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a. Applicability of rules to civil and criminal actions and special
An action is the legal and formal demand of ones right from another
person, made and insisted upon in a court of justice.
Civil proceedings
Once by which a party sues another for the enforcement or
protection of a right or the prevention or redress of a wrong.
Civil actions may either be ordinary or special. Both are governed
by the rules for ordinary civil actions, subject to the specific rules
prescribed for a special civil action
Criminal actions
Once by which the State prosecutes a person for an act or
omission punishable by law.
Special proceedings
A remedy by which a party seeks to establish a status, a right, or a
particular fact. Non-adversarial in nature.
b. Procedure and practice
Procedure is the method or means of conducting litigation and
judicial proceedings
Practice is the carrying on of actions according to the procedure
prescribed by the Rules of Court
c. Courts and their jurisdiction
d. How jurisdiction is obtained and exercised:
Over persons
Over subject matter
Over res
A. Jurisdiction over the parties

1. How jurisdiction over the plaintiff is acquired

An original plaintiff may sometimes become a defendant in the
same case. And an original defendant may become a plaintiff in
the same case. For example, OP filed a claim against OD. Then OD
filed a counterclaim against OP. OD becomes a plaintiff in the
counterclaim and OP becomes a defendant.

The filing of the complaint by the plaintiff vests upon the court
jurisdiction upon his person.

2. How jurisdiction over the defendant is acquired?

A true defendant is whom relief is directly sought against. A
defendant in name only is the not a true defendant. Therefore, you
do not need jurisdiction over the person of every defendant in all
cases. You only need the jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant when the action is in personam. And this is mandatory.
We did not say personal action, it is different from action in

In actions in rem and quasi in rem, technically there are no
defendants although some persons may be named. You only need
jurisdiction over the thing or res, which is either a thing or a
status of a person.

An action in rem is an action against the whole world addressed to
no one in particular. For example, in a probate proceeding the
heirs are mentioned because they have interests in the estate but
the court needs jurisdiction over the estate only. It is an action in

An annulment of marriage or declaration of nullity is also an
action in rem. The parties are only incidental to the action. A
cadastral case is also an action in rem.

An injunction and an action for unlawful detainer and for forcible
entry are actions in personam.

An action involving the status of an individual is an action in rem.
But there is an action about the status of an individual which is
not an action in rem but in personam- an action for compulsory
recognition of a child.

There are other actions called quasi in rem. There is a specific
individual who is interested in a property but its actually the
property which is the focal point of the suit. For instance,
foreclosure of a mortgage, an action quasi in rem. A proceeding for
preliminary attachment is a proceeding quasi in rem. Accounting
of funds is also quasi in rem.

These are jurisprudential examples coming from the Bar exams.

So when talking about jurisdiction over the person of the
defendant, we are talking only of actions in personam where such
jurisdiction is mandatory.

When there is voluntary appearance, jurisdiction over the person
of the defendant is acquired even without service of summons or
upon a summons invalidly served. It is found in Sec. 20 Rule 14.
Master this!

Sec. 20 The defendants voluntary appearance in the action shall
be equivalent to service of summons. The inclusion in a motion to
dismiss of other grounds aside from lack of jurisdiction over the
person of the defendant shall not be deemed a voluntary

Voluntary appearance is equivalent to service of summons (1st
sentence of Sec. 20).

What is the defendants 1st opportunity to question the courts
jurisdiction over his person? Motion to dismiss on the ground of
lack of jurisdiction over his person. Adding other grounds to the
motion to dismiss is not considered voluntary appearance as
opposed to the old rule. You can add as many defenses.

B. Jurisdiction over the subject matter

1. Meaning of jurisdiction over the subject matter

The subject matter refers to the class to which the case belongs.
For example, forcible entry and unlawful detainer; actions of
incapable of pecuniary estimation; admiralty cases; these are

The Filing of a complaint vests jurisdiction upon the court with
respect to the person of the plaintiff.

