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Assignment No.

1: Rules 1-7 of murder in the first degree and sentenced to be hung, and it is to this judgment that the present writ
of error is directed.

Kring v. Missouri, 107 U.S. 221 (1883) It is to be premised that the court of appeals is an intermediate appellate tribunal between the
Decided April 2, 1883 Criminal Court of St. Louis and the supreme court of the state, to which all appeals of this character
107 U.S. 221 are first taken.
ERROR TO THE SUPREME COURT
At the trial immediately preceding the last one in the court of original jurisdiction, the prisoner was
permitted to plead guilty to murder in the second degree, which plea was accepted by the prosecuting
OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI attorney and the court, and on this plea he was sentenced to imprisonment in the penitentiary for
twenty-five years. He took an appeal from this judgment on the ground that he had an understanding
Syllabus with the prosecuting attorney that if he would plead as he did, his sentence should not exceed ten
years' imprisonment, and the supreme court reversed that judgment and remanded the case to the St.
1. A. was convicted of murder in the first degree, and the judgment of condemnation was affirmed by Louis Criminal Court for further proceedings. In that court, when the case was again called, the
the Supreme Court of Missouri. A previous sentence pronounced on his plea of guilty of murder in defendant refused to withdraw his plea of guilty of murder in the second degree, and refused to renew
the second degree, and subjecting him to an imprisonment for twenty-five years, had, on his appeal, his plea of not guilty, which had been withdrawn when he pleaded guilty to murder in the second
been reversed and set aside. By the law of Missouri in force when the homicide was committed, this degree, and the court, against his remonstrance, made an order setting aside his plea of guilty of
sentence was an acquittal of the crime of murder in the first degree, but before his plea of guilty was murder in the second degree and ordered a general plea of not guilty to be entered. On this plea he
entered the law was changed, so that by force of its provisions, if a judgment on that plea be lawfully was tried by a jury and found guilty and sentenced to death, as we have already said, which judgment
act aside, it shall not be held to be an acquittal of the higher crime. Held that as to this case, the new was affirmed by the supreme court of the state.
law was an ex post facto law within the meaning of Section 10, Article I, of the Constitution of the
United States, and that he could not be again tried for murder in the first degree. By refusing to plead not guilty to murder in the first degree and to withdraw his plea of guilty in the
second degree, defendant raised the point that the proceedings under that plea, namely its acceptance
2. The history of the ex post facto clause of the Constitution reviewed in connection with its adoption by the prosecuting attorney and the court, and his conviction and sentence under it, was an acquittal
as a part of the Constitution and with its subsequent construction by the federal and the state courts. of the charge of murder in the first degree, and that he could not be tried again for that offense. This
point he insisted on in the circuit court, and relied on it for reversing the judgment in the court of
appeals and in the supreme court.
3. The distinction between retrospective laws, which relate to the remedy or the mode of procedure,
and those which operate directly on the offense, is unsound where, in the latter case, they injuriously
affect any substantial right to which the accused was entitled under the law as it existed when the Both these latter tribunals, in the opinions delivered by them and which are part of the record,
alleged offense was committed. conceded that such was the law of the State of Missouri at the time the homicide was committed. But
they overruled the defense on the ground that by sec. 23, art.
4. Within the meaning of the Constitution, any law is ex post facto which is enacted after the offense
was committed and which, in relation to it or its consequences, alters the situation of the accused to Page 107 U. S. 223
his disadvantage.
2 of the Constitution of Missouri, which took effect November 30, 1875, that law was abrogated, and
The case is stated in the opinion of the Court. for this reason defendant could be tried for murder in the first degree notwithstanding his conviction
and sentence for murder in the second degree.
MR. JUSTICE MILLER delivered the opinion of the Court.
As after the commission of the crime for which he was indicted this new constitution was adopted,
and as it is construed by the court of appeals and the supreme court, it changes the law as it then
This is a writ of error to the Supreme Court of Missouri. The plaintiff in error was indicted in the stood to the disadvantage of the defendant, the jurisdiction of this Court is invoked on the ground
Criminal Court of St. Louis for murder in the first degree, charged to have been committed January 4, that, as to this case and as so construed, it is an ex post facto law within the meaning of Section 10,
1875, to which he pleaded not guilty. He has been tried four times before a jury, and sentenced once Article I, of the Constitution of the United States.
on plea of guilty of murder in the second degree. His case has been three times before the court of
appeals of that state and three times before the supreme court of the state. In the last instance, the
supreme court affirmed the judgment of the criminal court, by which he was found guilty That it may be clearly seen what the Supreme Court of Missouri decided on this subject and what
consideration they gave it, we extract here all that is said in their opinion about it.
Page 107 U. S. 222
"There is nothing in the point," they say, this case that the Supreme Court of Missouri, in the opinion we are examining, says it was so, and
cites as authority for it the case of State v. Ross, 29 Mo. 32, in the same court; but counsel for
"that after an accepted plea of guilty of murder of the second degree the defendant could not be put plaintiff in error cites to the same
upon trial for murder of the first degree. We shall, on that proposition, accept what is said by the
court of appeals in its opinion in this cause." Page 107 U. S. 225

What that court said on this subject is as follows: effect the cases of State v. Ball, 27 Mo. 327; State v. Smith, 53 Mo. 139.

"The theory of counsel for defendant that a plea of guilty of murder in the second degree, regularly Blackstone says:
entered and received, precludes the state from afterwards prosecuting the defendant for murder in the
first degree, is inconsistent with the ruling of the supreme court in State v. Kring, 71 Mo. 551, and in "The plea of autrefois convict, or a former conviction for the same identical crime, through no
State v. Stephens, id., 535. The declarations of defendant that he would stand upon his plea already judgment was ever given, or, perhaps, will be (being suspended by benefit of clergy or other causes),
entered were all accompanied with a condition that the court should sentence him for a term not to is a good plea in bar to an indictment. And this depends upon the same principle as the former -- that
exceed ten years, in accordance with an alleged agreement with the prosecuting attorney, which the is, autrefois acquit, -- that no man ought to be twice brought in danger of his life for one and the same
court would not recognize. The prisoner did not stand upon his plea of guilty of murder in the second crime. Hereupon it has been held that a conviction of manslaughter on an appeal or indictment is a
degree; he must therefore be taken to have withdrawn that plea, and, as he refused to plead, the court bar even in another appeal, and much more in an indictment for murder, for the fact prosecuted is the
properly directed the plea of not guilty of murder in the first degree to be entered." same in both, though the offenses differ in coloring and degree."

"Formerly it was held in Missouri (State v. Ross, 20 Mo. 32) that when a conviction is had of murder Bl.Com. Book 4, 336. See State v. Norvill, 2 Yerg. (Tenn.) 24; 9 id. 333, 337.
in the second degree on an indictment charging murder in the first degree, if this be set aside, the
defendant cannot again be tried for murder
This law, in force at the date of the homicide for which Kring is now under sentence of death, was
changed by the State of Missouri between that time and his trial so as to deprive him of its benefit, to
Page 107 U. S. 224 which he would otherwise have been entitled, and we are called on to decide whether in this respect
and as applied by the court to this case, it is an ex post facto law within the meaning of the
in the first degree. A change introduced by § 23 of article 2 of the Constitution of 1875 has abrogated Constitution of the United States.
this rule. On the oral argument, something was said by counsel for the defendant to the effect that
under the old rule, defendant could not be put on his trial for murder in the first degree, and that he There is no question of the right of the State of Missouri, either by the her fundamental law or by an
could not be affected by the change of the constitutional provision, the crime having been committed ordinary act of legislation, to abolish this rule, and that it is a valid law as to all offenses committed
while the old Constitution was in force. There is, however, nothing in this; this change is a change not after its enactment. The question here is does it deprive the defendant of any right of defense which
in crimes, but in criminal procedure, and such changes are not ex post facto.Gut v. State, 9 Wall. 35; the law gave him when the act was committed, so that, as to that offense, it is ex post facto. This term
Cummings v. Missouri, 4 Wall. 326." necessarily implies a fact or act done after which the law in question is passed. Whether it is ex post
facto or not relates, in criminal cases, to which alone the phrase applies, to the time at which the
We have here a distinct admission that by the law of Missouri, as it stood at the time of the homicide, offense charged was committed. If the law complained of was passed before the commission of the
in consequence of this conviction of the defendant of the crime of murder in the second degree, act with which the prisoner is charged, it cannot. As to that offense, be an ex post facto law. If passed
though that conviction be set aside, he could not be again tried for murder of the first degree, and after the commission of the offense, it is as to that ex post facto, though whether of the class
that, but for the change in the constitution of the state, such would be the law applicable to his case. forbidden by the Constitution may depend on other
When the attention of the court is called to the proposition that if such effect is given to the change of
the constitution, it would in this case be liable to objection as an ex post facto law, the only answer is Page 107 U. S. 226
that there is nothing in it, as the change is simply in a matter of procedure. Whatever may be the
essential nature of the change, it is one which, to the defendant, involves the difference between life
and death, and the retroactive character of the change cannot be denied. matters. But so far as this depends on the time of its enactment, it has reference solely to the date at
which the offense was committed to which the new law is sought to be applied. No other time or
transaction but this has been in any adjudged case held to govern its ex post facto character.
It is to be observed that the force of the argument for acquittal does not stand upon defendant's plea,
nor upon its acceptance by the state's attorney, nor the consent of the court; but it stands upon the
judgment and sentence of the court by which he is convicted of murder in the second degree, and In the case before us, an argument is made founded on a change in this rule. It is said the new law in
sentence pronounced according to the law of that guilt, which was by operation of the same law an Missouri is not ex post facto because it was in force when the plea and judgment were entered of
acquittal of the other and higher crime of murder charged in the same indictment. It is sufficient for guilty of murder in the second degree, thus making its character as an ex post facto law to depend not
upon the date of its passage as regards the commission of the offense, but as regards the time of
pleading guilty. That as the new law was in force when the conviction on that plea was had, its effect law impairing the obligation of contracts" were added to give security to rights resting in contracts. 2
as to future trials in that case must be governed by that law. But this is begging the whole question, Bancroft's History of the Constitution 213.
for if it was, as to the offense charged, an ex post facto law within the true meaning of that phrase, it
was not in force and could not be applied to the case, and the effect of that plea and conviction must Sir Thomas Tomlin, in that magazine of learning, the English edition of 1835 of his Law Dictionary,
be decided as though no such change in the law had been made. says:

Such, however, is not the ground on which the supreme court and the court of appeals placed their "Ex post facto is a term used in the law signifying something done after, or arising from or to affect,
judgment. another thing that was committed before."

"There is nothing,' say they, 'in this; the change is a change not in crimes, but in criminal procedure, "An ex post facto law is one which operates upon a subject not liable to it at the time the law was
and such changes are not ex post facto." made."

Before proceeding to examine this proposition, it will be well to get some clear perception of the The first case in which this Court was called upon to construe this provision of the Constitution was
purpose of the convention which framed the Constitution in declaring that no state shall pass any ex that of Calder v. Bull, 3 Dall. 386, decided in 1798. The opinion of the Court was delivered
post facto law.
Page 107 U. S. 228
It was one of the objections most seriously urged against the new constitution by those who opposed
its ratification by the states that it contained no formal Bill of Rights. Federalist, No. 84. And the
State of Virginia accompanied her ratification by the recommendation of an amendment embodying by Mr. Justice Chase, and its main purpose was to decide that it had no application to acts concerning
such a bill. 3 Elliott's Debates 661. civil rights. The opinion, however, is important, as it discusses very fully the meaning of the
provision in its application to criminal cases. It defines four distinct classes of laws embraced by the
clause:
The feeling on this subject led to the adoption of the first ten amendments to that instrument at one
time, shortly after the government was organized. These are all designed to operate as restraints on
the general government, and most of "1st. Every law that makes an action done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent
when done, criminal, and punishes such action. 2d. Every law that aggravates the crime of makes it
greater than it was when committed. 3d. Every law that changes the punishment and inflicts a greater
Page 107 U. S. 227 punishment than was annexed to the crime when committed. 4th. Every law that alters the legal rules
of evidence and receives less or different testimony than the law required at the time of the
them for the protection of private rights of persons and property. Notwithstanding this reproach, commission of the offense in order to convict the offender."
however, there are many provisions in the original instrument of this latter character, among which is
the one now under consideration. Again, he says:

So much importance did the convention attach to it that it is found twice in the Constitution -- first as "But I do not consider any law ex post facto within the prohibition that modifies the rigor of the law,
a restraint upon the power of the general government and afterwards as a limitation upon the but only these that create or aggravate the crime or increase the punishment or change the rules of
legislative power of the states. This latter is the first clause of Section 10 of Article I, and its evidence for the purpose of conviction."
connection with other language in the same section may serve to illustrate its meaning:
In the case before us, the Constitution of Missouri so changes the rule of evidence that what was
"No state shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; conclusive evidence of innocence of the higher grade of murder when the crime was committed --
coin money; emit bills of credit; make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; namely a judicial conviction for a lower grade of homicide -- is not received as evidence at all, or, if
pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts; or grant any received, is given no weight in behalf of the offender. It also changes the punishment, for whereas the
title of nobility." law, as it stood when the homicide was committed, was that when convicted of murder in the second
degree, he could never be tried or punished by death for murder in the first degree, the new law
It will be observed that here are grouped contiguously a prohibition against three distinct classes of enacts that he may be so punished notwithstanding the former conviction. But it is not to be supposed
retrospective laws -- namely bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws impairing the obligations that the opinion in that case undertook to define by way of exclusion all the cases to which the
of contracts. As the clause was first adopted, the words concerning contracts were not in it, because it constitutional provision would be applicable. Accordingly, in a subsequent case tried before Mr.
was supposed that the phrase "ex post facto law" included laws concerning contracts as well as Justice Washington, he said in his charge to the jury that
others. But it was ascertained before the completion of the instrument that this was a phrase which, in
English jurisprudence, had acquired a signification limited to the criminal law, and the words "or any
"An ex post facto law is one which in its operation makes that criminal which was not so at the time In Commonwealth v. McDonough, 13 Allen (Mass.) 581, it was held that a law passed after the
the action was performed, or which increases the punishment, or, in short, which, in relation to the commission of the offense of which defendant stood charged which mitigated the punishment as
offense or its consequences, alters the situation of regarded the fine and the maximum of imprisonment that might be inflicted was an ex post facto law
as to that case because the minimum of imprisonment was made three months, whereas before, there
Page 107 U. S. 229 was no minimum limit to the court's discretion. This slight variance in the law was held to make it ex
post facto and void as to that case, though the effect of the decision was to leave no law by which the
defendant could be punished, and he was discharged, though found guilty of the offense.
a party to his disadvantage."
In the case of Hartung v. People, 22 N.Y. 95, after the prisoner had been convicted of murder and
United States v. Hall, 2 Wash. 366. sentenced to death and while her case was pending on appeal, the legislature of that state changed the
law for the punishment of murder in general so as to authorize the governor to postpone indefinitely
He adds by way of application to that case, which was for a violation of the embargo laws: the execution of the sentence of death and to keep the party confined in the penitentiary at hard labor
until he should order the full execution of the sentence or should pardon or commute it.
"If the enforcing law applies to this case, there can be no doubt that so far as it takes away or impairs
the defense which the law had provided the defendant at the time when the condition of this bond The Court of Appeals held that while this later law repealed all existing punishments for murder, it
became forfeited, it is ex post facto and inoperative." was ex post facto as to Mrs. Hartung's case, and could not be applied to it, and this was decided in
face of the fact that it resulted in the discharge of a convicted murderess without any punishment at
This case was carried to the Supreme Court and the judgment affirmed. 10 U. S. 6 Cranch 171. all. Judge Denio, in delivering the opinion of the court, makes these excellent observations:

The new constitution of Missouri does not take away what, by the law of the state when the crime "It is highly probable that it was the intention of the legislature to extend favor, rather than increased
was committed, was a good defense to the charge of murder in the first degree. severity, toward this convict and others in her situation, and it is quite likely that had they been
consulted, they would have preferred the application of this law to their cases, rather than that which
existed when they committed the offenses of which they were convicted. But the case cannot be
In the subsequent cases of Cummings v. State of Missouri and Ex Parte Garland, 4 Wall. 71 U. S. determined upon such considerations. No one can be criminally punished in this country
277, 71 U. S. 333, this Court held that a law which excluded a minister of the gospel from the
exercise of his clerical function and a lawyer from practice in the courts unless each would take an
oath that they had not engaged in or encouraged armed hostilities against the government of the Page 107 U. S. 231
United States was an ex post facto law because it punished, in a manner not before punished by law,
offenses committed before its passage, and because it instituted a new rule of evidence in aid of except according to a law prescribed for his government by the sovereign authority before the
conviction. Though this Court was divided in that case, it was because the minority were of the imputed offense was committed and which existed as a law at that time. It would be useless to
opinion that the act in question was not a crimes act, and that it inflicted no punishment, in the speculate upon the question whether this would be so upon the reason of the thing, and according to
judicial sense, for any past crime, and they did not controvert the proposition that it was an ex post the spirit of our legal institutions, because the rule exists in the form of an express written precept, the
facto law if it had that effect. binding force of which no one disputes. No state shall pass any ex post facto law is the mandate of the
Constitution of the United States."
In these cases, we have illustrations of the liberal construction which this Court and Mr. Justice
Washington in the circuit court have given to the words "ex post facto law" -- a construction in This is reaffirmed by the same court in the cases of Shepherd v. People, 25 N.Y. 406; Green v.
manifest accord with the purpose of the constitutional convention to protect the individual rights of Shumway, 39 N.Y. 418, and In re Petty, 22 Kan. 477, decides the same thing. In State v. Keith, 63
life and liberty against hostile retrospective legislation. Nearly all the states of the Union have similar N.C. 140, the Supreme Court of that state held that a law repealing a statute of general amnesty for
provisions in their constitutions, and whether they have or not, they all recognize the obligatory force offenses arising out of the rebellion was ex post facto and void, though both statutes were passed after
of this clause of the federal Constitution on their legislation. A reference to some decisions of those the acts were committed with which defendant was charged.
courts will show the
In State v. Sneed, 25 Tex.Supp. 66, the court held that in a criminal case barred by the statute of
Page 107 U. S. 230 limitations, a subsequent statute which enlarged the time necessary to create a bar was, as to that
case, an ex post facto law, and it could not be supposed to be intended to apply to it.
same liberality of construction of the provision, many of them going much further than is necessary
to go in this case to show the error of the Missouri courts. When, in answer to all this evidence of the tender regard for the rights of a person charged with crime
under subsequent legislation affecting those rights, we are told that this very radical change in the law
of Missouri to his disadvantage is not subject to the rule because it is a change not in crimes, but in of the Constitution which forbids the states to pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts. It
criminal procedure, we are led to inquire what that court meant by criminal procedure. has been held that this prohibition also relates exclusively to laws passed after the contract is made,
and its force has been often sought to be evaded by the argument that laws are not forbidden which
The word "procedure," as a law term, is not well understood, and is not found at all in Bouvier's Law affect only the remedy, if they do not change the nature of the contract or act directly upon it.
Dictionary, the best work of the kind in this country. Fortunately a distinguished writer on criminal
law in America has adopted it as the title to a work of two volumes. Bishop on Criminal Procedure. The analogy between this argument and the one concerning laws of procedure, in relation to the
In his first chapter, he undertakes to define what is meant by procedure. He says: contiguous words of the Constitution, is obvious. But while it has been held that a change of remedy
made after the contract may be valid, it is only so when there is substituted an adequate and sufficient
"S. 2. The term 'procedure' is so broad in its signification that it is seldom employed in our books as a remedy by which the contract may be enforced, or where such remedy existed and remained
term of art. It includes in its meaning whatever is embraced by the three technical terms, 'pleading,' unaffected by the new law. Tennessee v. Sneed,96 U. S. 69.
'evidence,' and 'practice.'
On this point it has been held that laws are void enacted after the date of the contract:
Page 107 U. S. 232
1. Which give the debtor a longer stay of execution after judgment. Blair v. Williams, 4 Litt. (Ky.) 34;
And in defining 'practice' in this sense, he says 'the word means those legal rules which direct the McKinney v. Carroll, 5 Mon. (Ky.) 98.
course of proceeding to bring parties into the court and the course of the court after they are brought
in;' and 'evidence,' he says, as part of procedure," 2. Which require on a sale of his property under execution an appraisement, and a bid of two-thirds
the value so ascertained. Bronson v. Kinzie, 1 How. 311; McCracken v. Hayward, 2 How. 608; Sprott
"signifies those rules of law whereby we determine what testimony is to be admitted and what v. Reid, 3 Greene (Iowa) 489.
rejected in each case, and what is the weight to be given to the testimony admitted."
3. Which allow a period of redemption after such sale. Lapsley v. Brashear, 4 Litt. (Ky.) 47; Cargill
If this be a just idea of what is intended by the word "procedure" as applied to a criminal case, it is v. Power, 1 Mich. 369; Robinson v. Howe, 13 Wis. 341.
obvious that a law which is one of procedure may be obnoxious as an ex post facto law, both by the
decision in Calder v. Bull, 3 Dall. 386, and in Cummings v. Missouri, 4 Wall. 277, for in the former 4. Which exempt from sale under judgment for the debt a larger amount of the debtor's property than
case, this Court held that "any law which alters the legal rules of evidence, and receives less or was exempt when the debt was contracted. Edwards v. Kearney,96 U. S. 595, and the cases there
different testimony than the law requires at the time of the commission of the offense in order to cited; Story's Commentary on the Constitution, sec. 1385.
convict the offender" is an ex post facto law, and in the latter, one of the reasons why the law was
held to be ex post facto was that it changed the rule of evidence under which the party was punished. There are numerous similar decisions showing that a change of the law which hindered or delayed the
creditor in the collection of his debt, though it related to the remedy or mode of procedure by which
But it cannot be sustained without destroying the value of the constitutional provision that no law, that debt was to be collected, impaired the obligation of the contract within the meaning of the
however it may invade or modify the rights of a party charged with crime, is an ex post facto law Constitution.
within the constitutional provision if it comes within either of these comprehensive branches of the
law designated as "pleading," "practice," and "evidence." Why are not the rights of life and liberty as sacred as the right of contract? Why should not the
contiguous
Can the law with regard to bail, to indictments, to grand juries, to the trial jury, all be changed by
state legislation, after the offense committed, to the disadvantage of the prisoner, and not held to be Page 107 U. S. 234
ex post facto because it relates to procedure, as it does according to Mr. Bishop?
and associated words in the Constitution relating to retroactive laws on these two subjects be
And can any substantial right which the law gave the defendant at the time to which his guilt relates governed by the same rule of construction? And why should a law equally injurious to the rights of
be taken away from him by ex post facto legislation, because, in the use of a modern phrase, it is the party concerned be under the same circumstances void in one case and not in the other?
called a law of procedure? We think it cannot.
But it is said that at the time the prisoner pleaded guilty of the second degree of murder, and at the
Some light may be thrown upon this branch of the argument by recurrence to a few of the numerous time he procured the reversal of the judgment of the criminal court on that plea, the new constitution
decisions of the highest courts construing the associated phrase in the same sentence was in force, and he was bound to know the effect of the change of the law on his case.

