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CIVIL PROCEDURE | EH406 Dean Largo | SY ’17-’18 | by MMAngcajas

PHILIPPINE COURTS All Philippine courts, including inferior courts are

now courts of record (RA 2613).
I. Structure
c. Kinds of Courts
i. Constitutional Court – is one created by a
direct constitutional provision. Ex: Supreme
Court of the Philippines (Sec 1, Art VIII of the
1987 Constitution). NOTE: the SC is the only
constitutional court in the Philippines.
ii. Statutory Court – is one created by law other
than the constitution. All courts in the
Philippines, except for the SC, are statutory
RELEVANCE: constitutional courts may only
be abolished by an amendment in the
constitution, since it is the constitution that
created them. Statutory courts can be
abolished by law. However, under the present
constitution, the congress cannot pass a law
reorganizing the Judiciary when it undermines
the security of tenure of its Members (Article
VIII, Sec. 2). Therefore, the constitution has
effectively set a limit to the power of congress
to define, prescribe, and apportion the
jurisdiction of various courts.
iii. Courts of original jurisdiction – where actions
and proceedings are originally filed with. It
means the jurisdiction to take cognizance of a
case at its inception, try it and pass judgment
II. Philippine Courts as courts of law upon the law and facts.
a. Law and Equity iv. Courts of appellate jurisdiction – where it has
Philippine courts are courts of both law and the power of review over the decisions or
equity. orders of a lower court.
Article 9 of the NCC: “No judge or court shall
decline to render judgment by reason of the
silence, obscurity or insufficiency of the laws.” JURISDICTION
Judges may then decide a case based on equity
when there is no law. Definition: the power and authority of the court to hear, try and
i. “Equity follows the law” – if there is a clear law decide a case.
that is applicable to the case, then equity cannot a. Jurisdiction vs. exercise of jurisdiction:
be used in lieu of it. Equity denotes a concept of “As distinguished from the exercise of jurisdiction,
fairness, justness and right dealing among men. jurisdiction is the authority to decide a case, and not the
It seeks to reach and do complete justice where decision rendered therein. Where there is jurisdiction
the courts of law are incompetent to do so over the person and the subject matter, the decision on
because of the inflexibility of the rules and lack all other questions arising in the case is but an exercise
of power to adapt their judgments to the special of such jurisdiction. And the errors which the court may
circumstances of the case. It is availed only in commit in the exercise of jurisdiction are merely errors
the absence of a law and is never availed of of judgment which are the proper subject of an appeal.”
against statutory law or judicial (Heirs of Maura So v. Obliosca, G.R. No. 147082,
pronouncements. January 28, 2008.)

In Sps Poon vs Prime Savings Bank, (GR No 183794, June Relevance: If the court has no jurisdiction at all, it
13, 2016, note that although there is a law that is applicable in cannot render a valid judgment. Hence, a decision of a
the case, the Court agreed with the decision of the lower courts, court without jurisdiction is null and void. However, if
which applied equity, and allowed the PDIC to recover half of the court commits an error in the exercise of its
the “unused” portion of the advanced payment for the rentals. jurisdiction, it does not make the rendered judgment
Why was this allowed? Because there is also a law permitting void, it merely makes it a proper subject of an appeal.
the judge to use equity (Article 8 of the NCC).
b. Philippine Courts as court of record Distinguish error of jurisdiction vs error of judgment.
“Courts of record” are those which keep a written
account of each proceedings. One attribute of a SUGGESTED ANSWER:
court of record is the strong presumption as to the An error of judgment is one which the court may commit
veracity of its records that cannot be collaterally in the exercise of its jurisdiction. Such an error does not
attacked except for fraud. deprive the court of jurisdiction and is correctible only by
correctible only by appeal; whereas an

