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YnaresSantiago:FirstDivision

FIRSTDIVISION
[G.R.No.131127.June8,2000]

ALFONSOT.YUCHENGCO,petitioner,vs.REPUBLICOFTHEPHILIPPINES,
PRESIDENTIALCOMMISSIONONGOODGOVERNMENT,ESTATEOFFERDINANDE.
MARCOS,PRIMEHOLDINGS,INC.ESTATEOFRAMONU.COJUANGCOAND
IMELDAO.COJUANGCO,respondents.batas

DECISION
YNARESSANTIAGO,J.:

ThisisapetitionforreviewtosetasidetheResolutionoftheSandiganbayandatedOctober9,1996[1]
dismissingpetitionersAmendedcomplaintininterventionandthesubsequentResolutiondated
October6,1997[2]denyingpetitionersmotionforreconsideration.

Theissueinthispetitioniswhetherornot,undertheundisputedcircumstancesatbar,the
Sandiganbayanmaydismissthecomplaintininterventionforallegedfailuretopaythecorrectamount
ofdocketfeesontime.

OnJuly16,1987,theRepublicofthePhilippines(hereinafter,theRepublic)filedwiththe
SandiganbayanacomplaintforRescission,Reconveyance,Restitution,AccountingandDamages
againstFerdinandE.Marcos,ImeldaMarcosandPrimeHoldings,Inc.(hereinafter,PHI),docketedas
CivilCaseNo.0002.AllegingownershipofthepropertiesoftheMarcosessoughttobeforfeitedby
theRepublic,petitionerYuchengcofiledamotionforinterventionandcomplaintininterventionon
August11,1988,impleadingtheRepublic,thePresidentialCommissiononGoodGovernment
(PCGG),FerdinandE.Marcos,ImeldaMarcosandPHIasdefendantsinintervention.[3]Petitioner
paidadocketfeeofP400.00.

OnFebruary17,1989,theSandiganbayanissuedaResolutiongrantingthemotionforintervention
andadmittingthecomplaintinintervention.[4]TheRepublicfiledamotionforreconsiderationon
March14,1989,whichpetitioneropposed.

OnFebruary9,1990,theSandiganbayandeniedtheRepublicsmotionforreconsideration.[5]Hence,
theRepublicandthePCGG,onbehalfofPHI,filedananswertothecomplaintininterventiondated
June19,1990andNovember2,1990,respectively.

Meanwhile,PHIfiledaManifestationandMotion,statingthatImeldaCojuangcoandtheEstateof
RamonU.CojuangcoclaimownershipofPHI.Thus,onMay31,1993,petitionermovedforleaveto
admitamendedcomplaintininterventiontoimpleadthesaidclaimants.[6]hustisya

OnJune11,1993,theSandiganbayan,inopencourt,admittedtheamendedcomplaintin
intervention.[7]Consequently,amendedanswersininterventionwerefiledbytheRepublicandthePHI
onJuly2,1993.

Ontheotherhand,theEstateofRamonCojuangcoandImeldaO.Cojuangco(hereinafter,the
Cojuangcos)filedamotiontodismiss[8]theamendedcomplaintinintervention,datedAugust25,
1993,onthegroundoffailuretostateacauseofactionandlackofjurisdictionoftheSandiganbayan
overthecase,inasmuchaspetitionerdidnotpaythecorrectdocketfees.Theyarguedthatthe
amendedcomplaintininterventionfailedtostatetheamountoftheclaimorthevalueoftheproperty
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subjectofthecomplaint,inviolationofthedoctrinelaiddowninManchesterDevelopment
Corporation,etal.v.CourtofAppeals.[9]

OnSeptember6,1993,petitionerfiledasecondamendedcomplaintininterventionwithmotionfor
leave.Later,onSeptember28,1993,healsoopposedthemotiontodismissfiledbyPHIandthe
CojuangcosonSeptember28,1993.[10]

PHIandtheCojuangcosfiledareply[11]allegingthatsincetheamendedcomplaintininterventionis
substantiallyanactionfortherecoveryofownershipandpossessionofshareholdingsinthe
PhilippineTelecommunicationsInvestmentCorporation(PTIC),Section7(a)ofRule141oftheRules
ofCourtapplies,towit:

Sec.7.....ClerksofRegionalTrialCourts.