Page 107 U. S. 233


We do not controvert the principle that he was bound to know and take notice of the law. But as "No one can be criminally punished in this country except according to a law prescribed for his
regards the effect of the plea and the judgment on it, the Constitution of Missouri made no change. government by the sovereign authority before the imputed offense was committed and which existed
as a law at the time."
It still remained the law of Missouri, as it is the law of every state in the Union, that so long as the
judgment rendered or that plea remained in force, or after it had been executed, the defendant was Tested by these criteria, the provision of the Constitution of Missouri which denies to plaintiff in
liable to no further prosecution for any charge found in that indictment. error the benefit which the previous law gave him of acquittal of the charge of murder in the first
degree on conviction of murder in the second
Such was the law when the crime was committed, such was the law when he pleaded guilty, such is
the law now in Missouri and everywhere else. So that, in pleading guilty under an agreement for ten Page 107 U. S. 236
years' imprisonment, both he and the prosecuting attorney and the court all knew that the result would
be an acquittal of all other charges but that of murder in the second degree. degree is, as to his case, an ex post facto law within the meaning of the Constitution of the United
States, and for the error of the Supreme Court of Missouri in holding otherwise, its judgment is
Did he waive or annul this acquittal by prosecuting his writ of error? Certainly not by that act, for if reversed and the case is remanded to it with direction to reverse the judgment of the Criminal Court
the judgment of the lower court sentencing him to twenty-five years' imprisonment had been of St. Louis and for such further proceedings as are not inconsistent with this opinion, and it is
affirmed, no one will assert that he could still have been tried for murder in the first degree. Nor was
there anything else done by him to waive this acquittal. He refused to withdraw his plea of guilty. It So ordered.
was stricken out by order of the court against his protest. He refused then to plead not guilty, and the
court in like manner, against his protest, ordered a general plea of not guilty to be filed. He refused to
go to trial on that plea, and the court forced him to trial. MR. JUSTICE MATTHEWS, with whom concurred MR. CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE, MR. JUSTICE
BRADLEY, and MR. JUSTICE GRAY, dissenting.
The case rests, then, upon the proposition that, having an
THE CHIEF JUSTICE WAITE, MR. JUSTICE BRADLEY, MR. JUSTICE GRAY, and myself are
unable to concur in the judgment and opinion of the Court in this case, and the importance of the
Page 107 U. S. 235 question determined constrains us to state the grounds of our dissent. The material facts are these:

erroneous sentence rendered against him on the plea accepted by the court, he could only take the The plaintiff in error, at March term, 1875, of the St. Louis Criminal Court, was indicted for murder
steps which the law allowed him to reverse that sentence at the hazard of subjecting himself to the in the first degree. On his arraignment, he pleaded "not guilty." At the November term of the same
punishment of death for another and a different offense of which he stood acquitted by the judgment year, a trial was had which resulted in a verdict of guilty of murder in the first degree and a sentence
of that court; that he prosecuted his legal right to a review of that sentence with a halter around his of death. That judgment was reversed on appeal, and twice subsequently there were mistrials. On
neck when, if he succeed in reversing it, the same court could tighten it to strangulation, and if he November 12, 1879, the defendant, by consent of the circuit attorney and leave of the court, withdrew
failed, it did him no good. And this is precisely what has occurred. His reward for proving the his plea of not guilty and entered a plea of guilty of murder in the second degree. He was thereupon
sentence of the court of twenty-five years' imprisonment (not its judgment on his guilt) to be sentenced to imprisonment in the penitentiary for a term of twenty-five years. The prisoner then filed
erroneous is that he is now to be hanged, instead of imprisoned in the penitentiary. No such result a motion to set aside this judgment and sentence, and to allow him to withdraw the plea of guilty of
could follow a writ of error before, and as to this effect, the new constitution is clearly ex post facto. murder in the second degree and to permit him "to have his original plea of not guilty entered to
The whole error which results in such a remarkable conclusion arises from holding the provision of record, to the end that he may have a trial upon the merits of his case before a jury." In support of this
the new constitution applicable to this case when the law is ex post facto and inapplicable to it. motion reasons were assigned, in substance, that he had withdrawn his original plea of not guilty and
entered the plea of guilty of murder in the second degree upon the faith of an understanding
If Kring or his counsel were bound to know the law when they prosecuted the writ of error, they were previously had with the circuit attorney, representing the prosecution, that if he would do so the
bound to know it as we have expounded it. If they knew that by the words of the new constitution, sentence should not exceed ten years in the penitentiary, which understanding
such a judgment of acquittal as he had when he undertook to reverse it would be no longer an
acquittal after it was reversed, they also knew that, being as to his case an ex post facto law, it could Page 107 U. S. 237
have no such effect on that judgment.
was violated by the sentence complained of. The court overruled the motion, but upon appeal the
We are of opinion that any law passed after the commission of an offense which, in the language of judgment was reversed on the ground alleged by the prisoner that he had been misled, and the cause
Mr. Justice Washington, in United States v. Hall, "in relation to that offense, or its consequences, was remanded for further proceedings. On receipt of this mandate, the trial court, the prisoner
alters the situation of a party to his disadvantage" is an ex post facto law, and in the language of refusing to withdraw his plea of guilty of murder in the second degree and to enter a plea of not
Denio, J., in Hartung v. People, guilty, entertained the motion previously made by him, for refusing to grant which the judgment had
thus been reversed, and granted it, setting aside the plea of guilty, and, the prisoner standing mute,
ordered a plea of not guilty to be entered. On this plea a trial was had at October term, 1881, when In examining this proposition it must constantly be borne in mind that the plea of guilty of murder in
the prisoner was found guilty of murder in the first degree and again sentenced to death. An appeal the second degree, the legal effect of which, when admitted, is the precise subject of the question,
was prosecuted from this judgment, which, however, was affirmed by the Supreme Court of was entered long after the new rule established by the Constitution of Missouri took effect; that the
Missouri, and is brought here for examination by the present writ of error on the ground that it has prisoner himself moved to set it aside and for leave to renew his plea of not guilty on the ground that
been rendered in violation of a right secured to the plaintiff in error by the Constitution of the United he had been misled into making his plea of guilty under circumstances that would make it operate as
States. a fraud upon his rights if it were permitted to stand, and that because the court denied this motion, he
made and prosecuted his appeal for a reversal of its judgment in full view of the rule, then in force, of
The right which it is alleged has been violated is supposed to arise in this way. At the time of the the application of which he now complains, which expressly declared what should be the effect of
commission of the offense in 1875, it was well established as the law of Missouri by the decisions of such a reversal.
the supreme court of the state that
The classification of ex post facto laws first made by Mr. Justice Chawe in Calder v. Bull, 3 Dall.
"when a person is indicted for murder in the first degree, and is put upon his trial and convicted of 386, 3 U. S. 390, seems to have been generally accepted. It is as follows:
murder in the second degree, and a new trial is ordered at his instance, he cannot legally be put upon
his trial again for the charge of murder in the first degree; he can be put upon his trial only upon the "1st, Every law that makes an action done before the passing of the law, and which was innocent
charge of murder in the second degree." when done, criminal, and punishes such action. 2d, Every law that aggravates a crime or makes it
greater than it was when committed. 3d, Every law that
State v. Ross, 29 Mo. 32; State v. Smith, 53 Mo. 139. And it is not denied that a plea of guilty of
murder in the second degree, accepted by the state, would have been at that time equally an acquittal Page 107 U. S. 239
of the charge of murder in the first degree, having the same force as to future trials as a conviction of
murder in the second degree, although the judgment should be reversed on the application of the changes the punishment and inflicts a greater punishment than the law annexed to the crime when
prisoner. committed. 4th, Every law that alters the legal rules of evidence, and receives less or different
testimony than the law required at the time of the commission of the offense, in order to convict the
On November 30, 1875, the State of Missouri adopted a new constitution, which contained (sec. 23, offender."
art. 2) the provision that
This definition was the basis of the opinion of the Court in the cases of Cummings v. State, 4 Wall.
"If judgment on a verdict of guilty be reversed for error in law, nothing herein contained shall prevent 277, and Ex Parte Garland, 4 Wall. 333, and was expressly relied on in the opinion of the dissenting
a new trial of the judges, which says:

Page 107 U. S. 238 "This exposition of the nature of ex post facto laws has never been denied, nor has any court or any
commentator on the Constitution added to the classes of laws here set forth, as coming within that
prisoner on a proper indictment or according to correct principles of law." clause of the organic law."

In the case of State v. Sims, 71 Mo. 538, it was decided that this provision overthrows the rule laid P. 71 U. S. 391.
down in the case of State v. Ross, ubi supra, and was
Now under which of these heads does the controverted rule of the Missouri Constitution fall? It
"equivalent to declaring that when such judgment is reversed for error at law, the trial had is to be cannot be contended that it is embraced in either of the first three. If in any, it must be covered by the
regarded as a mistrial, and that the cause, when remanded, is put on the same footing as a new trial as fourth. But what rule of evidence existing at the time of the commission of the offense is altered to
if the cause had been submitted to a jury, resulting in a mistrial by the discharge of the jury in the disadvantage of the prisoner? The answer made is this: that at that time, an accepted plea of guilty
consequence of their inability to agree on a verdict." of murder in the second degree was conclusive proof that the prisoner was not guilty of murder in the
first degree, and that it was abrogated so as to deprive the prisoner of the benefit of it. But while that
rule was in force, the prisoner had no such evidence of which he could avail himself. How, then, has
The rule thus introduced by the Constitution of 1875 was the one applied in the trial of the prisoner, he been deprived of any benefit from it? He had not, during the period while the rule was in force,
instead of that previously in force, and the contention is that to apply it in a case such as the present, entered any plea of guilty of murder in the second degree, and no such plea had been admitted by the
where the alleged offense was committed prior to the adoption of the new constitution, is to give it state. All that can be said is that if, while the rule was in force, he had entered such a plea with the
operation as an ex post facto law in violation of the prohibition of the Constitution of the United consent of the state, its legal effect would have been as claimed, and by its change he has lost what
States. advantage he would have had in such a contingency. But it does not follow that such a contingency
would have happened. It was not within the power of the prisoner to bring it about, for it required the
concurrence and consent of the state, and it cannot be assumed that under such a rule and in such case And "so far as mere modes of procedure are concerned," says Judge Cooley, Const.Lim. 272,
that consent would have been given. It is not enough to say that under a ruling of the court, a party
might have enough to say that, under a ruling of the court, a party might have lost the benefit of "A party has no more right in a criminal than in a civil action to insist that his case shall be disposed
certain evidence, of under the law in force when the act to be investigated is charged to have taken place. Remedies
must always be under the control of the legislature, and it would create endless confusion in legal
Page 107 U. S. 240 proceedings if every case was to be conducted only in accordance with the rules of practice, and
heard only by the courts in existence, when its facts arose. The legislature may abolish courts and
if such evidence had existed. To predicate error in such a case, it must be shown that the party had create new ones, and it may prescribe altogether different modes of procedure in its discretion,
evidence of which in fact he has been illegally deprived. Such a case would have been presented here though it cannot lawfully, we think, in so doing, dispense with any of those substantial protections
if the plea of guilty of murder in the second degree had been entered and accepted before the with which the existing law surrounds the person accused of crime. Statutes giving the government
Constitution of 1875 took effect and while the old rule was in force. Then the law would have taken additional challenges, and others which authorized the amendment of indictments, have been
effect upon the transaction between the prisoner and the prosecution in the acceptance of his plea; the sustained and applied to past transactions, as doubtless would be any similar statute calculated merely
status of the prisoner would have been fixed and declared; he would have stood acquitted of record of to improve the remedy, and in its operation working no injustice to the defendant and depriving him
the charge of murder in the first degree, and the new rule would have been an ex post facto law if it of no substantial right."
had made him liable to conviction and punishment for an offense of which by law he had been
declared to be innocent. Accordingly, it was held by this Court in Gut v. State, 9 Wall. 35, in the language of MR. JUSTICE
FIELD, delivering its opinion, that
But in the circumstances of the present case, the evidence of which it is said the prisoner has been
deprived came into being after the law had been changed. It was evidence created by the law itself, "A law changing the place of trial from one county to another
for it consists simply in a technical inference, and the law in force when it was created necessarily
determines its quality and effect. That law did not operate upon the offense to change its character, Page 107 U. S. 242
nor upon its punishment to aggravate it, nor upon the evidence which, according to the law in force at
the time of its commission, was competent to prove or disprove it. It operated upon a transaction
between the prisoner and the prosecution which might or might not have taken place, which could not county in the same district, or even to a different district from that in which the offense was
take place without mutual consent, and when it did take place, that consent must be supposed to have committed or the indictment found, is not an ex post facto law, though passed subsequent to the
been given by both with reference to the law as it then existed and not with reference to a law which commission of the offense or the finding of the indictment."
had then been repealed.
And in the case of Ex Parte McCardle, 7 Wall. 506, it was the unanimous decision of the Court that it
It is the essential characteristic of an ex post facto law that it should operate retrospectively so as to was competent for Congress, in a case affecting personal liberty, to deprive the complaining party of
change the law in respect to an act or transaction already complete and past. Such is not the effect of the benefit of an appeal from the judgment of an inferior court after his appeal had taken effect and
the rule of the Constitution of Missouri now in question. As has been shown, it does not in any while it was pending. It would have been equally competent for the Constitution of Missouri to have
particular affect the crime charged either in its definition, punishment, or proof. It simply declares declared that no appeal or writ of error should thereafter be allowed to reverse the judgment of the
what shall be the legal effect in the future of acts and transactions thereafter taking place. It enacts court of original jurisdiction in any pending criminal cause, which certainly would be giving a
that any future erroneous and unlawful different, because irreversible, effect to that judgment from what such judgments would have had
under the law in force when the offense was committed. If it be true in the logic of the law, as it is in
all its other applications, that the greater includes the less, then it was competent for that constitution
Page 107 U. S. 241 to provide that as to all judgments in criminal cases thereafter rendered which should be reversed for
error on the appeal of the defendant, the effect of the reversal should be such as not to be a bar to a
conviction for a less offense, thereafter reversed on the application of the accused, shall be held for subsequent conviction for any crime described in the indictment, for that would have been to say not
naught to all intents and purposes, and shall not after such reversal operate as a technical acquittal of that there shall be no appeal at all, but that if an appeal is taken, its effect shall only be such as is
any higher grade of crime for which there might have been a conviction under the same indictment. It prescribed in the law allowing it.
imposes upon the prisoner no penalty or disability. It cannot affect the case of any individual except
upon his own request, for he must take the first step in its application. When he pleads guilty of In Commonwealth v. Holley, 3 Gray (Mass.) 458, Shaw, C.J., said:
murder in the second degree, he knows that its acceptance cannot operate as an acquittal of the higher
offense. When he asks to have the conviction reversed, he understands that if his application is
granted, the judgment must be set aside with the same effect as if it had never been rendered. It does "The object of the declaration of rights was to secure substantial privileges and benefits to parties
not touch the substance or merits of his defense, and is in itself a sensible and just rule in criminal criminally charged, not to require particular forms except where they are necessary to the purposes of
procedure. justice and fair dealing toward persons accused, so as to ensure a full and fair trial."
And in Commonwealth v. Hall, 97 Mass. 570, the court, speaking of a statutory provision authorizing should appear that the conviction had been legal and regular, to remit the record to the court in which
the amendment of indictments so as to allege a former conviction the effect of which was to increase such conviction had been had, to pass such sentence thereon as the appellate court should direct. But
the penalty, said: for the authority conferred by this act, the Court of Appeals stated that it would have had no power,
upon reversal of the judgment of the supreme court, either to pronounce the appropriate judgment or
"We entertain no doubt of the constitutionality of this section, which promotes the ends of justice by remit the record to the oyer and terminer to give such judgment, but, on the contrary, would have
taking away a purely technical objection, while been obliged to have discharged him, the law not authorizing another trial. Nevertheless, the Court of
Appeals gave effect to the act of 1863, reversed the judgment, and sent the record down with
directions to sentence the prisoner to death in accordance with the provisions of the act of 1860,
Page 107 U. S. 243 holding that the act of 1863 was not an ex post facto law. And yet it deprived the prisoner of the
benefit of a rule of law in force at the time the offense was committed, viz., that if he should be
it leaves the defendant fully and fairly informed of the nature of the charge against him and affords erroneously sentenced, and the judgment should be reversed, he would be entitled to be discharged
him ample opportunity for interposing every meritorious defense. Technical and formal objections of and forever after protected against further prosecution for the same offense as well as against any
this nature are not constitutional rights." second judgment upon the same verdict. This decision deserves particular consideration, for it
involves the very question under discussion. At the time of the commission of his offense and at the
These observations, it is not necessary to point out, are entirely applicable to the present argument. time of his trial and conviction, a rule of law in New York had been well established that upon a
reversal of judgment in a capital case for error in the sentence, the prisoner was entitled to be
discharged, and his former conviction, notwithstanding the reversal, was a conclusive defense upon
Still stronger and more to the point is what was said by Shaw, C.J., in Jacquins v. Commonwealth, 9 any subsequent trial for the same offense. After trial and conviction a statute was passed which
Cush. (Mass.) 279, where it was held that a statute authorizing the Supreme Judicial Court, on a writ abrogated
of error, on account of error in the sentence, to render such judgment therein as should have been
rendered, applied to past judgments, and was not, on that account, an ex post facto law. That eminent
judge said: Page 107 U. S. 245

"It was competent for the legislature to take away writs of error altogether in cases where the that rule and declared that a subsequent reversal of judgment for error merely in the sentence should
irregularities are formal and technical only, and to provide that no judgment should be reversed for not have that effect, but that even without a new trial, a new judgment might be entered upon the
such cause. It is more favorable to the party to provide that he may come into court upon the terms verdict. This gave to the verdict and to the subsequent proceeding an effect entirely different from
allowed by this statute than to exclude him altogether. This act operates like the act of limitations. what they would have had under the law as it stood at the time of the commission of the offense, and
Suppose an act was passed that no writ of error should be taken out after the lapse of a certain period. deprived the prisoner of the advantage of the rule then in force. After that statute took effect, he
It is contended that such an act would be unconstitutional on the ground that the right of the convict prosecuted a writ of error and reversed the judgment for error in the sentence, and it was held that the
to have his sentence reversed upon certain conditions had once vested. But this argument overlooks effect of that reversal was determined by the law in force when it was rendered, and not by the law in
entirely the well settled distinction between rights and remedies." force when the trial and verdict were had and when the offense was committed.