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appeal; whereas an error of jurisdiction is one which the court NOTE: annexes/attachments form part of the complaint.
acts without or in excess of its jurisdiction. Such an error renders The court can look at the complaint and the annexes to
an order or judgment void or voidable and is correctible by the determine the nature and relief sought of the action.
special civil action of certiorari. (Dela Cruz vs. Moir, 36 Phil. 213;
Cochingyan vs. Claribel, 76 SCRA 361; Fortich vs. Corona, April In Penta Pacific Realty Corp. vs. Ley Construction & Dev.
24, 1998, 289 SCRA 624; Artistica Ceramica, Inc. vs. Ciudad Corp. (GR No. 161589, Nov. 24, 2014), it was discussed that
Del Carmen Homeowner‟s Association, Inc., G.R. Nos. 167583- to determine jurisdiction over the subject matter, you only look
84, June 16, 2010). at the complaint, and not the answer. In this case, the Court
declared that the complaint sufficiently alleged all the
requisites for unlawful detainer, and therefore, jurisdiction
b. Types of Jurisdiction
would fall under the MTC.
i. Original jurisdiction
ii. Appellate jurisdiction
EXAMPLE of LAWS (statute or fundamental law)
NOTE: Under the present constitution, the SC, through
it expanded certiorari jurisdiction, has the power to
 Section 5, Article 8 of the 1987 Philippine
review the acts not only of the inferior courts, but also
Constitution that enumerated the original and
of other branches and instrumentalities of the
appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
government to determine whether there has been
NOTE: Congress cannot decrease the original
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess
jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. They also
of jurisdiction.
cannot increase the appellate jurisdiction of the
iii. Exclusive jurisdiction – precludes the idea of co-
SC without the SC’s concurrence or ….
existence and refers to jurisdiction possessed to the
 BP 129, as amended by RA 7691
exclusion of others.
iv. Concurrent jurisdiction – also called “coordinate
Pertinent provisions of BP 129, as amended by RA 7691:
jurisdiction”, is the power of different courts to take
cognizance of the same subject matter. Where there is
Sec. 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. – Regional Trial Courts shall
concurrent jurisdiction, the court first taking cognizance
exercise exclusive original jurisdiction.
of the case assumes jurisdiction to the exclusion of
"(1) In all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is
c. Kinds/Aspects of Jurisdiction incapable of pecuniary estimation;
NOTE: incapable of pecuniary estimation – no monetary
i. Jurisdiction over the subject matter
ii. Jurisdiction over the parties value can be assigned or designated.
Example: specific performance, support, or foreclosure of
iii. Jurisdiction over the issues of the case; and
iv. Jurisdiction over the res or the thing involved in mortgage or annulment of judgment; also actions
questioning the validity of a mortgage, annulling a deed of
the litigation
sale or conveyance and to recover the price paid and for
"(2) In all civil actions which involve the title to, or possession
Definition: the power of a particular court to hear the type of, real property, or any interest therein, where the assessed
value of the property involved exceeds Twenty thousand
of case that is before it.
pesos (P20,000,00) or, for civil actions in Metro Manila,
a. How conferred – only by law (either statutes or the where such value exceeds Fifty thousand pesos
constitution itself). Why? Because the constitution itself (P50,000.00) except actions for forcible entry into and
unlawful detainer of lands or buildings, original jurisdiction
(Article VIII, Section 2) vested congress the power to
over which is conferred upon the Metropolitan Trial Courts,
define, prescribe, and apportion the jurisdiction of various
Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts;
courts through legislation. Hence, it can only be conferred
by law.
"(3) In all actions in admiralty and maritime jurisdiction where
NOTE: The case of Tijam v. Sibonghanoy (GR No. the demand or claim exceeds One hundred thousand pesos
L21450, April 15, 1968) is an exception and should only (P100,000.00) or, in Metro Manila, where such demand or
claim exceeds Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00);
ever be applied where the facts of case are similar to that
NOTE: At present, this is now P300,000 in cases outside of
of the Tijam case (the case was file barely a month after
Metro Manila, and P400,000 in Metro Manila, as a result of
the act amending the jurisdiction of the courts took effect,
the adjustments authorized in Sec. 5 of RA 7691.
the petitioner took 15 years to question the jurisdiction of
the court, etc). The principle that jurisdiction over the
"(4) In all matters of probate, both testate and intestate,
subject matter is conferred by law is not only a general rule
where the gross value of the estate exceeds One hundred
but an ironclad rule. It cannot be conferred or left to the will
thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or, in probate matters in
or actions of the parties. Therefore, the rule still stands that
Metro Manila, where such gross value exceeds Two
the lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter can be raised
at any time, even on appeal, and parties who actively Hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00);
NOTE: At present, this is now P300,000 in cases outside of
participated in the case are not necessarily estopped in
Metro Manila, and P400,000 in Metro Manila, as a result of
questioning the court’s jurisdiction over the subject matter.
the adjustments authorized in Sec. 5 of RA 7691.
b. How determined – by the allegations in the complaint.

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"(5) In all actions involving the contract of marriage and actual relief sought involves the title to, or possession of, real
marital relations; property, or any interest therein. If it does, then par. 2, instead
NOTE: This is now handled by a special court, the Family of par. 1 will apply, and the assessed value of the real property
Court (this is an RTC designated to act as a special court). must be alleged to determine which court has jurisdiction. (For
further reading, see case of Sps. Trayvilla vs. Sejas G.R. No.
"(6) In all cases not within the exclusive jurisdiction of any 204970, February 1, 2016)
court, tribunal, person or body exercising jurisdiction of any
court, tribunal, person or body exercising judicial or., quasi- Differentiate from the case of Surviving Heirs of Bautista vs.
judicial functions; Lindo (G.R. No. 208232, March 10, 2014): In Heirs of Bautista,
NOTE: This is why the RTC is often called a court of general the case was about the sale of a free-patent land through a deed
jurisdiction. of sale that the seller now wants to repurchase by virtue of his
right under Sec. 119 of Public Land Act. He filed a complaint to
"(7) In all civil actions and special proceedings falling within repurchase before the RTC. Respondents argued that since he
the exclusive original jurisdiction of a Juvenile and Domestic did not allege the assessed value of the property and that the
Relations Court and of the Court of Agrarian Relations as right to repurchase is a real action capable of pecuniary
now provided by law; and estimation, the case should be then be dismissed.
However, according to the SC, this is a civil action incapable of
"(8) In all other cases in which the demand, exclusive of pecuniary estimation, cognizable by the RTC. “Petitioner (seller)
interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation filed a complaint to enforce his right granted by law to recover
expenses, and costs or the value of the property in the lot subject of free patent. Ergo, it is clear that his action is for
controversy exceeds One hundred thousand pesos specific performance, or if not strictly such action, then it is akin
(P100,000.00) or, in such other cases in Metro Manila, where or analogous to one of specific performance, one incapable of
the demand exclusive of the abovementioned items exceeds pecuniary estimation.
Two Hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00)." It does not involve title to or possession of the lots since the
NOTE: At present, this is now P300,000 in cases outside of reacquisition of the lots is incidental to the exercise of the right
Metro Manila, and P400,000 in Metro Manila, as a result of by the latter to redeem said lots pursuant to Sec. 119 of CA 141.
the adjustments authorized in Sec. 5 of RA 7691. The reconveyance of the title to petitioners is solely dependent
on the exercise of such right to repurchase the lots in question
SUMMARY OF JURISDICTIONAL AMOUNT FOR SEC. 19, and is not the principal or main relief or remedy sought.”
PAR. 2 OF BP 129, AS AMENDED- involve the title to, or NOTE: What was sought here is the enforcement of his right,
possession of, real property, or any interest therein) the reconveyance of title was merely incidental and purely
NOTE: reckoned using the assessed value of the property depends on whether he has the right to repurchase. The
OUTSIDE METRO MANILA difference lies between the nature of the principal action or
P20,000 or below MTC remedy sought. (See similar case of Russell vs. Vestil, G.R.
More than P20,000 RTC No. 119347. March 17, 1999)
P50,000 or below MTC Question: What if a case that should be filed in a special court,
More than P50,000 RTC like the commercial court, is instead filed in a regular court,
should it be dismissed?
Answer: No. Where a case that should be filed in a special court
SUMMARY OF JURISDICTIONAL AMOUNT FOR SEC. 19, was filed in a regular court, it should be referred to the executive
PAR. 3, 4 and 8 OF BP 129, AS AMENDED judge for re-docketing. Any difference regarding the applicable
OUTSIDE METRO MANILA docket fees should be duly accounted for. On the other hand,
docket fees already paid shall be duly credited, and any excess,
P300,000 or below MTC
refunded. The assigning of special courts is only a matter of
More than P300,000 RTC
expediency and efficiency, not jurisdiction. (Gonzales vs JGH
Land Inc, G.R. No. 202664, November 20, 2015)
P400,000 or below MTC
More than P400,000 RTC
Question: You want to file a case for annulment of deed of sale
of a real property with an assessed value of P10,000. Or you Definition: The legal power of the court to render judgment
want to file a case for specific performance, but what is asked is against a party to an action or proceeding.
actually the conveyance of a real property with an assessed
value of P10,000, where should you file it? a. How acquired:
Answer: Since the assessed value of the real property is 1. Over plaintiff – upon filing of the complaint, the
P10,000, it should be filed in the MTC, applying par. 2, Sec 19 plaintiff himself to the jurisdiction of the court.
of BP 129. Even if typically, the action for specific performance 2. Over defendant –
is one that is incapable of pecuniary estimation, what is asked is 1. Through service of summons; or
not merely performance, but transfer of title. Hence, it falls under 2. Voluntary appearance – Section 23 of the
the category of civil actions which involve the title to real Rules provides that the defendant's voluntary
property, or any interest therein (par. 2). Note that the appearance in the action shall be equivalent
amendment of the law forces us to look further into actions that to service. When a defendant voluntarily
are typically incapable of pecuniary estimation (annulment of appears, he is deemed to have submitted
deed of sale, specific performance, quieting of title, etc) when it himself to the jurisdiction of the court.
involves a real property. We need to ask further if the action or

