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G.R. No.

175723, February 04, 2014


THE CITY OF MANILA, REPRESENTED BY MAYOR JOSE L. ATIENZA,
JR., AND MS. LIBERTY M. TOLEDO, IN HER CAPACITY AS THE CITY
TREASURER OF MANILA, Petitioners, v. HON. CARIDAD H. GRECIA
CUERDO, IN HER CAPACITY AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 112, PASAY CITY; SM MART,
INC.; SM PRIME HOLDINGS, INC.; STAR APPLIANCES CENTER;
SUPERVALUE, INC.; ACE HARDWARE PHILIPPINES, INC.; WATSON
PERSONAL CARE STORES, PHILS., INC.; JOLLIMART PHILS., CORP.;
SURPLUS MARKETING CORPORATION AND SIGNATURE
LINES, Respondents.
D E C I S I O N PERALTA, J.:
Before the Court is a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65 of the
Rules of Court seeking to reverse and set aside the Resolutions 1 dated
April 6, 2006 and November 29, 2006 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA
G.R. SP No. 87948.
The antecedents of the case, as summarized by the CA, are as
follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
The record shows that petitioner City of Manila, through its treasurer,
petitioner Liberty Toledo, assessed taxes for the taxable period from
January to December 2002 against private respondents SM Mart, Inc., SM
Prime Holdings, Inc., Star Appliances Center, Supervalue, Inc., Ace
Hardware Philippines, Inc., Watsons Personal Care Stores Phils., Inc.,
Jollimart Philippines Corp., Surplus Marketing Corp. and Signature Lines. In
addition to the taxes purportedly due from private respondents pursuant
to Section 14, 15, 16, 17 of the Revised Revenue Code of Manila
(RRCM), said assessment covered the local business taxes petitioners
were authorized to collect under Section 21 of the same Code. Because
payment of the taxes assessed was a precondition for the issuance of their
business permits, private respondents were constrained to pay the P
19,316,458.77 assessment under protest.
On January 24, 2004, private respondents filed [with the Regional Trial
Court of Pasay City] the complaint denominated as one for Refund or
Recovery of Illegally and/or ErroneouslyCollected Local Business Tax,
Prohibition with Prayer to Issue TRO and Writ of Preliminary Injunction
which was docketed as Civil Case No. 040019CFM before public
respondents sala [at Branch 112]. In the amended complaint they filed on
February 16, 2004, private respondents alleged that, in relation to Section
21 thereof, Sections 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 of the RRCM were
violative of the limitations and guidelines under Section 143 (h) of Republic
Act. No. 7160 [Local Government Code] on double taxation. They further
averred that petitioner citys Ordinance No. 8011 which amended pertinent
portions of the RRCM had already been declared to be illegal and
unconstitutional by the Department of Justice. 2ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
In its Order3 dated July 9, 2004, the RTC granted private respondents
application for a writ of preliminary injunction.

Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration4 but the RTC denied it in its
Order5 dated October 15, 2004.
Petitioners then filed a special civil action for certiorari with the CA
assailing the July 9, 2004 and October 15, 2004 Orders of the RTC. 6
In its Resolution promulgated on April 6, 2006, the CA dismissed
petitioners petition for certiorariholding that it has no jurisdiction over the
said petition. The CA ruled that since appellate jurisdiction over private
respondents complaint for tax refund, which was filed with the RTC, is
vested in the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA), pursuant to its expanded
jurisdiction under Republic Act No. 9282 (RA 9282), it follows that a
petition for certiorari seeking nullification of an interlocutory order issued
in the said case should, likewise, be filed with the CTA.
Petitioners filed a Motion for Reconsideration,7 but the CA denied it in its
Resolution dated November 29, 2006.
Hence, the present petition raising the following
issues:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
I Whether or not the Honorable Court of Appeals gravely erred in
dismissing the case for lack of jurisdiction.
II Whether or not the Honorable Regional Trial Court gravely
abuse[d] its discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
in enjoining by issuing a Writ of Injunction the petitioners[,] their
agents and/or authorized representatives from implementing
Section 21 of the Revised Revenue Code of Manila, as amended,
against private respondents.
III Whether or not the Honorable Regional Trial Court gravely
abuse[d] its discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
in issuing the Writ of Injunction despite failure of private
respondents to make a written claim for tax credit or refund with
the City Treasurer of Manila.
IV Whether or not the Honorable Regional Trial Court gravely
abuse[d] its discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
considering that under Section 21 of the Manila Revenue Code, as
amended, they are mere collecting agents of the City Government.
V Whether or not the Honorable Regional Trial Court gravely
abuse[d] its discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction
in issuing the Writ of Injunction because petitioner City of Manila
and its constituents would result to greater damage and prejudice
thereof. (sic)8ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Without first resolving the above issues, this Court finds that the instant
petition should be denied for being moot and academic.

U pon perusal of the original records of the instant case, this Court
discovered that a Decision9 in the main case had already been rendered by
the RTC on August 13, 2007, the dispositive portion of which reads as
follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, this Court hereby renders
JUDGMENT in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant to grant a tax
refund or credit for taxes paid pursuant to Section 21 of the Revenue Code
of the City of Manila as amended for the year 2002 in the following
amounts:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
P
To plaintiff SM Mart, Inc.

11,462,525.02
To plaintiff SM Prime
3,118,104.63
Holdings, Inc.
To plaintiff Star Appliances
2,152,316.54
Center
To plaintiff Supervalue, Inc. 1,362,750.34
To plaintiff Ace Hardware
419,689.04
Phils., Inc.
To plaintiff Watsons
Personal Care Health Stores 231,453.62
Phils., Inc.
To plaintiff Jollimart Phils.,
140,908.54
Corp.
To plaintiff Surplus
220,204.70
Marketing Corp.
To plaintiff Signature Mktg.
94,906.34
Corp.

In any case , the Court finds it necessary to resolve the issue on


jurisdiction raised by petitioners owing to its significance and for future
guidance of both bench and bar. It is a settled principle that courts will
decide a question otherwise moot and academic if it is capable of
repetition, yet evading review.14

P
19,316,458.77
Defendants are further enjoined from collecting taxes under Section 21,
Revenue Code of Manila from herein plaintiff.

Nonetheless, in accordance with the liberal spirit pervading the Rules of


Court and in the interest of substantial justice, this Court has, before,
treated a petition for certiorari as a petition for review oncertiorari,
particularly (1) if the petition for certiorari was filed within the
reglementary period within which to file a petition for review on certiorari;
(2) when errors of judgment are averred; and (3) when there is sufficient
reason to justify the relaxation of the rules. 18 Considering that the present
petition was filed within the 15day reglementary period for filing a
petition for review on certiorariunder Rule 45, that an error of judgment is
averred, and because of the significance of the issue on jurisdiction, the
Court deems it proper and justified to relax the rules and, thus, treat the
instant petition for certiorari as a petition for review on certiorari.

TOTAL:

SO ORDERED.10ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
The parties did not inform the Court but based on the records, the above
Decision had already become final and executory per the Certificate of
Finality11 issued by the same trial court on October 20, 2008. In fact, a
Writ of Execution12 was issued by the RTC on November 25, 2009.
In view of the foregoing, it clearly appears that the issues raised in the
present petition, which merely involve the incident on the preliminary
injunction issued by the RTC, have already become moot and academic
considering that the trial court, in its decision on the merits in the main
case, has already ruled in favor of respondents and that the same decision
is now final and executory. Well entrenched is the rule that where the
issues have become moot and academic, there is no justiciable
controversy, thereby rendering the resolution of the same of no practical
use or value.13

However, before proceeding, to resolve the question on jurisdiction, the


Court deems it proper to likewise address a procedural error which
petitioners committed.
Petitioners availed of the wrong remedy when they filed the instant special
civil action for certiorariunder Rule 65 of the Rules of Court in assailing the
Resolutions of the CA which dismissed their petition filed with the said
court and their motion for reconsideration of such dismissal. There is no
dispute that the assailed Resolutions of the CA are in the nature of a final
order as they disposed of the petition completely. It is settled that in cases
where an assailed judgment or order is considered final, the remedy of the
aggrieved party is appeal. Hence, in the instant case, petitioner should
have filed a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45, which is a
continuation of the appellate process over the original case. 15
Petitioners should be reminded of the equallysettled rule that a special
civil action for certiorariunder Rule 65 is an original or independent action
based on grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of
jurisdiction and it will lie only if there is no appeal or any other plain,
speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law.16 As such, it
cannot be a substitute for a lost appeal. 17

Having disposed of the procedural aspect, we now turn to the central issue
in this case. The basic question posed before this Court is whether or not
the CTA has jurisdiction over a special civil action for certiorari assailing an
interlocutory order issued by the RTC in a local tax case.
This Court rules in the affirmative.
On June 16, 1954, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 1125 (RA 1125)

creating the CTA and giving to the said court jurisdiction over the
following:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
(1) Decisions of the Collector 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 law or part of law
administered by the Bureau of Internal Revenue;
(2) 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, forfeitures or other penalties imposed in
relation thereto; or other matters arising under the Customs Law or other
law or part of law administered by the Bureau of Customs; and
(3) Decisions of provincial or City Boards of Assessment Appeals in cases
involving the assessment and taxation of real property or other matters
arising under the Assessment Law, including rules and regulations relative
thereto.
On March 30, 2004, the Legislature passed into law Republic Act No. 9282
(RA 9282) amending RA 1125 by expanding the jurisdiction of the CTA,
enlarging its membership and elevating its rank to the level of a collegiate
court with special jurisdiction. Pertinent portions of the amendatory act
provides thus:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Sec. 7. Jurisdiction. The CTA shall exercise:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
a. Exclusive appellate jurisdiction to review by appeal, as herein
provided:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
1. Decisions of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue in cases involving
disputed assessments, refunds of internal revenue taxes, fees or other
charges, penalties in relation thereto, or other matters arising under the
National Internal Revenue or other laws administered by the Bureau of
Internal Revenue;
2. Inaction by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue in cases involving
disputed assessments, refunds of internal revenue taxes, fees or other
charges, penalties in relations thereto, or other matters arising under the
National Internal Revenue Code or other laws administered by the Bureau
of Internal Revenue, where the National Internal Revenue Code provides a
specific period of action, in which case the inaction shall be deemed a
denial;
3. Decisions, orders or resolutions of the Regional Trial Courts in
local tax cases originally decided or resolved by them in the
exercise of their original or appellate jurisdiction;
4. 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, forfeitures or other penalties in relation thereto,
or other matters arising under the Customs Law or other laws
administered by the Bureau of Customs;

5. Decisions of the Central Board of Assessment Appeals in the exercise of


its appellate jurisdiction over cases involving the assessment and taxation
of real property originally decided by the provincial or city board of
assessment appeals;
6. Decisions of the Secretary of Finance on customs cases elevated to him
automatically for review from decisions of the Commissioner of Customs
which are adverse to the Government under Section 2315 of the Tariff and
Customs Code;
7. Decisions of the Secretary of Trade and Industry, in the case of
nonagricultural product, commodity or article, and the Secretary of
Agriculture in the case of agricultural product, commodity or article,
involving dumping and countervailing duties under Section 301 and 302,
respectively, of the Tariff and Customs Code, and safeguard measures
under Republic Act No. 8800, where either party may appeal the decision
to impose or not to impose said duties.
b. Jurisdiction over cases involving criminal offenses as herein
provided:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
1. Exclusive original jurisdiction over all criminal offenses arising from
violations of the National Internal Revenue Code or Tariff and Customs
Code and other laws administered by the Bureau of Internal Revenue or
the Bureau of Customs: Provided, however, That offenses or felonies
mentioned in this paragraph where the principal amount of taxes and fees,
exclusive of charges and penalties, claimed is less than One million pesos (
P 1,000,000.00) or where there is no specified amount claimed shall be
tried by the regular Courts and the jurisdiction of the CTA shall be
appellate. Any provision of law or the Rules of Court to the contrary
notwithstanding, the criminal action and the corresponding civil action for
the recovery of civil liability for taxes and penalties shall at all times be
simultaneously instituted with, and jointly determined in the same
proceeding by the CTA, the filing of the criminal action being deemed to
necessarily carry with it the filing of the civil action, and no right to reserve
the filing of such civil action separately from the criminal action will be
recognized.
2. Exclusive appellate jurisdiction in criminal offenses:
a. Over appeals from the judgments, resolutions or orders of the Regional
Trial Courts in tax cases originally decided by them, in their respected
territorial jurisdiction.
b. Over petitions for review of the judgments, resolutions or orders of the
Regional Trial Courts in the exercise of their appellate jurisdiction over tax
cases originally decided by the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial
Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts in their respective jurisdiction.
c. Jurisdiction over tax collection cases as herein provided:

1. Exclusive original jurisdiction in tax collection cases involving final and


executory assessments for taxes, fees, charges and penalties: Provides,
however, that collection cases where the principal amount of taxes and
fees, exclusive of charges and penalties, claimed is less than One million
pesos ( P 1,000,000.00) shall be tried by the proper Municipal Trial Court,
Metropolitan Trial Court and Regional Trial Court.
2. Exclusive appellate jurisdiction in tax collection
cases:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
a. Over appeals from the judgments, resolutions or orders of the Regional
Trial Courts in tax collection cases originally decided by them, in their
respective territorial jurisdiction.
b. Over petitions for review of the judgments, resolutions or orders of the
Regional Trial Courts in the Exercise of their appellate jurisdiction over tax
collection cases originally decided by the Metropolitan Trial Courts,
Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts, in their respective
jurisdiction.19ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
A perusal of the above provisions would show that, while it is clearly stated
that the CTA has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over decisions, orders or
resolutions of the RTCs in local tax cases originally decided or resolved by
them in the exercise of their original or appellate jurisdiction,there is no
categorical statement under RA 1125 as well as the amendatory RA 9282,
which provides that the CTA has jurisdiction over petitions
for certiorari assailing interlocutory orders issued by the RTC in local tax
cases filed before it.
The prevailing doctrine is that the authority to issue writs
of certiorari involves the exercise of original jurisdiction which must be
expressly conferred by the Constitution or by law and cannot be implied
from the mere
existence of appellate jurisdiction.20 Thus, in the cases of Pimentel v.
COMELEC,21Garcia v. De Jesus,22Veloria v. COMELEC,23Department of
Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board v. Lubrica,24 andGarcia v.
Sandiganbayan,25 this Court has ruled against the jurisdiction of courts or
tribunals over petitions for certiorari on the ground that there is no law
which expressly gives these tribunals such power.26 It must be observed,
however, that with the exception of Garcia v. Sandiganbayan,27 these
rulings pertain not to regular courts but to tribunals exercising quasi
judicial powers. With respect to the Sandiganbayan, Republic Act No.
824928 now provides that the special criminal court has exclusive original
jurisdiction over petitions for the issuance of the writs of mandamus,
prohibition,certiorari,habeas corpus, injunctions, and other
ancillary writs and processes in aid of its appellate jurisdiction.
In the same manner, Section 5 (1), Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution
grants power to the Supreme Court, in the exercise of its original

jurisdiction, to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition andmandamus. With


respect to the Court of Appeals, Section 9 (1) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129
(BP 129) gives the appellate court, also in the exercise of its original
jurisdiction, the power to issue, among others, a writ of certiorari,whether
or not in aid of its appellate jurisdiction. As to Regional Trial Courts, the
power to issue a writ of certiorari, in the exercise of their original
jurisdiction, is provided under Section 21 of BP 129.
The foregoing notwithstanding, while there is no express grant of such
power, with respect to the CTA, Section 1, Article VIII of the 1987
Constitution provides, nonetheless, that judicial power shall be vested in
one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law
and that judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle
actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and
enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave
abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on
the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.
On the strength of the above constitutional provisions, it can be fairly
interpreted that the power of the CTA includes that of determining whether
or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or
excess of jurisdiction on the part of the RTC in issuing an interlocutory
order in cases falling within the exclusive appellate jurisdiction of the tax
court. It, thus, follows that the CTA, by constitutional mandate, is vested
with jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari in these cases.
Indeed, in order for any appellate court to effectively exercise its appellate
jurisdiction, it must have the authority to issue, among others, a writ
of certiorari. In transferring exclusive jurisdiction over appealed tax cases
to the CTA, it can reasonably be assumed that the law intended to transfer
also such power as is deemed necessary, if not indispensable, in aid of
such appellate jurisdiction. There is no perceivable reason why the transfer
should only be considered as partial, not total.
Consistent with the above pronouncement, this Court has held as early as
the case of J.M. Tuason & Co., Inc. v. Jaramillo, et al.29 that if a case may
be appealed to a particular court or judicial tribunal or body, then said
court or judicial tribunal or body has jurisdiction to issue the extraordinary
writ ofcertiorari, in aid of its appellate jurisdiction.30 This principle was
affirmed in De Jesus v. Court of Appeals,31 where the Court stated that a
court may issue a writ of certiorari in aid of its appellate jurisdiction if said
court has jurisdiction to review, by appeal or writ of error, the final orders
or decisions of the lower court.32 The rulings in J.M. Tuason and De
Jesus were reiterated in the more recent cases of Galang, Jr. v.
Geronimo33 and Bulilis v. Nuez.34
Furthermore, Section 6, Rule 135 of the present Rules of Court provides
that when by law, jurisdiction is conferred on a court or judicial officer, all
auxiliary writs, processes and other means necessary to carry it into effect

may be employed by such court or officer.


If this Court were to sustain petitioners contention that jurisdiction over
their certiorari petition lies with the CA, this Court would be confirming the
exercise by two judicial bodies, the CA and the CTA, of jurisdiction over
basically the same subject matter precisely the splitjurisdiction
situation which is anathema to the orderly administration of justice. 35 The
Court cannot accept that such was the legislative motive, especially
considering that the law expressly confers on the CTA, the tribunal with
the specialized competence over tax and tariff matters, the role of judicial
review over local tax cases without mention of any other court that may
exercise such power. Thus, the Court agrees with the ruling of the CA that
since appellate jurisdiction over private respondents complaint for tax
refund is vested in the CTA, it follows that a petition for certiorari seeking
nullification of an interlocutory order issued in the said case should,
likewise, be filed with the same court. To rule otherwise would lead to an
absurd situation where one court decides an appeal in the main case while
another court rules on an incident in the very same case.
Stated differently, it would be somewhat incongruent with the pronounced
judicial abhorrence to split jurisdiction to conclude that the intention of the
law is to divide the authority over a local tax case filed with the RTC by
giving to the CA or this Court jurisdiction to issue a writ
of certiorari against interlocutory orders of the RTC but giving to the CTA
the jurisdiction over the appeal from the decision of the trial court in the
same case. It is more in consonance with logic and legal soundness to
conclude that the grant of appellate jurisdiction to the CTA over tax cases
filed in and decided by the RTC carries with it the power to issue a writ
of certiorari when necessary in aid of such appellate jurisdiction. The
supervisory power or jurisdiction of the CTA to issue a writ of certiorari in
aid of its appellate jurisdiction should coexist with, and be a complement
to, its appellate jurisdiction to review, by appeal, the final orders and
decisions of the RTC, in order to have complete supervision over the acts
of the latter.36
A grant of appellate jurisdiction implies that there is included in it the
power necessary to exercise it effectively, to make all orders that will
preserve the subject of the action, and to give effect to the final
determination of the appeal. It carries with it the power to protect that
jurisdiction and to make the decisions of the court thereunder effective.
The court, in aid of its appellate jurisdiction, has authority to control all
auxiliary and incidental matters necessary to the efficient and proper
exercise of that jurisdiction. For this purpose, it may, when necessary,
prohibit or restrain the performance of any act which might interfere with
the proper exercise of its rightful jurisdiction in cases pending before it. 37
Lastly, it would not be amiss to point out that a court which is endowed
with a particular jurisdiction should have powers which are necessary to
enable it to act effectively within such jurisdiction. These should be

regarded as powers which are inherent in its jurisdiction and the court
must possess them in order to enforce its rules of practice and to suppress
any abuses of its process and to defeat any attempted thwarting of such
process.
In this regard, Section 1 of RA 9282 states that the CTA shall be of the
same level as the CA and shall possess all the inherent powers of a court
of justice.
Indeed, courts possess certain inherent powers which may be said to be
implied from a general grant of jurisdiction, in addition to those expressly
conferred on them. These inherent powers are such powers as are
necessary for the ordinary and efficient exercise of jurisdiction; or are
essential to the existence, dignity and functions of the courts, as well as to
the due administration of justice; or are directly appropriate, convenient
and suitable to the execution of their granted powers; and include the
power to maintain the courts jurisdiction and render it effective in behalf
of the litigants.38
Thus, this Court has held that while a court may be expressly granted the
incidental powers necessary to effectuate its jurisdiction, a grant of
jurisdiction, in the absence of prohibitive legislation, implies the necessary
and usual incidental powers essential to effectuate it, and, subject to
existing laws and constitutional provisions, every regularly constituted
court has power to do all things that are reasonably necessary for the
administration of justice within the scope of its jurisdiction and for the
enforcement of its judgments and mandates.39 Hence, demands, matters
or questions ancillary or incidental to, or growing out of, the main action,
and coming within the above principles, may be taken cognizance of by the
court and determined, since such jurisdiction is in aid of its authority over
the principal matter, even though the court may thus be called on to
consider and decide matters which, as original causes of action, would not
be within its cognizance.40
Based on the foregoing disquisitions, it can be reasonably concluded that
the authority of the CTA to take cognizance of petitions
for certiorari questioning interlocutory orders issued by the RTC in a local
tax case is included in the powers granted by the Constitution as well as
inherent in the exercise of its appellate jurisdiction.
Finally, it would bear to point out that this Court is not abandoning the rule
that, insofar as quasijudicial tribunals are concerned, the authority to
issue writs of certiorari must still be expressly conferred by the
Constitution or by law and cannot be implied from the mere existence of
their appellate jurisdiction. This doctrine remains as it applies only to
quasijudicial bodies.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED.ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 193986
January 15, 2014
EASTERN SHIPPING LINES INC., Petitioner,
vs.
BPI/MS INSURANCE CORP. and MITSUI SUM TOMO INSURANCE CO.
LTD., Respondents.
DECISION
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:
Before this Court is a petition1 for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the
1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, seeking the reversal of the
Decision2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 88361, which
affirmed with modification the Decision3 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC),
of Makati City, Branch 138 in Civil Case No. 04-1005.
The facts follow:
On August 29, 2003, Sumitomo Corporation (Sumitomo) shipped through
MV Eastern Challenger V-9-S, a vessel owned by petitioner Eastern
Shipping Lines, Inc. (petitioner), 31 various steel sheets in coil weighing
271,828 kilograms from Yokohama, Japan for delivery in favor of the
consignee Calamba Steel Center Inc. (Calamba Steel). 4 The cargo had a
declared value of US$125,417.26 and was insured against all risk by
Sumitomo with respondent Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd. (Mitsui).
On or about September 6 2003, the shipment arrived at the port of Manila.
Upon unloading from the vessel, nine coils were observed to be in bad
condition as evidenced by the Turn Over Survey of Bad Order Cargo No.
67327. The cargo was then turned over to Asian Terminals, Inc. (ATI) for
stevedoring, storage and safekeeping pending Calamba Steels withdrawal
of the goods. When ATI delivered the cargo to Calamba Steel, the latter
rejected its damaged portion, valued at US$7,751.15, for being unfit for its
intended purpose.5
Subsequently, on September 13, 2003, a second shipment of 28 steel
sheets in coil, weighing 215,817 kilograms, was made by Sumitomo
through petitioners MV Eastern Challenger V-10-S for transport and
delivery again to Calamba Steel.6 Insured by Sumitomo against all risk
with Mitsui,7 the shipment had a declared value of US$121,362.59. This
second shipment arrived at the port of Manila on or about September 23,
2003. However, upon unloading of the cargo from the said vessel, 11 coils
were found damaged as evidenced by the Turn Over Survey of Bad Order
Cargo No. 67393. The possession of the said cargo was then transferred to
ATI for stevedoring, storage and safekeeping pending withdrawal thereof
by Calamba Steel. When ATI delivered the goods, Calamba Steel rejected
the damaged portion thereof, valued at US$7,677.12, the same being unfit
for its intended purpose.8
Lastly, on September 29, 2003, Sumitomo again shipped 117 various steel
sheets in coil weighing 930,718 kilograms through petitioners vessel, MV
Eastern Venus V-17-S, again in favor of Calamba Steel.9 This third
shipment had a declared value of US$476,416.90 and was also insured by
Sumitomo with Mitsui. The same arrived at the port of Manila on or about

October 11, 2003. Upon its discharge, six coils were observed to be in bad
condition. Thereafter, the possession of the cargo was turned over to ATI
for stevedoring, storage and safekeeping pending withdrawal thereof by
Calamba Steel. The damaged portion of the goods being unfit for its
intended purpose, Calamba Steel rejected the damaged portion, valued at
US$14,782.05, upon ATIs delivery of the third shipment. 10
Calamba Steel filed an insurance claim with Mitsui through the latters
settling agent, respondent BPI/MS Insurance Corporation (BPI/MS), and
the former was paid the sums of US$7,677.12, US$14,782.05 and
US$7,751.15 for the damage suffered by all three shipments or for the
total amount of US$30,210.32. Correlatively, on August 31, 2004, as
insurer and subrogee of Calamba Steel, Mitsui and BPI/MS filed a
Complaint for Damages against petitioner and ATI.11
As synthesized by the RTC in its decision, during the pre-trial conference of
the case, the following facts were established, viz:
1. The fact that there were shipments made on or about August 29, 2003,
September 13, 2003 and September 29, 2003 by Sumitomo to Calamba
Steel through petitioners vessels;
2. The declared value of the said shipments and the fact that the
shipments were insured by respondents;
3. The shipments arrived at the port of Manila on or about September 6,
2003, September 23, 2003 and October 11, 2003 respectively;
4. Respondents paid Calamba Steels total claim in the amount of
US$30,210.32.12
Trial on the merits ensued.
On September 17, 2006, the RTC rendered its Decision, 13 the dispositive
portion of which provides:
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and
against defendants Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc. and Asian Terminals, Inc.,
jointly and severally, ordering the latter to pay plaintiffs the following:
1. Actual damages amounting to US$30,210.32 plus 6% legal interest
thereon commencing from the filing of this complaint, until the same is
fully paid;
2. Attorneys fees in a sum equivalent to 25% of the amount claimed;
3. Costs of suit. The defendants counterclaims and ATIs crossclaim are
DISMISSED for lack of merit.
SO ORDERED.14
Aggrieved, petitioner and ATI appealed to the CA. On July 9, 2010, the CA
in its assailed Decision affirmed with modification the RTCs findings and
ruling, holding, among others, that both petitioner and ATI were very
negligent in the handling of the subject cargoes. Pointing to the affidavit of
Mario Manuel, Cargo Surveyor, the CA found that "during the unloading
operations, the steel coils were lifted from the vessel but were not
carefully laid on the ground. Some were even dropped while still several
inches from the ground while other coils bumped or hit one another at the
pier while being arranged by the stevedores and forklift operators of ATI
and [petitioner]." The CA added that such finding coincides with the factual
findings of the RTC that both petitioner and ATI were both negligent in
handling the goods. However, for failure of the RTC to state the

justification for the award of attorneys fees in the body of its decision, the
CA accordingly deleted the same.15 Petitioner filed its Motion for
Reconsideration16 which the CA, however, denied in its Resolution 17 dated
October 6, 2010.
Both petitioner and ATI filed their respective separate petitions for review
on certiorari before this Court.1wphi1 However, ATIs petition, docketed
as G.R. No. 192905, was denied by this Court in our Resolution 18 dated
October 6, 2010 for failure of ATI to show any reversible error in the
assailed CA decision and for failure of ATI to submit proper verification.
Said resolution had become final and executory on March 22,
2011.19 Nevertheless, this Court in its Resolution20 dated September 3,
2012, gave due course to this petition and directed the parties to file their
respective memoranda.
In its Memorandum,21 petitioner essentially avers that the CA erred in
affirming the decision of the RTC because the survey reports submitted by
respondents themselves as their own evidence and the pieces of evidence
submitted by petitioner clearly show that the cause of the damage was the
rough handling of the goods by ATI during the discharging operations.
Petitioner attests that it had no participation whatsoever in the discharging
operations and that petitioner did not have a choice in selecting the
stevedore since ATI is the only arrastre operator mandated to conduct
discharging operations in the South Harbor. Thus, petitioner prays that it
be absolved from any liability relative to the damage incurred by the
goods.
On the other hand, respondents counter, among others, that as found by
both the RTC and the CA, the goods suffered damage while still in the
possession of petitioner as evidenced by various Turn Over Surveys of Bad
Order Cargoes which were unqualifiedly executed by petitioners own
surveyor, Rodrigo Victoria, together with the representative of ATI.
Respondents assert that petitioner would not have executed such
documents if the goods, as it claims, did not suffer any damage prior to
their turn-over to ATI. Lastly, respondents aver that petitioner, being a
common carrier is required by law to observe extraordinary diligence in
the vigilance over the goods it carries.22
Simply put, the core issue in this case is whether the CA committed any
reversible error in finding that petitioner is solidarily liable with ATI on
account of the damage incurred by the goods.
The Court resolves the issue in the negative.
Well entrenched in this jurisdiction is the rule that factual questions may
not be raised before this Court in a petition for review on certiorari as this
Court is not a trier of facts. This is clearly stated in Section 1, Rule 45 of
the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, as amended, which provides:
SECTION 1. Filing of petition with Supreme Court. A party desiring to
appeal by certiorari from a judgment or final order or resolution of the
Court of Appeals, the Sandiganbayan, the Regional Trial Court or other
courts whenever authorized by law, may file with the Supreme Court a
verified petition for review on certiorari. The petition shall raise only
questions of law which must be distinctly set forth.

