CA rules on this, this Court coud not grant
renders this judgment in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendants, and any damages by virtue of the improvident attachment made by this Court
hereby orders the following: thru its former presiding judge, which was claimed by the defendants in their
counter claim.
1) Defendants are hereby ordered or directed to pay the plaintiff the sum of
₱549,404.00, with interest from the date of the filing of this case (March 3, (3) This Court hereby reiterates in toto its Decision in this case dated July 20,
1993); 1994. 30 (Emphasis ours)

2) The Court, for reasons aforestated, hereby denies the grant of damages to The RTC also issued an Order dated December 2, 1994,31 denying the Motion
the plaintiff; for Reconsideration of Spouses Yu.32
In the same December 2, 1994 Order, the RTC granted two motions filed by According to respondent Te,45 regardless of the evidence presented by
Te, a Motion to Correct and to Include Specific Amount for Interest and a Spouses Yu, their counterclaim was correctly dismissed for failure to comply
Motion for Execution Pending Appeal.33 The RTC also denied Spouses Yu’s with the procedure laid down in Section 20 of Rule 57. Te contends that as
Notice of Appeal34 from the July 20, 1994 Decision and August 9, 1994 Order Visayan Surety was not notified of the counterclaim, no judgment thereon
of the RTC. could be validly rendered.

From said December 2, 1994 RTC Order, Spouses Yu filed another Notice of Such argument is not only flawed, it is also specious.
Appeal 35 which the RTC also denied in an Order36 dated January 5, 1995.
As stated earlier, Spouses Yu filed a Claim Against Surety Bond on the same
Spouses Yu filed with the CA a Petition37 for Certiorari, Prohibition day they filed their Answer and Urgent Motion to Dissolve Writ of Preliminary
and Mandamus, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 36205, questioning the denial of Attachment.46 Further, the records reveal that on June 18, 1993, Spouses Yu
their Notices of Appeal; and seeking the modification of the July 20, 1994 filed with the RTC a Motion to Give Notice to Surety.47 The RTC granted the
Decision and the issuance of a Writ of Execution. The CA granted the Petition Motion in an Order48 dated June 23, 1993. Accordingly, Visayan Surety was
in a Decision38 dated June 22, 1995. notified of the pre-trial conference to apprise it of a pending claim against its
attachment bond. Visayan Surety received the notice on July 12, 1993 as
Hence, Spouses Yu filed with the CA an appeal39 docketed as CA-G.R. CV No.
shown by a registry return receipt attached to the records.49
52246, questioning only that portion of the July 20, 1994 Decision where the
RTC declined to rule on their counterclaim for damages.40 However, Spouses Moreover, even if it were true that Visayan Surety was left in the proceedings
Yu did not dispute the specific monetary awards granted to respondent Te; a quo, such omission is not fatal to the cause of Spouses Yu. In Malayan
and therefore, the same have become final and executory. Insurance Company, Inc. v. Salas,50 we held that "x x x if the surety was not
given notice when the claim for damages against the principal in the replevin
Although in the herein assailed Decision41 dated March 21, 2001, the CA
bond was heard, then as a matter of procedural due process the surety is
affirmed in toto the RTC Decision, it nonetheless made a ruling on the
entitled to be heard when the judgment for damages against the principal is
counterclaim of Spouses Yu by declaring that the latter had failed to adduce
sought to be enforced against the surety’s replevin bond."51 This remedy is
sufficient evidence of their entitlement to damages.
applicable for the procedures governing claims for damages
Spouses Yu filed a Motion for Reconsideration42 but the CA denied it in the
on an attachment bond and on a replevin bond are the same.52
herein assailed Resolution43 dated October 14, 2002.
We now proceed to resolve the issues jointly.
Spouses Yu filed the present Petition raising the following issues:
Spouses Yu contend that they are entitled to their counterclaim for damages
I. Whether or not the appellate court erred in not holding that the writ of
as a matter of right in view of the finality of our June 8, 1994 Resolution in
attachment was procured in bad faith, after it was established by final
G.R. No. 114700 which affirmed the finding of the CA in its September 14,
judgment that there was no true ground therefor.
1993 Decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 31230 that respondent Te had wrongfully
II. Whether or not the appellate court erred in refusing to award actual, moral caused the attachment of their properties. Citing Javellana v. D.O. Plaza
and exemplary damages after it was established by final judgment that the Enterprises, Inc.,53 they argue that they should be awarded damages based
writ of attachment was procured with no true ground for its issuance.44 solely on the CA finding that the attachment was illegal for it already suggests
that Te acted with malice when she applied for attachment. And even if we
There is one preliminary matter to set straight before we resolve the were to assume that Te did not act with malice, still she should be held liable
foregoing issues.
for the aggravation she inflicted when she applied for attachment even when In ruling that Spouses Yu failed to adduce sufficient evidence to support their
she was clearly not entitled to it.54 counterclaim for actual damages, the CA stated, thus:

That is a rather limited understanding of Javellana. The counterclaim disputed In this case, the actual damages cannot be determined. Defendant-appellant
therein was not for moral damages and therefore, there was no need to prove Josefa Yu testified on supposed lost profits without clear and appreciable
malice. As early as in Lazatin v. Twaño,55 we laid down the rule that where explanation. Despite her submission of the used and unused ticket stubs,
there is wrongful attachment, the attachment defendant may recover actual there was no evidence on the daily net income, the routes plied by the bus
damages even without proof that the attachment plaintiff acted in bad faith and the average fares for each route. The submitted basis is too speculative
in obtaining the attachment. However, if it is alleged and established that the and conjectural. No reports regarding the average actual profits and other
attachment was not merely wrongful but also malicious, the attachment evidence of profitability necessary to prove the amount of actual damages
defendant may recover moral damages and exemplary damages as were presented. Thus, the Court a quodid not err in not awarding damages in
well. 56 Either way, the wrongfulness of the attachment does not warrant the favor of defendants-appellants.64
automatic award of damages to the attachment defendant; the latter must
We usually defer to the expertise of the CA, especially when it concurs with
first discharge the burden of proving the nature and extent of the loss or
the factual findings of the RTC.65Indeed, findings of fact may be passed upon
injury incurred by reason of the wrongful attachment.57
and reviewed by the Supreme Court in the following instances: (1) when the
In fine, the CA finding that the attachment of the properties of Spouses Yu conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculations, surmises, or
was wrongful did not relieve Spouses Yu of the burden of proving the factual conjectures; (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd, or
basis of their counterclaim for damages. impossible; (3) where there is a grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation
of facts; (4) when judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when
To merit an award of actual damages arising from a wrongful attachment, the
the lower court, in making its findings, went beyond the issues of the case
attachment defendant must prove, with the best evidence obtainable, the
and such findings are contrary to the admissions of both appellant and
fact of loss or injury suffered and the amount thereof.58 Such loss or injury
appellee; (6) when the factual findings of the CA are contrary to those of the
must be of the kind which is not only capable of proof but must actually be
trial court; (7) when the findings of fact are themselves conflicting; (8) when
proved with a reasonable degree of certainty. As to its amount, the same
the findings of fact are conclusions made without a citation of specific
must be measurable based on specific facts, and not on guesswork or
evidence on which they are based; (9) when the facts set forth in the petition
speculation. 59 In particular, if the claim for actual damages covers unrealized
as well as in the petitioner’s main and reply briefs are not disputed by the
profits, the amount of unrealized profits must be estalished and supported
respondents; (10) when the findings of fact of the lower court are premised
by independent evidence of the mean income of the business undertaking
on the supposed absence of evidence and are contradicted by the evidence
interrupted by the illegal seizure. 60
on record.66 However, the present case does not fall under any of the
Spouses Yu insist that the evidence they presented met the foregoing exceptions. We are in full accord with the CA that Spouses Yu failed to prove
standards. They point to the lists of their daily net income from the operation their counterclaim.
of said passenger bus based on used ticket stubs61 issued to their passengers.
Spouses Yu’s claim for unrealized income of ₱1,500.00 per day was based on
They also cite unused ticket stubs as proof of income foregone when the bus
their computation of their average daily income for the year 1992. Said
was wrongfully seized.62 They further cite the unrebutted testimony of Josefa
computation in turn is based on the value of three ticket stubs sold over only
Yu that, in the day-to-day operation of their passenger bus, they use up at
five separate days in 1992.67 By no stretch of the imagination can we consider
least three ticket stubs and earn a minimum daily income of ₱1,500.00.63
ticket sales for five days sufficient evidence of the average daily income of the
passenger bus, much less its mean income. Not even the unrebutted Q: Did you ever deposit any amount at that time to fund the check?
testimony of Josefa Yu can add credence to such evidence for the testimony
A: We requested that it be replaced and staggered into smaller amounts.
itself lacks corroboration.68
COURT: Did you fund it or not?
Besides, based on the August 29, 1994 Manifestation69 filed by Sheriff
Alimurung, it would appear that long before the passenger bus was placed Atty. Ferrer: The three checks involved?
under preliminary attachment in Civil Case No. 4061-V-93, the same had been
previously attached by the Sheriff of Mandaue City in connection with Atty. Florido: Already answered. She said that they were not able to fund it.
another case and that it was placed in the Cebu Bonded Warehousing Atty. Ferrer: And as a matter of fact, you went to the bank to close your
Corporation, Cebu City. Thus, Spouses Yu cannot complain that they were account?
unreasonably deprived of the use of the passenger bus by reason of the
subsequent wrongful attachment issued in Civil Case No. 4061-V-93. Nor can A: We closed account with the bank because we transferred the account to
they also attribute to the wrongful attachment their failure to earn income or another bank.
profit from the operation of the passenger bus. Q: How much money did you transfer from that bank to which the three
Moreover, petitioners did not present evidence as to the damages they checks were drawn to this new bank?
suffered by reason of the wrongful attachment of Lot No. 11. A: I don’t know how much was there but we transferred already to the Solid
Nonetheless, we recognize that Spouses Yu suffered some form of pecuniary Bank.
loss when their properties were wrongfully seized, although the amount Q: Who transferred?
thereof cannot be definitively ascertained. Hence, an award of temperate or
moderate damages in the amount of ₱50,000.00 is in order.70 A: My daughter, sir.73 (Emphasis ours)