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Instances of actions amounting to voluntary How conferred and determined:

appearance: By the allegations in the pleadings of the parties. In order to
(1) when his counsel files the corresponding determine whether or not a court has jurisdiction over the
pleading thereon; issue or issues of the case, one must examine the pleadings.
(2) when a defendant files a motion for Whether or not a court has jurisdiction over a specific issue
reconsideration of the judgment by default;
is a question that requires nothing but an examination of the
(3) when he files a petition to set aside the
judgment of default; pleadings.
(4) when he and the plaintiff jointly submit a This may be conferred by the consent of the parties.
compromise agreement for approval of the trial
court. Illustration: Plaintiff filed a case for collection of sum of money
in the amount of P1M as evidenced by a promissory note. The
Question: When will an appearance amount to a voluntary loan was payable on November 2017 and demand has been
appearance? made. However, the debtor/defendant still failed to pay. In the
Answer: Generally, if the defendant seeks for an affirmative answer to the complaint, the debtor/defendant admitted the
relief with the court (e.g. answers the complaint even without existence of the loan, however, he insists that he has paid
summons or files a motion to dismiss). However, if he goes to P2.5M and that in fact, there is now overpayment. Based on the
court to make a conditional appearance (ad cautelam) pleadings, the issue here is whether the plaintiff can demand for
questioning the jurisdiction of the court, he is not deemed to the P1M. Since the promissory note is admitted and is not
have submitted to the jurisdiction of the court. questioned, then the court will not decide on the issue of its
authenticity anymore.
Question: If you file a motion to dismiss on the ground of lack If, on the other hand, the promissory note is denied by the
of jurisdiction over your person, and you invoke additional defendant in his answer (there is no debt because the note is a
grounds like prescription of the cause of action, are you deemed forgery), the court can now decide on the issue of the
to have made a voluntary appearance? authenticity of the promissory note. Jurisdiction of the court over
Answer: No. In the case of La Naval Drug Corp. v. CA (GR L- the issue is conferred by the allegations and also the admissions
103200, Aug. 31, 1994), the Court ruled “that a defendant may, during pre-trial.
in fact, feel enjoined to set up, along with his objection to the
court's jurisdiction over his person, all other possible defenses.
It thus appears that it is not the invocation of any of such PAYMENT OF CORRECT AMOUNT OF FILING FEES
defenses, but the failure to so raise them, that can result in
waiver or estoppel.”
“It is not simply the filing of the complaint or
Sec. 20 of Rule 14: “xxx The inclusion in a motion to appropriate initiatory pleading, but the payment of the
dismiss of other grounds aside from lack of jurisdiction over prescribed docket fee, that vests a trial court with
the person of the defendant shall not be deemed a jurisdiction over the subject- matter or nature of the
voluntary appearance.” action. Where the filing of the initiatory pleading is not
The rule, as it now stands, allows the raising of defences in accompanied by payment of the docket fee, the court
addition to lack of jurisdiction over the person of the defendant, may allow payment of the fee within a reasonable time
without creating an inference of a voluntary submission to the but in no case beyond the applicable prescriptive or
jurisdiction of the court. reglementary period.” (Sun Insurance Office, Ltd. vs
Asuncion, G.R. Nos. 79937-38. February 13, 1989)

JURISDICTION OVER THE RES NOTE: Jurisdiction of the court will not attach without
payment. The case cited above mentions of the exception
Definition: the court’s jurisdiction over the thing or the property where the payment within a reasonable time after filing is
which is the subject of the action. This type of jurisdiction is allowed.
necessary when the action is in rem or quasi in rem.

