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TYSON S SUPER CONCRETE, INC. vs.

CA Facts: Romana Dela Cruz is the registered owner of several parcels of land located at P. Dela Cruz St., Sta. Quiteria, Caloocan City. Sometime in October 1992, Dela Cruz entered into a contract of lease with Tyson s Super Concrete, Inc. (Tyson s for brevity) where it was agreed that the latter shall occupy the property as lessee for a period of twenty (20) years beginning January 1, 1993 until December 31, 2012.3

injunction, finding that there is no evidence to warrant the issuance 14 of the said writ. Tyson s elevated the case to the CA via a special civil action 16 for certiorari. The CA first decided in favor of petitioner, declaring the decision of MeTC and RTC null and void. It first rationalized that under normal circumstances, summons upon a domestic corporation may be served upon any of the officers enumerated under Section 13, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court. However, since petitioner corporation was undergoing intra-corporate problems which had been taken over by the SEC, under this (sic) special circumstances, summons should "have been effected on the Management Committee created by the SEC and not on any of the officers enumerated under Sec. 13, Rule 14, Rules of Court. The service of summons on Francis Chua who is not among the persons enumerated in Section 13, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court was insufficient. It did not at all bind the petitioner corporation. When the statute designates a particular officer to whom the process may be delivered and with whom it may be left, as service upon the corporation, no other person can be substituted in his place However, upon respondent s motion for reconsideration, the CA reversed its decision. CA now rationalizes that as corporate secretary of the petitioner corporation, Francis Chua is a proper person under the aforementioned Rules to whom service of summons may be validly made. In addition, as member of the Management Committee, he is a responsible officer of the corporation, and may thus be deemed to be an agent thereof, as the term is used in connection with Section 13, Rule 14. . . . Petitioners filed a Joint Motion for Reconsideration of the Amended 22 Decision but the same was denied in a Resolution issued by the CA 23 on September 20, 1999. Hence, petitioners filed the instant petition.

Sometime in March 1995, the two major blocs of stockholders of Tyson s comprising of Elsa and Francis Chua, on one hand, and Nancy, William, Genaro and Lydia, all surnamed Hao, on the other, due to internal squabbling, filed a joint motion with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) praying for the appointment of a receiver to oversee the functions of the corporation. On April 11, 1995, the SEC issued an order creating a Management Committee to undertake the management of Tyson s, to take custody of and control over all the existing assets, funds and records of the corporation, and to determine the best way to protect the 5 interest of the stockholders and creditors. On February 27, 1996, a complaint for ejectment was filed by Dela Cruz against Tyson s with the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC) of Caloocan City for the alleged failure of Tyson s to pay its rentals 8 despite repeated written demands for such payment. Tyson s failed to file the required answer to the Complaint. MeTC rendered its decision in favor of de la cruz, demanding Tyson to vacate the leased premises and pay the rentals, attorney s fees and cost of suit. On May 24, 1996, Dela Cruz filed a Motion for Immediate Execution of the MeTC judgment. Tyson s, on the other hand, filed a motion praying for the stay of execution of the MeTC decision contending that the MeTC did not acquire jurisdiction over the defendant corporation on the ground that said corporation was not validly and effectively served with summons. On July 22, 1996, Tyson s filed a motion to vacate the judgment of the MeTC. On even date, the MeTC issued an order denying Tyson s motion to vacate judgment. The MeTc court reasoned that Sheriff Antonio del Rosario of such Court reported that he had exerted efforts on several occasions to serve the summons to any responsible officer of the defendant in their office at the leased premises but to no avail. Upon an information from the defendant s security guard, he was able to locate the spouses Elsa Hao Chua and Francis Chua at their residence at 1231 G. Araneta St., Tondo, Manila and served the summons on them last March 21, 1996. Elsa Hao Chua is the treasurer of the defendant and its authorized representative as regards the lease contract as aforestated, while her husband Francis Chua is its corporate secretary, and as it turned out a duly appointed member of the Management Committee since May 23, 1995. Receipt of the summons and its annexes was acknowledged by Francis Chua as evidenced by his signature on the file copy of the summons attached to the record of the case. Tyson s then filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Caloocan City a petition for certiorari and prohibition with application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order seeking to stop the judgment of the MeTC. After hearing, the RTC, per its resolution dated August 26, 1996, denied Tyson s application for the issuance of a writ of preliminary
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

Issues: 1. Whether or not an extrinsic fraud was committed consisting of Francis Chua s deliberate omission to furnish the Committee and the bloc of Nancy Hao with the summons issued by the MeTC Whether or not Tyson s was validly and effectively served with the summons issued by the MeTC.

2.

Ruling: On the first issue, the court is not persuaded that an extrinsic fraud was committed. The RTC found that the Committee was sufficiently apprised of the complaint for ejectment when Francis Chua s lawyer sent a letter together with a copy of said complaint on March 22, 1996, to Mr. Gregorio Navarro, Chairman of the Committee, informing him that the complaint was received on March 21, 1996, that it was filed by the lessors of the land leased by Tyson s on the ground of unpaid rentals and that Tyson s is required to file an 30 answer within fifteen days from receipt. We find no cogent reason to disturb said findings of fact. Factual issues are beyond the province of this court. Further, well-settled is the rule that factual matters cannot be inquired into by this Court in an appeal by certiorari. On the second issue, the court ruled in the affirmative. The procedural rule in effect at the time the ejectment case was filed by
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Dela Cruz with the MeTC is Rule 14, Section 13 of the Revised Rules of Court, to wit: Sec. 13. Service upon private domestic corporation or partnership. If the defendant is a corporation organized under the laws of the Philippines or a partnership duly registered, service may be made on the president, manager, secretary, cashier, agent, or any of its directors. In the instant case, it is established that at the time Francis Chua received the summons from the MeTC, he was the incumbent corporate secretary of Tyson s. In addition, he was a member of the management committee created by the SEC to oversee the operations of Tyson s. Being a member of the Committee, there is no question that he was an agent of petitioner corporation as contemplated under then Section 13, Rule 14 of the Revised Rules of Court. Hence, whether he was acting in his capacity as corporate secretary or as an agent of Tyson s, or both, when he received the summons from the MeTC, the service of said summons upon him is valid.

estate. They likewise prayed that, in the meantime, petitioner Michael C. Guy, son of the decedent, be appointed as Special Administrator of the estate. In his Comment/Opposition, petitioner prayed for the dismissal of the petition. He asserted that his deceased father left no debts and that his estate can be settled without securing letters of administration pursuant to Section 1, Rule 74 of the Rules of Court. He further argued that private respondents should have established their status as illegitimate children during the lifetime of Sima Wei pursuant to Article 175 of the Family Code. The other heirs of Sima Wei filed a Joint Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the certification against forum shopping should have been signed by private respondents and not their counsel. Further, petitioner and his co-heirs alleged that private respondents' claim had been paid, waived, abandoned or otherwise extinguished by reason of Remedios' June 7, 1993 Release and Waiver of Claim stating that in exchange for the financial and educational assistance received from petitioner, Remedios and her minor children discharge the estate of Sima Wei from any and all liabilities. The Regional Trial Court denied the Joint Motion to Dismiss as well as the Supplemental Motion to Dismiss. It ruled that while the Release and Waiver of Claim was signed by Remedios, it had not been established that she was the duly constituted guardian of her minor daughters. Thus, no renunciation of right occurred Petitioner moved for reconsideration but was denied. He filed a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals which affirmed the orders of the Regional Trial Court. The Court of Appeals also denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration, hence, this petition. Issues: 1. Whether or not private respondents' petition should be dismissed for failure to comply with the rules on certification of non-forum shopping Whether or not the Release and Waiver of Claim precludes private respondents from claiming their successional rights Whether or not private respondents are barred by prescription from proving their filiation.
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Even if we are to follow petitioners premise that the Committee is the only body authorized to receive summons, we still find no basis to conclude that only its chairman is authorized to receive summons. Like the chairman of the Committee, its members are also authorized to receive summons since they are also considered "responsible officers" as contemplated by the Rules of Court in effect at the time the ejectment case against Tyson s was filed. In the present case, since it is not disputed that Francis Chua is a member of the management committee, he is therefore authorized to receive summons for and in behalf of Tyson s. Furthermore, we agree with the pronouncement of the CA in its assailed decision that nothing in the order of the SEC creating the management committee nor in the language of P.D. No. 902-A, provides that only the chairman of the Committee is authorized to receive summons. We likewise agree with the CA that even if the SEC or the Committee has adopted a rule to the effect that only the chairman of the latter may receive summons, such rule cannot amend or alter the Rules of Court promulgated by the Supreme Court, pursuant to Section 5(5), Article VIII of the Constitution, which allows officers of a corporation to receive summons on its behalf. WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED and the Amended Decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 41970 dated May 20, 1999 is AFFIRMED. GUY vs. CA Facts: On June 13, 1997, private respondent-minors Karen Oanes Wei and Kamille Oanes Wei, represented by their mother Remedios Oanes (Remedios), filed a petition for letters of administration before the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 138. Private respondents alleged that they are the duly acknowledged illegitimate children of Sima Wei, who died intestate in Makati City on October 29, 1992. His known heirs are his surviving spouse Shirley Guy and children, Emy, Jeanne, Cristina, George and Michael, all surnamed Guy. Private respondents prayed for the appointment of a regular administrator for the orderly settlement of Sima Wei's
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

2. 3.

Ruling: The petition lacks merit. First issue: Rule 7, Section 5 of the Rules of Court provides that the certification of non-forum shopping should be executed by the plaintiff or the principal party. Failure to comply with the requirement shall be cause for dismissal of the case. However, a liberal application of the rules is proper where the higher interest of justice would be served. So it is in the present controversy where the merits of the case and the absence of an intention to violate the rules with impunity should be considered as compelling reasons to temper the strict application of the rules. Second issue: As regards Remedios' Release and Waiver of Claim, the same does not bar private respondents from claiming successional rights. To be valid and effective, a waiver must be couched in clear and unequivocal terms which leave no doubt as to the intention of a party to give up a right or benefit which legally pertains to him. A waiver may not be attributed to a person when its terms do not explicitly and clearly evince an intent to abandon a right.
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In this case, we find that there was no waiver of hereditary rights. The Release and Waiver of Claim does not state with clarity the purpose of its execution. Considering that the document did not specifically mention private respondents' hereditary share in the estate of Sima Wei, it cannot be construed as a waiver of successional rights. Further, it would also be inconsistent to rule that they waived their hereditary rights when petitioner claims that they do not have such right. Hence, petitioner's invocation of waiver on the part of private respondents must fail. Third issue: The ruling on the same would be premature considering that private respondents have yet to present evidence. We ruled in Bernabe v. Alejo that illegitimate children who were still minors at the time the Family Code took effect and whose putative parent died during their minority are given the right to seek recognition for a period of up to four years from attaining majority age. This vested right was not impaired or taken away by the passage of the Family Code. We also note that, while the original action filed by private respondents was a petition for letters of administration, the trial court is not precluded from receiving evidence on private respondents' filiation. Its jurisdiction extends to matters incidental and collateral to the exercise of its recognized powers in handling the settlement of the estate, including the determination of the status of each heir. That the two causes of action, one to compel recognition and the other to claim inheritance, may be joined in one complaint is not new in our jurisprudence. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. Let the records be REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Makati City, Branch 138 for further proceedings. DE LA CRUZ vs. CA Facts: The Reyes family, represented by Mr. Lino Reyes, owned a lot. Petitioner Lourdes Dela Cruz was one of their lessees, and she religiously paid rent over a portion of the lot for well over 40 years. Sometime in 1989, a fire struck the premises and destroyed, among others, petitioner s dwelling. After the fire, petitioner and some tenants returned to the said lot and rebuilt their respective houses; simultaneously, the Reyes family made several verbal demands on the remaining lessees, including petitioner, to vacate the lot but the latter did not comply. On February 21, 1994, petitioner was served a written demand to vacate said lot but refused to leave. Despite the setback, the Reyes family did not initiate court proceedings against any of the lessees. On November 26, 1996, the disputed lot was sold by the Reyeses to respondent Melba Tan Te by virtue of a Deed of Absolute Sale. Respondent bought the lot in question for residential purposes. Despite the sale, petitioner Dela Cruz did not give up the lot. On January 14, 1997, petitioner was sent a written demand to relinquish the premises which she ignored, prompting respondent Tan Te to initiate conciliation proceedings at the barangay level but failed. As a result, a certificate to file action was issued to Tan Te. On September 8, 1997, respondent Tan Te filed an ejectment complaint with damages before the Manila MeTC. The complaint averred that: (1) the previous owners, the Reyeses were in
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

possession and control of the contested lot; (2) on November 26, 1996, the lot was sold to Tan Te; (3) prior to the sale, Dela Cruz forcibly entered the property with strategy and/or stealth; (4) the petitioner unlawfully deprived the respondent of physical possession of the property and continues to do so; and, (5) the respondent sent several written demands to petitioner to vacate the premises but refused to do so. On October 24, 1997, petitioner filed her answer and alleged that: (1) the MeTC had no jurisdiction over the case because it falls within the jurisdiction of the RTC as more than one year had elapsed from petitioner s forcible entry; (2) she was a rent-paying tenant 2 protected by PD 20; (3) her lease constituted a legal encumbrance upon the property; and (4) the lot was subject of expropriation. Issue: Whether or not the Manila RTC or the Manila MeTC, has jurisdiction over the Tan Te ejectment suit. Ruling: Petition is denied. Jurisdiction is the power or capacity given by the law to a court or tribunal to entertain, hear and determine certain controversies. Jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred by law. Section 33 of Chapter III -- on Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts of B. P. No. 129 provides: Section 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in civil cases. Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise: xxxx (2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer: Provided, That when, in such cases, the defendant raises the question of ownership in his pleadings and the question of possession cannot be resolved without deciding the issue of ownership, the issue of ownership shall be resolved only to determine the issue of possession. Thus exclusive, original jurisdiction over ejectment proceedings (accion interdictal) is lodged with the first level courts. This is clarified in Section 1, Rule 70 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure that embraces an action for forcible entry (detentacion), where one is deprived of physical possession of any land or building by means of force, intimidation, threat, strategy, or stealth. To determine whether a complaint for recovery of possession falls under the jurisdiction of the MeTC (first level court) or the RTC (second level court), we are compelled to go over the allegations of the complaint. The general rule is that what determines the nature of the action and the court that has jurisdiction over the case are the allegations in the complaint. These cannot be made to depend upon the defenses set up in the answer or pleadings filed by the defendant. This general rule however admits exceptions. In Ignacio v. CFI of Bulacan, it was held "that while the allegations in the complaint make out a case for forcible entry, where tenancy is averred by way of defense and is proved to be the real issue, the case should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction as the case should properly be filed with the then Court of Agrarian Relations."

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The cause of action in a complaint is not what the designation of the complaint states, but what the allegations in the body of the complaint define and describe. The designation or caption is not controlling, more than the allegations in the complaint themselves are, for it is not even an indispensable part of the complaint. The settled rule is jurisdiction is based on the allegations in the initiatory pleading and the defenses in the answer are deemed irrelevant and immaterial in its determination. However, we relax the rule and consider the complaint at bar as an exception in view of the special and unique circumstances present. First, as in Ignacio v. 13 CFI of Bulacan, the defense of lack of jurisdiction was raised in the answer wherein there was an admission that petitioner Dela Cruz was a lessee of the former owners of the lot, the Reyeses, prior to the sale to respondent Tan Te. The fact that petitioner was a tenant of the predecessors-in-interest of respondent Tan Te is material to the determination of jurisdiction. Since this is a judicial admission against the interest of petitioner, such admission can be considered in determining jurisdiction. Second, the ejectment suit was filed with the Manila MeTC on September 8, 1997 or more than nine (9) years ago. To dismiss the complaint would be a serious blow to the effective dispensation of justice as the parties will start anew and incur additional legal expenses after having litigated for a long time. Equitable justice dictates that allegations in the answer should be considered to aid in arriving at the real nature of the action. Lastly, Section 6, Rule 1 of the Rules of Court clearly empowers the Court to construe Rule 70 and other pertinent procedural issuances "in a liberal manner to promote just, speedy, and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding." BALTAZAR vs. OMBUDSMAN Facts: Pacienda Regala owned a fishpond. His Attorney-in-Fact, Atty. Faustino Mercado leased the fishpond to Eduardo Lapid for a period of three years, from August 7, 1990 to August 7, 1993. Thereafter, Eduardo Lapid subleased the fishpond to Rafael Lopez during the last seven months of the original lease. Respondent Selanga was hired by Eduardo Lapid as a fishpond watchman. Salenga was also hired by Rafael Lopez. On March 11, 1993, Salenga sent a demand letter to Lourdes Lapid and Rafael Lopez for his unpaid salaries and unpaid 10% share in the harvest. On June 5, 1993, Rafael Lopez informed Salenga that he will be transferring his rights over the fishpond to Mario Palad and Ambit Perez. This prompted respondent Salenga to file a Complaint before the Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (PARAB) for Maintenance of Peaceful Possession, Collection of Sum of Money and Supervision of Harvest. The Complaint was signed by respondent Jose D. Jimenez, Jr., Legal Officer of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), as counsel for respondent Salenga; whereas respondent Eulogio M. Mariano was the Chief Legal Officer of DAR Region III. The case was assigned to respondent Toribio E. Ilao, Jr., Provincial Adjudicator of DARAB, Pampanga. On May 10, 1993, respondent Salenga amended his complaint that now included a prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction. However, before the prayer for the issuance of a TRO could be acted upon, respondent Salenga filed a Motion to Maintain Status Quo and to Issue Restraining Order which was set for hearing. In the hearing, since the motion was unopposed, respondent Ilao, Jr. issued a TRO. Thereafter, respondent Salenga asked for supervision of the harvest, which the board sheriff did.

In the subsequent hearing for the issuance of a preliminary injunction, again, only respondent Salenga appeared and presented his evidence for the issuance of the writ. Pending resolution of the case, Faustino Mercado, as Attorney-in-Fact of the fishpond owner Paciencia Regala, filed a motion to intervene which was granted by respondent Ilao, Jr. After the trial, respondent Ilao, Jr. rendered a Decision dismissing the Complaint for lack of merit; but losing plaintiff, respondent Salenga, appealed the decision before the DARAB Appellate Board. Pending resolution of the agrarian case, the instant case was instituted by petitioner Antonio Baltazar, an alleged nephew of Faustino Mercado, through a Complaint-Affidavit against private respondents in the Office of the Ombudsman. Petitioner charged private respondents of conspiracy through the issuance of the TRO in allowing respondent Salenga to retain possession of the fishpond, operate it, harvest the produce, and keep the sales under the safekeeping of other private respondents. Moreover, petitioner maintains that respondent Ilao, Jr. had no jurisdiction to hear and act on DARAB Case No. 552-P 93 filed by respondent Salenga as there was no tenancy relation between respondent Salenga and Rafael L. Lopez, and thus, the complaint was dismissible on its face. While the other respondents submitted their counter-affidavits, respondent Ilao, Jr. instead filed his February 9, 1995 motion to dismiss, February 21, 1995 Reply, and March 24, 1995 Rejoinder. The Ombudsman issued a Resolution finding cause to bring respondents to court, denying the motion to dismiss of respondent Ilao, Jr. Subsequently, respondent Ilao, Jr. filed his Motion for Reconsideration and/or Re-investigation which was denied. Consequently, an information is filed against all the private respondent before the Sandiganbayan. In this case, petitioner contends that DARAB Case No. 552-P 93 is not an agrarian dispute and therefore outside the jurisdiction of the DARAB. He maintains that respondent Salenga is not an agricultural tenant but a mere watchman of the fishpond owned by Paciencia Regala. Moreover, petitioner further argues that Rafael Lopez and Lourdes Lapid, the respondents in the DARAB case, are not the owners of the fishpond. Issue: Whether or not the Hon. Ombudsman erred in reversing his own resolution where it was resolved that accused as provincial adjudicator has no jurisdiction over a complaint where there exist no tenancy relationship considering complainant is not a tenant but a watchman overseer hired for a salary as alleged in his own complaint. Ruling: This argument is likewise bereft of merit. Indeed, as aptly pointed out by respondents and as borne out by the antecedent facts, respondent Ilao, Jr. could not have acted otherwise. It is a settled rule that jurisdiction over the subject matter is determined by the allegations of the complaint. The nature of an action is determined by the material averments in the complaint and the character of the relief sought, not by the defenses asserted in the answer or motion to dismiss. Given that respondent Salenga s complaint and its attachment clearly spells out the jurisdictional allegations that he is an agricultural tenant in possession of the fishpond and is about to be ejected from it, clearly, respondent Ilao, Jr. could not be faulted in assuming jurisdiction as said allegations characterize an agricultural dispute. Besides, whatever defense asserted in an
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Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

answer or motion to dismiss is not to be considered in resolving the issue on jurisdiction as it cannot be made dependent upon the allegations of the defendant. CADIMAS vs. CARRION Facts: The instant petition stemmed from the complaint for accion reivindicatoria and damages filed by petitioner Marjorie B. Cadimas, through her attorney-in-fact, Venancio Z. Rosales, against respondents Marites Carrion and Gemma Hugo. The complaint was raffled to Branch 85 of the RTC of Quezon City. In the complaint, petitioner averred that she and respondent Carrion were parties to a Contract To Sell wherein petitioner sold to respondent Carrion a town house. According to petitioner, Carrion had violated paragraph 8 of said contract when she transferred ownership of the property to respondent Hugo under the guise of a special power of attorney, which authorized the latter to manage and administer the property for and in behalf of respondent Carrion. Allegedly, petitioner asked respondent Carrion in writing to explain the alleged violation but the latter ignored petitioner s letter, prompting petitioner to demand in writing that Carrion and Hugo vacate the property and to cancel the contract.6 Respondent Hugo filed a Motion To Dismiss8 on her behalf and on behalf of respondent Carrion on 18 November 2004, citing the grounds of lack of jurisdiction to hear the case on the part of the RTC and estoppel and/or laches on the part of petitioner. Respondent Hugo argued that the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) has jurisdiction over the complaint because ultimately, the sole issue to be resolved was whether petitioner, as the owner and developer of the subdivision on which the subject property stood, was guilty of committing unsound real estate business practices. The RTC denied the motion to dismiss. It held that the court s jurisdiction is not determined by the defenses set up in the answer or the motion to dismiss. However, respondents elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals via a special civil action for certiorari, praying that the Omnibus Order dated 21 March 2005 and Order dated 17 January 2007 issued by Judge Teodoro T. Riel be reversed and set aside. The Court of Appeals rendered the assailed Decision granting respondents petition for certiorari. The appellate court set aside the assailed orders of the RTC and ordered the dismissal of petitioner s complaint for lack of jurisdiction Issue: Whether or not the RTC has jurisdiction over the matter based on the allegations of the complaint. Ruling: RTC has jurisdiction. The nature of an action and the jurisdiction of a tribunal are determined by the material allegations of the complaint and the law at the time the action was commenced. Jurisdiction of the tribunal over the subject matter or nature of an action is conferred only by law and not by the consent or waiver upon a court which, otherwise,
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would have no jurisdiction over the subject matter or nature of an action. The cancellation of the contract and the recovery of possession and ownership of the town house. Clearly, the complaint is well within the jurisdiction of the RTC. It is an elementary rule of procedural law that jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter is determined by the allegations of the complaint irrespective of whether or not the plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of the claims asserted therein. As a necessary consequence, the jurisdiction of the court cannot be made to depend upon the defenses set up in the answer or upon the motion to dismiss, for otherwise, the question of jurisdiction would almost entirely depend upon the defendant. What determines the jurisdiction of the court is the nature of the action pleaded as appearing from the allegations in the complaint. The averments in the complaint and the character of the relief sought are the matters to be consulted.32 Thus, the allegations in respondents motion to dismiss on the unsound real estate business practices allegedly committed by petitioner, even if proved to be true, cannot serve to oust the RTC of its jurisdiction over actions for breach of contract and damages which has been conferred to it by law. MERCADO vs. UBAY Facts: Herein petitioners - The MERCADO (siblings) filed an action for partition with the Court of First Instance (CFI) Cavite Br. 1 against the SAMONTE siblings. The defendants filed their answer to the complaint thru their counsel, Atty. Danilo Pine. CFI rendered judgment in favor of petitioners. Since no appeal was made by any of the defendants, the decision became final and executory, then the trial court issued the corresponding writ of execution. Before the writ of execution could be carried out, the defendants filed a petition for certiorari and mandamus seeking to annul the writ of execution. The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition for lack of merit. Respondent Lucina and Trinidad Samonte filed an action before the CFI of Rizal for the annulment of the judgment rendered by the trial court alleging that they did not authorize anyone including Atty. Pine to represent them in said case. Petitioner s motion to dismiss was denied. Issue: Whether or not a CFI or a branch thereof has the authority to annul a final and executory judgment rendered by another branch of the same court? Ruling: Petition is granted and respondent judge of the CFI or Rizal is ordered to dismiss Civil Case No. 2442. BP 129 enacted August 10, 1982, transferred jurisdiction over actions for annulment of judgment to the Court of Appeals. Although the prevailing rule before the enactment of BP 129 was that the CFI and their branches have jurisdiction to annul each
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Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

other s final judgments. However fundamental principles still dictate that the better policy, as a matter of comity or courteous interaction between courts of first instance and branches thereof, the annulment of cases to be tried by the same court or branch which heard the main action sought to be annulled, pursuant to judicial stability, the doctrine of non-interference should be regarded as highly important in the administration of justice whereby the judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction may not be opened, modified or vacated by any court of concurrent jurisdiction. SALMORIN vs. ZALDIVAR Facts: Dr. Pedro Zaldivar, as legal possessor of a lot situated in Mapatag, Hamtic, Antique, entered into an agreement with Salmorin designating him as administrator of the lot with a monthly salary of P150. Salmorin allegedly did not comply with the terms of the Kasugtanan when he failed to till the vacant areas. This compelled Zaldivar to terminate his services and eject him from the lot. When Salmorin refused to vacate the property, Zaldivar filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against him in the MCTC of Tobias FornierAnini-y-Hamtic. In his answer, Salmorin alleged the existence of a tenancy relationship between him and Zaldivar. Thus, he claimed that the case was an agrarian matter over which the MCTC had no jurisdiction. After an examination of the position papers submitted by the parties, the MCTC found that the case was in the nature of an agrarian dispute and dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. Zaldivar appealed to the RTC of San Jose, Antique which ruled in his favor. The RTC found that the consent of the landowner and sharing of the harvest, which were requisites for the existence of a tenancy relationship, did not exist. Thus, it ruled that the MCTC had jurisdiction over the case and ordered the reinstatement of Civil Case. Salmorin appealed the RTC decision to the CA but the latter upheld the decision of the RTC. He now seeks a reversal of the RTC and CA decisions. Issue: WON the regular court had no jurisdiction over the case and Zaldivar had no right to possess the subject property.