As to moral and exemplary damages, to merit an award thereof, it must be Based on the foregoing testimony, it is not difficult to understand why Te
shown that the wrongful attachment was obtained by the attachment concluded that Spouses Yu never intended to pay their obligation for they
plaintiff with malice or bad faith, such as by appending a false affidavit to his had available funds in their bank but chose to transfer said funds instead of
application.71 cover the checks they issued. Thus, we cannot attribute malice nor bad faith
to Te in applying for the attachment writ. We cannot hold her liable for moral
Spouses Yu argue that malice attended the issuance of the attachment bond and exemplary damages.
as shown by the fact that Te deliberately appended to her application for
preliminary attachment an Affidavit where Sy perjured himself by stating that As a rule, attorney’s fees cannot be awarded when moral and exemplary
they had no intention to pay their obligations even when he knew this to be damages are not granted, the exception however is when a party incurred
untrue given that they had always paid their obligations; and by accusing expenses to lift a wrongfully issued writ of
74
them of disposing of their properties to defraud their creditors even when he attachment.1awphi1.net Without a doubt, Spouses Yu waged a protracted
knew this to be false, considering that the location of said properties was legal battle to fight off the illegal attachment of their properties and pursue
known to him.72 their claims for damages. It is only just and equitable that they be awarded
reasonable attorney’s fees in the amount of ₱30,000.00.
The testimony of petitioner Josefa Yu herself negates their claim for moral
and exemplary damages. On cross-examination she testified, thus:
In sum, we affirm the dismissal of the counterclaim of petitioners Spouses Yu
for actual, moral, and exemplary damages. However, we grant them
temperate damages and attorney’s fees.

