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Atty. Tomas Ong Cabili (Atty. Cabili) was
counsel of the Heirs of Jesus Ledesma in the
latters action for damages against the Mindanao
State University (MSU) and others arising from
the death of the late Jesus Ledesma in Civil Case
06-254 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Iligan
City, Branch 6. The RTC rendered judgment
against the defendants, including MSU, ordering
them to pay damages to the Heirs. On appeal,
the Court of Appeals (CA) affirmed the RTC
decision which became final and executory.
Eventually, on motion of the Heirs, on
March 6, 2009 the RTC Branch 6 caused the
issuance of a writ of execution against the
defendants. The Office of the Solicitor General
(OSG) belatedly filed an opposition to the
issuance of the writ, resulting in its denial on the
ground of mootness of the motion. Meantime,
the Sheriff of Branch 6, Sheriff Gerard Peter Gaje,
served a notice of garnishment on MSUs funds
with the Land Bank of the Philippines Marawi
City Branch by reason of MSUs failure to obey
the writ.
On April 1, 2009, to prevent seizure of its
Land Bank deposits that it needed for
operations, MSU filed a special civil action of
prohibition and mandamus with application for
the issuance of a temporary restraining order
(TRO) and, subsequently, a preliminary
injunction before the RTC Branch 8, presided
over by respondent acting presiding judge, Judge
Rasad G. Balindong, against Land Bank and
Sheriff Gaje.
In its petition, MSU averred that it is a
state university, funded by appropriations law
enacted by Congress; that despite OSG
opposition to the issuance of a writ of execution
against it, such writ was issued and Sheriff Gaje

garnished upon MSUs deposits with Land Bank,

who in turn gave notice to MSU that it was
putting on hold the sum of P2,726,189.90 on its
deposit in Account 2002-0000-35; that, this
money being government funds, Sheriff Gaje
was executing on the same in violation of
Commission on Audit (COA) Circular 2001-002
dated July 31, 2001 and SC Administrative
Circular 10-2000; and that unless restrained, the
garnishment of government fund would disrupt
MSUs operations.
After due hearing, Judge Balindong
issued a TRO, enjoining Land Bank and Sheriff
Gaje from proceeding with the garnishment of
the MSU deposit with Land Bank. To determine
whether the issuance of a writ of preliminary
injunction was warranted, Judge Balindong
heard the parties and required them to submit
memoranda. Instead of submitting a
memorandum, Sheriff Gaje filed a motion to
dismiss on the ground that RTC Branch 8 had no
jurisdiction to issue an injunction order against
another court of equal rank. Finding merit, on
April 28, 2009 Judge Balindong issued an Order,
dismissing the petition.
For having initially taken cognizance of
the case and issuing a TRO, Atty. Cabili filed the
present administrative action Judge Balindong
for gross ignorance of the law, grave abuse of
authority, abuse of discretion and/or grave
misconduct prejudicial to the interest of the
judicial service. The Office of the Court
Administrator (OCA) found ground to hold Judge
Balindong guilty of gross ignorance of the law for
interfering with the judgment of a co-equal
court. It recommended the imposition of a fine
of P40,000.00 on Judge Balindong with a stern
warning against a future offense.
Whether or not Judge Balindong acted
with gross ignorance of the law when he issued
the TRO, pending hearing on the application for


preliminary injunction that enjoined Sheriff Gaje

from garnishing MSUs Congress-appropriated
operating funds for the satisfaction of the
judgment of RTC Branch 6.
YES. The doctrine of judicial stability or
non-interference in the regular orders or
judgments of a co-equal court is an elementary
principle in the administration of justice: no
court can interfere by injunction with the
judgments or orders of another court of
concurrent jurisdiction having the power to
grant the relief sought by the injunction. The
rationale for the rule is founded on the concept
of jurisdiction: a court that acquires jurisdiction
over the case and renders judgment therein has
jurisdiction over its judgment, to the exclusion of
all other coordinate courts, for its execution and
over all its incidents, and to control, in
furtherance of justice, the conduct of ministerial
officers acting in connection with this judgment.
Judge Balindong clearly ignored the
principle of judicial stability by issuing a TRO to
temporarily restrain Sheriff Gaje from enforcing
the writ of execution issued by a co-equal court,
Branch 6 of the Iligan City RTC, and from
pursuing the garnishment of the amount of
P2,726,189.90 from MSUs account with the LBP,
Marawi City Branch. The respondent Judge was
aware that he was acting on matters pertaining
to the execution phase of a final decision of a coequal and coordinate court since he even quoted
MSUs allegations in his April 8, 2009 Order.
The respondent Judge should have
refrained from acting on the petition because
Branch 6 of the Iligan City RTC retains jurisdiction
to rule on any question on the enforcement of
the writ of execution.


Spouses Aggabao filed a protest against
the petitioners free patent application over a
parcel of unregistered land located in Caniogan,
Sto. Tomas, Isabela, pending before the
Department of Environment and Natural
Resources, Region II, Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.
The subject land was previously owned
by Marcos Binag, who later sold it (first sale) to
Felicisimo Bautista. In 1959, Bautista, in turn,
sold the subject land (second sale) to Atty.
Samson Binag.
On December 12, 1961, Atty. Binag
applied for a free patent over the subject land
with the Bureau of Lands. On November 24,
1987, Atty. Binag sold the subject land (third
sale) to the petitioner, who substituted for Atty.
Binag as the free patent applicant. The parties
deed of sale states that the land sold to the
petitioner is the same lot subject of Atty. Binags
pending free patent application.
On December 28, 1992, the respondents
filed a protest against the petitioners free patent
ownership over Lot 322 based on the Deeds of
Extrajudicial Settlement with Sale, dated June
23, 1971 and April 15, 1979, executed in their
favor by the heirs of one Rafael Bautista.
On July 10, 1998, the DENR Regional
Office ruled that the petitioner wrongfully
included Lot 322 in his free patent application
since this lot belongs to the respondents.
reconsideration. The DENR Regional Office
denied the motion ruling that in determining the
identity of a lot, the boundaries and not the lot
number assigned to it - are controlling. Since the
boundaries indicated in the deed of sale in the


petitioners favor correspond to the boundaries

of Lot 258, what the petitioner acquired was Lot
258, notwithstanding the erroneous description
of the lot sold as Lot 322.

requiring the special knowledge, experience and

services of the administrative tribunal to
determine technical and intricate matters of

On appeal, the DENR Secretary affirmed

the ruling of the DENR Regional Office. After
noting the differences in the boundaries stated
in the parties respective Deeds of Sale, the DENR
Secretary concluded that the land claimed by the
petitioner is, in fact, distinct from that claimed
by the respondents.

The doctrine of primary jurisdiction

applies where a claim is originally cognizable in
the courts, and comes into play whenever
enforcement of the claim requires the resolution
of issues which, under a regulatory scheme, have
been placed within the special competence of an
administrative body, in such case the judicial
process is suspended pending referral of such
issues to the administrative body for its view.

The DENR Secretary ruled that based on

the parties respective deeds of sale, the
Subdivision Plan of the lot sold to the petitioner
and Atty. Binags affidavit - claiming that the
designation of Lot 322 in the Deed of Sale in the
petitioners favor is erroneous - what the
petitioner really acquired was Lot 258 and not
Lot 322. The petitioner appealed to the Court of
Appeals. CA affirmed DENR Secretary Decision
applying the doctrine of primary jurisdiction. The
CA ruled that since questions on the identity of a
land require a technical determination by the
appropriate administrative body, the findings of
fact of the DENR Regional Office, as affirmed by
the DENR Secretary, are entitled to great
respect, if not finality.

The resolution of conflicting claims of

ownership over real property is within the
regular courts area of competence and,
concededly, this issue is judicial in character.
However, regular courts would have no power to
conclusively resolve this issue of ownership
given the public character of the land, since
under C.A. No. 141, in relation to Executive
Order No. 192, the disposition and management
of public lands fall within the exclusive
jurisdiction of the Director of Lands, subject to
review by the DENR Secretary.

WON CA is wrong in applying the Doctrine of
Primary Jurisdiction.

