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This is a case for damages under Article 32 of the Civil Code filed by Fortune against Liwayway as CIR.

On June 10, 1993, the legislature enacted RA 7654, which provided that locally manufactured cigarettes which
are currently classified and taxed at 55% shall be charged an ad valorem tax of “55% provided that the
maximum tax shall not be less than Five Pesos per pack.” Prior to effectivity of RA 7654, Liwayway issued a
rule, reclassifying “Champion,” “Hope,” and “More” (all manufactured by Fortune) as locally manufactured
cigarettes bearing foreign brand subject to the 55% ad valorem tax. Thus, when RA 7654 was passed, these
cigarette brands were already covered.

In a case filed against Liwayway with the RTC, Fortune contended that the issuance of the rule violated its
constitutional right against deprivation of property without due process of law and the right to equal protection
of the laws.

For her part, Liwayway contended in her motion to dismiss that respondent has no cause of action against her
because she issued RMC 37-93 in the performance of her official function and within the scope of her
authority. She claimed that she acted merely as an agent of the Republic and therefore the latter is the one
responsible for her acts. She also contended that the complaint states no cause of action for lack of allegation
of malice or bad faith.

The order denying the motion to dismiss was elevated to the CA, who dismissed the case on the ground that
under Article 32, liability may arise even if the defendant did not act with malice or bad faith. Hence this appeal.


Whether or not a public officer may be validly sued in his/her private capacity for acts done in connection with
the discharge of the functions of his/her office

Whether or not Article 32, NCC, should be applied instead of Sec. 38, Book I, Administrative Code


On the first issue, the general rule is that a public officer is not liable for damages which a person may suffer
arising from the just performance of his official duties and within the scope of his assigned tasks. An officer
who acts within his authority to administer the affairs of the office which he/she heads is not liable for damages
that may have been caused to another, as it would virtually be a charge against the Republic, which is not
amenable to judgment for monetary claims without its consent. However, a public officer is by law not immune
from damages in his/her personal capacity for acts done in bad faith which, being outside the scope of his
authority, are no longer protected by the mantle of immunity for official actions.

Specifically, under Sec. 38, Book I, Administrative Code, civil liability may arise where there is bad faith,
malice, or gross negligence on the part of a superior public officer. And, under Sec. 39 of the same Book, civil
liability may arise where the subordinate public officer’s act is characterized by willfulness or negligence. In
Cojuangco, Jr. V. CA, a public officer who directly or indirectly violates the constitutional rights of another, may
be validly sued for damages under Article 32 of the Civil Code even if his acts were not so tainted with malice
or bad faith.

Thus, the rule in this jurisdiction is that a public officer may be validly sued in his/her private capacity for acts
done in the course of the performance of the functions of the office, where said public officer: (1) acted with
malice, bad faith, or negligence; or (2) where the public officer violated a constitutional right of the plaintiff.

On the second issue, SC ruled that the decisive provision is Article 32, it being a special law, which prevails
over a general law (the Administrative Code).

Article 32 was patterned after the “tort” in American law. A tort is a wrong, a tortious act which has been
defined as the commission or omission of an act by one, without right, whereby another receives some injury,
directly or indirectly, in person, property or reputation. There are cases in which it has been stated that civil
liability in tort is determined by the conduct and not by the mental state of the tortfeasor, and there are
circumstances under which the motive of the defendant has been rendered immaterial. The reason sometimes
given for the rule is that otherwise, the mental attitude of the alleged wrongdoer, and not the act itself, would
determine whether the act was wrongful. Presence of good motive, or rather, the absence of an evil motive,
does not render lawful an act which is otherwise an invasion of another’s legal right; that is, liability in tort in not
precluded by the fact that defendant acted without evil intent.