(a)....Forfilinganactionorapermissivecounterclaimormoneyclaimagainstanestate
notbasedonjudgment,orforfilingwithleaveofcourtathirdparty,fourthparty,etc.
complaint,oracomplaintininterventionxxxifxxxthestatedvalueofthepropertyin
litigationis:

1.....NotmorethanP20,000.00P120.00

2.....MorethanP20,000.00butlessthanP40,000.00150.00

3.....P40,000.00ormorebutlessthanP60,000.00200.00

4.....P60,000.00ormorebutlessthanP80,000.00250.00

5.....P80,000.00ormorebutlessthanP100,000.00400.00
Esmmis

6.....P100,000.00ormorebutlessthanP150,000.00600.00

7.....ForeachP1,000.00inexcessofP150,000.005.00

Further,respondentsPHIandtheCojuangcoscontendthatastheactionseekstolitigatethe
ownershipanddispositionofpropertiesconsistingofsubjectshares,theamountofdocketfeesmust
bebasedonthetotalvalueofthesame.

Petitionerfiledarejoinder[12]datedNovember29,1993,maintainingthatnodocketfeesarepayable
totheSandiganbayan,pursuanttoSection11ofPresidentialDecreeNo.1606,asamended,which
provides:

Proceedingsfreeofcharge.AllproceedingsintheSandiganbayanshallbe
conductedatnocosttothecomplainantand/orhiswitnesses.

IntheirsurrejoinderfiledonJanuary28,1994,[13]respondentsPHIandtheCojuangcoscountered
thatthereasonfortheabovequotedSection11ofP.D.1606isthatthejurisdictionofthe
Sandiganbayanatthetimeofitsenactmentwaslimitedtocriminalactions.Withtheexpansionofthe
Sandiganbayansjurisdictiontoincludecivilcases,thepaymentofdocketfeeshasbecomea
jurisdictionalrequirement.

OnFebruary8,1994[14],petitionerrepliedthattheSandiganbayanhasnopowerordiscretionto
ignoreoramendtheprovisioninSection11ofP.D.1606simplyonthebasisofpublicpolicy.
PetitionerpointsoutthatExecutiveOrderNo.14issuedbyPresidentCorazonC.Aquinodidnot

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amendthesaidprovision,hence,paymentofdocketfeesintheSandiganbayanislegallywithout
basis.

OnSeptember21,1994,petitionerrefiledhissecondamendedcomplaintinintervention[15]with
motiontoadmit,whereinhesoughttoincludeYRealtyCorporationascoplaintiffininterventionand
tojoinImeldaR.MarcosastherepresentativeoftheEstateofFerdinandMarcos.

OnOctober11,1994,PHIandtheCojuangcosopposedthemotiontoadmitsecondamended
complaintinintervention,[16]contendingthatjurisdictionalissuesshouldfirstberesolvedbeforethe
mostrecentmotionisconsidered.Percuriam

Amotionforearlyresolution[17]wasfiledbypetitioneronOctober27,1994.Heaverredthatsincethe
mainissuesinthemotiontodismissfiledbyPHIandtheCojuangcosdwellonpaymentofdocketfees
andtheamountthereof,whichmaypossiblyinvolvethejurisdictionoftheSandiganbayan,anditis
unclearwhetherthefilingofthecomplaintininterventiontolledtherunningofthe10yearprescriptive
period,thereisaneedfortheSandiganbayantoresolvethemotiontodismissassoonaspossible.

OnMarch31,1995,petitionermovedthathebeallowedtopostabond,[18]toanswerforwhatever
docketfeeshemaybeheldtopay,withtheprayerthattherunningoftheprescriptiveperiodbe
deemedtolledpendingtheresolutionbytheSandiganbayanofthemotiontodismiss.

InaResolutiondatedApril17,1995,[19]theSandiganbayandeferredtheresolutionofthemotionto
dismissuntiltrial,asthegroundsraisedthereindonotappeartobeindubitable.