Precisely the same distinction between laws ex post facto and those which merely affect the remedy, Davies, J., said, p. 132:
and are therefore applicable to the case of an offense previously committed, is well illustrated by the
case of Ratzky v. People, 29 N.Y. 124. There, the prisoner had been convicted of murder in the first "It would follow from these considerations and the authority of the case of People v. Shepherd, 25
degree; the offense was committed when the act of 1860 was is force, which prescribed the mode of N.Y. 406, that a wrong judgment having been pronounced, although the trial and conviction were
punishment; he was sentenced, however, in accordance with the terms of an act passed in 1862, regular, this prisoner could not be subjected to another trial, and would be entitled to his discharge.
subsequently to the commission of the offense, and which prescribed a different mode of punishment. That would unquestionably be so but for the Act of April 24, 1863. . . . In the present case, that act
On this account the judgment was held to be erroneous and was reversed on the ground that the act of became operative before the judgment and sentence were pronounced and given and before the writ
1862, applied to offenses previously committed, was ex post facto. But at the of error was prosecuted to this court. It was therefore in force when the writ of error in this case was
prosecuted, and its provisions are applicable to the duty imposed upon this tribunal by virtue of that
Page 107 U. S. 244 proceeding. . . . But for the authority conferred upon this Court by that statute, it would have had no
power, upon reversal of the judgment of the supreme court, either to pronounce the appropriate
judgment or remit the record to the oyer and terminer to give such judgment."
time of the commission of the offense in 1861, it was the well settled law of New York, as decided in
Shepherd v. People, 25 N.Y. 406, that when a wrong judgment had been pronounced, although the
trial and conviction were regular, the prisoner could not, on the reversal of judgment, be subject to And Denio, C.J., said:
another trial, but would be entitled to his discharge. But on April 24, 1863, after the prisoner had
been tried and convicted but before judgment and sentence were pronounced, an act of the legislature "The remaining question is whether the judgment should be reversed and the prisoner discharged
took effect which provided that the appellate court should have power, upon any writ of error, when it according to the former rule, or the record be remitted to the oyer and terminer to pass a legal
sentence upon the conviction. This latter course is now authorized by statute. Laws 1863, c. 226, p. But suppose in that case the provisions of the amnesty act had been conditional, and not absolute, so
406. The conviction was legal and the sentence only was erroneous. The only question is whether the that no one could plead its pardon unless he had taken certain formal preliminary steps to obtain the
act, having been passed after the conviction, though before judgment was given in the supreme court, benefit of its terms, and that before the prisoner had done so, the act had been repealed, could it be
could be applied to the claimed that in that event, he had obtained a vested right to immunity, and that its repeal operated as
an ex post facto law? Clearly not. And in reference to this case it is also to be observed that the fact,
Page 107 U. S. 246 the legal character of which was changed by the subsequent law, was the fact of pardon, and not a
fact which existed at the time of the commission of the offense. The repealing act was ex post facto
because it had the effect to change the legal character of the facts as they existed at the time of its
case. I am of opinion that it can be applied. The forms of judicial proceedings are under control of the passage.
legislature."
In State v. Arlin, 39 N.H. 179, a prisoner was indicted for a robbery, which at the time of its
And the court accordingly, instead of ordering the prisoner to be discharged, according to the rule in commission, was punishable by imprisonment for life, but by the same law he was entitled to have
force at the time the offense was committed and even at the time of his trial and conviction, directed counsel assigned him by the government, process to compel the attendance of witnesses, and other
the record to be remitted to the court of oyer and terminer with instructions to sentence him to suffer similar privileges. A subsequent law mitigated the severity of the punishment and repealed the act
death for the crime of which he had been convicted. giving these privileges. It was held that the act was not ex post facto because it changed the
punishment to the advantage of the prisoner, and that he was not entitled to the incidental benefits
The counterpart and complement of the decision in Ratzky's Case are found in Hartung v. People. secured by the law in force when the offense was committed. The court remarked that,
There, the prisoner had been convicted of murder and sentenced to death, but at the time the
judgment was rendered, the law in force at the time of the commission of the offense providing for its Page 107 U. S. 248
punishment had been repealed and the repealing act substituted a different punishment. It was on this
account adjudged to be an ex post facto law and void, and the judgment was reversed. 22 N.Y. 95.
Subsequently the repealing act was itself repealed, and the former act in force when the offense was by committing the offense, the prisoner had not acquired a vested right to enjoy the privileges to
committed was restored. Then the prisoner was again tried, having pleaded a former conviction, but which he would have been entitled if tried under the law subjecting him to imprisonment for life.
was found guilty and adjudged to suffer death in accordance with the law existing at the time the
offense was committed. This judgment was thereupon reversed, and the prisoner ordered to be The rule of law in Missouri the benefit of which is claimed for the prisoner in this proceeding
discharged on the ground that the act restoring the law as it stood when the offense was committed notwithstanding its repeal by the constitution of the state before it could have been applied in his case
was an ex post facto law because, at the time it was passed, the prisoner had been adjudged to be was established not by statute, but by a series of judicial decisions of the supreme court of the state.
legally free from punishment of any kind on account of her offense. 26 N.Y. 167. The very point of Those decisions might at any time have been reversed by the same tribunal and a new rule introduced
the decision was that while it was competent for the legislature to repeal the repealing act so that it such as that actually declared by the constitution. In that event, could it be said with any plausibility
could not thereafter be availed of, it could not destroy the effect of a judgment actually pronounced that the latter decisions reversing the law as previously understood could not be applied to all
while that act was in force. It is manifest that if in that case the prisoner had not been tried at all until subsequent proceedings in cases where, upon a plea of guilty of murder in the second degree
after the law had been thus twice changed, she could not have claimed to have had the vested interest thereafter entered and accepted, an erroneous judgment thereon had been reversed, notwithstanding,
in the first repealing act which was allowed to her in the judgment actually rendered when it was in when the offense was committed, the prior decisions had been in force? Would the new rule, as
force. It was because the subsequent law, if applied, would have changed the legal effect of that introduced and applied by the later judicial decisions, be in violation of the prohibition of the
judgment that it was adjudged to be an ex post facto law. Constitution of the United States against ex post facto laws? But the Constitution of Missouri has
done no more than this.
Page 107 U. S. 247
The nature and operation of the rule are not affected by any peculiarity in the authority which
It was precisely upon this principle that the Supreme Court of North Carolina proceeded in the case establishes it. If it is not objectionable as an ex post facto law, when introduced by judicial decision, it
of State v. Keith, 63 N.C. 140. There, the prisoner, in custody on a charge of murder, moved for a is because it is not so in its nature, and if not, it does not become so when introduced by a legislative
discharge on the ground that his offense was within the provisions of the Amnesty Act of 1866-67. declaration.
This was admitted to be the case, but the motion was opposed on the ground that the amnesty act had
been repealed. It was held that the effect of the pardon was, so far as the state was concerned, to There are doubtless many matters of mere procedure which are of vital consequence, but in respect to
destroy and entirely efface the previous offense, as if it had never been committed, and that to give to them the power of Congress as to crimes against the United States is restrained by positive and
the repeal of the amnesty act the effect, as claimed, of reviving the offense would make it an ex post specific limitations, carefully inserted in the organic law, prohibiting unreasonable searches and
facto law, making criminal that which, when it took effect, was not so and taking from the prisoner seizures and general warrants, providing that no one shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise
his vested right to immunity. infamous crime unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the
military service; that no person shall for the same offense be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb nor
be compelled to testify against himself; that every accused person shall be secured in the right to a In respect to criminal offenses, it is undoubtedly a maxim of natural justice embodied in
public trial by an impartial constitutional provisions that the quality and consequences of an act shall be determined by the law in
force when it is committed, and of which therefore the accused may be presumed to have knowledge,
Page 107 U. S. 249 so that the definition of the offense, the character and degree of its punishment, and the amount and
kind of evidence necessary to prove it cannot be changed to the disadvantage of the party charged ex
post facto. And this equally applies to, because it includes, the matters which, existing at the time and
jury in a previously ascertained district in which the alleged offense is charged to have been constituting part of the transaction, affect its character, and thus form grounds of mitigation or
committed; to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation, to be confronted with the defense, for the accused is entitled to the benefit of all the circumstances that attended his conduct,
witnesses against him, to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have according to their legal significance, as determined at the time. All these are incidents that belong to
the assistance of counsel for his defense. But these are limitations upon the legislative power of the the substance of the thing charged as a crime, and therefore come within the saving which preserves
United States, whether prospective or retrospective, and not upon that of the states, and although the the legal character of the principal fact. But matters of possible defense, which accrue under
constitutions of all the states, probably, have equivalent guarantees of individual rights, the violation provisions of positive law, which are arbitrary and technical, introduced for public convenience or
of none of them by a state tribunal, under state legislation, could present a case for the exercise of from motives of policy,
supervisory jurisdiction by this Court. The prohibition against bills of attainder is the only one of this
class which applies to both the government of the United States and those of the states, and while a
bill of attainder may be an ex post facto law, it is not necessarily so, as it may be merely a matter of Page 107 U. S. 251
procedure -- a trial by a legislative instead of a judicial body.
which do not affect the substance of the accusation or defense, and form no part of the res gestae, are
But in addition to these matters of procedure, which are specially protected against legislative change continually subject to the legislative will unless, in the meantime, by an actual application to the
either for the past or the future, there may be others in which changes with a retrospective effect are particular case, the legal condition of the accused has been actually changed. His right to maintain
forbidden by the prohibition against ex post facto laws. Such, we have already seen, would be laws that status, when it has become once vested, is beyond the reach of subsequent law.
which authorize conviction upon less evidence than was required at the time of the commission of the
offense or which altered to the disadvantage of the accused the nature and quantity of proof at that The present, as we have seen, is not such a case. The substance of the prisoner's defense upon the
time required to substantiate a legal defense, or which, in other words, gave to the circumstances merits has not been touched; no vested right under the law had wrought a result upon his legal
which constituted and attended the act a legal signification more injurious to the accused than was condition before its repeal. He is therefore in no position to invoke the constitutional prohibition
attached to them by the law existing at the time of the transaction. which is, by the judgment of this Court, now interposed between him and the crime of which he has
been convicted.
It is doubtless quite true that it is difficult to draw the line in particular cases beyond which legislative
power over remedies and procedure cannot pass without touching upon the substantial rights of the In our opinion, the judgment of the Supreme Court of Missouri should be affirmed.
parties affected, as it is impossible to fix that boundary by any general words. The same difficulty is
encountered, as the same principle applies, in determining in civil cases how far the legislature may
modify the remedy without impairing or enlarging the obligation of contracts. Every case must be
decided upon its own circumstances, as the
G.R. No. L-6287 December 1, 1911
Page 107 U. S. 250
THE MANILA RAILROAD COMPANY, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
question continually arises and requires an answer. But it is a familiar principle that before rights THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL, representing the Insular Government, et al., defendants-
derived under public laws have become vested in particular individuals, the state, for its own appellants.
convenience and the public good, may amend or repeal the law without just cause of complaint. "The
power that authorizes or proposes to give," said Mr. Justice Woodbury in Merrill v. Sherburne, 1
N.H. 213, "may always revoke before an interest is perfected in the donee." Accordingly, the heir W. A. Kincaid and Thomas L. Hartigan, for appellant.
apparent loses no legal right if, before descent cast, the law of descents is changed so as to shift the Antonio Constantino, for appellee.
inheritance to another, however his expectations may be disappointed. And while it would be a
violation of the constitutional maxim which forbids retrospective legislation inconsistent with vested MORELAND, J.:
rights to deprive, by a repeal of statutes of limitation, a defendant of a defense which had become
perfect while they were in force, yet if, before the bar had become complete, he should be deprived of
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of the Province of Tarlac dismissing
an expected defense by an extension of time in which suit might be brought, he would have no just
the action before it on motion of the plaintiff upon the ground that the court had no jurisdiction of the
cause to object that he was compelled to meet the case of his adversary upon its merits.
subject matter of the controversy.
The question for our consideration and decision is the power and authority of a Court of First SEC. 56. Its original jurisdiction. — Courts of First Instance shall have original
Instance of one province to take cognizance of an action by a railroad company for the condemnation jurisdiction: .
of real estate located in another province.
xxx xxx xxx
In the month of December, 1907, the plaintiff began an action in the Court of First Instance of the
Province of Tarlac for the condemnation of certain real estate, stated by the plaintiff in his complaint 2. In all civil actions which involve the title to or possession of real property, or
to be located in the Province of Tarlac. It is alleged in the complaint that the plaintiff is authorized by any interest therein, or the legality of any tax, impost, or assessment, except
law to construct a railroad line "from Paniqui to Tayug in the Province of Tarlac," and it is for the actions of forcible entry into, and detainer of lands or buildings, original
purpose of condemning lands for the construction of such line that this action is brought. The land jurisdiction of which is by this Act conferred upon courts of justice of the peace.
sought to be condemned is 69,910 square meters in area. The complaint states that before beginning
the action the plaintiff had caused to be made a thorough search in the office of the registry of
property and of the tax where the lands sought to be condemned were located and to whom they It is apparent from the wording of these sections that it was the intention of the Philippine
belonged. As a result of such investigations the plaintiff alleged that the lands in question were Commission to give to the Courts of First Instance the most perfect and complete jurisdiction
located in the Province of Tarlac. The defendants in one action all of the different owners of or possible over the subject matters mentioned in connection therewith. Such jurisdiction is not made to
persons otherwise interested in the 69,910 square meters of land to be condemned. After filing and depend upon locality. There is no suggestion of limitation. The jurisdiction is universal. Nor do the
duly serving the complaint the plaintiff, pursuant to law and pending final determination of the provisions of sections 48, 49, 50, 51, and 52 at all militate against the universality of that jurisdiction.
action, took possession of and occupied the lands described in the complaint, building its line and Those provisions simply arrange for the convenient and effective transaction of business in the courts
putting the same in operation. During the progress of the action a commission to appraise the value of and do not relate to their power, authority, or jurisdiction over the subject matter of the action. While
the lands was duly appointed, which, after taking oral testimony, amounting to 140 typewritten pages it is provided in these sections that a particular court shall hold its sessions in any other province
when transcribed, and after much labor and prolonged consideration, made a report consisting of (except under certain specified conditions), the assertions is nevertheless true that the jurisdiction of a
about 55 typewritten pages, resolving the question submitted to it. On the coming in of this report the particular court is in no wise and in no sense limited; and it is nowhere suggested, much less
court, by order entered the 27th of September, 1909, set the 11th day of October following for the provided, that a Court of First Instance of one province, regularly sitting in said province, may not
hearing thereon. under certain conditions take cognizance of an action arising in another province or of an action
relating to real estate located outside of the boundaries of the province to which it may at the time be
assigned.
On the 4th day of October the plaintiff gave notice to the defendants that on the 9th day of October a
motion would be made to the court to dismiss the action upon the ground that the court had no
jurisdiction of the subject matter, it having just been ascertained by the plaintiff that the land sought Certain statutes confer jurisdiction, power, or authority. Other provide for the procedure by which
to be condemned was situated in the Province of Nueva Ecija, instead of the Province of Tarlac, as that power or authority is projected into judgment. The one class deals with the powers of the Court
alleged in the complaint. This motion was heard and, after due consideration, the trial court dismissed in the real and substantive sense; the other with the procedure by which such powers are put into
the action upon the ground presented by the plaintiff. This appeal is taken from said judgment of action. The one is the thing itself; the other is the vehicle by which the thing is transferred from the
dismissal. court to the parties. The whole purpose and object of procedure is to make the powers of the court
fully and completely available for justice. The most perfect procedure that can be devised is that
which gives opportunity for the most complete and perfect exercise of the powers of the court within
The decision of the learned trial court was based entirely upon the proposition, already referred to, the limitations set by natural justice. It is that one which, in other words, gives the most perfect
that in condemnation proceedings, and in all other proceedings affecting title to land, the Court of opportunity for the powers of the courts to transmute themselves into concrete acts of justice between
First Instance of a given province has no jurisdiction, power or authority where the land is located in the parties before it. The purpose of such a procedure is not to restrict the jurisdiction of the court
another province, and that no such power, authority, or jurisdiction can be conferred by the parties. over the subject matter, but to give it effective facility in righteous action. It may be said in passing
that the most salient objection which can be urged against procedure to-day is that it so restricts the
Sections 55 and 56 of Act No. 136 of the Philippine Commission confer jurisdiction upon the Courts exercise of the court's powers by technicalities that the part of its authority effective for justice
of First Instance of these Islands with respect to real estate in the following words:1awphi1.net between the parties is many times an inconsiderable portion of the whole. The purpose of procedure
is not to thwart justice. Its proper aim is to facilitate the application of justice to the rival claims of
SEC. 55. Jurisdiction of Courts of First Instance. — The jurisdiction of Courts of contending parties. It was created not to hinder and delay but to facilitate and promote the
First Instance shall be of two kinds: administration of justice. It does not constitute the thing itself which courts are always striving to
secure to litigants. It is designed as the means best adopted to obtain that thing. In other words, it is a
means to an end. It is the means by which the powers of the court are made effective in just
1. Original; and judgments. When it loses the character of the one and takes on that of the other the administration of
justice becomes incomplete and unsatisfactory and lays itself open to grave criticism.
2. Appellate.
The proper result of a system of procedure is to insure a fair and convenient hearing to the parties Code of Civil Procedure the object of which is to make that jurisdiction effective. Such modification
with complete justice between them as a result. While a fair hearing is as essential as the substantive or restriction should be held only by virtue of the clearest and most express provisions.
power of the court to administer justice in the premises, and while the one is the natural result o the
other, it is different in its nature and relates to a different thing. The power or authority of the court The wording of that section should be carefully examined. It reads as follows:
over the subject matter existed and was fixed before procedure in a given cause began. Procedure
does not alter or change that power or authority; it simply directs the manner in which it shall be fully
and justly exercised. To be sure, in certain cases, if that power is not exercised in conformity with the SEC. 377. Venue of actions. — Actions to confirm title to real estate, or to secure
provisions of the procedural law, purely, the court attempting to exercise it loses the power to a partition of real estate, or to cancel clouds, or remove doubts from the title to
exercise it legally. This does not mean that it loses jurisdiction of the subject matter. It means simply real estate, or to obtain possession of real estate, or to recover damages for
that he may thereby lose jurisdiction of the person or that the judgment may thereby be rendered injuries to real estate, or to establish any interest, right, or title in or to real estate,
defective for lack of something essential to sustain it. There is, of course, an important distinction or actions for the condemnation of real estate for public use, shall be brought in
between person and subject matter are both conferred by law. As to the subject matter, nothing can the province were the lands, or some part thereof, is situated; actions against
change the jurisdiction of the court over diminish it or dictate when it shall attach or when it shall be executors, administrators, and guardians touching the performance of their
removed. That is a matter of legislative enactment which none but the legislature may change. On the official duties, and actions for account and settlement by them, and actions for the
other hand, the jurisdiction of the court over the person is, in some instances, made to defend on the distribution of the estates of deceased persons among the heirs and distributes,
consent or objection, on the acts or omissions of the parties or any of them. Jurisdiction over the and actions for the payment of legacies, shall be brought in the province in which
person, however, may be conferred by consent, expressly or impliedly given, or it may, by an the will was admitted to probate, or letters of administration were granted, or the
objection, be prevented from attaching or removed after it has attached. guardian was appointed. And all actions not herein otherwise provided for may
be brought in any province where the defendant or any necessary party defendant
may reside or be found, or in any province where the plaintiff, except in cases
In the light of these observations, we proceed to a consideration of those provisions of the law which were other special provision is made in this Code. In case neither the plaintiff nor
the plaintiff claims are decisive of his contention that a Court of First Instance of one province has no the defendant resides within the Philippine Islands and the action is brought to
jurisdiction of the subject matter of an action by a railroad company to condemn lands located in seize or obtain title to property of the defendant within the Philippine Islands and
another province. The plaintiff relies for the success of its cause upon section 377 of the Code of the action is brought to seize or obtain title to property of the defendant within the
Civil Procedure and upon the special laws relating to the condemnation of lands railroad Philippine Islands, the action shall be brought in the province where the property