NO. Under the doctrine of primary
jurisdiction, courts must refrain from
determining a controversy involving a question
which is within the jurisdiction of the
administrative tribunal prior to its resolution by
the latter, where the question demands the
exercise of sound administrative discretion

After one month from the effectivity of
the Judiciary Act of 1948, spouses Tijam filed a
collection case against spouses Sibonghanoy.
The preliminary attachment filed by the plaintiff
was dissolve by a counterbond posted by the
defendants through a surety company. After
being duly served with summons the defendants
filed their answer in which, after making some
admissions and denials of the material
averments of the complaint, they interposed a
counterclaim. This counterclaim was answered
by the plaintiffs.


The Court rendered judgment in

favor of the plaintiffs and, after the same had
become final and executory, upon motion of the
latter, the Court issued a writ of execution
against the defendants. The writ having been
returned unsatisfied, the plaintiffs moved for the
issuance of a writ of execution against the
Surety's bond, against which the Surety filed a
written opposition upon two grounds, namely,
(1) Failure to prosecute and (2) Absence of a
demand upon the Surety for the payment of the
amount due under the judgment. Upon these
grounds the Surety prayed the Court not only to
deny the motion for execution against its
counter-bond but also the following affirmative
relief : "to relieve the herein bonding company
of its liability, if any, under the bond in question"
Whether or not the surety company can
still question the jurisdiction of the trial court.
No, though it is clear that the case is outside
the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial of Cebu,
defendants were estopped from questioning the
court's jurisdiction. The Court explained "a party
may be estopped or barred from raising a
question in different ways and for different
reasons. Thus we speak of estoppel in pais, or
estoppel by deed or by record, and of estoppel
by laches.
Laches, in a general sense is failure or
neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained
length of time, to do that which, by exercising
due diligence, could or should have been done
earlier; it is negligence or omission to assert a
right within a reasonable time, warranting a
presumption that the party entitled to assert it
either has abandoned it or declined to assert it.
The doctrine of laches or of "stale
demands" is based upon grounds of public policy
which requires, for the peace of society, the

discouragement of stale claims and, unlike the

statute of limitations, is not a mere question of
time but is principally a question of the inequity
or unfairness of permitting a right or claim to be
enforced or asserted.
The facts of this case show that from the
time the Surety became a quasi-party, it could
have raised the question of the lack of
jurisdiction [it only raised the question of
jurisdiction after 15 years] of the Court of First
Instance of Cebu to take cognizance of the
present action by reason of the sum of money
involved which, according to the law then in
force, was within the original exclusive
jurisdiction of inferior courts. It failed to do so.
Instead, at several stages of the proceedings in
the court a quo as well as in the Court of Appeals,
it invoked the jurisdiction of said courts to obtain
affirmative relief and submitted its case for a
final adjudication on the merits. It was only after
an adverse decision was rendered by the Court
of Appeals that it finally woke up to raise the
question of jurisdiction. Were we to sanction
such conduct on its part, We would in effect be
declaring as useless all the proceedings had in
the present case since it was commenced and
compel the judgment creditors to go up their
Calvary once more. The inequity and unfairness
of this is not only patent but revolting."
Moreover, adds the Court, "we frown
upon the 'undesirable practice' of a party
submitting his case for decision and then
accepting the judgment, only if favorable, and
attacking it for lack of jurisdiction, when
Spouses Florendo are the registered
owners of three parcels of land covered by OCT
No. S-V-97. The said properties were mortgaged
with the Philippine National Bank to secure a
loan obtained by the Florendos. Upon the


promulgation of Presidential Decree No. 27, the

property covered by OCT-S-V-97 was subjected
to operation land transfer of the land reform
program. This parcel of land was, therefore,
redistributed to 31 tenants. The value of the land
was assessed at P148,716.48. The Florendos
were paid under Section 80 of Republic Act 3844
as amended by Section 7 of Presidential Decree
251. Pursuant to this law, the Land Bank
remitted to the Philippine National Bank
P94,500.00 in bonds and a check in the amount
of P332.31 for a total of P94,832.31 to pay the
outstanding obligation of the Florendos so that
the lot covered by OCT No. S-V97 could be
released to the Land Bank and the "assignment
of rights" could be accomplished by the
However, petitioner PNB was only
willing to accept P15,500.00 at face value, and
the balance of P79,400.00 at a 40% discount for
a total discount of P31,600.00 thus crediting the
Florendos with a total sum of P53,232.31.
Petitioner ratiocinated that it had a policy of
accepting Land Bank bonds on a one to one basis
only in so far as property subjected to the
agrarian land reform was concerned. All others
were accepted at a discounted rate.
Spouses Florendo expressed their nonconformity with the petitioner banks policy.
Petitioner maintained its stand and refused to
approve for registration with the Register of
Deeds of Negros Oriental the "Assignment of
Rights" and the release of lot No. S-V-97 to the
Land Bank.
The trial court ruled in favor of Spouses
Florendo and against petitioner bank.
The CA affirmed the judgment of the
lower court. Hence, this appeal.
Whether or not the PNB can still question the
jurisdiction of the Court of Agrarian Relations..

NO. The issue of jurisdiction was first
raised in the Court of Appeals. In the Court of
Agrarian Relations, the PNB filed an answer
setting up its special and affirmative defenses
with counterclaim. The PNB through its counsel
and representative actively participated in all the
hearings. In fact, the parties agreed upon the
issues of the case and the PNB never raised the
issue on the alleged lack of jurisdiction of the
Court of Agrarian Relations.
On this score alone, the PNB is precluded
from raising for the first time on appeal the issue
of lack of jurisdiction of the Court of Agrarian
Relations over C.A.R. Case No. 494. Citing the
earlier case of Tijam v. Sibonghanoy (23 SCRA
While petitioners could have prevented
the trial court from exercising jurisdiction over
the case by seasonably taking exception thereto,
they instead invoked the very same jurisdiction
by filing an answer and seeking affirmative relief
from it. What is more, they participated in the
trial of the case by cross-examining respondent
Planas. Upon this premise, petitioners cannot
now be allowed belatedly to adopt an
inconsistent posture by attacking the jurisdiction
of the court to which they had submitted
themselves voluntarily.
Assemblyman Emilio Melgazo founded
Association (CPA) in Hilongos, Leyte. The
organization aimed to provide livelihood to and
generate income for his supporters.
Melgazo was elected President. He then
bought a parcel of land in behalf of the
association. The property was later on converted
into a wet market where agricultural, livestock


and other farm products were sold. It also

housed a cockpit and an area for various forms
of amusement. The income generated from the
property, mostly rentals from the wet market,
was paid to CPA.
When Emiliano Melgazo died, his son,
petitioner Manuel Melgazo, succeeded him as
CPA president and administrator of the property.
On the other hand, petitioners Atwel and Pilpil
were elected as CPA vice-president and
treasurer, respectively.
While CPA was in the process of
registering as a stock corporation, its other
elected officers and members formed their own
group and registered themselves in the SEC
officers and members of respondent Concepcion
Progressive Association, Inc. (CPAI). Petitioners
were not listed either as officers or members of
CPAI. Later, CPAI objected to petitioners'
collection of rentals from the wet market
CPAI filed a case in the SEC for
mandatory injunction.5 With the passage of RA
8799, the case was transferred to Branch 24 of
the Southern Leyte RTC and subsequently, to
Branch 8 of the Tacloban City RTC. Both were
special commercial courts.
CPAI alleged that it was the owner of the
property and petitioners, without authority,
were collecting rentals from the wet market
vendors. Petitioners refuted CPAI's claim saying
that it was preposterous and impossible for the
latter to have acquired ownership over the
property in 1968 when it was only in 1997 that it
was incorporated and registered with the SEC.
Petitioners was purchased using the money of
petitioner Manuel Melgazo's father (the late
Emiliano Melgazo), it belonged to the latter. The special commercial court ruled that
the deed of sale covering the property was in the
name of CPA, not Emiliano Melgazo. It also
considered CPA to be one and the same as CPAI.