GR. 143365, DECEMBER 4, 2008


Spouses Palanog filed a complaint for Quieting of Title with Damages against defendants, spouses Valeria
Saligumba and Eliseo Saligumba, Sr. (spouses Saligumbas), before the Regional Trial Court. In the complaint,
spouses Palanog alleged that they have been in actual, open, adverse and continuous possession as owners
for more than 50 years of a parcel of land. The spouses Saligumbas allegedly prevented them from entering
and residing on the subject premises and had destroyed the barbed wires enclosing the land.

At the trial, only the counsel for spouses Palanogs appeared. It appeared that Eliseo Saligumba, Sr. and
Valeria Saligumba died. No motion for the substitution of the spouses was filed nor an order issued for the
substitution of the deceased spouses Saligumbas despite notices sent to them to appear, never confirmed the
death of Eliseo Saligumba, Sr. and Valeria Saligumba.

After a lapse of more than two years, the trial court rendered a judgment declaring spouses Palanog the lawful
owners of the subject land. No motion for reconsideration nor appeal having been filed.

After 10 years, Palanog filed a Complaint seeking to revive and enforce the said decision. She further
requested that the heirs and children of spouses Saligumbas be impleaded as defendants.

Petitioners thus question the decision as being void and of no legal effect because their parents were
not duly represented by counsel of record. Petitioners further argue that they have never taken part in the
proceedings nor did they voluntarily appear or participate in the case. It is unfair to bind them in a decision
rendered against their deceased parents. Therefore, being a void judgment, it has no legal nor binding effect
on petitioners. Hence, this petition.


WON an action for quieting of title, which is an action involving real property, is extinguished upon death of the


No. The case is an action for quieting of title with damages which is an action involving real property. It is an
action that survives pursuant to Section 1, Rule 87 as the claim is not extinguished by the death of a party. And
when a party dies in an action that survives, Section 17 of Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court provides that
after a party dies and the claim is not thereby extinguished, the court shall order, upon proper notice, the legal
representative of the deceased to appear and to be substituted for the deceased, within a period of thirty (30)
days, or within such time as may be granted. If the legal representative fails to appear within said time, the
court may order the opposing party to procure the appointment of a legal representative of the deceased within
a time to be specified by the court, and the representative shall immediately appear for and on behalf of the
interest of the deceased. The court charges involved in procuring such appointment, if defrayed by the
opposing party, may be recovered as costs. The heirs of the deceased may be allowed to be substituted for
the deceased, without requiring the appointment of an executor or administrator and the court may appoint
guardian ad litem for the minor heirs.
RELUCIO VS LOPEZ (legal wife)


1. Private respondent Angelina Mejia Lopez (plaintiff below) filed a petition for “APPOINTMENT AS SOLE
defendant Alberto Lopez and petitioner Imelda Relucio.

2. In the petition, private-respondent alleged that sometime in 1968, defendant Lopez, who is legally married
to the private respondent, abandoned the latter and their four legitimate children; that he arrogated unto
himself full and exclusive control and administration of the conjugal properties, spending and using the same
for his sole gain and benefit to the total exclusion of the private respondent and their four children; that
defendant Lopez, after abandoning his family, maintained an illicit relationship and cohabited with herein
petitioner since 1976.

3. A Motion to Dismiss the Petition was filed by herein petitioner on the ground that private respondent has no
cause of action against her.

4. Respondent Judge denying petitioner Relucio’s Motion to Dismiss on the ground that she is impleaded as a
necessary or indispensable party because some of the subject properties are registered in her name and
defendant Lopez, or solely in her name.

5. MR denied. CA likewise denied. Hence this petition.

ISSUE: Whether petitioner’s inclusion as party defendant is essential in the proceedings for a complete
adjudication of the controversy.

HELD: NO The first cause of action is for judicial appointment of respondent as administratrix of the conjugal
partnership or absolute community property arising from her marriage to Alberto J. Lopez. Petitioner is a
complete stranger to this cause of action.