Meanwhile,PHIandtheCojuangcosopposedpetitionersmotiontopostbondonthegroundthatthe
sameshouldnotbeconstruedasasubstitutefortheactualpaymentoftheproperdocketfees,
becausepaymentofdocketfeesshouldnotbesubjecttoanycontingency.[20]

Ontheotherhand,petitionermovedforthepartialreconsiderationoftheResolutiondatedApril17,
1995insofarasthedefermentoftheissueonpaymentofdocketfeesandtheamountthereof.Inthe
alternative,petitionerprayedthathismotiontopostbondbegranted.[21]PHIandtheCojuangcosalso
movedforthereconsiderationoftheApril17,1995Resolution.[22]

Meanwhile,petitionerprayedforthedenialofthemotiontodismissinviewofthepassageofRepublic
ActNo.7975[23]which,likeExecutiveOrder14,didnotamendSection11ofP.D.1606.[24]

Inthemeantime,petitionerfiledapetitionforcertioraribeforethisCourt,docketedasG.R.No.
123264,[25]assailingpublicrespondentsdecisiontodeferadjudicationontheissuesraisedinPHIs
andtheCojuangcosmotiontodismiss.ThepetitionforcertiorariwasdismissedbythisCourtforbeing
premature.[26]

OnMarch29,1996,theSandiganbayanissuedaResolutiondenyingpetitionersmotiontopostbond
andorderingpetitioner(plaintiffininterventiontherein)topaythebalanceofthedocketfeeinthe
amountofP14,425.00.[27]Petitionerpaidwithreservation.[28]Esmsc

PHIandtheCojuangcosfiledamotionforreconsideration,[29]arguingthattheSandiganbayanerredin
thecomputationofthedocketfeesandinallowingpetitionertopayadditionaldocketfeesbeyondthe
prescriptiveperiod.TheyagaininvokedRule141,Section7(a)oftheRulesofCourtandaverredthat
thePTIC,registeredinthenameofPHI,hasastatedvalueofP1.6billion.Accordingly,aspetitioner
claimstoown31%ofPTIC,whichhasamorerecentvalueofP1,078,260,896.56,heshouldbemade
topayatleastthesumofP5,391,154.35.

OnMay7,1996,[30]theSandiganbayandeniedPHI'sandtheCojuancos'motionforreconsiderationof
itsApril17,1995Resolution.
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Thereafter,respondentsPHIandtheCojuangcosfiledtheiranswertotheamendedcomplaintin
intervention.[31]

OnJune11,1996,petitionermovedthattheamountofP14,425.00berefundedtohim,[32]insisting
thatproceedingsintheSandiganbayanshouldbefreeofcharge.

TheSandiganbayan,onOctober9,1996,issuedtheassailedresolutiongrantingthemotionto
dismissanddenyingpetitionersmotiontoadmitsecondamendedcomplaintinintervention.[33]

Petitionerfiledamotionforreconsideration[34]datedOctober30,1996,andPHIandtheCojuangcos
filedtheiropposition.[35]TheRepublicfiledamanifestation[36]datedDecember24,1996adoptingthe
argumentsraisedbyPHIandtheCojuangcos.

OnOctober6,1997,theSandiganbayandeniedpetitionersmotionforreconsideration.[37]Hencethis
petition.

Asearlierstated,themainissuetoberesolvedinthecaseatbariswhetherornotpetitionerisbarred
fromassertinghisallegedcausesofactionagainstrespondentsbyreasonofnonpaymentofthe
properdocketfees.

TheSandiganbayancitedseveralcasesspanningfrom1932to1987totheeffectthatitisnotsimply
thefilingofthecomplaintorappropriateinitiatorypleading,butthepaymentoftheprescribeddocket
fee,thatveststhetrialcourtwithjurisdictionoverthesubjectmatterornatureoftheaction.[38]Kylex

Therulingthatthetimelyfilingofcorrectdocketfeesisjurisdictionalisalltoofamiliar.Itshouldbe
noted,however,thatthepronouncementsofthisCourtonthematterhavealwaysbeeninfluencedby
thepeculiarlegalandequitablecircumstancessurroundingeachcase.Forinstance,theLazarov.
Eudencia[39]rulingwasinaccordancewiththethenapplicablelaw,i.e.,Section76ofActNo.190as
amendedbyActNo.3615.InMalimitv.Degamo[40],thisCourtruledthatthedateofpaymentof
docketfeesandnotthedateofmailingisconsideredthedateoffilingofapetitionforquowarranto.In
Garciav.Vasquez[41],thisCourtinitiallystatedthatadocketfeemustbepaidforasecondwill
executedbythesamedecedent.Subsequently,onamotionforreconsideration,thisCourtreversed
itselfandheldthattheinitialpaymentforthefirstwillpresentedforprobatewassufficientcompliance.
ThisCourtwasevenmoreliberalinMagaspiv.Ramolete,[42]wherethedocketfeewaspaiduponthe
filingofthecomplaint.Itturnedoutlater,afterthecomplaintwasamended,thatthepaymentwas
insufficient.ThisCourtruledthatunderthecircumstances,thecasewasdocketeduponthefirst
paymentandthetrialcourtalreadyacquiredjurisdiction.However,thecorrectfeebasedonthe
amendedcomplaintwasrequiredtobepaid.