Petitioners went to the CA and

contested the jurisdiction of the special
commercial court over the case. According to
them, they were not CPAI members, hence the
case did not involve an intra-corporate dispute
"between and among members" so as to
warrant the special commercial court's
jurisdiction over it.
CPAI, on the other hand, argued that
petitioners were already in estoppel as they had
participated actively in the court proceedings
to which the CA agreed.
CA held that the fact that petitioners
are admittedly not members of CPAI, then, the
special commercial court should not have taken
cognizance of the case as it exercises special and
limited jurisdiction under R.A. No. 8799.
However, as correctly argued and pointed out by
CPAI, the acts of the petitioners, through their
counsel, in participating in the trial of the that they themselves consider the
trial court to have jurisdiction over the case.
Petitioners essentially argue that
estoppel cannot apply because a court's
jurisdiction is conferred exclusively by the
Constitution or by law, not by the parties'
agreement or by estoppel.
1.W/N the court a quo has jurisdiction
over the case?
2. Did the doctrine of estoppel bar
petitioners from questioning the jurisdiction of
the special commercial court?
1. NONE. Originally, section 5 of
Presidential Decree (PD) 902-A13 conferred on
the SEC original and exclusive jurisdiction over
intra-corporate controversies. However, the
jurisdiction of the SEC over such and other cases
enumerated under it were later on transferred


to the courts of general jurisdiction pursuant to

the enactment of RA 8799. To determine
whether a case involves an intra-corporate
controversy to be heard and decided by the RTC,
two elements must concur: (1) the status or
relationship of the parties and; (2) the nature of
the question that is subject of their controversy.
These elements were not present in the case at
bar. Moreover, the issue in this case does not
concern the regulation of CPAI or even CPA.

of San Juan because the assessed value of the

property was allegedly less than 100,000. The
MTC awarded the land to respondent. Acting on
an appeal filed by the Republic, the CA RULED
that since the former had actively participated in
the proceedings before the lower court, but
failed to raise the jurisdictional challenge
therein, petitioner is thereby estopped from
questioning the jurisdiction of the lower court on

The determination as to who is the true

owner of the disputed property should be
threshed out in a regular court. Cases of this
nature are cognizable by the RTC under BP 129.
Therefore, the conflict among the parties here
was outside the jurisdiction of the special
commercial court.


2. NO. The rule remains that estoppel

does not confer jurisdiction on a tribunal that
has none over the cause of action or subject
matter of the case. Unfortunately for CPAI, no
exceptional circumstance appears in this case to
warrant divergence from the rule. Jurisdiction by
estoppel is not available here. Consequently,
CPAI cannot be permitted to wrest from
petitioners (as the remaining CPA officers) the
administration of the disputed property until
after the parties' rights are clearly adjudicated in
the proper courts. It is neither fair nor legal to
bind a party to the result of a suit or proceeding
in a court with no jurisdiction. The decision of a
tribunal not vested with the appropriate
jurisdiction is null and void.
Bantigue Point Development Corporation filed
with the RTC an application for original
registration of title over a parcel of land in
Barangay Barualte, San Juan, Batangas.
Petitioner Republic filed its Opposition.
Thereafter, the RTC Clerk of Court transmitted
motu proprio the records of the case to the MTC

Whether or not the Republic is estopped from

questioning the courts jurisdiction
NO. At the outset, the court rule that
petitioner Republic is not estopped from
questioning the jurisdiction of the lower court,
even if the former raised the jurisdictional
question only on appeal.
The rule is settled that lack of jurisdiction
over the subject matter may be raised at any
stage of the proceedings. Jurisdiction over the
subject matter is conferred only by the
Constitution or the law. It cannot be acquired
through a waiver or enlarged by the omission of
the parties or conferred by the acquiescence of
the court. Consequently, questions of
jurisdiction may be cognizable even if raised for
the first time on appeal.
The ruling of the Court of Appeals that a
party may be estopped from raising such
[jurisdictional] question if he has actively taken
part in the very proceeding which he questions,
belatedly objecting to the courts jurisdiction in
the event that the judgment or order
subsequently rendered is adverse to him is not
applicable. (Tijam v. Sibonghanoy.)
In this case, petitioner Republic has not
displayed such unreasonable failure or neglect
that would lead us to conclude that it has


abandoned or declined to assert its right to

question the lower court's jurisdiction.

years) would be an exercise in futility and would

unjustly burden petitioners.


The Court, in Valenzuela v. Court of

Appeals, held that as a general rule, if there is a
judicial liquidation of an insolvent bank, all
claims against the bank should be filed in the
liquidation proceeding. The Court in Valenzuela,
however, after considering the circumstances
attendant to the case, held that the general rule
should not be applied if to order the aggrieved
party to refile or relitigate its case before the
litigation court would be "an exercise in futility."
In the present case, the Court finds that
analogous considerations exist to warrant the
application of Valenzuela. Petitioner Restituto
was 78 years old at the time the petition was
filed in this Court, and his co-petitioner-wife
Erlinda died during the pendency of the case.
And, except for co-petitioner Corazon, Restituto
is a resident of Ozamis City. To compel him to
appear and relitigate the case in the liquidation
court-Nasugbu RTC when the issues to be raised
before it are the same as those already
exhaustively passed upon and decided by the
Balayan RTC would be superfluous.

Atty. Restituto Cudiamat and his brother
Perfecto were the registered co-owners of a 320
square meter parcel of land in Balayan,
Batangas, which was registered in Nasugbu,
Batangas. Restituto, who resided in Ozamiz City
with his wife, entrusted the custody of the title
to who Perfecto.
In 1979, Perfecto, without the
knowledge and consent of Restituto, obtained a
loan from Batangas Savings and Loan Bank, Inc
with the said property as a security. On June 19,
1991 the bank foreclosed the property.
In 1998, as Perfectos widow Corazon
was being evicted from the property, she and
spouses Restituto and Erlinda filed on August 9,
1999 before the RTC of Balayan a complaint "for
quieting of title with damages" against the bank
and the Register of Deeds of Nasugbu, assailing
the mortgage as being null and void as they did
not authorize the encumbrance of the property.



WON the RTC of Balayan had no
jurisdiction over the petitioners complaint.
Estoppel bars the bank from raising the
issue of lack of jurisdiction of the Balayan RTC.
The Balayan RTC had jurisdiction over the
complaint for quieting of title. The present case
is an exception to the rule that lack of jurisdiction
on the subject matter can be raised at any time
and is not lost by estoppel by laches. To compel
petitioners to re-file and relitigate their claims
before the Nasugbu RTC when the parties had
already been given the opportunity to present
their respective evidence in a full-blown trial
before the Balayan RTC which had, in fact,
decided petitioners complaint (for about two

The City of Dumaguete, through Mayor
Felipe Antonio B. Remollo (Remollo), filed before
the RTC an Application for Original Registration
of Title over a parcel of land with improvements,
located at Barangay Looc, City of Dumaguete,
under the Property Registration Decree. The
application was docketed as LRC Case No. N-201.
In an Order dated October 23, 1998, the
RTC noted that the records of the case shows
that the annexes lack the following copies. The
application did not also state the number of the
lot sought to be registered, the number of
parcels applied for, the improvements found
thereon, and indicate whether it claims a portion
of the road which serves as a boundary line.


The Republic of the Philippines,

represented by the Director of Lands, and PPA,
represented by the Office of the Government
Corporate Counsel, filed separate Oppositions to
the application for registration of petitioner.
Both averred that petitioner may not register the
subject property in its name since petitioner had
never been in open, continuous, exclusive, and
notorious possession of the said property for at
least 30 years immediately preceding the filing of
the application; and the subject property
remains to be a portion of the public domain
which belongs to the Republic.
PPA filed a Motion to Dismiss, seeking
the dismissal of LRC Case No. N-201 on the
ground that the RTC lacked jurisdiction to hear
and decide the case. The subject property in LRC
Case No. N-201 is not alienable and disposable,
since it is a foreshore land, and a foreshore land
is not registerable.
RTC granted the motion to dismiss
agreeing with PPA and decreed that the instant
application for original registration is dismissed
for lack of merit.
City of Dumaguete insisted that the RTC
should continue with the hearing of LRC Case No.
N-201 and allow petitioner to present evidence
that the subject property is reclaimed land. City
of Dumaguete sufficiently alleged in its
application for registration that it has been in
"open, continuous, exclusive, and notorious
possession of the subject property for more than
thirty (30) years under a bona fide claim of
ownership. PPA posited that RTC lacked
jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case.