Res – a “thing” or “object”. RELATED CONCEPTS


1. By placing the property or thing under the court’s
custody (custodial legis); or Definition: where courts have concurrent jurisdiction over a
2. Constructive seizure (e.g. attachment of property); or subject matter, a case must be filed before the lowest court
3. Statutory authority conferring upon the court the power possible having the appropriate jurisdiction, except if one can
to deal with the property or thing within the court’s advance a special reason which would allow a party direct resort
territorial jurisdiction (e.g. suits involving the status of to a higher court.
the parties or the property in the Philippines of non-
resident defendants). Rationale for the rule (especially if concerned with the SC):
(a) it would be an imposition upon the precious time of the
Court; and
JURISDICTION OVER THE ISSUES (b) it would cause an inevitable and resultant delay, intended
or otherwise, in the adjudication of cases, which in some
Definition: the power of the court to try and decide the issues instances had to be remanded or referred to the lower court
raised in the pleadings of the parties. as the proper forum under the rules of procedure, or as better

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equipped to resolve the issues because the Court is not a


Exceptions (where direct resort to the SC is allowed): Definition: jurisdiction, once it attaches, continues until the
a) When there are special and important reasons clearly termination of the case. Jurisdiction is determined at the time of
stated in the petition; the institution of the action.
b) When dictated by public welfare and the advancement
of public policy; In the case of Escobal vs . Hon. Garchitorena (G.R. No.
c) When demanded by the broader interest of justice; 124644. February 5, 2004), after the prosecution has rested its
d) When the challenged orders were patent nullities; or case and the accused has presented his evidence in the RTC,
e) When analogous exceptional and compelling the RTC judge forwarded the case to the Sandiganbayan to
circumstances called for and justified the immediate conform with R.A. No. 7975 (amending the jurisdiction of the
direct handling by the court. Sandiganbayan).The Presiding Justice of the Sandiganbayan
ordered the case to be remanded to the RTC. It reasoned that
Question: Distinguish the certiorari jurisdiction of the Supreme under P.D. No. 1606 (the law in force at the time of the institution
Court Section 1, par (2), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution and of the criminal action), as amended by R.A. No. 7975 (the
the certiorari jurisdiction under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court? subsequent law which amended the jurisdiction of the
Answer: In Section 1, par (2), Article VIII of the 1987 Sandiganbayan), the RTC retained jurisdiction over the case.
Constitution, the certiorari jurisdiction pertains to any branch and The Court agreed with the Sandiganbayan and mentioned that
instrumentality of the government, while the certiorari jurisdiction “jurisdiction of the court acquired at the inception of the case
under Rule 65 seeks to correct the discretion of the lower courts continues until the case is terminated.”
and other judicial bodies.
OF EXHAUSTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE REMEDIES “The doctrine of judicial stability or non-interference in
the regular orders or judgments of a co-equal court is
Doctrine of Primary Jurisdiction an elementary principle in the administration of justice:
Courts actually have jurisdiction over the case but an no court can interfere by injunction with the judgments
administrative body/agency has the competence to resolve or orders of another court of concurrent jurisdiction
the case. As a result, the court must first allow the having the power to grant the relief sought by the
determination of the administrative agency. injunction. The rationale for the rule is founded on the
concept of jurisdiction: a court that acquires jurisdiction
Doctrine of Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies over the case and renders judgment therein has
“Before a party is allowed to seek the intervention of the jurisdiction over its judgment, to the exclusion of all
courts, it is a pre-condition that he avail himself of all other coordinate courts, for its execution and over all its
administrative processes afforded him. Hence, if a remedy incidents, and to control, in furtherance of justice, the
within the administrative machinery can be resorted to by conduct of ministerial officers acting in connection with
giving the administrative officer every opportunity to decide this judgment.”
on a matter that comes within his jurisdiction, then such NOTE: This also applies to administrative courts/quasi-
remedy must be exhausted first before the court's power of judicial bodies (e.g. you appeal the decision of the NLRC to
judicial review can be sought. The premature resort to the the CA, not to RTC since NLRC and RTC are co-equal.)
court is fatal to one's cause of action.” (Samar II Electric
Cooperative, Inc vs Seludo Jr. G.R. No. 173840. April

The doctrines of primary jurisdiction and exhaustion of RULE MAKING POWER OF THE SUPREME COURT
administrative remedies are subject to certain exceptions:
(a) where there is estoppel on the part of the party invoking SECTION 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following
the doctrine; powers:
(b) where the challenged administrative act is patently xxx
illegal, amounting to lack of jurisdiction; (5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and
(c) where there is unreasonable delay or official inaction that enforcement of constitutional rights, pleading, practice,
will irretrievably prejudice the complainant; and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice
(d) where the amount involved is relatively so small as to of law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the
make the rule impractical and oppressive; underprivileged. Such rules shall provide a simplified and
(e) where the question involved is purely legal and will inexpensive procedure for the speedy disposition of cases,
ultimately have to be decided by the courts of justice; shall be uniform for all courts of the same grade, and shall
(f) where judicial intervention is urgent; not diminish, increase, or modify substantive rights. Rules
(g) where the application of the doctrine may cause great of procedure of special courts and quasi-judicial bodies
and irreparable damage; shall remain effective unless disapproved by the Supreme
(h) where the controverted acts violate due process; Court.
(i) where the issue of non-exhaustion of administrative NOTE: The 1987 Constitution took away the power of Congress
remedies has been rendered moot; to repeal, alter, or supplement rules concerning pleading,
(j) where there is no other plain, speedy and adequate practice and procedure. In fine, the power to promulgate rules of
remedy; (k) where strong public interest is involved; and pleading, practice and procedure is no longer shared by this
(l) in quo warranto proceedings. Court with Congress, more so with the Executive.