Thus, it is settled that in petitions for review on certiorari, only questions


of law may be put in issue. Questions of fact cannot be entertained. 23
A question of law exists when the doubt or controversy concerns the
correct application of law or jurisprudence to a certain set of facts, or when
the issue does not call for an examination of the probative value of the
evidence presented, the truth or falsehood of facts being admitted. A
question of fact exists when the doubt or difference arises as to the truth
or falsehood of facts or when the query invites calibration of the whole
evidence considering mainly the credibility of the witnesses, the existence
and relevancy of specific surrounding circumstances as well as their
relation to each other and to the whole, and the probability of the
situation.24
In this petition, the resolution of the question as to who between petitioner
and ATI should be liable for the damage to the goods is indubitably factual,
and would clearly impose upon this Court the task of reviewing, examining
and evaluating or weighing all over again the probative value of the
evidence presented25 something which is not, as a rule, within the
functions of this Court and within the office of a petition for review on
certiorari.
While it is true that the aforementioned rule admits of certain
exceptions,26 this Court finds that none are applicable in this case. This
Court finds no cogent reason to disturb the factual findings of the RTC
which were duly affirmed by the CA. Unanimous with the CA, this Court
gives credence and accords respect to the factual findings of the RTC a
special commercial court27 which has expertise and specialized knowledge
on the subject matter28 of maritime and admiralty highlighting the
solidary liability of both petitioner and ATI. The RTC judiciously found:
x x x The Turn Over Survey of Bad Order Cargoes (TOSBOC, for brevity)
No. 67393 and Request for Bad Order Survey No. 57692 show that prior to
the turn over of the first shipment to the custody of ATI, eleven (11) of the
twenty-eight (28) coils were already found in bad order condition. Eight
(8) of the said eleven coils were already "partly dented/crumpled " and the
remaining three (3) were found "partly dented, scratches on inner hole,
crumple (sic)". On the other hand, the TOSBOC No. 67457 and Request for
Bad Order Survey No. 57777 also show that prior to the turn over of the
second shipment to the custody of ATI, a total of six (6) coils thereof were
already "partly dented on one side, crumpled/cover detach (sic)". These
documents were issued by ATI. The said TOSBOCs were jointly executed
by ATI, vessels representative and surveyor while the Requests for Bad
Order Survey were jointly executed by ATI, consignees representative and
the Shed Supervisor. The aforementioned documents were corroborated by
the Damage Report dated 23 September 2003 and Turn Over Survey No.
15765 for the first shipment, Damage Report dated 13 October 2003 and
Turn Over Survey No. 15772 for the second shipment and, two Damage
Reports dated 6 September 2003 and Turn Over Survey No. 15753 for the
third shipment.
It was shown to this Court that a Request for Bad Order Survey is a
document which is requested by an interested party that incorporates
therein the details of the damage, if any, suffered by a shipped commodity.

Also, a TOSBOC, usually issued by the arrastre contractor (ATI in this


case), is a form of certification that states therein the bad order condition
of a particular cargo, as found prior to its turn over to the custody or
possession of the said arrastre contractor.
The said Damage Reports, Turn Over Survey Reports and Requests for Bad
Order Survey led the Court to conclude that before the subject shipments
were turned over to ATI, the said cargo were already in bad order
condition due to damage sustained during the sea voyage. Nevertheless,
this Court cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that there was also
negligence on the part of the employees of ATI and [Eastern Shipping
Lines, Inc.] in the discharging of the cargo as observed by plaintiffs
witness, Mario Manuel, and [Eastern Shipping Lines, Inc.s] witness,
Rodrigo Victoria.
In ascertaining the cause of the damage to the subject shipments, Mario
Manuel stated that the "coils were roughly handled during their
discharging from the vessel to the pier of (sic) ASIAN TERMINALS, INC.
and even during the loading operations of these coils from the pier to the
trucks that will transport the coils to the consignees warehouse. During
the aforesaid operations, the employees and forklift operators of EASTERN
SHIPPING LINES and ASIAN TERMINALS, INC. were very negligent in the
handling of the subject cargoes. Specifically, "during unloading, the steel
coils were lifted from the vessel and not carefully laid on the ground,
sometimes were even dropped while still several inches from the ground.
The tine (forklift blade) or the portion that carries the coils used for the
forklift is improper because it is pointed and sharp and the centering of the
tine to the coils were negligently done such that the pointed and sharp tine
touched and caused scratches, tears and dents to the coils. Some of the
coils were also dragged by the forklift instead of being carefully lifted from
one place to another. Some coils bump/hit one another at the pier while
being arranged by the stevedores/forklift operators of ASIAN TERMINALS,
INC. and EASTERN SHIPPING LINES.29 (Emphasis supplied.)
Verily, it is settled in maritime law jurisprudence that cargoes while being
unloaded generally remain under the custody of the carrier.30 As
hereinbefore found by the RTC and affirmed by the CA based on the
evidence presented, the goods were damaged even before they were
turned over to ATI. Such damage was even compounded by the negligent
acts of petitioner and ATI which both mishandled the goods during the
discharging operations. Thus, it bears stressing unto petitioner that
common carriers, from the nature of their business and for reasons of
public policy, are bound to observe extraordinary diligence in the vigilance
over the goods transported by them. Subject to certain exceptions
enumerated under Article 173431 of the Civil Code, common carriers are
responsible for the loss, destruction, or deterioration of the goods. The
extraordinary responsibility of the common carrier lasts from the time the
goods are unconditionally placed in the possession of, and received by the
carrier for transportation until the same are delivered, actually or
constructively, by the carrier to the consignee, or to the person who has a
right to receive them.32 Owing to this high degree of diligence required of
them, common carriers, as a general rule, are presumed to have been at

fault or negligent if the goods they transported deteriorated or got lost or


destroyed. That is, unless they prove that they exercised extraordinary
diligence in transporting the goods. In order to avoid responsibility for any
loss or damage, therefore, they have the burden of proving that they
observed such high level of diligence.33 In this case, petitioner failed to
hurdle such burden.
In sum, petitioner failed to show any reversible error on the part of the CA
in affirming the ruling of the RTC as to warrant the modification, much less
the reversal of its assailed decision.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated July 9, 2010 of
the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 88361 is hereby AFFIRMED.
With costs against the petitioner.
G.R. No. 189618
January 15, 2014
RIVELISA REALTY, INC., represented by RICARDO P.
VENTURINA, Petitioner,
vs.
FIRST STA. CLARA BUILDERS CORPORATION, represented by RAMON A.
PANGILINAN, as President,Respondent.
RESOLUTION
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:
Assailed in this petition for review on certiorari 1 are the Decision2 dated
February 27, 2009, and the Resolutions3dated May 22, 2009 and
September 8, 2009 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 67198
which reversed and set aside the Decision4 dated March 30, 2000 of the
Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City, Branch 86 (RTC), holding that: (a)
the 15-day reglementary period to file a motion for reconsideration is none:xtendible; and (b) the Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) entered into by
petitioner Rivelisa Realty, Inc. (Rivelisa Realty) and respondent First Sta.
Clara Builders Corporation (First Sta. Clara) had been terminated through
mutual assent.
The Facts
On January 25, 1995, Rivelisa Realty entered into a JVA5 with First Sta.
Clara for the construction and development of a residential subdivision
located in Cabanatuan City (project). According to its terms, First Sta.
Clara was to assume the horizontal development works in the remaining
69% undeveloped portion of the project owned by Rivelisa Realty, and
complete the same within twelve (12) months from signing. Upon its
completion, 60% of the total subdivided lots shall be transferred in the
name of First Sta. Clara. Also, since 31% of the project had been
previously developed by Rivelisa Realty which was assessed to have an
aggregate worth ofP10,000,000.00, it was agreed that First Sta. Clara
should initially use its own resources (in the same aggregate amount
of P10,000,000.00) before it can start claiming additional funds from the
pre-sale of the 31% developed lots. 40% of the cost of additional works
not originally part of the JVA was to be shouldered by Rivelisa Realty, while
60% by First Sta. Clara.6
During the course of the project, First Sta. Clara hired a subcontractor to
perform the horizontal development work as well as the additional works

on the riprap and the elevation of the road embankment. Since First Sta.
Clara ran out of funds after only two (2) months of construction, Rivelisa
Realty was forced to shoulder part of the payment due to the
subcontractor.7 First Sta. Clara manifested its intention to back out from
the JVA and to discontinue operations when Rivelisa Realty refused to
advance any more funds until 60% of the project had been accomplished.
In a letter dated August 24, 1995, Rivelisa Realty readily agreed to release
First Sta. Clara from the JVA and estimated its actual accomplishment
at P4,000,000.00, which included the payment to the subcontractor in the
amount of P1,258,892.72 and the cash advances amounting
to P319,259.68.8 First Sta. Clara, however, insisted on a valuation of its
accomplished works at P 4,578,142.10, which, less the cash advances and
subcontractors fees, should leave a net reimbursable amount
of P3,000,000.00 in its favor. After several exchanges, Rivelisa Realty
agreed to reimburse First Sta. Clara the amount of P3,000,000.00,
emphasizing in its letter dated October 9, 1995 that the amount is actually
over and beyond its obligation under the JVA.9 However, the reimbursable
amount of P 3,000,000.00 remained unpaid despite several demands.
Hence, First Sta. Clara filed a complaint10 for rescission of the JVA against
Rivelisa Realty before the RTC, claiming the payment of damages for
breach of contract and delay in the performance of an obligation.
For its part, Rivelisa Realty asserted that it was not obligated to pay First
Sta. Clara any amount at all since the latter had even failed to comply with
its obligation to initially spend the equivalent amount of P10,000,000.00
on the project before being entitled to cash payments. 11
The RTC Ruling
In a Decision12 dated March 30, 2000, the RTC dismissed the complaint
and ordered First Sta. Clara to instead pay Rivelisa Realty on its
counterclaims for actual expenses and damages amounting
to P300,000.00, and for attorneys fees of P50,000.00, including costs of
suit.13 It found that First Sta. Clara had agreed to first accomplish several
conditions before it could demand from Rivelisa Realty the performance of
the latters obligations under the JVA, namely: (a) to finish the
development and construction of the remaining 69% of horizontal work in
the project within a period of twelve (12) months from signing; (b) to
spend an initial amount of P10,000,000.00 of its own resources for the
project; and (c) to accomplish at least 60% of the horizontal work in the
remaining undeveloped area.14 As First Sta. Clara stopped working on the
project halfway into the construction period due to its own lack of funds,
the RTC concluded that it was actually the party that first violated the
JVA.15 Dissatisfied, First Sta. Clara elevated the matter on appeal.
The CA Ruling
In a Decision16 dated February 27, 2009 (CA Decision), the CA found
Rivelisa Realty still liable for First Sta. Claras actual accomplishments in
the project amounting to P3,000,000.00, after deducting certain costs it
advanced during the construction period. It held that First Sta. Clara was
no longer obligated to comply with the terms and conditions of the JVA
after Rivelisa Realty agreed that it be dissolved. First Sta. Clara was,

however, entitled to reimbursement because Rivelisa Realty agreed to


reimburse the former for the value of the work done on the project. 17
On March 3, 2009, Rivelisa Realty received a copy of the CA
Decision18 and, on March 18, 2009, moved for a fifteen (15) day extension
from March 18, 2009 to April 2, 2009 within which to file its motion for
reconsideration (i.e., Motion for Extension of Time to File a Motion for
Reconsideration).19 Thereafter, Rivelisa Realty filed its Motion for
Reconsideration20 by registered mail on April 2, 2009.
In a Resolution21 dated May 22, 2009, the CA denied Rivelisa Realtys
motion for extension as the 15-day period for filing a motion for
reconsideration cannot be extended, and merely noted without action the
subsequently filed motion for reconsideration. In a Resolution 22 dated
September 8, 2009, the CA eventually denied Rivelisa Realtys motion for
reconsideration on the ground that the same was filed out of time, hence,
the instant petition.
The Issues Before the Court
The essential issues in this case are whether or not the CA erred in finding
that: (a) the 15-day reglementary period for the filing of a motion for
reconsideration cannot be extended; and (b) First Sta. Clara is entitled to
be compensated for the development works it had accomplished on the
project.
The Courts Ruling
The petition is bereft of merit.
The CA Decision subject of the instant petition for review had already
attained finality in view of Rivelisa Realtys failure to file a motion for
reconsideration within the 15-day reglementary period allowed under the
CAs internal rules,23 to wit:
RULE 12
PROCESS OF ADJUDICATION
xxxx
Section 16. Entry of Judgments and Final Resolutions. If no appeal or
motion for new trial or reconsiderations is filed within the time provided in
the Rules of Court, the judgment or final resolution shall forthwith be
entered by the Division Clerk of Court in the book of entries of judgments.
The date when the judgment or final resolution becomes executory shall
be deemed as the date of its entry. The record shall contain dispositive
part of the judgment or final resolution and shall be signed by the clerk,
with a certificate that such judgments or final resolution has become final
and executory. (SEC. 10, Rule 51, RCP)
RULE 13
MOTIONS FOR RECONSIDERATION
xxxx
Section 2. Time for Filing. The motion for reconsideration shall be filed
within the period for taking an appeal from the decision or resolution, and
a copy thereof shall be served on the adverse party. The period for filing a
motion for reconsideration is non-extendible.
xxxx
RULE 4
PROCEDURE IN ORDINARY APPEALS IN CIVIL CASES

xxxx
Section 3. Period of Ordinary Appeal. The appeal shall be taken within
fifteen (15) days from notice of the judgment or final order appealed from.
Where a record on appeal is required, the appellant shall file a notice of
appeal and a record on appeal within thirty (30) days from notice of the
judgment or final order. (Sec. 3, Rule 41, RCP)
(Emphases supplied)
xxxx
While a motion for additional time is expressly permitted in the filing of a
petition for review before the Court under Section 2, Rule 45 of the Rules
of Court,24 a similar motion seeking to extend the period for filing a motion
for reconsideration is prohibited in all other courts.1wphi1 This rule was
first laid down in the case of Habaluyas Enterprises v. Japzon 25 wherein it
was held that:26
Beginning one month after the promulgation of this Resolution, the rule
shall be strictly enforced that no motion for extension of time to file a
motion for new trial or reconsideration may be filed with the Metropolitan
or Municipal Trial Courts, the Regional Trial Courts, and the Intermediate
Appellate Court. Such a motion may be filed only in cases pending with the
Supreme Court as the court of last resort, which may in its sound
discretion either grant or deny the extension requested. (Emphases and
underscoring supplied)
Restating the rule in Rolloque v. CA27 (Rolloque), the Court emphasized
that the 15-day period for filing a motion for new trial or reconsideration is
non-extendible. Hence, the filing of a motion for extension of time to file a
motion for reconsideration did not toll the 15-day period before a
judgment becomes final and executory.28
In this case, Rivelisa Realty only had until March 18, 2009 29 within which to
file either a motion for reconsideration before the CA or a petition for
review of the CA Decision to the Court. But it committed the fatal error of
filing instead a Motion for Extension of Time to File a Motion for
Reconsideration before the CA which as expressed in Rolloque did not
toll the running of the period for the finality of the latters decision. Verily,
a party who fails to question an adverse decision by not filing the proper
remedy within the period prescribed by law loses the right to do so as the
decision, as to him, becomes final and binding.30 Since the CA Decision had
already become final and executory due to the lapse of the reglementary
period, not only did the CA properly deny Rivelisa Realtys belatedly-filed
motion for reconsideration but also the remedy of review before the Court
had already been lost. The Court has repeatedly held that the failure to
perfect an appeal in the manner and within the period fixed by law renders
the decision sought to be appealed final, with the result that no court can
exercise appellate jurisdiction to review the decision. 31 Considering that the
CA Decision had long become final and unalterable by the time Rivelisa
Realty elevated the same,32 the Court must hereby deny the instant
petition.
Even discounting the above-discussed procedural aspects, the Court is still
wont to deny the instant petition on substantive grounds.