Whether or not the dismissal by the RTC of LRC

Case No. N-201 for lack of jurisdiction is correct.
NO. jurisdiction over the subject matter
of a case is conferred by law and determined by
the allegations in the complaint which comprise
a concise statement of the ultimate facts
constituting the plaintiff's cause of action. The
nature of an action, as well as which court or
body has jurisdiction over it, is determined based
on the allegations contained in the complaint of
the plaintiff, irrespective of whether or not the
plaintiff is entitled to recover upon all or some of
the claims asserted therein.
The jurisdiction of the court cannot be
made to depend upon the defenses set up in the
answer or upon the motion to dismiss; for
otherwise, the question of jurisdiction would
almost entirely depend upon the defendant.
What determines the jurisdiction of the court is
the nature of the action pleaded as appearing
from the allegations in the complaint.
Jurisdiction over all applications for
registration of title to land was conferred upon
the Courts of First Instance (CFI) of the
respective provinces in which the land sought to
be registered was situated. Jurisdiction over land
registration cases, as in ordinary actions, is
acquired upon the filing in court of the
application for registration, and is retained up to
the end of the litigation.

RTC issued another Order24 dated

December 7, 2000, setting aside its Order dated
September 7, 2000 in the interest of justice and
resolving to have a full-blown proceeding to
determine factual issues in LRC Case No. N-201.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals found merit in
the Petition of PPA and set aside the decision of
the RTC.

Times Broadcasting Network leased a

portion of Hotel Arocha in Ozamis City owned
Filomeno Arocha. TBN leased the 4th floor of the
Hotel. TBN began installing its equipment and
apparatus in the leased premises. TBN however,
installed its radio antenna on the third floor
rooftop of the hotel, instead of the fourth floor
rooftop as stipulated in the contract.


Arocha sent a letter to TBN demanding

payment of P2,500.00 as monthly rental for the


use of the third floor rooftop, since the third

floor rooftop is not covered by the lease. TBN
refused to pay. TBN averred that it is impossible
for it to mount its antenna on the fourth floor
rooftop because it is already occupied by the
hotel's TV antenna.
Arocha filed a petition for ejectment
case with MTCC. TBN opposed the jurisdiction of
the MTCC since, the action is one of specific
performance and an ejectment case. TBN
asserted that the RTC should have the
jurisdiction over the case.
MTCC ruled in favor of Arocha. RTC
reversed the MTCC decision and ruled that the
case is one of specific performance. The CA
reversed the RTC decision and reinstated the
MTCC decision.
Whether or not RTC and not MTCC
should have jurisdiction over the case.
MTCC. A reading of the allegations in the
complaint shows that the action filed by Arocha
was for ejectment and not for specific
performance as asserted by petitioner.
The nature of the action and the jurisdiction of
courts are determined by the allegations in the
complaint. The complaint shows that the Arocha
is the owner of the Hotel Arocha building in
Ozamis City and that TBN through stealth and
strategy, and without any authority from the
owner, used the third floor rooftop of the
building as mounting pad of its radio antenna.
Arocha was unlawfully deprived of the
possession of the third floor rooftop of Hotel
Arocha when TBN used it as mounting pad for its
antenna. Arocha sought to recover physical
possession thereof through an action for
ejectment filed before the MTCC. Hence, the
case properly falls within the jurisdiction of the

Abellana filed a Complaint with the RTC of

Toledo Cebu against Laresma for recovery of
possession of a parcel of agricultural land located
in Tampa-an, Aloguinsan, Cebu. Abellana alleged
that since 1985, Laresma had been a lessee of a
certain Socorro Chiong, whose agricultural land
adjoined his own; and that sometime in 1985,
Larresma, by means of threat, strategy, and
stealth, took possession the property and
deprived him of its possession.
Laresma averred that the dispute between him
and the Abellana was agrarian in nature, within
the exclusive jurisdiction of the DAR. He alleged
that the property titled in the name of the
Abellana consisted of a portion of that property
owned by the Spouses Paras. Being a beneficiary
of the agrarian reform program of the
government, his wife was issued a portion of the
property. Since then, he and his wife became
owners of the property and, as such, were
entitled to the possession thereof.
RTC ruled in favor of Abellana and ordered
Laresma to vacate the said property.
Whether or not RTC had jurisdiction
over the action of Abellana
NO. As gleaned from the receipt of realty
tax payments issued to the Abellana, the
assessed value of the property in 1993 was
Section 33 of Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg.
129, reads:
Sec. 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts,
Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts in Civil Cases. Metropolitan Trial Courts,
Municipal Trial Courts, and Municipal Circuit
Trial Courts shall exercise:



(3) Exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil

actions which involve title to, or possession of,
real property, or any interest therein where the
assessed value of the property or interest
therein does not exceed Twenty Thousand Pesos
(P20,000.00) or, in civil actions in Metro Manila,
where such assessed value does not exceed Fifty
Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) exclusive of
interest, damages of whatever kind, attorneys
fees, litigation expenses and costs: Provided,
That in cases of land not declared for taxation
purposes, the value of such property shall be
determined by the assessed value of the
adjacent lots.

subject matter or nature of an action is

conferred only by law and not by the consent or
waiver upon a court which, otherwise, would
have no jurisdiction over the subject matter or
nature of an action. Lack of jurisdiction of the
court over an action or the subject matter of an
action cannot be cured by the silence,
acquiescence, or even by express consent of the
parties.40 If the court has no jurisdiction over
the nature of an action, it may dismiss the same
ex mero motu or motu proprio. A decision of the
court without jurisdiction is null and void; hence,
it could never logically become final and
executory. Such a judgment may be attacked
directly or collaterally.

To determine which court has

jurisdiction over the action, the complaint must
allege the assessed value of the real property
subject of the complaint or the interest thereon.
The complaint does not contain any allegation of
the assessed value of the property. Thus, there is
no showing on the face of the complaint that the
RTC had exclusive jurisdiction over the action of
the respondent. The Municipal Trial Court of
Aloguinsan, Cebu, and not the Regional Trial
Court of Toledo City, had exclusive jurisdiction
over the action of the respondent. Hence, all the
proceedings in the RTC, including its decision,
are null and void.
NOTA BENE: It must be stressed that the
regular court does not lose its jurisdiction over
an ejectment case by the simple expedient of a
party raising as a defense therein the alleged
existence of a tenancy relationship between the
parties. But it is the duty of the court to receive
evidence to determine the allegations of
tenancy. If, after hearing, tenancy had, in fact,
been shown to be the real issue, the court should
dismiss the case for lack of jurisdiction.
It is axiomatic that the nature of an
action and the jurisdiction of a tribunal are
determined by the material allegations of the
complaint and the law at the time the action was
commenced. Jurisdiction of the tribunal over the

Fokker Santos filed a complaint for
quasi-delict and damages against Jimmy T.
Pinion, driver of the truck involved in the traffic
accident, and against Artemio Iniego, owner of
the said truck and employer of Pinion. The
complaint stemmed from a vehicular accident in
1999, where a freight truck driven by Pinion hit
PRs jitney which Santos was driving at the time
of the accident. The total amount of damages
claimed is P490,000
Santos filed a Motion to Declare Iniego
in default for failure of the latter to file his
answer within the final extended period. Iniego
filed a Motion to Admit and a Motion to Dismiss
the complaint on the ground that the RTC has no
jurisdiction over the cause of action.
Judge Guillermo G. Purganan of the RTC
issued the assailed Omnibus Order, which ruled:

The Motion to Declare Iniego in default must be

denied, as Iniegos failure to file his answer was
because the Order was sent to the wrong
address, and so Iniego never received it.
The main cause of action is not the claim for
damages, but quasi-delict. Damages are claimed



only as a result of the alleged fault or negligence

of both defendants under Art. 2176 in the case
of Pinion, and Art. 2180 for Iniego. But since fault
or negligence cannot be the subject of pecuniary
estimation, this court (RTC) has exclusive
Iniego moved for reconsideration, which
was denied by the CA. Hence, this petition.
Whether or not the amount of damages is within
the jurisdiction of the RTC
YES.It is the claim for all kinds of
damages that is the basis of determining the
jurisdiction of courts, whether the claim for
damages arises from the same or from different
causes of action.
The Court concurs with Iniego that
actions for damages are actions that are capable
of pecuniary estimation. However, the total
amount of damages still exceeds the
jurisdictional limit of P400,000 and remains
under the jurisdiction of the RTC.
The distinction made between damages
arising from injuries in a QD (actual damages)
and those arising from a refusal to admit liability
for a QD (moral and exemplary damages), which
Iniego claims, is more apparent than real, as the
damages sought originate from the same cause
of action: the QD. (Note: The basis for the moral
and exemplary damages here is supposedly
Iniegos refusal to acknowledge his liability and
pay the corresponding damages. The basis for
the actual damages is the accident itself. ) The
fault or negligence of the employee and the juris
tantum presumption of negligence of his
employer are the seeds of the damages claimed,
without distinction.
Even assuming that the claims for moral
and exemplary damages arose from a cause of

action other than the QD, their inclusion in the

computation of damages for jurisdictional
purposes is still proper. Rule 2, Sec. 5 (d)
provides that where the claims in joined causes
of action are principally for recovery of money,
the aggregate amount claimed shall be the test
of jurisdiction.
Hence, whether or not the different
claims for damages are based on a single cause
of action or different causes of action, it is the
total amount thereof which shall govern.
On December 11, 1991, Far East Bank
and Trust Company filed a complaint against
Home Bankers Trust and Company (HBTC) with
the Philippine Clearing House Corporations
(PCHC) Arbitration Committee.
FEBTC sought to recover from the
petitioner, the sum of P25,200,000.00
representing the total amount of the three
checks drawn and debited against its clearing
account. HBTC sent these checks to respondent
for clearing by operation of the PCHC clearing
system. Thereafter, respondent dishonored the
checks for insufficiency of funds and returned
the checks to HBTC. However, the latter refused
to accept them since the checks were returned
by respondent after the reglementary regional
clearing period.
Meanwhile, on January 17, 1992, before
the termination of the arbitration proceedings,
FEBTC filed another complaint but this time with
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Makati City for
Sum of Money and Damages with Preliminary
The complaint was filed not only against
HBTC but also against Robert Young, Eugene
Arriesgado and Victor Tancuan (collectively
known as Defendants), who were the president



and depositors of HBTC respectively. Aware of

respondent and petitioner, the RTC, in an
Omnibus Order suspended the proceedings in
the case against all the defendants pending the
decision of the Arbitration Committee.

arbitration dispute. Under Article 2044 of the

New Civil Code, the validity of any stipulation on
the finality of the arbitrators award or decision
is recognized. However, where the conditions
described in Articles 2038, 2039 and 2040
applicable to both compromises and arbitrations
are obtaining, the arbitrators award may be
annulled or rescinded.
Consequently, the
decision of the Arbitration Committee is subject
to judicial review.

On February 2, 1998, the PCHC

Arbitration Committee rendered its decision in
favor of respondent. The motion for
reconsideration filed by petitioner was denied by
the Arbitration Committee.

Furthermore, petitioner had several

judicial remedies available at its disposal after
the Arbitration Committee denied its Motion for

Consequently, to appeal the decision of

the Arbitration Committee, petitioner filed a
petition for review in the earlier case filed by
respondent in Branch 135 of the RTC of Makati.
In an order dated January 20, 1999, the
RTC directed both petitioner and respondent to
file their respective memoranda, after which,
said petition would be deemed submitted for
Both parties filed several pleadings. On
February 8, 1999, FEBTC filed a Motion to
Dismiss Petition for Review for Lack of
Jurisdiction, which was opposed by the
On November 9, 1999, the RTC
dismissed the petition for review.
The RTC denied petitioners motion for
reconsideration, hence, this petition.
Whether the Regional Trial Court erred
in dismissing the Petition of Petitioner for lack of
jurisdiction on the ground that it should have
been docketed as a separate case.
No, As provided in the PCHC Rules, the
findings of facts of the decision or award
rendered by the Arbitration Committee shall be
final and conclusive upon all the parties in said

It may petition the proper RTC to issue

an order vacating the award

Invoking the grounds provided for under Section

24 of the Arbitration Law;
Filing a petition for review under Rule 43 of the
Rules of Court with the Court of Appeals on
questions of fact, of law, or mixed questions of
fact and law; and Lastly,
Petitioner may file a petition for certiorari under
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court on the ground that
the Arbitrator Committee acted without or in
excess of its jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack or excess of

Since this case involves acts or omissions

of a quasi-judicial agency, the petition should be
filed in and cognizable only by the Court of
In this instance, petitioner did not avail
of any of the abovementioned remedies
available to it. Instead it filed a petition for
review with the RTC where Civil Case No. 92-145
is pending pursuant to Section 13 of the PCHC
Rules to sustain its action. Clearly, it erred in the
procedure it chose for judicial review of the
arbitral award.



Jurisdiction over the subject matter is

conferred by law and not by the consent or
acquiescence of any or all of the parties or by
erroneous belief of the court that it exists.
In the instant case, petitioner and
respondent have agreed that the PCHC Rules
would govern in case of controversy. However,
since the PCHC Rules came about only as a result
of an agreement between and among member
banks of PCHC and not by law, it cannot confer
jurisdiction to the RTC. Thus, the portion of the
PCHC Rules granting jurisdiction to the RTC to
review arbitral awards, only on questions of law,
cannot be given effect.
Consequently, the proper recourse of
petitioner from the denial of its motion for
reconsideration by the Arbitration Committee is
to file either a motion to vacate the arbitral
award with the RTC, a petition for review with
the Court of Appeals under Rule 43 of the
Rules of Court, or a petition for certiorari
under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.
Alternative dispute resolution methods
or ADRs like arbitration, mediation, negotiation
and conciliation are encouraged by the
Supreme Court. By enabling parties to resolve
their disputes amicably, they provide solutions
that are less time-consuming, less tedious, less
confrontational, and more productive of
goodwill and lasting relationships. It must be
borne in mind that arbitration proceedings are
mainly governed by the Arbitration Law and
suppletorily by the Rules of Court
On April 28, 2005, petitioner Edna Diago
Lhuillier filed a Complaint for damages against
respondent British Airways before the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City. The tortuous

conduct by the flight attendants of said Airways,

which prompted petitioner to file a case for
damages, allegedly transpired when petitioner
boarded respondents flight 548 from London,
United Kingdom to Rome, Italy. On May 30,
2005, respondent, by way of special appearance
through counsel, filed a Motion to Dismiss on
grounds of lack of jurisdiction over the case and
over the person of the respondent. Respondent
alleged that only the courts of London, United
Kingdom or Rome, Italy, have jurisdiction over
the complaint for damages pursuant to the
Warsaw Convention, Article 28(1) of which
An action for damages must be brought
at the option of the plaintiff, either before the
court of domicile of the carrier or his principal
place of business, or where he has a place of
business through which the contract has been
made, or before the court of the place of
Whether or not British Airways, in
seeking remedies from the trial court through
special appearance of counsel have voluntarily
submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the trial
The Court held that the special appearance of
the counsel of respondent in filing the Motion to
Dismiss and other pleadings before the trial
court cannot be deemed to be voluntary
submission to the jurisdiction of the said trial
court. The High Court disagreed with the
contention of the petitioner and ruled that there
was no voluntary appearance before the trial
court that could constitute estoppel or a waiver
of respondents objection to jurisdiction over its
Jurisdictio est potestas de publico
introducta cum necessitate juris dicendi