The administration of the property of the marriage is entirely between them, to the exclusion of all other
persons. Respondent alleges that Alberto J. Lopez is her husband. Therefore, her first cause of action is
against Alberto J. Lopez. There is no right-duty relation between petitioner and respondent that can possibly
support a cause of action.

The second cause of action is for an accounting “by respondent husband.”

The accounting of conjugal partnership arises from or is an incident of marriage. Petitioner has nothing to do
with the marriage between respondent Alberto J. Lopez. Hence, no cause of action can exist against petitioner
on this ground.

The third cause of action is essentially for forfeiture of Alberto J. Lopez’ share in property co-owned by him and
petitioner. It does not involve the issue of validity of the co-ownership between Alberto J. Lopez and petitioner.
The respondent also sought support. Support cannot be compelled from a stranger.

Finally, as to the moral damages, respondent’s claim for moral damages is against Alberto J. Lopez, not
petitioner. If petitioner is not a real party in interest, she cannot be an indispensable party. An indispensable
party is one without whom there can be no final determination of an action.

Petitioner’s participation in Special Proceedings M-3630 is not indispensable. Certainly, the trial court can
issue a judgment ordering Alberto J. Lopez to make an accounting of his conjugal partnership with respondent,
and give support to respondent and their children, and dissolve Alberto J. Lopez’ conjugal partnership with
respondent, and forfeit Alberto J. Lopez’ share in property co-owned by him and petitioner. Such judgment
would be perfectly valid and enforceable against Alberto J. Lopez.

Nor can petitioner be a necessary party in Special Proceedings M-3630. A necessary party as one who is not
indispensable but who ought to be joined as party if complete relief is to be accorded those already parties, or
for a complete determination or settlement of the claim subject of the action.

In the context of her petition in the lower court, respondent would be accorded complete relief if Alberto J.
Lopez were ordered to account for his alleged conjugal partnership property with respondent, give support to
respondent and her children, turn over his share in the co-ownership with petitioner and dissolve his conjugal
partnership or absolute community property with respondent.

WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition and REVERSES the decision of the Court of Appeals.

The Court DISMISSES Special Proceedings M-3630 of the Regional Trial Court, Makati, Branch 141 as
against petitioner.


- versus -


Respondents. November 24, 2009



This case is about a courts annulment of a tax declaration in the names of three persons, two of whom had not
been impleaded in the case, for the reason that the document was illegally issued to them.

The Facts and the Case

On February 9, 1998 respondents Carlos, Rogelio, and Lourdes Tarona (the Taronas) filed an action before
the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Balanga, Bataan,[1] against petitioner Anicia Valdez-Tallorin (Tallorin) for the
cancellation of her and two other womens tax declaration over a parcel of land.

The Taronas alleged in their complaint that, unknown to them, in 1981, the Assessors Office of Morong in
Bataan cancelled Tax Declaration 463 in the name of their father, Juanito Tarona (Juanito), covering 6,186
square meters of land in Morong, Bataan. The cancellation was said to be based on an unsigned though
notarized affidavit that Juanito allegedly executed in favor of petitioner Tallorin and two others, namely,
Margarita Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and Dolores Valdez, who were not impleaded in the action. In place of the
cancelled one, the Assessors Office issued Tax Declaration 6164 in the names of the latter three persons. The
old man Taronas affidavit had been missing and no copy could be found among the records of the Assessors

The Taronas further alleged that, without their fathers affidavit on file, it followed that his tax declaration had
been illegally cancelled and a new one illegally issued in favor of Tallorin and the others with her. The
unexplained disappearance of the affidavit from official files, the Taronas concluded, covered-up the
falsification or forgery that caused the substitution.[3] The Taronas asked the RTC to annul Tax Declaration
6164, reinstate Tax Declaration 463, and issue a new one in the name of Juanitos heirs.