The Court concurs with the CA that First Sta. Clara is entitled to be
compensated for the development works it had accomplished on the
project based on the principle of quantum meruit. Case law instructs that
under this principle, a contractor is allowed to recover the reasonable
value of the thing or services rendered despite the lack of a written
contract, in order to avoid unjust enrichment. 33 Quantum meruit means
that, in an action for work and labor, payment shall be made in such
amount as the plaintiff reasonably deserves. 34 The measure of recovery
should relate to the reasonable value of the services performed 35 because
the principle aims to prevent undue enrichment based on the equitable
postulate that it is unjust for a person to retain any benefit without paying
for it.36 In this case, it is undisputed that
First Sta. Clara already performed certain works on the project with an
estimated value of P4,578, 152.10. Clearly, to completely deny it payment
for the same would result in Rivelisa Realty's unjust enrichment at the
former' s expense. Besides, as may be gleaned from the parties'
correspondence, Rivelisa Realty obligated itself to unconditionally
reimburse First Sta. Clara the amount of P3,000,000.00 (representing First
Sta. Clara's valuation of its accomplished works at P4,578,152.10, less the
cash advances and subcontractor's fees) after the JV A had already been
terminated by them through mutual assent. As such, Rivelisa Realty
cannot unilaterally renege on its promise by citing First Sta. Clara's nonfulfillment of the terms and conditions of the terminated JVA. For all these
reasons, the CA' s ruling must be upheld.
WHERFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated February 27,
2009, and Resolutions dated May 22, 2009 and September 8, 2009 of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 67198 are hereby AFFIRMED.
G.R. No. 170701, January 22, 2014
RALPH P. TUA, Petitioner, v. HON. CESAR A. MANGROBANG, PRESIDING
JUDGE, BRANCH 22, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, IMUS, CAVITE; AND
ROSSANA HONRADO-TUA, Respondents.
DECISION
PERALTA, J.:
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari which seeks to annul the
Decision1 dated October 28, 2005 of the Court of Appeals (CA) issued in
CA-G.R. SP No. 89939.
On May 20, 2005, respondent Rossana Honrado-Tua (respondent) filed
with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Imus, Cavite a Verified Petition 2 for
herself and in behalf of her minor children, Joshua Raphael, Jesse Ruth
Lois, and Jezreel Abigail, for the issuance of a protection order, pursuant to
Republic Act (RA) 9262 or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their
Children Act of 2004, against her husband, petitioner Ralph Tua. The case
was docketed as Civil Case No. 0464-05 and raffled-off to Branch 22.
Respondent claimed that she and her children had suffered from
petitioners abusive conduct; that petitioner had threatened to cause her
and the children physical harm for the purpose of controlling her actions or
decisions; that she was actually deprived of custody and access to her

minor children; and, that she was threatened to be deprived of her and
her childrens financial support.

pending the determination of whether or not a permanent protection order


shall issue.

Respondent and petitioner were married on January 10, 1998 in Makati


City. They have three children, namely, Joshua Raphael born on February
9, 1999, Jesse Ruth Lois, born on June 27, 2000, and Jezreel Abigail, born
on December 25, 2001. In her Affidavit3 attached to the petition,
respondent claimed, among others, that: there was a time when
petitioner went to her room and cocked his gun and pointed the barrel of
his gun to his head as he wanted to convince her not to proceed with the
legal separation case she filed; she hid her fears although she was
scared; there was also an instance when petitioner fed her children with
the fried chicken that her youngest daughter had chewed and spat out; in
order to stop his child from crying, petitioner would threaten him with a
belt; when she told petitioner that she felt unsafe and insecure with the
latters presence and asked him to stop coming to the house as often as he
wanted or she would apply for a protection order, petitioner got furious
and threatened her of withholding his financial support and even held her
by the nape and pushed her to lie flat on the bed; and, on May 4, 2005,
while she was at work, petitioner with companions went to her new home
and forcibly took the children and refused to give them back to her.

VIOLATION OF THIS ORDER IS PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

On May 23, 2005, the RTC issued a Temporary Protection Order (TPO), 4
which we quote in full:chanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Pursuant to the provisions of R.A. 9262, otherwise known as the AntiViolence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004, a Temporary
Protection Order (TPO) effective for thirty (30) days from date of receipt is
hereby issued against respondent Ralph P. Tua.
For the purpose of the implementation of the Temporary Protection Order,
the respondent (herein petitioner Ralph) is hereby ordered
to:chanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
1. Enjoin from committing and threatening to commit personally or
through another, physical, verbal and emotional harm or abuse against the
herein petitioner (respondent) and other family and household members;
2. Restrain from harassing, annoying, texting, telephoning, contacting or
otherwise communicating with the petitioner (respondent) whether directly
or indirectly or engaged in any psychological form of harassment;
3. Stay away from the petitioner (respondent) and other family and
household members at a distance of 100 meters radius from the place of
residence of the plaintiff and likewise to stay away from the residence,
school, place of employment and other places frequented by the herein
petitioner (respondent), and other family and household members.
4. Give and deliver the three (3) minor children of the petitioner
(respondent) to the [latter] who shall have their temporary custody

The Sheriff of this Court, the PNP Imus, Cavite, or any Officers of the Law
are hereby commanded to effect this Order immediately and to use
necessary force and measures under the law to implement this Order.
Let the hearing for Permanent Protection Order be set on June 9, 2005 at
2:00 oclock in the afternoon.
SO ORDERED.5crallawlibrary
In his Comment6 to respondents Petition with Urgent Motion to Lift TPO,
petitioner denied respondents allegations and alleged, among others, that
he had been maintaining a separate abode from petitioner since November
2004; that it was respondent who verbally abused and threatened him
whenever their childrens stay with him was extended; that respondent
had been staying with a certain Rebendor Zuiga despite the impropriety
and moral implications of such set-up; that despite their written
agreement that their minor children should stay in their conjugal home,
the latter violated the same when she surreptitiously moved out of their
conjugal dwelling with their minor children and stayed with said Zuiga;
and, that respondent is mentally, psychologically, spiritually and morally
unfit to keep the children in her custody. Petitioner contended that the
issuance of the TPO on May 23, 2005 is unconstitutional for being violative
of the due process clause of the Constitution.
Without awaiting for the resolution of his Comment on the petition and
motion to lift TPO, petitioner filed with the CA a petition for certiorari with
prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction and/or
temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction and hold departure
order assailing the May 23, 2005 TPO issued by the RTC.
On June 9, 2005, the CA, in order not to render the petition moot and to
avoid grave and irreparable injury, issued a temporary restraining order to
temporarily enjoin the parties and their agents from enforcing the assailed
May 23, 2005 TPO issued in Civil Case No. 0464-05.7crallawlibrary
Petitioner later filed an Urgent Motion for Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary
Injunction with Manifestation,8 praying that the enforcement of all orders,
decision to be issued by the RTC and all the proceedings therein be
restrained. A hearing9 was, subsequently, conducted on the motion.
On October 28, 2005, the CA issued its assailed decision, the decretal
portion of which reads:chanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
WHEREFORE, based on the foregoing premises, the instant petition is
hereby DENIEDfor lack of merit. Accordingly, the assailed Temporary

Protection Order dated May 23, 2002 (sic) issued by the Regional Trial
Court of Imus, Cavite, Branch 22 in Civil Case No. 0464-05 is UPHELD.10
In so ruling, the CA found that the petition filed by respondent under RA
9262 is still pending before the RTC; thus, the factual matters raised
therein could not be passed upon in the petition for certiorarifiled with it.
The CA noted that during the pendency of the herein proceedings,
petitioner filed an urgent motion to quash warrant issued by the RTC and
which matter could not also be a subject of this petition which assails the
TPO dated May 23, 2005 and that the motion to quash should have been
filed with the RTC.
The CA found that the TPO dated May 23, 2005 was validly issued by the
RTC and found no grave abuse of discretion in the issuance thereof as the
same were in complete accord with the provision of RA 9262.
As to petitioners argument that there was no basis for the issuance of the
TPO, considering that the provision authorizing such issuance is
unconstitutional, the CA ruled that since the matter raised herein was the
RTCs alleged grave abuse of discretion in issuing the TPO, such matter
could be resolved without having to rule on the constitutionality of RA
9262 and its provisions. And that the requisites that the constitutionality
of the law in question be the very lis mota of the case was absent.
Dissatisfied, petitioner files the instant petition raising the following
issues:chanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
I
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS WITH DUE RESPECT SERIOUSLY
ERRED IN HOLDING AND FINDING IN A MANNER CONTRARY TO
ESTABLISHED RULES AND JURISPRUDENCE THAT PUBLIC RESPONDENT
COMMITTED NO GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION WHEN THE LATTER
ISSUED THE TEMPORARY PROTECTIVE ORDER (TPO) DATED 23 MAY 2005
WITHOUT OBSERVING DUE PROCESS OF LAW AND CONSIDERATIONS OF
JUSTICE AND BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS.
II
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS IN REFUSING TO RULE ON THE
CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE PROVISIONS OF RA 9262 HAS DECIDED
THE CASE IN A MANNER NOT IN ACCORD WITH ESTABLISHED LAWS AND
JURISPRUDENCE CONSIDERING THAT CONTRARY TO ITS FINDINGS THE
CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE SAID LAW IS THE LIS MOTA OF THE CASE.11
Petitioner claims that contrary to the stance of the CA in not deciding the
issue of the constitutionality of RA 9262, the issue presented is the very
lis mota in the instant case.
The issue of constitutionality of RA 9262 was raised by petitioner in his
Comment to respondents Petition with Urgent Motion to Lift TPO dated

May 23, 2005 filed with the RTC. However, without awaiting for the
resolution of the same, petitioner filed a petition for certiorari with the CA
assailing the TPO issued for violating the due process clause of the
Constitution. Contrary to the CAs finding that the matter raised in the
petition filed with it was the RTCs alleged grave abuse of discretion in
issuing the TPO which could be resolved without having to rule on the
constitutionality of RA 9262 and its provisions, we find that since petitioner
is assailing the validity of RA 9262 wherein respondents right to a
protection order is based upon, the constitutionality of the said law must
first be decided upon. After all, the alleged unconstitutionality of RA 9262
is, for all intents and purposes, a valid cause for the non-issuance of a
protection order.12 Notwithstanding, however, we still find no merit to
declare RA 9262 unconstitutional.
Petitioner particularly directs his constitutional attack on Section 15 of RA
9262 contending that had there been no ex parte issuance of the TPO, he
would have been afforded due process of law and had properly presented
his side on the matter; that the questioned provision simply encourages
arbitrary enforcement repulsive to basic constitutional rights which affects
his life, liberty and property.
We are not impressed.
Section 15 of RA 9262 provides:chanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
SECTION 15. Temporary Protection Orders. - Temporary Protection Orders
(TPOs) refers to the protection order issued by the court on the date of
filing of the application after ex parte determination that such order should
be issued. A court may grant in a TPO any, some or all of the reliefs
mentioned in this Act and shall be effective for thirty (30) days. The court
shall schedule a hearing on the issuance of a [Permanent Protection Order]
PPO prior to or on the date of the expiration of the TPO. The court shall
order the immediate personal service of the TPO on the respondent by the
court sheriff who may obtain the assistance of law enforcement agents for
the service. The TPO shall include notice of the date of the hearing on the
merits of the issuance of a PPO.
In Garcia v. Drilon,13 wherein petitioner therein argued that Section 15
of RA 9262 is a violation of the due process clause of the Constitution, we
struck down the challenge and held:chanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
A protection order is an order issued to prevent further acts of violence
against women and their children, their family or household members, and
to grant other necessary reliefs. Its purpose is to safeguard the offended
parties from further harm, minimize any disruption in their daily life and
facilitate the opportunity and ability to regain control of their life.
The scope of reliefs in protection orders is broadened to ensure that the
victim or offended party is afforded all the remedies necessary to curtail
access by a perpetrator to the victim. This serves to safeguard the victim
from greater risk of violence; to accord the victim and any designated

family or household member safety in the family residence, and to prevent


the perpetrator from committing acts that jeopardize the employment and
support of the victim. It also enables the court to award temporary
custody of minor children to protect the children from violence, to prevent
their abduction by the perpetrator and to ensure their financial support.
The rules require that petitions for protection order be in writing, signed
and verified by the petitioner thereby undertaking full responsibility,
criminal or civil, for every allegation therein. Since time is of the essence
in cases of VAWC if further violence is to be prevented, the court is
authorized to issue ex parte a TPO after raffle but before notice and
hearing when the life, limb or property of the victim is in jeopardy and
there is reasonable ground to believe that the order is necessary to protect
the victim from the immediate and imminent danger of VAWC or to
prevent such violence, which is about to recur.
There need not be any fear that the judge may have no rational basis to
issue an ex parte order. The victim is required not only to verify the
allegations in the petition, but also to attach her witnesses affidavits to
the petition.
The grant of a TPO ex parte cannot, therefore, be challenged as violative
of the right to due process. Just like a writ of preliminary attachment
which is issued without notice and hearing because the time in which the
hearing will take could be enough to enable the defendant to abscond or
dispose of his property, in the same way, the victim of VAWC may already
have suffered harrowing experiences in the hands of her tormentor, and
possibly even death, if notice and hearing were required before such acts
could be prevented. It is a constitutional commonplace that the ordinary
requirements of procedural due process must yield to the necessities of
protecting vital public interests, among which is protection of women and
children from violence and threats to their personal safety and security.
It should be pointed out that when the TPO is issued ex parte, the court
shall likewise order that notice be immediately given to the respondent
directing him to file an opposition within five (5) days from service.
Moreover, the court shall order that notice, copies of the petition and TPO
be served immediately on the respondent by the court sheriffs. The TPOs
are initially effective for thirty (30) days from service on the respondent.
Where no TPO is issued ex parte, the court will nonetheless order the
immediate issuance and service of the notice upon the respondent
requiring him to file an opposition to the petition within five (5) days from
service. The date of the preliminary conference and hearing on the merits
shall likewise be indicated on the notice.
The opposition to the petition which the respondent himself shall verify,
must be accompanied by the affidavits of witnesses and shall show cause
why a temporary or permanent protection order should not be issued.