complaint and the law, irrespective of whether the plaintiff is entitled to recover all or some of the claims or reliefs sought therein. Zaldivar's complaint concerned the unlawful detainer by Salmorin of the subject lot. This matter is properly within the jurisdiction of the regular courts. The allegation of tenancy in Salmorin's answer did not automatically deprive the MCTC of its jurisdiction. Contrary to the findings of the MCTC, both the RTC and the CA found that there was no tenancy relationship between Salmorin and Zaldivar. A tenancy relationship cannot be presumed. All these elements must concur. It is not enough that they are alleged. To divest the MCTC of jurisdiction, these elements must all be shown to be present. Tenancy is a legal relationship established by the existence of particular facts as required by law. In this case, the RTC and CA correctly found that the third and sixth elements, namely, consent of the landowner and sharing of the harvests, respectively, were absent. We note that agricultural share tenancy was declared contrary to public policy and, thus, abolished by the passage of RA 3844, as amended. Share tenancy exists: [W]henever two persons agree on a joint undertaking for agricultural production wherein one party furnishes the land and the other his labor, with either or both contributing any one or several of the items of production, the tenant cultivating the land personally with the aid of labor available from members of his immediate farm household, and the produce thereof to be divided between the landholder and the tenant. Since the MCTC has jurisdiction over the Civil Case, we will refrain from discussing the right of Zaldivar to possess the lot as it is more correctly the subject of the appropriate action in the trial court. The case is REMANDED to the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Tobias Fornier-Anini-y-Hamtic which is directed to proceed with and finish the case as expeditiously as possible.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. CAWALING Facts: Former Mayor Ulysses M. Cawaling and Policemen Ernesto Tumbagahan, 3 Ricardo De los Santos and Hilario Cajilo were convicted of murder for killing Ronie Ilisan. Appellants Tumbagahan and Cajilo argue that the trial court erred when it assumed jurisdiction over the criminal case. They insist that the Sandiganbayan, not the regular courts, had jurisdiction to try and hear the case against the appellants, as they were public officers at the time of the killing which was allegedly committed by reason of or in relation to their office. Issue: WON SANDIGANBAYAN has the jurisdiction to try and hear the case. Ruling: The jurisdiction of a court to try a criminal case is determined by the law in force at the time of the institution of the action. Once the court acquires jurisdiction, it may not be ousted from the case by any subsequent events, such as a new legislation placing such
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Ruling: We disagree. On one hand, the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board has primary and exclusive jurisdiction over agrarian related cases, i.e., rights and obligations of persons, whether natural or juridical, engaged in the management, cultivation and use of all agricultural lands covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law and other related agrarian laws, or those cases involving the ejectment and dispossession of tenants and/or leaseholders. On the other, Section 33 (2) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended by Republic Act 7691, provides that exclusive original jurisdiction over cases of forcible entry and unlawful detainer is lodged with the metropolitan trial courts, municipal trial courts and MCTCs. It is well-settled that the jurisdiction of a court over the subject matter of the action is determined by the material allegations of the
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

proceedings under the jurisdiction of another tribunal. The only recognized exceptions to the rule, which find no application in the case at bar, arise when: (1) there is an express provision in the statute, or (2) the statute is clearly intended to apply to actions pending before its enactment. Furthermore, the Information filed against the appellants contains no allegation that appellants were public officers who committed the crime in relation to their office. The charge was for murder, a felony punishable under Article 248 of the Revised Penal Code. As clarified in Aguinaldo, et al. vs. Domagas, et al., "[I]n the absence of such essential allegation, and since the present case does not involve charges of violation of R.A. No. 3019 (the Anti-Graft etc. Act), the Sandiganbayan does not have jurisdiction over the present case. (Bartolome vs. People, 142 SCRA 459 [1986]) Even before considering the penalty prescribed by law for the offense charged, it is thus essential to determine whether that offense was committed or alleged to have been committed by the public officers and employees in relation to their offices." Jurisdiction is determined by the allegations in the complaint or information. In the absence of any allegation that the offense was committed in relation to the office of appellants or was necessarily connected with the discharge of their functions, the regional trial court, not the Sandiganbayan, has jurisdiction to hear and decide the case. PAMINTUAN vs. JUAN TIGLAO Facts: This action was instituted in the court of the justice of the peace of Mabalacat, Pampanga, by Tomasa C. Vda. de Pamintuan for the purpose of recovering from Juan Tiglao the possession of 2 parcels of land described in the complaint, as well as quantity of palay and sugar, as rent, together with damages and an attorney's fee, and costs. In the said court the cause was decided favorably to the plaintiff, whereupon the defendant appealed to the Court of First Instance. In the latter court the defendant challenged the jurisdiction of the court . Upon the trial of the cause in the Court of First instance justice was again rendered in favor of the plaintiff for the possession of the land in question and requiring the defendant to pay the plaintiff rentals for the agricultural year 1925-1926. It appears from the record that after this action was begun, and before the case was decided, the defendant voluntarily surrendered possession of the land to the plaintiff. Upon this it is contended by the attorney for the defendant that the court of the justice of the peace and consequently the Court of First Instance lost jurisdiction to entertain the action. Issue: WON defendant is correct Ruling: The jurisdiction of the court having once attached, that jurisdiction continues until the complete remedy is granted. The defendantappellant further contends that inasmuch as he set up a counterclaim for damages in the amount of P6,000, the jurisdiction of the court of justice of the peace over the main action was destroyed. But this proposition also is untenable. FLORES vs. SUMALJAG

Facts: This is an administrative case against Judge Antonio C. Sumaljag, Acting Presiding Judge of Branch 5, Municipal Trial Court of Baybay, Leyte, for gross ignorance of the law in connection with the preliminary investigation of three criminal cases and the arrest of complainants. Respondent, whose regular station was at Branch 2 of the Municipal Trial Court of Albuera, Leyte, retired on December 13, 1996. Complainants Perlito D. Flores, Arlyn H. Arabilla, Domingo Ramirez, Jorge Bandalan, Vicente Asilom, Mary Jane Villegas, Joel Diaz and Elvira Valenzona are members of the Sangguniang Pambarangay of Domingo C. Veloso in Baybay, Leyte, who were charged with three counts of falsification of public document as defined in Art. 171, pars. 2, 4 and 8 of the Revised Penal Code. That on or about the 19th day of November, 1996, at Barangay Domingo C. Veloso (Zone 8) of baybay, Leyte, [all the herein complainants] in their capacities as members of Sangguniang Pambarangay of the said barangay (Zone 8) of Baybay, Leyte, conspiring together and confiderating (sic) themselves did then and there willfully and feloniously (sic) prepare a spurious and falsified excerpt from the alleged minutes of the purported regular session allegedly on August 24, 1996, which never was to falsely substantiate the purported Resolution No. 14, Series of 1996, unduly protesting the application of complainant Gualberto Parmis to own Lot No. 521-A with the DENR, located in Sitio Hayahay, Barangay Domingo C. Veloso (Zone 8), Baybay, Leyte, with DENR of Ormoc City, intercalating thereby that Gualberto Parmis is not a resident of said Barangay when he is a bona fide resident thereat and in fact he has his house of abode erected thereat, by letting it appear also in that spurious minutes allude to as the result of a regular session on August 24, 1996, when in fact and in truth, no regular session was held on August 24,1996, on the aspect of the said undue protest to the application of Gualberto Parmis to own Lot No. 521-A with the DENR, that none of the accused deliberated nor discussed re the concocted Resolution 14, allude to, none of them signed the minutes or excerpt thereof because no minutes whatsoever on that aspect was obtaining then on August 24, 1996, and the spurious minutes or excerpt thereof was only crafted unduly and contrively prepared only on November 19, 1996, to the damage and prejudice of the undersigned complainant Gualberto Parmis in violation of item 8, Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code. On November 25, 1996, respondent judge conducted a preliminary examination, during which the complainant, Gualberto Parmis, and his witness, Diego Cala, Jr., testified in each of the criminal cases. Thereafter, respondent judge ordered the arrest of herein complainants. By virtue of warrants of arrest, the herein complainants were arrested detained. They were later released on bail. Issue: Whether or not the court lost jurisdiction by the fact that the judge had ceased office during the pendency of the case. Ruling: As already stated, respondent has since retired. This fact, however, does not render this case moot and academic. As held in Gallo v. Cordero:
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[T]he jurisdiction that was ours at the time of the filling of the administrative complaint was not lost by the mere fact that the respondent public official had ceased in office during the pendency of his case. The Court retains its jurisdiction either to pronounce the respondent official innocent of the charges or declare him guilty thereof. A contrary rule would be fraught with injustices and pregnant with dreadful and dangerous implications. . . . If innocent, respondent officials merits vindication of his name and integrity as he leaves the government which he has served well and faithfully; if guilty, he deserves to receive the corresponding censure and a penalty proper and imposable under the situation. On the other hand, considering that respondent judge has retired, the only appropriate penalty that could be imposed on him, in light of what he failed to do in this case, is a fine of 5,000.00. Accordingly, a FINE of 5,000.00 is hereby imposed on respondent Judge Antonio Sumaljag, the amount to be deducted from whatever retirement benefits he may be entitled to receive.

release of its bus. This petition was, however, dismissed for improper venue and lack of jurisdiction. In his comment, respondent Judge Bellosillo explains that in the exercise of his sound discretion and in the greater interest of justice and fair play, he required a cash bond of P50,000 for the release of the police-impounded vehicle to answer for damages by way of subsidiary liability in case of accused s insolvency. The requirement of a bond for the release of impounded vehicles involved in reckless imprudence cases is practiced As for his order for the re-impounding of the Victory Liner bus, respondent Judge claims that it was just under the circumstances considering that its prior release was illegal. In his Report and Recommendation, retired Justice Narciso T. Atienza, the OCA Consultant to whom this case was referred by the Court, submits that Judge Bellosillo s resignation, which was accepted by the Court En Banc effective 27 March 2002, does not render moot and academic the instant administrative complaint. He finds that the respondent Judge erred in ordering the impounding of the Victory Liner bus and in requiring a cash bond of P50,000 for its release. Issue:
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VICTORY LINER, INC. vs. BELLOSILLO Facts: On 2 March 2000, while a Victory Liner bus bearing Plate No. CWF935 was cruising along the National Highway of Dinalupihan, Bataan, it accidentally hit and fatally injured Marciana Bautista Morales. Marciana died the following day. VLI shouldered all the funeral and burial expenses of Marciana. Subsequently, on 6 March 2000, VLI 1 and the heirs of the victim entered into an Agreement/Undertaking. On 14 March 2000, after payment by VLI of the claims, Faustina M. Antonio, the authorized and designated representative of the heirs of the victim, executed a Release of Claim2 and an Affidavit of 3 Desistance in favor of VLI and the driver Reino de la Cruz. However, earlier or on 3 March 2000, two of Marciana s sons Rolando B. Soriano and Jimmy B. Morales, who were also signatories 4 to the Agreement/Undertaking, executed a Pinagsamang Salaysay against Reino de la Cruz. On the strength of that document, a criminal complaint was filed with the MCTC of DinalupihanHermosa, Bataan, for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide,5 which was docketed as Criminal Case No. 10512. After preliminary examination, or on 13 March 2000, respondent Judge Bellosillo ordered the immediate issuance of a warrant of arrest against De la Cruz and fixed his bail at P50,000 to be posted in cash. He further directed the Chief of Police of Dinalupihan, Bataan, to immediately impound the bus involved in the accident, which could be released only upon the posting of a cash bond in the amount of P50,000. On 30 March 2000, VLI filed a Manifestation and Motion7 manifesting that it was depositing to the court under protest a cash bond of P50,000 for the release of its bus. The bus was released. On 4 April 2000, VLI filed with respondent s court a petition to declare null and void the order directing it to post bond for the
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Whether or not the court lost jurisdiction by the mere fact that the respondent judge ceased to be in office during the pendency of the case. Ruling: Verily, the resignation of respondent Judge Bellosillo does not render moot and academic the instant administrative case. The jurisdiction that the Court had at the time of the filing of the administrative complaint is not lost by the mere fact that the respondent judge ceased to be in office during the pendency of this case. The Court retains its jurisdiction to pronounce the respondent official innocent or guilty of the charges against him. A contrary rule would be fraught with injustice and pregnant with dreadful and dangerous implications. We agree with Justice Atienza in exonerating the respondent from the charges of inaction on a pending motion and of compelling the police authorities to file a criminal case against De la Cruz. We, however, hesitate to hold the respondent administratively accountable for gross ignorance of the law in ordering (1) the impounding of the vehicle involved in the vehicular accident and (2) the posting of a P50,000 bond for the release of the vehicle, both of which were found by OCA Consultant Atienza to be erroneous. ECHEGARAY vs. SECRETARY OF JUSTICE Facts: Leo Echegaray was convicted and was to be executed by lethal injection.

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SC issued a temporarily restraining the execution of petitioner on January 4, 1990. Public respondents filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration of the Resolution. The submission of public respondents is that, the Decision having become final and executory, its execution enters the exclusive ambit of authority of the executive authority. The issuance of the TRO may be construed as trenching on that sphere of executive authority; Issue: WON the Court lost its jurisdiction over the case at bar and hence can no longer restrain the execution of the petitioner.

CA held that the Trial Court had no jurisdiction over the action considering that it is the BED that has the power to decide controversies relative to the exploration, exploitation and development of coal blocks. Issue: WON the civil court has jurisdiction to hear and decide the suit for rescission of the Memorandum of Agreement concerning a coal operating contract over coal blocks. And WON respondent CA erred in holding that it is the Bureau of Energy Development (BED) which has jurisdiction over said action and not the civil court. Ruling:

Ruling: The rule on finality of judgment cannot divest the SC of its jurisdiction to execute and enforce the same judgment. Jurisprudence tells us the finality of a judgment does not mean that the Court has lost all its powers over the case. By the finality of the judgment, what the court loses is its jurisdiction to amend, modify or alter the same. Even after the judgment has become final, the court retains its jurisdiction to execute and enforce it. There is a difference between the jurisdiction of the court to execute its judgment and its jurisdiction to amend, modify or alter the same. The former continues even after the judgment has become final for the purpose of enforcement of judgment; the latter terminates when the judgment becomes final. For after the judgment has become final, facts and circumstances may transpire which can render the execution unjust or impossible.

In recent years, it has been the jurisprudential trend to apply the doctrine of primary jurisdiction in many cases involving matters that demand the special competence of administrative agencies. It may occur that the Court has jurisdiction to take cognizance of a particular case, which means that the matter involved is also judicial in character. However, if the case is such that its determination requires the expertise, specialized skills and knowledge of the proper administrative bodies because technical matters or intricate questions of facts are involved, then relief must first be obtained in an administrative proceeding before a remedy will be supplied by the courts even though the matter is within the proper jurisdiction of a court. This is the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. It applies "where a claim is originally cognizable in the courts, and comes into play whenever enforcement of the claim requires the resolution of issues which, under a regulatory scheme, have been placed within the special competence of an administrative body, in such case the judicial process is suspended pending referral of such issues to the administrative body for its view" (United States v. Western Pacific Railroad Co., 352 U.S. 59, Emphasis supplied). GMA NETWORK, INC. vs ABS-CBN, et. al

INDUSTRIAL ENTERPRISES, INC. v. COURT OF APPEALS

Facts: Petitioner GMA Network Inc., filed before the RTC of Quezon City a complaint for damages against the respondents ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation (ABS-CBN'), Central CATV, Inc. (SkyCable'), Philippine Home Cable Holdings, Inc. (Home Cable') and Pilipino Cable Corporation (Sun Cable') for allegedly engaging in unfair competition when the cable companies arbitrarily re-channeled petitioner's cable television broadcast on February 1, 2003, in order to arrest and destroy its upswing performance in the television industry. SkyCable and Sun Cable moved for dismissal of the complaint on the grounds of litis pendentia and forum-shopping since there was a similar case pending before the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) entitled 'GMA Network, Inc. v. Central CATV, Inc., Philippine Home Cable Holdings, Inc., and Pilipino Cable Corporation. The case, docketed as NTC ADM Case No. 2003-085, allegedly involved the same cause of action and the same parties, except for ABS-CBN. SkyCable and Sun Cable also asserted that it is the NTC that has primary jurisdiction over the issues raised in the complaint. Moreover, GMA had no cause of action against the two entities and failed to exhaust administrative remedies.

Facts: Petitioner Industrial Enterprises Inc. (IEI) was granted a coal operating contract by the Government through the Bureau of Energy Development (BED) for the exploration of two coal blocks in Eastern Samar, while also applied with the Ministry of Energy for another coal operating contract for the exploration of three additional coal blocks which, together with the original two blocks, comprised the so-called "Giporlos Area." IEI was advised that in line with the objective of rationalizing the country's over-all coal supply-demand balance the logical coal operator in the area should be the Marinduque Mining and Industrial Corporation (MMIC). Thus, IEI and MMIC executed a Memorandum of Agreement whereby IEI assigned and transferred to MMIC all its rights and interests in the two coal blocks which are the subject of IEI's coal operating contract. Subsequently, however, IEI filed an action for rescission of the Memorandum of Agreement with damages against MMIC and the Minister of Energy before the Regional Trial Court of Makati, alleging that MMIC took possession of the subject coal blocks even before the Memorandum of Agreement was finalized and approved by the BED, and etc
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In due course, the trial court issued the assailed resolution dismissing the complaint. The trial court held that the resolution of the legal issues raised in the complaint required the determination of highly technical, factual issues over which the NTC had primary jurisdiction. Issue: WON the NTC has primary jurisdiction over the case. Ruling: The wrongful acts complained of and upon which the damages prayed for are based, have to do with the operations and ownership of the cable companies. These factual matters undoubtedly pertain to the NTC and not the regular courts. Consequently, while it is true that the regular courts are possessed of general jurisdiction over actions for damages, it would nonetheless be proper for the courts to yield its jurisdiction in favor of an administrative body when the determination of underlying factual issues requires the special competence or knowledge of the latter. In this era of clogged court dockets, administrative boards or commissions with special knowledge, experience and capability to promptly hear and determine disputes on technical matters or intricate questions of facts, subject to judicial review in case of grave abuse of discretion, are well nigh indispensable. Between the power lodged in an administrative body and a court, therefore, the unmistakable trend is to refer it to the former. In this regard, we note that there is a pending case before the NTC in which the factual issues raised in petitioner's complaint have also been pleaded. Although petitioner prays in the NTC case for the administrative remedy of cancellation of the cable companies' certificates of authority, licenses and permits, it is inevitable that, in granting or denying this prayer, the NTC would have to pass upon the same factual issues posed in petitioner's complaint before the trial court. The latter was thus correct in applying the doctrine of primary jurisdiction if only to avoid conflicting factual findings between the court and the NTC. PAAT vs. CA Facts: The truck of private respondent Victoria de Guzman while on its way to Bulacan from San Jose, Baggao, Cagayan, was seized by the DENR personnel in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya because the driver could not produce the required documents for the forest products found concealed in the truck. Petitioner Jovito Layugan, the Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) in Aritao, Cagayan, issued on May 23, 1989 an order of confiscation of the truck and gave the owner thereof fifteen (15) days within which to submit an explanation why the truck should not be forfeited. Private respondents, however, failed to submit the required explanation. On June 22, 1989, Regional Executive Director Rogelio Baggayan of DENR sustained petitioner Layugan's action of confiscation and ordered the forfeiture of the truck invoking Section 68-A of Presidential Decree No. 705 as amended by Executive Order No. 277. Private respondents filed a letter of reconsideration dated June 28, 1989 of the June 22, 1989 order of Executive Director Baggayan,
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which was, however, denied in a subsequent order of July 12, 1989. Subsequently, the case was brought by the petitioners to the Secretary of DENR pursuant to private respondents' statement in their letter dated June 28, 1989 that in case their letter for reconsideration would be denied then "this letter should be considered as an appeal to the Secretary." Pending resolution however of the appeal, a suit for replevin, docketed as Civil Case 4031, was filed by the private respondents against petitioner Layugan and Executive Director Baggayan with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 2 of Cagayan, which issued a writ ordering the return of the truck to private respondents. Petitioner Layugan and Executive Director Baggayan filed a motion to dismiss with the trial court contending, inter alia, that private respondents had no cause of action for their failure to exhaust administrative remedies. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss in an order dated December 28, 1989. Their motion for reconsideration having been likewise denied, a petition for certiorari was filed by the petitioners with the respondent Court of Appeals which sustained the trial court's order ruling that the question involved is purely a legal question. Hence this petition. Issue: 1. Without violating the principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies, may an action for replevin prosper to recover a movable property which is the subject matter of an administrative forfeiture proceeding in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources pursuant to Section 68-A of P.D. 705, as amended, entitled The Revised Forestry Code of the Philippines? 2. Are the Secretary of DENR and his representatives empowered to confiscate and forfeit conveyances used in transporting illegal forest products in favor of the government? Rulings: This Court in a long line of cases has consistently held that before a party is allowed to seek the intervention of the court, it is a precondition that he should have availed of all the means of administrative processes afforded him. Hence, if a remedy within the administrative machinery can still be resorted to by giving the administrative officer concerned every opportunity to decide on a matter that comes within his jurisdiction then such remedy should be exhausted first before court's judicial power can be sought, The premature invocation of court's intervention is fatal to one's cause of action. This doctrine of exhaustion of administrative remedies was not without its practical and legal reasons, for one thing, availment of administrative remedy entails lesser expenses and provides for a speedier disposition of controversies. It is no less true to state that the courts of justice for reasons of comity and convenience will shy away from a dispute until the system of administrative redress has been completed and complied with so as to give the administrative agency concerned every opportunity to correct its error and to dispose of the case. However, we are not amiss to reiterate that the principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies as tested by a battery of cases is not an ironclad rule. This doctrine is a relative one and its flexibility is called upon by the peculiarity and uniqueness of the factual and circumstantial settings of a case. Hence, it is disregarded
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(1) when there is a violation of due process, (2) when the issue involved is purely a legal question, (3) when the administrative action is patently illegal amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, (4) when there is estoppel on the part of the administrative agency concerned, (5) when there is irreparable injury, (6) when the respondent is a department secretary whose acts as an alter ego of the President bears the implied and assumed approval of the latter, (7) when to require exhaustion of administrative remedies would be unreasonable, (8) when it would amount to a nullification of a claim, (9) when the subject matter is a private land in land case proceedings, (10) when the rule does not provide a plain, speedy and adequate remedy, and (11) when there are circumstances indicating the urgency of judicial intervention. In the case at bar, there is no question that the controversy was pending before the Secretary of DENR when it was forwarded to him following the denial by the petitioners of the motion for reconsideration of private respondents through the order of July 12, 1989. In their letter of reconsideration dated June 28, 1989, private respondents clearly recognize the presence of an administrative forum to which they seek to avail, as they did avail, in the resolution of their case. It was easy to perceive then that the private respondents looked up to the Secretary for the review and disposition of their case. By appealing to him, they acknowledged the existence of an adequate and plain remedy still available and open to them in the ordinary course of the law. Thus, they cannot now, without violating the principle of exhaustion of administrative remedies, seek court's intervention by filing an action for replevin for the grant of their relief during the pendency of an administrative proceedings. Moreover, it is important to point out that the enforcement of forestry laws, rules and regulations and the protection, development and management of forest lands fall within the primary and special responsibilities of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. By the very nature of its function, the DENR should be given a free hand unperturbed by judicial intrusion to determine a controversy which is well within its jurisdiction. The assumption by the trial court, therefore, of the replevin suit filed by private respondents constitutes an unjustified encroachment into the domain of the administrative agency's prerogative. The doctrine of primary jurisdiction does not warrant a 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. From the foregoing disquisition, it is clear that a suit for replevin can not be sustained against the petitioners for the subject truck taken and retained by them for administrative forfeiture proceedings in pursuant to Section 68-A of the P.D. 705, as amended. Dismissal of the replevin suit for lack of cause of action in view of the private respondents' failure to exhaust administrative remedies should have been the proper course of action by the lower court instead of assuming jurisdiction over the case and consequently issuing the writ ordering the return of the truck. Exhaustion of the remedies in the administrative forum, being a condition precedent prior to one's recourse to the courts and more importantly, being an element of private respondents' right of action, is too significant to be waylaid by the lower court.
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Private respondents miserably failed to convince this Court that a wrongful detention of the subject truck obtains in the instant case. It should be noted that the truck was seized by the petitioners because it was transporting forest products without the required permit of the DENR in manifest contravention of Section 68 of P.D. 705 as amended by E.O 277. Section 68-A of P.D. 705, as amended, unquestionably warrants the confiscation as well as the disposition by the Secretary of DENR or his duly authorized representatives of the conveyances used in violating the provision of forestry laws. Evidently, the continued possession or detention of the truck by the petitioners for administrative forfeiture proceeding is legally permissible, hence, no wrongful detention exists in the case at bar. PALOMA vs. MORA Facts: Petitioner Nilo Paloma was General Manager of the Palompon, Leyte Water District but whose services were subsequently terminated by virtue of Resolution No. 8-95, passed by respondents as Chairman and members of the Board of the Palompon, Leyte Water District. Pained by his termination, petitioner filed a petition for mandamus with prayer for preliminary injunction with damages before the RTC to contest his dismissal with the prayer to be restored to the position of General Manager. Petitioner argued that his dismissal was a 'capricious and arbitrary act on the part of the Board of Directors; that the grounds relied upon therein to terminate him were never made a subject of a complaint nor was he notified and made to explain the acts he was said to be guilty of. Fundamental is the rule and also provided for in the Civil Service Rules and Regulations that no officer or employee in the Civil Service shall be suspended, separated or dismissed except for cause and after due process, so stressed petitioner. The RTC dismissed the petition for being a premature cause of action. Meanwhile, petitioner filed a Complaint on 29 March 1996 with the Civil Service Commission (CSC) against same respondents herein, for alleged Violation of Civil Service Law and Rules and for Illegal Dismissal. However, such petition was likewise dismissed by the Civil Service Commission for lack of prima facie case. Upon appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed the RTC Decision in toto. Issue: Whether or not the CSC has primary jurisdiction over the case for illegal dismissal of petitioner. Ruling: Petitioner, heaves censure on the Court of Appeals for subscribing to the trial court's view that the petition for mandamus was prematurely filed. We recall in Tanjay Water District v. Gabaton that water districts are government instrumentalities and that their employees belong to the civil service. Thus, '[t]he hiring and firing of employees of government-owned or controlled corporations are governed by the Civil Service Law and Civil Service Rules and Regulations. Underlying the rulings of the trial and appellate courts in the case at bar is the doctrine of primary jurisdiction; i.e., courts cannot and will
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not resolve a controversy involving a question which is within the jurisdiction of an administrative tribunal, especially where the question demands the exercise of sound administrative discretion requiring the special knowledge, experience and services of the administrative tribunal to determine technical and intricate matters of fact. In a surfeit of cases, this Court has held that quasi-judicial bodies like the CSC are better-equipped in handling cases involving the employment status of employees as those in the Civil Service since it is within the field of their expertise. This is consistent with the powers and functions of the CSC, being the central personnel agency of the Government, to carry into effect the provisions of the Civil Service Law and other pertinent laws, including, in this case, P.D. No. 198. Petition is DENIED. FABIAN vs. DESIERTO Facts: Petitioner Teresita G. Fabian was the major stockholder and president of PROMAT Construction Development Corporation (PROMAT) which was engaged in the construction business. Private respondent Nestor V. Agustin was the incumbent District Engineering District (FMED) when he allegedly committed the offenses for which he was administratively charged in the Office in the office of the Ombudsman. Private respondent, reportedly taking advantage of his official position, inveigled petitioner into an amorous relationship. Their affair lasted for some time, in the course of which private respondents gifted PROMAT with public works contracts and interceded for it in problems concerning the same in his office. Later, when petitioner tried to terminate their relationship, private respondent refused and resisted her attempts to do so to the extent of employing acts of harassment, intimidation and threats. She eventually filed the aforementioned administrative case against him in a letter-complaint dated July 24, 1995. Respondent Ombudsman found private respondent guilty of misconduct and meting out the penalty of suspension without pay for one year. After private respondent moved for reconsideration, respondent Ombudsman discovered that the former's new counsel had been his "classmate and close associate" hence he inhibited himself. The case was transferred to respondent Deputy Ombudsman Jesus F. Guerrero who, set aside the February 26, 1997 Order of respondent Ombudsman and exonerated private respondents from the administrative charges. In the present appeal, petitioner argues that Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 (Ombudsman Act of 1989) pertinently provides that In all administrative diciplinary cases, orders, directives or decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman may be appealed to the Supreme Court by filing a petition for certiorari within ten (10) days from receipt of the written notice of the order, directive or decision or denial of the motion for reconsideration in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. (Emphasis supplied). However, she points out that under Section 7, Rule III of Administrative Order No. 07 (Rules of Procedure of the office of the Ombudsman), when a respondent is absolved of the charges in an administrative proceeding decision of the ombudsman is final and
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unappealable. She accordingly submits that the office of the ombudsman has no authority under the law to restrict, in the manner provided in its aforesaid Rules, the right of appeal allowed by Republic Act No. 6770, nor to limit the power of review of this Court. Because of the aforecited provision in those Rules of Procedure, she claims that she found it "necessary to take an alternative recourse under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court, because of the doubt it creates on the availability of appeals under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. Issue: The propriety of Section 27 of R.A. No. 6770. Ruling: There is the consideration that Section 30, Article VI of the 1987 Constitution provides that "(n)o law shall be passed increasing the appellate indiction of the Supreme Court as provided in this Constitution without its advice and consent," and that Republic Act No. 6770, with its challenged Section 27, took effect on November 17, 1989, obviously in spite of that constitutional grounds. When it is clear that a statute trangresses the authority vested in a legislative body, it is the duty of the courts to declare that the constitution, and not the statute, governs in a case before them for judgement. If a statute on which a court's jurisdiction in a proceeding depends is unconstitutional, the court has no jurisdiction in the proceeding, and since it may determine whether or not it has jurisdiction, it necessarily follows that it may inquire into the constitutionality of the statute. The Court observes that the present petition, from the very allegations thereof, is "an appeal by certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court from the 'Joint Order (Re: Motion for Reconsideration)' issued in OMB-Adm. Case No. 0-95-0411, entitled 'Teresita G. Fabian vs. Engr. Nestor V. Agustin, Asst. Regional Director, Region IV-A, EDSA, Quezon City,' which absolved the latter from the administrative charges for grave misconduct, among other."ch It is further averred therein that the present appeal to this Court is allowed under Section 27 of the Ombudsman Act of 1987 (R.A. No. 6770) and, pursuant thereto, the Office of the Ombudsman issued its Rules of Procedure, Section 7 whereof is assailed by petitioner in this proceeding. It will be recalled that R.A. No. 6770 was enacted on November 17, 1989, with Section 27 thereof pertinently providing that all administrative disciplinary cases, orders, directives or decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman may be appealed to this Court in accordance with Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. The appellate jurisdiction of this Court over appeals by certiorari under Rule 45 is to be exercised over "final judgements and orders of lower courts," that is, the courts composing the integrated judicial system. It does not include the quasi-judicial bodies or agencies, hence whenever the legislature intends that the decisions or resolutions of the quasi-judicial agency shall be reviewable by the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals, a specific provision to that effect is included in the law creating that quasi-judicial agency and, for that matter, any special statutory court. No such provision on appellate procedure is required for the regular courts of the integrated judicial system because they are what are referred to and already provided for in Section 5, Article VIII of the Constitution. Apropos to the foregoing, and as correctly observed by private respondent, the revised Rules of Civil Procedure preclude appeals
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from quasi-judicial agencies to the Supreme Court via a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45. In the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, Section 1 Rule 45, on "Appeal by Certiorari to the Supreme Court," explicitly states: SECTION 1 . Filing of petition with Supreme Court. - A person desiring to appeal by certiorari from a judgement or final order or Resolution of the Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Regional Trial Court or other court whenever authorized by law, may file with the Supreme Court a verified petition for review on certiorari. The petition shall raise only question of law which must be distinctly set forth. Under the present Rule 45, appeals may be brought through a petition for review on certiorari but only from judgments and final orders of the courts enumerated in Section 1 thereof. Appeals from judgments and final orders of quasi-judicial agencies are now required to be brought to the Court of Appeals on a verified petition for review, under the requirements and conditions in Rule 43 which was precisely formulated and adopted to provide for a uniform rule of appellate procedure for quasi-judicial agencies. The provisions of Rule 43 should apply not only to "ordinary" quasijudicial agencies, but also to the Office of the Ombudsman which is a "high constitutional body." After all, factual controversies are usually involved in administrative disciplinary actions, just like those coming from the Civil Service, Commission, and the Court of Appeals as a trier of fact is better prepared than this Court to resolve the same. On the other hand, we cannot have this situation covered by Rule 45 since it now applies only to appeals from the regular courts. Neither can we place it under Rule 65 since the review therein is limited to jurisdictional questions. Therefore, Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 cannot validly authorize an appeal to this Court from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases. It consequently violates the proscription in Section 30, Article VI of the Constitution against a law which increases the Appellate jurisdiction of this Court. As a consequence of our ratiocination that Section 27 of Republic Act No. 6770 should be struck down as unconstitutional, and in line with the regulatory philosophy adopted in appeals from quasijudicial agencies in the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, appeals from decisions of the Office of the Ombudsman in administrative disciplinary cases should be taken to the Court of Appeals under the provisions of Rule 43. CALIMLIM vs. RAMIREZ Facts: Sometime in 1961, a judgment for a sum of money was rendered in favor of Independent Mercantile Corporation against a certain Manuel Magali The Notice of Levy made on a parcel of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 9138 registered in the name of "Domingo Magali, the said levy was only against "all rights, title, action, interest and participation of the defendant Manuel Magali over the parcel of land described in this title." The same was also stated in the Certificate of Sale executed by the Provincial Sheriff of Pangasinan. When the Sheriff issued the final Deed of Sale, it was erroneously stated therein that the sale was with respect to "the parcel of land referring to TCT No. 9138 and not only over the rights and interest of Manuel Magali in the same. Independent Mercantile Corporation filed a petition in the respondent Court to compel Manuel Magali to surrender the owner's duplicate of TCT No. 9138 in order that the same may be cancelled and a new one issued in the
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