Intheinstantcase,theSandiganbayanadheredstrictlytotheruleenunciatedinManchester
DevelopmentCorporationv.CourtofAppeals,[43]towit:

TheCourtacquiresjurisdictionoveranycaseonlyuponthepaymentoftheprescribed
docketfee.Anyamendmentofthecomplaintorsimilarpleadingwillnottherebyvest
jurisdictionintheCourt,muchlessthepaymentofthedocketfeebasedontheamounts
soughtintheamendedpleading.TherulingintheMagaspicase,insofarasitis
inconsistentwiththispronouncementisoverturnedandreversed.

InManchester,thisCourtstatedthattheallegationinthebodyofthecomplaintofdamagessuffered
intheamountofP78,000,000.00,andtheomissionofaspecificprayerforthatamount,wasintended
fornootherpurposethantoevadethepaymentofcorrectfilingfeesifnottomisleadthedocketclerk
intheassessmentofthecorrectfee.Therulingwasintendedtoputastoptosuchanirregularity.In
thecaseatbar,however,wenotethatthereisnosuchirregularityorattempttomisleadintheinstant
petitionbeforeus.
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WealsonotethattheManchesterrulingdidnotbecomethefinalstatementonthematter.InSun
InsuranceOfficeLtd.v.Asuncion,[44]theCourtruled:

Inthepresentcase,amoreliberalinterpretationoftherulesiscalledforconsidering
that,unlikeManchester,privaterespondentdemonstratedhiswillingnesstoabidebythe
rulesbypayingtheadditionaldocketfeesasrequired.

Inthesaidcase,thepaymentofthecorrectfeewithin"areasonabletime"butinnocasebeyondits
applicableprescriptiveorreglementaryperiodwasallowed.Inanothercase[45]decidedafter
Manchester,thisCourtmadesomemoredistinctions:Mesm

Twosituationsmayarise.Oneiswherethecomplaintorsimilarpleadingsetsouta
claimpurelyformoneyordamagesandthereisnoprecisestatementoftheamounts
beingclaimed.Inthiseventtheruleisthatthepleadingwill"notbeacceptednor
admitted,orshallotherwisebeexpungedfromtherecord."Inotherwords,thecomplaint
orpleadingmaybedismissedortheclaimsastowhichtheamountsareunspecified
maybeexpunged,althoughasaforestatedtheCourtmay,onmotion,permit
amendmentofthecomplaintandpaymentofthefeesprovidedtheclaimhasnotinthe
meantimebecometimebarred.Theotheriswherethepleadingdoesspecifythe
amountofeveryclaim,butthefeespaidareinsufficientandhereagain,therulenowis
thatthecourtmayallowareasonabletimeforthepaymentoftheprescribedfees,orthe
balancethereof,anduponsuchpayment,thedefectiscuredandthecourtmayproperly
takecognizanceoftheaction,unlessinthemeantimeprescriptionhassetinand
consequentlybarredtherightofaction.

Wheretheactioninvolvesrealpropertyandarelatedclaimfordamagesaswell,the
legalfeesshallbeassessedonthebasisofboth(a)thevalueofthepropertyand(b)
thetotalamountofrelateddamagessought.TheCourtacquiresjurisdictionoverthe
actionifthefilingoftheinitiatorypleadingisaccompaniedbythepaymentofthe
requisitefees,or,ifthefeesarenotpaidatthetimeofthefilingofthepleading,asofthe
timeoffullpaymentofthefeeswithinsuchreasonabletimeasthecourtmaygrant,
unless,ofcourse,prescriptionhassetininthemeantime.Butwherexxxthefees
prescribedforanactioninvolvingrealpropertyhavebeenpaid,buttheamountsof
certainoftherelateddamages(actual,moralandnominal)beingdemandedare
unspecified,theactionmaynotbedismissed.TheCourtundeniablyhasjurisdictionover
theactioninvolvingtherealproperty,acquiringituponthefilingofthecomplaintor
similarpleadingandpaymentoftheprescribedfee.Anditisnotdivestedofthat
authoritybythecircumstancethatitmaynothaveacquiredjurisdictionoverthe
accompanyingclaimsfordamagesbecauseoflackofspecificationthereof.Whatshould
bedoneisimplytoexpungethoseclaimsfordamagesastowhichnoamountsare
stated,whichiswhattherespondentCourtdid,orallow,onmotion,areasonabletime
fortheamendmentofthecomplaintsoastoallegethepreciseamountofeachitemof
damagesandacceptpaymentoftherequisitefeesthereforwithintherelevant
prescriptiveperiod.Exsm