WHEREFORE, the petition is partly GRANTED. The March 21, 2001 Decision
of the Court of Appeals is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that
petitioners’ counterclaim is PARTLY GRANTED. Gregorio Yu and Josefa Yu are
awarded ₱50,000.00 temperate damages and ₱30,000.00 attorney’s fees.

No costs.

SO ORDERED.
B. JURISDICTION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS On the same date - January 11, 1978 – CREATIVE, as principal and petitioner,
as surety, further executed in favor of Chinabank a Surety
VALDEZ vs CHINA BANKING CORPORATION Agreement whereunder petitioner Valdez bound himself unto Chinabank the
prompt payment on maturity date of the aforesaid promissory note.
G.R. No. 155009. April 12, 2005 The next day, January 12, 1978, pursuant to said credit agreement, Chinabank
SIMEON M. VALDEZ, Petitioners, drew and issued a check for US$1,000,000.00 with CREATIVE as payee.
vs. Subsequently, CREATIVE indorsed the check back to Chinabank for payment,
CHINA BANKING CORPORATION, Respondents. which the latter did.

DECISION On December 15, 1986, following the failure of both CREATIVE and petitioner
to comply with their obligations despite repeated demands, Chinabank filed
GARCIA, J.: against both a complaint for a sum of money before the Regional Trial Court
at Manila, thereat docketed as Civil Case No. 86-38740 which was raffled to
Assailed and sought to be set aside in this petition for review on certiorari
Branch 35 thereof.
under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court are the following issuances of the Court
of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 24946, to wit: In his separate answer, petitioner, after the usual denial of the material
allegations of the complaint, interposed the defense that the subject Credit
1. Decision dated February 28, 20021 , affirming an earlier decision of the
Agreement is fictitious and simulated; that he signed said agreement
Regional Trial Court at Manila in an action for sum of money thereat
and Promissory Note in his official capacity as president of CREATIVE and not
commenced by the herein respondent against petitioner and Creative
in his personal capacity; and that the Surety Agreement attached to the
Texwood Corporation; and
complaint is not the one executed and signed by him because what he signed
2. Resolution dated August 23, 2002, denying petitioner’s motion for was a pro-forma document with blank spaces still unfilled.
reconsideration.
On July 31, 1987, the trial court dismissed the complaint for failure of plaintiff
The factual milieu: Chinabank to prosecute for an unreasonable length of time. However, upon
Chinabank’s motion for reconsideration, the trial court reinstated the
On January 11, 1978, respondent China Banking Corporation (Chinabank),
complaint, and, on Chinabank’s further motion, declared defendant
represented by its senior vice-president Gilbert Dee, and Creative Texwood
CREATIVE as in default and allowed Chinabank to adduce ex parte its
Corporation (CREATIVE), represented by its president, herein
evidence against the former. Pre-trial was thereafter set between plaintiff
petitioner Simeon M. Valdez, executed a Credit Agreement whereunder
Chinabank and defendant-petitioner.
Chinabank agreed to grant CREATIVE a credit facility in the amount of
US$1,000,000.00 to finance the latter’s importation of raw materials, spare On May 20, 1988, the trial court, upon Chinabank’s motion, declared
parts and supplies for its manufacturing projects. petitioner as in default for his and his counsel’s failure to appear at the
scheduled pre-trial. However, upon petitioner’s motion, the trial court set
Simultaneously with the execution of the aforementioned Credit Agreement,
aside its default order and set the case anew for pre-trial.
and in order to assure payment of the credit facility thereunder granted,
CREATIVE, again represented by petitioner as its President, executed in favor With no amicable settlement having been reached by the parties, trial
of Chinabank a Promissory Note for the same amount, undertaking to pay ensued.
said amount one year thenceforth or until January 11, 1979.
Eventually, in a decision dated November 20, 1989, the trial court rendered From the aforementioned decision of the trial court, both Chinabank and
judgment for plaintiff Chinabank and against defendants CREATIVE and petitioner went to the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 24946.
petitioner, thus:
For failure of Chinabank to file its brief within the reglementary period, the
WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered: (1) ordering defendants Creative appellate court declared its appeal abandoned and accordingly dismissed the
Texwood Corporation and Simeon M. Valdez, jointly and severally, to pay to same. Chinabank’s motion for reconsideration proved unavailing
the plaintiff the principal amount of P18,069,674.38, the interest thereon at
From the appellate court’s dismissal of its appeal, Chinabank went to this
the rate of ½ per annum computed from December 15, 1986, the date the
Court in G.R. No. 97066 via a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45
complaint was filed, until full payment of the principal obligation, another 1 -