It is clear from the foregoing rules that the respondent of a petition for
protection order should be apprised of the charges imputed to him and
afforded an opportunity to present his side. x x x. The 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 ones defense. To be
heard does not only mean verbal arguments in court; one may be heard
also through pleadings. Where opportunity to be heard, either through oral
arguments or pleadings, is accorded, there is no denial of procedural due
process.14
Petitioner also assails that there is an invalid delegation of legislative
power to the court and tobarangay officials to issue protection orders.
Section 2 of Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution provides that the
Congress shall have the power to define, prescribe, and apportion the
jurisdiction of the various courts but may not deprive the Supreme Court
of its jurisdiction over cases enumerated in Section 5 hereof. Hence, the
primary judge of the necessity, adequacy, wisdom, reasonableness and
expediency of any law is primarily the function of the legislature. 15 The act
of Congress entrusting us with the issuance of protection orders is in
pursuance of our authority to settle justiciable controversies or disputes
involving rights that are enforceable and demandable before the courts of
justice or the redress of wrongs for violations of such rights. 16crallawlibrary
As to the issuance of protection order by the Punong Barangay, Section 14
pertinently provides:chanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
SEC. 14. Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs); Who May Issue and How. Barangay Protection Orders (BPOs) refer to the protection order issued by
the Punong Barangay ordering the perpetrator to desist from committing
acts under Section 5 (a) and (b) of this Act. A Punong Barangay who
receives applications for a BPO shall issue the protection order to the
applicant on the date of filing after ex parte determination of the basis of
the application. If the Punong Barangay is unavailable to act on the
application for a BPO, the application shall be acted upon by any available
Barangay Kagawad. If the BPO is issued by a Barangay Kagawad, the order
must be accompanied by an attestation by the Barangay Kagawad that the
Punong Barangay was unavailable at the time of the issuance of the BPO.
BPOs shall be effective for fifteen (15) days. Immediately after the
issuance of an ex parte BPO, the Punong Barangay or Barangay Kagawad
shall personally serve a copy of the same on the respondent, or direct any
barangay official to effect its personal service.
The parties may be accompanied by a non-lawyer advocate in any
proceeding before the Punong Barangay.
Hence, the issuance of a BPO by the Punong Barangay or, in his
unavailability, by any availableBarangay Kagawad, merely orders the
perpetrator to desist from (a) causing physical harm to the woman or her

child; and (2) threatening to cause the woman or her child physical harm.
Such function of the Punong Barangay is, thus, purely executive in nature,
in pursuance of his duty under the Local Government Code to enforce all
laws and ordinances, and to maintain public order in the
barangay.17crallawlibrary
Petitioner assails that the CA erred in finding that the RTC did not commit
grave abuse of discretion in issuing the TPO dated May 23, 2005 as the
petition was bereft of any indication of grounds for the issuance of the
same. Petitioner claims that while the issuance of the TPO is ex parte,
there must be a judicial determination of the basis thereof. He contends
that the allegations in respondents affidavit attached to the petition, and
without admitting the same to be true, are nothing more than normal or
usual quarrels between a husband and wife which are not grave or
imminent enough to merit the issuance of a TPO.
We are not persuaded.
We quote again Section 15 of RA 9262 for ready reference,
thus:chanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
SECTION 15. Temporary Protection Orders. - Temporary Protection Orders
(TPOs) refers to the protection order issued by the court on the date of
filing of the application after ex parte determination that such order should
be issued. A court may grant in a TPO any, some or all of the reliefs
mentioned in this Act and shall be effective for thirty (30) days. The court
shall schedule a hearing on the issuance of a PPO prior to or on the date of
the expiration of the TPO. The court shall order the immediate personal
service of the TPO on the respondent by the court sheriff who may obtain
the assistance of law enforcement agents for the service. The TPO shall
include notice of the date of the hearing on the merits of the issuance of a
PPO.
Clearly, the court is authorized to issue a TPO on the date of the filing of
the application after ex partedetermination that there is basis for the
issuance thereof. Ex parte means that the respondent need not be notified
or be present in the hearing for the issuance of the TPO. Thus, it is within
the courts discretion, based on the petition and the affidavit attached
thereto, to determine that the violent acts against women and their
children for the issuance of a TPO have been committed.
And Section 5 of the same law provides:chanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
SECTION 5. Acts of Violence Against Women and Their Children.- The
crime of violence against women and their children is committed through
any of the following acts:chanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
(a) Causing physical harm to the woman or her child;
(b) Threatening to cause the woman or her child physical harm;
(c) Attempting to cause the woman or her child physical harm;
(d) Placing the woman or her child in fear of imminent physical harm;
(e) Attempting to compel or compelling the woman or her child to engage

in conduct which the woman or her child has the right to desist from or
desist from conduct which the woman or her child has the right to engage
in, or attempting to restrict or restricting the womans or her childs
freedom of movement or conduct by force or threat of force, physical or
other harm or threat of physical or other harm, or intimidation directed
against the woman or child. This shall include, but not limited to, the
following acts committed with the purpose or effect of controlling or
restricting the womans or her childs movement or
conduct:chanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
(1) Threatening to deprive or actually depriving the woman or her child of
custody to her/his family;
(2) Depriving or threatening to deprive the woman or her children of
financial support legally due her or her family, or deliberately providing the
womans children insufficient financial support;
(3) Depriving or threatening to deprive the woman or her child of a legal
right;
(4) Preventing the woman in engaging in any legitimate profession,
occupation, business or activity or controlling the victims own money or
properties, or solely controlling the conjugal or common money, or
properties;
(f) Inflicting or threatening to inflict physical harm on oneself for the
purpose of controlling her actions or decisions;
(g) Causing or attempting to cause the woman or her child to engage in
any sexual activity which does not constitute rape, by force or threat of
force, physical harm, or through intimidation directed against the woman
or her child or her/his immediate family;
(h) Engaging in purposeful, knowing, or reckless conduct, personally or
through another, that alarms or causes substantial emotional or
psychological distress to the woman or her child. This shall include, but not
be limited to, the following acts:chanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
(1) Stalking or following the woman or her child in public or private places;
(2) Peering in the window or lingering outside the residence of the woman
or her child;
(3) Entering or remaining in the dwelling or on the property of the woman
or her child against her/his will;
(4) Destroying the property and personal belongings or inflicting harm to
animals or pets of the woman or her child; and
(5) Engaging in any form of harassment or violence;
(i) Causing mental or emotional anguish, public ridicule or humiliation to
the woman or her child, including, but not limited to, repeated verbal and
emotional abuse, and denial of financial support or custody of minor
children of access to the womans child/children.
In this case, the alleged acts of petitioner among others, i.e., he cocked
the gun and pointed the same to his head in order to convince respondent
not to proceed with the legal separation case; feeding his other children

with the food which another child spat out; and threatening the crying
child with a belt to stop him from crying which was repeatedly done; and
holding respondent by her nape when he got furious that she was asking
him not to come often to their conjugal home and hold office thereat after
their agreed separation and threatening her of withholding half of the
financial support for the kids, while not conclusive, are enough bases for
the issuance of a TPO. Petitioners actions would fall under the
enumeration of Section 5, more particularly, paragraphs a, d, e (2), f, h,
and i.
It is settled doctrine that there is grave abuse of discretion when there is a
capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of
jurisdiction, such as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary or
despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and it must be
so patent and gross so as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a
virtual refusal to perform the duty enjoined or to act at all in
contemplation of law.18 We find that the CA did not err when it found no
grave abuse of discretion committed by the RTC in the issuance of the
TPO.
The factual matters herein raised by petitioner should be presented during
the hearing on the merits on the issuance of the Permanent Protection
Order.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The Decision dated October 28,
2005 of the Court of Appeals issued in CA-G.R. SP No. 89939, upholding
the Regional Trial Courts issuance of the Temporary Protection Order dated
May 23, 2005, is AFFIRMED. The Regional Trial Court of Imus, Cavite is
hereby ORDERED to resolve with dispatch respondents Petition for a
Permanent Protection Order.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 199146, March 19, 2014
HEIRS OF PACIFICO POCDO, NAMELY, RITA POCDO GASIC, GOLIC POCDO,
MARCELA POCDO ALFELOR, KENNETH POCDO, NIXON CADOS,
JACQUELINE CADOS LEE, EFLYN CADOS, AND GIRLIE CADOS DAPLIN,
HEREIN REPRESENTED BY THEIR ATTORNEYINFACT JOHN
POCDO,Petitioners, v. ARSENIA AVILA AND EMELINDA
CHUA, Respondents.
RESOLUTION
CARPIO, J.:
The Case
This petition for review1 assails the 12 October 2011 Decision2 of the Court
of Appeals in CAG.R. CV No. 91039. The Court of Appeals affirmed the 14
January 2008 Resolution of the Regional Trial Court of Baguio City, Branch
61, in Civil Case No. 4710R, dismissing the complaint for lack of
jurisdiction.

The Facts
In June 2000, Pacifico Pocdo, who was later substituted by his heirs upon
his death, filed a complaint to quiet title over a 1,728square meter
property (disputed property) located in Camp 7, Baguio City, and covered
by Tax Declaration 9606008106641. Pacifico claimed that the disputed
property is part of Lot 43, TS39, which originally belonged to Pacificos
father, Pocdo Pool. The disputed property is allegedly different from the
onehectare portion alloted to Polon Pocdo, the predecessorininterest of
the defendants Arsenia Avila and Emelinda Chua, in a partition made by
the heirs of Pocdo Pool. Pacifico alleged that the defendants unlawfully
claimed the disputed property, which belonged to Pacifico.
The facts of the case were summarized by the Court of Appeals as
follows:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
As it appears, in 1894, Pocdo Pool, who died in 1942, began his occupation
and claim on three lots that were eventually surveyed in his name as Lot
43, TS 39SWO36431, Lot 44, TS 39SWO36420 and Lot 45 TS 39
SWO36429 with an area of 144,623 [sq.m.], 64,112 [sq.m.], and 9,427
square meters, respectively, and situated at Residence Section 4, Baguio
City. These lots were the subject of a petition to reopen judicial
proceedings filed by the Heirs of Pocdo Pool with the CFI of Baguio City in
Civil Reservation Case No. 1, LRC Case 211. The registration of the lots in
the names of the petitioners were [sic] granted in October 1964, but since
the decision was not implemented within the 10 years [sic] prescribed
period, the Heirs filed their ancestral land claims with the DENR. In August
1991, Certificates of Ancestral Lands Claims (CALS) were issued by the
DENR for Lots 44 and 45, but Lot 43 was not approved due to
Memorandum Order 9815 issued by the DENR Secretary in September
1998.
In the meantime, on September 14, 1960, Polon Pocdo, an heir of Pocdo
Pool, ceded his rights over the three lots to Pacifico Pocdo in exchange for
a one hectare lot to be taken from Lot 43. However, Pacifico entered into a
contract with Florencio Pax and Braulio Yaranon on November 21, 1968
revoking the agreement with Polon. In the contract, the 4,875 square
meters where Polons house was located became part of the 1hectare
given to Pax and Yaranon in exchange for their services in the titling of
Pacificos lands.
Polon filed a complaint in August 1980 [with] the Office of the Barangay
Captain at Camp 7, Baguio City, which was settled by an amicable
settlement dated September 3, 1980 between Pacifico and Polon. They
agreed that Polon would again retain the 4,875 square meters and Pacifico
would give the 5,125 square meter area, the remaining portion of the 1
hectare share of Polon, to be taken from Lot 43 after a segregation.
On April 18, 1981, Polon entered into a Catulagan with Arsenia Avila
authorizing the latter to undertake the segregation of his onehectare land

from Lot 43 in accord with the amicable settlement of September 3, 1980.


In exchange, Polon would award to her 2,000 square meters from the 1
hectare lot. After spending time, money and effort in the execution of the
survey, Avila gave the survey results to Polon prompting Polon to execute
a Waiver of Rights dated January 21, 1987. Accordingly, the subdivided
lots were declared for tax purposes and the corresponding tax declaration
issued to Polon and Arsenia, with 8,010 square meters going to Polon and
1,993 square meters to Avila.
On March 10, 2000, finding the amicable settlement, the Catulagan and
Waiver of Rights in order, the CENRO of Baguio City issued in favor of Avila
a Certificate of Exclusion of 993 square meters from the Ancestral Land
Claim of the Heirs of Pocdo Pool over Lot 43.
On April 27, 2000, however, the Heirs of Polon Pocdo and his wife Konon
filed an affidavit of cancellation with OICCENRO Teodoro Suaking and on
that basis, Suaking cancelled the Certificate of Exclusion. On May 8, 2000,
Avila complained to the Regional Executive Director or RED the unlawful
cancellation of her Certificate of Exclusion, and on June 1, 2000, the RED
issued a memorandum setting aside the revocation and restoring the
Certificate of Exclusion. On August 13, 2001, Avila filed an administrative
complaint against Suaking, and on July 16, 2002, the RED dismissed the
lettercomplaint of Avila and referred the administrative complaint to the
DENR Central Office.
Acting on the motion for reconsideration by Avila [against oppositors
Pacifico Pocdo, et al.], the RED in an Order on October 28, 2002 set aside
the July 16, 2002 order. The Affidavit of Cancellation dated April 27, 2002
filed by the heirs of Polon Pocdo was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction and
the validity of the Amicable Settlement, Catulagan and Deed of Waiver of
Rights were recognized. The letter dated April 28, 2000 and certification
issued on May 31, 2000 by Suaking were ordered cancelled. Accordingly,
the RED held that the TSA applications of Arsenia Avila and others under
TSA Application 15313, 15314, 15409 and 15410 should be given due
course subject to compliance with existing laws and regulations.
The DENR Secretary affirmed his Order in [his] Decision of May 14, 2004
in DENR Case 5599, with the modification that the TSAs fo[r] the appellee
Avila could now be made the basis of disposition through public bidding
and the appellant may participate in the bidding if qualified.
Pacifico Pocdo, as the appellant, went on appeal to the Office of the
President which resulted in an affirmance of DENR Secretarys decision on
April 19, 2005 in OP Case 04H360.
As mentioned, having exhausted administrative remedies, the Heirs of
Pacifico Pocdo challenged the OP resolution before the Court of Appeals,
but this petition was dismissed for having been filed late. The Supreme
Court dismissed the Heirs appeal from this decision.