TheruleisnotassimpleanduncomplicatedasManchestermakesitappear.Thereareother
determiningcircumstances,equallyimportant.Thetimelyfilingofcorrectdocketfeesisjurisdictional,
butasshownbyourdecisions,considerationsoflawandequitycomeintothepicture.Thissituation
likewiseobtainsinthecaseatbar.

TheSandiganbayanLawitself,PresidentialDecreeNo.1606,provides:

Sec.11.Proceedingsfreeofcharge.AllproceedingsintheSandiganbayanshallbe
conductedatnocosttothecomplainantand/orhiswitnesses.

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PetitionerpointsoutthatwhenformerPresidentCorazonC.AquinoissuedExecutiveOrderNo.14in
1986whichexpandedtheSandiganbayansjurisdictiontoincludecivilcases,shedidnotrepealor
amendSection11ofP.D.1606onfilingfees.

Similarly,whenCongressin1994enactedRepublicActNo.7975furtherstrengtheningthefunctional
andstructuralorganizationoftheSandiganbayan,itdidnotamendtheprovisiononnonpaymentof
feesevenasitamendedorrepealedseveralsectionsoftheoriginallaw.WhenCongressin1997
passedRepublicActNo.8429furtheramendingP.D.1606,itdidnottouchthesectiononnon
paymentofcourtfees.IfCongressinrepealingvariouspartsofP.D.1606didnottouchSection11,
whatisthebasisoftheSandiganbayansrulingonrepealoramendment?

Intheresolutionsubmittedtousforreview,theSandiganbayanemphasizedthatwhenP.D.No.1606
wasissued,thejurisdictionoftheantigraftcourtwaslimitedtocriminalactions.TheSandiganbayan
nowtriescivilcases.Whileweareinclinedtosustaintherulingthatcorrectfilingfeesincivilcases
mustbepaidinallcourts,includingtheSandiganbayan,thisdoesnotprecludearulingthat,inthis
case,thepetitioneractedinjustifiablegoodfaith.Therewasamplereasonforuncertaintyanddoubt
ontheintervenorspartnotmerelyastothecorrectnessoftheamounttobepaidbutwhetherornot
docketfeesshouldbepaidatall.Esm

Equitableconsiderationsareequallysignificant.UnlikethebasisoftheManchesterruling,thereisno
evidenceinthepresentcasethatthepetitionertriedtoevadethepaymentofcorrectfeesorinany
waytriedtomisleadthatcourtanditsemployees.Onthecontrary,petitionerpaidduesandaskedthe
Sandiganbayanwhatarethecorrectdocketfees,iftheduespaidarenotaccurate.When
Sandiganbayancameoutwithitsowncomputation,petitionerpaidthecorrectedamount.

Correctly,petitionerassertedthattheSandiganbayansresolution,assumingitwascorrect,wasnot
somethingthatcouldhavebeenreasonablyanticipatedbytheordinarylitigant.

Indeed,theactionsoftheSandiganbayanclearlycallfortheapplicationofequitableconsiderations.
OnFebruary17,1989,itadmittedthecomplaintinintervention.AnswerstheretowerefiledbyPHI
andtheCojuangcos.OnJune11,1993,theSandiganbayanadmittedtheamendedcomplaintin
intervention.Moreimportant,thelowercourtdeniedthemotionstodismissfiledbyrespondents
questioningtheincorrectpaymentofdocketfeesinitsresolutionsdatedApril17,1995,March29,
1996andMay7,1996.Petitionerwasthusledintobelieving,longbeforethetenyearprescriptive
periodexpired,thatitscomplaintininterventionwouldstayadmitted.