of the Rules of Court. In a Resolution dated March 4, 1991,3 this Court
½% per month computed also from the same date until full payment of the
dismissed Chinabank’s petition. Attempt at a reconsideration similarly proved
principal obligation, as penalty, and the amount of P3,613,934.00 for
futile, as in fact an Entry of Judgment4 was rendered declaring the dismissal
attorney’s fees; and (2) ordering defendant Creative Texwood Corporation to
of Chinabank’s petition final and executory.
pay the plaintiff the amount equivalent to 3% per annum also computed from
December 15, 1986, on the amount of the drawdown, as arrangement fee. Meanwhile, with petitioner Valdez having filed his Brief on time, the Court of
Appeals proceeded to resolve his appeal.
SO ORDERED. (Petition, Annex "F"; Rollo, pp. 66-69)
And, in a decision dated February 28, 2002,5 the appellate court dismissed
In its decision, the trial court, finding no reason to doubt the authenticity and
petitioner’s appeal and affirmed the appealed decision of the trial court, thus:
due execution of the surety agreement, held that petitioner’s liability to
Chinabank arose from his execution of the same agreement where he WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant appeal is
warranted unto Chinabank the prompt payment at maturity date of the hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit the appealed decision of the Regional
promissory note. The trial court also debunked petitioner’s protestation in his Trial Court, Branch 35, Manila, is AFFIRMED.
memorandum that his liability under the same surety agreement was
extinguished pursuant to Article 20792 of the Civil Code when Chinabank SO ORDERED.
granted CREATIVE an extension of time for the payment of the loan. Partly His motion for reconsideration having been denied by the same court in
says the trial court in its decision: its Resolution of August 23, 2003,6petitioner Simeon Valdez is now with us
We do not agree. Defendant Valdez admits in his memorandum that after his via the present recourse, it being his submissions that:
co-defendant corporation failed to pay its loan on due date, a demand letter "I.
dated July 16, 1979 was sent by the plaintiff to defendant corporation to pay
its overdue obligation. This first demand letter was followed by two more THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ACTING ON PETITIONER’S APPEAL THEN
demand letters dated November 26, 1979 and May 20, 1981, respectively, ALREADY MOOT AND ACADEMIC DUE TO THE DISMISSAL OF THE BANK’S
both addressed to the said defendant corporation. The mere fact that plaintiff APPEAL AND THE ADOPTION OF THE 1997 RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE.
neglected to sue immediately and initiated this court action only on II.
December 15, 1986, does not relieve and discharge defendant Valdez from
his liability under the Surety Agreement, because such delay in filing the THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RENDERING THE QUESTIONED DECISION
action does not necessarily imply any change in the efficacy of the contract AND RESOLUTION WHICH ARE ALREADY UNENFORCEABLE BY EXECUTION
or liability of the principal debtor. (See Bank of P.I. vs. Albadejo, 53 Phil. 141; DUE TO PRESCRIPTION.
Paras, Civil Code, Vol. V, 1982 Ed., pp. 806 & 810)." (Rollo, p. 68)
III. the trial court did not contain any "allegation on any drawdown from the
subject credit line by [Creative]". Upon this premise, petitioner argues that
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN SETTING ASIDE PETITIONER’S FAILURE TO
Chinabank is practically with no cause of action at all. To petitioner,
ASSIGN LACK OF CONSIDERATION AS AN ERROR CONSIDERING THE
Chinabank has to present evidence of importation by CREATIVE, like shipping
RESULTING UNJUST ENRICHMENT.
documents, which is necessary to establish drawdowns on the
IV. US$1,000,000.00 credit facility. Unfortunately, so petitioner adds,
respondent Chinabank did not present any such document.
THERE WAS AN ERROR IN MAKING PETITIONER LIABLE AS THERE WAS NO
SHOWING THAT THE BANK GOT HIS CONSENT IN THE EXTENSION OF THE We are not persuaded.
ONE-YEAR LOAN PERIOD.
As aptly noted by the appellate court, it is already too late in the day for
V. petitioner to raise an issue on the alleged deficiency of allegations in
Chinabank’s complaint to bolster his theory of lack of alleged consideration
THE QUESTIONED DECISION AND RESOLUTION OF THE COURT OF APPEALS for the parties’ credit agreement.
ARE AGAINST THE RULE OF FINALITY OF JUDGMENT AND PUBLIC POLICY".
Under Rule 9, Section 1, of the Rules of Court, defenses which were not raised
We DENY. in the answer are deemed waived. Petitioner never pleaded in his answer the
It is petitioner’s thesis that the decision of the trial court which he and defense he presently invokes, namely, the alleged lack of consideration for
respondent Chinabank appealed to the Court of Appeals in CA G.R. CV No. the subject credit agreement. His newly minted defense of lack of
24946 was vacated when Chinabank’s similar appeal therefrom was consideration must therefore be struck down, the time for interposing the
dismissed with finality. same having been already passe.

