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G.R. No.

200804, January 22, 2014-11-24


A.L. ANG NETWORK, INC., Petitioner,
vs
EMMA MONDEJAR, accompanied by her husband, EFREN MONDEJAR, Respondent.

FACTS
On 23 March 2011, petitioner filed a complaint for collection of sum of money under Rule of
Procedure for Small Claims Cases before the MTCC, seeking to collect from respondent the amount of
P23, 111.71 which represented her unpaid water bills for the period of 1 June 2002 to 30 September
2005.
Petitioner claimed that it was duly authorized to supply water to and collect payment therefor
from the homeowners of Regent Pearl Subdivision, one of whom is the respondent.
Respondent assailed that she religiously paid the monthly charges of P75.00. She claimed that
the increased rate of P113.00 for every 10 cubic meter of water plus an additional P11.60 for every cubic
meter thereafter was not valid because the petitioner unilaterally made the increase without informing
the residents therein which was stipulated in their agreement.
MTCC
The MTCC ruled in favour of the respondent. The petitioner can only charge the respondent the
agreed flat rate for the period 1 June 2002 to 7 August 2003 since the Certificate of Public Convenience
was only issued on the latter date. Respondent should be considered to have fully paid.
The MTCC disregarded the petitioners reliance on HLURBs decision because it failed to prove
that it complied with the directive to inform the HLURB of the result of its consultation with the
concerned homeowners as regards the rates to be charged and the HLURBs approval to such charges.
Petitioner also failed to submit evidence showing the exact date when it actually began
imposing the NWRB approved rates and the formal agreement of the parties containing the terms and
conditions thereof, without which it cannot establish with certainty respondents obligation.
RTC
On a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court for grave abuse of discretion filed
with the RTC, the petitioner assailed that the MTCC disregarded petitioners reliance on the source of its
authority to impose new water consumption rates.
The RTC issued a decision dismissing the petition, finding that the petition was only filed to
circumvent the non-appealable nature of small claims cases as provided in Section23 of the Rules of
Procedure on Small Claims Cases. To this end, the RTC ruled that it cannot supplant the decision of the
MTCC with another decision directing respondent to pay petitioners a bigger sum than that which has
been awarded.
Petitioner moved for reconsideration but was denied.
Hence, this instant petition.

ISSUE
Whether or not the RTC erred in dismissing petitioners recourse under Rule 65 of the RRC
assailing the propriety of the MTCCs decision in the subject small claims case.

RULING
Yes. The RTC erred in its decision.
The petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the RRC before the RTC was proper.
It is an essential requisite for the availability of the extraordinary remedies under the Rules in
the absence of an appeal or any plain, speedy and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.
In the case at bar, the first level courts are vested exclusive jurisdiction over small claims cases,
certiorari petitions assailing its dispositions should be filed to their corresponding RTCs.
The SC held that the RTC was wrong in dismissing the said petition on the ground that it was an
improper remedy and, as such, the RTC case must be reinstated and remanded thereto for its proper
disposition.
Petition is granted. The RTCs decision and resolution are reversed and set aside. RTC case is
reinstated and the court a quo is ordered to resolve the same with dispatch.