The instant case, Civil Case 4710R, before the Regional Trial Court of
Baguio City, Branch 61 was filed by Pacifico Pocdo against Arsenia Avila
and Emelinda Chua in June 2000, just after the RED set aside Suakings
revocation on April 28, 2000 and ordered the restoration of Avilas
Certificate of Exclusion. Since then, the judicial proceedings have run
parallel to the administrative case.3
In a Resolution4 dated 14 January 2008, the Regional Trial Court dismissed
the case for lack of jurisdiction. The trial court held that the DENR had
already declared the disputed property as public land, which the State,
through the DENR, has the sole power to dispose. Thus, the claim of
petitioners to quiet title is not proper since they do not have title over the
disputed property. The trial court agreed with the DENR Secretarys ruling
that petitioner may participate in the public bidding of the disputed
property if qualified under applicable rules.
Petitioners appealed to the Court of Appeals, asserting that the case is not
limited to quieting of title since there are other issues not affected by the
DENR ruling, particularly the validity of the Waiver of Rights and the
Catulagan. Petitioners maintained that the DENRs ruling that the disputed
property is public land did not preclude the court from taking cognizance of
the issues on who is entitled possession to the disputed property and
whether the questioned documents are valid and enforceable against
Pacifico and his heirs.
The Ruling of the Court of Appeals
The Court of Appeals ruled that petitioners, in raising the issue of quieting
of title, failed to allege any legal or equitable title to quiet. Under Article
477 of the Civil Code, in an action to quiet title, the plaintiff must have
legal or equitable title to, or interest in the real property which is the
subject matter of the action. Instead of an action to quiet title or accion
reivindicatoria, the Court of Appeals stated that petitioners should have
filed an accion publiciana based merely on the recovery ofpossession de
jure.
On the validity of the Catulagan and the Waiver of Rights, the Court of
Appeals held that petitioners have no right to question these since they
were not parties to said documents had not participated in any manner in
their execution. The Court of Appeals ruled that only the contracting
parties are bound by the stipulations of the said documents. Those not
parties to the said documents, and for whose benefit they were not
expressly made, cannot maintain an action based on the said documents.
Thus, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial courts resolution, subject to
the right of petitioners to file the appropriate action.
The Issues
Petitioners raise the following issues:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE PETITIONERS


SHOULD JUST FILE THE NECESSARY ACTION FOR RECOVERY OF
POSSESSION BECAUSE SAID COURT HAS FAILED TO TAKE INTO
CONSIDERATION THAT RECOVERY OF POSSESSION IS PRECISELY ONE OF
THE CAUSES OF ACTION IN THE PRESENT CASE.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE RTC HAD NO
JURISDICTION SINCE IT IS THE COURTS, NOT THE DENR, THAT HAS
JURISDICTION OVER ACTIONS INVOLVING POSSESSION OF LANDS, EVEN
ASSUMING WITHOUT ADMITTING, THAT THE LAND IS A PUBLIC LAND.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE DISMISSAL OF THE
CASE BECAUSE THERE ARE OTHER CAUSES OF ACTION OVER WHICH THE
RTC HAS JURISDICTION, i.e. RECOVERY OF POSSESSION, DECLARATION
OF NULLITY OF DOCUMENTS.
THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN FINDING THAT THE PETITIONERS
HAVE NO TITLE TO THE PROPERTY THAT WOULD SUPPORT AN ACTION
FOR QUIETING OF TITLE WHEN TRIAL HAD NOT YET COMMENCED.
NONETHELESS, THE RECORD IS REPLETE OF PROOF THAT THE
PETITIONERS HAVE RIGHTS/TITLE OVER THE SUBJECT PROPERTY.5
The Ruling of the Court
We find the petition without merit.
In the administrative case involving the disputed property, which forms
part of Lot 43, the DENR ruled that Lot 43 is public land located within the
Baguio Townsite Reservation. In his Decision dated 14 May 2004 in DENR
Case No. 5599, the DENR Secretary stated:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Lot 43 is public land and part of the Baguio Townsite Reservation. This has
already been settled by the decision of the Court of First Instance of
Benguet and Mountain Province dated 13 November 1922 in Civil
Reservation Case No. 1. The fact that the heirs of Pocdo Pool were able to
reopen Civil Reservation Case No. 1, LRC Case No. 211 and secure a
decision in their favor for registration of Lot 43 is of no moment. As held
in Republic v. Pio R. Marcos (52 SCRA 238), the Court of First Instance of
Baguio and Benguet had no jurisdiction to order the registration of lands
already declared public in Civil Reservation Case No. 1. Lot 43 being part
of the Baguio Townsite Reservation, disposition thereof is under Townsite
Sales Application (TSA). Precisely on this bone [sic] that Lot 43 was not
awarded a Certificate of Land Ancestral Claim [sic] under DENR Circular
No. 03, series of 1990, because it is within the Baguio Townsite
Reservation.6
The DENR Decision was affirmed by the Office of the President which held
that lands within the Baguio Townsite Reservation belong to the public
domain and are no longer registrable under the Land Registration Act. 7 The
Office of the President ordered the disposition of the disputed property in

accordance with the applicable rules of procedure for the disposition of


alienable public lands within the Baguio Townsite Reservation, particularly
Chapter X of Commonwealth Act No. 141 on Townsite Reservations and
other applicable rules.
Having established that the disputed property is public land, the trial court
was therefore correct in dismissing the complaint to quiet title for lack of
jurisdiction. The trial court had no jurisdiction to determine who among the
parties have better right over the disputed property which is admittedly
still part of the public domain. As held in Dajunos v. Tandayag:8
x x x The Tarucs action was for quieting of title and necessitated
determination of the respective rights of the litigants, both claimants to a
free patent title, over a piece of property, admittedly public land. The law,
as relied upon by jurisprudence, lodges the power of executive control,
administration, disposition and alienation of public lands with the Director
of Lands subject, of course, to the control of the Secretary of Agriculture
and Natural Resources.
In sum, the decision rendered in civil case 1218 on October 28, 1968 is a
patent nullity. The court below did not have power to determine who (the
Firmalos or the Tarucs) were entitled to an award of free patent title over
that piece of property that yet belonged to the public domain. Neither did
it have power to adjudge the Tarucs as entitled to the true equitable
ownership thereof, the latters effect being the same: the exclusion of the
Firmalos in favor of the Tarucs.9
In an action for quieting of title, the complainant is seeking for an
adjudication that a claim of title or interest in property adverse to the
claimant is invalid, to free him from the danger of hostile claim, and to
remove a cloud upon or quiet title to land where stale or unenforceable
claims or demands exist.10 Under Articles 47611 and 47712 of the Civil
Code, the two indispensable requisites in an action to quiet title are: (1)
that the plaintiff has a legal or equitable title to or interest in the real
property subject of the action; and (2) that there is a cloud on his title by
reason of any instrument, record, deed, claim, encumbrance or
proceeding, which must be shown to be in fact invalid or inoperative
despite its prima facie appearance of validity.13
In this case, petitioners, claiming to be owners of the disputed property,
allege that respondents are unlawfully claiming the disputed property by
using void documents, namely the Catulagan and the Deed of Waiver of
Rights. However, the records reveal that petitioners do not have legal or
equitable title over the disputed property, which forms part of Lot 43, a
public land within the Baguio Townsite Reservation. It is clear from the
facts of the case that petitioners predecessorsininterest, the heirs of
Pocdo Pool, were not even granted a Certificate of Ancestral Land Claim
over Lot 43, which remains public land. Thus, the trial court had no other
recourse but to dismiss the case.

There is no more need to discuss the other issues raised since these are
intrinsically linked to petitioners action to quiet title.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition. We AFFIRM the 12 October 2011
Decision of the Court of Appeals in CAG.R. CV No. 91039.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 203947
February 26, 2014
RUFA A. RUBIO, BARTOLOME BANTOTO, LEON ALAGADMO, RODRIGO
DELICTA, and ADRIANO ALABATA,Petitioners,
vs.
LOURDES ALABATA, Respondent.
DECISION
MENDOZA, J.:
This petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 seeks to annul and set
aside the November 16, 2011 Decision1and the September 26, 2012
Resolution2 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 02497, which
affirmed the February 28, 2008 Resolution of the Regional Trial Court,
Branch 42, Dumaguete City (RTC-42). in an action for revival of judgment.
The Facts:
Petitioners Rufa A. Rubio, Bartolome Bantoto, Leon Alagadmo, Rodrigo
Delicta, and Adriano Alabata (petitioners) and respondent Lourdes Alabata
(respondent) were protagonists in an earlier case for annulment of
declaration of heirship and sale, reconveyance and damages before the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 43, Dumaguete City (RTC-43). Docketed as
Civil Case No. 10153, the case was decided in favor of petitioner. In its
October 31, 1995 Decision, the RTC-43 (1) voided the "Declaration of
Heirship and Sale;" (2) ordered respondent to reconvey the entire subject
property to petitioners; (3) dismissed respondents counterclaim; and (4)
ordered her to pay moral and exemplary damages plus the cost of suit. 3
Not in conformity, respondent elevated the RTC-43 case to the CA. She,
however, later withdrew her appeal which paved the way for the RTC-43
Decision to lapse into finality. The CA resolution granting respondents
motion to withdraw became final and executory on June 20, 1997. On
August 20, 1997, the Entry of Judgment4 was issued and recorded in the
CA Book of Entries of Judgments.
Unfortunately, the judgment was not executed. Petitioners claim that their
counsel at the Public Attorneys Office, Dumaguete City (PAO-Dumaguete),
was never informed that the entry of judgment had already been
issued.5They pointed out that, initially, their case was handled by the PAODumaguete, but when the RTC-43 decision was appealed to the CA by
respondent, their case was handed over to the Special Appealed Cases
Division (SAC-PAO) at the PAO Central Office in Manila. They explained
that although a copy of the Entry of Judgment was sent to Atty. Ma.
Lourdes Naz, the SAC-PAO lawyer in charge of their case, she failed to
inform petitioners of the issued entry of judgment before she resigned
from PAO sometime in November 1997. She also failed to inform PAODumaguete of the said development. When petitioners followed up with

PAO-Dumaguete, it was of the belief that the appeal of respondent was


still pending.6
In November 2007, or more than ten (10) years from the date when the
RTC-43 decision was entered in the CA Book of Entries of Judgments,
petitioners found out that the said decision had become final and
executory when their nephew secured a copy of the Entry of Judgment.
On December 5, 2007, petitioners, through PAO-Dumaguete, filed an
action for revival of judgment which was raffled to RTC-42. On February
28, 2008, after respondent filed her Answer with Affirmative Defenses,
RTC-42 granted her Motion to Dismiss and ordered petitioners case for
revival of judgment dismissed on the ground of prescription. Petitioners
sought reconsideration, but RTC-42 denied the motion on April 4, 2008. 7
Petitioners then interposed an appeal before the CA. The latter, on
November 16, 2011, rendered its assailed decision denying petitioners
appeal and affirming the dismissal by the RTC-42 of their case for revival
of judgment. On September 26, 2012, the CA denied petitioners motion
for reconsideration.
Hence, this petition.
LONE ISSUE
THE COURT A QUO ERRED IN STRICTLY APPLYING THE PROCEDURAL
RULES ON PRESCRIPTION AND DISMISSING THE CASE BASED ON THE
SAID GROUND, INSPITE [OF] THE FACT THAT PETITIONERS WILL SUFFER
MANIFEST INJUSTICE AND DEPRIVATION OF THEIR PROPERTY, DUE TO A
FAULT NOT ATTRIBUTABLE TO THEM.8
The Court resolves to grant the petition.
This case falls under Section 6, Rule 39 of the 1997 Rules of Civil
Procedure which states:
SEC.6. Execution by motion or by independent action. A final and
executory judgment or order may be executed on motion within five (5)
years from the date of its entry. After the lapse of such time, and before it
is barred by the statute of limitations, a judgment may be enforced by
action. The revived judgment may also be enforced by motion within five
(5) years from the date of its entry and thereafter by action before it is
barred by the statute of limitations.
The prior case before the RTC-43 involved a reconveyance of a parcel of
land in favor of the rightful owners, the heirs of one Agapito Alagadmo.
Petitioners, in instituting the case against respondent, showed their desire
and resolve to pursue and take back what was rightfully theirs. Eventually,
they succeeded in obtaining justice and won back what was theirs. For
their sufferings, the trial court saw it fit to also assess moral damages and
exemplary damages against respondent.9
When the case was elevated by respondent to the CA, the PAO continued
to represent petitioners cause. As it was an appealed case, the matter was
referred to, and handled by, SAC-PAO in Manila.
For reasons known only to her, the respondent withdrew her appeal, which
resulted in the RTC-43 Decision becoming final and executory. The
petitioners, however, never knew of this because when they followed up
the case with PAO-Dumaguete, they were informed that the appeal was
still pending.10