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than to take justice in our own hands. Injury ≠ damage. Note in

CONSTRUCTION OF RULES IN CIVIL PROCEDURE this case that A was in good faith.

Section 6. Construction. — These Rules shall be liberally QUESTION: If you are making the complaint, where do you find
construed in order to promote their objective of securing a just, the rights and duties of parties?
speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and ANSWER: substantive law.
proceeding. ii. Failure to State a Cause of Action vs Lack of Cause of
NOTE: Compliance with the procedural rules is the general rule,
and abandonment thereof should only be done in the most FAILURE TO STATE A LACK OF CAUSE OF
exceptional circumstances and save for the most persuasive CAUSE OF ACTION ACTION
reasons, strict compliance with the rules is enjoined to facilitate insufficiency of the pleading insufficiency of evidence
orderly administration of justice. ground for dismissal under raised in a demurrer to
Rule 16 evidence under Rule 33
PRE-FILING SCENARIOS after the plaintiff has rested
its case
can be made at the earliest usually made after
Civil action is the redress of a civil wrong. stages of an action questions of fact have
been resolved on the basis
CAUSE OF ACTION of stipulations, admissions or
evidence presented (after
Definition: the act or omission by which a party violates a right the plaintiff rested his case)
of another. can be determined only can be determined from
from the allegations in the evidentiary matters

“The test of sufficiency of facts alleged in the complaint as Failure to state a cause of action and lack of cause of action are
constituting a cause of action is whether or not admitting the really different from each other. On the one hand, failure to
facts alleged, the court could render a valid verdict in state a cause of action refers to the insufficiency of the
accordance with the prayer of the complaint. pleading, and is a ground for dismissal under Rule 16 of the
Rules of Court. On the other hand, lack of cause [of] action
That in determining sufficiency of cause of action, the court refers to a situation where the evidence does not prove the
takes into account only the material allegations of the complaint cause of action alleged in the pleading. Justice Regalado, a
and no other, is not a hard and fast rule. In some cases, the recognized commentator on remedial law, has explained the
court considers the documents attached to the complaint to truly distinction:
determine sufficiency of cause of action.” (Fluor Daniel, Inc,- “. . . What is contemplated, therefore, is a failure to
Philippines v. E.B. Villarosa & Partners Co., Ltd., GR No. state a cause of action which is provided in Sec.
659648) 1(g) of Rule 16. This is a matter of insufficiency of
the pleading. Sec. 5 of Rule 10, which was also
NOTE: It is not enough that a party has, in effect, a cause of included as the last mode for raising the issue to the
action. The rules of procedure require that the complaint must court, refers to the situation where the evidence does
contain a concise statement of ultimate or essential facts not prove a cause of action. This [lack of cause of
constituting the plaintiff’s cause of action. action] is, therefore, a matter of insufficiency of
evidence. Failure to state a cause of action is
i. Elements of Cause of Action different from failure to prove a cause of action. The
1. A right in favor of the plaintiff by whatever means and remedy in the first is to move for dismissal of the
under whatever law it arises or is created; pleading, while the remedy in the second is to demur
2. An obligation on the part of the defendant not to to the evidence, hence reference to Sec. 5 of Rule
violate such right; and 10 has been eliminated in this section. The
3. An act or omission on the part of the defendant in procedure would consequently be to require the
violation of the right of the plaintiff or constituting a pleading to state a cause of action, by timely
breach of the obligation of the defendant to the plaintiff objection to its deficiency; or, at the trial, to file a
for which the latter may maintain an action for recovery demurrer to evidence, if such motion is warranted.”
of damages or other relief. (Pacaña-Contreras vs Rovilla Water Supply, Inc.,
GR No. 223751, December 2, 2013)
A, on the honest belief that there is a case against B, filed a case iii. Test of Sufficiency of Cause of Action
in court. As a result, B was constrained to hire a lawyer, forced
to be absent from his work to attend hearings, and has suffered “The test of sufficiency of a cause of action rests on whether,
wounded feelings and sleepless nights. hypothetically admitting the facts alleged in the complaint
The judge then dismisses the case. to be true, the court can render a valid judgment upon the
Is there damage to B because of the case? same, in accordance with the prayer in the complaint. This
This is a case of damage sans injury. There is damage (loss of is the general rule.” (Heirs of Lorito C. Maramag vs. Maramag,
income, attorney’s fees) but there is no injury. We have the right GR No. 181132, June 5, 2009)
to litigate because it’s preferred that we bring a case to court