On March 6, 1998 the Taronas filed a motion to declare petitioner Tallorin in default for failing to answer their
complaint within the allowed time.[4] But, before the RTC could act on the motion, Tallorin filed a belated
answer, alleging among others that she held a copy of the supposedly missing affidavit of Juanito who was
merely an agricultural tenant of the land covered by Tax Declaration 463. He surrendered and waived in that
affidavit his occupation and tenancy rights to Tallorin and the others in consideration of P29,240.00. Tallorin
also put up the affirmative defenses of non-compliance with the requirement of conciliation proceedings and

On March 12, 1998 the RTC set Tallorins affirmative defenses for hearing[5] but the Taronas sought
reconsideration, pointing out that the trial court should have instead declared Tallorin in default based on their
earlier motion.[6] On June 2, 1998 the RTC denied the Taronas motion for reconsideration[7] for the reasons
that it received Tallorins answer before it could issue a default order and that the Taronas failed to show proof
that Tallorin was notified of the motion three days before the scheduled hearing. Although the presiding judge
inhibited himself from the case on motion of the Taronas, the new judge to whom the case was re-raffled stood
by his predecessors previous orders.

By a special civil action for certiorari before the Court of Appeals (CA),[8] however, the Taronas succeeded in
getting the latter court to annul the RTCs March 12 and June 2, 1998 orders.[9] The CA ruled that the RTC
gravely abused its discretion in admitting Tallorins late answer in the absence of a motion to admit it. Even if
petitioner Tallorin had already filed her late answer, said the CA, the RTC should have heard the Taronas
motion to declare Tallorin in default.

Upon remand of the case, the RTC heard the Taronas motion to declare Tallorin in default,[10] granted the
same, and directed the Taronas to present evidence ex parte.

On January 30, 2002 the RTC rendered judgment, a) annulling the tax declaration in the names of Tallorin,
Margarita Pastelero Vda. de Valdez, and Dolores Valdez; b) reinstating the tax declaration in the name of
Juanito; and c) ordering the issuance in its place of a new tax declaration in the names of Juanitos heirs. The
trial court also ruled that Juanitos affidavit authorizing the transfer of the tax declaration had no binding force
since he did not sign it.
Tallorin appealed the above decision to the CA,[12] pointing out 1) that the land covered by the tax declaration
in question was titled in her name and in those of her two co-owners; 2) that Juanitos affidavit only dealt with
the surrender of his tenancy rights and did not serve as basis for canceling Tax Declaration 463 in his name; 3)
that, although Juanito did not sign the affidavit, he thumbmarked and acknowledged the same before a notary
public; and 4) that the trial court erred in not dismissing the complaint for failure to implead Margarita Pastelero
Vda. de Valdez and Dolores Valdez who were indispensable parties in the action to annul Juanitos affidavit
and the tax declaration in their favor.[13]

On May 22, 2006 the CA rendered judgment, affirming the trial courts decision.[14] The CA rejected all of
Tallorins arguments. Since she did not assign as error the order declaring her in default and since she took no
part at the trial, the CA pointed out that her claims were in effect mere conjectures, not based on evidence of
record.[15] Notably, the CA did not address the issue Tallorin raised regarding the Taronas failure to implead
Margarita Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and Dolores Valdez as indispensable party-defendants, their interest in the
cancelled tax declarations having been affected by the RTC judgment.

Questions Presented

The petition presents the following questions for resolution by this Court:

1. Whether or not the CA erred in failing to dismiss the Taronas complaint for not impleading Margarita
Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and Dolores Valdez in whose names, like their co-owner Tallorin, the annulled tax
declaration had been issued;

2. Whether or not the CA erred in not ruling that the Taronas complaint was barred by prescription; and

3. Whether or not the CA erred in affirming the RTCs finding that Juanitos affidavit had no legal effect because
it was unsigned; when at the hearing of the motion to declare Tallorin in default, it was shown that the affidavit
bore Juanitos thumbmark.

The Courts Rulings

The first question, whether or not the CA erred in failing to dismiss the Taronas complaint for not impleading
Margarita Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and Dolores Valdez in whose names, like their co-owner Tallorin, the
annulled tax declaration had been issued, is a telling question.