However,theSandiganbayanonOctober9,1996andOctober6,1997issuedtheResolutionsnow
beforeusinthispetitionforreview.Petitionerscomplaintwasdismissedfornonpaymentofthe
prescribeddocketfees,withoutobviousregardtotheimplicationsofthereversalofitsearlierrulings.

Moreover,onOctober27,1994,petitionerfiledamotionfortheresolutionoftheissueoncorrect
docketfees.Whennodecisionwasforthcoming,petitioneronMarch31,1995filedamotiontopost
bondtoanswerforwhateveradditionalfeesthatmaybeassessedlater.OnApril17,1995,the
Sandiganbayandecidedtodefertheresolutionofrespondentsmotionstodismissuntiltrial.
PetitionerevenelevatedtheinactionoftheSandiganbayantotheSupremeCourtonapetitionfor
certioraributthiswasdismissedforbeingpremature.Itcanthusbeseenthat,farfromcommittingthe
irregularityillustratedinManchester,petitionerdidtheoppositeinthiscase.Msesm

Morespecifically,petitionersallegedcausesofactionbeforetheSandiganbayanconstitutethe
following:

1.....Claimsonthe6%stockholdingsinPTICwhichheallegedtohaveboughtfrom
GregorioRomuloandLeonidesViratabutwerepurportedlytransferredtotheRamonU.
Cojuangcogroupbycoercion,duressandforcemajeure(MartialLaw)

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2.....Claimsonthe25%sharesofGeneralTelephone&ElectronicsCorporation(GTE)in
PhilippineTelecommunicationsInvestmentCorporation(PTIC)whichpetitionerwas
preventedfromacquiringbyvirtueofa"putandcall"agreementwithGTE

3.....(AlternativeThirdCauseofAction)Claimsonthe4.6%sharesinPTIC.

Consideringthatpetitionerseekstorecoverproperties,theownershipandpossessionofwhichhe
wasallegedlydeprivedthroughfraud,duressand/orcoercion,weholdthat,assuminghypothetically
theseavermentstobetrue,thelegalrelationshipofconstructivetrustwaspresentamongtheparties
concernedinthesaidtransactions.Constructivetrustisthatcreatedbyreasonofequitytoanswerthe
demandsofjusticeandpreventunjustenrichment.Itarisesagainstone,who,byfraud,duressor
abuseofconfidence,obtainsorholdsthelegalrighttopropertywhichheoughtnot,inequityand
goodconscience,hold.[46]

Correspondingly,actionsthereonprescribeafterten(10)yearsasprovidedbyArticle1144oftheCivil
Code:

Thefollowingactionsmustbebroughtwithinten(10)yearsfromthetimetherightof
actionaccrues:

1.....Uponawrittencontract

2.....Uponanobligationcreatedbylaw

3.....Uponajudgment.

(Emphasisprovided).

Undernormalcircumstances,petitionerscauseofactionshouldhaveprescribedonFebruary26,
1996,amonthbeforepetitionerwasorderedbytheSandiganbayantopaydocketfeesortwomonths
beforethedocketfeeswereactuallypaidinthecorrectedamountofP14,825.00.However,wehold
thatsaidpaymentcouldnotbeconstruedasbelatedlymadesuchastoforeclosetheprosecutionof
hisclaims.Esmso

Itshouldbenotedthatwhentheissueondocketfeeswasraised,petitionersubmittedthe
determinationofthesametothesounddiscretionoftheSandiganbayan.Asearlierstated,hesought
fortheimmediateresolutionofthisissueasearlyasOctober27,1994.Inthealternative,petitioner
proposedtopostabondtoanswerforthedocketfees,ifsucharepayable.Heevenfiledapetitionfor
certiorari,docketedasG.R.No.123264,toseekanearlyresolutionofthisissue.

Clearly,petitionerdidnotsleeponhisrights,andprescriptionhasnotsetintobarhisrighttoseek
judicialrelief.Theessenceofthestatuteoflimitationsistopreventfraudulentclaimsarisingfrom
unwarrantedlengthoftimeandnottodefeatactionsassertedonthehonestbeliefthattheywere
sufficientlysubmittedforjudicialdetermination.