jurisdiction is a power introduced for the public

good, on account of the necessity of dispensing
Rapid City Realty and Development
Corporation filed a complaint for declaration of
nullity of subdivision plans and damages against
several defendants including Spouses Orlando
and Lourdes Villa. The complaint was lodge at
Branch 71. After one failed attempt at personal
service of summons, Gregorio Zapanta
(Zapanta), court process server, resorted to
substituted service by serving summons upon
respondents househelp who did not
acknowledge receipt thereof and refused to
divulge their names. Despite substituted service,
respondents failed to file their Answer,
prompting petitioner to file a Motion to Declare
Defendants[-herein respondents] in Default
which the trial court granted by Order of May 3,
More than eight months thereafter or on
January 30, 2006, respondents filed a Motion to
Lift Order of Default, claiming that on January 27,
2006 they officially received all pertinent
papers such as Complaint and Annexes. Motion
to Dismiss of the Solicitor General and the
ORDER dated May 3, 2005 granting the Motion
to Declare [them] in Default.
And they
denied the existence of two women helpers who
allegedly refused to sign and acknowledge
receipt of the summons. In any event, they
contended that assuming that the allegations
were true, the helpers had no authority to
receive the documents.
By Order of July 17, 2006, the trial court set
aside the Order of Default and gave herein
respondents five days to file their Answer.
Respondents just the same did not file an
Answer, drawing petitioner to again file a Motion

to declare them in default, which the trial court

again granted by Order of February 21, 2007.
On April 18, 2007, respondents filed an
Omnibus Motion for reconsideration of the
second order declaring them in default and to
vacate proceedings, this time claiming that the
trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over their
persons due to invalid service of summons.
In the meantime, the trial court, by Decision of
September 4, 2007, rendered judgment in favor
of petitioner. By Decision of April 29, 2008, the
appellate court annulled the trial courts Orders
declaring respondents in default for the second
Whether or not the court acquires
jurisdiction over the defendants.
Held: Yes
It is settled that if there is no valid
service of summons, the court can still acquire
jurisdiction over the person of the defendant by
virtue of the latters voluntary appearance. Thus
Section 20 of Rule 14 of the Rules of Court
Sec. 20. Voluntary appearance. The
defendants voluntary appearance in the action
shall be equivalent to service of summons. The
inclusion in a motion to dismiss of other grounds
aside from lack of jurisdiction over the person
shall not be deemed a voluntary appearance.
International Bank v. Spouses Wilson Dy Hong Pi
and Lolita Dy, et al. enlightens:
Preliminarily, jurisdiction over the defendant in a
civil case is acquired either by the coercive
power of legal processes exerted over his
person, or his voluntary appearance in court. As
a general proposition, one who seeks an
affirmative relief is deemed to have submitted to



the jurisdiction of the court. It is by reason of this

rule that we have had occasion to declare that
the filing of motions to admit answer, for
additional time to file answer, for
reconsideration of a default judgment, and to lift
order of default with motion for reconsideration,
is considered voluntary submission to the courts
jurisdiction. This, however, is tempered by the
concept of conditional appearance, such that a
party who makes a special appearance to
challenge, among others, the courts jurisdiction
over his person cannot be considered to have
submitted to its authority.

Prescinding from the foregoing, it is thus

clear that:
(1) Special appearance operates as an
exception to the general rule on
voluntary appearance;
(2) Accordingly, objections to the
jurisdiction of the court over the person
of the defendant must be explicitly
made, i.e., set forth in an unequivocal
manner; and
(3) Failure to do so constitutes voluntary
submission to the jurisdiction of the
court, especially in instances where a
pleading or motion seeking affirmative
relief is filed and submitted to the court
for resolution.
Respondents did not, in said motion,
allege that their filing thereof was a
special appearance for the purpose only
to question the jurisdiction over their
persons. Clearly, they had acquiesced to
the jurisdiction of the court.


Two petitions for forfeiture were filed with the
SB against retired Maj. Gen. Carlos F. Garcia, his
wife, herein petitioner Clarita, children Ian Carl,
Juan Paulo and Timothy Mark (collectively, the
Garcias). The petition alleged that the Garcias
allegedly amassed and acquired ill-gotten
Prior to the filing of Forfeiture II, but subsequent
to the filing of Forfeiture I, the OMB charged the
Garcias and three others with violation of RA
7080 (plunder). The plunder charge, as the
parties pleadings seem to indicate, covered
substantially the same properties identified in
both forfeiture cases.
After Forfeiture I,
summonses were duly served on respondent
Garcias. Instead of filing an answer, the Garcias
filed a motion to dismiss on the ground of the
SBs lack of jurisdiction over separate civil actions
for forfeiture.
The motion was denied. The Garcias were
declared in default. Their MR was also denied. A
second motion for reconsideration was also
denied pursuant to the prohibited pleading rule.
The Garcias filed another motion to dismiss
and/or to quash Forfeiture I on, inter alia, the
following grounds:
(a) the filing of the plunder case ousted the SB
4th Division of jurisdiction over the forfeiture
case; and
(b) that the consolidation is imperative in order
entanglements. The motion was denied.
Hence petitioner filed special civil action for
mandamus and/or certiorari with the SC. For
Forfeiture II, the summonses were only served
with Gen. Garcia. In the return, he merely noted
that "Im receiving the copies of Clarita, Ian Carl,
Juan Paolo & Timothy but these copies will not



guarantee it being served to the above-named

(sic)." Clarita and her children, thru special
appearance of counsel, filed a motion to dismiss
and/or to quash Forfeiture II primarily for lack of
jurisdiction over their persons and on the subject
matter thereof which is now covered by the
plunder case. The SB denied both the
petitioners motion to dismiss and/or to quash
and the Republics motion for alternative service
of summons. The denial of the motion cause
petitioner to file petition for certiorari under
Rule 65.
Whether the Fourth Division of the SB has
acquired jurisdiction over the person of
petitioner and her three sons for that matter
considering that, first, vis--vis Civil Case Nos.
0193 (Forfeiture I) and 0196 (Forfeiture II),
summons against her have been ineffectively or
improperly served and, second, that the plunder
caseCrim. Case No. 28107 has already been
filed and pending with another division of the SB,
i.e., Second Division of the SB.
No. On the issue of lack of jurisdiction, petitioner
argues that the SB did not acquire jurisdiction
over her person and that of her children due to a
defective substituted service of summons. There
is merit in petitioners contention.
Sec. 7, Rule 14 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil
Procedure clearly provides for the requirements
of a valid substituted service of summons, thus:
SEC. 7.Substituted serviceIf the defendant
cannot be served within a reasonable time as
provided in the preceding section [personal
service on defendant], service may be effected
(a) by leaving copies of the summons at the
defendants residence with some person of
suitable age and discretion then residing therein,
or (b) by leaving the copies at defendants office

or regular place of business with some

competent person in charge thereof.
It is basic that a court must acquire jurisdiction
over a party for the latter to be bound by its
decision or orders. Valid service of summons, by
whatever mode authorized by and proper under
the Rules, is the means by which a court acquires
jurisdiction over a person.
In the instant case, it is undisputed that
summons for Forfeitures I and II were served
personally on Maj. Gen. Carlos Flores Garcia,
who is detained at the PNP Detention Center,
who acknowledged receipt thereof by affixing
his signature. It is also undisputed that
substituted service of summons for both
Forfeitures I and II were made on petitioner and
her children through Maj. Gen. Garcia at the PNP
Detention Center. However, such substituted
services of summons were invalid for being
irregular and defective.
Petitioners posture respecting Forfeitures I and
II being absorbed by the plunder case, thus
depriving the 4th Division of the SB of jurisdiction
over the civil cases, is flawed by the assumptions
holding it together, the first assumption being
that the forfeiture cases are the corresponding
civil action for recovery of civil liability ex delicto.
As correctly ruled by the SB 4th Division in its May
20, 2005 Resolution, the civil liability for
forfeiture cases does not arise from the
commission of a criminal offense, thus:
Such liability is based on a statute that
safeguards the right of the State to recover
unlawfully acquired properties. The action of
forfeiture arises when a "public officer or
employee [acquires] during his incumbency an
amount of property which is manifestly out of
proportion of his salary x x x and to his other
lawful income x x x." Such amount of property is
then presumed prima facie to have been
unlawfully acquired. Thus "if the respondent