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NOTE: The inquiry is to the sufficiency, not the veracity of the (a) it will not violate the rules on jurisdiction, venue and
material allegation. Whether those allegations are true or not is joinder of parties, and
beside the point, for their truth is hypothetically admitted by the (b) the causes of action arise out of the same contract,
motion. transaction or relation between the parties, or are for
NOTE FURTHER: The court ought not to consider matters demands for money or are of the same nature and
outside of the complaint in determining whether or not a character. (Republic vs Hernandez, GR No. 117209,
complaint states a cause of action. There is no need to require February 9, 1996)
the presentation of evidence. However, the court may look on
the attachments in the complaint.
EXCEPTION: exceptions, such that there is no hypothetical
admission of the veracity of the allegations if: Change of name embodied in the petition for adoption not valid.
1. the falsity of the allegations is subject to judicial notice; A petition for adoption and a petition for change of name are two
2. such allegations are legally impossible; special proceedings which, in substance and purpose, are
3. the allegations refer to facts which are inadmissible in different from and are not related to each other, being
evidence; respectively governed by distinct sets of law and rules. There is
4. by the record or document in the pleading, the no relation between the two petitions, nor are they of the same
allegations appear unfounded; or nature or character, much less do they present any common
5. there is evidence which has been presented to the question of fact or law, which conjointly would warrant their
court by stipulation of the parties or in the course of the joinder. (Republic vs Hernandez, GR No. 117209, February 9,
hearings related to the case. 1996)

QUESTION: Why do the courts need not look at, the allegations
in the defense of a defendant to determine whether the cause of
action has been sufficiently alleged in the allegations? ILLUSTRATION OF THE THIRD CONDITION:
ANSWER: Because the inquiry must be made on the complaint, NOTE: there really is no joinder of causes of action in this case
not the answer. since the Court ruled that there is only one cause of action.

A complaint for the annulment of the sale/MOA, recovery of

JOINDER/MISJOINDER OF CAUSES OF ACTION possession of a real property and damages filed in the RTC of
the residence of the plaintiff and not where the property is
RULE 2. Section 5. Joinder of causes of action. — A party may located is improper. Under the third condition (Rule 2, Sec 5 of
in one pleading assert, in the alternative or otherwise, as many RoC), if one cause of action falls within the jurisdiction of the
causes of action as he may have against an opposing party, RTC and the other falls within the jurisdiction of the MTC, the
subject to the following conditions: action should be filed in the RTC. If the causes of action have
(a) The party joining the causes of action shall comply with different venues, they may be joined in any of the courts of
the rules on joinder of parties; proper venue. Hence, a real action and a personal action may
(b) The joinder shall not include special civil actions or be joined either in the RTC of the place where the real property
actions governed by special rules; is located or where the parties reside.
(c) Where the causes of action are between the same Petitioners here only have one cause of action: the breach of the
parties but pertain to different venues or jurisdictions, MOA upon the latters’ refusal to pay the first two instalments as
the joinder may be allowed in the Regional Trial Court agreed upon, and turn over to the petitioners the possession of
provided one of the causes of action falls within the the real property (real action). The claim for damages (personal
jurisdiction of said court and the venue lies therein; and action) was merely incidental.
(d) Where the claims in all the causes action are principally The action of the plaintiff for the rescission of the MOA on
for recovery of money, the aggregate amount claimed account of the respondents breach thereof and the latter’s failure
shall be the test of jurisdiction. to return the premises subject of the complaint to the petitioners,
and the respondents’ eviction therefrom is a real action. As
A joinder of causes of action is the uniting of two or more such, the action should have been filed in the proper court
demands or right of action in a complaint. The question of the where the property is located, not at the residence of the
joinder of causes of action involves in particular cases a plaintiff. (Spouses Decena vs Spouses Piquero, GR No.
preliminary inquiry as to whether two or more causes of action 155736, March 31, 2005)
are alleged.
In declaring whether more than one cause of action is alleged, ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE BOOK and the DISCUSSION:
the main thrust is whether more than one primary right or subject 1. D and C lives in Cebu City. D is the debtor of C for
of controversy is present. A cause of action may be single P350,000 due on January 1, 2018. D likewise owes
although the plaintiff seeks a variety of remedies. The mere fact C P300,000 due on January 10, 2018. D has not paid
that the plaintiff prays for multiple reliefs does not indicate that the debts despite demand.
he has stated more than one cause of action. (Spouses Decena a. May C file a single suit against D for the
vs Spouses Piquero, GR No. 155736, March 31, 2005) collection of both debts despite the claims
being actually separate causes of action and
each having arisen out of different
While joinder of causes of action is largely left to the option of a transactions?
party litigant, Section 5, Rule 2 of our present Rules allows YES. C may file a single suit for the collection
causes of action to be joined in one complaint conditioned of both debts. When the cause of action
upon the following requisites: accrue in favor of the same plaintiff and