Topunishpetitionerforpublicrespondentsfailuretotimelydecideanissuepivotaltothesuccessof
hiscasewouldbesettingabadprecedent.Itwouldgivetrialcourtsunbridledpowerandanunfair
weapontofrustratethefilingofactions.Weholdthatpublicrespondentsbelatedactionafter
prolongedinactionontheissueofpetitionerspaymentofdocketfeesisasuperveningeventbeyond
theindependentwillandcontrolofpetitionerthattolledtherunningoftheprescriptiveperiod.Article
1154oftheCivilCodeisapplicablebyparallelism,towit:

Theperiodduringwhichtheobligeewaspreventedbyfortuitouseventfromenforcing
hisrightisnotreckonedagainsthim.

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Asearlierstated,equityandtheextraordinarycircumstancessurroundingthepresentcase
necessitatethisruling.Foramongthepartiesinthecaseatbar,theSandiganbayanisthemost
equippedtoaffordpetitionertheopportunitytopresenthisclaims.Notonlythat,butgoingbacktothe
pronouncementsofthisCourtinSunInsuranceOffice,Ltd.(SIOL)v.Asuncion,[47]wherewe
recognizedthatthesufficiencyofthedocketfeesisamatterforthedeterminationoftheclerkofcourt
and/orhisdulyauthorizeddocketclerkorclerkincharge,theSandiganbayancouldhaveimmediately
drawnpetitionersattentionifitsclerkofcourtfounddifficultyindeterminingtheamountofchargeable
docketfeesfromareadingofthecomplaint.EveninthecelebratedcaseofManchesterDevelopment
Corporationv.CourtofAppeals,[48]thetrialcourtdirectedtheplaintiffthereintorectifytheflawsinits
amendedcomplaint.Thatway,notonlycouldtheSandiganbayanhaveseasonablyresolvedthe
issuesondocketfeesbutitcouldverywellhavetimelysettledpetitionersdilemmaonwhattodoand
whatwasrequiredtopreservehisrights.Chiefx

Courtsaremandatedtopromptlyadministerjustice.Havingtheinherentpowertoamendandcontrol
theprocessesandorders,tomakethemconformabletolawandjustice[49]wehavetheavowedduty
toupholdtherightofallpersonstoaspeedydispositionoftheircasesandaverttheprecipitatelossof
rights.

Whileitmaybearguedthatpetitionercouldhaveverywellamendedhiscomplaintandallegedthe
monetaryvaluesofthepropertiesheseekstorecovertocomplywithRule141,Section7(a)ofthe
RulesofCourt,wefind,prohacvice,thatpetitioneractedingoodfaithwhenhecontendedthat
proceedingsbeforetheSandiganbayanarefreeofcharge.Thepresentrulemust,however,be
stressed:partiesfilingcivilactionsbeforetheSandiganbayanareliabletopaytherequireddocket
fees.Thesituationonlydiffersinthecaseatbarbecauseofpetitionershonestconvictionmanifested
inhisfilingofareservationforthepaymentshemade,afterhavingbeenorderedbythe
SandiganbayanonMarch29,1996topaythebalanceofP14,425.00andafterthecourtdeniedhis
motiontopostbondpendingfinalresolutionofthemotiontodismiss.

Bethatasitmay,petitionerspositionthatsubsequentamendments[50]toPD1606didnotexpressly
repealSection11thereofisuntenable.Petitionerfailedtoappreciatethattheexpansionofthe
SandiganbayansjurisdictiontoincludecivilcasesimpliedlyamendedthesameandSection1,Rule
IV,PartIoftheRevisedRulesoftheSandiganbayan.Moreover,theSupremeCourtenjoysexclusive
powertopromulgatetherulesonpleading,practice,andprocedure.

Inaddition,RepublicActNo.7975[51]amendedSection9ofP.D.1606toreadasfollows:

RulesofProcedure.TheRulesofCourtpromulgatedbytheSupremeCourtshallapply
toallcasesandproceedingsfiledwiththeSandiganbayan.xxx

Hence,Rule141Section7(a)oftheRulesofCourtappliestopetitionerscomplaintand/oramended
complaintsinintervention.

PetitionerarguesthatR.A.7975,havingbeenpromulgatedonMarch30,1995shouldnotbe
retroactivelyapplied.Thisisnotso,asstatutesregulatingtheprocedureofthecourtsareapplicable
toactionspendingandundeterminedatthetimeoftheirpassage,thus,retrospectiveinsuchsense
andtothatextent.[52]haideem

Asafinalnote,petitionersmanifestationthatheiswithdrawingsomeofthecausesofactionalleged
inhiscomplaintsininterventionandthesubsequentamendmentstheretoshouldbeaddressedtothe
Sandiganbayanforproperdeterminationandaction.Thisshouldbetakenintoconsiderationbythe
Sandiganbayanindetermininganewthedocketfeespayablebypetitioner.