The rules mandate the joinder of indispensable parties. Thus:

Sec. 7. Compulsory joinder of indispensable parties. Parties in interest without whom no final determination
can be had of an action shall be joined either as plaintiffs and defendants.

Indispensable parties are those with such an interest in the controversy that a final decree would necessarily
affect their rights, so that the courts cannot proceed without their presence.[17] Joining indispensable parties
into an action is mandatory, being a requirement of due process. Without their presence, the judgment of the
court cannot attain real finality.

Judgments do not bind strangers to the suit. The absence of an indispensable party renders all subsequent
actions of the court null and void. Indeed, it would have no authority to act, not only as to the absent party, but
as to those present as well. And where does the responsibility for impleading all indispensable parties lie? It
lies in the plaintiff.

Here, the Taronas sought the annulment of the tax declaration in the names of defendant Tallorin and two
others, namely, Margarita Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and Dolores Valdez and, in its place, the reinstatement of
the previous declaration in their father Juanitos name. Further, the Taronas sought to strike down as void the
affidavit in which Juanito renounced his tenancy right in favor of the same three persons. It is inevitable that
any decision granting what the Taronas wanted would necessarily affect the rights of such persons to the
property covered by the tax declaration.

The Court cannot discount the importance of tax declarations to the persons in whose names they are issued.
Their cancellation adversely affects the rights and interests of such persons over the properties that the
documents cover. The reason is simple: a tax declaration is a primary evidence, if not the source, of the right to
claim title of ownership over real property, a right enforceable against another person. The Court held in Uriarte
v. People[19] that, although not conclusive, a tax declaration is a telling evidence of the declarants possession
which could ripen into ownership.

In Director of Lands v. Court of Appeals,[20] the Court said that no one in his right mind would pay taxes for a
property that he did not have in his possession. This honest sense of obligation proves that the holder claims
title over the property against the State and other persons, putting them on notice that he would eventually
seek the issuance of a certificate of title in his name. Further, the tax declaration expresses his intent to
contribute needed revenues to the Government, a circumstance that strengthens his bona fide claim to
Here, the RTC and the CA annulled Tax Declaration 6164 that belonged not only to defendant Tallorin but also
to Margarita Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and Dolores Valdez, which two persons had no opportunity to be heard
as they were never impleaded. The RTC and the CA had no authority to annul that tax declaration without
seeing to it that all three persons were impleaded in the case.

But the Taronas action cannot be dismissed outright. As the Court held in Plasabas v. Court of Appeals,[22]
the non-joinder of indispensable parties is not a ground for dismissal. Section 11, Rule 3 of the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure prohibits the dismissal of a suit on the ground of non-joinder or misjoinder of parties and allows
the amendment of the complaint at any stage of the proceedings, through motion or on order of the court on its
own initiative. Only if plaintiff refuses to implead an indispensable party, despite the order of the court, may it
dismiss the action.

There is a need, therefore, to remand the case to the RTC with an order to implead Margarita Pastelero Vda.
de Valdez and Dolores Valdez as defendants so they may, if they so desire, be heard.

In view of the Courts resolution of the first question, it would serve no purpose to consider the other questions
that the petition presents. The resolution of those questions seems to depend on the complete evidence in the
case. This will not yet happen until all the indispensable party-defendants are impleaded and heard on their

WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the petition and SETS ASIDE the decision of the Regional Trial Court of
Balanga, Bataan in Civil Case 6739 dated January 30, 2002 and the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-
G.R. CV 74762 dated May 22, 2006. The Court REMANDS the case to the Regional Trial Court of Balanga,
Bataan which is DIRECTED to have Margarita Pastelero Vda. de Valdez and Dolores Valdez impleaded by the
plaintiffs as party-defendants and, afterwards, to hear the case in the manner prescribed by the rules.