Petitioner’s argument lacks legal moorings. In any event, absence of consideration is the least persuasive argument
petitioner could proffer, if at all he could, colliding as it does with the very
Under Section 9 (3) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended, the Court of allegations in his answer, particularly paragraphs 9 and 14 thereof, to wit:
Appeals has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over final judgments or decisions
of regional trial courts. Here, there is no issue at all that petitioner had "9. That while answering defendant did affix his signature to Annex `C’ [surety
perfected his appeal from the decision of the trial court. The well-settled rule agreement] as co-obligor, he did so merely to accommodate his co-defendant
is that jurisdiction, once acquired, continues until the case is finally corporation who actually received the proceeds thereof and if ever the co-
terminated.7 Since petitioner invoked the authority of the Court of Appeals defendant corporation has been unable to pay its obligation to the plaintiff
when he filed his appellant’s brief in that court, that same court can resolve the same was due to the acts and/or omissions of co-defendant corporation".
petitioner’s appeal regardless of the dismissal of that of his adversary’s. "14. Defendants have already made a substantial payment on the said
Petitioner claims failure on the part of respondent Chinabank to establish account but which plaintiff in bad faith did not properly applied and credited
that the credit agreement between it and CREATIVE is supported by a to defendants’ account." (Emphasis supplied).
consideration. According to petitioner, a credit line was created under the With his foregoing admissions, we are simply at a loss to understand how
said Credit Agreement which "fixed the loan limit that may be availed of by petitioner could now turn his back from his answer and insist on his
[Creative] to cover a series of transactions encountered in importation of its preposterous claim of lack of consideration.
raw materials, spare parts and supplies", while Chinabank’s complaint before
Petitioner additionally posits that "there was no showing as to when the
principal got a drawdown or drawdowns for US$875,468.72", and that "[T]he
US$1,000,000.00 was definitely not the loan under litigation, but there must
have been another drawdown or other drawdowns. The drawdown or
drawdowns cannot be presumed to have been made within the period
guaranteed by the petitioner". To petitioner’s mind, the inconsistency
between the amount demanded by Chinabank in its complaint, which is
US$875,468.72, and the amount of the promissory note, which is for
US$1,000,000.00, is an indication that Chinabank had granted CREATIVE an
extension of the loan. Prescinding therefrom, petitioner insists that he could
not be liable to Chinabank because he did not consent to the extension for
the repayment of the original loan of US$1,000,000.00.