WHEREFORE,premisesconsidered,thepetitionispartiallyGRANTED.ThequestionedResolutions
areSETASIDE.PetitionerisorderedtosubmittopublicrespondentSandiganbayanthevalueofthe
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propertiesheseekstorecoverandtopaytheproperdocketfeesthereforwithinthirty(30)daysupon
determinationthereofeitherbytheSandiganbayanoritsclerkofcourt,whichinturnisdirectedtoact
withdispatchonthematter.

SOORDERED.

Puno,Kapunan,andPardo,JJ.,concur.yacats

Davide,Jr.,C.J.,(Chairman),onofficialleaveabroad.

[1] Annex"A",Rollo,p.157pennedbyJusticeSabinoR.deLeon,concurredinbyJusticesCiprianoA.delRosarioandLeonardoI.
Cruz.
[2] Annex"B",Rollo,p.178pennedbyJusticeSabinoR.deLeon,concurredinbyJusticesNarcisoS.NarioandTeresitaL.de
Castro.
[3] Annex"C",Rollo,p.195.
[4] Annex"D",Rollo,p.211.
[5] Annex"E",Rollo,p.216.
[6] Annex"F",Rollo,p.219.
[7] Annex"G",Rollo,p.238.
[8] Annex"H",Rollo,p.239.
[9] 149SCRA562(1987)
[10] Annex"I",Rollo,p.264.
[11] Annex"J",Rollo,p.291.
[12] Annex"K",Rollo,p.310.
[13] Annex"L",Rollo,p.324.
[14] Annex"M",Rollo,p.328.
[15] Annexes"N"and"N1",Rollo,pp.338,341.
[16] Annex"O",Rollo,p.355.
[17] Annex"P",Rollo,p.360.
[18] Annex"Q",Rollo,p.367.
[19] Annex"R",Rollo,p.371.
[20] Annex"S",Rollo,p.379.
[21] Annex"T",Rollo,p.386.
[22] Annex"U",Rollo,p.391.
[23] AnActtoStrengthentheFunctionalandStructuralOrganizationoftheSandiganbayan.
[24] Annex"W",Rollo,p.401.
[25] Petition,p.14Rollo,p.109.
[26] Id.,p.15Rollo,p.110.
[27] Annex"X",Rollo,p.406.
[28] Annex"Y",Rollo,p.414.
[29] Annex"Z",Rollo,p.416.
[30] Annex"AA",Rollo,p.427.
[31] Annex"BB",Rollo,p.433.
[32] Annex"DD",Rollo,p.452.
[33] Annex"A",op.cit.,note1.
[34] Annex"GG",Rollo,p.476.
[35] Annex"HH",Rollo,p.512.
[36] Annex"II",Rollo,p.526.
[37] Annex"B",op.cit.,note2.
[38] Lazarov.Eudenciaet.al.,57Phil.552(1932)Leev.Republic,10SCRA65(1964)Malimitv.Degamo,12SCRA450(1964)
Garciav.Vasquez,28SCRA330(1969)Magaspiv.Ramolete,115SCRA193(1982)ManchesterDevelopmentCorporationv.
CourtofAppeals,149SCRA562(1987)
[39] Supra.

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[40] Supra.
[41] Supra.
[42] Supra.
[43] Supra.,atp.569.
[44] 170SCRA274(1989)
[45] Tacayv.RegionalTrialCourt,180SCRA433(1989)
[46] Vda.deEscondev.CourtofAppeals,253SCRA66(1996)citingOlacov.CoChoChit,220SCRA656,663(1993)
[47] Id.
[48] Supra.
[49] RULESOFCOURT,Rule135,Section(c)
[50] E.O.14,R.A.7975andR.A.8249.
[51] AnActtoStrengthentheFunctionalandStructuralOrganizationoftheSandiganbayan,AmendingforthatPurposePresidential
DecreeNo.1606,asamended.
[52] SunLifeInsurance,supra.,citingPeoplev.Sumilang,77Phil.764(1946)Aldayv.Camilon,120SCRA521(1983)andPalomo
BuildingTenantsAssociation,Inc.v.IntermediateAppellateCourt,133SCRA168(1984)

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