corporations. We take up first the section of the Code of Civil Procedure referred to. which the plaintiff seeks to seize or to obtain title to is situated or is found:
Provided, that in an action for the foreclosure of a mortgage upon real estate,
The fact that such a provision appears in the procedural law at once raises a strong presumption that it when the service upon the defendant is not personal, but is by publication, in
has nothing to do with the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter. It becomes merely a accordance with law, the action must be brought in the province where the land
matter of method, of convenience to the parties litigant. If their interests are best subserved by lies. And in all cases process may issue from the court in which an action or
bringing in the Court Instance of the city of Manila an action affecting lands in the Province of Ilocos special proceeding is pending, to be enforced in any province to bring in
Norte, there is no controlling reason why such a course should not be followed. The matter is, under defendants and to enforce all orders and decrees of the court. The failure of a
the law, entirely within the control of either party. The plaintiff's interests select the venue. If such defendant to object t the venue of the action at the time of entering his appearance
selection is not in accordance with section 377, the defendant may make timely objection and, as a in the action shall be deemed a waiver on his part of all objection to the place or
result, the venue is changed to meet the requirements of the law. It is true that this court has more tribunal in which the action is brought, except in the actions referred to in the first
than once held than an agreement to submit a controversy to a court which, under the procedural law, sixteen lines of this section relating to real estate, and actions against executors,
has not been selected as the appropriate court, generally speaking, to hear such controversy, can not administrators, and guardians, and for the distribution of estates and payment of
be enforced. This means simply that either party to such a contract may ignore it at pleasure. The law legacies.
will not compel the fulfillment of an agreement which deprives one of the parties to it of the right to
present his cause to that court which the law designates as the most appropriate. But the principle Leaving out of discussion for the moment actions and proceedings affecting estates of deceased
asserted in the cases which hold thus is no authority for the proposition that two persons having a persons, they resting upon a different footing being governed by special laws, it is to be observed that
controversy which they desire to have decided by a competent tribunal may not, by appropriate the section contains no express inhibition against the court. It provides simply that certain actions
procedure, submit it t any court having jurisdiction in the premises. In the one case the relation is affecting real estate "shall be brought in the province where the land, or some part thereof, is
contractual to be enforced over the objection of one of the contracting parties. In the other relation is situated." The prohibition here is clearly directed against the one who begins the action and lays the
not contractual because not between the parties; but, rather, between the parties and the court. In the venue. The court, before the action is commenced, has nothing to do with either. The plaintiff does
one case it is a contract to be enforced; in the other, a condition to be met. both. Only when that is done does the section begin to operate effectively so far as the court is
concerned. The prohibition is nor a limitation on the power of the court but on the rights of the
This being so, we say again, even though it be repetition, that after jurisdiction over real property in plaintiff. It is not to take something from the court but to grant something to the defendant. Its
the Islands has been conferred so generally and fully by Act No. 136, it is not to be presumed or wording clearly deprives the court of nothing which it had, but gives the defendant, as against the
construed that the legislature intended to modify or restrict that jurisdiction when it came to frame a plaintiff, certain rights which he did not have. It establishes a relation not between the court and the
subject ,after, but between the plaintiff and the defendant. It relates not to jurisdiction but to trial. It province its proposed stations and terminals were is difficult to believe. That it did not know in what
touches convenience, not substance. It simply gives to defendant the unqualified right, if he desires it, province the land lay which it was about to make the subject of so important a proceeding is still
to have the trial take place where his land lies and where, probably, all of his witnesses live. Its object more difficult to believe. In spite of all this, however, it deliberately laid the venue in a province
is to secure to him a convenient trial. If it had been the intention of the law-makers by section 377 to where no part of the land lay, took possession of the land in controversy, constructed its line,
put a limitation to the jurisdiction of the court, how easy it would have been to say so squarely. "No switches, and stations, and after nearly two years of litigation, accompanied with great trouble to the
Court of First Instance shall have or take jurisdiction of an action touching title to or interest in real court and trouble and expense to the parties, calmly asks the dismissal of the case for the reason that
property lying wholly in a province other than that in which such court is authorized to hold it did not know where its own railroad was located. Under such circumstances a dismissal of the
sessions," or a similar provision, would have been sufficient. This would have been clearly a action over the objection of the defendants ought not to be permitted expect upon absolute necessity
limitation on the court rather than the party. There would have been no room for doubt. The and then only on payment of the costs and expenses of the defendants and of the actin. (Ayers vs.
legislature, however, did not do so. It, rather, chose to use language which imposes a limitation on the Watson and Fisher vs. Shropshire, supra.)
rights of the plaintiff.
There is no equitable ground, then, upon which the plaintiff may claim that it has not yielded itself to
In saying this we do not desire to force construction.1awphil.net Courts should give to language its the jurisdiction of the court. Nor, as we have seen, is there a legal ground. As we have already said,
plain meaning, leaving the legislature to take care of the consequences. The Philippine Commission the plaintiff, having brought the action, of necessity submitted itself to the jurisdiction of the court. It
having, in fullest phrase, given the Courts of First Instance unrestricted jurisdiction over real estate in took advantage of the situation it itself created to take possession of the lands described in the
the Islands by Act No. 136, we are of the opinion that the jurisdiction ought not to be held to be complaint, construct its lines, switches, stations, yards and terminals, and to carry the cause through
withdrawn except by virtue of an Act equally express, or so clearly inconsistent as to amount to the two years of expensive litigation. It now attempts to make all this go for naught alleging its own
same thing. The fact that section 377 is not such Act, that it is found in code of Procedure rather than negligence as a reason for such attempt. (Ayers vs. Watson and Fisher vs. Shropshire, supra.)
in the substantive law, that it deals with the relative procedural rights of parties rather than the power
of the court, that it relates to the place rather than to the thing, that it composes the whole of a chapter While the latter part of section 377 provides that "the failure of a defendant to object to the venue of
headed simply "Venue," lead us to hold that the Court of First Instance of Tarlac had full jurisdiction the action at the time of entering his appearance in the action shall be deemed a waiver on his part of
of the subject matter of this action at the time when it was dismissed. all objection to the place or tribunal in which the action is brought," except, a month other things, in
actions affecting real estate, we apprehend that it was not intended that a defendant can not waive
That it had jurisdiction of the persons of all the parties is indisputable. That jurisdiction was obtained such objection in such excepted cases. Nor we do believe that such provision is controlling in this
not only by the usual course of practice — that is, by the process of the court — but also by consent case. In the first place, the application is restricted to "the time of entering his appearance in the
expressly given, is apparent. The plaintiff submitted itself to the jurisdiction by beginning the action. action." It might well have been in the mind of the lawmakers that, at the time of entering his
(Ayers vs. Watson, 113 U.S., 594; Fisher vs. Shropshire, 147 U.S., 133.) The defendants are now in appearance in the action, the defendant would not ordinarily be fully informed of all the facts of the
this court asking that the action be not dismissed but continued. They are not only nor objecting to the case, at least not sufficiently to warrant his being held to a waiver of important rights; whereas, later
jurisdiction of the court but, rather, are here on this appeal for the purpose of maintaining that very in the cause, as when he files his answer or goes to trial, being fully informed, he might justly be held
jurisdiction over them. to have waived his right to make such objection. for this reason it might well be that the Legislature
purposely refrained from extending the time for his protection beyond the "time of entering his
Nor is the plaintiff in any position to asked for favors. It is clearly guilty of gross negligence in the appearance in the action." Moreover, there is, in said clause, no prohibition against an express waiver
allegations of its complaint, if the land does not lie in Tarlac as it now asserts. It alleged in its of his rights by the defendant. The general rule of law is that a person may renounce any right which
complaint: the law gives unless such renunciation is expressly prohibited or the right conferred is of such a
nature that its renunciation would be against public policy. This right of renunciation is so thoroughly
established, and was at the time of the enactment of the Code of Civil Procedure, that its exercise by a
4. That, according to the information secured after a minute investigation in the defendant in relation to the venue of the action will not be held to have been abridged by section 377
offices of the land registry and of the land-tax record of the municipalities within without very clear provision therein to that effect. There is no part of that section clear enough to
whose jurisdiction lie all the parcels composing the tract of land in question, the warrant such a holding. Even though the terms of said section were much clearer than they are in this
owners and occupants of the same, with their names as they appear on the plan, respect, we should still hold, if they were much short of express, that the right of renunciation is not
are as follows. abridged, founding ourselves not only upon the principles already laid down but also upon the
proposition of general law embodied in section 294 of the code of Civil Procedure which provides
At the time it commenced the action it was possessed of every fact which a complete knowledge of that:
the location of the lands sought to be condemned required. It had the map of its entire line from
Paniqui to Tayug, showing the provinces and the various municipalities through which it runs. Not When a statute or instrument is equally susceptible of two interpretations, one in
only that: Before beginning its action it had to know the name of every necessary defendant, the land favor of natural right and the other against it, the former is to be adopted.itc-alf
he owned, and the extent of that portion to be condemned. The investigation required to ascertain
these facts would of necessity force into plaintiff's mind the knowledge required to bring the action in
the proper court. That the plaintiff at the time it commenced this action did not know in what Moreover, it should be noted that this prohibition, if it be such, against waiver refers exclusively to
the defendant. The plaintiff is given no rights respecting it. Yet it is the plaintiff who is here calling
for the application of the provision even against the declared will of the person who is expressly Tenn., 38; Supreme Lodge K.P. vs. Quinn, 29 South., 826, 827, 78 Miss., 525; Bucklen vs. Johnson,
named as the sole beneficiary. We will not by interpretation extend this provision so as to contravene 49 N.E., 612, 617, 19 Ind. App., 406.)
the principles of natural rights. We will not construed it so as to included in its terms nor named as its
beneficiary. But even if the plaintiff were entitled to invoke the aid of the provision he is from so We have delayed until this moment the citation of authorities relative to the proposition that venue is
doing. (Wanzer vs. Howland, 10 Wis., 7; Babcock vs. Farewell, 146 Ill. App., 307; White vs. Conn. not jurisdictional as to subject matter and that defendant's rights in respect thereto are such that they
Mutual Life Ins. Co., 4 Dill (U.S.), 183; Shuttle vs. Thompson, 15 Wall., 159; Beecher vs. Mill Co., may be waived, expressly or by implication, for the reason that we desired that the principles which
45 Mich., 103; Tomb vs. Rochester R. R. Co., 18 Barb., 585; Ferguson vs. Landram, 5 Bush (Ky.), rule the case should first be discussed and presented in the abstract form. In the case of First National
230; State vs. Mitchell, 31 Ohio State, 592; Counterman vs. Dublin, 38 Ohio State, 515; McCarthy vs. Bank of Charlotte vs. Morgan (132 U.S., 141), it was held that the exemption of national banks from
Lavasche, 89 Ill., 270; Ricketts vs. Spraker, 77 Ind., 371; Strosser vs. City of Fort Wayne, 100 Ind., suits in State courts in counties other than the county or city in which the association was located was
443). Section 333 of the Code of Civil Procedure reads: a personal privilege which could be waived was located was a personal privilege which could be
waived by appearing in such brought in another county, but in a court of the same dignity, and
Conclusive presumptions. — The following presumptions or deductions, which making a defense without claiming the immunity granted by Congress. the court said:
the law expressly directs to be made from particular facts, are deemed conclusive:
This exemption of national banking associations from suits in State courts,
1. Whenever a party has, by his own declaration, act, or omission, intentionally established elsewhere than in the county or city in which such associations were
and deliberately led another to believe a particular thing true, and to act upon located, was, we do not doubt, prescribed for the convenience of those
such belief, he can not, in any litigation arising out of such declaration, act, or institutions, and prevent interruption in their business that might result from their
omission, be permitted to falsity it. books being sent to distant counties in obedience to process from State courts.
(First Nat. Bank of Bethel vs. National Pahquioque Bank, 14 Wall., 383, 394;
(Rodriguez vs. Martinez, 5 Phil. Rep., 67; 69; Municipality of Oas vs. Roa, 7 Phil. Rep., 20, 22; Croker vs. Marine Nat. Bank, 101 Mass., 240.) But, without indulging in
Trinidad vs. Ricafort et al., 7 Phil. Rep., 449, 453; Macke et al vs. Camps, 7 Phil. Rep., 553, 555.) conjecture as to the object of the exemption in question, it is sufficient that it was
granted by Congress, and, if it had been claimed by the defendant when
appearing in the superior court of Cleveland County, must have been recognized.
The fact is, there are very few rights which may not be renounced, expressly or impliedly. The defendant did not, however, choose to claim immunity from suit in that
(Christenson vs. Charleton, 34 Atl., 226, 227, 69 Vt., 91; Donahue vs. Windsor County Ins. Co., 56 court. It made defense upon the merits, and, having been unsuccessful,
Vt., 91; Donahaue vs. Windsor Ins. co., 33 Atl., 902, 904, 66 Conn., 21, 40; Fitzpatrick vs. Hartford prosecuted a writ of error to the supreme court of the State, and in the latter
Life & Annuity Ins. Co., 56 Conn., 116, 134, 17 Atl., 411, 7 Am. St. Rep., 288; Lewis vs. Phoenix tribunal, for the first time, claimed the immunity granted to it by Congress. This
Mut. Life Ins. Co., 44 Conn., 72, 91; State vs. Hartley, 52 Atl., 615, 617, 75 Conn., 104; First Nat. was too late. Considering the object as well as the words of the statute
Bank vs. Hartford L. & A. Ins. Co., 45 Conn., 22, 44; Johnson vs. Schar, 70 N.W., 838, 839, 9 S. D., authorizing suit against a national banking association to be brought in the proper
536; Corey vs. Bolton, 63 N.Y., Supp., 915, 917, 31 Misc. Rep., 138; Mason's Supply Co. vs. Jones, State court of the county where it is located, we are of opinion that its exemption
68 N. Y. Supp., 806, 809, 58 App. Div., 231; Monroe Waterworks Co. vs. City of Monroe, 85 N.W., from suits in other courts of the same State was a personal privilege that it would
685, 688, 100 Wis., 11; Fraser vs. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 90 N.W., 476, 481, 114 Wis., 510; Cedar waive, and, which, in this case, the defendant did waive, and, which, in this case,
Rapids Water Co. vs. Cedat Rapids, 90 N.W., 746, 749, 117 Iowa, 250; Kennedy vs. Roberts, 75 the defendant did waive, by appearing and making defense without claiming the
N.W., 363, 366, 105 Iowa, 521; Shaw vs. Spencer, 100 Mass., 382, 395, 97 Am. Dec., 107, 1 Am. immunity granted by Congress. No reason can be suggested why one court of a
Rep., 115; West vs. Platt, 127 Mass., 367, 367, 372; Fulkerson vs. Lynn, 64 Mo. App., 649, 653; State, rather than another, both being of the same dignity, should take cognizance
Michigan Savings & Loan Ass'n. vs. Missouri, K & T. Trust Co., 73 Mo. App., 161, 165; Perin vs. of a suit against a national bank, except the convenience of the bank. And this
Parker, 18 N. E., 747, 748, 126 Ill., 201, 2 L.R.A., 336, 9 Am. St. Rep., 571; Keller vs. Robinson & consideration supports the view that the exemption of a national bank from suit in
Co., 38 N. E., 1072, 1075, 152 Ull. 458; Star Brewery Co. vs. Primas, 45 N.E., 145, 148, 163 Ill., any State court except one of the county or city in which it is located is a personal
652; United Firemen's Ins. Co. vs. Thomas (U.S.), 82 Fed., 406, 408, 27 C.C. A., 42, 47 L.R.A., 450; privilege, which it could claim or not, as it deemed necessary.
Rice vs. Fidelity & Deposit Co. (U.S.), 103 Fed., 427, 43 C.C.A., 270; Sidway vs. Missouri Land &
Live Stock Co. (U.S.), 116 Fed., 381, 395; able vs. United States Life Ins. Co. (U.S.), 111 Fed., 19,
31, 49 C.C.A., 216L Peninsular Land Transp., etc., Co. vs. Franklin Ins. Co., 35 W. Va., 666, 676, 14 In the case of Ex parte Schollenberger (96 U.S., 369), the court said:
S.E., 237; Dey vs. Martin, 78 Va., 1, 7; Liverpool & L.& G. Ins. Co. vs. T.M. Richardson Lumber
Co., 69 Pac., 938, 951, 11 Okl., 585; Livesey vs. Omaha Hotel, 5 Neb., 50, 69; Cutler vs. Roberts, 7 The Act of Congress prescribing the place where a person may be sued is not one
Nebr., 4, 14, 29 Am. Rep., 371; Warren vs. Crane, 50 Mich., 300, 301, 15 N.W., 465; Portland & affecting the general jurisdiction of the courts. It is rather in the nature of a
R.R. Co. vs. Spillman, 23 Oreg., 587, 592, 32 Pac., 688, 689; First Nat. Bank vs. Maxwell, 55 Pac., personal exemption in favor of a defendant, and it is one which he may waive. If
980, 982, 123 Cal., 360, 69 Am. St. Rep., 64; Robinson vs. Pennsylvania Fire Ins. Co., 38 Atl., 320, the citizenship of the parties is sufficient, a defendant may consent to be sued
322, 90 Me., 385; Reed vs. Union Cent. Life Ins. Co., 61 Pac., 21, 21 Utah, 295; Dale vs. Continental anywhere he pleases, and certainly jurisdiction will not be ousted because he has
Ins. Co., 31 S.W., 266, 269, 95 Tenn., 38; Supreme Lodge K.P. vs. Quinn, 29 South., 826, 829, 95 consented. Here, the defendant companies have provided that they can be found
in a district other than that in which they reside, if a particular mode of
proceeding is adopted, and they have been so found. In our opinion, therefore, the the suit has been brought in the wrong district. (Charlotte Nat. Bank vs. Morgan,
circuit court has jurisdiction of the causes, and should proceed to hear and decide 132 U.S., 141; Fitzgerald E. M. Const. Co. vs. Fitzergerald, 137 U.S., 98.)
them.
In the case of the Interior Construction and Improvement Co. vs. Gibney (160 U.S., 217), the court
In the case of St. Louis and San Francisco Railway Co. vs. McBride (141 U.S., 127), the court used held as follows:
the following language:
The circuit courts of the United States are thus vested with general jurisdiction of
The first part of section 1 of the Act of 1887, as amended in 1888, gives, civil actions, involving the requisite pecuniary value, between citizens of
generally, to the circuit courts of the United States jurisdiction of controversies different States. Diversity of citizenship is a condition of jurisdiction, and, when
between citizens of different States where the matter in dispute exceeds the sum that does not appear upon the record, the court, of its own motion, will order the
of two thousand dollars exclusive of interest and costs. Such a controversy was action to be dismissed. But The provision as to the particular district in which the
presented in this complaint. It was therefore a controversy of which the circuit action shall be brought does not touch the general jurisdiction of the court over
courts of the United States have jurisdiction. Assume that it is true as defendant such a cause between such parties; but affects only the proceedings taken to bring
alleges, that this is not a case in which jurisdiction is founded only on the fact that the defendant within such jurisdiction, and is matter of personal privilege, which
the controversy is between citizens of different States, but that it comes within the defendant may insist upon, or may waive, at his election; and the defendant's
the scope of that other clause, which provides that "no civil sit shall be brought right to object that an action within the general jurisdiction of the court is brought
before either of said courts, against any person, by any original process or in the wrong district, is waived by entering a general appearance, without taking
proceeding, in any other district than that whereof he is inhabitant," still the right the objection. (Gracie vs. Palmer, 8 Wheat, 699; Toland vs. Sprague, 12 Pet., 300,
to insist upon suit only in the one district is a personal privilege which he may 330; Ex parte Schollenberger, 96 U.S., 369, 378; St. Louis & S. F. R. Co. vs.
waive, and he does waive it by pleading to the merits. In Ex parte Schollenberger McBride, 141 U.S., 127; Southern Pacific Co. vs. Dento, 146 U.S., 202, 206;
(96 U.S., 369, 378), Chief Justice Waite said: "The Act of Congress prescribing Texas & Pacific Railway Co. vs. Saunders, 151 U.S., 105; Central Trust Co. vs.
the place where a person may be sued is not one affecting the general jurisdiction McGeorge, 151 U.S., 129; Southern Express Co. vs. Todd, 12 U.S. app., 351.)
of the courts. It is rather in the nature of a personal exemption in favor of a
defendant, and it is one which he may waive." The Judiciary Act of 1789 (sec. In the case of Central Trust Co. vs. McGeorge (151 U.S., 129), the court disposed of the case as
11, Stat., 79), besides giving general jurisdiction to circuit courts over suits follows:
between citizens of different States, further provided, generally, that no civil suit
should be brought before either of said courts, against an inhabitant of the United
States, by any original process, in any other district than that of which he was an The court below, in holding that it did not have jurisdiction of the cause, and in
inhabitant, or in which he should be found. In the case of Toland vs. Sprague (12 dismissing the bill of complaint for the reason, acted in view of that clause of the
Pet., 300, 330), it appeared that the defendant was not an inhabitant of the State in Act of March 3, 1887, as amended in August, 1888, which provides that "no suit
which the suit was brought, nor found therein. In that case the court observed: "It shall be brought in the circuit courts of the United States against any person, by
appears that the party appeared and pleaded to issue. Now, if the case were one of any original process or proceeding, in any other district than that whereof he is an
the want of jurisdiction in the court, it would not, according to well-established inhabitant;" and, undoubtedly, if the defendant company, which was sued in
principles, be competent for the parties by any acts of theirs to give it. But that is another district than that in which it had its domicile, had, by a proper plea or
not the case. The court had jurisdiction over the parties and the matter in dispute; motion, sought to avail itself of the statutory exemption, the action of the court
the objection was that the party defendant, not being an inhabitant of would have been right.
Pennsylvania, nor found therein, personal privilege or exemption, which it was
competent for the party to waive. The cases of Pollard vs. Dwight (4 Cranch., But the defendant company did not choose to plead that provision of the statute,
421) and Barry vs. Foyles (1 Pt., 311) are decisive to show that, after appearance but entered a general appearance, and joined with the complainant in its prayer
and plea, the case stands as if the suit were brought that exemption from liability for the appointment of a receiver, and thus was brought within the ruling of this
to process and that in case of foreign attachment, too, is a personal privilege, court, so frequently made, that the exemption from being such out of the district
which may be waived, and that appearing and pleading will produce that waiver." of its domicile is a personal privilege which may be waive and which is waived
In (14 Wal., 282), the jurisdiction of the circuit court over a controversy between by pleading to the merits.
citizens of different States was sustained in a case removed from the State court,
although it was conceded that the suit could not have been commenced in the first (Improvement Co. vs. Gibney, 16 Sup. Ct., 272, 160 U.S., 217; 40 L. ed., 401; Walker vs. Windsor
instance in the circuit court. See also Claflin vs. Commonwealth Ins. Co. (110 Nat. Bank, 5 C. C. A., 421, 56 Fed., 76, 5 U.S. App., 423; Von Auw. vs. Chicago Toy & Fancy
U.S., 81 [28:76].) Without multiplying authorities on this question, it is obvious Goods Co., 69 Fed., 448 McBride vs. Grand de Tour Plow Co., 40 Fed., 162; Black vs. Thorne, Fed.
that the party who in the first instance appears and pleads to the merits waives Cas. No. 1, 495 (10 Blatchf., 66, 5 Fish. Pat. Cas., 550); Norris vs. Atlas Steamship Co., 37 Fed., 279;
any right to challenge thereafter the jurisdiction of the court on the ground that
Hoover & Allen Co. vs. Columbia Straw Paper Co., 68 Fed., 945; Blackburn vs. Railroad Co., Fed., to the jurisdiction are as necessary in local as in transitory actions. (1 Tidd. Prac.,
Fed., Cas. No. 1, 467 (2 Flip., 525); Vermont Farm Mach. Co. vs. Gibson, 50 Fed., 423.) 630.)