name of the said corporation. Due to non-compliance of Manuel, the former filed an ex-parte petition to declare TCT No. 9138 as cancelled and to issue a new title in its name. The said petition was granted by the respondent Court and a new title was issued as TCT No. 68568. Petitioner Modesta Calimlim, upon learning that her husband's title over the parcel of land had been cancelled, filed a petition with the respondent Court, sitting as a cadastral court, praying for the cancellation of TCT No. 68568. An opposition to the said petition was filed by Independent Mercantile Corporation. After the parties submitted their respective Memoranda, the respondent Court issued an order dismissing the petition. Petitioner then filed the complaint in Civil Case No. SCC-180, praying for the cancellation of the conveyances and sales that had been made with respect to the property. Resolving the said Motion, the respondent Court, dismissed civil case on the ground of estoppel by prior judgment. Issue: Whether or not Civil Case No. SCC-180 is barred by estoppel by prior judgment. Ruling: We find merit in this appeal. It is error to consider the dismissal of the petition filed by the herein petitioner in LRC Record No. 39492 for the cancellation of TCT No. 68568 as a bar by prior judgment against the filing of Civil Case No. SCC-180. In order to avail of the defense of res judicata, it must be shown, among others, that the judgment in the prior action must have been rendered by a court with the proper jurisdiction to take cognizance of the proceeding in which the prior judgment or order was rendered. If there is lack of jurisdiction over the subject-matter of the suit or of the parties, the judgment or order cannot operate as an adjudication of the controversy. This essential element of the defense of bar by prior judgment or res judicata does not exist in the case presently considered. The petitioners alleged therein that they are the true owners of the property, and that TCT No. 68568 which they sought to cancel was issued as a result of the errors which were not of their own making. In short, the petition raised a highly controversial matter which is beyond the judicial competence of a cadastral court to pass upon or to adjudicate. It may neither be claimed that the parties have mutually agreed to submit the aforesaid issues for the determination by the court, it being a fact that herein private respondent was not a party in the petition in LRC Record No. 39492. Incidentally, although the said petition was filed by the herein petitioners on November 21, 1967, the Opposition filed by Independent Mercantile Corporation to the said petition made no mention of the alleged sale of the property in question in favor of private respondent Francisco Ramos on July 5, 1967. This circumstance places in grave doubt the sincerity of said sale and the claim that the private respondent was an innocent purchaser for value of the property in question. The ruling laid down in Sibonghanoy may not be applied herein. Neither its factual backdrop nor the philosophy of the doctrine therein expounded fits the case at bar. The jurisdiction of a court over the subject-matter of the action is a matter of law and may not be conferred by consent or agreement of the parties. The lack of jurisdiction of a court may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, even on appeal. In Sibonghanoy, the defense of lack of jurisdiction of the court that rendered the questioned ruling was held to be barred by estoppel by laches. The petitioners in the instant case may not be faulted with laches. When they learned that the title to the property
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owned by them had erroneously and illegally been cancelled and registered in the name of another entity or person who had no right to the same, they filed a petition to cancel the latter's title. Their petition to cancel the title in the name of Independent Mercantile Corporation was dismissed upon a finding by the respondent Court that the same was "without merit." No explanation was given for such dismissal nor why the petition lacked merit. There is no unreasonable delay in the assertion by the petitioners of their right to claim the property which rightfully belongs to them. They can hardly be presumed to have abandoned or waived such right by inaction within an unreasonable length of time or inexcusable negligence. In short, their filing of Civil Case No. SCC-180 which in itself is an implied non-acceptance of the validity of the proceedings had in LRC Record No. 39492 may not be deemed barred by estoppel by laches. It is neither fair nor legal to bind a party by the result of a suit or proceeding which was taken cognizance of in a court which lacks jurisdiction over the same irrespective of the attendant circumstances. when a party commits error in filing his suit or proceeding in a court that lacks jurisdiction to take cognizance of the same, such act may not at once be deemed sufficient basis of estoppel. It could have been the result of an honest mistake, or of divergent interpretations of doubtful legal provisions. If any fault is to be imputed to a party taking such course of action, part of the blame should be placed on the court which shall entertain the suit, thereby lulling the parties into believing that they pursued their remedies in the correct forum. Under the rules, it is the duty of the court to dismiss an action "whenever it appears that the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter." Should the court render a judgment without jurisdiction, such judgment may be impeached or annulled for lack of jurisdiction (Sec. 30, Rule 132, Ibid), within ten (10) years from the finality of the same. The justness of the relief sought by herein petitioners may not be ignored or rendered futile by reason of a doctrine which is of highly doubtful applicability herein. FRANCEL REALTY CORPORATION vs. RICARDO T. SYCIP Facts: In November, 1989, petitioner and respondent entered into a contract to sell a house and lot covered. Upon execution of the contract to sell, respondent made a down payment of P119,700.00. The townhouse subject of the contract to sell was transferred in the name of respondent as evidenced by TCT No. T-281788. Despite the transfer of the title in the name of respondent, the latter refused to pay the balance of P250,000.00. Despite several demands made by petitioner to respondent, the respondent refused to reconvey the subject property to petitioner. Petitioner then a filed a case against respondent and a motion to dismiss was filed by the latter in the ground of lack of jurisdiction. After trial, the court below dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. The CA held that the case involved not just reconveyance and damages, but also a determination of the rights and obligations of the parties to a sale of real estate under PD 957; hence, the case fell exclusively under the jurisdiction of the HLURB. The appellate court observed that respondent and other buyers of the townhouses had notified petitioner of their intention to stop paying amortizations because of defective structures and materials used in the construction; they had in fact filed other cases, also before the HLURB, against petitioner for unsound real estate business practice. Issues: Whether or not the lower court can dismiss, after full blown trial, Civil Case No. BCV-94-2 on the ground of lack of jurisdiction.

Ruling: The Petition lacks merit. Petitioner contends that the lack of jurisdiction could no longer be used as a ground for dismissal after trial had ensued and ended. In Tijam vs. Sibonghanoy, a party may be barred from questioning a court's jurisdiction after being invoked to secure affirmative relief against its opponent. Estoppel by laches may be invoked to bar the issue of lack of jurisdiction only in cases in which the factual milieu is analogous to that in the cited case. In such controversies, laches should be clearly present; that is, lack of jurisdiction must have been raised so belatedly as to warrant the presumption that the party entitled to assert it had abandoned or declined to assert it. The general rule remains: a court's lack of jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, even on appeal.[16] The reason is that jurisdiction is conferred by law, and lack of it affects the very authority of the court to take cognizance of and to render judgment on the action. Moreover,jurisdiction is determined by the averments of the complaint, not by the defenses contained in the answer. Rule 9 of the Rules of Court requires that all defenses and objections -except lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, litis pendentia, bar by prior judgment and/or prescription -- must be pleaded in a motion to dismiss or in an answer; otherwise, they are deemed waived. [20] As to the excepted grounds, the court may dismiss a claim or a case at any time 'when it appears from the pleadings or the evidence on record that any of those grounds exists. The Court has ruled that a suit to collect on a promissory note issued by a subdivision lot buyer involves the 'sales of lots in commercial subdivisions' ; and that jurisdiction over such case lies with the HLURB, not with the courts. Petitioner avers that the present controversy is not cognizable by the HLURB, because it was filed by the developer rather than by the buyer, as provided under PD No. 1344. The action here is not a simple action to collect on a promissory note; it is a complaint to collect amortization payments arising from or in connection with a sale of a subdivision lot under P.D. Nos. 957 and 1344, and accordingly falls within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the HLURB to regulate the real estate trade and industry, and to hear and decide cases of unsound real estate business practices. Contrary to petitioner's contention, the HLURB is not deprived of jurisdiction to hear and decide a case merely on the basis that it has been initiated by the developer and not by the buyer. ASIA INTERNATIONAL AUCTIONEERS, INC. vs. HON. GUILLERMO L. PARAYNO, JR Facts: At bar is a petition for review on certiorari seeking the reversal of the decision1 of the Court of Appeals declaring the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City, Branch 74, without jurisdiction over Civil Case Petitioners Asia International Auctioneers, Inc. (AIAI) and Subic Bay Motors Corporation are corporations organized under Philippine laws with principal place of business within the SSEZ. They are engaged in the importation of mainly secondhand or used motor vehicles and heavy transportation or construction equipment which they sell to the public through auction Petitioners filed a complaint before the RTC of Olongapo City,
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Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

praying for the nullification of RMC No. 31-2003 for being unconstitutional and an ultra veris act. The complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. 275-0-2003 and raffled to Branch 74. Subsequently, petitioners filed their "First Amended Complaint to Declare Void, Ultra Vires, and Unconstitutional [RMC] No. 31-2003 dated June 3, 2003 and [RMC] No. 322003 dated June 5, 2003, with Application for a Writ of Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction to enjoin respondents from implementing the questioned RMCs while the case is pending. Particularly, they question paragraphs II(A)(1) and (3), II(B)(1.2), (1.4) and (1.5) of RMC No. 31-2003 and paragraphs II(A)(2) and (B) of RMC No. 322003. Before a responsive pleading was filed, petitioners filed their Second Amended Complaint to include Rev. Reg. Nos. 1-95, 12-97 and 16-99 dated January 24, 1995, August 7, 1997 and September 27, 1999, respectively, which allegedly contain some identical provisions as the questioned RMCs, but without changing the cause of action in their First Amended Complaint. Issue: Whether or not has trial court has jurisdiction over the case. Ruling: The arguments are unmeritorious. Jurisdiction is defined as the power and authority of a court to hear, try and decide a case. The issue is so basic that it may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, even on appeal. In fact, courts may take cognizance of the issue even if not raised by the parties themselves. There is thus no reason to preclude the CA from ruling on this issue even if allegedly, the same has not yet been resolved by the trial court. Hence, the general rule of requiring a motion for reconsideration finds no application in a case where what is precisely being assailed is lack of jurisdiction of the respondent court. And considering also the urgent necessity for resolving the issues raised herein, where further delay could prejudice the interests of the government, the haste with which the Solicitor General raised these issues before this Court becomes understandable. Now, to the main issue: does the trial court have jurisdiction over the subject matter of this case? Petitioners contend that jurisdiction over the case at bar properly pertains to the regular courts as this is "an action to declare as unconstitutional, void and against the provisions of [R.A. No.] 7227" the RMCs issued by the CIR. They explain that they "do not challenge the rate, structure or figures of the imposed taxes, rather they challenge the authority of the respondent Commissioner to impose and collect the said taxes." They claim that the challenge on the authority of the CIR to issue the RMCs does not fall within the jurisdiction of the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA). Petitioners arguments do not sway. R.A. No. 1125, as amended, states: Sec. 7. Jurisdiction. The Court of Tax Appeals shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction to review by appeal, as herein provided
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

(1) Decisions of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue in cases involving disputed assessments, refunds of internal revenue taxes, fees or other charges, penalties imposed in relation thereto, or other matters arising under the National Internal Revenue Code or other laws or part of law administered by the Bureau of Internal Revenue; x x x (emphases supplied) Petitioners point out that the CA based its decision on Section 7 of R.A. No. 1125 that the CTA "shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction to review by appeal " decisions of the CIR. They argue that in the instant case, there is no decision of the respondent CIR on any disputed assessment to speak of as what is being questioned is purely the authority of the CIR to impose and collect value-added and excise taxes. Petitioners failure to ask the CIR for a reconsideration of the assailed revenue regulations and RMCs is another reason why the instant case should be dismissed. It is settled that the premature invocation of the court's intervention is fatal to one's cause of action. If a remedy within the administrative machinery can still be resorted to by giving the administrative officer every opportunity to decide on a matter that comes within his jurisdiction, then such remedy must first be exhausted before the court s power of judicial review can be sought. The party with an administrative remedy must not only initiate the prescribed administrative procedure to obtain relief but also pursue it to its appropriate conclusion before seeking judicial intervention in order to give the administrative agency an opportunity to decide the matter itself correctly and prevent unnecessary and premature resort to the court. Petitioners insistence for this Court to rule on the merits of the case would only prove futile. Having declared the court a quo without jurisdiction over the subject matter of the instant case, any further disquisition would be obiter dictum. IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition is DENIED. VDA DE BARRERA vs. HEIRS OF VICENTE LEGASPI TIJAM vs. SIBONGHANOY (23 SCRA 29)

Facts: Tijam filed for recovery of P1, 908 plus legal interest from Sibongahanoy. Defendants filed a counter bond with Manila Surety and Fidelity Co (Surety). Judgment was in favor of the plaintiffs, a writ of execution was issued against the defendant. Defendants moved for writ of execution against surety which was granted. Surety moved to quash the writ but was denied, appealed to CA without raising the issue on lack of jurisdiction.CA affirmed the appealed decision. Surety then filed Motion to Dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction against CFI Cebu in view of the effectivity of Judiciary Act of 1948 a month before the filing of the petition for recovery. Act placed original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts all civil actions for demands not exceeding 2,000 exclusive of interest. CA set aside its earlier decision and referred the case to SC since it has exclusive jurisdiction over "all cases in which the jurisdiction of any inferior court is in issue. Issue: WON Surety bond is estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the CFI Cebu for the first time upon appeal. YES
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Ruling: SC believes that that the Surety is now barred by laches from invoking this plea after almost fifteen years before the Surety filed its motion to dismiss raising the question of lack of jurisdiction for the first time - A party may be estopped or barred from raising a question in different ways and for different reasons. Thus we speak of estoppel in pais, or estoppel by deed or by record, and of estoppel by laches. Laches, in a general sense is failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier - Furthermore, it has also been held that after voluntarily submitting a cause and encountering an adverse decision on the merits, it is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or power of the court -"undesirable practice" of a party submitting his case for decision and then accepting the judgment, only if favorable, and attacking it for lack of jurisdiction, when adverse.: Other merits on the appeal : The surety insists that the lower court should have granted its motion to quash the writ of execution because the same was issued without the summary hearing - Summary hearing is "not intended to be carried on in the formal manner in which ordinary actions are prosecuted" (83 C.J.S. 792). It is, rather, a procedure by which a question is resolved "with dispatch, with the least possible delay, and in preference to ordinary legal and regular judicial proceedings" (Ibid, p. 790). What is essential is that "the defendant is notified or summoned to appear and is given an opportunity to hear what is urged upon him, and to interpose a defense, after which follows an adjudication of the rights of the parties - In the case at bar, the surety had been notified of the plaintiffs' motion for execution and of the date when the same would be submitted for consideration. In fact, the surety's counsel was present in court when the motion was called, and it was upon his request that the court a quo gave him a period of four days within which to file an answer. Yet he allowed that period to apse without filing an answer or objection. The surety cannot now, therefore, complain that it was deprived of its day in court. The orders appealed from are affirmed. ALDAY vs. FGU INSURANCE CORPORATION Facts: Respondent FGU filed a complaint with the RTC for collection of sum f money in the amount of P114, 650.76, representing un-liquidated cash advances, unremitted cost of premiums and other charges incurred by petitioner in the course of her work or insurance agent for respondent. Petitioner in her answer and by way of counterclaim demanded the payment of earned commissions and bonuses in the total amount of P104, 893.45 and for accumulated reserves amounting to P500, 000.00. She also prayed for attorney s fees, litigation expenses, moral damages and exemplary damages for allegedly unfounded action filed by respondent. Respondent filed a motion to dismiss petitioner s counterclaim, contending that the trial court never acquired jurisdiction over the same because of the non-payment of docket fees. In response, petitioner asked the trial court to declare her counterclaim as exempt from paying of docket fees since it is compulsory and that respondent be declared in default for failure to answer her counterclaim. The trial court granted respondents motion to dismiss petitioner s counterclaim and consequently, denied petitioner s motion. The court found petitioner s counterclaim to be merely permissive in nature and held that petitioner s failure to pay docket fess prevented the court from acquiring jurisdiction over the same.

The court of appeals sustained the trail court, finding the petitioner s own admission. As contained in her answer, show that her counterclaim is merely permissive.

Issue and Ruling: Docket Fees; Non-payment of; When may be raised. - Before going into the substantive issues, the Court shall first dispose of some procedural matters raised by the parties. Petitioner claims that respondent is estopped from questioning her non-payment of docket fees because it did not raise this particular issue when it filed its first motion - the Motion to Strike out Answer With Compulsory Counterclaim And To Declare Defendant In Default with the trial court; rather, it was only nine months after receiving petitioner s answer that respondent assailed the trial court s lack of jurisdiction over petitioner s counterclaims based on the latter s failure to pay docket fees. Petitioner s position is unmeritorious. Estoppel by laches arises from the negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it either has abandoned or declined to assert it. In the case at bar, respondent cannot be considered as estopped from assailing the trial court s jurisdiction over petitioner s counterclaim since this issue was raised by respondent with the trial court itself the body where the action is pending - even before the presentation of any evidence by the parties and definitely, way before any judgment could be rendered by the trial court.

Jurisdiction; May be raised at any stage of the action; Exception. -Meanwhile, respondent questions the jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals over the appeal filed by petitioner from the 18 September 1990 and 28 February 1991 orders of the trial court. It is significant to note that this objection to the appellate court s jurisdiction is raised for the first time before this Court; respondent never having raised this issue before the appellate court. Although the lack of jurisdiction of a court may be raised at any stage of the action, a party may be estopped from raising such questions if he has actively taken part in the very proceedings which he questions, belatedly objecting to the court s jurisdiction in the event that that the judgment or order subsequently rendered is adverse to him. In this case, respondent actively took part in the proceedings before the Court of Appeals by filing its appellee s brief with the same. Its participation, when taken together with its failure to object to the appellate court s jurisdiction during the entire duration of the proceedings before such court, demonstrates a willingness to abide by the resolution of the case by such tribunal and accordingly, respondent is now most decidedly estopped from objecting to the Court of Appeals assumption of jurisdiction over petitioner s appeal Desposition:

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The assailed Decision of the Court of Appeals promulgated on 23 December 1998 and its 19 May 1999 Resolution are hereby MODIFIED. The compulsory counterclaim of petitioner for damages filed in Civil Case No. 89-3816 is ordered REINSTATED. Meanwhile, the Regional Trial Court of Makati (Branch 134) is ordered to require petitioner to pay the prescribed docket fees for her permissive counterclaim (direct commissions, profit commissions, contingent bonuses and accumulated premium reserves), after ascertaining that the applicable prescriptive period has not yet set in. SPS. GUILLERMO AGBADA and MAXIMA AGBADA vs. INTER URBAN DEVELOPERS, INC. Facts: Spouses Agbada borrowed P1,500,000 from IUD, Inc. through its president Mr. Ong Tiam. To secure the loan, the parties executed a Deed of Real Estate Mortgage over a parcel of land and the improvements thereon. The loan was payable within 6 months from Feb. 21, 1991 at 3% per month, failure to discharge the loan within the stipulated period would entitle IUD, Inc. to foreclose the mortgaged judicially or extra-judicially. The spouses failed to pay the loan despite several out-of court demands made by IUD. IUD filed with RTC of Quezon Citya complaint for forclosure of real estate mortgage. Without assistance of counsel Spouses Agbada filed their verified answer admitting that they had borrowed the amount of P1.5 M from respondent and had executed the real estate mortgage to secure the loan but denying that it was payable within 6 months and at 3% interest per month. On June. 8, 1994, IUD moved for summary judgement alleging that petitioner admitted their indebtedness, their compadre, Mr. Ong Tiam abd the IUD are not one and the same entity so that their alleged arrangement with their compadre does not in anyway bind IUD who has relied on the subject Deed of Real Estate mortgaged. The summary judgement was supported by an affidavit of the treasurer-cashier of IUD, that she witnessed the execution of the mortgaged contract and that she personally gave the check worth P1.5M for the loan. In the amended answer of the spouses, with assistance of their counsel claimed that the loan was payable for a period of 5 years and the loan was interest-free. The trial court denied the amended answer causing to alter the gist of the defense. The RTC promulgated its Summary Judgement in favor of IUD, Simeon Ong Tiam could not have obligated his principal by contemporaneous agreement amending the maturity of the loan for 6 months to five years and the interest rate from 3% to interest free. Petitioners did not appeal the summary judgement nor did they pay the debt. On May 31, 1995 IUD moved for forclosure which the spouses did not oppose nor did they attend the hearing on the motion and the court granted issued a decree of foreclosure. On Nov. 6 1996 the mortgaged real estate was sold at public auction to IUD as highest bidder for P4,637,092.74 which was supposed to be in full satisfaction of the judgement debt. The spouses opposed to the sale considering that the purchase price was below its appraised value but the court affirmed the sale to IUD.

Spouses filed with the C.A a motion for ectension of time to file a petition for review of a subject matter they did not identify. In a Resolution, C.A granted the motion under Rule 43 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure as amended. The spouses moved for a 2nd extension of the period to file their petition for review which the C.A denied with finality and recorded entry of judgement of the denial. IUD moved for the issuance of a writ of possession over the real estate, which the RTC issued on July 29, 1999 despite the motions filed by the spouses. The spouses filed with C.A a petition for annulment of judgement for alleged violation of their right to due process arising from the absence of a full- blown trial on a genuine issue of fact that the loan and mortgaged would mature only on the 5th year following its execution. C.A dismissed the petition because it was barred by res judicata and because their negligence denied them the right to avail of other remedies. Ruling: The petition has no merit. As explained quite frequently, a party may be barred from raising questions of jurisdiction where estoppel by laches has set in.[46] In a general sense, estoppel by laches is failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time to do what, by exercising due diligence, ought to have been done earlier, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert it has either abandoned to defend it or has acquiesced to the correctness and fairness of its resolution. The doctrine is based on grounds of public policy which for peace of society requires the discouragement of stale claims and, unlike the statute of limitations, is not a mere question of time but is principally an issue of inequity or unfairness of permitting a right or claim to be enforced or espoused. Verily, after voluntarily submitting a cause, it is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or power of the court just so he could escape an adverse decision on the merits.

Summary judgement or accelerated judgement is a procedural technique to promptly dispose of cases where the facts appear undisputed and certain from the pleadings, depositions, admissions and affidavits on record, or for weeding out sham claims or defenses at an early stage of litigation to avoid the expenses and loss of time involved in trial. It the conclusion of the SC that there is no basis for protesting the Summary Judgement since the trial court faithfully adhered to the proper function of accelerated judgment by adjudicating only the character of the issued raised. Since the civil action before the trial court was for forclosure of real estate mortgage, the material issues were the existence of the debt and its demandability. By the admission of the due execution of the loan and mortgaged deed, in effect spouses confessed that they voluntarily signed it and by the admission of the genuineness of the document, they also acknowledge that at the time it was signed it was in the words and figures exactly as set out in the pleading of IUD, Inc. Under the same principle now expressed in Sec. 5, Rule 39, of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure IUD, Inc. must return to spouses the amounts of P10,000 for attorney s fees, P1,691.15 for registration
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Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

expenses and P10,582.02 for real estate taxes, with interest thereon at 12% per annum from promulgation of the Decision. PETITION for REVIEW on CERTIORARI is DENIED. BPI vs. ALS MANAGEMENT & DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION Facts: BPI and ALS executed a Deed of Sale for 1 unfurnished condominium unit of the Twin Towers Condominium, designated as Unit E-4A, together with parking stalls. Condominium Certificate of title no. 4800 was issued. BPI advanced the amount of P26,300.45 for the expenses in causing the issuance of the registration of the condominium certificate of title. Under the penultimate paragraph of the Deed of Sale, it is stipulated that the Vendee shall pay all the expenses for the preparation and registration of the Deed of Sale and such other documents as may be necessary for the issuance of the Condo certificate. ALS claims that it was right to refused to pay BPI such amount relying to Sec. 25 of PD No. 957 which provides that no fee except those required for the registration of the deed of sale in the Registry of Deeds shall be collected for the issuance of such title, and that BPI has increased such amount of its alleged advances. The Condo Unit was worth P2,048,900,ALS relied that the unit will be delivered and will be completed on Dec. 31, 1981, relying solely upon the description of the brochure and other propaganda materials. The condo unit purchased by ALS suffered from defects, ALS prayed that the judgement be rendered or rendering to correct such defects/deficiency in the condo unit. Issues: WON the C.A erred in not holding that RTC had no jurisdiction over ALS counterclaims. II. WON C.A is based on misapprehension of facts and/or manifestly mistaken warranting a review by this Honorable Court of the factual findings therein. III. WON the award of damages the C.A is conjectural warranting a review by this Honorable court of the factual findings therein. I.

under the jurisdiction of the HLURB as provided by section 1 of PD 1344. Any decision rendered without jurisdiction is a total nullity and may be struck down at any time, even on appeal before this court as a general rule. As an exception to the rule, the issue may not be raised if the party is barred by estoppel. In the present case BPI proceeded with the trial, and only after judgement unfavourable to it did it raise the issue of jurisdiction. Civil law: To recover actual damages, the amount of loss must not only be capable of proof, but also be proven with a reasonable degree of certainty. The lone evidence for this award was the self-serving testimony of respondents witness that a lease contract had indeed been intenteded to commence in January 1982, instead of actual implementation on June 18, 1982. The award of actual damages cannot be based on the allegation of a witness without any tangible document, such as receipts or other documentary proofs to support such claims. In determining actual, damages, courts cannot rely on mere assertions, speculations, conjectures or guesswork, but must depend on competent proof and on the best obtainable evidence of the actual amount of loss. Wherefore this petition is PARTLY FRANTED, AND THE ASSAILED DECISION AND RESOLUTION OF THE C.A MODIFIED. PANGILINAN vs. CA Facts: Petitioner was charged and convicted with ESTAFA by the RTC. On appeal, it contended that it is the MTC that has the authority to hear and decide her case of estafa for the penalty is within its exclusive original jurisdiction, and not the RTC. The respondent as represented by the OSG, contended that the petitioner is in estoppel from questioning the issue of jurisdiction for they only raised it on appeal. It also contended that the ruling of the RTC is still valid under sec. 4 rule 120 of the Rules of Court. Issue: -WON the petitioner is barred by estoppel from questioning the jurisdiction of the lower court on appeal. -WON sec. 4 rule 120 of the Rules of Court will properly apply in this case. Ruling: 1. In the first issue, the SC held in the negative. It has been well established that jurisdiction of the court over that case can be raised at any stage of the proceedings, even on appeal. On the second issue, the SC held in the negative. Sec. 4 rule 120 of the Rules of Court does not apply in this case.
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Ruling: 1st issue: The regulatory functions of NHA was transferred to HSRC, then transferred to HLURB. There functions were regulation of the real estate trade and business, hear and decide cases of unsound real estate business practices; claims involving refunded filed against project owners, developers, dealers, brokers, or salesman, and cases of specific performance. Furthermore the jurisdiction of the HLURB over cases enumerated in SEC. 1 of PD 1344 is exclusive. The board has sole jurisdiction in a complaint of specific performance for the delivery of a certificate of title to a buyer of a subdivision lot; for claims of refund regardless of whether the sale is perfected or not and for determining whether there is a perfected contract of sale. ALS counterclaim being one for specific performance (correction of defects/ deficiencies in the condominium unit) and damages falls
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

2.