Bar: the plaintiff was abroad, his counsel filed the complaint. The
defendant moved to dismiss on the ground that the court has no
jurisdiction over the complainant because the is not in the
Philippines. Defendant is wrong: jurisdiction is not acquired
through his personal presence in court to file the complaint.
Jurisdiction on his person is acquired by the filing of the complaint
in his name and under his authority. Jurisdiction was acquired by
virtue of the complaint filed in court.

2. Jurisdiction versus the exercise of jurisdiction

When the question speaks about jurisdiction vs. the exercise of
jurisdiction, it means jurisdiction over the subject matter.

Jurisdiction is the power or authority belonging to the court.
When the court acts according to such authority, that action in
accordance with such authority is an exercise of jurisdiction. A
court has jurisdiction over an UD case; when it receives the
complaint and acts in accordance with such authority to take
cognizance over such UD case, its action falls under the concept of
exercise of jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction is static, the exercise is active. To be valid, the exercise
of jurisdiction must be based on jurisdiction. An exercise of
jurisdiction without jurisdiction is not a valid act. The court is
acting without jurisdiction.

3. Error of jurisdiction as distinguished from error of judgment

When the court is exercising jurisdiction without jurisdiction,
there is an error called error of jurisdiction. It is a grievous error;
it strikes at the very action of the court. It is reviewable by
certiorari (Rule 65).

When the court has jurisdiction over the subject matter, and the
manner of the exercise of that jurisdiction has been found out to
be erroneous, it is an error of judgment correctible by appeal
(Rule 45). It involves errors in the appreciation of the facts and
evidences. It could ripen into a valid judgment if not questioned in
a proper proceeding like appeal because it is not a void judgment.
It needs to be questioned. If there is a remedy of appeal, do not
use certiorari.

4. How jurisdiction is conferred and determined

Jurisdiction is conferred by law. It cannot be conferred by the
agreement of the parties or of the approval of the court. Good faith
of the judge does not confer jurisdiction. Neither can estoppel
confer jurisdiction; it will only prevent you from questioning

Jurisdiction is determined by the allegations in the complaint, not
the title of the case. Sometimes the title of the complaint and the
allegations are in conflict. The allegations prevail.

Pay and vacate -> unlawful detainer (MTC)

Pay or vacate -> action for a sum of money (depends upon the

Comply with the conditions of the lease and to vacate -> UD (MTC)

Comply or vacate -> specific performance (RTC)

UD: there is a need to demand to vacate

FE: no such need

Can the parties to a case agree for their convenience and for the
convenience of the court that the RTC will try a forcible entry
case? No.

The court will not rely on the title of the complaint. It has to read
the complaint and determine the allegations on the complaint.

It is the plaintiff, in effect, that determines jurisdiction thru his
allegations. The allegations of the defendant will not determine

If the amount of the claim is 1 million, jurisdiction will go to the
RTC and the court cannot dismiss it if in the course of the trial it
was convincingly established that only 100,000 is due to the
plaintiff. In this case, the court will render judgment only for
100,000 in favor of the plaintiff, but the court should not dismiss
the complaint.

5. Doctrine of primary jurisdiction

There are cases which the court will not handle at first because
jurisdiction belongs to an administrative or quasi judicial agency.
For example tenancy (DARAB), agrarian reform case (DAR), rates
for electricity (Energy Dept.)

6. Doctrine of adherence of jurisdiction (the doctrine of continuity
of jurisdiction)

Once the court acquires jurisdiction by virtue of a valid complaint,
that jurisdiction shall continue up to the end of the case.
Intervening facts will not deprive the courts of jurisdiction.

Suppose an action for a sum of money, 1 million, was filed in the
RTC. During the trial of the case it was convincingly established
that the liability of the defendant was only 100, 000 cognizable at
first instance by the MTC. Can the defendant move to dismiss on
the ground of lack of jurisdiction? No, the court already acquired
jurisdiction by virtue of the allegations of a valid complaint. Its
jurisdiction will not be ousted by contrary evidence. The court
should continue with the case and render judgment for 100, 000.
This is adherence of jurisdiction doctrine.

Even the existence of a new law will not divest the court of
jurisdiction already acquired unless the law itself orders that such
court be divested of jurisdiction.