In the case of Security Loan and Trust Co. vs. Kauffman (108 Cal., 214), the court said: It is not meant to convey the idea that the mere failure to plead to the jurisdiction
of the court would have the effect to confer jurisdiction where none existed
The constitution, Article VI, section 5, declares that, "All actions for the before; for it is well settled that even consent of parties can not confer
enforcement of liens" shall be commenced in the county in which the real estate jurisdiction. (Stone vs. Corbett, 20 Mo., 350.) But all circuit courts have a general
or some portion thereof is situated; and at the time this action was "commenced" jurisdiction over the foreclosure of mortgages.
the property was situate within the boundaries of San Diego. The constitution
does not, however, require property is situated, and the statutory provision in In the case of Armendiaz vs. Stillman (54 Texas, 623), the court disposed of the question involved in
section 392 of the Code of Civil Procedure, that actions 'for the foreclosure of the following words:
liens and mortgages on real property' must be tried in the county in which the
subject of the action, or some part thereof, is situated, "subject to the power of the In our opinion, however, these common law rules respecting local and transitory
court to change the place of trial," shows that "the place of trial" is not an element actions have no more to do in determining with us where a suit can be brought
going to the jurisdiction of the court, but is a matter of legislative regulation. The and maintained, than the like rules in respect to the form and names of actions;
provision for the transfer of certain actions to the superior court of the county of but this is solely regulated by and dependent upon the proper construction of the
Riverside, which is contained in section 12 of the act providing for the constitution and statutes of the State. In the first, it is emphatically declared in the
organization of that county, shows the extent of this regulation which the bill of rights as a fundamental principle of government, "All courts shall be open,
legislature deemed necessary, and implies that only the actions there designated and every person for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person or reputation,
were to be transferred for trial. shall have remedy by due course of law." Now a party may not have an action in
rem for or concerning land in foreign jurisdiction, because redress can not be
In the case of Chouteau vs. Allen (70 Mo., 290), the court held as follows: given or had by such proceeding in due course of law; but personal damages may
be given for such injury and enforced by due process of law within the State.
The statutory provision in respect to personal actions is more emphatic, requiring "And it would seem if the State failed to give to one of its citizens a remedy
that "suits instituted by summons, shall, except as otherwise provided by law, be against others for injuries of this kind, it would fail in the pledge made in the
brought: First, when the defendant is a resident of the State, either in the county constitution as plainly as if the injury had been in a foreign jurisdiction to one's
within which the defendant resides, or in the county within which the plaintiff goods or person."
resides, and the defendant may be found," and yet it was held in reference to this
statute in the case of Hembree vs. Campbell (8 Mo., 572), that though the suit There is, as Judge Marshall himself says, no difference in principle in giving
was brought in the county in which the plaintiff resided, and service had upon the redress for injuries to land in the jurisdiction where the defendant is found, which
defendant in the county of his residence, unless a plea in abatement to the may not be equally applicable in other cases. He says, speaking of the fiction
jurisdiction of the court over the person of the defendant, was interposed in the upon which transitory actions are sustained, where the cause of action occurred
first instance, the objection on the score of lack of jurisdiction could not out of the jurisdiction where they are brought: "They have" (i. e., the courts),
subsequently be successfully raised. And this, upon the generally recognized "without legislative aid, applied this fiction to all personal torts, wherever the
ground that the court had jurisdiction over the subject matter of the suit, and that wrong may have been committed, and to all contracts wherever executed. To this
the defendant's plea to the merits acknowledged jurisdiction over his person, and general rule contracts respecting lands from no exception. It is admitted that on a
precluded objection on account of absence of regularity in the instituting of the contract respecting lands, an action is sustainable wherever the defendant may be
action. So also, in Ulrici vs. Papin (11 Mo.., 42), where the then existing statute found. Yet in such case every difficulty may occur that present itself in an action
required "suits in equity concerning real estate, or whereby the same may be of trespass. An investigation of title may become necessary, a question of
affected, shall be brought in the county within which such real estate or greater boundary may arise, and a survey may be essential to the full merits of the case.
part thereof is situate," and by demurrer to the bill it was objected that the suit Yet these difficulties have not prevailed against the jurisdiction of the court. They
was not brought in the proper county in conformity with the statutory provision, are countervailed by the opposing consideration, that if the action be disallowed,
Judge Scott remarked: "That it does not clearly appear where the greater part of the injured party may have a clear right without a remedy in a case where a
the lands lie. This objection, if tenable, should have been raised by a plea to the person who has done the wrong, and who ought to make the compensation, is
jurisdiction." And the same learned judge remarks, in Hembree vs. Campbell, within the power of the court. That this consideration loses its influence where
supra, "No principle is better established than that a plea in bar is a waiver of all the action pursues anything not in the reach of the court is inevitably necessary,
dilatory matter of defense. That the matter of abatement was apparent upon the but for the loss of its influence, where the remedy is against the person, and is
writ can make no difference. Such matters are and should be pleaded." And pleas within the power of the court, I have not yet discovered a reason, other than a
technical one, which can satisfy my judgment.'
In the case of De La Vega vs. Keague (64 Texas, 205), the court said: by title superior to the one under which the partition is asked to be decreed. In our
State, where there is no distinction between law and equity in the determination
Our statutes in force at the time the reconvention was filed provided that suits for of causes, an action to settle disputed titles, whether legal or equitable, may be
the recovery of land should be brought in the county where the land or a part combined with one to partition the land between the plaintiff and defendant.
thereof is situated. This is one of the exceptions to the general rule requiring suits Hence there can be no objection to determining any questions as to title between
to be brought in the county of the defendant's residence. This requirement is not a the coowners in a partition suit in our State, and the strict rules of chancery do not
matter that affects the jurisdiction of the district courts over the subject matter of prevail.
controversies about the title or possession of lands. Every district court in the
State has cognizance of such suits; the requirement as to the county in which the In the case of Kipp vs. Cook (46 Minn., 535), the court made use of the following language:
suit may be brought is a mere personal privilege granted to the parties, which
may be waived like any other privilege of this character. (Ryan vs. Jackson, 11 1. The appellant contends that the district court for the county of Sibley, and of
Tex., 391; Morris vs. Runnells, 12 Tex., 176.) A judgment rendered by the the eighth judicial district, was without jurisdiction, and could not properly
district court of Galveston County, when the parties had submitted to the determine the rights or interests of either litigant to lands located in Sherburne
jurisdiction, would settle the title to land in McLennan County as effectually as if County, which is in the seventh judicial district; but this question was passed
rendered in its own district curt. Jurisdiction of causes may be obtained by upon many years since, in the case of Gill vs. Bradley (21 Minn., 15), wherein it
defendants in counties other than those in which the statute requires them to be was held that, although the proper place for the trial of an action to recover real
brought, in other ways than by express consent or by failure to claim the personal property, or for the determination, in any form, of a right or interest therein, was,
privilege accorded by law. A suit upon a monied demand, brought in the county by virtue of an existing statute — now found as Gen. St. 1878, c. 66, par. 47 — in
of a defendant's residence by a resident of another county, may be met with a the county wherein the lands were situated, the district court of the county
counter demand against the plaintiff, and a recovery may be had upon the counter designated in the complaint had jurisdiction over the subject matter, and had
demand, though if suit had been originally commenced upon it, the county of the power to before the time for answering expired, in accordance with the express
plaintiff's residence would have had exclusive jurisdiction. And so with other provisions of another section — now section 51 — of the same chapter, and the
cases that might be supposed. A plaintiff calling a defendant into court for the place of trial had actually been changed by order of the court or by consent of
purpose of obtaining relief against him invites him to set up all defenses which parties.
may defeat the cause of action sued on, or any other appropriate and germane to
the subject matter of the suit, which should be settled between the parties before a
proper adjudication of the merits of the cause can be obtained. He grants him the In the case of the west Point Iron Co. vs. Reymert (45 N.Y., 703), the court said:
privilege of setting up all such counterclaims and cross actions as he holds
against the plaintiff which may legally be pleaded in such a suit. The action was tried in the county of Dutches, and by the court without a jury,
without objection on the part of the defendants. If the trial should have been in
This is particularly the case in our State, where a multiplicity of suit is abhorred, Putnam, and by a jury, it was for the defendants to assert their rights at the trial;
and a leading object is to settle all disputes between the parties pertinent to the and by not them claiming them, they waived them, and must be regarded as
cause of action in the same suit. The question of the original right to bring the having assented to the place and mode of trial.
cross action in the county where the suit is pending can not be raised; otherwise
this design would, in a large number of cases, be defeated, and the various We transcribe the following from decisions of the supreme court of Spain:
matters which could well be settled in the cause might have to seek a number of
different counties, and be asserted in a number of different suits, before the Considering, further, that Pedrosa, instead of immediately objecting to the
controversy between the parties could be settled. The plaintiff must be considered jurisdiction of the court and asking for a change of venue, sued for recovery of
as waiving any privilege to plead to the jurisdiction in such cross actions, and as title, thereby submitting himself to the jurisdiction of the court of first instance,
consenting that the defendant may assert in the suit any demands which he could which reserved its decision thereon until plaintiff had presented the petition in
plead were it commenced in the county where such demands were properly due form. (Judgment of May 30, 1860, 5 Civ. Jur., 465.)
usable. The question then is, La Vega have set up the matters pleaded in his
answer in reconvention had the land sought to be partitioned been situated in
Galveston County? This question must be determined by the solution of another, Considering that although other proceedings were had in the first court (Salvador
viz, can a defendant to a partition suit who claims through the title under which de Granada) and in the courts of first instance of Sagrario and Guerra of said city
the partition is sought set up a superior title to the whole land? "It is doubtless subsequent to the death of the count, the truth of the matter is that his daughter,
true that, in a partition suit, a court of equity will not entertain any controversy as the countess, the only party now claiming relief, not only had the proceedings
to the legal title, whether it arises between the part owners as to their respective taken in the first of said courts dismissed but asked the court of first instance of
interests, or by reason of a claim set up by one or more of them to the entire land Castilla de la Nueva to accept, and the court accepted, her express submission to
its jurisdiction:
Considering that far from objecting, as she might have objected, to the It is, however, important from another point of view, viz, that of jurisdiction as
jurisdiction of the court, the countess acknowledged such jurisdiction as did the distinct from procedure. In the case of real actions relating to land in the colonies
other coheirs when thru asked the court to proceed with the testamentary or foreign countries the English relating courts had, even before the judicature
proceedings, thus creating a jurisdictional situation perfectly in harmony with the acts, no jurisdiction; and, therefore, the removal by those acts of a difficulty of
respective claims of the parties and so binding upon them that they are now procedure — viz, the rule as to local venue — which might have stood in the
absolutely estopped from denying its importance or legal force. (Judgment of way, if they had and wished to exercise jurisdiction, did not in any way confer
May 30, 1860, 5 Civ. Jur., 465.) jurisdiction in such cases. The lack of jurisdiction still exists, and our courts
refuse to adjudicate upon claims of title to foreign land in proceedings founded
He who by his own acts submits himself to the jurisdiction of a court shall not on an alleged invasion of the proprietary rights attached thereto, and to award
thereafter be permitted to question such jurisdiction. (Judgment of December 30, damages founded on that adjudication; in other words, an action for trespass to,
1893, 29 Civ. Jur., 64.) or for recovery of, foreign land can not be maintained in England, at any rate if
the defendant chooses to put in issue the ownership of such land.
According to article 305 (of the Ley de Enjuiciamiento Civil) the plaintiff shall
be presumed to have tacitly submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court by There is no decision of the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands in conflict with the principles laid
the mere act of filing his complaint therein, and in the case of the defendant down in this opinion. In the case of Serrano vs. Chanco (5 Phil. Rep., 431), the matter before the
where the latter after appearing in the action takes any step therein other than to court was the jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance over the actions and proceedings relating to
object to such jurisdiction. (Judgment of September 21, 1878, 40 Civ. Jur., 232.) the settlement of the estates of deceased persons. The determination of that question required the
consideration of section 602 of the code of Civil Procedure rather than section 377 of that code. The
argument of the court touching the last-named section, is inapplicable to the case at bar and would
Plaintiff and defendant are presumed to have submitted themselves to the not affect it if it were. The reference to the jurisdiction of the court made in that argument based on
jurisdiction of the court, the former by the mere act of filing his complaint therein section 377 was unnecessary to a decision of the case.
and the latter by his answering the same and taking any step other than demurring
to such jurisdiction as provided in articles 56 to 58 of the Ley de Enjuiciamiento
Civil. (Judgment of July 27, 1883, 52 Civ. Jur., 511.) The case of Molina vs. De la Riva (6 Phil. Rep., 12), presented simply the question whether or not an
agreement between parties to submit themselves to the jurisdiction of a particular court to the
exclusion of the court provided by law as the appropriate court in the premises could be enforced. As
In order that a tacit submission based upon the mere act filing the complaint may we have before intimated, it touched no question involved in the litigation at bar.
be valid the court must be one of ordinary jurisdiction as provided in article 4 of
the Ley de Ebjuiciamiento Civil. (Judgment of August 27, 1864, 10 Civ. Jur., 14.)
In the case of Molina vs. De la Riva (7 Phil. Rep., 302), the action was one to foreclose a mortgage
upon a real and personal property. In discussing the matter before it the court said:
The following language is taken from The Earl of Halsbury's Laws of England (vol. 1, p. 50):
The demurrer was also based upon the ground that this was an action to foreclose
The old distinction between 'local' and 'transitory' actions, though of far less a mortgage and by the provisions of sections 254 and 377 of the Code of Civil
importance than it was before the passing of the judicature acts, must still be Procedure it should have been brought in the Province of Albay where the
borne in mind in connection with actions relating to land situate outside the local property was situated. The action is clearly an action to foreclose a mortgage,
jurisdiction of our courts. 'Transitory' actions were those in which the facts in lien, or incumbrance upon property, but it will be noticed that section 254 relates
issue between the parties had no necessary connection with a particular locality, only to mortgages on real estate. This contract covered both real and personal
e.g., contract, etc.; whilst "local" actions were those in which there was such a property, and while, perhaps, an action could not be maintained in the Court of
connection, e.g., disputes as to the title to, or trespasses to, land. First Instance of Manila for the foreclosure of the alleged mortgage upon the real
estate situated in Albay, yet so far as the personal property was concerned, we
One importance of this distinction lay in the fact that in the case of local actions know of no law which would deprive that court of jurisdiction.
the plaintiff was bound to lay the venue truly, i.e., in the county (originally in the
actual hundred) in which the land in question lay. In the case, however of a As will readily be observed, the court in the remarks above quoted was not discussing or deciding the
transitory action, he might lay it wherever he pleased, subject to the power of the question whether or not an action could be maintained in the Court of First Instance of the city of
court to alter it in a proper case. Local venues have now been abolished, and, Manila to foreclose a mortgage on real estate located in Albay; but, rather, whether or not an action
therefore, so far as actions relating to land in England are concerned, the could be maintained in the Court of First Instance of the city of Manila to foreclose a mortgate on
distinction may be disregarded. personal property located in the Province of Albay. The remark of the court that perhaps the former
action could not be maintained was not intended to be decisive and was not thought at the time to be
an indication of what the decision of the court might be if that precise case were presented to it with upon resident and no residents in the same manner as provided therefor in Act
full argument and citation of authorities. Numbered One hundred and ninety, and the rights of minors and persons of
unsound mind shall be safeguarded in the manner in such cases provided in said
The case of Castano vs. Lobingier (9 Phil. Rep., 310), involved the jurisdiction of the Court of First Act. The court may order additional and special notice in any case where such
Instance to issue a writ of prohibition against a justice of the peace holding his court outside the additional or special notice is, in its opinion, required.
province in which the Court of First Instance was sitting at the time of issuing the writ. The
determination of the question presented different considerations and different provisions of law from SEC. 4. Commissioners appointed in pursuance of such complaint, in accordance
those which rule the decision of the case at bar. with section two hundred and forty-three of Act Numbered One hundred ad
ninety, shall have jurisdiction over all the lands included in the complaint,
We, therefore, hold that the terms of section 377 providing that actions affecting real property shall situated within the city of Manila or within the province, as the case may be, and
be brought in the province where the land involved in the suit, or some part thereof, is located, do not shall be governed in the performance of their duties by the provisions of sections
affect the jurisdiction of Courts of First Instance over the land itself but relate simply to the personal two hundred and forty-four and two hundred and forty-five, and the action of the
rights of parties as to the place of trial. court upon the report of the commissioners shall be governed by section two
hundred and forty-six of Act Numbered One hundred and ninety.
We come, now, to a consideration of the special laws relating to the condemnation of land by railroad
companies upon which also plaintiff relies. Of those laws only one is of importance in the decision of The provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure referred to in these sections are, so far as material
this case. That is Act No. 1258. In it are found these provisions: here, the following:

SECTION 1. In addition to the method of procedure authorized for the exercise SEC. 241. How the right of eminent domain may be exercised. — The
of the power of eminent domain by sections two hundred and forty-one to two Government of the Philippine Islands, or of any province or department thereof,
hundred and fifty-three, inclusive, of Act Numbered One hundred and ninety, or of any municipality, and any person, or public or private corporation having by
entitled "An Act providing a Code of Procedure in civil actions and special law the right to condemn private property for public use, shall exercise that right
proceedings in the Philippine Islands," the procedure in this Act provided may be in the manner hereinafter prescribed.
adopted whenever a railroad corporation seeks to appropriate land for the
construction, extension, or operation of its railroad line. SEC. 242. The complaint. — The complaint in condemnation proceedings shall
state with certainty the right of condemnation, and describe the property sought to
xxx xxx xxx be condemned, showing the interest of each defendant separately.

SEC. 3. Whenever a railroad corporation is authorized by its charter, or by SEC. 243. Appointment of Commissioners. — If the defendant concede that the
general law, to exercise the power of eminent domain in the city of Manila or in right of condemnation exists on the part of the plaintiff, or if, upon trial, the court
any province, and has not obtained by agreement with the owners thereof the finds that such right exists, the court shall appoint three judicious and
lands necessary for its purposes as authorized by law, it may in its complaint, disinterested landowners of the province in which the land to be condemned, or
which in each case shall be instituted in the Court of First Instance of the city of some portion of the same, is situated, to be commissioners to hear the parties and
Manila if the land is situated in the city of Manila, or in the Court of First view the premises, and assess damages to be paid for the condemnation, and to
Instance of the province where the lands is situated, join as defendants all persons report their proceedings in full to the court, and shall issue a commission under
owing or claiming to own, or occupying, any of the lands sought to be the seal of the court to the commissioners authorizing the performance of the
condemned, or any interest therein, within the city or province, respectively, duties herein prescribed.
showing, so far as practicable, the interest of each defendant and stating with
certainty the right of condemnation, and describing the property sought to be We are of the opinion that what we have said in the discussion of the effect of section 377 relative to
condemned. Process requiring the defendants to appear in answer to the the jurisdiction of Courts of First Instance over lands is applicable generally to the sections of law
complaint shall be served upon all occupants of the lands sought to be just quoted. The provisions regarding the place and method of trial are procedural. They touched not
condemned, and upon the owners and all persons claiming interest therein, so far the authority of the court over the land but, rather, the powers which it may exercise over the parties.
as known. If the title to ant lands sought to be condemned appears to be in the They relate not to the jurisdictional power of the court over the subject matter but to the place where
Insular Government, although the lands are occupied by private individuals, or if that jurisdiction is to be exercised. In other words, the jurisdiction is assured, whatever the place of its
it is uncertain whether the title is in the Insular Government or in private exercise. The jurisdiction is the thing; the place of exercise its incident.
individuals, or if the title is otherwise so obscure or doubtful that the company
can not with accuracy or certainty specify who are the real owners, averment may These special laws contain nothing which in any way indicates an intention of the legislature to alter
be made by the company in its complaint to that effect. Process shall be served the nature or extent of the jurisdiction of Courts of First Instance granted by Act No. 136. As we said
in discussing the provisions of section 277 of the Code of Civil Procedure, we can not hold that speaking, compact together. Its provisions were not intended to meet a situation presented by an
jurisdiction to be limited unless by express provision or clear intendment. action to condemn lands extending contiguously from one end of the country to the other. Act No.
1258 is a special law, enacted for a particular purpose, and to meet a particular exigency. The
We have thus far drawn an analogy between section 377 of the code of Civil Procedure and section 3 conditions found in an action for the condemnation of real estate by a railroad company might and
of Act No. 1258, asserting that neither the one nor the other was intended to restrict, much less generally would be so different that the application of the provisions of section 377 permitting the
deprive, the Courts of First Instance of the jurisdiction over lands in the Philippine Islands conferred venue to be laid in any province where any part of the land lies would work a very great hardship to
upon them by Act No. 136. We have extended that analogy to include the proposition that the many defendants in such an action. To hold that a railroad company desiring to build a line from
question of venue as presented in the Acts mentioned does not relate to jurisdiction of the court over Ilocos Norte to Batangas, through substantially the whole of the Island of Luzon, might lay the venue
the subject matter, it simply granting to the defendant certain rights and privileges as against the in Batangas, it being a province in which a part of the land described in the complaint was located,
plaintiff relative to the place of trial, which rights and privileges he might waive expressly or by would be to require all the parties defendant in Ilocos Norte and intervening provinces, with their
implication. We do not, however, extend that analogy further. On reading and comparing section 377 witnesses, to go to Batangas, with all the inconvenience and expense which the journey would entail,
of the Code of Civil Procedure with section 3 of Act No. 1258. both of which are hearing set forth, a and submit the valuation of their lands into only to the Court of First Instance of Batangas but to a
difference is at once apparent in the wording of the provisions relating to the place of trial. Section commission appointed in that province. The hardship to such defendants under such a holding is so
277 stipulates that all actions affecting real estate "shall be brought in the province where the land, or manifest that we are of the opinion that it was not intended that section 377 of the code of Civil
some part thereof, is situated." Section 3 of Act No. 1258 provides that in an action brought by a Procedure should apply to actions for condemnation. Under the provisions of that section, the
railroad corporation to condemn land for its uses the plaintiff "may in its complaint, which in each defendant has no right to ask for a change of venue if the land involved in the litigation, or any part
case shall be instituted . . . in the Court of First Instance of the province where the land is situated, thereof, is located in the province where the court sits before which the action has been commenced.
join as defendants all persons owning, etc . . . land within the city or province . . ." Section 1 of that When, therefore, an action such as is detailed above is begun by a railroad company in Batangas
Act, as we have already seen, says that: "In addition to the method of procedure authorized for the against persons whose lands lie in Ilocos Norte, there being also involved lands lying in Batangas,
exercise of the power of eminent domain by sections two hundred and forty-one to two hundred and such defendants would have no right under section 377, if it were applicable, to demand that the trial
fifty-three" of the Code of Civil Procedure, "the procedure in this Act may be adopted whenever a as to their lands take place in the Province of Ilocos Norte. We do not believe that this was intended.
railroad corporation seeks to appropriate land . . . ." We believe, rather, that under the provisions of the special laws relating to the condemnation of real
estate by railroad companies, the defendants in the various provinces through which the line runs may
compel, if they wish, a separate action to be commenced in each province in order that they may have
From these provisions we note, first, that the procedure expressly made applicable to actions for the a fair and convenient trial not only before the court but also before commissioner of their province
condemnation of land by railroad corporations is not that contained in section 377 but that found in who are not only before commissioners of their province who are not only conveniently at hand, but
sections 241 to 253 of the Code of Civil Procedure. Section 377 is nowhere expressly mentioned in who are best able to judge of the weight of testimony relative to the value of land in that province.
Act No. 1258 nor is it anywhere touched or referred to by implication. The procedure embodied in
that Act to consummate the purposes of its creation is complete of itself, rendered so either by
provisions contained in the Act itself, rendered so either by provisions contained in the Act itself or We, therefore, hold that section 377 of the Code of Civil Procedure is not applicable to actions by
by reference to specific sections of the Code of Civil Procedure which by such reference are made a railroad corporations to condemn lands; and that, while with the consent of defendants express or
part thereof. implied the venue may be laid and the action tried in any province selected by the plaintiff
nevertheless the defendants whose lands lie in one province, or any one of such defendants, may, by
timely application to the court, require the venue as to their, or, if one defendant, his, lands to be
In the second place, we observe that, so far as venue is concerned, Act No. 1258 and section 377 are changed to the province where their or his lands lie. In such case the action as to all of the defendants
quite different in their wording. While the latter provides that the actions of which it treats shall be not objecting would continue in the province where originally begun. It would be severed as to the
commenced in the province where the land, or some part thereof, lies, Act No. 1258, section 3, objecting defendants and ordered continued before the court of the appropriate province or provinces.
stipulates that the actions embraced in its terms shall be brought only in the province where the land While we are of that opinion and so hold it can not affect the decision in the case before us for the
lies. This does not mean, of course, that if a single parcel of land under the same ownership, lying reason that the defendants are not objecting to the venue and are not asking for a change thereof.
party in one province and partly in another, is the subject of condemnation proceedings begun by a They have not only expressly submitted themselves to the jurisdiction of the court but are here asking
railroad corporation, a separate action must be commenced in each province. Nor does it mean that that that jurisdiction be maintained against the efforts of the plaintiff to remove it.
the aid of section 377 is required to obviate such necessity. The situation would be met and solved by
the general principles of law and application of which to every situation is an inherent or implied
power of every court. Such, for example, are the prohibition against multiplicity of actions, the rules The principles which we have herein laid down we do not apply to criminal cases. They seem to rest
against division of actions into parts, and the general principle that jurisdiction over a subject matter on a different footing. There the people of the state is a party. The interests of the public require that,
singly owned will not be divided among different courts, the one in which the action is first brought to secure the best results and effects in the punishment of crime, it is necessary to prosecute and
having exclusive jurisdiction of the whole. The provisions of these two laws, section 377 and Act No. punish the criminal in the very place, as near as may be, where he committed his crime. As a result it
1258, differ in the manner indicated because they refer to subjects requiring inherently different has been the uniform legislation, both in statutes and in constitutions, that the venue of a criminal
treatment, so different, in fact, as to be in some respects quite opposite. While it is true that section action must be laid in the place where the crime was committed. While the laws here do not
377 speaks of action for the condemnation of real estate, nevertheless it was intended to cover simply specifically and in terms require it, we believe it is the established custom and the uniform holding
the ordinary action affecting title to or interest in real estate, where the land involved is comparatively
that criminal prosecutions must be brought and conducted, except in cases especially provided by Barely hours after the complaint was stamped 'received,' the Magdangals were able to have
law, in the province where the crime is committed. Tan's title over the lot in question canceled and to secure in their names TCT No. T-
134470. This development prompted the heirs of Tan, who were to be later substituted by
For these reasons the judgment below must be reversed and the cause remanded to the trial court with Jaime V. Tan, Jr. (Tan, Jr.) as plaintiff, to file a supplemental complaint.
direction to proceed with the action according to law. So ordered.
The intervening legal tussles are not essential to this narration. What is material is that on
June 4, 1991, Branch 11 of the Regional Trial Court of Davao City rendered judgment
finding for Tan, Jr., as plaintiff therein. The dispositive portion of the decision reads:.
G.R. No. 136368 January 16, 2002
'WHEREFORE, judgment is rendered:
JAIME TAN, JR., as Judicial Administrator of the Intestate Estate of Jaime C. Tan, petitioner,
vs. 1. The Deed of Absolute Sale (Exhibits B, B-1) is, in accordance with the true
HON. COURT OF APPEALS (Ninth Special Div.) and JOSE A. MAGDANGAL and intention of the parties, hereby declared and reformed an equitable mortgage;
ESTRELLA MAGDANGAL, respondents.
2. The plaintiff is ordered to pay the defendants within 120 days after the
PUNO, J.: finality of this decision P59,200 plus interest at the rate of 12% per annum from
May 2, 1988, the date the complaint was filed, until paid;
This is a petition for review of the Decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 15, 1998 1 and its
Resolution dated November 9, 19982 denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration in CA-G.R. SP- 3. In order to avoid multiplicity of suits and to fully give effect to the true
41738. intention of the parties, upon the payment of the aforesaid amount, TCT No. T-
134470 in the name of defendants Jose Magdangal and Estrella Magdangal (Exh.
13) and shall be deemed canceled and null and void and TCT No. T-72067 in the
The facts are as stated in the impugned Decision, viz: name of Jaime C. Tan and Praxedes Valles Tan (Exh. A) be reinstated).

"Involved in this case is a parcel of land, designated as Lot No. 645-C, with an area of No pronouncement as to costs.
34,829 square meters, more or less, situated in Bunawan, Davao City. The lot was once
covered by TCT No. T-72067 of the Registry of Deeds of Davao City in the name of the
late Jaime C. Tan (Tan, for short) married to Praxedes V. Tan. SO ORDERED. (Annex 'B', Petition; Emphasis added).'

From the petition, the motion to dismiss petition, their respective annexes and other From the above, the Magdangals appealed to this Court in CA-G.R. CV No. 33657.
pleadings, we gather the following factual antecedents:
In a decision promulgated on September 28, 1995, this Court, thru its then Special Third
On January 22, 1981, Tan, for a consideration of P59,200.00, executed a deed of absolute Division, affirmed in toto the appealed decision of the lower court. Copy of this affirmatory
sale over the property in question in favor of spouses Jose Magdangal and Estrella judgment was each received by the Magdangals and Tan, Jr. on October 5, 1995.
Magdangal. Simultaneous with the execution of this deed, the same contracting parties
entered into another agreement whereunder Tan given one (1) year within which to redeem On March 13, 1996, the Clerk of this Court entered in the Book of Entries of Judgment the
or repurchase the property. Decision in CA-G.R. CV No. 33657 and issued the corresponding Entry of Judgment
which, on its face, stated that the said Decision 'has on October 21, 1995 become final and
Albeit given several opportunities and/or extensions to exercise the option, Tan failed to executory' (Annex 'L', Petition; Emphasis added).
redeem the property until his death on January 4, 1988.
On March 21, 1996, the Magdangals filed in the lower court a MOTION FOR
On May 2, 1988, Tan's heirs filed before the Regional Trial Court at Davao City a suit CONSOLIDATION AND WRIT OF POSSESSION, therein alleging that they did not
against the Magdangals for reformation of instrument. Docketed as CIVIL CASE NO. appeal from the aforesaid decision of this Court, adding '[T]hat the appealed judgment of
19049-88, the complaint alleged that, while Tan and the Magdangals denominated their the Court of Appeals has become final and executory 15 days from October 5, 1995 or up
agreement as deed of absolute sale, their real intention was to conclude an equitable to October 20, 1995, which the 120 days redemption period commences. And noting that
mortgage. the redemption period has expired without Tan, Jr. exercising his option, the Magdangals
thus prayed that the title 'in the name of Jaime C. Tan and Praxedes Tan be consolidated
and confirmed in the name of the (Magdangals) x x x and pending such issuance, a writ of was March 13, 1996. The plaintiff made a deposit on April 17, 1996 well within
possession be ordered issued (Annex "C", Petition).1âwphi1.nêt the 120-day period mandated by the decision of this Court.'

In opposition to this motion (Annex 'F', Petition), Tan, Jr. alleged, among other things, that In due time, the Magdangals moved for a reconsideration. However, in her next assailed
until an entry of judgment has been issued by the Court of Appeals and copy thereof order of July 24, 1996 (Annex 'R', Petition), the respondent judge denied the motion for
furnished the parties, the appealed decision of the court a quo in this case cannot be being proforma and fatally defective."3
considered final and executory. Pressing the point, Tan, Jr., citing Cueto vs. Collantes,
infra., would then assert that the period of redemption on his part commenced to run from Petitioner assails the aforequoted Decision as follows:
receipt of entry of judgment in CA-G.R. CV No. 33657.
"I. Petitioner's right to due process was violated when the Court of Appeals rendered a
Meanwhile, Tan, Jr. via a motion for execution dated March 27, 1996, which he filed judgment on the merits of private respondents' petition without granting to petitioner the
directly with this court, prayed this court to direct the court a quo to issue the opportunity to controvert the same.
corresponding writ of execution in Civil Case No. 19049-88. In a related move, Tan, Jr.
filed on April 16, 1996, a MANIFESTATION AND MOTION therein advising the court a
quo of his intention to redeem the property in question and of the fact that, on such date, he II. Appeal not certiorari was the appropriate remedy of private respondents as there was no
has deposited with its clerk of court the repurchase price, plus interest, as required by its grave abuse of discretion as to amount to lack of or excess of jurisdiction on the part of the
original decision. By way of relief, Tan, Jr. prayed that the Magdangals be ordered to claim trial judge. Neither is delay in resolving the main case a ground for giving due course to the
the amount thus deposited and the Register of Deeds of Davao City, to reinstate the title of petition.
Jaime Tan and Praxedes Tan.
III. Cueto vs. Collantes, 97 Phil. 325, was disregarded by the Court of Appeals in resolving
Jointly acting on the aforementioned MOTON FOR CONSOLIDATION AND WRIT OF the petition of private respondents. It is still good case law and was in effect made a part of
POSSESION of the Magdangals (Annex 'C', Petition), MANIFESTATION AND MOTION section 2 of Rule 68 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure on Foreclosure of Mortgage.
of Tan, Jr. (Annex 'I', Petition), the court a quo presided by the respondent judge, came out
with the first challenged order of June 10, 1996 (Annex 'N', Petition) dispositively reading, IV. The St. Dominic vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 138 SCRA 242 case is not applicable
as follows: to the case at bar; on the other hand the ruling in Gutierrez Hermanos vs. de La Riva, 46
Phil. 827, applies.
'WHEREFORE, x x x the Motion for Consolidation and a Writ of Possession is
hereby DENIED for lack of merit. V. Equity considerations justify giving due course to this petition."4 (emphasis ours)

The deposit of the amount of P116,032.00 made by plaintiff with the Office of We will immediately resolve the key issue of what rule should govern the finality of judgment
Court x x x on April 17, 1996 is hereby considered full payment of the favorably obtained in the trial court by the petitioner.
redemption price and the Clerk of Court is hereby ordered to deliver said amount
to herein defendants. The operative facts show that in its Decision of June 4, 1991, the trial court held that: (1) the contract
between the parties is not an absolute sale but an equitable mortgage; and (2) petitioner Tan should
The Register of Deeds of Davao City x x x is hereby directed to cancel TCT No. pay to the respondents Magdangal "within 120 days after the finality of this decision P59,200.00 plus
T-134470 in the name of Jose Magdangal and Estrella Magdangal and, thereafter, interest at the rate of 12% per annum from May 2, 1988, the date the complaint was filed, until
to reinstate TCT No. 72067 in the name of Jaime C. Tan and Praxedes Valles Tan paid."5
and to submit her compliance thereto within ten (10) days from receipt of this
Order. On September 28, 1995 in CA-G.R. CV No. 33657, the Special Third Division of the Court of
Appeals affirmed the decision of the trial court in toto. Both parties received the decision of the
SO ORDERED.' appellate court on October 5, 1995. On March 13, 1996, the clerk of court of the appellate court
entered in the Book of Entries of Judgement the decision in CA-G.R. CV No. 33657 and issued the
Explaining her action, the respondent judge wrote in the same order: corresponding Entry of Judgment which, on its face, stated that the said decision "has on October 21,
1995 become final and executory."6
'Following the ruling of the Supreme Court in Cueto vs. Collantes, et al., 97 Phil.
325, the 120 days period for plaintiff to pay the amount of P59,200.00 plus The respondents Magdangal filed in the trial court a Motion for Consolidation and Writ of
interest x x x should be reckoned from the date of Entry of Judgment x x x which Possession.7 They alleged that the 120-day period of redemption of the petitioner has expired. They
reckoned that the said period began 15 days after October 5, 1995, the date when the finality of the of 101 days. Appellee brands this computation as erroneous, or one not in accordance with
judgment of the trial court as affirmed by the appellate court commenced to run. the procedure prescribed by the rules of court.

On the other hand, petitioner filed on March 27, 1996 a motion for execution in the appellate court Appellee's contention should be sustained. The original decision provides that appellee may
praying that it "direct the court a quo to issue the corresponding writ of execution in Civil Case No. exercise his right of redemption within the period of 90 days from the date the judgment
19049-88."8 On April 17, 1996, petitioner deposited with the clerk of court the repurchase price of the has become final. It should be noted that appellee had appealed from this decision. This
lot plus interest as ordered by the decision. decision was affirmed by the court of appeals and final judgment was entered on July 8,
1953. Does this mean that the judgment became final on that date?
On June 10, 1996, the trial court allowed the petitioner to redeem the lot in question. It ruled that the
120-day redemption period should be reckoned from the date of Entry of Judgment in the appellate Let us make a little digression for purposes of clarification. Once a decision is rendered by
court or from March 13, 1996.9 The redemption price was deposited on April 17, 1996. As the Court of Appeals a party may appeal therefrom by certiorari by filing with the Supreme
aforestated, the Court of Appeals set aside the ruling of the trial court. Court a petition within 10 days from the date of entry of such decision (Section 1, Rule 46).
The entry of judgment is made after it has become final, i.e., upon the expiration of 15 days
From 1991-1996, the years relevant to the case at bar, the rule that governs finality of judgment is after notice thereof to the parties (Section 8, Rule 53, as modified by a resolution of the
Rule 51 of the Revised Rules of Court. Its sections 10 and 11 provide: Supreme Court dated October 1, 1945). But, as Chief Justice Moran has said, 'such finality
*** is subject to the aggrieved party's right of filing a petition for certiorari under this
section,' which means that 'the Court of Appeals shall remand the case to the lower court
"SEC. 10. Entry of judgments and final resolutions. - If no appeal or motion for new trial or for the execution of its judgment, only after the expiration of ten (10) days from the date of
reconsideration is filed within the time provided in these Rules, the judgment or final such judgment, if no petition for certiorari is filed within that period.' (1 Moran, Comments
resolution shall forthwith be entered by the clerk in the book of entries of judgments. The on the Rules of Court, 1952 ed., p. 950) It would therefore appear that the date of entry of
date when the judgment or final resolution becomes executory shall be deemed as the date judgment of the Court of Appeals is suspended when a petition for review is filed to await
of its entry. The record shall contain the dispositive part of the judgment or final resolution the final entry of the resolution or decision of the Supreme Court.
and shall be signed by the clerk, with a certificate that such judgment or final resolution has
become final and executory. (2a, R36)
Since in the present case appellee has filed a petition for review within the reglementary period,
which was dismissed by resolution of July 6, 1953, and for lack of a motion for reconsideration the
SEC. 11. Execution of judgment. - Except where the judgment or final order or resolution,
entry of final judgment was made on August 7, 1953, it follows that the 90-day period within which
or a portion thereof, is ordered to be immediately executory, the motion for its execution
appellee may exercise his right of redemption should be counted from said date, August 7, 1953. And
may only be filed in the proper court after its entry.
appellee having exercised such right on October 17, 1953 by depositing the redemption money with
the clerk of court, it is likewise clear that the motion be filed for the exercise of such right is well
In original actions in the Court of Appeals, its writ of execution shall be accompanied by a taken and is within the purview of the decision of the lower court."
certified true copy of the entry of judgment or final resolution and addressed to any
appropriate officer for its enforcement. On April 18, 1994, this Court issued Circular No. 24-94, viz:

In appealed cases, where the motion for execution pending appeal is filed in the Court of "TO: COURT OF APPEALS, SANDIGANBAYAN, COURT OF TAX
Appeals at a time that it is in possession of the original record or the record on appeal, the APPEALS, REGIONAL TRIAL COURTS, METROPOLITAN TRIAL
resolution granting such motion shall be transmitted to the lower court from which the case COURTS, MUNICIPAL TRIAL COURTS, MUNICIPAL CIRCUIT TRIAL
originated, together with a certified true copy of the judgment or final order to be executed, COURTS, AND ALL MEMBERS OF THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE
with a directive for such court of origin to issue the proper writ for its enforcement." PHILIPPINES