Petitioner’s argument cannot hold water.

As it is, petitioner is attempting to create a new issue of fact at this late stage
of the proceedings. A perusal of his answer fails to yield any indication of his
intent to craft an issue based on the inconsistency between the amount
appearing in the promissory note and that demanded by Chinabank. To allow
petitioner to pursue such a defense would undermine basic considerations of
due process. Points of law, theories, issues and arguments not brought to the
attention of the trial court will not be and ought not to be considered by a
reviewing court, as these cannot be raised for the first time on appeal. It
would be unfair to the adverse party who would have no opportunity to
present further evidence material to the new theory not ventilated before
the trial court.8

The Court is the neutral administrator of justice, not the corrector of unsound
business judgments. Having freely assumed the obligations of a surety,
petitioner cannot now evade those obligations by raising factual issues not
proper in this Court. Under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, this Court’s main
preoccupation is to resolve questions of law not issues of facts.

WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED, and the assailed decision and resolution
of the Court of Appeals AFFIRMED.
POLANCO vs CRUZ Petitioners simultaneously filed an Answer10 to the complaint and a Motion
for Reconsideration11 of the December 4, 2000 Order. However, the court a
quo denied the motion for lack of merit in an Order12 dated September 10,
G.R. No. 182426 February 13, 2009 2001. On January 9, 2002, the trial court issued an Order13 dismissing the case
ZENAIDA POLANCO, CARLOS DE JESUS, AVELINO DE JESUS, BABY DE JESUS, due to respondent’s failure to prosecute.
LUZ DE JESUS, and DEMETRIO SANTOS, Petitioners, With the denial14 of her Motion for Reconsideration,15 respondent interposed
vs. an appeal to the Court of Appeals which rendered the assailed Decision dated
CARMEN CRUZ, represented by her attorney-in-fact, VIRGILIO August 28, 2007, the dispositive portion of which states:
CRUZ, Respondent.
WHEREFORE, the appeal is hereby GRANTED. Accordingly, the Order, dated
DECISION January 9, 2002, of the RTC [Branch 17, Malolos] is hereby REVERSED and SET
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: ASIDE. Plaintiff-appellant’s Complaint is hereby REINSTATED and the case is
hereby REMANDED to the RTC [Branch 17, Malolos] for further proceedings.
This Petition for Review on Certiorari1 assails the August 28, 2007 Decision2 of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 75079, setting aside the Order3 of SO ORDERED.16
Branch 17 of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos in Civil Case No. 542-M-2000, The Court of Appeals ruled that the trial court erred in finding that the parties
which dismissed respondent’s Complaint4 for failure to prosecute. Also failed to take necessary action regarding the case because the records plainly
assailed is the March 28, 2008 Resolution5 denying petitioners’ Motion for show that petitioners filed an Answer to the complaint, while respondent
Reconsideration.6 filed an Opposition to the Motion for Reconsideration with Manifestation Re:
The facts are as follows: Answer of Defendants.17