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against the same defendant, i.e. there is only alternative and one of them if made independently would be
one plaintiff and one defendant, it is not sufficient, the pleading is not made insufficient by the
necessary to ask whether or not the causes of insufficiency of one or more of the alternative statements.
action arouse out of the same transaction or
series of transactions and that there exists a
question of law or common fact to all plaintiffs SPLITTING A SINGLE CAUSE OF ACTION
or defendants. This question is only relevant
when there are multiple plaintiffs or multiple RULE 2. Section 4. Splitting a single cause of action; effect of.
defendants. — If two or more suits are instituted on the basis of the same
b. C obliged to join the cause of action against Is cause of action, the filing of one or a judgment upon the merits
B? in any one is available as a ground for the dismissal of the
NO. The joinder of separate causes of action, others.
where allowable, is permissive and not
mandatory in the absence of a contrary Remedy of defendant: file a motion to dismiss. If the first action
statutory provision, even though the causes of is pending when the second action is filed, the latter may be
action arose from the same factual setting and dismissed based on litis pendencia. If a final judgment has been
might under applicable joinder rules be joined. rendered in the first action when the second action is filed, the
c. Where must the suit be filed? latter may be dismissed based on res judicata.
In the RTC since the total amount of the debts
is within that court’s jurisdiction. Under the NOTE: the phraseology of the rule does not necessarily confine
Rules, where the claims in all the cause of the dismissal to the second action. As to which action should be
action are principally for the recovery of dismissed would depend upon judicial discretion and the
money, the aggregate amount claimed shall prevailing circumstances of the case.
be the test for jurisdiction. This situation
follows the so-called totality test for purposes TESTS TO ASCERTAIN WHETHER TWO SUITS RELATE TO
2. Assume that aside from the above claims, C, as lessor, 1. whether the same evidence would support and sustain
also wants to eject D from the apartment occupied by both the first and second causes of action (also known
D as his lessee. as the “same evidence” test);
a. May the action be joined with the claims for 2. whether the defences in one case may be used to
money? substantiate the complaint in the other;
NO. An action for ejectment is a special civil 3. whether the cause of action in the second case existed
action. This kind of action cannot be joined at the time of the filing of the first complaint. (Umale
with ordinary civil actions. vs Canoga Park Development Corporatin, 654
SCRA 155, 162)
3. Assume that C has the following causes of action against
D: (a) 1 million based on a note; (b) 1 million based on torts; SITUATION: A owes 1 million with 12% annual interest to B,
and (c) foreclosure of real estate mortgage. due on January 1, 2018. A also owes you P500,000 due on
(a) May the causes of action be joined? January 10, 2018.
They can be joined except the action for 1) Can you file two different cases for collection of sum of
foreclosure of real estate mortgage which is a money?
special civil action. YES. There are two different cause of action arising from
4. Suppose P is a passenger in a bus owned by O and driven difference transactions that can be split.
by D. Because of the negligence of D, P sustained injuries 2) Can you file a case to collect the 1 million and another
when the vehicle fell into a ditch by the roadside. case to collect the 12% interest?
1. May P, as plaintiff, join O and D as defendants NO. Both suits arose from the same cause of action, hence they
in the same complaint based on a quasi-delict? must be filed together in one suit.
YES. The liability of O and D arose out of the
same accident which gave rise to a common
question of law or fact. O may be sued under
a quasi-delict, as an employer of D if P so
requires. Two main categories:
1. Plaintiff – claiming party or more appropriately, original
RULE 2. Section 6. Misjoinder of causes of action. — Misjoinder claiming party and one who files the complaint or party
of causes of action is not a ground for dismissal of an action. A claiming in a counterclaim, etc.
misjoined cause of action may, on motion of a party or on the 2. Defendant – party against whom there is a claim.
initiative of the court, be severed and proceeded with separately.
RULE 3. Section 2. Parties in interest. — A real party in interest
ALTERNATIVE CAUSES OF ACTION is the party who stands to be benefited or injured by the
judgment in the suit, or the party entitled to the avails of the suit.
RULE 8. Section 2. Alternative causes of action or Unless otherwise authorized by law or these Rules, every action
defenses. — A party may set forth two or more statements of a must be prosecuted or defended in the name of the real party in
claim or defense alternatively or hypothetically, either in one interest.
cause of action or defense or in separate causes of action or
defenses. When two or more statements are made in the
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Under our procedural rules, "a case is dismissible for lack of

personality to sue upon proof that the plaintiff is not the real UNWILLING CO-PLAINTIFF
party-in-interest, hence grounded on failure to state a cause
of action. (Magallanes vs Palmer Asia, Inc., GR No. 205179, RULE 3. Section 10. Unwilling co-plaintiff. — If the consent of
January 18, 2015) any party who should be joined as plaintiff can not be obtained,
he may be made a defendant and the reason therefor shall be
stated in the complaint.
Definition: one whose interest will be affected by the court's 1. natural persons;
action in the litigation, and without whom no final determination 2. juridical persons;
of the case can be had. 3. entities authorized by law; and
4. minors as parties (may sue or be sued with parent/s or
NOTE: Joinder of indispensable party is mandatory. However, guardian ad litem).
failure to implead an indispensable party will not cause the
dismissal of the case. What will cause the dismissal of the case NOTE: Under Article 44 of the Civil Code, an association is
is if there is a lawful order from the court directing the plaintiff to considered a juridical person if the law grants it a personality
implead the indispensable party but the plaintiff did not follow separate and distinct from that of its members.
such order. NOTE FURTHER: Fact showing one’s capacity to sue or be
sued must be averred.
An indispensable party is one whose interest will be affected
by the court's action in the litigation, and without whom no final
determination of the case can be had. The party's interest in the INDIGENT/PAUPER LITIGANTS
subject matter of the suit and in the relief sought are so
inextricably intertwined with the other parties' that his legal May be allowed to sue as indigent when court authorizes him.
presence as a party to the proceeding is an absolute necessity. The application and the hearing to litigate as an indigent litigant
In his absence there cannot be a resolution of the dispute of the may be made ex parte.
parties before the court which is effective, complete, or IF ALLOWED: exempt from payment of docket fees, transcripts,
equitable. There are two essential tests of an indispensable notes. Such amount will be a lien on the judgment rendered
party: unless court provides otherwise.
(1) can relief be afforded the plaintiff without the
presence of the other party?; and
(2) can the case be decided on the merits without CLASS SUIT
prejudicing the rights of the other party?
If both questions are answered in the affirmative, then the party Definition: an action where one or more may sue for the benefit
is an indispensable party. (Philippine National Bank vs Heir of of all if the requisites for said action are complied with.
Militar, GR No. 164801, August 18, 2005)
(a) subject matter: common or general interest to many
NECESSARY PARTY persons. Not commonality in the questions of facts or
law involved in the issue, but commonality in the
Definition: those whose presence is necessary to adjudicate subject matter.
the whole controversy, but whose interests are so far separable (b) persons: too numerous that it is impracticable to join all
that a final decree can be made in their absence without as parties
affecting them. (c) parties that are actually before the court are sufficiently
numerous and representative as to fully protect the
(d) the representative sue or defend for the benefit of all.
must be joined must be added whenever
mandatory permissive 1. Residents of a town where injured by gas leak of a
Interest in the subject matter Interest in the subject matter plant. (each must prove own injury)
is inseparable is separable 2. Relatives of victims of a plane crash.
joined for case to proceed Joined to afford complete 3. Corporation to recover property of its members, owned
and to avoid dismissal in relief to parties and avoid in their personal capacity. (interests are conflicting)
case there is a court order for multiple suit 4. Recovery of portions of a property, as each could
joinder of parties allege and prove their respective rights. No identical
If not joined ALL court If not joined, court may title.
actions are null and void decide and decision is 5. Recover real property individually held
without prejudice to the rights 6. Damages for personal reputation (libelous article
of necessary parties against individual sugar planters)