There was this official of the government with a salary range of
grade 27, he was sued in the Sandiganbayan, and while the case
was pending he resigned from office and said that the SB no
longer had jurisdiction over him in lieu of his resignation. He was
wrong. Jurisdiction has already attached and once attached it shall
continue until the end of the proceedings by virtue of the doctrine
of adherence.

7. Objections to jurisdiction over the subject matter

The court may on its own initiative object to an erroneous
jurisdiction and may ex mero motu take cognizance of lack of
jurisdiction at any point in the case and has a clearly recognized
right to determine its own jurisdiction. The courts authority
however is only to dismiss the complaint and not to make any
other order like forwarding the case to the proper court.

8. Effect of estoppel on objections to jurisdiction

Estoppel does not confer jurisdiction. It will only prevent you
from questioning the lack of jurisdiction. The ancient case of Tijam
vs. Sibunghanoy is the perfect example of estoppel by latches, as
used in that case. One litigant in that case knew that the court has
no jurisdiction over the case beforehand; when the case was
dragging 15 years and he realized he was losing the case only then
did he question the courts jurisdiction. The SC said he was
gambling on the results of the litigation; estoppel by latches was
born and he was precluded from questioning the jurisdiction of
the court. The jurisdiction of the court was left untouched. But
estoppel is not the GR, it should be applied only in cases strictly
analogous to Tijam vs. Sibunghanoy. The rule still is: the lack of
jurisdiction can be questioned in any stage of the proceeding even
for the first time on appeal. This is the general rule established in
Calimlim vs. Ramirez.

C. Jurisdiction over the issues

When is an issue created? 1. When a material allegation is
specifically denied an issue is created. Then the court has a reason
for trial to determine which interpretation is right, to determine
who is telling the truth. A material allegation not specifically
denied is deemed admitted and there is no issue.

If the issue on a case is possession, the court has no jurisdiction to
render judgment on ownership. If the only issue is ownership
without the parties talking about possession, the court cannot
motu proprio include possession in its judgment. To rule on
possession would be to do so without jurisdiction on the issue.

To have an issue, a denial must be specific. Memorize Sec. 10 of
Rule 8.

A defendant must specify each material allegation of fact the truth
of which he does not admit and, whenever practicable, shall set
forth the substance of the matters upon which he relies to support
his denial. Where a defendant desires to deny only a part of an
averment, he shall specify so much of it as is true and material and
shall deny only the remainder. Where a defendant is without
knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth
of a material averment made in the complaint, he shall so state,
and this shall have the effect of a denial.

If the provisions above are not followed, you are making a general
denial even if you are denying and what is the effect of a general
denial? It is an admission. Failure to follow the denials mandated
in Sec. 10 would render it no longer specific but general. There are
3 types of denials specified.

Blanket denial or general denial where the defendant denies all
the allegations of all the paragraphs in the complaint; it is deemed
an admission.

When you deny, deny every paragraph, every allegation of the
complaint or of the pleading.

Suppose that par(4) of the complaint alleged that the defendant
borrowed 1 million from the plaintiff. The first way of denying it is
mentioning the paragraph where it is alleged. Deny it by saying
that you never borrowed money from the plaintiff. The truth of
the matter being that it was a donation. It is an absolute denial of
the allegation. Another way is saying that I admit I borrowed 1
million but the due date is till 5 years from now so it is not yet
due. You admit it but by way of avoidance you say something by
way of a defense. The third way is to say that you have no
sufficient knowledge of the debt. This is a disavowal that must be
done in good faith because it is equivalent to admission if done in
bad faith as a penalty for such bad faith. Memorize this concept.
Be familiar with the words and the meanings of the words.

The pleadings actually will tell us the issues of the case. They will
tell the controverted matters meaning those which are denied. 2.
When the opposing counsel offers evidence not within the issue of
the case, you object. You cannot object if you do not know the
issues of the case. But sometimes there are issues being created
not because of the pleading but because evidence on a matter was
offered in court that was not objected to, it is as if an issue was
created by the consent of the parties even if it is not in the
pleadings. Sec. 5 of Rule 10. If an issue was tried with the express
or implied consent of the parties, they shall be treated in all
respects as if they had been raised in the pleadings. This has been
the subject of many bar exams.