This rule has been interpreted by this Court in Cueto vs. Collantes as follows:10 SUBJECT: RESOLUTION OF THE COURT EN BANC APPROVING AND
PROMULGATING THE REVISED PROVISION ON EXECUTION OF
"The only error assigned by appellants refer to the finding of the lower court that plaintiff JUDGMENTS. SPECIFICALLY IN APPEALED CASES, AND AMENDING
can still exercise his right of redemption notwithstanding the expiration of the 90-day SECTION 1, RULE 39 OF THE RULES OF COURT
period fixed in the original decision and, therefore, defendants should execute the deed of
reconveyance required in said decision. Appellants contend that, the final judgment of the It appears that in a number of instances, the execution of judgments in appealed cases
Court of Appeals having been entered on July 8, 1953, the 90-day period for the exercise of cannot be promptly enforced because of undue administrative delay in the remand of the
the right of redemption has long expired, it appearing that plaintiff deposited the records to the court of origin, aggravated at times by misplacement or misdelivery of said
redemption money with the clerk of court only on October 17, 1953, or, after the expiration records. The Supreme Court Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court has drafted
proposals including a provision which can remedy the procedural impasse created by said requires, direct the court of origin to issue the writ of execution."
contingencies.
The rationale of the new rule is explained by retired Justice F.D. Regalado as follows:12
Accordingly, pending approval by the Court of the revised rules on Civil Procedure, and to
provide a solution to the aforestated problems, the Court Resolved to approve and "1. The term 'final order' is used in two senses depending on whether it is used on the issue
promulgate the following section thereof on execution of judgments, amending Section 1, of appealability or on the issue of binding effect. For purposes of appeal, an order is "final"
Rule 39 of the Rules of Court: if it disposes of the action, as distinguished from an interlocutory order which leaves
something to be done in the trial court with respect to the merits of the case (De la Cruz, et
Section 1. Execution upon judgments or final orders. - Execution shall issue as a matter of al. vs. Paras, et al., L-41053, Feb. 27, 1976). For purposes of binding effect or whether it
right, on motion, upon a judgment or order that disposes of the action or proceeding upon can be subject of execution, an order is 'final' or executory after the lapse of the
expiration of the period to appeal therefrom if no appeal has been duly perfected. reglementary period to appeal and no appeal has been perfected (see Perez, et al. vs.
Zulueta, L-10374, Sept. 30, 1959; cf. Denso [Phil.], Inc. vs. IAC, et al., G.R. No. 75000,
If the appeal has been duly perfected and finally resolved, such execution may forthwith be Feb. 27, 1987; Montilla vs. CA, et al., L-47968, May 9, 1988).
applied for in the lower court from which the action originated, on motion of the judgment
obligee, submitting therewith certified true copies of the judgment or judgments or the final 2. On the aspect of appealability, these revised Rules use the adjective 'final' with respect to
order or orders sought to be enforced and of the entry thereof, with notice to the adverse orders and resolutions, since to terminate a case the trial courts issue orders while the
party. appellate courts and most of the quasi-judicial agencies issue resolutions. Judgment are not
so qualified since the use of the so-called interlocutory judgments is not favored in this
The appellate court may, on motion in the same case, when the interest of justice so jurisdiction, while the categorization of an order or a resolution for purposes of denoting
requires, direct the court of origin to issue the writ of execution. that it is appealable is to distinguish them from interlocutory orders or resolutions.
However, by force of extended usage the phrase 'final and executory judgment' is
sometimes used and tolerated, although the use of 'executory' alone would suffice. These
This resolution shall be published in two (2) newspapers of general circulation and shall observations also apply to the several and separate judgments contemplated in Rule 36, or
take effect on June 1, 1994. partial judgments which totally dispose of a particular claim or severable part of the case,
subject to the power of the court to suspend or defer action on an appeal from or further
April 18, 1994. proceedings in such special judgment, or as provided by Rule 35 on the matter of partial
summary judgments which are not considered as appealable (see Sec. 4, Rule 35 and the
explanation therein).
"(Sgd.) ANDRES R. NARVASA
Chief Justice"
The second paragraph of this section is an innovation in response to complaints over the
delay caused by the former procedure in obtaining a writ of execution of a judgment, which
The Circular took effect on June 1, 1994. has already been affirmed on appeal, with notice to the parties. As things then stood, after
the entry of judgment in the appellate court, the prevailing party had to wait for the records
of the case to be remanded to the court of origin when and where he could then move for
The 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure, however, amended the rule on finality of judgment by the issuance of a writ of execution. The intervening time could sometimes be substantial,
providing in section 1, Rule 39 as follows: especially if the court a quo is in a remote province, and could also be availed of by the
losing party to delay or thwart actual execution.
"Section 1. Execution upon judgments or final orders. - Execution shall issue as a matter of
right, on motion, upon a judgment or order that disposes of the action or proceeding upon On these considerations, the Supreme Court issued Circular No. 24-94, dated April 18,
the expiration of the period to appeal therefrom if no appeal has been duly perfected. (1a) 1994, approving and promulgating in advance this amended Section 1 of Rule 39 and
declaring the same effective as of June 1, 1994.
If the appeal has been duly perfected and finally resolved, the execution may forthwith be
applied for in the court of origin, on motion of the judgment obligee, submitting therewith Under the present procedure, the prevailing party can secure certified true copies of the
certified true copies of the judgment or judgments or final order or orders sought to be judgment or final order of the appellate court and the entry thereof, and submit the same to
enforced and of the entry thereof, with notice to the adverse party. the court of origin with and to justify his motion for a writ of execution, without waiting for
its receipt of the records from the appellate court. That motion must be with notice to the
The appellate court may, on motion in the same case, when the interest of justice so adverse party, with a hearing when the circumstances so require, to enable him to file any
objection thereto or bring to the attention of said court matters which may have transpired
during the pendency of the appeal and which may have a bearing on the execution sought to constitutionally objectionable. The reason is that as a general rule no vested right may
enforce the judgment. attach to, nor arise from, procedural laws. It has been held that "a person has no vested right
in any particular remedy, and a litigant cannot insist on the application to the trial of his
The third paragraph of this section, likewise a new provision, is due to the experience of the case, whether civil or criminal, of any other than the existing rules of procedure."
appellate courts wherein the trial court, for reasons of its own or other unjustifiable
circumstances, unduly delays or unreasonably refuses to act on the motion for execution or Thus, the provision of Batas Bilang 129 in Section 39 thereof prescribing that "no record on
issue the writ therefor. On motion in the same case while the records are still with the appeal shall be required to take an appeal" is procedural in nature and should therefore be
appellate court, or even after the same have been remanded to the lower court, the appellate applied retroactively to pending actions. Hence, the question as to whether an appeal from
court can direct the issuance of the writ of execution since such act is merely in the an adverse judgment should be dismissed for failure of appellant to file a record on appeal
enforcement of its judgment and which it has the power to require." within thirty days as required under the old rules, which question is pending resolution at
the time Batas Bilang 129 took effect, became academic upon the effectivity of said law
It is evident that if we apply the old rule on finality of judgment, petitioner redeemed the subject because the law no longer requires the filing of a record on appeal and its retroactive
property within the 120-day period of redemption reckoned from the appellate court's entry of application removed the legal obstacle to giving due course to the appeal. A statute which
judgment. The appellate court, however, did not apply the old rule but the 1997 Revised Rules of transfers the jurisdiction to try certain cases from a court to a quasi-judicial tribunal is a
Civil Procedure. In fine, it applied the new rule retroactively and we hold that given the facts of the remedial statute that is applicable to claims that accrued before its enactment but formulated
case at bar this is an error. and filed after it took effect, for it does not create new nor take away vested rights. The
court that has jurisdiction over a claim at the time it accrued cannot validly try the claim
where at the time the claim is formulated and filed the jurisdiction to try it has been
There is no dispute that rules of procedure can be given retroactive effect. This general rule, however, transferred by law to a quasi-judicial tribunal, for even actions pending in one court may be
has well-delineated exceptions. We quote author Agpalo:13 validly taken away and transferred to another and no litigant can acquire a vested right to be
heard by one particular court.
"9.17. Procedural laws.
9.18. Exceptions to the rule.
Procedural laws are adjective laws which prescribe rules and forms of procedure of
enforcing rights or obtaining redress for their invasion; they refer to rules of procedure by The rule that procedural laws are applicable to pending actions or proceedings admits
which courts applying laws of all kinds can properly administer justice. They include rules certain exceptions. The rule does not apply where the statute itself expressly or by
of pleadings, practice and evidence. As applied to criminal law, they provide or regulate the necessary implication provides that pending actions are excepted from its operation, or
steps by which one who commits a crime is to be punished. where to apply it to pending proceedings would impair vested rights. Under appropriate
circumstances, courts may deny the retroactive application of procedural laws in the event
The general rule that statutes are prospective and not retroactive does not ordinarily apply to that to do so would not be feasible or would work injustice. Nor may procedural laws be
procedural laws. It has been held that "a retroactive law, in a legal sense, is one which takes applied retroactively to pending actions if to do so would involve intricate problems of due
away or impairs vested rights acquired under laws, or creates a new obligation and imposes process or impair the independence of the courts."
a new duty, or attaches a new disability, in respect of transactions or considerations already
past. Hence, remedial statutes or statutes relating to remedies or modes of procedure, which We hold that section 1, Rule 39 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Procedure should not be given
do not create new or take away vested rights, but only operate in furtherance of the remedy retroactive effect in this case as it would result in great injustice to the petitioner. Undoubtedly,
or confirmation of rights already existing, do not come within the legal conception of a petitioner has the right to redeem the subject lot and this right is a substantive right. Petitioner
retroactive law, or the general rule against the retroactive operation of statutes." The general followed the procedural rule then existing as well as the decisions of this Court governing the
rule against giving statutes retroactive operation whose effect is to impair the obligations of reckoning date of the period of redemption when he redeemed the subject lot. Unfortunately for
contract or to disturb vested rights does not prevent the application of statutes to petitioner, the rule was changed by the 1997 Revised Rules of Procedure which if applied
proceedings pending at the time of their enactment where they neither create new nor take retroactively would result in his losing the right to redeem the subject lot. It is difficult to reconcile
away vested rights. A new statute which deals with procedure only is presumptively the retroactive application of this procedural rule with the rule of fairness. Petitioner cannot be
applicable to all actions - those which have accrued or are pending. penalized with the loss of the subject lot when he faithfully followed the laws and the rule on the
period of redemption when he made the redemption. The subject lot may only be 34,829 square
Statutes regulating the procedure of the courts will be construed as applicable to actions meters but as petitioner claims, "it is the only property left behind by their father, a private law
pending and undetermined at the time of their passage. Procedural laws are retroactive in practitioner who was felled by an assassin's bullet."14
that sense and to that extent. The fact that procedural statutes may somehow affect the
litigants' rights may not preclude their retroactive application to pending actions. The Petitioner fought to recover this lot from 1988. To lose it because of a change of procedure on the
retroactive application of procedural laws is not violative of any right of a person who may date of reckoning of the period of redemption is inequitous. The manner of exercising the right cannot
feel that he is adversely affected. Nor is the retroactive application of procedural statutes
be changed and the change applied retroactively if to do so will defeat the right of redemption of the (₱2,569,074.00) plus legal interest from inception of the obligation until fully paid; (2) moral
petitioner which is already vested. damages in the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (₱50,000.00); (3) attorney’s fees of Twenty
Thousand Pesos (₱20,000.00); and (4) litigation expenses in the amount of Ten Thousand Pesos
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 15, 1998 and its Resolution (₱10,000.00).
dated November 9, 1998 in CA-G.R. SP-41738 are annulled and set aside. The Orders dated June 10,
1996 and July 24, 1996 of the RTC of Davao City, 11th Judicial Region, Branch 11, in Civil Case No. On August 8, 2007, the spouses Cabrera received a copy of the RTC Decision dated August 7, 2007.
19049-88 are reinstated. No costs. On August 14, 2007, the spouses Cabrera filed with the RTC a motion for reconsideration,6 which
they set for hearing on August 17, 2007. On even date, the spouses Cabrera sent a copy of their
SO ORDERED. motion for reconsideration to the respondent thru registered mail; it was actually received by the
respondent on August 21, 2007.

The said motion for reconsideration, however, was not heard on August 17, 2007 as the new acting
G.R. No. 201601 March 12, 2014
presiding judge of the said court had just assumed office. On August 28, 2007, the RTC issued a
notice,7 which set the said motion for reconsideration for hearing on September 25, 2007.
MARYLOU CABRERA, Petitioner,
vs.
FELIX NG, Respondent. On September 20, 2007, the respondent filed an opposition8 to the motion for reconsideration filed by
the spouses Cabrera. The respondent alleged that the said motion for reconsideration is a mere scrap
of paper since it violated the three-day notice requirement. The respondent pointed out that the
DECISION spouses Cabrera sent to him a copy of their motion for reconsideration, which was set for hearing on
August 17, 2007, via registered mail on August 14, 2007; that he actually received a copy thereof
REYES, J.: only on August 21, 2007 – four days after the scheduled hearing thereon.

Before this Court is a petition for review on certiorari1 under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to It appears that the scheduled hearing of the spouses Cabrera’s motion for reconsideration on
annul and set aside the Decision2 dated October 21, 2009 and the Resolution3 dated March 26, 2012 September 25, 2007 did not push through. Consequently, on September 26, 2007, the RTC issued
of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 03392. The CA denied the petition for certiorari another notice,9 which set the said motion for reconsideration for hearing on October 26, 2007.
filed by Marylou Cabrera (petitioner), which assailed the Order4 dated December 19, 2007 of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Mandaue City, Branch 56, in Civil Case No. MAN-4773. On October 26, 2007, the RTC issued an Order,10 which directed the parties to file their additional
pleadings, after which the motion for reconsideration filed by the spouses Cabrera would be deemed
The Facts submitted for resolution.

On February 14, 2004, Felix Ng (respondent) filed a complaint for sum of money with the RTC On December 19, 2007, the RTC issued an Order11 which denied the motion for reconsideration filed
against the petitioner and her husband Marionilo Cabrera (spouses Cabrera), alleging that the latter by the spouses Cabrera. The RTC pointed out that the spouses Cabrera violated Section 4, Rule 15 of
issued to him the following: (1) Metrobank Check No. 0244694 dated June 30, 2002 for the amount the Rules of Court, which mandates that every motion required to be heard should be served by the
of Thirty-One Thousand Pesos (₱31,000.00); (2) Metrobank Check No. 0244674 dated August 9, movant in such a manner as to ensure its receipt by the other party at least three days before the date
2002 for the amount of Thirty-Eight Thousand Seventy-Four Pesos and Seventy-Six Centavos of hearing. Thus:
(₱38,074.76); and (3) Metrobank Check No. 0244745 dated August 15, 2005 for Two Million Five
Hundred Thousand Pesos (₱2,500,000.00). That when presented for payment, the said checks were After a meticulous scrutiny of the records of this case, the court opines that the motion was filed
all dishonored as the accounts from which they had been drawn were already closed. beyond the reglementary three (3)[-]day period.

The spouses Cabrera admitted that they issued Metrobank Check No. 0244694 and Metrobank Check As the records bear out, the instant motion was mailed to the plaintiff’s counsel on August 14[, 2007]
No. 0244674 to the respondent and that the same were dishonored when presented for payment. and was set for hearing on August 17, 2007. However, the copy of said motion had reached plaintiff’s
However, they claimed that they paid the respondent the amount represented by the said checks side and a copy of which was received by plaintiff’s counsel only on August 17, 2007[,] four (4) days
through the latter’s son Richard Ng. Further, they deny having issued Metrobank Check No. 0244745 late after it was supposed to be heard. Hence, a clear blatant violations [sic] of the rule on notice and
to the respondent, alleging that the said check was forcibly taken from them by Richard Ng. hearing.12

On August 7, 2007, the RTC rendered a Decision,5 which ordered the spouses Cabrera to pay the The RTC further opined that a motion, which fails to comply with the three-day notice requirement is
respondent the following: (1) Two Million Five Hundred Sixty-Nine Thousand Seventy-Four Pesos a mere scrap of paper; it is not entitled to judicial cognizance and would not toll the running of the
reglementary period for filing the requisite pleadings. Accordingly, the RTC held, its Decision dated Every written motion required to be heard and the notice of the hearing thereof shall be served in
August 7, 2007 had already become final for failure of the spouses Cabrera to comply with the three- such a manner as to ensure its receipt by the other party at least three (3) days before the date of
day notice requirement. hearing, unless the court for good cause sets the hearing on shorter notice.

The petitioner then filed a petition for certiorari13 with the CA, alleging that the RTC gravely abused Sec. 5. Notice of hearing. – The notice of hearing shall be addressed to all parties concerned, and
its discretion in denying her motion for reconsideration. The petitioner pointed out that the RTC did shall specify the time and date of the hearing which must not be later than ten (10) days after the
not actually conduct a hearing on her motion for reconsideration on August 17, 2007; filing of the motion. (Emphasis ours)

that her motion for reconsideration was actually heard on October 26, 2007, after the respondent had The general rule is that the three-day notice requirement in motions under Sections 4 and 5 of the
already filed his opposition thereto. Thus, the petitioner claimed, the issue of her failure to comply Rules of Court is mandatory. It is an integral component of procedural due process. 17 "The purpose of
with the three-day notice requirement had already been rendered moot. In any case, the petitioner the three-day notice requirement, which was established not for the benefit of the movant but rather
asserted, the RTC should have resolved her motion for reconsideration on its merits rather than for the adverse party, is to avoid surprises upon the latter and to grant it sufficient time to study the
simply denying it on mere technicality. motion and to enable it to meet the arguments interposed therein."18

On October 21, 2009, the CA, by way of the assailed Decision,14 denied the petition for certiorari "A motion that does not comply with the requirements of Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 15 of the Rules of
filed by the petitioner. The CA opined that the RTC did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion Court is a worthless piece of paper which the clerk of court has no right to receive and which the
for reconsideration filed by the spouses Cabrera since it merely applied the three-day notice court has no authority to act upon."19 "Being a fatal defect, in cases of motions to reconsider a
requirement under Section 4, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court. Thus: decision, the running of the period to appeal is not tolled by their filing or pendency."20

It appears that petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration was set for hearing on 17 August 2007. A Nevertheless, the three-day notice requirement is not a hard and fast rule. When the adverse party had
copy thereof was mailed to private respondent on 14 August 2007, and private respondent actually been afforded the opportunity to be heard, and has been indeed heard through the pleadings filed in
received his copy only on 21 August 2007 or four (4) days after the set date of hearing; and thus, opposition to the motion, the purpose behind the three-day notice requirement is deemed realized. In
depriving him of the opportunity to oppose the motion. Respondent court, therefore, correctly held such case, the requirements of procedural due process are substantially complied with. Thus, in
that such motion violated the three (3)-day notice rule; the essence of due process. Respondent court Preysler, Jr. v. Manila Southcoast Development Corporation, 21 the Court ruled that:
had applied said rule to the given situation, and of no doubt, mere adherence to the rules cannot be
considered grave abuse of discretion on the part of the respondent court. x x x. 15 (Citation omitted) The three-day notice rule is not absolute. A liberal construction of the procedural rules is proper
where the lapse in the literal observance of a rule of procedure has not prejudiced the adverse party
The petitioner sought a reconsideration of the Decision dated October 21, 2009 but it was denied by and has not deprived the court of its authority. Indeed, Section 6, Rule 1 of the Rules of Court
the CA in its Resolution16 dated March 26, 2012. provides that the Rules should be liberally construed in order to promote their objective of securing a
just, speedy and inexpensive disposition of every action and proceeding. Rules of procedure are tools
Hence, the instant petition. designed to facilitate the attainment of justice, and courts must avoid their strict and rigid application
which would result in technicalities that tend to frustrate rather than promote substantial justice.
The Issue
In Somera Vda. De Navarro v. Navarro, the Court held that there was substantial compliance of the
rule on notice of motions even if the first notice was irregular because no prejudice was caused the
The sole issue to be resolved by the Court is whether the CA erred in affirming the RTC Order dated adverse party since the motion was not considered and resolved until after several postponements of
December 19, 2007, which denied the motion for reconsideration filed by the spouses Cabrera. which the parties were duly notified.

The Court’s Ruling Likewise, in Jehan Shipping Corporation v. National Food Authority, the Court held that despite the
lack of notice of hearing in a Motion for Reconsideration, there was substantial compliance with the
The petition is meritorious. requirements of due process where the adverse party actually had the opportunity to be heard and had
filed pleadings in opposition to the motion. The Court held:
Sections 4 and 5, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court provide that:
This Court has indeed held time and again, that under Sections 4 and 5 of Rule 15 of the Rules of
Sec. 4. Hearing of motion. – Except for motions which the court may act upon without prejudicing Court, mandatory is the requirement in a motion, which is rendered defective by failure to comply
the rights of the adverse party, every written motion shall be set for hearing by the applicant. with the requirement. As a rule, a motion without a notice of hearing is considered pro forma and
does not affect the reglementary period for the appeal or the filing of the requisite pleading.
As an integral component of the procedural due process, the three-day notice required by the Rules is On appeal by certiorari is the decision of the Court of Appeals dated March 9, 1999 in CA-
not intended for the benefit of the movant. Rather, the requirement is for the purpose of avoiding G.R. SP No. 51288, which dismissed petitioners special civil action for certiorari and prohibition on
surprises that may be sprung upon the adverse party, who must be given time to study and meet the the ground that petitioners pursued the wrong mode of appeal. Equally assailed is the resolution of
arguments in the motion before a resolution of the court.1âwphi1 Principles of natural justice demand the appellate court dated December 10, 1999, which denied petitioners motion for reconsideration.
that the right of a party should not be affected without giving it an opportunity to be heard.
The facts, as gleaned from the record, are as follows:
The test is the presence of opportunity to be heard, as well as to have time to study the motion and Private respondents Leonila Sarenas, Josephine Sarenas-Dayrit, Evangeline Sarenas, Estrellita
meaningfully oppose or controvert the grounds upon which it is based. x x x22 Sarenas Tan, Cecilio Marcos Sarenas, Manuel Gil Sarenas, Daisy Rita Sarenas, and Joy Sarenas are
the heirs of the late Guillermo Sarenas, who died intestate on June 27, 1986. During his lifetime,
(Emphasis supplied and citations omitted) Guillermo owned the following agricultural landholdings, all located in Samon and Mayapyap Sur,
Cabanatuan City:

It is undisputed that the hearing on the motion for reconsideration filed by the spouses Cabrera was 1. Agricultural lot with an area of 1.6947 hectares covered by TCT No. NT-8607
reset by the RTC twice with due notice to the parties; it was only on October 26, 2007 that the motion and tenanted by Juanito Gonzales;
was actually heard by the RTC. At that time, more than two months had passed since the respondent
received a copy of the said motion for reconsideration on August 21, 2007. The respondent was thus 2. Agricultural lot with an area of 3.1663 hectares covered by TCT No. NT-8608,
given sufficient time to study the motion and to enable him to meet the arguments interposed therein. with petitioner Damaso Sebastian as the tenant; and
Indeed, the respondent was able to file his opposition thereto on September 20, 2007. 3. Agricultural lot with an area of 2.2723 hectares registered under TCT No. NT-
8609, with Perfecto Mana as the tenant.
Notwithstanding that the respondent received a copy of the said motion for reconsideration four days
after the date set by the spouses Cabrera for the hearing thereof, his right to due process was not In addition to the foregoing properties, Guillermo was also the registered owner of a parcel of
impinged as he was afforded the chance to argue his position. Thus, the R TC erred in denying the agricultural land located at San Ricardo, Talavera, Nueva Ecija, with a total area of 4.9993 hectares,
spouses Cabrera's motion for reconsideration based merely on their failure to comply with the three- under TCT No. NT-143564. This property was, in turn, tenanted by Manuel Valentin and Wenceslao
day notice requirement. Peneyra.
The tenants tilling the farm lots covered by TCT Nos. NT-8607, 8608, and 8609 had already
WHEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing disquisitions, the instant petition is GRANTED. been issued emancipation patents pursuant to P.D. No. 27.
The Decision dated October 21, 2009 and the Resolution dated March 26, 2012 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 03392, are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The case is hereby On July 14, 1993, private respondents filed an application with the Department of Agrarian
REMANDED to the Regional Trial Court of Mandaue City, Branch 56, to resolve the Motion for Reform (DAR) Regional Office in San Fernando, Pampanga, docketed as No. A-0303-1219-96, for
Reconsideration filed by the spouses Cabrera on the merits within five (5) days from the finality of retention of over five hectares of the late Guillermos landholdings. Among the lots which private
this Decision. respondents sought to retain under Section 6 of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (R.A. No.
6657) were those covered by TCT Nos. NT-8608 and 8609.
SO ORDERED. On June 6, 1997, the DAR Regional Office in San Fernando, Pampanga granted private
respondents application, thus:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, an ORDER is hereby issued:

G.R. No. 141116. February 17, 2003 1. GRANTING the Application for Retention of not more than five (5) hectares of
the Heirs of the late Guillermo Sarenas on their agricultural landholdings
DAMASO SEBASTIAN and TOMASA CARDENAS, petitioners, vs. HON. HORACIO R. MORALES, covered by TCT Nos. NT-TCT-8608 and TCT-8609 situated at Samon and
Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform, LEONILA SARENAS, JOSEPHINE Mayapyap Sur, Cabanatuan City, and which area must be compact and
SARENAS-DAYRIT, EVANGELINE SARENAS, ESTRELITA SARENAS TAN, CECILIO contiguous and least prejudicial to the entire landholdings and majority of the
MARCOS SARENAS, MANUEL DEL SARENAS, DAISY RITA SARENAS, and JOY farmers therein;
SARENAS, respondents.
2. DIRECTING the Heirs of the late Guillermo Sarenas o[r] their duly authorized
representative to coordinate with the MARO concerned for the segregation of
DECISION their retained area at their own expense and to submit a copy of the segregation
plan within thirty (30) days from approval thereof;
QUISUMBING, J.:
3. MAINTAINING the tenants in the retained areas as lessees thereof pursuant to
RA 3844 as amended; and The Secretary also found that petitioners appeared to have waived their rights over the tenanted
land in favor of Clemente Bobares and Luzviminda Domingo-Villaroman, and had allowed
4. ACQUIRING the other agricultural landholdings in excess of the retained area, cultivation of the landholding by a certain Ricardo Dela Paz. He ruled that it was unlawful/illegal to
and to distribute the same to identified qualified farmer-beneficiaries pursuant allow other persons than the tenant-farmers themselves to work on the land except if they are only
to RA 6657. working as an aide of the latter otherwise, landowners shall have the recourse against the tenant-
SO ORDERED. farmers.