Sec. 4. Judgment in case of variance between allegation and proof. When there is a variance between the offense charged in complaint or information, and that proved or established by the evidence, and the offense as charge is included in or necessarily includes the offense proved, the accused shall be convicted or of the offense charge included in that which is proved. Aforementioned section applies exclusively to cases where the offenses as charged is included in or necessarily the offense proved. It presupposes that the court rendering judgment has jurisdiction over the case based on the allegations in the information. However, in the case at bar, from the onset of the criminal proceedings, the lower court had no jurisdiction to hear and decide the case. Having arrived at the conclusion that the Regional Trial Court did not have jurisdiction to try the case against the appellant, it is no longer necessary to consider the other issues raised as the decision of the Regional Trial Court is null and void. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED DAVAO LIGHT & POWER CO., INC., vs. CA Facts:

routine are well known. After the complaint is filed, summons issues to the defendant, the summons is then transmitted to the sheriff and service of the summons is effected on the defendant in any of the ways authorized by the Rules of Court. There is thus ordinarily some appreciable interval of time between the day of the filing of the complaint and the day of service of summons of the defendant. During this period different acts may be done by the plaintiff or by the court, which are unquestionable validity and propriety. Among these are the appointment of a guardian ad litem, the grant of authority to the plaintiff to prosecute the suit as a pauper litigant and also with regards to the provisional remedies of preliminary attachment, preliminary injunction, receivership or replevin. They may be validly and properly applied for and granted even before the defendant is summoned or is heard from. * An action or proceeding is commenced by the filing of the complaint or other initiatory pleading. By that act, the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter or nature of the action or proceeding is invoked or called into activity, and it is thus the court acquires jurisdiction said subject matter or nature of the action. And it is by that self-same act of the plaintiff (or petitioner) of filing the complaint (or other appropriate pleading)- by which he signifies his submission to the court s power and authority - that jurisdiction is acquired by the court over his person. On the other hand, jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is obtained by service of summons or other coercive process upon him or by his voluntary submission to the authority of the court. ASIAVEST LIMITED vs. CA

Subject of the appellate proceedings is the decision of CA nullifying and setting aside the writ of preliminary attachment issued by the RTC on application of the plaintiff, before the service of summons on the defendants. On May 2, 1989, Davao Light filed a complaint for recovery of sum of money & damages against the defendants Queensland & Adarna and the complaint contained an ex-parte application for writ of preliminary attachment. On May 3, 1989 an Order was issued granting the ex-parte application. The attachment bond had been submitted by Davao Light on May 11, 1989, the writ attachment issued. The following day the summons and a copy of complaint, the writ of attachment and a copy of bond were served on defendants and pursuant to the writ, sheriff seized properties belonging to the defendants. On Sept. 6, 1989, defendants filed a motion to discharge the attachment for lack of jurisdiction to issue the writ because the time the order of attachment was promulgated and the attachment writ issued, RTC had not yet acquired jurisdiction over the cause and over the person of the defendants, but the court issued an order on Sept 19, 1989, denying the motion to discharge filed by the defendants. The defendants was successful in challenging the Order of Sept. 19, 1989 in their special civil action for certiorari in CA. The reversal of this decision of the CA is what Davao Light seeks in the present appellate proceedings. Issue: Whether or not a writ of preliminary attachment may issue ex-parte against a defendants before acquisition of jurisdiction of the latter s person by service of summons or his voluntary submission to the court s authority? Ruling: Affirmative. The events that follow the filing of the complaint as a matter of
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

GOMEZ vs. CA Facts: Civil Case No. CEB-11103 is an action for specific performance and/or rescission filed by herein petitioners, spouses Fortunato and Aurora Gomez, against the heirs of Jesus J. Trocino, Sr., which 2 include herein respondents and their mother Caridad Trocino. Filed on December 16, 1991, the complaint alleges: Some time in 1975, the spouses Jesus and Caridad Trocino mortgaged two parcels of land covered by TCT Nos. 10616 and 31856 to Dr. Clarence Yujuico. The mortgage was subsequently foreclosed and the properties sold at public auction on July 11, 1988, and before the expiry of the redemption period, the spouses Trocino sold the property to petitioners on December 12, 1989, who in turn, redeemed the same from Dr. Yujuico. The spouses Trocino, however, refused to convey ownership of the properties to petitioners, hence, the complaint RTC ruled in favour of the petitioner and ordered respondents to execute a deed of sale in favor of the latter and to deliver the TCT s. Due to the defendants failure to deliver the owner s duplicate of TCT Nos. 10616 and 31856, the RTC issued an order on August 29, 1995 declaring said titles null and void, and ordering the Register of Deeds of Cebu City to issue new titles in the name of herein petitioners. Respondents in given case seek to annul the judgement on the ground that Private respondents alleged that the trial court s decision is null and void on the ground that it did not acquire jurisdiction over their persons as they were not validly served with a copy of the summons and the complaint. According to them, at the time summons was served on them, Adolfo Trocino was already in Ohio, U.S.A., and has been residing there for 25 years, while
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Mariano Trocino was in Talibon, Bohol, and has been residing there since 1986. They also refuted the receipt of the summons by Caridad A. Trocino, and the representation made by Atty. Bugarin in their behalf. Issue: WON the court acquired jurisdiction over the person. Ruling: Petition Denied Summons is a writ by which the defendant is notified of the action brought against him. Service of such writ is the means by which the 11 court acquires jurisdiction over his person. Any judgment without 12 such service in the absence of a valid waiver is null and void. The resolution of the present petition hinges on the issue of whether or not summons was effectively served on respondents. If in the affirmative, the trial court had validly acquired jurisdiction over their persons and therefore its judgment is valid. To resolve whether there was valid service of summons on respondents, the nature of the action filed against them must first be determined. As the Court explained in Asiavest Limited vs. Court of Appeals, it will be helpful to determine first whether the action is in personam, in rem, or quasi in rem because the rules on service of summons under Rule 14 of the Rules of Court of the Philippines 13 apply according to the nature of the action. In actions in personam, summons on the defendant must be served by handing a copy thereof to the defendant in person, or, if he refuses to receive it, by tendering it to him. This is specifically provided in Section 7, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court,14 which states: SEC. 7. Personal service of summons.-- The summons shall be served by handing a copy thereof to the defendant in person or, if he refuses to receive it, by tendering it to him. If efforts to find defendant personally makes prompt service impossible, substituted service may be effected by leaving copies of the summons at the defendant's dwelling house or residence with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing therein, or by leaving the copies at the defendant's office or regular place of 15 business with some competent person in charge thereof. In substituted service, it is mandated that the fact of impossibility of personal service should be explained in the proof of service.16 When the defendant in an action in personam is a non-resident who does not voluntarily submit himself to the authority of the court, personal service of summons within the State is essential to the acquisition of jurisdiction over his person. This cannot be done if the defendant is not physically present in the country, and thus, the court cannot acquire jurisdiction over his person and therefore 17 cannot validly try and decide the case against him. In the present case, petitioners cause of action in Civil Case No. CEB11103 is anchored on the claim that the spouses Jesus and Caridad Trocino reneged on their obligation to convey ownership of the two parcels of land subject of their sale. Thus, petitioners pray in their complaint that the spouses Trocino be ordered to execute the appropriate deed of sale and that the titles be delivered to them (petitioners); or in the alternative, that the sale be revoked and
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

rescinded; and spouses Trocino ordered to return to petitioners their down payment in the amount of P500,000.00 plus interests. The action instituted by petitioners affect the parties alone, not the whole world. Hence, it is an action in personam, i.e., any judgment 21 therein is binding only upon the parties properly impleaded. An action in personam is an action against a person on the basis of his personal liability, while an action in rem is an action against the thing itself, instead of against the person. Hence, a real action may at the same time be an action in personam and not necessarily an 22 action in rem. The objective sought in petitioners complaint was to establish a claim against respondents for their alleged refusal to convey to them the title to the two parcels of land that they inherited from their father, Jesus Trocino, who was one of the sellers of the properties to petitioners. Hence, to repeat, Civil Case No. CEB-11103 is an action in personam because it is an action against persons, namely, herein respondents, on the basis of their personal liability. As such, personal service of summons upon the defendants is essential in order for the court to acquire of jurisdiction over their persons.

BIACO vs. PHIL. COUNTRYSIDE RURAL BANK ANG PING vs. COURT OF APPEALS Synopsis: In April 1987, Juan Tiongson applied for and was issued a Unicard card credit card by respondent Corporation with petitioner Harry Ang Ping as co-obligor. As part of the terms and conditions governing the issuance and use of the credit card, Tiongson and Ang Ping agreed to jointly and severally pay Unibancard all purchases and charges made through the said credit card within twenty (20) days from the receipt of monthly statement without necessity of demand. Tiongson and Ang Ping likewise bound themselves to pay interest and penalty fees on any unpaid balance and attorney s fees in case of suit.

Tiongson defaulted on his monthly charges amounted to P49,988.42 as of December 5, 1987 and despite repeated demands, failed or refused to settle his accounts with respondent Corporation prompting the latter to file a collection suit with the Regional Trial Court of Makati. The trial court rendered judgment on June 11, 1990, holding Tiongson and Ang Ping jointly and severally liable for the sum of P35,233.62 plus 3% interest and 5% penalty charge from August 3, 1987 until the entire is fully paid plus 25% attorney s fees. A writ of execution was subsequently issued and the same was enforced on May 3, 1993 at Ang Ping s Greenhills address where Ruth Ang Ping, petitioner s sister, informed the sheriff that the petitioner was no longer residing at the said address. The writ was later returned unsatisfied since a third party claim over the properties attached was filed and successfully proven. Thereafter, on November 5, 1993 and on motion of respondent Corporation, an alias writ of execution was issued and a notice of garnishment was served on San Lorenzo Bus Service Co. covering shares believed to be owned by Ang Ping. Another alias writ of execution was issued on
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August 29, 1994 by virtue of which, the sheriff levied on certain personal properties found inside Harrod s Haberdashery at SM Megamall, the Certificate of Business Name of which was issued to herein petitioner. On October 27, 1994, Ang Ping filed with the Court of Appeals a petition to annul the judgment of the trial court which was the basis of the various writs of execution issued against him. The Court of Appeals dismissed the petition after finding that petitioner Ang Ping was properly placed under the jurisdiction of the trial court which rendered the assailed judgment. Disposition: The instant petition is hereby GRANTED and the decision of the Court of Appeals is REVERSED. Accordingly, the decision of the Regional Trial Court in Civil Case No. 18843 is set aside as to herein petitioner Ang Ping. No costs. Rulings: 1.) Summons must be served upon defendant himself; Substituted service when proper-Jurisdiction over the person of the defendant in civil case is acquired either by his voluntary appearance in court and his submission to its authority or by service of summons. Well settled is the rule that summons must be served upon the defendant himself. It is only when the defendant cannot be served personally within a reasonable time that substituted service maybe resorted to and such impossibility of prompt service should be shown by stating that efforts have been made to find the defendant personally and that such efforts have failed. This is necessary because substituted service is in derogation of usual method of service. It is a method extraordinary in character and hence maybe used only as prescribed and in the circumstances authorize by statute. The statutory requirements of substituted service must be followed strictly, faithfully and fully, and any substituted service other than that authorized by statute is considered ineffective. 2.) Presumption of regularity in the performance of public functions finds no application in the case at bar-it should be emphasized that service of summons is not only required to give the court jurisdiction over the person of the defendant, but also to afford the latter an opportunity to be heard on the claim made against him. Thus, compliance with the rules regarding the service of summons is as much an issue of due process as of jurisdiction. Moreover, as likewise pointed out by petitioner, the presumption of regularity in the performance of public functions finds no application in the case at bar. Surely, there must be, at the very least, compliance with the procedure outlined in Sections 6 and 20 of rule 14 of the rules of civil procedure then applicable (now Sections 4 and 18, Rule 14 of the new rules). It was never intended that the presumption of regularity in the performance of official duty will be applied even in cases where there is no showing of substantial compliance with the requirements of the rules of procedure.

3.) Remedial rules have retroactive application-as regards the alleged appearance of a lawyer in behalf of the petitioner during the proceedings in the trial court, the same cannot be considered as voluntary appearance contemplated by the rules. The rules require that the party-litigant himself must appear for pre-trial but if he chooses to be represented thereat, he should grant a special power of attorney to his counsel or representative. Although the proceedings in the trial court were conducted under the old rules of civil procedure, the same procedural requirements applies in the case at bar since well settled is the rule that remedial rules have retroactive application. In any case, aforecited new rule is merely a crystallization of a procedure long established by jurisprudence and practice. 4.) Where the grounds of annulment is lack of jurisdiction, the petition may be filed anytime before it is barred by estoppels or laches-with respect to the appellate court s holding that because of petitioner s delay in filing the petition for annulment judgment, he is deemed have forfeited his opportunity to present his side, it is enough to say that where the ground invoked as basis for annulment of judgment is lack of jurisdiction, the petition maybe filed anytime before it is barred by estoppels or laches, neither of which obtains in the present case. As held by this court before, it is the better rule that courts, under principle of equity, will not be guided or bound strictly by the statute of limitations or the doctrine of laches when to do so, manifest wrong or injustice would result. 5.) Essence of due process is to be found in the reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit any evidence one may have in support of his defense-all told, the judgment sought to be executed against Ang Ping was indeed rendered without jurisdiction as he was not properly served with summons and neither did he voluntarily submit himself to the authority of the trial court. The essence of due process is to be found in the reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit any evidence on may have in support of his defense. It is elementary that before a person can be deprived of his property, he should first be informed of the claim against him and the theory on which such claim is premised. Not having been duly accorded his day in court, petitioner cannot thus be bound by the judgment in the collection suit. AVON INSURANCE PLC vs. CA Facts: Respondent Yupangco Cotton Mills filed a complaint against several foreign reinsurance companies (among which are petitioners) to collect their alleged percentage liability under contract treaties between the foreign insurance companies and the international insurance broker C.J. Boatright, acting as agent for respondent Worldwide Surety and Insurance Company. Inasmuch as petitioners are not engaged in business in the Philippines with no offices, places of business or agents in the Philippines, the reinsurance treaties having been entered abroad, service of summons upon motion of respondent Yupangco, was made upon petitioners through the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Petitioners, by counsel on special appearance, seasonably filed motions to dismiss disputing the jurisdiction of respondent Court and the extra-territorial service
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Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

of summons. Respondent Yupangco filed its opposition to the motions to dismiss, petitioners filed their reply, and respondent Yupangco filed its rejoinder. In an Order dated April 30, 1990, respondent Court denied the motions to dismiss and directed petitioners to file their answer. On May 29, 1990, petitioners filed their notice of appeal. In an order dated June 4, 1990, respondent court denied due course to the appeal. In a Petition for Certiorari filed with the Court of Appeals, petitioners submitted that respondent Court has no jurisdiction over them, being all foreign corporations not doing business in the Philippines with no office, place of business or agents in the Philippines. The remedy of Certiorari was resorted to by the petitioners on the premise that if petitioners had filed an answer to the complaint as ordered by the respondent court, they would risk, abandoning the issue of jurisdiction. Moreover, extra-territorial service of summons on petitioners is null and void because the complaint for collection is not one affecting plaintiffs status and not relating to property within the Philippines. Issue: Whether or not petitioners are doing business in the country Ruling: We are not persuaded by the position taken by the private respondent. In Facilities Management case, the principal issue presented was whether the petitioner had been doing business in the Philippines, so that service of summons upon its agent as under Section 14, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court can be made in order that the Court of First Instance could assume jurisdiction over it. The Court ruled that the petitioner was doing business in the Philippines, and that by serving summons upon its resident agent, the trial court had effectively acquired jurisdiction. In that case, the court made no prescription as the absolute suability of foreign corporations not doing business in the country, but merely discounts the absolute exemption of such foreign corporations from liabilities particularly arising from acts done against a person or persons in the Philippines.

In civil cases, jurisdiction over the person of the defendant is acquired either by his voluntary appearance in court and his submission to its authority or by service of summons. Fundamentally, the service of summons is intended to give official notice to the defendant or respondent that an action has been commenced against it. The defendant or respondent is thus put on guard as to the demands of the plaintiff as stated in the complaint. The service of summons upon the defendant becomes an important element in the operation of a court's jurisdiction upon a party to a suit, as service of summons upon the defendant is the means by which the court acquires jurisdiction over his person. Without service of summons, or when summons are improperly made, both the trial and the judgment, being in violation of due process, are null and void, unless the defendant waives the service of summons by voluntarily appearing and answering the suit. When a defendant voluntarily appears, he is deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court. This is not, however, always the case. Admittedly, and without subjecting himself to the court's jurisdiction, the defendant in an action can, by special appearance object to the court's assumption on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. If he so wishes to assert this defense, he must do so seasonably by motion for the purpose of objecting to the jurisdiction of the court, otherwise, he shall be deemed to have submitted himself to that jurisdiction. In the case of foreign corporations, it has been held that they may seek relief against the wrongful assumption of jurisdiction by local courts. In Time, Inc. vs. Reyes, it was held that the action of a court in refusing to rule or deferring its ruling on a motion to dismiss for lack or excess of jurisdiction is correctable by a writ of prohibition or certiorari sued out in the appellate court even before trial on the merits is had. The same remedy is available should the motion to dismiss be denied, and the court, over the foreign corporation's objections, threatens to impose its jurisdiction upon the same. If the defendant, besides setting up in a motion to dismiss his objection to the jurisdiction of the court, alleges at the same time any other ground for dismissing the action, or seeks an affirmative relief in the motion, he is deemed to have submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court. In this instance, however, the petitioners from the time they filed their motions to dismiss, their submissions have been consistently and unfailingly to object to the trial court's assumption of jurisdiction, anchored on the fact that they are all foreign corporations not doing business in the Philippines. As we have consistently held, if the appearance of a party in a suit is precisely to question the jurisdiction of the said tribunal over the person of the defendant, then this appearance is not equivalent to service of summons, nor does it constitute acquiescence to the court's jurisdiction. Thus, it cannot be argued that the petitioners had abandoned their objections to the jurisdiction of the court, as their motions to dismiss in the trial court, and all their subsequent posturing, were all in protest of the private respondent's insistence on holding them to answer a charge in a forum where they believe they are not subject to. Clearly, to continue the proceedings in a

As we have found, there is no showing that petitioners had performed any act in the country that would place it within the sphere of the court's jurisdiction. A general allegation standing alone, that a party is doing business in the Philippines does not make it so. A conclusion of fact or law cannot be derived from the unsubstantiated assertions of parties, notwithstanding the demands of convenience or dispatch in legal actions, otherwise, the Court would be guilty of sorcery; extracting substance out of nothingness. In addition, the assertion that a resident of the Philippines will be inconvenienced by an out-of-town suit against a foreign entity, is irrelevant and unavailing to sustain the continuance of a local action, for jurisdiction is not dependent upon the convenience or inconvenience of a party. It is also argued that having filed a motion to dismiss in the proceedings before the trial court, petitioners have thus acquiesced to the court's jurisdiction, and they cannot maintain the contrary at this juncture. This argument is at the most, flimsy.
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

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case such as those before Us would just "be useless and a waste of time. MACAHILIG vs. HEIRS OF GRACE M. MAGALIT An interlocutory order cannot give rise to res judicata. Only a final and unappealable judgment on the merits rendered by a court of competent jurisdiction can effectively bar another action that has identical parties, subject matter and cause of action as the prior one. Facts: On February 5, 1965, Pepito Magalit, deceased husband of Dr. Grace M. Magalit (now substituted by her heirs as respondents in view of her recent demise), filed with the then Philippine Fisheries Commission -- now Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) -- Fishpond Application No. 24400. The application was for eleven (11) hectares of land situated in the Municipality of Batan, Province of Aklan.[4] On April 13, 1972, Bernardo Macahilig, deceased husband of petitioner, filed with the BFAR Fishpond Application No. 29972 for five of the eleven hectares which Magalit had previously applied for.[5] On February 28, 1972, BFAR rejected Macahiligs application for his failure to submit all the requirements. Undaunted, Macahilig protested Magalits application, contending that for a period of 20 years, he had been in actual possession of the five-hectare area included in Magalits application. On August 22, 1979, the director of BFAR ordered the Committee on Fishpond Claims and Conflict to hear and determine the rights of Macahilig and Magalit over the disputed area. The Committee concluded that the former was merely the latters laborer and caretaker and thus dismissed the case for LACK OF MERIT. he Regional Director of Iloilo City is hereby directed to advise Bernardo Macahilig or other occupants to vacate the premises after the finality of this Order and take custody of the area in question. Unfazed by the unfavorable turn of events, petitioner filed with the CA, on August 12, 1993, a Petition for Certiorari[16] alleging that the trial court had acted with grave abuse of discretion in issuing the Orders dated June 18 and July 14, 1993. The CA ruled that the trial court did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it issued a Writ of Execution ordering the delivery of Lot 4417 to Dr. Magalit. The records show that the fishpond application of petitioners husband was rejected by the BFAR, and that petitioner did not present any other evidence to prove her right of possession over the disputed property. Issue: Whether x x x the Decision dated October 15, 1999 and the Resolution dated December 28, 1999 are contrary to law and established evidence and jurisprudence because the court a quo has no jurisdiction to order the execution of the Orders dated June 18, 1993 and July 14, 1993 x x x requiring the petitioner to turn over Lot no. 4417 to Dra. Magalit. Ruling:
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

A judgment is a final ruling by a court of competent jurisdiction regarding the rights of the parties or other matters submitted to it in an action or a proceeding.[21] As clearly stated in the assailed Decision, the heirs of Dr. Magalit possessed a right superior to that of petitioners husband, whose application was rejected by BFAR, Presidential Assistant Lazaro and the IAC. Being the prevailing party, respondents were entitled to the execution of the Decision in the Fishpond Case. BANCO ESPANOL-FILIPINO vs. PALANCA

JURISDICTION, HOW ACQUIRED: Jurisdiction over the property which is the subject of the litigation may result either from a seizure of the property under legal process, whereby it is brought into the actual custody of the law, or it may result from the institution of legal proceedings wherein, under special provisions of law, the power of the court over the property is recognized and made effective. The action to foreclose a mortgage is said to be a proceeding quasi in rem, by which is expressed the idea that while it is not strictly speaking an action in rem yet it partakes of that nature and is substantially such. DUE PROCESS IN FORECLOSURE PROCEEDINGS: Property is always assumed to be in the possession of its owner, in person or by agent; and he may be safely held, under certain conditions, to be affected with knowledge that proceedings have been instituted for its condemnation and sale.