It appears from the records that a copy of the Entry of Judgment was sent
to Atty. Ma. Lourdes Naz, the SAC-PAO lawyer in charge of their case, who
had resigned. Unfortunately, she failed to inform petitioners of the said
entry of judgment before her resignation in November 1997. She also
failed to inform PAO-Dumaguete of such development.
It was only in November 2007, when petitioners actually discovered that
their victory was already final after their nephew secured a copy of the
entry of judgment from RTC-43.
Indeed, both the RTC-42 and the CA were acting in accordance with the
rules and jurisprudence when they dismissed the action for revival of
judgment. Section 6 is clear. Once a judgment becomes final and
executory, the prevailing party can have it executed as a matter of right by
mere motion within five (5) years from the date of entry of judgment. If
the prevailing party fails to have the decision enforced by a motion after
the lapse of five (5) years, the said judgment is reduced to a right of
action which must be enforced by the institution of a complaint in a regular
court within ten (10) years from the time the judgment becomes final. 11
An action for revival of judgment is governed by Article 1144 (3), Article
1152 of the Civil Code and Section 6, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. Thus,
Art. 1144. The following actions must be brought within ten years from the
time the right of action accrues:
xxxx
(3) Upon a judgment
Article 1152 of the Civil Code states:
Art. 1152. The period for prescription of actions to demand the fulfillment
of obligations declared by a judgment commences from the time the
judgment became final.
To allow a strict application of the rules, however, would result in an
injustice to petitioners considering (1) that respondent decided not to
contest the RTC-43 decision and withdrew her appeal and (2) that no fault
could be attributed to petitioners.
Petitioners could not afford to engage the services of a private counsel and
so were represented by the PAO. As has been repeatedly stated all over
the records, PAO, SAC-PAO in particular, failed them. SAC-PAO never
informed them of the abandonment by respondent of her appeal or of the
entry of judgment. Under the circumstances, they could not be faulted for
their subsequent actions. They went to PAO-Dumaguete and they were
told that the case was still pending on appeal. Due to their penury and
unfamiliarity or downright ignorance of the rules, they could not be
expected to bypass PAO-Dumaguete and directly verify the status of the
case with the SAC-PAO. They had to trust their lawyer and wait.
No prejudice is caused to respondent because she withdrew her
appeal.1wphi1 Withdrawing her appeal means that she respected the
RTC-43 Decision, which voided the "Declaration of Heirship and Sale,"
dismissed respondents counterclaim, and ordered her to reconvey the
entire subject property to petitioners and to pay moral and exemplary
damages plus the cost of suit. Since the decision became final and
executory, she has been in possession of the property which rightfully

belongs to petitioners. She will continue to hold on to the property just


because of a technicality.
Due to the peculiarities of this case, the Court, in the exercise of its equity
jurisdiction, relaxes the rules and decides to allow the action for the revival
of judgment filed by petitioners. The Court believes that it is its bounden
duty to exact justice in every way possible and exercise its soundest
discretion to prevent a wrong. Although strict compliance with the rules of
procedure is desired, liberal interpretation is warranted in cases where a
strict enforcement of the rules will not serve the ends of justice; and that
it is a better rule that courts, under the principle of equity, will not be
guided or bound strictly by the statute of limitations or the doctrine of !
aches when to do so, manifest wrong or injustice would result. 12
Thus:
"x x x procedural rules may, nonetheless, be relaxed for the most
persuasive of reasons in order to relieve a litigant of an injustice not
commensurate with the degree of his thoughtlessness in not complying
with the procedure prescribed. Corollarily, the rule, which states that the
mistakes of counsel bind the client, may not be strictly followed where
observance of it would result in the outright deprivation of the client's
liberty or property, or where the interest of justice so requires. 13
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The November 16, 2011 Decision
and the September 26, 2012 Resolution of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R.
CV No. 02497 are REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The case is REMANDED to
the Regional Trial Court for appropriate action.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. 207266
June 25, 2014
HEIRS OF PACIANO YABAO, Represented by REMEDIOS CHAN, Petitioners,
vs.
PAZ LENTEJAS VAN DER KOLK, Respondent.
DECISION
MENDOZA, J.:
This is a petition for review on certiorari seeking to reverse and set aside
the May 28, 2012 Decision1 and the May 2, 2013 Resolution2 of the Court
of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 04532, essentially dismissing the
complaint of petitioners for ownership and possession for failure to prove it
by the required quantum of evidence, though without prejudice.
The case traces its roots to the cornplaint 3 for ownership and possession
filed on March 8, 2001 by the Heirs of the late Paciano Yabao (Heirs of
Yabao), represented by Remedios Chan, before the Municipal Trial Court in
Cities of Calbayog City (MTCC),against Paz Lentejas Van der Kolk (Van der
Kolk),docketed as Civil Case No. 1184. The salient averments in the
complaint are hereunder quoted:
xxxx
2. That plaintiffs herein are the sole surviving heirs of the late spouses
Paciano Yabao and Mercedes Cano;
3. That they are the absolute co-owners of the parcel of land more
particularly described and bounded as follows:

"A parcel of rice land designated as Lot 2473, situated at Brgy. Capoocan,
Calbayog City, bounded on the North by 03-005(1472)04-001(2474); on
the East by 04-031(2774); on the South by 05-009(2462), 008(2461),
004-2458, 003(2457), and on the West by 03-005(2472), 001(2463),
containing an area of 6,433 square meters more or less, declared in
Declaration of Real Property ARP No. 96-01015-00398 in the name of the
late Paciano Yabao, with an assessed value of P2,760.00"
4. That sometime in 1996, defendant herein asserted claim of ownership
and allowed a person to possess the above-described property,
notwithstanding vehement opposition thereto by plaintiffs herein;
5. That notwithstanding demands for the defendant to vacate the premises
usurped and occupied by her, she refused and still continue to refuse, to
leave the said premises;
6. That, aside from taking possession of the premises in question,
defendant also applied for free patent for the property in question with the
DENR Office of Samar, to which plaintiffs herein have filed a timely
opposition; x x x4
The Heirs of Yabao prayed that they be declared the co-owners and
possessors of a parcel of land designated as Lot 2473 located in Brgy.
Capoocan, Calbayog City (subject lot);that possession thereof be restored
to them; and that Van der Kolk be ordered to pay them attorneys fees,
litigation expenses as well as reasonable rental ofP2,000.00 per month.
Copies of the summons and the complaint were served upon the attorneyin-fact of Van der Kolk, Ma. Narcisa Fabregaras-Ventures (Ventures),whom
she authorized, among others, to institute and defend all actions for the
protection of her rights and interests over her properties, including the
subject lot, by virtue of a special power of attorney5 executed on August
22, 1999. It was noted in the Sheriffs Return of Service 6 that Van der Kolk
was in the Netherlands at the time of the service.
On April 2, 2001, Van der Kolk filed a Motion to Dismiss7 the complaint
anchored on the following grounds: 1] lack of jurisdiction by the MTCC
over her person due to defective service of summons; and 2] lack of cause
of action. Van der Kolk alleged that the service of summons should have
been made in accordance with Section 15, Rule 14 of the Rules of Court
because she was not actually residing in the Philippines. She contended
that the predecessors-in-interest of the Heirs of Yabao had executed a
joint affidavit on July 16, 1980, wherein they renounced their hereditary
rights over the subject lot and declared that Faustina Yabao, mother of Van
der Kolk, as its true owner.
The Heirs of Yabao filed their opposition to the said motion and moved to
declare Van der Kolk in default contending that the motion to dismiss was
filed beyond the 15-day reglementary period and no answer had been
filed.8
On July 27, 2004, the MTCC issued a Resolution9 denying the motion to
dismiss and holding that there was proper service of summons. It also
denied the motion to declare defendant in default, stating that the motion
to dismiss was seasonably filed. The MTCC further directed Van der Kolk to
file an answer within 10 days from receipt of the aforesaid resolution.

On September 6, 2004, Van Der Kolks counsel, Atty. Felidito Dacut, filed a
Manifestation with Motion10 praying that he be relieved as her counsel
because she never contacted him about the case after he was informed
that she had revoked the authority of Ventures and, thereafter, asked for
the documents in his possession.
The Heirs of Yabao still reiterated their motion to declare Van der Kolk in
default during the December 20, 2004 hearing because no answer had yet
been filed.
On March 7, 2005, Van der Kolk, through her new counsel, Atty. Eduardo
Tibo (Atty. Tibo),filed her Answer11 to the complaint which was appended
to the Motion for Allowance12 To Belatedly File Defendants Answer.
On December 4, 2006, the MTCC rendered its Decision, 13 declaring Van der
Kolk in default giving the reason that her non-filing of an answer within the
fresh 10-day period was deliberately calculated to delay the early
termination of the case and resolving the case on the merits taking into
account only the allegations of the complaint. The pertinent portions of the
decision, including the dispositive portion, read:
Finding the Motion to Declare Defendant in Default for her failure to file
her answer or any responsive pleading within the fresh period of ten (10)
days given her in the Resolution of July 27, 2004, tenable, the Court
hereby declares the said defendant in default, and considering the
allegations of the complaint to contain clear allegations warranting the
relief and claims prayed for therein, renders its judgment, declaring and
ordering as follows:
1. That the plaintiffs are the lawful co-owners and possessors of the parcel
of land designate das Lot 2473, situated at Brgy. Capoocan, Calbayog City,
more particularly described in paragraph
3 of the complaint; and
2. The defendant and all persons claiming and/or acting under her and her
command shall immediately vacate the premises in question mentioned in
No. 1 hereof and restore the same to the plaintiffs;
3. To pay plaintiffs the amount of Php30,000.00 as attorneys fees; and
4. To pay the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.14
Aggrieved, Van der Kolk appealed the MTCC decision before the Regional
Trial Court, Branch 32, Calbayog City (RTC). On October 22, 2007, counsel
for Van der Kolk received the notice of the RTC Clerk of Court requiring her
to file a memorandum on appeal within 15 days from such receipt or until
November 6, 2007. On November 5, 2007, Atty. Tibo moved for additional
time of 30 days from November 6, 2007 alleging that he could not
seasonably file the saidpleading due to heavy pressures of work. The
appeal memorandum was filed only on November 21, 2007.15 On October
27, 2008, the Heirs of Yabao filed a Motion to Dismiss the appeal, 16 citing
the failure of Van der Kolk to file the appeal memorandum within the 15day reglementary period fixed under Section 7(b), Rule 40 of the Rules of
Court.
On May 6, 2009, the RTC issued the Order17 dismissing the appeal for
failure of Van de Kolk to file the memorandum on appeal within the period
mandated by the Rules of Court. The RTC considered the reasons

advanced by her counsel in the motion for extension of time as not


compelling enough to warrant a relaxation or suspension of the
requirements of Section 7(b) of Rule 40. It added that the right to appeal
is a statutory privilege and one who seeks to avail the same must comply
with the requirements of the statute or rules. The fallo of which reads:
WHEREFORE, for the foregoing reasons, defendant appellants appeal is
hereby ordered DISMISSED.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.18
Van der Kolks motion for reconsideration of the above order was denied by
the RTC for lack of merit in its Order,19 dated August 24, 2009.
Unfazed, Van der Kolk filed a petition for review20 under Rule 42 before the
CA on the following grounds: 1] the MTCC did not acquire jurisdiction over
her person because the summons was served upon Ventures, a non-party
to the case; 2] Remedios Chan was not authorized to institute Civil Case
No. 1184 in representation of the Heirs of Yabao; 3] the MTCC gravely
abused its discretion in declaring her in default and in granting the
execution of the December 4, 2006 Decision pending its appeal; and 4]
the RTC erred in dismissing her appeal.
On May 28, 2012, the CA rendered the assailed decision granting the
petition "on grounds not raised herein but disclosed by the records." 21 It
stated that the MTCC erred in granting the reliefs prayed for by the Heirs
of Yabao because they were not warranted by their complaint. According to
the CA, the MTCC should have required the Heirs of Yabao to present
evidence ex parte, after it had declared Van der Kolk in default, to prove
the allegations in the complaint. The CA adjudged as follows:
Hence, We find merit in this petition albeit not on the grounds relied on by
petitioner. We rule that the respondents were not able to sufficiently prove
by competent evidence their entitlement over the lot in issue and,
therefore, the judgments of the lower courts should be reversed.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the August 29, 2008 Decision of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 10 in Civil Case No. CEB-30866 is REVERSED
and SET ASIDE. Likewise, the Resolution/Decision of the MTCC dated
December 4, 2006 and Order dated July 30, 2007 are REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. All other issuances relative to this case, including the writ of
execution delivering possession to the plaintiffs-respondents are
NULLIFIED. Civil Case No. 1184 is ordered DISMISSED for respondents
FAILURE to prove by the required quantum of evidence their entitlement to
Lot No. 2473, without prejudice to the refiling of another case involving
the same parties and property.
No pronouncement as to costs.
SO ORDERED.22
The motion for reconsideration filed by the Heirs of Yabao was denied by
the CA in its Resolution, dated May 2, 2013.
Hence, this petition.
ISSUES:
IN REVERSING AND SETTING ASIDE THE 29 AUGUST 2008 DECISION OF
THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT RENDERED IN EXERCISE OF ITS APPELLATE
JURISDICTION AND THE 04 DECEMBER 2006 RESOLUTION/DECISION OF

THE MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURT INCITIES, THE COURT OF APPEALS


RENDERED ITS DECISION IN THE PETITION FOR REVIEW NOT IN
ACCORDANCE WITH LAW AND APPLICABLE JURISPRUDENCE, IN THAT:
A. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRANTED THE RESPONDENTS PETITION FOR
REVIEW NOT BYPASSING UPON THE ISSUES RAISED IN THE SAID
PETITION, BUT, BY RESOLVING TO GIVE DUE COURSE TO THE SAME ON
THE BASIS OF GROUNDS PURPORTEDLY DISCLOSED BY THE RECORDS
WHICH ARE EVEN INCONCLUSIVE AND HEARSAY.
B. THE HONORABLE COURT OFAPPEALS FAILED TO RECOGNIZE THAT THE
REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, IN THE EXERCISE OF ITS APPELLATE
JURISDICTION, DID NOT COMMIT ANY ERROR, OR ACTED WITHOUT OR IN
EXCESS OF JURISDICTION, NOR GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION
WHEN IT DISMISSED THE ORDINARY APPEAL FOR RESPONDENTS
FAILURE TOFILE HER MEMORANDUM ON APPEAL WITHIN THE
REGLEMENTARY PERIOD, BUT, WAS ACTING IN ACCORDANCE WITH
SECTION 7(b), RULE 40 OF THE RULES OF COURT.
C. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN SETTING ASIDE THE
RESOLUTION DECREEING RESPONDENTS (AS PLAINTIFFS) AS THE
LAWFUL CO-OWNERS AND POSSESSORS OF THE PROPERTY SUBJECT
MATTER OF THE PRESENT CASE.
D. THE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED IN SETTING ASIDE THE
RESOLUTION/DECISION RENDERED BY THE MTCC OR COURT A QUO OVER
WHICH IT HAS NO APPELLATE JURISDICTION.23
It is the stance of the petitioners, Heirs of Yabao, that the findings and
conclusions of the CA are not in accord with law and applicable
jurisprudence. They aver that the CA erred in holding that the MTCC
should have required them to present evidence ex parte to substantiate
their claims because under Section 3 of Rule 9, when a defendant is
declared in default, the court has the option to either proceed to render
judgment granting the claimant such relief as his pleading may warrant or
require the claimant to adduce his evidence ex parte. In this case, the
petitioners contend that the MTCC, in the exercise of its discretion,
selected the first option. They stress that the CA erred when it set aside
the December 4, 2006 MTCC decision because the CA had no appellate
jurisdiction over the MTCC and could not entertain a direct appeal from the
said decision. They harp on the unjustified failure of the CA to rule on the
correctness of the dismissal of the ordinary appeal taken by Van der Kolk
before the RTC.
The Courts Ruling
The Court finds no merit in the petition.
The Court has allowed the consideration of other grounds not raised or
assigned as errors in several instances. In the case of Manila International
Airport Authority v. Rivera Village Lessee Homeowners Association,
Incorporated,24 the Court enumerated such instances. Thus:
For instance, the Court has allowed the consideration of other grounds not
raised or assigned as errors specifically in the following instances: (1)
grounds not assigned as errors but affecting jurisdiction over the subject
matter; (2) matters not assigned as errors on appeal but are evidently
plain or clerical errors within the contemplation of the law; (3) matters not