The General Rule with reference to the making of parties in a

civil action requires, of course, the joinder of all necessary
parties wherever possible, and the joinder of all indispensable

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parties under any and all conditions, the presence of those latter On the other hand, the question as to "real party-in-interest" is
being a sine qua non of the exercise of judicial power. whether he is "the party who would be benefited or injured
An exceptional situation is a class suit where there are by the judgment," or the "party entitled to the avails of the
numerous persons all in the same plight and all together suit."
constituting a constituency whose presence in the litigation is
absolutely indispensable to the administration of justice. Here Real party-in-interest, on the other hand, is a concept in civil
the strict application of the rule as to indispensable parties would procedure and is expressly defined in the Rules of Court as the
require that each and every individual in the class is sufficiently one who would be benefited or injured by the judgment, or one
represented to enable the court to deal properly and justly with entitled to the avails of the suit. "Interest" within the meaning of
that interest and with all other interests involved in the suit. in the rule means material interest or an interest in issue and to be
the class suit, then, representation of a class interest which will affected by the decree, as distinguished from mere interest in
be affected by the judgment is indispensable; but it is not the question involved or a mere incidental interest. Otherwise
indispensable to make each member of the class an actual stated, the rule refers to a real or present substantial interest as
party. (Borlasas vs Polistico) distinguished from a mere expectancy. (Nazareno v. City of


DEFENDANT In Constitutional law, where the issue in the case is considered
to be of transcendental importance or of paramount public
i. UNKNOWN DEFENDANT interest, the requirements on locus standi is relaxed and the
RULE 3. Section 14. Unknown identity or name of defendant. petitioner is considered a property party.
— Whenever the identity or name of a defendant is unknown, he Absent any constitutional issues, you cannot invoke
may be sued as the unknown owner heir devisee, or by such transcendental importance or paramount public interest in order
other designation as the case may require, when his identity or to gain standing or personality to file the suit.
true name is discovered, the pleading must be amended
RULE 3. Section 13. Alternative defendants. — Where the IF CLAIM SURVIVES court shall order legal
plaintiff is uncertain against who of several persons he is entitled DEATH representative of the
to relief, he may join any or all of them as defendants in the deceased to appear and be
alternative, although a right to relief against one may be Examples: substituted for the deceased
inconsistent with a right of relief against the other. (a) those arising from within 30 days from notice.
EXAMPLE: You were in a car accident. The accident was (b) based on tortious death Duty of counsel of the
caused by the cars of A and B colliding with your car. As a result, (c) recovery of real and party who died: inform the
you would now want to sue for damages. However, you are not personal prop, enforce court within thirty (30) days
sure who really is responsible for the accident. You can then sue lien, quieting title after such death of the fact
both A and B as alternative defendants. (d) ejectment case thereof, and to give the name
(e) recovery of money and address of his legal
JOINDER OF PARTIES based on express/ representative or
implied contract. representative
Person made a party to the Party is not joined when he is against the estate of If no heirs: court to appoint
action although he should supposed to be joined but is deceased. executor/admin
not be impleaded not impleaded administrator.

INDIPENSABLE PARTIES should be joined. If heirs are minors or

NOTE: Neither misjoinder or non-joinder are grounds for incapacitated: court
dismissal of actions. It only becomes a ground for dismissal if appoints guardian ad litem
the court orders to drop/join but parties do not follow. (Sec 3,
Rule 17, RoC) If no legal representative is
named by counsel or the
one named fails to appear:
specified time to procure the
Standing is a special concern in constitutional law because in appointment of an executor
some cases, suits are brought not by parties who have been or administrator for the estate
personally injured by the operation of a law or by official of the deceased and the
action taken, but by concerned citizens, taxpayers or voters latter shall immediately
who actually sue in the public interest. Hence, the question in appear for and on behalf of
standing is whether such parties have "alleged such a personal the deceased
stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that IF CLAIM DOES NOT extinguish the action.
concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of SURVIVE DEATH Dismiss case.
issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination
of difficult constitutional questions."
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Substitution by the heirs is not a matter of jurisdiction, but

a requirement of due process. It protects the right of due
process belonging to any party, that in the event of death the
deceased litigant continues to be protected and properly
represented in the suit through the duly appointed legal
representative of his estate. The application of the rule on
substitution depends on whether or not the action survives the
death of the litigant. Section 1, Rule 87 of the Rules of Court
enumerates the following actions that survive the death of
a party, namely: (1) recovery of real or personal property, or an
interest from the estate; (2) enforcement of liens on the estate;
and (3) recovery of damages for an injury to person or property.
On the one hand, Section 5, Rule 86 of the Rules of Court
lists the actions abated by death as including: (1) claims for
funeral expenses and those for the last sickness of the
decedent; (2) judgments for money; and (3) all claims for money
against the deceased, arising from contract, express or implied
[NOTE: these actions under Rule 86 may survive if filed within
the time limited in the notice of creditors published by the
executor or administrator]{. (Sulpicio Lines v. Napoleon

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