Suppose an evidence for ownership was presented in a case for
possession. If it is not objected to, the court will treat the same as
if raised in the pleadings and the court may now rule on the issue
of ownership as well. This is the concept of implied amendment of
the pleading.

Bar: There was an action to collect a sum of money. The plaintiff in
the complaint did not even state that he made a prior demand for
payment. If there is no prior demand, there is a failure to state a
cause of action because as a rule no demand, no delay unless the
exceptions of 1169 apply. During the trial of the case, the plaintiff
presented in evidence exhibit A, a written extrajudicial demand to
pay. The defendant did not object to that. Can the court admit
exhibit A in evidence? Yes. There was no objection, it is as if the
issue of a demand has been tried by the parties impliedly and it is
as if the pleadings included a demand. What can the other party
do? He can move to amend the pleading to incorporate the
evidence in the pleading. Suppose the party did not do so, can the
court still try and include the admission of exhibit A? Yes, as if it is
raised in the pleading.

Bar: An action for ejectment did not mention a demand to vacate.
During the trial there was offer of evidence of a demand to vacate.
Can the pleading be amended to conform to the evidence? Yes.
There was no objection from the defendant. Dean is of the opinion
that the question was wrong as there is no trial in an ejectment
case the same being a summary procedure.

The question should be this was. The demand was for a debt of 2
million. If the plaintiff offers evidence for 3 million, which the
defendant did not object to, then the evidence was admitted. Can
the court admit the evidence? Yes because the court cannot motu
proprio object in behalf of the defendant. Inadmissible evidence
will be admitted because of waiver and that waiver is because of
the failure to object. Inadmissibility can be waived by the failure
to object. Can the court consider the 3 million? Yes, it is as if it was
raised in the pleading which is deemed amended. So, as the
counsel for defendant, object as to the excess of 2 million because
the issue is only 2 million. Remember this concept!

Advice: offer evidence not in issue in the pleadings because the
adverse party may not object to it and so such evidence may be
admitted by the court. This doctrine however is not applicable to a
criminal proceeding. This rule has been incorporated in the rules
of criminal procedure effective December 2000, Sections 8 and 9
in Rule 110. The life and liberty of an accused is not made to
depend upon the skill of his counsel to object.

Sometimes issues could be created not because of the pleadings or
on the failure to object. 3. It could be created by stipulations like
in the pre-trial conference where parties limit the issues. And
sometimes even during the trial the parties could already agree on
the issues to be tried. Agreement could also create issues.

Sec. 6 of Art. 30 The parties to any action may agree, in writing,
upon the facts involved in the litigation, and submit the case for
judgment on the facts agreed upon, without the introduction of

If the parties agree only on some of the facts in issue, the trial shall
be held as to the disputed facts in such order as the court shall

In sum, jurisdiction over the issue can be obtained thru specific
denial, failure to object to new evidence, and by agreement of the

D. Jurisdiction over the res or property in litigation

This jurisdiction is mandatory in actions in rem and quasi in rem
because the object of these actions is the thing which could either
be a property or the status of the parties. The court acquires
jurisdiction upon the thing or the res depending on the nature of
the case. For instance, in an action for a sum of money there is yet
no jurisdiction over the property, but if you apply for a writ of
preliminary attachment and such writ is issued by the court, the
court now acquires jurisdiction over the property of the
defendant which is now in custodia legis. The court acquires
jurisdiction over the res. But there are cases where jurisdiction
over the res is acquired by simply filing of the proper complaint.
For instance, when you file an action to foreclose a real estate
mortgage with the proper allegations in the complaint, then the
court will acquire jurisdiction over that thing. Now if it is a
foreclosure of a chattel mortgage, then the court will acquire
jurisdiction over the property if replevin or attachment of the
property is made.