assigned as errors on appeal but consideration of which is necessary in


arriving at a just decision and complete resolution of the case or to serve
the interest of justice or to avoid dispensing piecemeal justice; (4) matters
not specifically assigned as errors on appeal but raised in the trial court
and are matters of record having some bearing on the issue submitted
which the parties failed to raise or which the lower court ignored; (5)
matters not assigned as errors on appeal but closely related to an error
assigned; and (6) matters not assigned as errors on appeal but upon
which the determination of a question properly assigned is dependent.
In the case at bench, the Court agrees with the observation, analysis and
conclusion of the CA. The several errors committed by the MTCC, which
when taken collectively, justify the reversal of its December 4, 2006
Decision.
The Court agrees with the CA that the MTCC erred when it granted the
reliefs prayed by the Heirs of Yabao because the same were not warranted
by the allegations in the complaint. The Court notes that the allegations
pertinent to the petitioners cause of action, particularly on their claim of
ownership and right to possession over Lot 2473, were not supported by
any document annexed to the complaint. Mere assertions, as what the
petitioners proffered, do not suffice. In this regard, the Court quotes with
approval the observations of the CA on this score:
Ownership by the heirs cannot be established by mere lip service and bare
allegations in the complaint. As in all matters, a party must establish
his/her averments in the complaint by sufficient evidence necessary to
prove such claim. In the case at bench, the respondents, as plaintiffs in
the MTCC, merely alleged that they are the heirs of Paciano Yabao without
presenting any proof why they are the latters heirs and in what degree or
capacity. xxx
It is significant that the basis of respondents claim of ownership was a
mere tax declaration that was supposedly in the name of their putative
ancestor Paciano Yabao. However, a tax declaration is not a proof of
ownership; it is not a conclusive evidence of ownership of real property. In
the absence of actual, public, and adverse possession, the declaration of
the land for tax purposes does not prove ownership. It can only be a
strong indication of ownership if coupled with possession. In the case at
bench, it was the petitioner who was in possession of the property and not
the respondents. Consequently, the tax declaration, standing alone, is not
an acceptable proof of ownership.
Moreover, it should be noted that in a Motion to Dismiss, there was already
an allegation that the putative heirs or the children of Paciano Yabao
executed an affidavit whereby they indicated that they are not claiming
ownership over the averred property since it was erroneously surveyed
and included in the landholdings of said decedent. At that point,
respondents, instead of merely stating that there was no sale made by
Paciano Yabao, ought to have already presented proof to rebut this point
advanced by petitioner.25
Accordingly, the petitioners entitlement to their claims was not proven by
preponderance of evidence.1wphi1 As correctly pointed out by the CA,
the MTCC should have, after it declared Van der Kolk in default, directed

the Heirs of Yabao to adduce evidence to substantiate the allegations in


their complaint. After all, he who alleges a fact has the burden of proving
it and mere allegation is not evidence.26
The Court also notes other flaws in the handling by the MTCC of the case.
One. The MTCC failed to consider the absence of any allegation in the
complaint regarding the authority of Remedios Chan to institute Civil Case
No. 1184 for the Heirs of Yabao. Section 4, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court
provides that facts showing the capacity of a party to sue or be sued, or
the authority of a party to sue or be sued in a representative capacity
must be averred in the complaint. The party bringing suit has the burden
of proving the sufficiency of the representative character that he claims. If
a complaint is filed by one who claims to represent a party as plaintiff but
who, in fact, is not authorized to do so, such complaint is not deemed filed
and the court does not acquire jurisdiction over the complaint. It bears
stressing that an unauthorized complaint does not produce any legal
effect.27
Two. The MTCC should have admitted Van der Kolks answer, which was
appended to her motion for allowance to belatedly file answer, filed on
March 7, 2005 instead of declaring her in default. Record shows that the
MTCC rendered the judgment of default only on December 4, 2006 and
thus, it slept on Van der Kolks said motion for 1 year and nine months,
just as it also slept on the petitioners motion to declare her in default for
almost two years. This is procedurally unsound.
It is within the sound discretion of the trial court to permit the defendant
to file his answer and to be heard on the merits even after the
reglementary period for filing the answer expires. 28
The rule is that the defendant's answer should be admitted where it is filed
before a declaration of default and no prejudice is caused to the
plaintiff.29 In this case, Van der Kolk filed the answer beyond the
reglementary period but before she was declared in default, and there was
no showing that she intended to delay the prompt disposition of the case.
Consequently, her Answer should have been admitted.
The MTCC must be reminded that it is the policy of the law that every
litigant should be afforded the opportunity to have his case be tried on the
merits as much as possible. Hence, judgments by default are frowned
upon.30 It must be emphasized that a case is best decided when all
contending parties are able to ventilate their respective claims, present
their arguments and adduce evidence in support of their positions. By
giving the parties the chance to be heard fully, the demands of clue
process are subserved. Moreover, it is only amidst such an atmosphere
that accurate factual findings and correct legal conclusions can be reached
by the courts.31
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED..
G.R. No. 164246
January 15, 2014
HERMINIA ACBANG, Petitioner,
vs.
HON. JIMMY H.F. LUCZON, JR., PRESIDING JUDGE, REGIONAL TRIAL
COURT, BRANCH 01, SECOND JUDICIAL REGION, TUGUEGARAO CITY,

CAGAYAN, and SPOUSES MAXIMO LOPEZ and HEIDI L.


LOPEZ,Respondents.
D E C I S I O N BERSAMIN, J.:
To stay the immediate execution of the judgment in an ejectment case, the
defendant must perfect an appeal, file a supersedeas bond, and
periodically deposit the rentals becoming due during the pendency of the
appeal. Otherwise, the writ of execution will issue upon motion of the
plaintiff.
The Case
By petition for prohibition, the petitioner, a defendant-appellant in Civil
Case No. 6302 of the Regional Trial Court RTC), Branch 1, in Tuguegarao
City, Cagayan, assails the order issued on March 31, 2004 by respondent
Judge Jimmy H.F. Luczon, Jr. Judge Luczon) granting the motion for
execution against her and her co-defendants on the ground that she had
not posted any supersedeas bond to stay the execution. 1
Antecedents
Respondent Spouses Maximo and Heidi Lopez (Spouses Lopez)
commenced an ejectment suit against the petitioner, her son Benjamin
Acbang, Jr. and his wife Jean (Acbangs) in the Municipal Trial Court (MTC)
of Alcala, Cagayan (Civil Case No. 64). The defendants did not file their
answer. Thus, the MTC rendered its decision on January 12, 2004 in favor
of the Spouses Lopez, disposing thusly:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment is hereby rendered in favor
of the plaintiffs and as against defendants as follows:
a) The plaintiffs are the true and lawful owners of the land covered by
Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-139163.
b) The defendants are directed to vacate immediately the land in suit
which is covered and described in TCT No. T-139163, copy of the title is
marked as Annex "A" of the complaint.
c) The defendants are hereby ordered to pay jointly and severally to the
plaintiffs the amount of P5,000.00 as attorneys fees.
d) The defendants are ordered to pay the costs. 2
The petitioner appealed to the RTC.
In the meantime, the Spouses Lopez moved for the execution of the
decision pending appeal in the RTC,3 alleging that the defendants had not
filed a supersedeas bond to stay the execution. The Acbangs opposed the
motion for execution pending appeal,4 insisting that the failure of the
Spouses Lopez to move for the execution in the MTC constituted a waiver
of their right to the immediate execution; and that, therefore, there was
nothing to stay, rendering the filing of the supersedeas bond unnecessary.
In his assailed order dated March 31, 2004, Judge Luczon granted the
motion for immediate execution, viz:
The Motion for Execution is hereby granted, there being no Motion to Fix
Supersedeas bond filed by [the Acbangs] as of the date of the filing of the
Motion.
The opposition of [the spouses Lopez] on the appeal taken by [the
Acbangs] is hereby denied because under the rules the loosing [sic] party
may appeal the case even if they did not post their supercedeas [sic]
bond. [The spouses Lopez] then are given 15 days from today within

which to file their memorandum and [the Acbangs] are also given similar
period to file their reply on the memorandum of [the spouses Lopez].
Afterwhich (sic) the case shall be submitted for decision with or without
the memorandum from the parties.
SO ORDERED.5
The petitioner moved for reconsideration,6 stressing that the filing of the
supersedeas bond was for the purpose of staying the execution; and that
she as a defendant would not be placed in a position to stay the execution
by filing a supersedeas bond unless she was first notified of the filing of
the motion for immediate execution.
The RTC denied the petitioners motion for reconsideration on April 26,
2004,7 viz:
The Motion for Reconsideration filed by defendant Herminia Acbang is
denied, for the reason that the Court finds no cause or reason to recall the
order granting appellees motion for execution. There was no supersedeas
bond filed by [the Acbangs], so the execution of the decision is proper.
As the office of the supersedeas bond is to stay the execution of the
decision, the same should be filed before the Motion For Writ of Execution
is filed.
IT IS SO ORDERED.8
The petitioner then brought the petition for prohibition directly in this
Court on July 2, 2004, submitting that Judge Luczon thereby committed
grave error in granting the motion for immediate execution of the Spouses
Lopez without first fixing the supersedeas bond as prayed for by the
Acbangs.
It appears that the RTC rendered its decision in Civil Case No. 6302 on July
30, 2004,9 finding that the petitioner had not received the summons, and
that the sheriffs return did not show the steps taken by the server to
insure the petitioners receipt of the summons, like the tender of the
summons to her; that the non-service of the summons on her resulted in
the MTC not acquiring jurisdiction over her; and that the MTCs decision in
Civil Case No. 64 dated January 14, 2004 was void as far as she was
concerned. Thus, the RTC disposed as follows:
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the Court declares that the
decision rendered by the Municipal Trial Court of Alcala, Cagayan dated
January 14, 2004 is null and void, as far as defendant Herminia Acbang is
concerned.
The MTC of Alcala is Ordered to reopen the case and served [sic] the
summons to Herminia Acbang and conduct the proceedings without any
delay.
It is so adjudged.10
In the petition, the petitioner insists that the Spouses Lopezs motion for
execution pending appeal should be filed before she posted a supersedeas
bond. She argues that even if the MTCs decision was immediately
executory, it did not mean that a motion for execution was dispensable;
and that the Spouses Lopez waived their right to the immediate execution
when they did not file a motion for execution in the MTC.
On the other hand, the Spouses Lopez claim that the issuance of a writ of
execution was ministerial because of the defendants failure to file a

supersedeas bond prior to or at the time of the filing of their notice of


appeal in the MTC.
Ruling
Section 19, Rule 70 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure reads:
Section 19. Immediate execution of judgment; how to stay same. If
judgment is rendered against the defendant, execution shall issue
immediately upon motion unless an appeal has been perfected and the
defendant to stay execution files a sufficient supersedeas bond, approved
by the Municipal Trial Court and executed in favor of the plaintiff to pay the
rents, damages, and costs accruing down to the time of the judgment
appealed from, and unless, during the pendency of the appeal, he deposits
with the appellate court the amount of rent due from time to time under
the contract, if any, as determined by the judgment of the Municipal Trial
Court. In the absence of a contract, he shall deposit with the Regional Trial
Court the reasonable value of the use and occupation of the premises for
the preceding month or period at the rate determined by the judgment of
the lower court on or before the tenth day of each succeeding month or
period. The supersedeas bond shall be transmitted by the Municipal Trial
Court, with the papers, to the clerk of the Regional Trial Court to which the
action is appealed.
All amounts so paid to the appellate court shall be deposited with said
court or authorized government depositary bank, and shall be held there
until the final disposition of the appeal, unless the court, by agreement of
the interested parties, or in the absence of reasonable grounds of
opposition to a motion to withdraw, or for justifiable reasons, shall decree
otherwise. Should the defendant fail to make the payments above
prescribed from time to time during the pendency of the appeal, the
appellate court, upon motion of the plaintiff, and upon proof of such
failure, shall order the execution of the judgment appealed from with
respect to the restoration of possession, but such execution shall not be a
bar to the appeal taking its course until the final disposition thereof on the
merits.
After the case is decided by the Regional Trial Court, any money paid to
the court by the defendant for purposes of the stay of execution shall be
disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the judgment of the
Regional Trial Court. In any case wherein it appears that the defendant has
been deprived of the lawful possession of land or building pending the
appeal by virtue of the execution of the judgment of the Municipal Trial
Court, damages for such deprivation of possession and restoration of
possession and restoration of possession may be allowed the defendant in
the judgment of the Regional Trial Court disposing of the appeal.
Here, there was no indication of the date when the petitioner filed her
notice of appeal. Her petition stated simply that she had filed a "timely
notice of appeal which was given due course without the respondents filing
a motion for execution in the Municipal Trial Court of Alcala, the court a
quo."11 On the other hand, the Spouses Lopez filed in the RTC their motion
for execution pending appeal on February 19, 2004.

The ruling in Chua v. Court of Appeals12 is instructive on the means of


staying the immediate execution of a judgment in an ejectment case, to
wit:
As a general rule, a judgment in favor of the plaintiff in an ejectment suit
is immediately executory, in order to prevent further damage to him
arising from the loss of possession of the property in question. To stay the
immediate execution of the said judgment while the appeal is pending the
foregoing provision requires that the following requisites must concur: (1)
the defendant perfects his appeal; (2) he files a supersedeas bond; and
(3) he periodically deposits the rentals which become due during the
pendency of the appeal. The failure of the defendant to comply with any of
these conditions is a ground for the outright execution of the judgment,
the duty of the court in this respect being "ministerial and imperative."
Hence, if the defendant-appellant perfected the appeal but failed to file a
supersedeas bond, the immediate execution of the judgment would
automatically follow. Conversely, the filing of a supersedeas bond will not
stay the execution of the judgment if the appeal is not perfected.
Necessarily then, the supersedeas bond should be filed within the period
for the perfection of the appeal.
In short, a judgment in favor of the plaintiff in an ejectment suit is
immediately executory, but the defendant, to stay its immediate
execution, must: (1) perfect an appeal; (2) file a supersede s bond; and
(3) periodically deposit the rentals becoming due during the pendency of
the appeal. Although the petitioner correctly states that the Spouses Lopez
should file a motion for execution pending appeal before the court may
issue an order for the immediate execution of the judgment, the spouses
Lopez are equally correct in pointing out that they were entitled to the
immediate execution of the judgment in view of the Ac bangs failure to
comply with all of the three abovementioned requisites for staying the
immediate execution. The filing of the notice of appeal alone perfected the
appeal but did not suffice to stay the immediate execution without the
filing of the sufficient supersede s bond and the deposit of the accruing
rentals.
The foregoing notwithstanding, the decision of the R TC favored the
petitioner because it declared the judgment of the MTC void as far as she
was concerned for lack of jurisdiction over her person. The RTC thus
directed the MTC to cause the service of the summons on her and to
conduct further proceedings without any delay. In effect, the supervening
declaration of the nullity of the judgment being sought to be executed
against her has rendered moot and academic the issue in this special civil
action as far as she was concerned.
WHEREFORE, the Court DISMISSES the petition for prohibition for being
moot and academic, without pronouncement on costs of suit.
Missing cases: baculna * roxas