[public official] is unable to show to the

satisfaction of the court that he has lawfully
acquired the property in question, then the court
shall declare such property forfeited in favor of
the State, and by virtue of such judgment the
property aforesaid shall become property of the


Davao Light and Power Inc, Co. filed a
complaint for recovery of sum of money and
damages against Queensland Hotel and
Teodorico Adarna. The complaint contained an
ex parte application for a writ of preliminary
Judge Nartatez granted the writ and
fixed the attachment bond at around P4Million.
The summons, copy of complaint, writ of
attachment, copy of attachment bond were
served upon Queensland and Adarna. Pursuant
to the writ, the Sheriff seized the properties of
the latter.
Queensland and Adarna filed a motion
to discharge the attachment for lack of
jurisdiction to issue the same because at the
time the order of attachment was promulgated
(May 3, 1989) and the attachment writ issued
(May 11,1989), the Trial Court had not yet
acquired jurisdiction over cause and person of
Trial Court denied the motion to discharge. CA
annulled the Trial Courts Order. Davao seeks to
reverse CAs order.
Whether or not a writ of preliminary attachment
may issue ex parte against a defendant before

acquisition of jurisdiction of the latter's person

by service of summons or his voluntary
submission to the Court's authority.
It goes without saying that whatever be
the acts done by the Court prior to the
acquisition of jurisdiction over the person of
defendant issuance of summons, order of
attachment and writ of attachment (and/or
appointments of guardian ad litem, or grant of
authority to the plaintiff to prosecute the suit as
a pauper litigant, or amendment of the
complaint by the plaintiff as a matter of right
without leave of court and however valid and
proper they might otherwise be, these do not
and cannot bind and affect the defendant until
and unless jurisdiction over his person is
eventually obtained by the court, either by
service on him of summons or other coercive
process or his voluntary submission to the
court's authority.
Hence, when the sheriff or other proper
officer commences implementation of the writ
of attachment, it is essential that he serve on the
defendant not only a copy of the applicant's
affidavit and attachment bond, and of the order
of attachment, as explicity required by Section 5
of Rule 57, but also the summons addressed to
said defendant as well as a copy of the complaint
and order for appointment of guardian ad litem,
if any, as also explicity directed by Section 3, Rule
14 of the Rules of Court.
Service of all such documents is
indispensable not only for the acquisition of
jurisdiction over the person of the defendant,
but also upon considerations of fairness, to
apprise the defendant of the complaint against
him, of the issuance of a writ of preliminary
attachment and the grounds therefore and thus
accord him the opportunity to prevent
attachment of his property by the posting of a
counterbond in an amount equal to the



plaintiff's claim in the complaint pursuant to

Section 5 (or Section 12), Rule 57, or dissolving it
by causing dismissal of the complaint itself on
any of the grounds set forth in Rule 16, or
demonstrating the insufficiency of the
applicant's affidavit or bond in accordance with
Section 13, Rule 57.


Lam and Chua were married in the year
1984 and said marriage conceived a son. Chua
claims that Lam was psychologically
incapacitated to comply with his marital
obligations. To justify the claims, Chua says that
he is irresponsible and keeps on asking for
money for luxury items. Lam does not support
his family and he rarely comes home. He was
also said to be a womanizer and mismanages
their conjugal properties. With this set-up, Chua
had no choice but to agree to dissolution of their
conjugal partnership of gains and separation of
properties. This was granted by the regional trial
court. The spouses have been living separately
and Chua seeks the nullification of her marriage
with Lam. Chua presented evidence stating the
facts given above but failed to show how much
is needed for child support.
The case was reopened at her instance
and she presented evidence showing that Lam
has been married twice before their marriage
which renders it bigamous. The Trial Court
declared their marriage void and ordered Lam to
pay child support of 20,000 a month.
This was contested by Lam stating that a
common fund was agreed upon wherein they
would both contribute 250,000 each for the
support of their child. The CA affirmed the trial
courts decision.

Whether or not the trial court made a
serious error by rendering judgment on issue not
presented in pleadings.
It is also a general principle of law that a
court cannot set itself in motion, nor has it power
to decide questions except as presented by the
parties in their pleadings. Anything that is
decided beyond them is coram non-judice and
void. Therefore where a court enters a judgment
or awards relief beyond the prayer of the
complaint or the scope of its allegations the
excessive relief is not merely irregular but is void
for want of jurisdiction, and is open to collateral
The appellate court also ruled that a
judgment of a court upon a subject within its
general jurisdiction, but which is not brought
before it by any statement or claim of the
parties, and is foreign to the issues submitted for
its determination, is a nullity. (Emphasis
Pursuant to the foregoing principle, it is
a serious error for the trial court to have
rendered judgment on issues not presented in
the pleadings as it was beyond its jurisdiction to
do so. The amendment of the petition to reflect
the new issues and claims against Jose was,
therefore, indispensable so as to authorize the
court to act on the issue of whether the marriage
of Jose and Adriana was bigamous and the
determination of the amount that should have
been awarded for the support of John Paul.
When the trial court rendered judgment beyond
the allegations contained in the copy of the
petition served upon Jose, the Pasay RTC had
acted in excess of its jurisdiction and deprived
petitioner Lam of due process.
Insofar as the declaration of nullity of
the marriage between Adriana and Jose for



being bigamous is concerned, the decision

rendered by the Pasay RTC could be declared as
invalid for having been issued beyond its
jurisdiction. Nonetheless, considering that Jose,
did not assail the declaration of nullity of his
marriage with Adriana in his motion for
reconsideration which he filed with the Pasay
RTC. In the petitions he filed in the Court of
Appeals and with us, he likewise did not raise the
issue of jurisdiction of the Pasay RTC to receive
evidence and render judgment on his previous
marriages with other woman which were not
alleged in the petition filed by Adriana.
Petitioner Jose is estopped from questioning the
declaration of nullity of his marriage with
Adriana and therefore, the Court will not undo
the judgment of the Pasay RTC declaring the
marriage of Adriana and Jose null and void for
being bigamous. It is an axiomatic rule that while
a jurisdictional question may be raised at any
time, this, however, admits of an exception
where estoppel has supervened.
Sps. Tiongco leased to Anita Buce a
parcel of land in Pandacan, Manila. The lease
terminated without any agreement for renewal
being reached. Buce, however, still tendered
checks representing rentals to Sps. Tiongco
which the latter refused to accept. Buce filed
with the RTC a complaint for specific
performance with prayer for consignation. In his
Answer with counterclaim, Tiongco did not
include a prayer for the restoration of possession
of the leased premises. The RTC ordered the
ejectment of Sps. Tiongco in its Decision. CA
reversed the RTC Decision and ordered Buce to
immediately vacate the leased premises on the
ground that the lease expired.
Whether or not CA went beyond the bounds of
its authority because the case she filed before

the RTC was for "Specific Performance" not

unlawful detainer.
It must be noted, however, that Sps.
Tiongco did not include in their Answer with
Counterclaim a prayer for the restoration of
possession of the leased premises. Neither did
they file with the proper Metropolitan Trial
Court an unlawful detainer suit against
petitioner after the expiration of the lease
Moreover, the issues agreed upon by the
parties to be resolved during the pre-trial were
the correct interpretation of the contract and
the validity of Sps. Tiongcos refusal to accept
Buces payment of P400 as monthly rental.
They later limited the issue to the first,
i.e., the correct interpretation of the contract.
The issue of possession of the leased premises
was not among the issues agreed upon by the
parties or threshed out before the court a quo.
Neither was it raised by private respondents on
Accordingly, as correctly contended by
Anita Buce, the Court of Appeals went beyond
the bounds of its authority when after
interpreting the questioned provision of the
lease contract in favor of Sps. Tiongco, it
proceeded to order Buce to vacate the subject