Facts: Engracio Palanca Tanquinyeng y Limquingco mortgaged various parcels of real property in Manila to El Banco Espanol-Filipino. Afterwards, Engracio returned to China and there he died on January 29, 1810 without returning again to thePhilippines. The mortgagor then instituted foreclosure proceeding but since defendant is a non-resident, it was necessary to give notice by publication. The Clerk of Court was also directed to send copy of the summons to the defendant s last known address, which is in Amoy, China. It is not shown whether the Clerk complied with this requirement. Nevertheless, after publication in a newspaper of the City of Manila, the cause proceeded and judgment by default was rendered. The decision was likewise published and afterwards sale by public auction was held with the bank as the highest bidder. On August 7, 1908, this sale was confirmed by the court. However, about seven years after the confirmation of this sale, a motion was made by Vicente Palanca, as administrator of the estate of the original defendant, wherein the applicant requested the court to set aside the order of default and the judgment, and to vacate all the proceedings subsequent thereto. The basis of this application was that the order of default and the judgment rendered thereon were void because the court had never acquired jurisdiction over the defendant or over the subject of the action. Issue:

Whether or not the lower court acquired jurisdiction over the defendant and the subject matter of the action

Ruling: The word jurisdiction is used in several different, though related, senses since it may have reference (1) to the authority of the court
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to entertain a particular kind of action or to administer a particular kind of relief, or it may refer to the power of the court over the parties, or (2) over the property which is the subject to the litigation. The sovereign authority which organizes a court determines the nature and extent of its powers in general and thus fixes its competency or jurisdiction with reference to the actions which it may entertain and the relief it may grant. How Jurisdiction is Acquired Jurisdiction over the person is acquired by the voluntary appearance of a party in court and his submission to its authority, or it is acquired by the coercive power of legal process exerted over the person. Jurisdiction over the property which is the subject of the litigation may result either from a seizure of the property under legal process, whereby it is brought into the actual custody of the law, or it may result from the institution of legal proceedings wherein, under special provisions of law, the power of the court over the property is recognized and made effective. In the latter case the property, though at all times within the potential power of the court, may never be taken into actual custody at all. An illustration of the jurisdiction acquired by actual seizure is found in attachment proceedings, where the property is seized at the beginning of the action, or some subsequent stage of its progress, and held to abide the final event of the litigation. An illustration of what we term potential jurisdiction over the res, is found in the proceeding to register the title of land under our system for the registration of land. Here the court, without taking actual physical control over the property assumes, at the instance of some person claiming to be owner, to exercise a jurisdiction in rem over the property and to adjudicate the title in favor of the petitioner against all the world. In the terminology of American law the action to foreclose a mortgage is said to be a proceeding quasi in rem, by which is expressed the idea that while it is not strictly speaking an action in rem yet it partakes of that nature and is substantially such. The expression "action in rem" is, in its narrow application, used only with reference to certain proceedings in courts of admiralty wherein the property alone is treated as responsible for the claim or obligation upon which the proceedings are based. The action quasi rem differs from the true action in rem in the circumstance that in the former an individual is named as defendant, and the purpose of the proceeding is to subject his interest therein to the obligation or lien burdening the property. All proceedings having for their sole object the sale or other disposition of the property of the defendant, whether by attachment, foreclosure, or other form of remedy, are in a general way thus designated. The judgment entered in these proceedings is conclusive only between the parties. It is true that in proceedings of this character, if the defendant for whom publication is made appears, the action becomes as to him a personal action and is conducted as such. This, however, does not affect the proposition that where the defendant fails to appear the action is quasi in rem; and it should therefore be considered with reference to the principles governing actions in rem. VDA DE VICTORIA vs. CA Facts: Through his appeal by certiorari, petitioner Mario Victoria seeks to set aside the Resolutions of the Court of Appeals promulgated on
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

May 25, 2000 and July 12, 2000, which dismissed petitioner's special civil action for certiorari and denied petitioner's motion for reconsideration, respectively. The antecedents of the case are as follows: On October 27, 1993, respondent spouses Luis and Zenaida Gibe filed a Complaint for 'Ejectment and Damages with a Writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction against Isidra Vda. de Victoria with the MTC. In their Complaint, the Gibe spouses alleged, among other things, the following: spouses Gibe acuired a parcel of land from the heirs of the late Judge Gregorio Lantin, wherein such land was subdivided into seven parcels among Judge lantin and four of the petitioner as tenants and alleging that the petitioner's have entered into the property of the defendant. Petitioner's counterclaim that such property was awarded to her family by the DAR, while the MTC ruled in favor of the defendant petitioner assailed further that the MTC has no jurisdiction over the ejectment case for such parcels of land to be referred to the DARAB, motion for reconsideration denied, thus the petition. Issue: Whether or not the MTC has jurisdiction over the ejectment case. Ruling: In the case at bar, an examination of the records reveals that the reglementary period to appeal had in fact expired almost 10 months prior to the filing of petitioners motion for extension of time. Court of Appeals committed no error when it denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration for having been filed two days after the expiration of the reglementary period Clearly, the Court of Appeals committed no error when it denied petitioner's Motion for Reconsideration for having been filed two days after the expiration of the reglementary period on June 22, 2000. Similarly, the instant petition for review must likewise be denied for having been filed on May 12, 2001, almost 11 months after the expiration of the period to appeal on June 20, 2000. In fact, a closer inspection of the records indicates that this case should have been terminated as early as January 4, 2000 with the lapse of the period within which petitioner could have appealed from the RTC Decision. Petitioner only had 6 days within which to file a notice of appeal. It is well settled that the perfection of an appeal in the manner and within the period permitted by law is not only mandatory, but also jurisdictional. Certiorari is not and cannot be made a substitute for an appeal where the latter remedy is available but was lost through fault or negligence. Rules of procedure must be faithfully followed except only when, for persuasive reasons, they may be relaxed to relieve a litigant of an injustice commensurate with his failure to comply with the prescribed procedure. Concomitant to a liberal application of the rules of procedure should be an effort on the part of the party
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invoking liberality to adequately explain his failure to abide by the rules. In the case at bar, petitioner has not provided any cogent explanation that would absolve him of the consequences of his repeated failure to abide by the rules. Moreover, petitioner's principal substantive argument that the Ejectment Case properly falls within the jurisdiction of the DARAB and not of the MTC is without merit. The MTC does not automatically lose its exclusive original jurisdiction over ejectment cases by the mere allegation of a tenancy relationship. We emphasize that the MTC did not automatically lose its jurisdiction simply because respondents raised tenancy as a defense. It continued to have the authority to hear the case precisely to determine whether it had jurisdiction to dispose of the ejectment suit on its merits. WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DENIED. CINDY AND LYNSY GARMENT vs. NLRC Facts: This is a petition for certiorari to annul the decision of the National Labor Relations Commission, dated April 23, 1992, and its resolution, dated October 29, 1992, affirming the decision, dated October 29, 1991, of Labor Arbiter Nieves de Castro in NLRC-NCR-Case No. 0003-01919-91, ordering petitioners Cindy and Lynsy Garment, Kil Huan and Virginia Pula Sy to reinstate private respondents to their former positions and to pay them backwages, thirteenth month pay, service incentive leave pay and salary differentials. Petitioner Cindy and Lynsy Garment is a company engaged in the manufacture and sale of brassieres. Virginia Pula Sy is the owner and operator, while petitioner Kil Huan Sy is her husband, who assists in the management of the business. Private respondents were employed by petitioners as promo gills. They were assigned to various outlets. Erna N. Batalla, who commenced working on August 3, 1986, was assigned to the Uniwide Sales in Cubao, Quezon City; Cristina P. King, who was employed on March 18, 1985, was stationed at the Manuela Crossing in Mandaluyong City; while Susan N. Caracas, who started to work on July 22, 1988, was assigned to the Plaza Fair, Makati City. 1Private respondents are members of the National Organization of Workingmen (NOWM). On March 23, 1991, private respondents were called to the office of Virginia Sy, during which they were asked why they were putting up a union in the company. Private respondents took the occasion to make their complaints and demanded an increase in their daily wages and the payment to them of other benefits under the law. They were told that their demands would be submitted to the management for consideration. On March 26, 1991, private respondents were offered separation pay as they were notified they were going to be laid off. They were told that they had until March 31, 1991 to inform the management whether they were accepting the company's offer. The following day, private respondents filed a complaint with the Arbitration Branch of the National Labor Relations Commission for illegal dismissal, underpayment of wages, nonpayment of labor standards benefits and noncoverage under the Social Security Law. On April 15, 1991, private respondents filed an amended complaint

in which the claim for underpayment of wages was deleted and instead an allegation of unfair labor practice was added. Conciliation conferences were then held during which petitioners were represented by Atty. Corazon Paulino. Petitioners were required to submit their position paper on or before July 2, 1991 and, as they failed to do so, were given an extension up to July 23, 1991, but, despite this opportunity, petitioners' counsel failed to do so. Accordingly, upon motion of private respondents, the case was submitted for resolution. On October 29, 1991, Labor Arbiter Nieves de Castro, rendered a decision granting the claims of private respondents, including that for underpayment, but excluding the claims for unfair labor practice, nonpayment of legal holiday pay and Social Security benefits. Issue and Ruling: First. Petitioners contend that private respondents were not dismissed but only considered to have abandoned their jobs for having failed to report for work on the last week of March. They deny that private respondents were dismissed because of union activities because allegedly, there was no union in the company and no employee of the company was affiliated to one. This contention is untenable. In order to justify a finding of abandonment the following requisites must be present: (1) there must be an unjustifiable failure to report for work and (2) there must be a clear and deliberate intent to discontinue one's employment without any intention to return back. 5 In this case, private respondents did not report for work after March 26, 1991 because they were told that they were being dismissed and were given until March 31, 1991 to indicate to the management whether they were accepting the separation pay offered to them. The clearest proof that they were not giving up their jobs was the fact that on March 27, 1991, the day after they were told they were going to be dismissed, they filed the complaint in this case. In any event, if it was not petitioners' intention to dismiss private respondents, it would have been an easy matter for them to tell private respondents so and accept them back, instead of insisting that petitioners had abandoned their jobs. That petitioners considered them dismissed from employment effective March 31, 1991 only confirms private respondents' claim that on March 26 petitioners told them they were going to be dismissed, obviously because of management's suspicion that they were forming a union in the company. Second. Petitioners nevertheless contend that private respondents had no cause of action on March 27, 1991 when they filed their complaint for illegal dismissal because their dismissal was made only on March 31, 1991. The rule is that lack of a cause of action must 6 appear on the face of the complaint. Here the complaint stated a sufficient cause of action by averring that private respondents had been dismissed on March 26, 1991 without cause. Third: Petitioners complain that they were denied due process because the decision was based solely on the private respondents' position paper and affidavits. They claim that their counsel, Atty. Corazon Paulino, failed to file a position paper in their behalf because she was seriously ill (She died in July 1993 and was replaced by Atty. Honorio S. Laguilles, Jr.). They therefore argue that they were denied the opportunity to present their side. It does not appear, however, that Atty. Paulino was so sick as not to be able to file the position paper. In the first place no claim to this effect was ever made in any motion to give petitioners a chance to present their evidence. In the second place, Atty. Paulino did not die until after two years from the time she was required to file the
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position paper. In fact, even after July 2, 1991, when she was first required to file the position paper, she was still able to represent petitioners in all the hearings before the labor arbiter, appeal the labor arbiter's decision to the NLRC, and even file the petition for certiorari in this case on January 19, 1993. All these belie petitioners' claim that because of illness their former counsel was not able to submit a position paper in their behalf. It is well settled that the requirement of due process is satisfied as long as a party is given reasonable opportunity to present his side. 7 As the NLRC in its decision on the petitioners' appeal noted, petitioners' counsel failed to file their position paper in spite of two 8 resettings and an extension given by the labor arbiter. The petitioners in this case had therefore more than enough time to file their position paper or even replace their then attorney in favor of more capable counsel. Hence, they have only themselves to blame for their failure to present evidence. Fourth. Petitioners argue that the labor arbiter had no jurisdiction to pass upon the claim for underpayment of wages, because this claim was deleted from the complaint of private respondents and replaced with an allegation of unfair labor practice when private respondents amended their complaint on April 15, 1991. As the Solicitor General points out, however, although the claim for salary differential was not reproduced in the amended complaint, nevertheless in the joint affidavit of private respondents attached to the amended complaint, the claim was clearly set forth. At the very least, therefore, there is doubt whether private respondent intended to delete this claim. The omission could have been inadvertent. In any event, the joint affidavit attached to the amended complaint, which clearly set forth private respondents' claim for salary differential, constituted their evidence. Since its presentation was not objected to by petitioners, the labor arbiter correctly considered it in deciding the case. Thus, Rule 10, 5 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure provides: Rule 10, 5. Amendment to conform to an authorized presentation of evidence. When issues not raised by the pleadings are tried by express or implied consent of the parties, they shall be treated in all respects as if they have been raised in the pleadings. Such amendment of the pleadings as may be necessary to cause them to conform to the evidence and to raise these issues may be made upon motion of any party at any time, even after judgment; but failure to amend does not affect the result of the trial of these issues. . . . . WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED for lack of merit. THE LIGA NG MGA BARANGAY NATIONAL vs. ATIENZA Facts: On March 2000, petitioner adopted and ratified its own Constitution and By-laws to govern its internal organization. Section 1, third paragraph, Article XI of said Constitution and By-Laws states: All other election matters not covered in this Article shall be governed by the Liga Election Code or such other rules as may be promulgated by the National Liga Executive Board in conformity with the provisions of existing laws. By virtue of the above-cited provision, the Liga adopted and ratified its own Election Code.

On June 2002, respondent City Council of Manila enacted Ordinance No. 8039, Series of 2002, providing, among other things, for the election of representatives of the District Chapters in the City Chapter of Manila and setting the elections for both chapters thirty days after the barangay elections. The assailed ordinance was later transmitted to respondent City Mayor Jose L. Atienza, Jr., for his signature and approval. On July 2002, upon being informed that the ordinance had been forwarded to the Office of the City Mayor, still unnumbered and yet to be officially released, the Liga sent respondent Mayor of Manila a letter requesting him that said ordinance be vetoed considering that it encroached upon, or even assumed, the functions of the Liga through legislation, a function which was clearly beyond the ambit of the powers of the City Council. Respondent Mayor, however, signed and approved the assailed city ordinance and issued on August 2002 Executive Order No. 011, Series of 2002, to implement the ordinance. There are two cases pending before Branches 33 and 51 of the RTC of Manila (one is for mandamus; the other, for declaratory relief) and three in the Court of Appeals (one is for prohibition; the two other cases, for quo warranto), which are all akin to the present petition in the sense that the relief being sought therein is the declaration of the invalidity of the subject ordinance. Issue: WON the petition for certiorari be entertained by SC in view of the pendency before the Regional Trial Court of Manila of two actions or petitions questioning the subject ordinance and executive order. Ruling: SC dismiss the petition for certiorari. Although the instant petition is styled as a petition for certiorari, in essence, it seeks the declaration by this Court of the unconstitutionality or illegality of the questioned ordinance and executive order. It, thus, partakes of the nature of a petition for declaratory relief over which this Court has only appellate, not original, jurisdiction. Section 5, Article VIII of the Constitution provides: Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: (1) Exercise original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, and habeas corpus. (2) Review, revise, reverse, modify, or affirm on appeal or certiorari as the law or the Rules of Court may provide, final judgments and orders of lower courts in: (a) All cases in which the constitutionality or validity of any treaty, international or executive agreement, law, presidential decree, proclamation, order, instruction, ordinance, or regulation is in question. (Italics supplied).
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As such, this petition must necessary fail, as this Court does not have original jurisdiction over a petition for declaratory relief even if only questions of law are involved. Even granting arguendo that the present petition is ripe for the extraordinary writ of certiorari, there is here a clear disregard of the hierarchy of courts. No special and important reason or exceptional and compelling circumstance has been adduced by the petitioner or the intervenor why direct recourse to this Court should be allowed. We have held that this Court s original jurisdiction to issue a writ of certiorari (as well as of prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction) is not exclusive, but is concurrent with the Regional Trial Courts and the Court of Appeals in certain cases. As aptly stated in People v. Cuaresma: This concurrence of jurisdiction is not, however, to be taken as according to parties seeking any of the writs an absolute, unrestrained freedom of choice of the court to which application therefor0 will be directed. There is after all a hierarchy of courts. That hierarchy is determinative of the venue of appeals, and also serves as a general 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 issuance of extraordinary writs against first level ( inferior ) courts should be filed with the Regional Trial Court, and those against the latter, with the Court of Appeals. A direct invocation of the Supreme Court s original jurisdiction to issue these writs 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 policy necessary to prevent inordinate demands upon the Court s time and attention which are better devoted to those matters within its exclusive jurisdiction, and to prevent further overcrowding of the Court s docket. LACSON HERMANAS INC. vs. HEIRS OF IGNACIO Facts: In 2004, private respondents filed a complaint for recovery of real property against petitioner Lacson Hermanas. They alleged that their predecessor-in-interest, Cenon Ignacio, purchased from petitioner a a parcel of land September 1989 and thereafter took possession of the subject area. Sometime in 2002, private respondents demanded the delivery of the lot s title and the segregation of the portion sold to Cenon but was informed by petitioner that the same lot has been sold to Rowena T. Coleman. Hence, the instant case to compel petitioner to execute the necessary deed of sale and to deliver the owner s duplicate copy of title. Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss contending that the case is cognizable by HLURB and not the trial court because it is sued as a subdivision developer and the property involved is a subdivision lot. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss holding that it has jurisdiction over the subject matter. Petitioner s motion for reconsideration was denied. Hence, the instant petition. Issue:
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

WON petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court which seeks the nullification of Manila City Ordinance No. 8039, Series of 2002, and respondent City Mayor s Executive Order No. 011, Series of 2002 for being patently contrary to law is meritorious. Ruling: SC petition is DENIED. The instant petition for certiorari should have been filed with the Court of Appeals and not with this Court pursuant to the doctrine of hierarchy of courts. Disregard of this rule warrants the outright dismissal of the petition. While the Court s original jurisdiction to issue a writ of certiorari is concurrent with the Regional Trial Courts and the Court of Appeals in certain cases, we emphasized in Liga ng mga Barangay National v. Atienza, Jr., that such concurrence does not allow an unrestricted freedom of choice of court forum.' It is a policy necessary to prevent inordinate demands upon the Court s time and attention which are better devoted to those matters within its exclusive jurisdiction, and to prevent further overcrowding of the Court s docket. In the present case, petitioner adduced no special and important reason why direct recourse to this Court should be allowed. Thus, we reaffirm the judicial policy that this Court will not entertain a direct invocation of its jurisdiction unless the redress desired cannot be obtained in the appropriate courts, and exceptional and compelling circumstances justify the resort to the extraordinary remedy of writ of certiorari. Although the invocation of this Court s jurisdiction is available to petitioner on the ground that this case raises a pure question of law, specifically, the issue of 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 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure,11 which should have been filed within 15 days from notice of the denial of its motion for reconsideration12 on October 22, 2004. SPS. SANTOS vs.CA Facts: SPS. Santos owned the house and lot in Better Living Subdivision, Paranaque, Metro Manila. The land together with the house, was mortgaged with the Rural Bank of Salinas, Inc., to secure a loan of P150K. The bank sent Rosalinda Santos a letter demanding payment of P16K in unpaid interest and other charges. Since the Santos couple had no funds, Rosalinda offered to sell the house and lot to Carmen Caseda. After inspecting the real property, Carmen and her husband agreed. Carmen and Rosalinda signed a document, involving the sale of the house P350K as full amount, P54K as downpayment. Among other condition set is that Caseda will pay the balance of the mortgage in the bank, real estate taxes and the electric and water bills. The Casedas suffered bankruptcy sometime in 1987 but managed to pay the taxes, and the electric bills was well as complied with the bank mortgage. The Santoses, seeing that the Casedas lacked the
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means to pay the remaining installments and/or amortization of the loan, repossessed the property. The Santoses then collected the rentals from the tenants. Carmen approached petitioners and offered to pay the balance of the purchase price for the house and lot. The parties, however, could not agree, and the deal could not push through because the Santoses wanted a higher price. Carmen is now praying that the Santoses execute the final deed of conveyance over the property. Issue: WON CA has jurisdiction to decide respondent s appeal interposing purely questions of law? WON the CA err in holding that a judicial rescission of the agreement was necessary Ruling: On the 1 issue, petitioners argue that, since both the parties and the CA adopted the findings of trial court, no questions of fact were raised before the Court of Appeals. According to petitioners, CA-G.R. CV No. 30955, involved only pure questions of law. They aver that the court a quo had no jurisdiction to hear, much less decide, CAG.R. CV No. 30955, without running afoul of Supreme Court Circular No. 290 (4) [c]. There is a question of law in a given case when the doubt or difference arises as to how the law is on a certain set of facts, and there is a question of fact when the doubt or difference arises as to the truth or falsehood of the alleged facts. But SC note that the first assignment of error submitted by respondents for consideration by the appellate court dealt with the trial court's finding that herein petitioners got back the property in question because respondents did not have the means to pay the installments and/or amortization of the loan. The resolution of this question involved an evaluation of proof, and not only a consideration of the applicable statutory and case laws. Clearly, C.A.-G.R. CV No. 30955 did not involve pure questions of law, hence the Court of Appeals had jurisdiction and there was no violation of SC Circular No. 2-90. SC finds that petitioners took an active part in the proceedings before the Court of Appeals, yet they did not raise there the issue of jurisdiction. They should have raised this issue at the earliest opportunity before the Court of Appeals. A party taking part in the proceedings before the appellate court and submitting his case for its decision ought not to later on attack the court's decision for want of jurisdiction because the decision turns out to be adverse to him. On the 2 issue: A contract is what the law defines it to be, taking into consideration its essential elements, and not what the contracting parties call it. Article 1458 expressly obliges the vendor to transfer ownership of the thing sold as an essential element of a contract of sale. This is because the transfer of ownership in exchange for a price paid or promised is the very essence of a contract of sale. There was no transfer of ownership simultaneously with the delivery of the property purportedly sold. The records clearly show that, notwithstanding the fact that the Casedas first took then lost possession of the disputed house and lot, the title to the property has remained always in the name of Rosalinda Santos. Although the parties had agreed that the Casedas would assume the mortgage, all amortization payments made by Carmen Caseda to the bank were in
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)
nd st

the name of Rosalinda Santos. The foregoing circumstances categorically and clearly show that no valid transfer of ownership was made by the Santoses to the Casedas. Absent this essential element, their agreement cannot be deemed a contract of sale. It was a contract to sell. Ownership is reserved by the vendor and is not to pass until full payment of the purchase price. This we find fully applicable and understandable in this case, given that the property involved is a titled realty under mortgage to a bank and would require notarial and other formalities of law before transfer thereof could be validly effected. The CA cannot order rescission. If the vendor should eject the vendee for failure to meet the condition precedent, he is enforcing the contract and not rescinding it. When the petitioners in the instant case repossessed the disputed house and lot for failure of private respondents to pay the purchase price in full, they were merely enforcing the contract and not rescinding it. WHEREFORE, the instant petition is GRANTED ROMY S FREIGHT SERVICE vs. CASTRO Facts: Castro was hired by RFS as a mechanic in April 1975. He was promoted to supervisor in 1986. On December 31, 1994, he suffered a stroke. On his doctor s advice, he took a leave of absence from work. He extended his leave several times pending recovery. He received several letters urging him to return to work. The succeeding ones assumed the nature of show cause letters requiring him to explain why he should not be disciplined for his prolonged absence. Cruz also filed complaints for estafa and qualified theft against him. Castro was constrained to file a case for illegal constructive dismissal. Veloria was hired in 1977 as a carpenter, and in 1993, was promoted as senior mechanic. In February 1995, he figured in an accident. The overheated water coming from the radiator of a car he was repairing spurted onto his face, burning it. He was forced to absent himself from work. During his absence, he received several letters from Cruz. One letter required him to explain the loss of several tools, another ordered him to pay his loan and still another required him to explain his absences. He was later charged for qualified theft of the missing tools. Thus,, Veloria joined Castro in filing a case. RFS asserted that respondents abandoned their work. On September 15, 1997, executive labor arbiter Latoja ruled that RFS was guilty of illegal dismissal and ordered it to pay P352,944.90, representing 13th month pay, backwages, separation pay, premium pay for work rendered on rest days and holidays, and attorney s fees. Respondents moved for the clarification of the decision, specifically on the award of backwages in their favor since the decision did not include the computation of the judgment award in its dispositive portion. The labor arbiter, recognized his inadvertence and granted the motion. He amended the decision increasing the award to P985,529.20 to include backwages. Petitioner appealed to the NLRC which, reversed and set aside the labor arbiter s ruling. Aggrieved, private respondents filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court with CA which granted the petition. Petitioner moved for the reconsideration but the same was denied. Hence, this petition.
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Issue: WON a petition for certiorari in the CA is proper absent the filing of a motion for reconsideration in the NLRC Ruling: As a general rule, a motion for reconsideration is needed before a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 can be resorted to. However, there are well recognized exceptions to this rule. Private respondents petition for certiorari before the CA was covered by the exceptions. The issue raised in the certiorari proceeding before the CA, i.e., whether private respondents were constructively dismissed without just cause, was also the very same issue raised before the NLRC and resolved by it. Moreover, the ER-EE relationship between petitioner and respondents was impressed with public interest.6 Thus, it was proper for the appellate court to take cognizance of the case even if no motion for reconsideration had been filed by private respondents with the NLRC. The other issues whether private respondents were illegally dismissed or abandoned their work and whether they were entitled to backwages, and other unpaid benefits, are not proper subjects of a petition for certiorari. They involve an inquiry into factual matters. The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts, more so in the consideration of the extraordinary writ of certiorari where neither questions of fact nor of law are entertained, but only questions of 7 lack or excess of jurisdiction or grave abuse of discretion. The sole object of the writ is to correct errors of jurisdiction or grave abuse of 8 discretion. The phrase grave abuse of discretion has a precise meaning in law, denoting abuse of discretion "too patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty, or a virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or act in contemplation of law, or where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by reason of passion and personal hostility." It does not encompass an error of law. Nor does it include a mistake in the appreciation of the contending parties respective evidence or the evaluation of their relative weight. The sole office of a writ of certiorari is the correction of errors of jurisdiction including the commission of grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction, and does not include the review of public respondent s evaluation of the evidence and the factual findings based thereon. Therefore, the present petition for certiorari fails insofar as it questions the affirmation by the CA of the factual finding of the labor arbiter that private respondents were illegally dismissed. CA decision showed findings that petitioner failed to overcome the burden of proving just cause for terminating the employment of respondents and that respondents did not abandon their work were supported by substantial evidence. Moreover, petitioner s obstinate insistence on the alleged serious misconduct of respondents belies his claim of abandonment as the ground for the dismissal of private respondents. Rather, it strengthens the finding of petitioner s discrimination, insensibility and antagonism towards respondents which gave them no choice except to forego their employment. SARMIENTO vs. YU Facts:

Amalio L. Sarmiento, doing business under the name and style A.L. Sarmiento Construction, (Sarmiento) petitioner, was the prime contractor of the then Ministry of Public Highways hired to construct the Cainta River Floodway and Manggahan Floodway Systems. Sarmiento entered into a sub-contract with his former classmate, Emilio G. Samson, doing business under the name and style E.G. Samson Construction to construct a portion of the work. Samson s finances, however, were insufficient, hence, he convinced Celerino Yu, respondent herein, to join him in a partnership venture. Samson was to be the industrial partner, while Yu will put up the needed capital. Yu s expenses will be reimbursed by Sarmiento to be collected by the partnership. Both Samson and Yu will equally share in the profit. Since they have been close friends for more than three (3) decades, they did not reduce their agreement in writing. When the Cainta Floodway Project started, Yu and Samson opened a joint bank account wherein they deposited the first P100,000.00 collected from Sarmiento. After the completion of the Cainta Floodway Project, they were to collect P400,000.00 from Sarmiento. However, Sarmiento insisted that they should first start constructing the Manggahan Floodway Project at a cost of P22 million. Due to the huge amount of the project, Yu and Samson placed additional capital in their partnership. They then opened two more bank accounts. They agreed that the sums collected from Sarmiento would be deposited under their joint accounts. They designated Herminio Estrella as their bookkeeper. Sometime in 1982, Estrella found that Samson failed to deposit two (2) checks amounting to P700,000.00 he received from Sarmiento. Sensing that Samson was not being fair, Yu withdrew P638,000.00 from their joint account with the Citibank. When Samson learned of such withdrawal, he immediately assumed control of the project operations, excluding both Yu and Estrella. On June 10, 1982, Yu filed with RTC a complaint for Sum of Money and Liquidation of Partnership with Damages against Samson and Sarmiento. Yu prayed for the reimbursement of his expenses and payment of his share in the profits. In his Answer with Counterclaim, Samson specifically denied having entered into a partnership with Yu. He alleged that Yu, being his close friend and compadre, offered to help him in his projects. He then authorized Yu to be a co-signatory relative to his bank accounts. He claimed that the funds for the projects were always advanced by Sarmiento. Sarmiento filed his separate Answer denying specifically Yu s allegations in his complaint. Sarmiento alleged that the Cainta project was stopped after Samson had collected P50,000.00 from him; that Samson billed him P5,453,490.96 which he paid on May 3, 1982; and that the Ministry of Public Highways has not yet accepted the Manggahan Floodway Project as constructed, hence, the determination of Samson s billing would be premature. TRIAL COURT: rendered decision in favor of plaintiff Yu The trial court held that from the documentary evidence and the conduct of Samson and Yu, a partnership had been established between them although it was not reduced in writing. Both were drawing salaries from the partnership; and when the partnership bought a dump truck, the Deed of Sale was in their names. With respect to Sarmiento, the trial court stated that he opted not to present any evidence. Thus, Yu s evidence as to the amounts still
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Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

owing from Sarmiento has remained uncontradicted. As testified to by Patrick Gatan, an officer of the Ministry of Public Highways, Sarmiento submitted a Summary of Accomplishment indicating that 75.03% of the Manggahan Project is already completed. Since the sub-contract price with Samson is P22 million, then 75% of P22 million is P16,506,600.00, still due from Sarmiento. To be added to this is the P400,000.00 as payment for the construction of the Cainta Project. APPEAL TO CA: (trial court erred in finding that there still remain collectibles from Sarmiento in favor of the partnership.) CA AFFIRMED RTC in its entirety. Only Sarmiento filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari to the SC Issue: WON CA erred in finding that collectibles are due from defendant Sarmiento (petitioner), specifically the amount of P400,000.00 for the Cainta River Project, and the amount of P2,228,643.56 for the Manggahan Floodway. Ruling: Ordinarily, findings of fact by the Court of Appeals are not reviewable by the Supreme Court for it is not a trier of facts. One exception is when such findings are not sustained by evidence. This exception is being raised by petitioner. It is not true, as claimed by petitioner, that the appellate court s finding that collectibles are still due from him is bereft of proof. Records indicate that the Cainta Project was completed and the amount collectible is P400,000.00. Also, as regards the Manggahan Project, there is a receivable from petitioner in the sum of P2,628,643.00. This was testified to by Yu. However, Sarmiento failed to rebut Yu s testimony since he opted not to present evidence. It can readily be seen that the Court of Appeals considered the evidence presented before the trial court before concluding that there are still collectibles due from petitioner. PETITION DENIED!! TAN vs. GVT ENGINEERING SERVICES Facts: On October 18, 1989, the spouses George and Susan Tan (spouses Tan) entered into a contract with GVT Engineering Services through its owner/manager Gerino Tactaquin (Tactaquin) for the construction of their residential house. The contract price was P1.7M. Since the spouses Tan have no knowledge about building construction, they hired the services of Engineer Cadag to supervise the said construction. In the course of the construction, the spouses Tan caused several changes in the plans and specifications and ordered the deletion of some items in GVT s scope of work. This brought about differences between the spouses Tan and Cadag, on one hand, and Tactaquin, on the other. Subsequently, GVT stopped the construction of the subject house. GVT filed a complaint for specific performance and damages against the spouses Tan and Cadag with the RTC of Quezon City. It contends by reason of the changes in the plans and specifications, it was forced to borrow money from third persons at exorbitant interest. Several portions of their contract were deleted but only to be
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