So jurisdiction over the res or the property is mandatory and very
important in an accion in rem and in quasi in rem. While
jurisdiction over the defendant is mandatory in an action in
personam. Do not forget this because this is very relevant when
we talk about summons.
e. Procedure and substantive law
II. General Provisions for Ordinary Civil Actions
a. Must be based on a cause of action
Definition of a cause of action
Cause of action is the act or omission by which a party violates the
right of another
1. the existence of a legal right of the plaintiff
2. a correlative obligation of the defendant to respect
plaintiffs right; and
3. an act or omission of the defendant in violation of the
plaintiffs legal right
test of sufficiency of a cause of action: whether admitting the facts
alleged, the court could render a valid judgment in accordance
with the prayer of the complaint.
NO SPLITTING of cause of action
Sec. 3 Rule 2, RoC
A party may not institute more than one suit for a single cause of
A single act or omission can be violative of various rights, but
where there is only one delict or wrong, there is but a single cause
of action regardless of the number of rights violated.
Sec. 4
Spitting of a single cause of action is the act of dividing a single or
indivisible cause of action into several parts or claims and
bringing several actions thereon.
Prohibition applies not only to complaints but also to counter and
crossclaims. It only applies where the action is between the same
Joinder and misjoinder of causes of action
Joinder is the assertion of as many causes of action as a party
may have against another in one pleading alone. It is PURELY
PERMISSIVE. The plaintiff can always file separate actions for
each cause of action.
1. the party joining the causes of action must comply with
the rules on joinder of parties (right to relief in respect
to or arising out of the same transaction or series of
transactions, and a common question of law and fact)
2. the joinder shall not include special civil actions or
actions governed by special rules
3. where the causes of action are between the same
parties but pertain to different venues or jurisdictions,
jurisdiction is with the RTC, provided that (a) one of the
causes of action galls within the jurisdiction of the RTC;
and (b) the venue lies thereon
4. where the claims in the causes of action are principally
for recovery of money, the aggregate amount claimed
shall be the test of jurisdiction (TOTALITY RULE)
Misjoinder there is a misjoinder when two or more causes of
action were joined in one complaint when they should not be so
joined. This is NOT a ground for dismissal of an action. A
misjoined COA may be severed and proceeded with separately by
filing a motion in relation thereto (NO SANCTION).
Test of a single cause of action
GR: a contract embraces only one cause of action even if it
contains several stipulations
E: a contract to do several things at several times is divisible, and
judgment for a single breach of a continuing contract is NOT a bar
to a suit for subsequent breach
E to E: all obligations which have matured at the time of the suit
must be integrated as one cause of action in one complaint, and
those not so included would be barred.
b. Parties to Civil Actions
Who are parties in interest
The party who stands to be benefited or injured by the judgment
in the suit or the party entitled to the avails of the suit. His interest
must be real, which is a present and substantial interest, as
distinguished from a mere expectancy or a future, contingent
subordinate or consequential interest. It is an interest that is
material and direct, and not merely incidental.
Competency of parties
A suit may be brought by or against a minor or incompetent
but with the assistance of his parents or guardian. A person need
not be judicially declared incompetent, it being sufficient that his
incompetency be alleged in the corresponding pleadings.
In case a party becomes incompetent or incapacitated, the
action survives and may be continued by or against the
incompetent or incapacitated assisted by his legal guardian or
guardian ad litem, who is his legal representative.
Indispensable and necessary parties
Indispensable those without whom no final determination can
be had of an action. A joinder of an indispensable party is
Necessary those who are not indispensable but ought to be
joined as parties if complete relief is to be accorded as to those
already parties, or for a complete determination or settlement of
the claim subject of the action (may or may not be joined.)
Joinder and misjoinder of parties