Respondent Carmen Cruz, through her attorney-in-fact, Virgilio Cruz, filed a With regard to the order of the trial court dismissing the complaint on the
complaint for damages7 against petitioners for allegedly destroying her palay ground of failure to prosecute, the appellate court held that the previous acts
crops. While admitting that petitioners own the agricultural land she tilled, of respondent do not manifest lack of interest to prosecute the case; that
respondent claimed she was a lawful tenant thereof and had been in actual since filing the Complaint, respondent filed an Opposition to petitioners’
possession when petitioners maliciously filled so with soil and palay husk on Motion to Dismiss, an Answer to petitioners’ counterclaim, and a Comment
July 1 and 2, 2000. Respondent prayed that petitioners be held liable for to petitioners’ Motion for Reconsideration; that respondent did not ignore
actual damages, moral damages, exemplary damages, litigation expenses and petitioners’ Motion to Dismiss nor did she repeatedly fail to appear before
attorney’s fees, and costs of the suit. the court; that no substantial prejudice would be caused to petitioners and
that strict application of the rule on dismissal is unjustified considering the
Petitioners filed a Motion to Dismiss,8 which was denied by the trial court in absence of pattern or scheme to delay the disposition of the case on the part
an Order9 dated December 4, 2000. It held that it has jurisdiction over the of respondent; and that justice would be better served if the case is
case because the allegations in the Complaint made a claim for damages, and remanded to the trial court for further proceedings and final disposition.
not an agrarian dispute which should be referred to the Department of
Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB); and that the Complaint was On March 28, 2008, the Court of Appeals denied petitioners’ Motion for
properly filed because the Certification of Non-forum Shopping was signed by Reconsideration; hence, this petition based on the following ground:
respondent’s attorney-in-fact.
WHETHER OR NOT THE DECISION OF THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS IN interests in both actions), (b) rights or causes of action, and (c) reliefs
C.A.-G.R. CV No. 75079, NULLIFYING AND/OR REVERSING AND/OR SETTING sought.20
ASIDE THE ORDERS DATED JANUARY 9, 2002 AND MAY 8, 2002 ISSUED BY THE
Although there is an identity of some of the parties in the instant case for
RTC-BULACAN IN CIVIL CASE No. 542-M-00, IS CONTRARY TO LAW AND
damages and the unlawful detainer case, there is, however, no identity of
PREVAILING JURISPRUDENCE.
reliefs prayed for. The former is for recovery of damages allegedly caused by
Petitioners allege that respondent failed to comply with the mandate of the petitioners’ acts on respondent’s palay crops; while the latter case involved
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure to promptly move for the setting of the case for possessory and tenancy rights of respondent. As such, respondent did not
pre-trial; that "heavy pressures of work" does not justify the failure to move violate the rule on forum-shopping.
for the setting of the case for pre-trial; that the allegations in the Complaint
Section 1, Rule 18 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure imposes upon the
which pertain to respondent’s status as a tenant of Elena C. De Jesus amount
plaintiff the duty to promptly move ex parte to have the case set for pre-trial
to forum shopping that would extremely prejudice them. Petitioners thus
after the last pleading has been served and filed. Moreover, Section 3, Rule
pray for the nullification of the Decision and Resolution of the Court of
1721 provides that failure on the part of the plaintiff to comply with said duty
Appeals and the affirmation of the dismissal of the Complaint by the trial
without any justifiable cause may result to the dismissal of the complaint for
court.
failure to prosecute his action for an unreasonable length of time or failure
The petition lacks merit. to comply with the rules of procedure.1avvphi1

The Court of Appeals correctly noted that petitioners raised the matter of It must be stressed that even if the plaintiff fails to promptly move for pre-
respondent’s alleged forum shopping for the first time only in their Motion trial without any justifiable cause for such delay, the extreme sanction of
for Reconsideration. Issues not previously ventilated cannot be raised for the dismissal of the complaint might not be warranted if no substantial prejudice
first time on appeal,18 much less when first raised in the motion for would be caused to the defendant, and there are special and compelling
reconsideration of a decision of the appellate court. reasons which would make the strict application of the rule clearly
unjustified.22
At any rate, this Court does not find respondent’s allegations in her complaint
in Civil Case No. 542-M-00 to be constitutive of the elements of forum- In the instant case, the Court of Appeals correctly held that the dismissal of
shopping. Respondent merely described herself as a tenant of petitioners and respondent’s complaint is too severe a sanction for her failure to file a motion
mentioned that there was an unlawful detainer case19 involving the parcel of to set the case for pre-trial. It must be pointed out that respondent
land which is also involved in the instant civil case for damages. prosecuted her action with utmost diligence and with reasonable dispatch
since filing the complaint – she filed an opposition to petitioners’ motion to
There is forum-shopping when as a result of an adverse decision in one forum,
dismiss the complaint; a comment to petitioners’ motion for reconsideration
or in anticipation thereof, a party seeks a favorable opinion in another forum
of the December 4, 2000 Order of the trial court; and an Answer to
through means other than ap