awarded later to other contractors. It avers that it suffered tremendous delay in the completion of the project brought about by the spouses Tan s delay in the delivery of construction materials on the jobsite. It also prays for damages. RTC RULED IN FAVOR OF GVT. CA AFFIRMED WITH MODIFICATIONS Issue: 1.) WON GVT has legal personality, it being not a juridical personality because it a sole-proprietorship company. 2.) Did the trial and appellate courts err in categorically finding that the petitioners are the ones guilty of breach of contract? Ruling: 1.) It is true that G.V.T. Engineering Services, being a sole proprietorship, is not vested with a legal personality to bring suit or defend an action in court. A perusal of the records of the present case shows that respondent s complaint filed with the trial court as well as its Appellee s Brief submitted to the CA and its Comment filed before this Court are all captioned as "G.V.T. Engineering Services acting through its owner/manager Gerino V. Tactaquin". From these, it can be inferred that it was actually Tactaquin who is the complainant. As such, the proper caption should have been "Gerino Tactaquin doing business under the name and style of G.V.T. Engineering Services", as is usually done in cases filed involving sole proprietorships. Nonetheless, these are matters of form and the Court finds the defect merely technical, which does not, in any way, affect its jurisdiction. This Court has held time and again that rules of procedure should be viewed as mere tools designed to aid the courts in the speedy, just and inexpensive determination of the cases before them. Liberal construction of the rules and the pleadings is the controlling principle to effect substantial justice. In fact, this Court is not impervious to instances when rules of procedure must yield to the loftier demands of substantial justice and equity. The law abhors technicalities that impede the cause of justice. The court's primary duty is to render or dispense justice. "A litigation is not a game of technicalities." "Lawsuits unlike duels are not to be won by a rapier's thrust. Technicality, when it deserts its proper office as an aid to justice and becomes its great hindrance and chief enemy, deserves scant consideration from courts." Litigations must be decided on their merits and not on technicality. Every party litigant must be afforded the amplest opportunity for the proper and just determination of his cause, free from the unacceptable plea of technicalities. Thus, dismissal of appeals purely on technical grounds is frowned upon where the policy of the court is to encourage hearings of appeals on their merits and the rules of procedure ought not to be applied in a very rigid, technical sense; rules of procedure are used only to help secure, not override substantial justice. It is a far better and more prudent course of action for the court to excuse a technical lapse and afford the parties a review of the case on appeal to attain the ends of justice rather than dispose of the case on technicality and cause a grave injustice to the parties, giving a false impression of speedy disposal of cases while actually resulting in more delay, if not a miscarriage of justice.
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2.) The Court upholds the factual findings of the trial and appellate courts with respect to petitioners liability for breach of their contract with respondent. Questions of facts are beyond the pale of Rule 45 of the Rules of Court as a petition for review may only raise questions of law. Moreover, factual findings of the trial court, particularly when affirmed by the Court of Appeals, are generally binding on this Court. More so, as in this case, where petitioners have failed to show that the courts below overlooked or disregarded certain facts or circumstances of such import as would have altered the outcome of the case. The Court, thus, finds no reason to set aside the lower courts factual findings. OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN vs. TONGSON (Exception to the rule that the SC is not a trier of facts facts based by the Ombudsman and CA are inconsistent) Facts: RP thru DPWH decided to concrete the Bacolod City-Murcia-D.S. Benedicto-San Carlos City National Road, Murcia Section. The City Engineers (respondents) certified that the project was complete when in fact it was not. The Office of the Ombudsman stated that it was 20% incomplete and the petitioners lacked prudence in issuing the certificate. The Court of Appeals reversed the decision of the Ombudsman stating that the respondents had exercised caution and there was only a 5.60% deficiency which was a mere oversight done without ill-motive or malice. Issue: Whether or not the Decision of CA granting respondent s petition for certiorari is erroneous, an issue which is factual in nature Ruling: Yes. The petition is meritorious. Under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court, only questions of law may be raised, since the Court, after all, is not a trier of facts. Unless for exceptional reasons, It is not to review the evidence on record and assess the probative weight thereof. However, factual issues may be delved into and resolved where, as in this case, the findings and conclusions of the Office of the Ombudsman in its decision are frontally inconsistent with those in the assailed Decision and Resolution of the CA. The CA and the DPWH, however, concluded that the deficiency in the project as of April 3, 2001 was caused by an honest oversight on the part of respondents. The DPWH sternly warned respondents to be more careful and circumspect in their assigned tasks, and the CA likewise warned respondents to be more prudent in the exercise of the functions of their office. Petitioner insists, however, that the acts/omission of respondents constitute conduct prejudicial to the public interest, for which respondents deserve a suspension of six (6) months without pay. We agree with petitioner's contention that the deficiency in the project was caused by respondents' failure to state in their surveys, designs and program of work, the station limits of the project. Obviously, respondents failed to comply with the rules in P.D. No. 1594. If they had so complied, they would have known that, as of April 3, 2001, the project was not yet complete,
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

since there was a remaining 1,341.75 sq m portion which had not yet been paved, and that the contractor was able to complete only that portion of the project up to the Caliban Bridge. DELOS SANTOS vs. ELIZALDE (15 day reglementary period for appeal reckoned from receipt of decision by counsel and not by the client; SC not a trier of facts unless it falls under any of the 11 exceptions) Facts: This Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeks to reverse and set aside the May 11, 1999 Decision of the Court of Appeals (CA), dismissing petitioners appeal based on a compromise agreement and considering their appeal as abandoned in CA-G.R. CV No. 54136 and CA-G.R. SP No. 48475; and the January 31, 2000 Resolution of the CA, denying petitioners Motion for Reconsideration. On April 8, 1999, petitioners, through their former counsel Atty. Napoleon M. Victoriano, filed an Ex-Parte Motion to Withdraw Appeal. Said motion sought the withdrawal of the appeal on the ground that petitioners and respondents delos Santos entered into an amicable settlement, denominated as an Undertaking executed on September 19, 1998, whereby petitioners would be paid the amount of Four Million Pesos (PhP 4,000,000.00), in consideration of their leaving the disputed lots peacefully. Notably, the Undertaking was signed by 39 of the 46 petitioners, and notarized by Atty. Edgar S. Calizo. More so, it was alleged in said motion that the counsel for respondents delos Santos, Atty. Romeo R. Robiso, executed a promissory note on October 15, 1998 on behalf of petitioners, for the amount of Four Million Pesos (PhP 4,000,000.00). On May 11, 1999, the CA issued the assailed Decision dismissing CAG.R. CV No. 54136 and SP No. 48475 and considering them withdrawn. It justified its Decision in this wise: "For failure to file their 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." Issue: Whether or not the CA erred in denying the admission petitioner s motion for reconsideration since the Agreement entered into is null and void considering that the signatures in it were forged and the petitioners did not receive a single centavo from the agreement. Ruling: Petition denied. The Supreme Court is not a trier of facts. Finally, petitioners claim that the Undertaking or Agreement allegedly entered into by them and respondents delos Santos is invalid considering that their purported signatures in it were forged. They argue that the motion to withdraw is likewise invalid; therefore, there is no basis for the withdrawal of the appeal. In other words, petitioners question the authenticity of said documents, raising a question of fact.

when the

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There is a "question of fact" when "the doubt or controversy arises as to the truth or falsity of the alleged facts." This is distinguished from a question of law when the doubt or difference arises as to what the law is on a certain state of facts, and which does not call for an examination of the probative value of the evidence presented by the parties-litigants. "[i]t is a settled rule that in the exercise of the Supreme Court's power of review, the Court is not a trier of facts and does not normally undertake the re-examination of the evidence presented by the contending parties' during the trial of the case considering that the findings of facts of the CA are conclusive and binding on the Court. However, the Court had recognized several exceptions to this rule, to wit: (1) when the findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises or conjectures; (2) when the inference made is manifestly mistaken, absurd 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 facts are conflicting; (6) when in making its findings the Court of Appeals went beyond the issues of the case, or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the appellant and the appellee; (7) when 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) 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 fact are premised on the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record; and (11) when the Court of Appeals manifestly overlooked certain relevant facts not disputed by the parties, which, if properly considered, would justify a different conclusion." A perusal of the exceptions enumerated above reveals that the instant case does not fall under any of them. Thus, this Court cannot entertain the factual issues raised in the petition, which include the issue of authenticity of the Undertaking or Agreement, as well as the issue of non-payment of the amount mentioned, particularly, in the Undertaking. NPC vs. DE LA CRUZ SPS. YU vs. NGO RAYMUNDO vs. CA Facts: Private respondent Arellano filed a complaint against petitioner Raymundo for collection of a sum of money in RTC. Petitioner filed with the trial court his answer with a counterclaim. Few months after, petitioner filed with the trial court his amended answer with counterclaim together with a manifestation. RTC issued an order striking out petitioner s manifestation and amended answer with counterclaim, and concomitantly scheduled a pre-trial conference conditioned on whether or not petitioner s amended answer with counterclaim would be admitted. As his motion to admit amended answer was not yet resolved, petitioner did not attend the scheduled pre-trial conference. RTC declared him in default for non-appearance at the pre-trial conference and allowed respondent to present his evidence exparte the following day. Petitioner filed with the RTC an urgent motion to set aside default order. However, RTC proceeded to receive private respondent s evidence ex-parte. Thereafter, petitioner filed a motion to set aside respondent s ex-parte evidence. Nevertheless, the trial court, without resolving petitioner s motion to set aside default order and
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

motion to set aside respondent s ex-parte evidence, rendered a decision in favor of the latter (respondent). Petitioner filed with the trial court a notice of appeal to the CA. A few months after, petitioner filed with the CA a special civil action for certiorari challenging the validity of the trial courts decision and other proceedings as having been rendered with grave abuse of discretion. CA promulgated its decision dismissing the petition outright ruling that certiorari lies only when there is no appeal or any other plain, speedy or adequate remedy available to petitioner. Also, certiorari will not issue to cure errors in proceedings or erroneous conclusions of law or fact. The CA added that where appeal is the proper remedy, certiorari would not lie. The failure of the trial court to resolve petitioner s motion to set aside default order and motion to set aside private respondents ex-parte evidence before rendering judgment is purely errors/oversight in the proceedings, not necessarily an error of jurisdiction. Issue: Whether the Court of Appeals erred in denying the issuance of a writ of certiorari because of the availability of appeal. Ruling: CA correctly denied the petition for certiorari before it, assailing the trial courts decision by default and denial of the petition for relief, in view of the availability of appeal therefrom. (An ordinary appeal is the proper remedy in questioning a judgment by default; appeal is also the proper remedy from an order denying a petition for relief of judgment). However, in the exceptional circumstances presented in this case, appeal seems to be inadequate; consequently, even if petitioner interposed an appeal, certiorari lies to correct such a despotic exercise of discretion. The failure of the trial court to act on the twin motions of petitioner to set aside the order of default and to set aside the evidence exparte, can not be lightly dismissed as a mere error or oversight. It seriously affected the discretion of the trial court, for such omission amounted to grave abuse of discretion depriving petitioner of the opportunity to be heard on the two crucial motions which, if granted, would have allowed petitioner to regain his standing in court and to present his evidence. The trial court gravely abused its discretion in declaring petitioner as in default when it was itself remiss in not resolving petitioners pending motions. Moreover, the trial court acted despotically in allowing respondent to present evidence ex-parte even if petitioner could not be lawfully declared in default for non-appearance due to the trial courts own failure to rule on the admission of his amended answer because the original answer was on record. Where an appeal is not adequate, or equally beneficial, speedy and sufficient, extraordinary remedy of certiorari has been allowed by the Court. WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby GRANTED. CA decision is REVERSED and SET ASIDE. SINGSONG vs. ISABELA SAWMILL Facts: Petitioners filed in the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental against Respondents a complaint praying for a writ of preliminary injunction restraining the Sheriff from proceeding with the sales at public auction, and to declare null and void the Chattel Mortgage
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executed by defendants in favor of defendant Saldajeno, being in fraud of creditors of the defendant partnership. Defendants Leon Garibay, Margarita G. Saldejeno, and Timoteo Tubungbanua had entered into a Contract of Partnership under the firm name "Isabela Sawmill . Civil Case No. 4797 was filed by the spouses Cecilio Saldajeno and Margarita G. Saldajeno against the Isabela Sawmill, Leon Garibay, and Timoteo Tubungbanua. The same defendants executed a document entitled "Assignment of Rights with Chattel Mortgage". Thereafter, the defendants Leon Garibay and Timoteo Tubungbanua did not divide the assets and properties of the "Isabela Sawmill" between them, despite the withdrawal of defendant Saldajeno, they continued the business of said partnership under the same firm name "Isabela Sawmill". Provincial Sheriff of Negros Occidental executed a Certificate of Sale in favor of the defendant Margarita G. Saldajeno, as a result of the sale conducted for the enforcement of the judgment rendered in Civil Case No. 5223 of the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental. After trial, judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants. Thereafter, defendants appealed to the CA. CA certified the records of this case to the Supreme Court "considering that the resolution of this appeal involves purely questions or question of law. Issue: Whether a court may nullify a final judgment of another court of coequal, concurrent and coordinate jusridiction Ruling: In the light of the latest ruling of the Supreme Court, there is no doubt that one branch of the Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental can take cognizance of an action to nullify a final judgment of the other two branches of the same court. ...a court of first instance or a branch thereof has the authority and jurisdiction to take cognizance of, and to act in, suit to annul final and executory judgment or order rendered by another court of first instance or by another branch of the same court... xxx In the case at bench, there was no liquidation of the assets of the partnership. The remaining partners, Leon Garibay and Timoteo Tubungbanua, continued doing the business of the partnership in the name of "Isabela Sawmill". They used the properties of said partnership.The properties mortgaged to Margarita G. Saldajeno by the remaining partners, Leon Garibay and Timoteo Tubungbanua, belonged to the partnership "Isabela Sawmill." The appellant, Margarita G. Saldajeno, was correctly held liable by the trial court because she purchased at public auction the properties of the partnership which were mortgaged to her.It does not appear that the withdrawal of Margarita G. Saldajeno from the partnership was published in the newspapers. The appellees and the public in general had a right to expect that whatever, credit they extended to Leon Garibay and Timoteo Tubungbanua doing the business in the name of the partnership "Isabela Sawmill" could be enforced against the proeprties of said partnership. The judicial foreclosure of the chattel mortgage executed in favor of Margarita G. Saldajeno did not relieve her from liability to the creditors of the partnership. RUSSELL vs. VESTIL
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

Facts: On September 28, 1994, petitioners filed a complaint against private respondents, denominated "DECLARATION OF NULLITY AND PARTITION," with the Regional Trial Court of Mandaue City, Branch 56, docketed as Civil Case No. MAN 2275. The complaint, in substance, alleged that petitioners are co-owners of that parcel of land, Lot 6149 situated in Liloan, Cebu and containing an area of 56,977.40 square meters, more or less. The land was previously owned by the spouses Casimero Tautho and Cesaria Tautho. Upon the death of said spouses, the property was inherited by their legal heirs, herein petitioners and private respondents. Since then, the lot had remained undivided until petitioners discovered a public document denominated "DECLARATION OF HEIRS AND DEED OF CONFIRMATION OF A PREVIOUS ORAL AGREEMENT OF PARTITION," executed on June 6, 1990. By virtue of this deed, private respondents divided the property among themselves to the exclusion of petitioners who are also entitled to the said lot as heirs of the late spouses Casimero Tautho and Cesaria Tautho. Petitioners claimed that the document was false and perjurious as the private respondents were not the only heirs and that no oral partition of the property whatsoever had been made between the heirs. The complaint prayed that the document be declared null and void and an order be issued to partition the land among all the heirs. On November 24, 1994, private respondents filed a Motion to Dismiss the complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the nature of the case as the total assessed value of the subject land is P5,000.00 which under section 33 (3) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended by R.A. No. 7691, falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Liloan, Compostela. Petitioners filed an Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss saying that the Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction over the case since the action is one which is incapable of pecuniary estimation within the contemplation of Section 19(l) of B.P. 129, as amended. On January 12, 1995, the respondent judge issued an Order granting the Motion to Dismiss. A Motion for Reconsideration of said order was filed by petitioners on January 30, 1995 alleging that the same is contrary to law because their action is not one for recovery of title to or possession of the land but an action to annul a document or declare it null and void, hence, one incapable of pecuniary estimation failing within the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court. Private respondents did not oppose the motion for reconsideration. On February 13, 1995, the respondent judge issued another Order denying the motion for reconsideration. Issue: Whether or not the Regional Trial Court has jurisdiction to entertain the civil case Ruling: Yes. The RTC has jurisdiction. The complaint filed before the Regional Trial Court is doubtless one incapable of pecuniary estimation and therefore within the jurisdiction of said court. In Singsong vs. Isabela Sawmill, we had the occasion to rule that:
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[I]n determining whether an action is one the subject matter of which is not capable of pecuniary estimation this Court has adopted the criterion of first ascertaining the nature of the principal action or remedy sought. If it is primarily for the recovery of a sum of money, the claim is considered capable of pecuniary estimation, and whether jurisdiction is in the municipal courts or in the courts of first instance would depend on the amount of the claim. However, where the basic issue is something other than the right to recover a sum of money, where the money claim is purely incidental to, or a consequence of, the principal relief sought, this Court has considered such actions as cases where the subject of the litigation may not be estimated in terms of money, and are cognizable exclusively by courts of first instance (now Regional Trial Courts). Examples of actions incapable of pecuniary estimation are those for specific performance, support, or foreclosure of mortgage or annulment of judgment; also actions questioning the validity of a mortgage, annulling a deed of sale or conveyance and to recover the price paid and for rescission, which is a counterpart of specific performance. While actions under Sec. 33(3) of B.P. 129 are also incapable of pecuniary estimation, the law specifically mandates that they are cognizable by the MTC, METC, or MCTC where the assessed value of the real property involved does exceed P20,000.00 in Metro Manila, or P50,000.00, if located elsewhere. If the value exceeds P20,000.00 or P50,000.00 as the case may be, it is the Regional Trial Courts which have jurisdiction under Sec. 19(2). However, the subject matter of the complaint in this case is annulment of a document denominated as "DECLARATION OF HEIRS AND DEED OF CONFIRMATION OF PREVIOUS ORAL PARTITION." The main purpose of petitioners in filing the complaint is to declare null and void the document in which private respondents declared themselves as the only heirs of the late spouses Casimero Tautho and Cesaria Tautho and divided his property among themselves to the exclusion of petitioners who also claim to be legal heirs and entitled to the property. While the complaint also prays for the partition of the property, this is just incidental to the main action, which is the declaration of nullity of the document above-described. It is axiomatic that jurisdiction over the subject matter of a case is conferred by law and is determined by the allegations in the complaint and the character of the relief sought, irrespective of whether the plaintiff is entitled to all or some of the claims asserted therein. GO vs. UCPB Facts:

On July 1997, the approved Omnibus Line accommodation granted to petitioner was cancelled by respondent UCPB. As a consequence, Jimmy Go demanded from UCPB the return of the two TCTs covered by the Mortgages earlier executed. UCPB refused to return the same and proceeded to have the pre-signed Real Estate Mortgages notarized and caused the registration thereof before the ROD. On June 1999, UCPB filed with the Office of the Clerk of Court and Ex-Officio Sheriff of Mandaluyong City an extrajudicial foreclosure of real estate mortgage for nonpayment of the obligation secured by said mortgage. As a result, the public auction sale was set on 11 April 2000 and 03 May 2000. To protect his interest, Jimmy Go filed for the Cancellation of Real Estate Mortgage and damages, with prayer for TRO and/or writ of preliminary injunction, against UCPB, with the RTC of Pasig City. On June 2000, UCPB, instead of filing an answer, filed a motion to dismiss based on the following grounds: 1) that the court has no jurisdiction over the case due to nonpayment of the proper filing and docket fees; 2) that the complaint was filed in the wrong venue; 3) an indispensable party/real party in interest was not impleaded and, therefore, the complaint states no cause of action; 4) that the complaint was improperly verified; and 5) that petitioner is guilty of forum shopping and submitted an insufficient and false certification of non-forum shopping. The trial court granted petitioner s application for a writ of preliminary injunction. The auction sale was enjoined. It also denied UCPB s motion to dismiss. Subsequently, denied the motion for reconsideration. UCPB questioned said orders before the CA via a petition for certiorari, alleging that the trial court acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion in issuing an order denying the motion to dismiss and the motion for reconsideration thereof. The CA set aside the Orders issued by the RTC and directed it to dismiss Civil Case No. 67878 on the ground of improper venue. A motion for reconsideration was filed by petitioner, which was denied. Issue: WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR WHEN IT FAILED TO APPLY THE LAW AND ESTABLISHED JURISPRUDENCE ON THE MATTER BY ISSUING THE QUESTIONED RESOLUTIONS FINDING THAT THE CASE A QUO IS A "REAL ACTION." Ruling:

Petitioner Jimmy T. Go and Alberto T. Looyuko are co-owners of Noah s Ark International and other companies in the trucking, sugar refinery and others. Sometime in August 1996, petitioners applied for an Omnibus Line accommodation with respondent UCPB in the amount of P900,000,000.00 and was favorably acted upon by the latter. The transaction was secured by Real Estate Mortgages over parcels of land located at Mandaluyong City registered in the name of Mr. Looyuko; and another, also located in same City with registered in the name of Noah s Ark Sugar Refinery.
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

Simply put, the issue to be resolved in this case is whether petitioner s complaint for cancellation of real estate mortgage is a personal or real action for the purpose of determining venue. In a real action, the plaintiff seeks the recovery of real property, or as provided for in Section 1, Rule 4, a real action is an action affecting title to or possession of real property, or interest therein. These include partition or condemnation of, or foreclosure of mortgage on, real property. The venue for real actions is the same for regional trial courts and municipal trial courts -- the court which

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has territorial jurisdiction over the area where the real property or any part thereof lies. Personal action is one brought for the recovery of personal property, for the enforcement of some contract or recovery of damages for its breach, or for the recovery of damages for the commission of an injury to the person or property. The venue for personal actions is the same for the RTC and MTC -- the court of the place where the plaintiff resides, or where the defendant resides, at the election of the plaintiff, as indicated in Section 2 of Rule 4. The case of Carandang v. Court of Appeals, is more particularly instructive. There, we held that an action for nullification of the mortgage documents and foreclosure of the mortgaged property is a real action that affects the title to the property. Thus, venue of the real action is before the court having jurisdiction over the territory in which the property lies, which is the Court of First Instance of Laguna. Petitioner in this case contends that a case for cancellation of mortgage is a personal action and since he resides at Pasig City, venue was properly laid therein. In a relatively recent case, Asset Privatization Trust v. Court of Appeals, it was succinctly stated that the prayer for the nullification of the mortgage is a prayer affecting real property, hence, is a real action. In sum, the cancellation of the real estate mortgage, subject of the instant petition, is a real action, considering that a real estate mortgage is a real right and a real property by itself. An action for cancellation of real estate mortgage is necessarily an action affecting the title to the property. It is, therefore, a real action which should be commenced and tried in Mandaluyong City, the place where the subject property lies. BARANGAY SAN ROQUE, TALISAY, CEBU vs. Heirs of FRANCISCO PASTOR Facts: Petitioner filed before the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Talisay, Cebu (Branch 1) a Complaint to expropriate a property of the respondents. In an Order dated April 8, 1997, the MTC dismissed the Complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction. It reasoned that [e]minent domain is an exercise of the power to take private property for public use after payment of just compensation. In an action for eminent domain, therefore, the principal cause of action is the exercise of such power or right. The fact that the action also involves real property is merely incidental. An action for eminent domain is therefore within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court and not with this Court. The RTC also dismissed the Complaint when filed before it, holding that an action for eminent domain affected title to real property; hence, the value of the property to be expropriated would determine whether the case should be filed before the MTC or the RTC. Concluding that the action should have been filed before the MTC since the value of the subject property was less than P20,000, the RTC ratiocinated in this wise: The instant action is for eminent domain. It appears from the current Tax Declaration of the land involved that its assessed
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

value is only One Thousand Seven Hundred Forty Pesos (P1,740.00). Pursuant to Section 3, paragraph (3), of Republic Act No. 7691, all civil actions involving title to, or possession of, real property with an assessed value of less than P20,000.00 are within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Courts. In the case at bar, it is within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Municipal Trial Court of Talisay, Cebu, where the property involved is located. The instant action for eminent domain or condemnation of real property is a real action affecting title to or possession of real property, hence, it is the assessed value of the property involved which determines the jurisdiction of the court. That the right of eminent domain or condemnation of real, property is included in a real action affecting title to or possession of real property, is pronounced by retired Justice Jose Y. Feria, thus, "Real actions are those affecting title to or possession of real property. These include partition or condemnation of, or foreclosures of mortgage on, real property. . . . Aggrieved, petitioner appealed directly to this Court, raising a pure question of law. In a Resolution dated July 28, 1999, the Court denied the Petition for Review "for being posted out of time on July 2, 1999, the due date being June 2, 1999, as the motion for extension of time to file petition was denied in the resolution of July 14, 1999." In a subsequent Resolution dated October 6, 1999, the Court reinstated the Petition. Issue: Which court, MTC or RTC, has jurisdiction over cases for eminent domain or expropriation where the assessed value of the subject property is below Twenty Thousand (P20,000.00) Pesos Ruling: The Petition is meritorious. Main Issue: Jurisdiction over an Expropriation Suit In support of its appeal, petitioner cites Section 19 (1) of BP 129, which provides that RTCs shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over "all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation; . . . . ." It argues that the present action involves the exercise of the right to eminent domain, and that such right is incapable of pecuniary estimation. Respondents, on the other hand, contend that the Complaint for Eminent Domain affects the title to or possession of real property. Thus, they argue that the case should have been brought before the MTC, pursuant to BP 129 as amended by Section 3 (3) of RA 7691. This law provides that MTCs shall have exclusive original jurisdiction over all civil actions that involve title to or possession of real property, the assessed value of which does not exceed twenty thousand pesos or, in civil actions in Metro Manila, fifty thousand pesos exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses and costs. We agree with the petitioner that an expropriation suit is incapable of pecuniary estimation. In the present case, an expropriation suit does not involve the recovery of a sum of money. Rather, it deals with the exercise by the
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government of its authority and right to take private property for public use. It should be stressed that the primary consideration in an expropriation suit is whether the government or any of its instrumentalities has complied with the requisites for the taking of private property. Hence, the courts determine the authority of the government entity, the necessity of the expropriation, and the observance of due process. In the main, the subject of an expropriation suit is the government's exercise of eminent domain, a matter that is incapable of pecuniary estimation. True, the value of the property to be expropriated is estimated in monetary terms, for the court is duty-bound to determine the just compensation for it. This, however, is merely incidental to the expropriation suit. Indeed, that amount is determined only after the court is satisfied with the propriety of the expropriation. WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby GRANTED. POLOMOLOK WATER DISTRICT, PETITIONER, vs. POLOMOLOK GENERAL CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION, INC., RESPONDENT Facts: Polomolok Water District (PWD), petitioner, is a government-owned and controlled corporation engaged in producing and supplying potable water to the residents of the Municipality of Polomolok, South Cotabato. Polomolok General Consumers Association, Inc., respondent, is a non-stock, non-profit corporation organized and existing under Philippine laws.