Death of party
1. Consequence of death of party
In such case, the heirs may be substituted for the
deceased or if no legal representative is named, the court will
order the opposing party to procure the appointment of an
executor or administrator for the estate of the deceased. In
case of minor heirs, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem
for them.
This provision applies where the claim is NOT
extinguished as in cases involving property and property rights
such as:
1. Recovery of real and personal property against the estate;
2. Enforcement of liens on such properties; or
3. Recovery for an injury to person or property by reason of
tort or delict committed by the deceased.
Rules in cases where the action survives the death of a party
1. Contractual Money Claim
a. Plaintiff dies
The case will continue and the heirs or legal representatives
will proceed.
b. Defendant dies
i. Before entry of final judgment - Apply Section 20, Rule 3.
ii. After entry of final judgment but before execution - Apply
Section 5, Rule 86 (cannot move to execute).
iii. After levy or execution but before auction sale - Apply
Section 7(c), Rule 39
2. Non-Contractual Money Claim
These claims are those mentioned in Section 7, Rule 86 and
Section 1, Rule 87. - Apply SUBSTITUTION
2. What counsel should do upon death of party
Where the claim is not extinguished by the death of the litigant,
it shall be the duty of his counsel to inform the court of such
fact within 30 days from such death and to give the name and
address of the legal representative.
c. Commencement of actions
How and when deemed commenced
When does court acquire jurisdiction over a case?
Effect of underpayment of docket fees
1. Rule is payment may be allowed within reasonable time but
within the reglementary period
2. but in several cases, both CA and SC have caused the
dismissal of cases for non-payment of docket fees.
d. Procedure in Regional Trial Courts
Applicable also to Municipal Trial Courts
Pleadings in general
Pleadings are the written statements of the respective claims and
defenses of the parties submitted to the court for appropriate
judgment. Under the Rules of Court, pleadings CANNOT be oral
because they are clearly described as written statements.
1. Kinds of pleadings
1. Complaint - initiatory pleading alleging the plaintiffs cause
or causes of action. It should contain:
(1.)The names and residences of the plaintiff and defendant;
(2.) A concise statement of the ultimate facts constituting
the plaintiffs cause of action.
2. Counterclaim - is any claim which a defending party may
have against an opposing party.
3. Cross-claim - is any claim by one party against a co-party
arising out of the transaction or occurrence that is the subject
matter either of the original action or of a counterclaim
therein. Such cross-claim may include a claim that the party
against whom it is asserted is or may be liable to the cross-
claimant for all or part of a claim asserted in the action against
the cross- claimant. A cross-claim may be filed against the
original cross-claimant.
4. Third-party Complaint (or fourth, etc) - is a claim that a
defending party may, with leave of court, file against a person
not a party to the action for contribution, indemnity,
subrogation or any other relief (CISA), in respect of his
opponents claim. There could also be a fourth, etc., - party
complaint with the same purpose and function.

5. Complaint-in-intervention -
6. Answer - a responsive pleading in which a defending party
sets forth his affirmative or negative defenses. It may or may
not contain a counterclaim.
7. Reply - is the response of the plaintiff to the defendants
answer, the function of which is to deny or allege facts in
denial or in avoidance of new matters alleged by way of
defense in the answer and thereby join or make issue as to
such new matters.
8. Counter-counterclaim - is a claim asserted against an
original counterclaimant.
9. Counter-Crossclaim - is a claim filed against an original
2. Formal requirements of pleadings
a. Parts of a pleading
The Caption contains the following:
1. The name of the court;
2. The title of the action indicates the names of the
parties; and
3. The docket number if assigned.
The Body sets forth:
1. Its designation;
2. The allegation of the partys claims and defenses;
3. The relief prayed for; and
4. The date of the pleading.
Every pleading must be signed by the party or counsel
representing him, stating in either case his address which
must not be a post office box.

Significance of the signature of counsel
His signature constitutes a certificate by him:(RNB)
1. That he has read the pleading;
2. That to the best of his knowledge, information or belief,
there is good ground to support it; and
3. It is not interposed for delay.

Note: A signed pleading is one that is signed either by the
party himself or his counsel. An UNSIGNED PLEADING
produces no legal effect. However, the court may, in its
discretion, allow such deficiency to be remedied if it shall
appear that the same was due to inadvertence and not
intended for delay.

b. Verification when required
i. Formal, not jurisdictional
ii. Verification by counsel
c. Certification against forum-shopping in initiatory
i. Definition of forum shopping
Forum Shopping consists of filing multiple suits in
different courts, either simultaneously or successively,
involving the same parties, to ask the courts to rule on
the same or related causes and/or to grant the same or
substantially the same relief.
ii. Counsel cannot sign certification
iii. Co-owner or co-party may sign in behalf of co-owners
or co-parties
d. Distinction between non-compliance of verification and
certification against non-forum shopping requirement