Crispin Gicale was driving a jeepney
owned by his mother Martina Gicale. While
driving north bound along the National Highway
in Nueva Ecija, a passenger bus, owned by
Pantranco driven by Alexander Buncan, was



trailing behind. When the two vehicles were

negotiating a curve along the highway,
Pantranco bus overtook the jeepney. The bus hit
the jeepney and sped away.
After paying P8,000(the insurance claim
of Gicale) for the damages sustained by her
jeepney, Standard Insurance joined Gicale in her
action to recover the remaining P13,415damages due from Pantranco in a complaint
before the RTC. In their answer, Pantranco
alleged that jurisdiction lies with MTC and not
with the RTC. RTC ruled in favor of Standard
Insurance and Gicale. CA affirmed the decision of
the RTC.
Which Court has jurisdiction?
Affirming RTC and CA, the SC ruled RTC
has jurisdiction, following the rule on totality
rule. Here the causes of action of Gicale and
Standard Insurance could be properly joined as
the causes of action (the bumping of jeepney
owned by Gicale by the Pantranco bus) arose
from the same transaction.
Section 19 of B.P. Blg. 129 provides that
the RTC has "exclusive original jurisdiction over
all other cases, in which the demand, exclusive
of interest and cost or the value of the property
in controversy, amounts to more than twenty
thousand pesos (P20,000.00)". Standards claim
is P8,000.00, while that of respondent Martina
Gicale is P13,415.00, or a total of P21,415.00.
Clearly, it is the RTC that has jurisdiction over the
instant case. It bears emphasis that when the
complaint was filed, R.A. 7691 expanding the
jurisdiction of the Metropolitan, Municipal and
Municipal Circuit Trial Courts had not yet taken
effect. It became effective on April 15, 1994.
Nota Bene: totality rule applies only if there is
proper joinder of causes of action

Petitioners herein are co-owners of a
parcel of land located in Romblon. In 1996, they
filed a complaint with the RTC of Romblon
against herein, respondent, alleging that as coowners, they are entitled to possession of the
lot, and that respondent constructed his house
thereon without their knowledge and refused to
vacate the property despite demands to do so.
They prayed for the private respondent to vacate
the property and restore possession thereof to
The complaint, however, failed to allege
the assessed value of the land. Nevertheless,
petitioners were able to present during trial the
most recent tax declaration, which shows that
the assessed value of the property was Php
5,950.00. The respondent filed a Motion to
Dismiss on the ground of lack of jurisdiction
because of the failure to allege the value of the
land. The motion was denied. Respondent then
files an Answer, traversing the material
allegations of the complaint, contending that
petitioners had no cause of action against him
since the property in dispute was the conjugal
property of his grandparents, the spouses
Salustiano Salvador and Concepcion MazoSalvador.
The RTC ruled in favor of the petitioners.
On appeal, the CA reversed the decision, holding
that the action was one for the recovery of
ownership and possession of real property and
that absent any allegation in the complaint of
the assessed value of the property, the MTC had
exclusive jurisdiction over the action (citing
Sec.33 of RA 7691). The CA then ordered the
refilling of the case in the proper court.
Whether the RTC has jurisdiction over
the action?



No. Petitioner argues that the RTC has
jurisdiction since their action is an accion
reinvindicatoria, an action incapable of
pecuniary estimation. Thus, regardless of the
assessed value of the subject property, exclusive
jurisdiction falls within the said court.
This argument is without merit. The
jurisdiction of the court over an action involving
title to or possession of land is now determined
by the assessed value of the said property and
not the market value thereof. In the case at bar,
the complaint does not contain allegation stating
the assessed value of the property subject of the
complaint. The court cannot take judicial notice
of the assessed or market value of land.
The Court noted that during the trial, the
petitioners adduced in evidence a tax
declaration, showing that the assessed value of
the property in 1991 was Php 5, 950.00. The
petitioners, however, did not bother to adduce
in evidence the tax declaration containing the
assessed value of the property when they filed
their complaint in 1996.
Even assuming that the assessed value
of the property in 1991 was the same in 19951996, the MTC, and not the RTC has jurisdiction
over the action of the petitioners, since the case
involved to or possession of real property with
an assessed value of less than Php 20,000.00. As
the CA had held that the determining
jurisdictional element for the accion
reinvindicatoria is, as RA 7196 discloses, the
assessed value of the property in question. For
properties in the provinces, the RTC has
jurisdiction if the assessed value exceeds Php
20,000.00 and the MTC, if the value is Php
20,000.00 or below.
An assessed value can have reference
only to the tax rolls in the municipality where the
property is located, and is contained in the tax
declaration. In the case at bench, the most

recent tax declaration secued and presented by

plaintiffs-appellees is Exhibit B.
The loose remark made by them that the
property was worth 3.5 million pesos, not to
mention that there is absolutely no evidence for
this, is irrelevant in light of the fact that there is
an assessed value. It is the amount in the tax
declaration that should be consulted and not
other kind of value, and as appearing in Exhibit
B, this is Php 5,950.00. The case, therefore, falls
within the exclusive original jurisdiction of the
MTC of Romblon that has jurisdiction over the
territory where the property is located, and not
the court a quo.
The heirs of Juan dela Cruz, represented
by Senen dela Cruz filed a Complaint for
Recovery of Portion of Registered Land with
Compensation and Damages against Victorino
Quinagoran before the RTC Cagayan. They
alleged that they are the co-owners of a a parcel
of land at Centro, Piat, Cagayan, which they
inherited from the late Juan dela Cruz.
Quinagoran started occupying a house
on the north-west portion of the property, by
tolerance of the heirs. The heirs asked petitioner
to remove the house as they planned to
construct a commercial building on the property
but petitioner refused, claiming ownership over
the lot.
The heirs prayed for the reconveyance
and surrender of the disputed lot and to be paid
the amount of P5,000.00 monthly until the
property is vacated.
Quinagoran filed a Motion to Dismiss
claiming that the RTC has no jurisdiction over the
case. He argued that since the lot which he owns
adjacent to the contested property has an
assessed value of P1,730, the assessed value of



the lot under controversy would not be more

than the said amount. He likewise avers that it is
an indispensable requirement that the
complaint should allege the assessed value of
the property involved.
The heirs maintain that the contention
of petitioner in his Motion to Dismiss before the
RTC that the assessed value of the disputed lot is
below P20,000.00 is based on the assessed value
of an adjacent property and no documentary
proof was shown to support the said allegation.
It also contended that the tax declaration which
petitioner presented, together with his
Supplemental Reply before the CA, and on the
basis of which he claims that the disputed
property's assessed value is only P551.00, should
also not be given credence as the said tax
declaration reflects the amount of P56,100.or
the entire property.
The RTC denied petitioner's Motion to
Dismiss on the basis that the action is accion
publicciana and therefore, its jurisdiction lies in
the RTC, regardless of the value of the property.
The CA affirmed decision of the RTC.
Whether or not the RTC has jurisdiction
over all cases of recovery of possession
regardless of the value of the property involved?
No. MTC has the jurisdiction over the
case. The doctrine that all cases of recovery of
possession or accion publiciana lies with the RTC
regardless of the value of the property -- no
longer holds true. As things now stand, a
distinction must be made between those
properties the assessed value of which is below
P20,000.00, if outside Metro Manila; and
P50,000.00, if within.
In Atuel v. Valdez, the Court likewise
expressly stated that:

Jurisdiction over an accion publiciana is

vested in a court of general jurisdiction.
Specifically, the regional trial court exercises
exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil actions
which involve x x x possession of real property.
However, if the assessed value of the real
property involved does not exceed P50,000.00 in
Metro Manila, and P20,000.00 outside of Metro
Manila, the municipal trial court exercises
jurisdiction over actions to recover possession of
real property.
In the case, Quinagoran maintains that
there should be such an allegation of the
assessed value of the real property to determine
jurisdiction. However, nowhere in said complaint
was the assessed value of the subject property
ever mentioned. There is therefore no showing
on the face of the complaint that the RTC has
exclusive jurisdiction over the action of the
respondents. Absent any allegation in the
complaint of the assessed value of the property,
it cannot be determined whether the RTC or the
MTC has original and exclusive jurisdiction over
the petitioner's action. The courts cannot take
judicial notice of the assessed or market value of
the land.
Considering that the respondents failed to
allege in their complaint the assessed value of
the subject property, the RTC seriously erred in
denying the motion to dismiss. Consequently, all
proceedings in the RTC are null and void. The CA
also erred in affirming the RTC.