Meanwhile, on June 23, 2000, through the earnest efforts of the Mayor of Polomolok, the parties entered into a Memorandum of Agreement Respondent agreed to submit a list of all its members, the amounts of dues and the dates of payments. Petitioner, in turn, committed to accept the payments of respondent s members at the rate of P60.00 for the first 10 cubic meters of water consumption or any amount as may be decreed by the trial court in Civil Case No. 281. However, both parties violated their stipulations. Issue: Whether PWD Resolution No. 94-023, S. 1994 is valid. Ruling: It is well settled that jurisdiction of the court is determined on the basis of the material allegations of the complaint and the character of the relief prayed for irrespective of whether plaintiff is entitled to such relief. Respondent alleged that petitioner did not comply with the requisites of notice, publication and public hearing. Verily, the Court of Appeals did not err in holding that the subject of litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation. Section 19 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129 provides that the Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation. WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. CRUZ vs. TAN Facts:

In October 1994, petitioner passed PWD Resolution No. 94-023, S. 1994 imposing new and higher water rates upon its customers. Respondent and its members vigorously opposed petitioner s Resolution, hence, they filed an administrative complaint with the National Water Resources Board (NWRB). But in an Order dated October 13, 1999, the NWRB dismissed the complaint for having been filed out of time. On November 3, 1999, respondent filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 39, Polomolok, South Cotabato, a class suit for declaration of nullity of PWD Resolution No. 94-023, with prayer for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, docketed as Civil Case No. 281. Respondent alleged that the Resolution was passed without due notice to its members and hearing as required by Presidential Decree (P.D.) No. 198, as amended. In its answer, petitioner claimed that it posted notices at various conspicuous public places at least one week before the public hearing; that it conducted two public hearings on March 2 and June 22, 1994; and that during the second hearing, 187 residents of Polomolok were present. On December 3, 1999, the trial court issued a writ of preliminary injunction enjoining petitioner from disconnecting the water supply of respondent s members.
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

This is a petition for a writ of certiorari and prohibition with injunction.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library On August 3, 1949, the respondent Telesfora Yambao (plaintiff in civil case No. 898, Court of First Instance of Rizal - Rizal City Branch) filed a complaint against the petitioner Manuel Cruz (defendant in said case), in which she prayed that the petitioner herein be ordered to finish the construction of a house mentioned in the complaint, or to pay her the sum of P644.31. Within ten days from receipt of the summons, the petitioner filed a motion for a bill of particulars, which was denied by the court in an order dated September 3, 1949, received by the petitioner on September 15, 1949.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library On September 19, 1949, the petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the case on the ground that the Court of First Instance of Rizal has no jurisdiction over the subject-matter of the suit inasmuch as the demand contained in the prayer is only for P644.31, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Justice of the Peace or the Judge of the municipal Court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The motion to dismiss was denied by the court . Issue: Whether the Court of First Instance has jurisdiction over the case at bar. Ruling:
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NO. The case in question comes within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the municipal court or justice of the peace court. It will be noted that the demand of the complaint filed in the Court of First Instance of Rizal is for the sum of P644.31. The alternative remedy of specific performance, which consists in finishing the house, is capable of pecuniary estimation at the same amount, more or less, for, otherwise, the respondent Telesfora Yambao would not have made such alternative demand.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library In the Judiciary Act of 1948 (Republic Act No. 296), we find the following pertinent provisions: SEC. 44. Original jurisdiction. - Courts of First Instance shall have original jurisdiction: xxx xxx xxx chanrobles virtual law library (c) In all cases in which the demand, exclusive of interest, or the value of the property in controversy, amounts to more than two thousand pesos; (Emphasis supplied.) chanrobles virtual law library Sec. 86. Jurisdiction of justices of the peace and judges of municipal courts of chartered cities. - The jurisdiction of justices of the peace and judges of municipal courts of chartered cities shall consist of: xxx xxx xxx chanrobles virtual law library (b) Original jurisdiction in civil actions arising in their respective municipalities, and not exclusively cognizable by the Courts of First Instance.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library SEC. 88. Original jurisdiction in civil cases. - In all civil actions, including those mentioned in rules 59 and 62 of the Rules of Court, arising in his municipality or city, and not exclusively cognizable by the Court of First Instance, the justice of the peace and the judge of a municipal court shall have exclusive original jurisdiction where the value of the subject-matter or amount of the demand does not exceed two thousand pesos, exclusive of interest and costs. . . The respondent argues that the value of the house, the construction of which has almost been completed, requiring only the expenditure of P644.31 to complete it, according to the allegations of the complaint, is more than P2,873.37, and that consequently the value of the property involved is beyond the jurisdiction of the municipal court. The jurisdiction of the respective courts is determined by the value of the demand and not the value of the transaction out of which the demand arose; that is what the law says in unmistakable terms. The alternative prayer for specific performance is also of the same value, for, as said above, the alternative prayers would not have been made in the complaint if one was more valuable than the other; hence, the specific performance alternatively prayed for, is capable of pecuniary estimation at P644.31 (sec. 88, par. 2, Rep. Act No. 296). BOKINGO vs. CA Facts: Petitioner Alfredo Bokingo is one of the defendants in the complaint for injunction and damages filed by Ernesto Campos, the Heirs of Celestino Busa, the Heirs of Felicidad Busa-Panal and the Heirs of Concordia Busa. The complaint was filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Butuan City, Branch 3. The complaint alleged as follows: Plaintiffs [herein respondents] are co-owners of the land subject matter.

Defendants filed an application for titling of a parcel of land before the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Office of the CENRO. The land subject matter of the application for titling of defendants is a parcel of land inherited by plaintiffs from their father, the late CELESTINO BUSA. When plaintiffs knew of defendants application, plaintiffs filed a protest against defendants application . The Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Officer, resolved the Protest in favor of Plaintiffs-the protestant in the DENR case and issued a certification stating that the order has become final and executory. Plaintiffs requested for a Survey Authority to survey the land subject matter of this case before the CENRO Office of Butuan City Plaintiffs went to the area subject matter of this case to survey the land. Unfortunately, Defendant SPO3 FERDINAND B. DACILLO and Defendant ALFREDO BOKINGO, representatives of defendants, told the survey group to stop and not to enter the area subject matter of this case Plaintiff[s] availed of the Barangay Justice System to resolve the controversy regarding the survey but to no avail, defendants still refused to allow plaintiffs to survey the area. Thus, a Certificate to File Action was issued by the Lupong Tagapamayapa. Petitioner Bokingo, as one of the defendants in the above complaint, filed with the court a quo a motion to dismiss alleging that the latter has no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the claim. Specifically, petitioner Bokingo contended that it could be gleaned from the complaint that the issue between the parties involved the possession of the land. As such, the assessed value of the land was crucial to determine the court s jurisdiction over the subject . If the assessed value thereof is P20,000.00 or less, then the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) has jurisdiction over the subject matter. Otherwise, jurisdiction is with the RTC. Petitioner Bokingo pointed out in his Motion to Dismiss that the assessed value of the land subject matter of the complaint was not indicated. Nonetheless, he proffered that based on his father s tax declaration covering the subject land, its assessed value was only P14,410.00. Consequently, it was allegedly clear that the court a quo, a Regional Trial Court, had no jurisdiction over the subject matter of the complaint filed by the respondents. Rather, in view of the assessed value of the subject land which was allegedly less than the P15,000.00, jurisdiction properly belonged to the MTC. Petitioner Bokingo thus urged the court a quo to dismiss the complaint filed by the respondents for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter thereof. Acting thereon, the court a quo issued the Order denying the motion to dismiss The CA rendered the assailed Decision dismissing the said petition for lack of merit, in fact and in law. Aggrieved, petitioner Bokingo now comes to the Court seeking the reversal of the said decision of the CA which dismissed his petition for certiorari filed therewith. He insists that the complaint filed by the respondents with the court a quo is a possessory action. To determine which court, the RTC or MTC, has primary jurisdiction, petitioner Bokingo theorizes that it is necessary that the assessed value of the land be alleged in the initiatory complaint. Absent such allegation, the court where the case was filed should allegedly preliminarily determine the assessed value of the subject property to determine whether or not it has jurisdiction over the subject matter of the claim. In the present case, according to petitioner
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Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

Bokingo, the assessed value of the subject land is only P14,410.00; hence, jurisdiction thereof properly belongs to the MTC in accordance with Section 19(2) or 33(3) of BP Blg. 129 as amended by RA 7691. Issue: Whether the RTC has jurisdiction over the case. Ruling: YES. The subject matter of litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation and properly cognizable exclusively by the court a quo, a Regional Trial Court. Under Section 19 (1) of BP Blg. 129, as amended by RA 7691: SEC. 19. Jurisdiction in Civil Cases. Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction: (1) In all civil actions in which the subject of the litigation is incapable of pecuniary estimation; In determining whether an action is one the subject matter of which is not capable of pecuniary estimation, the nature of the principal action, or remedy sought must first be ascertained. If it is primarily for the recovery of a sum of money, the claim is considered capable of pecuniary estimation, and jurisdiction over the action will depend on the amount of the claim. However, where the basic issue is something other than the right to recover a sum of money, where the money claim is purely incidental to, or a consequence of, the principal relief sought, the action is one where the subject of litigation may not be estimated in terms of money, which is cognizable exclusively by Regional Trial Courts." As gleaned from the complaint, the principal relief sought by the respondents in their complaint is for the court a quo to issue an injunction against petitioner Bokingo and his representatives to permanently enjoin them from preventing the survey of the subject land. Significantly, the respondents complaint has not sought to recover the possession or ownership of the subject land. Rather, it is principally an action to enjoin petitioner Bokingo and his representatives from committing acts that would tend to prevent the survey of the subject land. It cannot be said therefore that it is one of a possessory action. The respondents, as plaintiffs in the court a quo, to be entitled to the injunctive relief sought, need to establish the following requirements: (1) the existence of a right to be protected; and (2) that the acts against which the injunction is to be directed are violative of the said right. MANCHESTER DEV T. CORP. VS. CA Facts: Petitioners in support of their contention that the filing fee must be assessed on the basis of the amended complaint cite the case of Magaspi vs. Ramolete. They contend that the Court of Appeals erred in that the filing fee should be levied by considering the amount of damages sought in the original complaint. The environmental facts of said case differ from the present. 1. The Magaspi case was an action for recovery of ownership and possession of a parcel of land with damages. While the present case is an action for torts and damages and specific performance with prayer for temporary restraining order, etc. In the Magaspi case, the prayer in the complaint seeks not only the annulment of title of the defendant to the

3.

4.

property, the declaration of ownership and delivery of possession thereof to plaintiffs but also asks for the payment of actual moral, exemplary damages and attorney's fees arising therefrom in the amounts specified therein. However, in the present case, the prayer is for the issuance of a writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction during the pendency of the action against the defendants' announced forfeiture of the sum of P3 Million paid by the plaintiffs for the property in question, to attach such property of defendants that maybe sufficient to satisfy any judgment that maybe rendered, and after hearing, to order defendants to execute a contract of purchase and sale of the subject property and annul defendants' illegal forfeiture of the money of plaintiff, ordering defendants jointly and severally to pay plaintiff actual, compensatory and exemplary damages as well as 25% of said amounts as maybe proved during the trial as attorney's fees and declaring the tender of payment of the purchase price of plaintiff valid and producing the effect of payment and to make the injunction permanent. The amount of damages sought is not specified in the prayer although the body of the complaint alleges the total amount of over P78 Million as damages suffered by plaintiff. Upon the filing of the complaint there was an honest difference of opinion as to the nature of the action in the Magaspi case. The complaint was considered as primarily an action for recovery of ownership and possession of a parcel of land. The damages stated were treated as merely to the main cause of action. Thus, the docket fee of only P60.00 and P10.00 for the sheriff's fee were paid. When this under-re assessment of the filing fee in this case was brought to the attention of this Court together with similar other cases an investigation was immediately ordered by the Court. Meanwhile plaintiff through another counsel with leave of court filed an amended complaint on September 12, 1985 for the inclusion of Philips Wire and Cable Corporation as co-plaintiff and by emanating any mention of the amount of damages in the body of the complaint. The prayer in the original complaint was maintained. After this Court issued an order on October 15, 1985 ordering the re- assessment of the docket fee in the present case and other cases that were investigated, on November 12, 1985 the trial court directed plaintiffs to rectify the amended complaint by stating the amounts which they are asking for. It was only then that plaintiffs specified the amount of damages in the body of the complaint in the reduced amount of P10,000,000.00. Still no amount of damages were specified in the prayer. Said amended complaint was admitted.

On the other hand, in the Magaspi case, the trial court ordered the plaintiffs to pay the amount of P3,104.00 as filing fee covering the damages alleged in the original complaint as it did not consider the damages to be merely an or incidental to the action for recovery of ownership and possession of real property. An amended complaint was filed by plaintiff with leave of court to include the government of the Republic as defendant and reducing the amount of damages, and attorney's fees prayed for to P100,000.00. Said amended complaint was also admitted. Issue: 1. Whether the original complaint or the amended complaint should be the basis of the computation of the docketing fee?
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2.

Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

2. Whether or not an amendment of the complaint will thereby vest jurisdiction in the court? Ruling: 1. The docketing fee should be assessed by considering the amount of damages as alleged in the original complaint. In the Magaspi case, the action was considered not only one for recovery of ownership but also for damages, so that the filing fee for the damages should be the basis of assessment. Although the payment of the docketing fee of P60.00 was found to be insufficient, nevertheless, it was held that since the payment was the result of an "honest difference of opinion as to the correct amount to be paid as docket fee" the court "had acquired jurisdiction over the case and the proceedings thereafter had were proper and regular." Hence, as the amended complaint superseded the original complaint, the allegations of damages in the amended complaint should be the basis of the computation of the filing fee. In the present case no such honest difference of opinion was possible as the allegations of the complaint, the designation and the prayer show clearly that it is an action for damages and specific performance. The docketing fee should be assessed by considering the amount of damages as alleged in the original complaint. 2. As reiterated in the Magaspi case the rule is well-settled "that a case is deemed filed only upon payment of the docket fee regardless of the actual date of filing in court. Thus, in the present case the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the case by the payment of only P410.00 as docket fee. Neither can the amendment of the complaint thereby vest jurisdiction upon the Court. For an legal purposes there is no such original complaint that was duly filed which could be amended. Consequently, the order admitting the amended complaint and all subsequent proceedings and actions taken by the trial court are null and void. The Court frowns at the practice of counsel who filed the original complaint in this case of omitting any specification of the amount of damages in the prayer although the amount of over P78 million is alleged in the body of the complaint. This is clearly intended for no other purpose than to evade the payment of the correct filing fees if not to mislead the docket clerk in the assessment of the filing fee. This fraudulent practice was compounded when, even as this Court had taken cognizance of the anomaly and ordered an investigation, petitioner through another counsel filed an amended complaint, deleting all mention of the amount of damages being asked for in the body of the complaint. It was only when in obedience to the order of this Court of October 18, 1985, the trial court directed that the amount of damages be specified in the amended complaint, that petitioners' counsel wrote the damages sought in the much reduced amount of P10,000,000.00 in the body of the complaint but not in the prayer thereof. The design to avoid payment of the required docket fee is obvious. To put a stop to this irregularity, henceforth all complaints, petitions, answers and other similar pleadings should specify the amount of damages being prayed for not only in the body of the pleading but also in the prayer, and said damages shall be considered in the assessment of the filing fees in any case. Any pleading that fails to comply with this requirement shall not bib
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

accepted nor admitted, or shall otherwise be expunged from the record. SUN INSURANCE OFFICE, LTD vs. CA Facts: Sun Insurance Office, Ltd. (SIOL) filed a complaint with the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Metro Manila for the consignation of a premium refund on a fire insurance policy with a prayer for the judicial declaration of its nullity against private respondent Manuel Uy Po Tiong. Private respondent as declared in default for failure to file the required answer within the reglementary period. On the other hand, private respondent filed a complaint in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City for the refund of premiums and the issuance of a writ of preliminary attachment against the petitioners. The complaint sought, among others, the payment of actual, compensatory, moral, exemplary and liquidated damages, attorney's fees, expenses of litigation and costs of the suit. Although the prayer in the complaint did not quantify the amount of damages sought said amount may be inferred from the body of the complaint to be about Fifty Million Pesos (P50,000,000.00). Only the amount of P210.00 was paid by private respondent as docket fee which prompted petitioners' counsel to raise his objection. Said objection was disregarded by respondent Judge Jose P. Castro who was then presiding over said case. Upon the order of this Court, the records of said case together with twenty-two other cases assigned to different branches of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City which were under investigation for under-assessment of docket fees were transmitted to this Court. The Court thereafter returned the said records to the trial court with the directive that they be re-raffled to the other judges in Quezon City, to the exclusion of Judge Castro. On October 15, 1985, the Court en banc issued a Resolution in Administrative Case No. 85-10-8752-RTC directing the judges in said cases to reassess the docket fees and that in case of deficiency, to order its payment. The Resolution also requires all clerks of court to issue certificates of re-assessment of docket fees. All litigants were likewise required to specify in their pleadings the amount sought to be recovered in their complaints. Judge Maximiano C. Asuncion, to whom Civil Case No. Q41177 was thereafter assigned, after his assumption into office on January 16, 1986, issued a Supplemental Order requiring the parties in the case to comment on the Clerk of Court's letter-report signifying her difficulty in complying with the Resolution of this Court of October 15, 1985 since the pleadings filed by private respondent did not indicate the exact amount sought to be recovered. On January 23, 1986, private respondent filed a "Compliance" and a "Re-Amended Complaint" stating therein a claim of "not less than Pl0,000,000. 00 as actual compensatory damages" in the prayer. In the body of the said second amended complaint however, private respondent alleges actual and compensatory damages and attorney's fees in the total amount of about P44,601,623.70. On January 24, 1986, Judge Asuncion issued another Order admitting the second amended complaint and stating therein that the same constituted proper compliance with the Resolution of this Court and that a copy thereof should be furnished the Clerk of Court for the reassessment of the docket fees. The reassessment by the Clerk of Court based on private respondent's claim of "not less than
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P10,000,000.00 as actual and compensatory damages" amounted to P39,786.00 as docket fee. This was subsequently paid by private respondent. Petitioners then filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals questioning the said order. On April 24, 1986, private respondent filed a supplemental complaint alleging an additional claim of P20,000,000.00 as damages so the total claim amounts to about P64,601,623.70. On October 16, 1986, or some seven months after filing the supplemental complaint, the private respondent paid the additional docket fee of P80,396.00. The CA denying due course to the petition as it seeks annulment of the order. Hence the instant petition. Issue: Whether or not a court acquires jurisdiction over this case when the correct and proper docket fee has not been paid. Rulings: Yes. The principle in Manchester could very well be applied in the present case. The pattern and the intent to defraud the government of the docket fee due it is obvious not only in the filing of the original complaint but also in the filing of the second amended complaint. However, in Manchester, petitioner did not pay any additional docket fee until] the case was decided by this Court on May 7, 1987. Thus, in Manchester, due to the fraud committed on the government, this Court held that the court a quo did not acquire jurisdiction over the case and that the amended complaint could not have been admitted inasmuch as the original complaint was null and void.

1. It is not simply the filing of the complaint or appropriate initiatory pleading, but the payment of the prescribed docket fee, that vests a trial court with jurisdiction over the subject matter or nature of the action. Where the filing of the initiatory pleading is not accompanied by payment of the docket fee, the court may allow payment of the fee within a reasonable time but in no case beyond the applicable prescriptive or reglementary period. 2. The same rule applies to permissive counterclaims, third party claims and similar 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 time but also in no case beyond its applicable prescriptive or reglementary period. 3. Where the trial court acquires jurisdiction over a claim by the filing of the appropriate pleading and payment of the prescribed filing fee but, subsequently, the judgment awards a claim not specified in the pleading, or if specified the same has 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 or his duly authorized deputy to enforce said lien and assess and collect the additional fee. TACAY vs. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF TAGUM Davao del Norte Facts: Three actions for recovery of possession (acciones publicianas) were separately instituted by Godofredo Pineda against three (3) defendants ( Noel, Panes and Tacay) alleging that Pineda was the owner of a parcel of land ; occupation by the defendants were by mere tolerance; and had made demands on the defendants to vacate the property and pay reasonable rentals but were refused. Motions to dismiss were filed by defendants alleging that the Trial Court had not acquired jurisdiction of the case on ground that the complaint failed to specify the amount of damages which the plaintiff is claiming. However, these motions were dismissed by Judge Matas and Hernandez. Aggrieved, defendants filed "Joint Petition" for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus, with prayer for temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary prohibitory injunction," praying essentially that said orders be annulled and respondent judges directed to dismiss all the complaints "without prejudice to private respondent Pineda's re-filing a similar complaint that complies with Circular No. 7." The joint petition is hereby dismissed. Issue: Whether the trial court has jurisdiction over the three actions on ground that it failed to state the amounts being claimed as actual, moral and nominal damages and failure to comply with SC Circular No. Ruling: It is true that the complaints do not state the amounts being claimed as actual, moral and nominal damages. It is also true, however, that the actions are not basically for the recovery of sums of money. They are principally for recovery of possession of real property, in the nature of an accion publiciana. Determinative of the court's jurisdiction in this type of actions is the nature thereof, not the amount of the damages allegedly arising from or connected with the issue of title or possession, and regardless of the value of the property. Quite obviously, an action for recovery of possession of real property (such as an accion plenaria de possesion) or the title thereof, or for partition or condemnation of, or the foreclosure of a
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In the present case, a more liberal interpretation of the rules is called for considering that, unlike Manchester, private respondent demonstrated his willingness to abide by the rules by paying the additional docket fees as required. The promulgation of the decision in Manchester must have had that sobering influence on private respondent who thus paid the additional docket fee as ordered by the respondent court. It triggered his change of stance by manifesting his willingness to pay such additional docket fee as may be ordered. Nevertheless, petitioners contend that the docket fee that was paid is still insufficient considering the total amount of the claim. This is a matter which the clerk of court of the lower court and/or his duly authorized docket clerk or clerk in-charge should determine and, thereafter, if any amount is found due, he must require the private respondent to pay the same. Thus, the Court rules as follows:

Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

mortgage on, said real property - in other words, a real action-may be commenced and prosecuted without an accompanying claim for actual, moral, nominal or exemplary damages; and such an action would fall within the exclusive, original jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court. Circular No. 7 of this Court, dated March 24, 1988, cannot thus be invoked, as the petitioner does, as authority for the dismissal of the actions at bar. As will be noted, the requirement in Circular No. 7 that complaints, petitions, answers, and similar pleadings should specify the amount of damages being prayed for not only in the body of the pleading but also in the prayer, has not been altered. What has been revised is the rule that subsequent "amendment of the complaint or similar pleading will not thereby vest jurisdiction in the Court, much less the payment of the docket fee based on the amount sought in the amended pleading," the trial court now being authorized to allow payment of the fee within a reasonable time but in no case beyond the applicable prescriptive or reglementary period. Moreover, a new rule has been added, governing awards of claims not specified in the pleading - i.e., damages arising after the filing of the complaint or similar pleading-as to which the additional filing fee therefor shall constitute a lien on the judgment. Now, under the Rules of Court, docket or filing fees are assessed on the basis of the "sum claimed," on the one hand, or the "value of the property in litigation or the value of the estate," on the other. There are, in other words, as already above intimated, actions or proceedings involving real property, in which the value of the property is immaterial to the court's jurisdiction, account thereof being taken merely for assessment of the legal fees; and there are actions or proceedings, involving personal property or the recovery of money and/or damages, in which the value of the property or the amount of the demand is decisive of the trial court's competence (aside from being the basis for fixing the corresponding docket fees). Where the action is purely for the recovery of money or damages, the docket fees are assessed on the basis of the aggregate amount claimed, exclusive only of interests and costs. In this case, the complaint or similar pleading should, according to Circular No. 7 of this Court, "specify the amount of damages being prayed for not only in the body of the pleading but also in the prayer, and said damages shall be considered in the assessment of the filing fees in any case." Where the action involves real property and a related claim for damages as well, the legal fees shall be assessed on the basis of both (a) the value of the property and (b) the total amount of related damages sought. The Court acquires jurisdiction over the action if the filing of the initiatory pleading is accompanied by the payment of the requisite fees, or, if the fees are not paid at the time of the filing of the pleading, as of the time of full payment of the fees within such reasonable time as the court may grant, unless, of course, prescription has set in the meantime. But where-as in the case at bar-the fees prescribed for an action involving real property have been paid, but the amounts of certain of the related damages (actual, moral and nominal) being demanded are unspecified, the action may not be dismissed. The Court undeniably has jurisdiction over the action involving the real property, acquiring it upon the filing of the complaint or similar pleading and payment of the prescribed fee. And it is not divested of that authority by the circumstance that it may not have acquired jurisdiction over the accompanying claims for damages because of lack of specification thereof. What should be done is simply to expunge those claims for damages as to which no amounts are stated, which is what the respondent Courts did, or allow, on motion, a reasonable time for the amendment of the complaints so as to allege the precise amount of each item of damages and accept payment of the requisite fees therefor within the relevant prescriptive period. EMILIO EMNACE vs. COURT OF APPEALS
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

Facts: Petitioner Emilio Emnace, Vicente Tabanao and Jacinto Divinagracia were partners in a business known as Ma. Nelma Fishing Industry. In 1986, they decided to dissolve their partnership and executed an agreement of partition and distribution of the partnership properties among them, consequent to Jacinto Divinagracia's withdrawal from the partnership. When petitioner failed to comply with the terms of the agreement and also on his promise to turn over to Tabanao's heirs the deceased's 1/3 share in the total assets of the partnership, amounting to P30,000,000.00, respondents, Tabanao's heirs, filed an action for accounting, payment of shares, division of assets and damages against petitioner. Petitioner filed a motion to dismiss the complaint and argued that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the action because the prescribed docket fee was not paid considering the huge amount involved in the claim. The trial court, however, noted that a request for accounting was made in order that the exact value of the partnership may be ascertained and, thus, the correct docket fee may be paid. Petitioner questioned the order of dismissal through a petition for certiorari before the Court of Appeals. The appellate court rendered the assailed decision dismissing the petition for certiorari, upon a finding that no grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction was committed by the trial court in issuing the questioned orders denying petitioner's motions to dismiss. Hence, the present petition. Issue: Whether or not the court had jurisdiction over the case in absence of respondent's payment of docket fees. Ruling: The instant petition is dismissed and the SC remanded the case to the court of origin. According to the Court, the trial court does not have to employ guesswork in ascertaining the estimated value of the partnership's assets, for respondents themselves voluntarily pegged the worth thereof at Thirty Million Pesos (P30,000,000.00). Hence, this case is one which is really not beyond pecuniary estimation, but rather partakes of the nature of a simple collection case where the value of the subject assets or amount demanded is pecuniarily determinable. While it is true that the exact value of the partnership's total assets cannot be shown with certainty at the time of filing, respondents can and must ascertain, through informed and practical estimation, the amount they expect to collect from the partnership, particularly from petitioner, in order to determine the proper amount of docket and other fees. It is thus imperative for respondents to pay the corresponding docket fees in order that the trial court may acquire jurisdiction over the action. In Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation v. Court of Appeals, this Court pronounced that the above-quoted provision "clearly contemplates an initial payment of the filing fees corresponding to the estimated amount of the claim subject to adjustment as to what later may be proved." Moreover, we reiterated therein the principle that the payment of filing fees cannot be made contingent or dependent on the result of the case. Thus, an initial payment of the docket fees based on an estimated amount must be paid simultaneous with the filing of the complaint. Otherwise, the court would stand to lose the filing fees should the judgment later turn out to be adverse to any claim of the respondent heirs. In order to avoid tremendous losses to the judiciary and to the government as well, the payment of docket fees cannot be made
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dependent on the outcome of the case except when the claimant is a pauper litigant. Nowhere in the records does it appear that respondents are litigating paupers, and as such are exempted from the payment of court fees. Applied to the instant case, respondents have a specific claim 1/3 of the value of all the partnership assets but they did not allege a specific amount. They did, however, estimate the partnership's total assets to be worth Thirty Million Pesos (P30,000,000.00), in a letter addressed to petitioner. Respondents cannot claim that they are unable to make an estimate and avoid paying the initial docket fees by conveniently omitting the said amount in their amended complaint. The estimated partnership's total assets can be made the basis for the initial docket fees that respondents should pay. Even if it were later established that the amount proved was less or more than the amount alleged or estimated, Rule 141, Section 5(a) of the Rules of Court specifically provides that the court may refund the excess or exact additional fees should the initial payment be insufficient. Accordingly, the trial court was ordered to determine the proper docket fee based on the estimated amount that respondents seek to collect from petitioner, and direct them to pay the same within a reasonable time, provided the applicable prescriptive or reglementary period has not yet expired. The other issues pointed out by petitioner were likewise dismissed for lack of merit.

as the related penalties, surcharges and interests. Petitioner immediately moved to dismiss the collection case. It contended that the RTC had no jurisdiction over the subject matter and that the complaint for collection was prematurely filed in view of its pending [21] On June 7, 2002, the RTC denied petition for review in the CTA. petitioner's motion and instead ordered it to file an answer Issue: 1. Whether or not filing of a collection case was a proper remedy? 2. Whether or not RTC has jurisdiction on the case at bar Ruling: (1) Yes the filing of collection case was a proper remedy. Assessments inform taxpayers of their tax liabilities. Under the TCCP, the assessment is in the form of a liquidation made on the face of the import entry return and approved by the Collector of Customs. Liquidation is the final computation and ascertainment by the Collector of Customs of the duties due on imported merchandise based on official reports as to the quantity, character and value thereof, and the Collector of Customs' own finding as to the [38] applicable rate of duty. A liquidation is considered to have been made when the entry is officially stamped and liquidated. An assessment or liquidation by the BoC attains finality and conclusiveness one year from the date of the final payment of duties except when: (a) there was fraud; (b) there is a pending protest or (c) the liquidation of import entry was merely tentative.

Based on the foregoing, the trial court erred in not dismissing the complaint outright despite their failure to pay the proper docket fees. Nevertheless, as in other procedural rules, it may be liberally construed in certain cases if only to secure a just and speedy disposition of an action. While the rule is that the payment of the docket fee in the proper amount should be adhered to, there are certain exceptions which must be strictly construed. In recent rulings, this Court has relaxed the strict adherence to the Manchester doctrine, allowing the plaintiff to pay the proper docket fees within a reasonable time before the expiration of the applicable prescriptive or reglementary period. Accordingly, the trial court in the case at bar should determine the proper docket fee based on the estimated amount that respondents seek to collect from petitioner, and direct them to pay the same within a reasonable time, provided the applicable prescriptive or reglementary period has not yet expired. Failure to comply therewith, and upon motion by petitioner, the immediate dismissal of the complaint shall issue on jurisdictional grounds. PILIPINAS SHELL PETROLEUM CORPORATION, vs. REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES, Facts: Present controversy sprang from the cancellation of tax debit memos (TDMs) and the corresponding tax credit certificates (TCCs) assigned to petitioner Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (Shell) by various entities. The assignment to Shell had the approval of the Board of Investments and the One Stop Shop Inter- Agency Tax Credit and Duty Drawback Center (Center). Some of these TCCs were subsequently accepted as payment by the Bureau of Customs (BoC) for petitioner's taxes and import duties in 1997 and 1998. On November 3, 1999, then Secretary Edgardo B. Espiritu of the Department of Finance (DOF) informed petitioner that its TDMs and TCCs were fraudulently issued and transferred, and had to be cancelled. He asked petitioner to immediately pay the BoC and the Bureau of Internal Revenue the value of the cancelled TCCs as well
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

None of the foregoing exceptions is present in this case. There was no fraud as petitioner claimed (and was presumed) to be in good faith. Consequently, pursuant to Yabes[41] and because of the cancellation of the TCCs, respondent had the right to file a collection case. (2) Respondent filed its complaint for collection on April 3, 2002. The [43] 1125 or the old CTA Law. governing law at that time was RA Section 7 thereof stated: Section 7. Jurisdiction. The Court of Tax Appeals shall exercise exclusive appellate jurisdiction to review by appeal, as herein provided. Decisions of the Commissioner of Customs in cases involving liability for customs duties, fees or other money charges; seizure, detention or release of property affected; fines and forfeitures or other penalties imposed in relation thereto; or other matters arising under Customs Law or other laws or part of law administered by the Bureau of Customs. Inasmuch as the present case did not involve a decision of the Commissioner of Customs in any of the instances enumerated in Section 7(2) of RA 1125, the CTA had no jurisdiction over the subject matter. It was the RTC that had jurisdiction under Section 19(6) of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980, as amended:[45] Section 19. Jurisdiction in Civil Cases. exercise exclusive original jurisdiction: Regional Trial Courts shall

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Disposition: Petition DENIED. The Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 19 is ordered to proceed expeditiously with the pre-trial conference and trial of Civil Case No. 02-103191. LACSON vs.REYES Facts: Private respondent, Ephraim Serquina, petitioned the respondent court for the probate of the last will and testament of Carmelita Farlin. He also petitioned the court in his capacity as counsel for the heirs, the herein petitioners, and as executor under the will. Petition was not opposed and hence, on November 17, 1987, the respondent court issued a "certificate of allowance," On March 14, 1988, Atty. Ephraim Serquina filed a "motion for attorney's fees" 3 against the petitioners, alleging that the heirs had agreed to pay, as and for his legal services rendered, the sum of P68,000.00. Thereafter summonses were served upon the heirs "as if it were a 4 complaint against said heirs" directing them to answer the motion. Heirs filed their answer and denied the claim for P68,000.00 alleging that the sum agreed upon was only P7,000.00, a sum they had allegedly already paid. Trial court granted and directed the respondent heirs to pay their lawyer true and reasonable attorney s fees. eleven days after the heirs received a copy of the decision, 6 the latter filed a notice of appeal. Respondent court issued an order "noting" the notice on appeal "appellants [the heirs] having failed to correct or complete the same within the reglementary period to effect an appeal." 8 On November 24, 1988, the respondent court issued yet another order denying the 9 notice of appeal for failure of the heirs to file a record on appeal. Issues: (1) Whether or not the respondent court never acquired jurisdiction over the "motion for attorney's fees" for failure on the part of the movant, Ephraim Serquina, to pay docket fees? (2) Whether or not the respondent court gravely abused its discretion in denying the heirs' notice of appeal for their failure to file a record on appeal? (3) Whether or not the respondent court also gravely abused its discretion in awarding attorney's fees contrary to the provisions of Section 7, of Rule 85, of the Rules of Court? Ruling: Court acquires jurisdiction over any case only upon payment of the prescribed docket fee. Although the rule has since been tempered, 12 that is, there must be a clear showing that the party intended to evade payment and to cheat the courts, it does not excuse him from paying docket fees as soon as it becomes apparent that docket fees are indeed payable. In the case at bar, the "motion for attorney's fees" was clearly in the nature of an action commenced by a lawyer against his clients for attorney's fees. Docket fees should have been priorly paid before the court could lawfully act on the case, and decide it. It may be true that the claim for attorney's fees was but an incident in the

main case, still, it is not an escape valve the payment of docket fees is mandatory. (2) Court feels that the petitioner should be given an opportunity to comply with the above-discussed rules by submitting the required record on appeal as a condition for the revival of the appeal. In appeals arising from an incident in a special proceeding, a record on appeal is necessary, otherwise, the appeal faces a dismissal. In the instant case, the Court notes the apparent impression by the parties at the outset, that a record on appeal was unnecessary, as evidenced by: (1) the very holding of the respondent court that "[i]t is now easy to appeal as there is no more need for a record on appeal . . . [b]y merely filing a notice of appeal, the appellant can already institute his appeal . . . ;" 16 (2) in its order to amend notice of appeal, it did not require the appellants to submit a record on appeal; and (3) Atty. Serquina interposed no objection to the appeal on that ground. (3) Trial judge must be said to have gravely abused its discretion (apart from the fact that it never acquired jurisdiction, in the first place, to act on said Mr. Serquina's "motion for attorney's fees"). An attorney who is concurrently an executor of a will is barred from recovering attorney's fees from the estate. An administrator or executor may be allowed fees for the necessary expenses he has incurred as such, but he may not recover attorney's fees from the estate. His compensation is fixed by the rule but such a compensation is in the nature of executor's or administrator's commissions, and never as attorney's fees. SUSON vs. CA Facts: On 15 November 1993, private respondent Odilao filed a P5.15 million civil suit for damages against petitioner Suson before the Regional Trial Court of San Juan (Branch 26), Southern Leyte. Private respondent claimed that petitioner made false and groundless accusations of graft and corruption against him before the Office of the Ombudsman, and thereafter caused their publication in a Cebubased local daily under the headline "ODILAO SUED FOR GRAFT." According to private respondent, Suson's machinations had cast dishonor, discredit and contempt upon his person which besmirched his reputation and caused him to suffer moral shock and social humiliation. Private respondent paid the sum of P25,600.00 in docket fees to the Regional Trial Court (Branch 26) of Southern Leyte covered by Official Receipts Nos. 1937304 in the amount of P15,450.00 and 1030112 in the amount of P10,150.00, both dated 15 November 1993 On 17 December 1993, petitioner Suson filed a motion to dismiss the complaint of private respondent Odilao on the ground of improper venue, alleging therein that Odilao resides in Talisay, Cebu and not in Himonganan, Southern Leyte. Finding merit in petitioner's arguments in his motion to dismiss, the lower court (RTC Southern Leyte) granted petitioner's aforesaid motion on 24 May 1994. 3 Thereafter, private respondent went to the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City to re-file the same complaint (except the statement of his actual residence) that was dismissed by the Regional Trial Court (Branch 26) of Southern Leyte. Private respondent avers that upon showing the official receipts as proof of payment of the docket fees
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in the Regional Trial Court of Southern Leyte (Branch 26) to the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City (Branch 6), the latter advised his counsel to file a formal request with this Court, thru the Court Administrator, for an "authority" to apply the payment for docket fees previously made to the Regional Trial Court (Branch 26), Southern Leyte to the docket fees to be paid to the Regional Trial Court Cebu City (Branch 6). On 20 June 1994, private respondent, thru counsel, wrote a letter addressed to the SC Court Administrator, requesting for an authorization to consider the filing fees previously paid to the Regional Trial Court (Branch 26) of San Juan, Southern Leyte as payment for the filing fees to be paid in the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City (Branch 6) where the case was to be re-filed. 4 On 12 July 1994, Supreme Court Deputy Court Administrator Bernardo P. Abesamis informed the counsel of the private respondent that he can re-file the case at RTC Cebu and present the official receipt corresponding filing fees paid at the RTC, Branch 26 San Juan, Southern Leyte. Thereafter, private respondent presented the letter-reply of Deputy Court Administrator Abesamis to the clerk of court of the RTC (Branch 6) of Cebu City upon re-filing his complaint. On the basis of the aforesaid letter-reply, the clerk of court docketed private respondent's complaint as Civil Case CEB-16336 without requiring private respondent to pay anew the prescribed docket fees. On 13 September 1994, petitioner filed a motion to dismiss Civil Case No. 16336 on grounds of lack of jurisdiction and lack of cause of action. Petitioner argued that private respondent "did not pay (even) a single centavo of the P25,000.00 filing fee; hence, the court (RTC of Cebu City, Branch 6) did not acquire jurisdiction over the case." On 16 September 1994, the RTC of Cebu City (Branch 6), presided over by Judge Loreto D. de la Victoria, issued an order denying petitioner's motion to dismiss. The Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court's dispositions. Issue: Whether or not a party litigant, whose complaint has been dismissed by a Regional Trial Court due to improper venue, can seek an authorization from the Supreme Court thru the Deputy Court Administrator to re-file his complaint in the court of proper venue without payment of the prescribed docket fee. Ruling: Private respondent's complaint cannot be deemed to have been "refiled" in the RTC of Cebu City (Branch 6) because it was not originally filed in the same court but in the RTC of Southern Leyte (Branch 26). Thus, when private respondent's complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. CEB-16336 by the clerk of court of the RTC Cebu City (Branch 6), it became an entirely separate case from Civil Case No. P417 that was dismissed by the RTC of Leyte due to improper venue. As far as Civil Case No. P-417 is concerned, while undoubtedly the order of dismissal is not an adjudication on the merits of the case, the order, nevertheless, is a final order. This means that when private respondent did not appeal therefrom, the order became final and executory for all legal intents and purposes. From a procedural point of view, therefore, to "re-file" the case before the same court would be an obvious faux pas. As a remedial measure,
Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

the plaintiff whose complaint was dismissed due to improper venue can still file another complaint, but this time in the court of proper venue. Note, however, that the dismissal of the complaint filed in the court of improper venue did not stop the running of the prescriptive period within which to file his complaint in the court of proper venue. Theoretically, the plaintiff may decide to file a complaint containing substantially the same allegations and prayer as the previously dismissed complaint, or he may decide to amend the same and pray for a different relief. In this case, the principle remains unchanged, that is, the court (of proper venue) will only acquire jurisdiction over the case only upon the payment of the prescribed docket fee thereon. Article III, Sec. 11 of the 1987 Constitution states that "Free access to the courts and quasi-judicial bodies and adequate legal assistance shall not be denied to any person by reason of poverty." It is for this reason that under Rule 141, Sec. 16 of the Rules of Court, pauperlitigants are exempted from the payment of court fees, which includes the filing fee in instituting a complaint. Nonetheless, the rule provides that the legal fees shall be a lien on the monetary or property judgment rendered in favor of the pauper-litigant. Private respondent, therefore, has as much "free access" to the courts to seek redress of a wrong because there is no law or rule that prevents him from going to court to file his complaint. But, the rule provides that he must pay the prescribed docket fee because he is neither a pauper-litigant nor a person expressly exempt by the Rules of Court from payment thereof. Consequently, the Deputy Court Administrator committed an error when he stated in his letter reply to private respondent's counsel that he can "re-file the complaint in the RTC Cebu City (Branch 6) and present the official receipt corresponding to the filing fees paid in the RTC Branch 26, San Jose, Southern Leyte." OCA has neither the power nor the authority to exempt any party not otherwise exempt under the law or under the Rules of Court in the payment of the prescribed docket fees. Pursuant to the rules laid down by this Court in Sun Insurance, we hold that under the peculiar circumstances of this case private respondent did not really intend to evade the payment of the prescribed docket fee. His counsel simply strayed away from the rules to explore the possibility of an extra legal remedy. Since his case has already been docketed as Civil Case no 16336 in the RTC Branch 6 Cebu City, the procedural remedy of paying the prescribed docket fees is still available to him provided, of course, that the applicable prescriptive or reglementary period has not yet set in. WHEREFORE, premises considered, the decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby SET ASIDE. The Regional Trial Court (Branch 6) Cebu City is hereby ordered to require private respondent to pay the prescribed docket fees in Civil Case No. 16336 as a condition precedent for further hearing the case, after ascertaining at the earliest date practicable from the records that private respondent's complaint has not been barred by prescription at the time it was filed in said court. DE LEON vs. CA

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Facts: Respondent Estelita Batungbacal executed a promissory note in favor of petitioner Rodolfo de Leon for her 500,000 loan with interest at 5% monthly. The check Estelita issued having been dishonored, the loan and interest remained unpaid. Hence, petitioner filed a complaint for sum of money with damages. The Batungbacal spouses filed an answer with counterclaim. Estelita admitted the loan obligation but her husband, Avelino, denied liability on ground that Estelita was not the designated administrator of conjugal properties and hence had no authority to bind the conjugal partnership, and that Estelita contracted the debt without his knowledge and consent. In view of Estelita s admission, petitioner filed a motion for partial judgment against her. The trial court granted the motion in an order issued on May 14, 1996 whereby it ordered Estelita to pay petitioner the said loan with interest since May 1995 plus legal interest from date of judicial demand until the obligation is fully paid. Counsel for respondents received a copy of that decision but the spouses did not appeal therefrom. Thus, petitioner filed a motion for execution of judgment on June 6, 1996. Counsel for respondents received a copy of the motion on that date and, because respondents did not object thereto, the trial court issued a writ of execution. The sheriff executed the writ and partially satisfied the judgment against Estelita s paraphernal property and the spouses conjugal properties with due notice to them and their counsel. Again, they did not intepose any objection. After trial or on June 2, 1997, the trial court rendered judgment ordering Avelino to pay the amount of the loan plus interest and other amounts in accordance with Article 121 of the Family Code. Respondents counsel received a copy of the decision on June 6, 1997. Through counsel, Avelino filed a notice of appeal. On June 25, 1997, with the conformity of Estelita alone, a new counsel appeared in collaboration with the spouses s counsel of record. On that same day and through the new counsel, Estelita served notice that she was appealing both decisions promulgated on May 14, 1996 and June 2, 1997 to the CA. The trial court denied the said notice of appeal on July 7, 1996 on the ground that it was filed beyond the reglemantary period. The respondents appeal was docketed with the CA. Petitioner filed therein a motion to dismiss the appeal with motion to suspend period to file appellee s brief for various reasons. He also prayed that the period for filing appellee s brief be suspended in view of the pendency of the motion to dismiss. Respondent s opposed the motion. On January 13, 1999, the CA issued a resolution denying petitioner s motion to dismiss threby virtually admitting the amended appellants brief that respondents filed. Petitioner moved for the reconsideration of said resolution stating that the appeal was deemed submitted for decision without appellee s brief. Hence, petition for certiorari and prohibition with the SC. Issue: y Whether or not the appellate cort erred in taking cognizance of the appeal. y Whether or not the appellate court erred or committed grave abuse of discretion when it considered the appeal as submitted for decision without petitioner s brief. Ruling: Petition is devoid of merit.

On the first issue, we find that the CA did not act without jurisdiction in entertaining the appeal filed by respondent Estelita Batungbacal. Contrary to petioner s position, the judgments rendered by the trial court in this case are not several judgments under the Rules of Court so that there would be multiple periods of finality. A several judgment is proper only when the liability of each party is clearly separable and distinct from that of his co-parties, such that the claims against each of them could have been the subject of separate suits, and judgment for or against one of them will not necessarily affect the other. Where a common cause of action exists against the defendants, as in actions against solidary debtors, a several judgment is not proper. In this case, private respondents are sued together under a common cause of action and are sought to be held liable as solidary debtors for a loan contracted by Estelita. This is the clear import of the allegation in the complaint that the proceeds of the loan benefited the conjugal partnership. Thus, between the two judgments rendered by the trial court, there could only be one judgment that finally disposes of the case on the merits. Receipt of notice of this final judgment marks the point when the reglementary period is to begin running. In this case, that judgment is the decision rendered by the trial court on June 2, 1997 and it is only from the date of notice of this decision that the reglementary period began to run. The partial judgment dated May 14, 1996 was rendered only with respect to one issue in the case and is not the final and appealable order or judgment that finally disposes of the case on the merits. It must, therefore, only be appealed together with the decision dated June 2, 1997. A final order is that which gives an end to the litigation. When the order or judgment does not dispose of the case completely but leaves something to be done upon the merits, it is merely interlocutory. Quite obviously, the partial judgment ordering Estelita to pay petitioner is an interlocutory order because it leaves other things for the trial court to do and does not decide with finality the rights and obligations of the parties. Specifically, at the time the partial judgment was rendered, there remained other issues including whether the husband Avelino had any liability under Article 121 of the Family Code. However, as the partial judgment disposed of one of the issues involved in the case, it is to be taken in conjunction with the decision dated June 2, 1997. Together, these two issuances form one integrated decision. The question now is when the period to appeal should actually commence, from June 6, 1997, as petitioner contends; or from June 10, 1997, as private respondent Estelita Batungbacal claims? We hold that the period began to run on June 6, 1997 when counsel for private respondents received a copy of the decision dated June 2, 1997. When a party is represented by counsel of record, service of orders and notices must be made upon said attorney and notice to the client and to any other lawyer, not the counsel of record, is not notice in law. The exception to this rule is when service upon the party himself has been ordered by the court. In this case, it does not appear that there was any substitution of counsel or that service upon private respondent Estelita Batungbacal had been specifically ordered by the trial court; hence, the counsel of record for the private respondents is presumed to be their counsel on appeal and the only one authorized to receive court processes. Notice of the judgment upon such counsel, therefore, was notice to the clients for all legal intents and purposes. Private respondents' appeal had been taken within the reglementary period since Avelino Batungbacal had filed a notice of appeal on June 19, 1997 or 13 days from their counsel's receipt of the decision on June 6, 1997. Respondent spouses having been jointly sued under a common cause of action, an appeal made by the husband inures to the benefit of the wife. The notice of appeal filed by Estelita was a superfluity, the appeal having been perfected earlier by her
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husband. Worth stressing, the grounds for dismissal of an appeal under Section 1 of Rule 50 of the Rules of Court are discretionary upon the Court of Appeals. This can be seen from the very wording of the Rules which uses the word 'may' instead of 'shall.' This Court has held in Philippine National Bank vs. Philippine Milling Co., Inc. that Rule 50, Section 1 which provides specific grounds for dismissal of appeal manifestly "confers a power and does not impose a duty." "What is more, it is directory, not mandatory." With the exception of Sec. 1 (b), the grounds for the dismissal of an appeal are directory and not mandatory, and it is not the ministerial duty of the court to dismiss the appeal. The discretion, however, must be a sound one to be exercised in accordance with the tenets of justice and fair play having in mind the circumstances obtaining in each case. The Court of Appeals rightly exercised its discretion when, in denying petitioner's motion to dismiss, it ruled that the citations contained in the appellants' brief were in substantial compliance with the rules. Where the citations found in the appellants' brief could sufficiently enable the appellate court to locate expeditiously the portions of the record referred to, there is substantial compliance with the requirements of Section 13(c) and (d), Rule 46 of the Rules of Court. Such determination was properly within the appellate court's discretion. Nothing in the records indicate that it was exercised capriciously, whimsically, or with a view of permitting injury upon a party litigant. For the same reasons, we hold that the respondent Court of Appeals also did not err when it did not dismiss the appeal based on the allegation that appellants' brief failed to comply with the internal rules of said court. On the second issue, we hold that the Court of Appeals did not commit grave abuse of discretion in considering the appeal submitted for decision. The proper remedy in case of denial of the motion to dismiss is to file the appellee's brief and proceed with the appeal. Instead, petitioner opted to file a motion for reconsideration which, unfortunately, was pro forma. All the grounds raised therein have been discussed in the first resolution of the respondent Court of Appeals. There is no new ground raised that might warrant reversal of the resolution. A cursory perusal of the motion would readily show that it was a near verbatim repetition of the grounds stated in the motion to dismiss; hence, the filing of the motion for reconsideration did not suspend the period for filing the appellee's brief. Petitioner was therefore properly deemed to have waived his right to file appellee's brief. PANTRANCO NORTH EXPRESS INC. vs. STANDARD INSURANCE COMPANY INC. (Requisites for Permissive Joinder of Parties; Totality Rule) Facts: In the afternoon of October 28, 1984, Crispin Gicale was driving the passenger jeepney owned by his mother Martina Gicale, respondent herein. It was then raining. While driving north bound along the National Highway in Talavera, Nueva Ecija, a passenger bus, owned by Pantranco North Express, Inc., petitioner, driven by Alexander Buncan, also a petitioner, was trailing behind. When the two vehicles were negotiating a curve along the highway, the passenger bus overtook the jeepney. In so doing, the passenger bus hit the left rear side of the jeepney and sped away. Crispin reported the incident to the Talavera Police Station and respondent Standard Insurance Co., Inc. (Standard), insurer of the jeepney. The total cost of the repair was P21,415.00, but respondent

Standard paid only P8,000.00. Martina Gicale shouldered the balance of P13,415.00. The case was brought to the RTC. In their answer, both petitioners specifically denied the allegations in the complaint and averred that it is the Metropolitan Trial Court, not the RTC, which has jurisdiction over the case. The appellants argue that appellee Gicale s claim of P13,415.00 and appellee insurance company s claim of P8,000.00 individually fell under the exclusive original jurisdiction of the municipal trial court. This is not correct because under the Totality Rule provided for under Sec. 19, Batas Pambansa Bilang 129, it is the sum of the two claims that determines the jurisdictional amount. However, Court of Appeals upheld the jurisdiction of the RTC citing that the total of the two claims is definitely more than P20,000.00 which at the time of the incident in question was the jurisdictional amount of the Regional Trial Court. Further, appellants contend that there was a misjoinder of parties. Assuming that there was, under the Rules of Court (Sec. 11, Rule 7) as well as under the Rules of Civil Procedure (ditto), the same does not affect the jurisdiction of the court nor is it a ground to dismiss the complaint. Issue: Whether or not the trial court has jurisdiction over the subject of the action considering that respondents respective cause of action against petitioners did not arise out of the same transaction nor are there questions of law and facts common to both petitioners and respondents Ruling: The RTC had jurisdiction. Section 6, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court, provides: "Sec. 6. Permissive joinder of parties. All persons in whom or against whom any right to relief in respect to or arising out of the same transaction or series of transactions is alleged to exist, whether jointly, severally, or in the alternative, may, except as otherwise provided in these Rules, join as plaintiffs or be joined as defendants in one complaint, where any question of law or fact common to all such plaintiffs or to all such defendants may arise in the action; but the court may make such orders as may be just to prevent any plaintiff or defendant from being embarrassed or put to expense in connection with any proceedings in which he may have no interest." Permissive joinder of parties requires that: (a) the right to relief arises out of the same transaction or series of transactions; (b) there is a question of law or fact common to all the plaintiffs or defendants; and (c) such joinder is not otherwise proscribed by the provisions of the Rules on jurisdiction and venue. In this case, there is a single transaction common to all, that is, Pantranco s bus hitting the rear side of the jeepney. There is also a common question of fact, that is, whether petitioners are negligent. There being a single transaction common to both respondents, consequently, they have the same cause of action against petitioners. To determine identity of cause of action, it must be ascertained whether the same evidence which is necessary to sustain the second cause of action would have been sufficient to authorize a recovery in
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Civil Procedure Compilation of Case Digest (Rm 402)

the first. Here, had respondents filed separate suits against petitioners, the same evidence would have been presented to sustain the same cause of action. Thus, the filing by both respondents of the complaint with the court below is in order. Such joinder of parties avoids multiplicity of suit and ensures the convenient, speedy and orderly administration of justice. Corollarily, Section 5(d), Rule 2 of the same Rules provides: "Sec. 5. Joinder of causes of action. A party may in one pleading assert, in the alternative or otherwise, as many causes of action as he may have against an opposing party, subject to the following conditions: xxx (d) Where the claims in all the causes of action are principally for recovery of money the aggregate amount claimed shall be the test of jurisdiction." The above provision presupposes that the different causes of action which are joined accrue in favor of the same plaintiff/s and against the same defendant/s and that no misjoinder of parties is involved. The issue of whether respondents claims shall be lumped together is determined by paragraph (d) of the above provision. This paragraph embodies the "totality rule" as exemplified by Section 33 (1) of B.P. Blg. 129 which states, among others, that "where there are several claims or causes of action between the same or different parties, embodied in the same complaint, the amount of the demand shall be the totality of the claims in all the causes of action, irrespective of whether the causes of action arose out of the same or different transactions." As previously stated, respondents cause of action against petitioners arose out of the same transaction. Thus, the amount of the demand shall be the totality of the claims. Respondent Standard s claim is P8,000.00, while that of respondent Martina Gicale is P13,415.00, or a total of P21,415.00. Section 19 of B.P. Blg. 129 provides that the RTC has "exclusive original jurisdiction over all other cases, in which the demand, exclusive of interest and cost or the value of the property in controversy, amounts to more than twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00)." Clearly, it is the RTC that has jurisdiction over the instant case. It bears emphasis that when the complaint was filed, R.A. 7691 expanding the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan, Municipal and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts had not yet taken effect. It became effective on April 15, 1994. HILARIO, et. al. vs. HEIRS OF SALUTIANO SALVADOR Facts: Petitioners filed with the RTC of Romblon, Romblon, Branch 71 a complaint against the respondent alleging that the latter has constructed his dwelling on the petitioner s property without the petitioner s knowledge and that when asked to vacate the respondent refuse to do so. Private respondent filed a motion a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the nature of the action, citing Section 33 of Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 129, as amended by Section 3(3) of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7691.

The RTC issued an Order denying the motion to dismiss, holding that the action was incapable of pecuniary estimation, and therefore, cognizable by the RTC as provided in Section 19(1) of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended. CA reversed the ruling of the RTC and dismissed the complaint for want of jurisdiction. The CA declared that the action of the petitioners was one for the recovery of ownership and possession of real property. Absent any allegation in the complaint of the assessed value of the property, the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) had exclusive jurisdiction over the action, conformably to Section 33 of R.A. No. 7691. Issue: WON the RTC has jurisdiction over the action of the petitioners. Ruling: It bears stressing that the nature of the action and which court has original and exclusive jurisdiction over the same is determined by the material allegations of the complaint, the type of relief prayed for by the plaintiff and the law in effect when the action is filed, irrespective of whether the plaintiffs are entitled to some or all of the claims asserted therein. The action of the petitioners does not involve a claim of ownership over the property. The jurisdiction of the court over an action involving title to or possession of land is now determined by the assessed value of the said property and not the market value thereof. Even a cursory reading of the complaint will show that it does not contain an allegation stating the assessed value of the property subject of the complaint. The court cannot take judicial notice of the assessed or market value of lands. Absent any allegation in the complaint of the assessed value of the property, it cannot thus be determined whether the RTC or the MTC had original and exclusive jurisdiction over the petitioners' action. Neither may the petitioners find comfort and solace in Section 19(8) of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended, which states: SEC. 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. ' Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original jurisdiction: (8) In all other cases in which the demand, exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, attorney's fees, litigation expenses, and costs or the value of the property in controversy exceeds One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) or, in such other cases in Metro , where the demand, exclusive of the abovementioned items exceeds Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200,000.00). The said provision is applicable only to 'all other cases' other than an action involving title to, or possession of real property in which the assessed value is the controlling factor in determining the court's jurisdiction. The said damages are merely incidental to, or a

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consequence of, the main cause of action for recovery of possession of real property. Since the RTC had no jurisdiction over the action of the petitioners, all the proceedings therein, including the decision of the RTC, are null and void. The complaint should perforce be dismissed.

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