On June 16, 1997, petitioner Sebastian moved for reconsideration of the foregoing order before Consequently, on February 22, 1999, petitioners filed a special civil action for certiorari and
the DAR Regional Director, Region III, which docketed the case as A.R. Case No. LSD 1083-97. prohibition, with prayer for writ of preliminary mandatory injunction with the Court of Appeals,
The DAR Regional Director found that the order dated June 6, 1997 in Docket No. A-0303-1219-96 docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 51288.
was contrary to law for violating Section 6 of RA No. 6657 and its Implementing Rules and On March 9, 1999, the Court of Appeals, without going into the merits of the case, dismissed
Regulations. He then issued a new order dated October 23, 1997, which instead allowed private CA-G.R. SP No. 51288 after finding that petitioners pursued the wrong mode of appeal. It found that
respondents to retain a parcel of land with an area of 4.9993 hectares, covered by TCT No. 143564, the orders of the DAR Secretary sought to be reviewed were final orders for they finally disposed of
located at San Ricardo, Talavera, Nueva Ecija. the agrarian case and left nothing more to be decided on the merits. Hence, the proper remedy
Private respondents then appealed the order of October 23, 1997 to the DAR Secretary. available to petitioners was a petition for review pursuant to Rule 43, Section 1 of the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure, and not a special civil action for certiorari under Rule 65. The Court of Appeals also
On June 18, 1998, the Secretary of Agrarian Reform set aside the order dated October 23, 1997, ruled that petitioners failed to attach a certified true copy or duplicate original of the assailed order of
and in lieu thereof issued a new one the decretal portion of which reads: June 18, 1998 as required by Rule 46, Section 3, and hence, it had no alternative but to dismiss the
action pursuant to said Section 3.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the 23 October 1997 Order of RD Herrera is
hereby SET ASIDE and a new one issued: Petitioners then timely moved for reconsideration, but the appellate court in its resolution of
December 10, 1999 denied their motion.
1. GRANTING the heirs of Guillermo Sarenas the right to retain 2.8032 has.
of the landholding covered by TCT No. 8608 located at Cabanatuan City; Hence, the instant case anchored on the following sole assigned error:

2. AFFIRMING the validity of the coverage of the landholdings covered by THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMITTED REVERSIBLE ERROR (A) IN NOT
TCT Nos. 8607, 8609 and 143564 located at Cabanatuan City and TREATING THE PETITION FILED BY PETITIONERS AS A PETITION FOR
Talavera, Nueva Ecija respectively; REVIEW; AND (B) IN NOT RESOLVING THE CASE ON THE MERITS.

3. MAINTAINING the tenants affected in the retained area as leaseholders Petitioners submit that the sole issue before us is whether or not the dismissal by the Court of
thereof pursuant to RA 3844; Appeals of the petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 51288 is valid and proper.

4. DIRECTING the MARO/PARO to determine the qualification status of the Petitioners admit that there was error in the remedy resorted to before the Court of Appeals.
FB whose respective tillage is embraced under TCT No. 8608, subject of They insist, however, that a perusal of their initiatory pleading in CA-G.R. SP No. 51288 would show
the pending controversy with the DARAB; and that said pleading contained all the features and contents for a petition for review under Rule 43,
Section 6 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. Hence, the court a quo should have treated their
5. DIRECTING the Heirs of the late Guillermo Sarenas or their duly special civil action for certiorari and prohibition under Rule 65 as a petition for review under Rule 43,
authorized representative to coordinate with the MARO concerned for the since dismissals based on technicalities are frowned upon. Petitioners contend that procedural rules
segregation of their retained area at their own expense and to submit a copy are but a means to an end and should be liberally construed to effect substantial justice.
of the segregation plan within 30 days from approval thereof.
Private respondents, on the other hand, claim that the Court of Appeals did not commit any
SO ORDERED. reversible error in dismissing the petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 51288, for it simply applied the express
and categorical mandate of this Court that a petition shall be dismissed if the wrong remedy is availed
Petitioner Sebastian then filed a motion for reconsideration, but this motion was denied by the
of. Private respondents argue that while it is true that the Rules of Court should be liberally
DAR Secretary in an order dated January 26, 1999, the dispositive portion of which states:
construed, it is also equally true that the Rules cannot be ignored, since strict observance thereof is
WHEREFORE, premises considered, Order is hereby issued DENYING the instant indispensable to the orderly and speedy discharge of judicial business.
Motion for Reconsideration for utter lack of merit. Accordingly, as far as this Office is
Under Rule 1, Section 6 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, liberal construction of the rules
concerned, this case is considered closed. Further, all persons, other than the recognized
is the controlling principle to effect substantial justice. Thus, litigations should, as much as possible,
tenant-farmers, are hereby ordered to cease and desist from further entering and
be decided on their merits and not on technicalities. This does not mean, however, that procedural
undertaking any activity on the subject landholdings.
rules are to be ignored or disdained at will to suit the convenience of a party. Procedural law has its
SO ORDERED. own rationale in the orderly administration of justice, namely, to ensure the effective enforcement of
substantive rights by providing for a system that obviates arbitrariness, caprice, despotism, or Section 61 of R.A. No. 6657 clearly mandates that judicial review of DAR orders or decisions
whimsicality in the settlement of disputes. Hence, it is a mistake to suppose that substantive law and are governed by the Rules of Court. The Rules direct that it is Rule 43 that governs the procedure for
procedural law are contradictory to each other, or as often suggested, that enforcement of procedural judicial review of decisions, orders, or resolutions of the DAR Secretary. By pursuing a special civil
rules should never be permitted if it would result in prejudice to the substantive rights of the litigants. action for certiorari under Rule 65 rather than the mandatory petition for review under Rule 43,
petitioners opted for the wrong mode of appeal. Pursuant to the fourth paragraph of Supreme Court
Litigation is not a game of technicalities, but every case must be prosecuted in accordance with Circular No. 2-90, an appeal taken to the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeals by the wrong or
the prescribed procedure so that issues may be properly presented and justly resolved. Hence, rules of inappropriate mode shall be dismissed. Therefore, we hold that the Court of Appeals committed no
procedure must be faithfully followed except only when for persuasive reasons, they may be relaxed reversible error in dismissing CA-G.R. SP No. 51288 for failure of petitioners to pursue the proper
to relieve a litigant of an injustice not commensurate with his failure to comply with the prescribed mode of appeal.
procedure. Concomitant to a liberal application of the rules of procedure should be an effort on the
part of the party invoking liberality to explain his failure to abide by the rules. But should the appellate court have treated the petition for the extraordinary writs of certiorari
and prohibition in CA-G.R. SP No. 51288 as a petition for review as petitioners insist?
In the instant case, petitioners failed to show any compelling reason for not resorting to the
proper remedy. Instead, we find from our perusal of their pleadings before the appellate court that That a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 should pro forma satisfy the requirements for the
they stoutly and persistently insisted that the extraordinary remedy of certiorari was their correct contents of a petition for review under Rule 43 does not necessarily mean that one is the same as the
remedy. First, in instituting CA-G.R. SP No. 51288, petitioners categorically invoked the jurisdiction other. Or that one may be treated as the other, for that matter. A petition for review is a mode of
of the Court of Appeals to have the questioned orders of the DAR Secretary declared null and void appeal, while a special civil action for certiorari is an extraordinary process for the correction of
for having been issued and promulgated with grave abuse of discretion . . . a mounting to lack of errors of jurisdiction. It is basic remedial law that the two remedies are distinct, mutually exclusive,
jurisdiction. Note that it is precisely the office of an action for certiorari under Rule 65 to correct and antithetical. The extraordinary remedy of certiorari is proper if the tribunal, board, or officer
errors of jurisdiction. Second, after the appellate court dismissed their petition on the ground that the exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions acted without or in grave abuse of discretion amounting
proper remedy was a petition for review, petitioners continued to insist in their motion for to lack or excess of jurisdiction and there is no appeal or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in
reconsideration that under Section 54 of R.A. No. 6657, a petition for certiorari is both adequate and law. A petition for review, on the other hand, seeks to correct errors of judgment committed by the
proper in CA-G.R. SP No. 51288. It was only as an afterthought that they asked the appellate court to court, tribunal, or officer. In the instant case, petitioners failed to show any grave abuse of discretion
treat their special civil action for certiorari as a petition for review, after a belated and grudging amounting to want of jurisdiction on the part of the DAR Secretary. When a court, tribunal, or officer
admission that their reliance on Section 54 of R.A. No. 6657 was an honest mistake or excusable has jurisdiction over the person and the subject matter of the dispute, the decision on all other
error. questions arising in the case is an exercise of that jurisdiction. Consequently, all errors committed in
the exercise of said jurisdiction are merely errors of judgment. Under prevailing procedural rules and
We agree with the appellate court that petitioners reliance on Section 54 of R.A. No. 6657 is jurisprudence, errors of judgment are not proper subjects of a special civil action for certiorari. For if
not merely a mistake in the designation of the mode of appeal, but clearly an erroneous appeal from every error committed by the trial court or quasi-judicial agency were to be the proper subject of
the assailed Orders. For in relying solely on Section 54, petitioners patently ignored or conveniently review by certiorari, then trial would never end and the dockets of appellate courts would be clogged
overlooked Section 60 of R.A. No. 6657, the pertinent portion of which provides that: beyond measure. Hence, no error may be attributed to the appellate court in refusing to grant
An appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeals, or from any order, ruling or petitioners request that their petition for certiorari under Rule 65 be treated as a petition for review
decision of the DAR, as the case may be, shall be by a petition for review with the under Rule 43.
Supreme Court, within a non-extendible period of fifteen (15) days from receipt of a copy As a final salvo, petitioners urge us to review the factual findings of the DAR Secretary. Settled
of said decision. (Emphasis supplied.) is the rule that factual questions are not the proper subject of an appeal by certiorari, as a petition for
Section 60 of R.A. No. 6657 should be read in relation to R.A. No. 7902 expanding the review under Rule 45 is limited only to questions of law. Moreover, it is doctrine that the errors
appellate jurisdiction of the Court of Appeals to include: which may be reviewed by this Court in a petition for certiorari are those of the Court of Appeals,
and not directly those of the trial court or the quasi-judicial agency, tribunal, or officer which
Exclusive appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments, decisions, resolutions, rendered the decision in the first instance. Finally, it is settled that factual findings of administrative
orders or awards of Regional Trial Courts and quasi-judicial agencies, instrumentalities, agencies are generally accorded respect and even finality by this Court, if such findings are supported
boards or commissionsexcept those falling within the appellate jurisdiction of the by substantial evidence, a situation that obtains in this case. The factual findings of the Secretary of
Supreme Court in accordance with the Constitution, the Labor Code of the Philippines Agrarian Reform who, by reason of his official position, has acquired expertise in specific matters
under Presidential Decree No. 442, as amended, the provisions of this Act, and of within his jurisdiction, deserve full respect and, without justifiable reason, ought not to be altered,
subparagraph (1) of the third paragraph and subparagraph (4) of the fourth paragraph of modified or reversed.
Section 17 of the Judiciary Act of 1948.
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED. The assailed decision of the Court of Appeals
With the enactment of R.A. No. 7902, this Court issued Circular 1-95 dated May 16, 1995 in CA-G.R. SP No. 51288 dated March 4, 1999, as well as the resolution of the appellate court dated
governing appeals from all quasi-judicial bodies to the Court of Appeals by petition for review, December 10, 1999, is AFFIRMED. No pronouncement as to costs.
regardless of the nature of the question raised. Said circular was incorporated in Rule 43 of the 1997
Rules of Civil Procedure. SO ORDERED.
failure to state a cause of action; (2) that the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of
Manuel pursuant to Section 5, Rule 86 of the Revised Rules of Court; (3) that the trial court erred in
ordering the substitution of the deceased Manuel by his heirs; and (4) that the court must also dismiss
the case against Lolita Toledo in accordance with Section 6, Rule 86 of the Rules of Court. 16
G.R. No. 173946 June 19, 2013
The trial court, in an Order dated 8 November 2004, denied the motion to dismiss for having been
BOSTON EQUITY RESOURCES, INC., Petitioner, filed out of time, citing Section 1, Rule 16 of the 1997 Rules of Court which states that: "Within the
vs. time for but before filing the answer to the complaint or pleading asserting a claim, a motion to
COURT OF APPEALS AND LOLITA G. TOLEDO, Respondents. dismiss may be made x x x."17 Respondent’s motion for reconsideration of the order of denial was
likewise denied on the ground that "defendants’ attack on the jurisdiction of this Court is now barred
DECISION by estoppel by laches" since respondent failed to raise the issue despite several chances to do so. 18

PEREZ, J.: Aggrieved, respondent filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals alleging that the trial
court seriously erred and gravely abused its discretion in denying her motion to dismiss despite
discovery, during the trial of the case, of evidence that would constitute a ground for dismissal of the
Before the Court is a Petition for Review on Certiorari seeking to reverse and set aside: (1) the case.19
Decision,1 dated 28 February 2006 and (2) the Resolution,2 dated 1 August 2006 of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 88586. The challenged decision granted herein respondent's petition for
certiorari upon a finding that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in denying The Court of Appeals granted the petition based on the following grounds:
respondent's motion to dismiss the complaint against her.3 Based on this finding, the Court of
Appeals reversed and set aside the Orders, dated 8 November 2004 4 and 22 December 2004,5 It is elementary that courts acquire jurisdiction over the person of the defendant x x x only when the
respectively, of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Manila, Branch 24. latter voluntarily appeared or submitted to the court or by coercive process issued by the court to him,
x x x. In this case, it is undisputed that when petitioner Boston filed the complaint on December 24,
The Facts 1997, defendant Manuel S. Toledo was already dead, x x x. Such being the case, the court a quo
could not have acquired jurisdiction over the person of defendant Manuel S. Toledo.

On 24 December 1997, petitioner filed a complaint for sum of money with a prayer for the issuance
of a writ of preliminary attachment against the spouses Manuel and Lolita Toledo. 6 Herein x x x the court a quo’s denial of respondent’s motion to dismiss was based on its finding that
respondent filed an Answer dated 19 March 1998 but on 7 May 1998, she filed a Motion for Leave to respondent’s attack on the jurisdiction of the court was already barred by laches as respondent failed
Admit Amended Answer7 in which she alleged, among others, that her husband and co-defendant, to raise the said ground in its [sic] amended answer and during the pre-trial, despite her active
Manuel Toledo (Manuel), is already dead.8 The death certificate9 of Manuel states "13 July 1995" as participation in the proceedings.
the date of death. As a result, petitioner filed a motion, dated 5 August 1999, to require respondent to
disclose the heirs of Manuel.10 In compliance with the verbal order of the court during the 11 October However, x x x it is well-settled that issue on jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the
1999 hearing of the case, respondent submitted the required names and addresses of the heirs. 11 proceeding, even for the first time on appeal. By timely raising the issue on jurisdiction in her motion
Petitioner then filed a Motion for Substitution,12 dated 18 January 2000, praying that Manuel be to dismiss x x x respondent is not estopped from raising the question on jurisdiction.
substituted by his children as party-defendants. It appears that this motion was granted by the trial
court in an Order dated 9 October 2000.13 Moreover, when issue on jurisdiction was raised by respondent, the court a quo had not yet decided
the case, hence, there is no basis for the court a quo to invoke estoppel to justify its denial of the
Pre-trial thereafter ensued and on 18 July 2001, the trial court issued its pre-trial order containing, motion for reconsideration;
among others, the dates of hearing of the case.14
It should be stressed that when the complaint was filed, defendant Manuel S. Toledo was already
The trial of the case then proceeded. Herein petitioner, as plaintiff, presented its evidence and its dead. The complaint should have impleaded the estate of Manuel S. Toledo as defendant, not only the
exhibits were thereafter admitted. wife, considering that the estate of Manuel S. Toledo is an indispensable party, which stands to be
benefited or be injured in the outcome of the case. x x x
On 26 May 2004, the reception of evidence for herein respondent was cancelled upon agreement of
the parties. On 24 September 2004, counsel for herein respondent was given a period of fifteen days xxxx
within which to file a demurrer to evidence.15 However, on 7 October 2004, respondent instead filed
a motion to dismiss the complaint, citing the following as grounds: (1) that the complaint failed to Respondent’s motion to dismiss the complaint should have been granted by public respondent judge
implead an indispensable party or a real party in interest; hence, the case must be dismissed for as the same was in order. Considering that the obligation of Manuel S. Toledo is solidary with
another debtor, x x x, the claim x x x should be filed against the estate of Manuel S. Toledo, in Even assuming that certiorari is the proper remedy, the trial court did not commit grave abuse of
conformity with the provision of Section 6, Rule 86 of the Rules of Court, x x x. 20 discretion in denying respondent’s motion to dismiss. It, in fact, acted correctly when it issued the
questioned orders as respondent’s motion to dismiss was filed SIX YEARS AND FIVE MONTHS
The Court of Appeals denied petitioner’s motion for reconsideration. Hence, this petition. AFTER SHE FILED HER AMENDED ANSWER. This circumstance alone already warranted the
outright dismissal of the motion for having been filed in clear contravention of the express mandate
of Section 1, Rule 16, of the Revised Rules of Court. Under this provision, a motion to dismiss shall
The Issues be filed within the time for but before the filing of an answer to the complaint or pleading asserting a
claim.24
Petitioner claims that the Court of Appeals erred in not holding that:
More importantly, respondent’s motion to dismiss was filed after petitioner has completed the
1. Respondent is already estopped from questioning the trial court’s jurisdiction; presentation of its evidence in the trial court, giving credence to petitioner’s and the trial court’s
conclusion that the filing of the motion to dismiss was a mere ploy on the part of respondent to delay
2. Petitioner never failed to implead an indispensable party as the estate of Manuel is not an the prompt resolution of the case against her.
indispensable party;
Also worth mentioning is the fact that respondent’s motion to dismiss under consideration herein is
3. The inclusion of Manuel as party-defendant is a mere misjoinder of party not warranting not the first motion to dismiss she filed in the trial court. It appears that she had filed an earlier
the dismissal of the case before the lower court; and motion to dismiss26 on the sole ground of the unenforceability of petitioner’s claim under the Statute
of Frauds, which motion was denied by the trial court. More telling is the following narration of the
trial court in its Order denying respondent’s motion for reconsideration of the denial of her motion to
4. Since the estate of Manuel is not an indispensable party, it is not necessary that petitioner dismiss:
file its claim against the estate of Manuel.
As can be gleaned from the records, with the admission of plaintiff’s exhibits, reception of
In essence, what is at issue here is the correctness of the trial court’s orders denying respondent’s defendants’ evidence was set on March 31, and April 23, 2004 x x x . On motion of the defendants,
motion to dismiss. the hearing on March 31, 2004 was cancelled.

The Ruling of the Court On April 14, 2004, defendants sought the issuance of subpoena ad testificandum and duces tecum to
one Gina M. Madulid, to appear and testify for the defendants on April 23, 2004. Reception of
We find merit in the petition. defendants’ evidence was again deferred to May 26, June 2 and June 30, 2004, x x x.

Motion to dismiss filed out of time On May 13, 2004, defendants sought again the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum and ad
testificandum to the said Gina Madulid. On May 26, 2004, reception of defendants [sic] evidence was
cancelled upon the agreement of the parties. On July 28, 2004, in the absence of defendants’ witness,
To begin with, the Court of Appeals erred in granting the writ of certiorari in favor of respondent.
hearing was reset to September 24 and October 8, 2004 x x x.
Well settled is the rule that the special civil action for certiorari is not the proper remedy to assail the
denial by the trial court of a motion to dismiss. The order of the trial court denying a motion to
dismiss is merely interlocutory, as it neither terminates nor finally disposes of a case and still leaves On September 24, 2004, counsel for defendants was given a period of fifteen (15) days to file a
something to be done by the court before a case is finally decided on the merits. 21 Therefore, "the demurrer to evidence. On October 7, 2004, defendants filed instead a Motion to Dismiss x x x. 27
proper remedy in such a case is to appeal after a decision has been rendered."22
Respondent’s act of filing multiple motions, such as the first and earlier motion to dismiss and then
As the Supreme Court held in Indiana Aerospace University v. Comm. on Higher Education:23 the motion to dismiss at issue here, as well as several motions for postponement, lends credibility to
the position taken by petitioner, which is shared by the trial court, that respondent is
A writ of certiorari is not intended to correct every controversial interlocutory ruling; it is resorted
only to correct a grave abuse of discretion or a whimsical exercise of judgment equivalent to lack of deliberately impeding the early disposition of this case. The filing of the second motion to dismiss
jurisdiction. Its function is limited to keeping an inferior court within its jurisdiction and to relieve was, therefore, "not only improper but also dilatory."28 Thus, the trial court, "far from deviating or
persons from arbitrary acts – acts which courts or judges have no power or authority in law to straying off course from established jurisprudence on the matter, x x x had in fact faithfully observed
perform. It is not designed to correct erroneous findings and conclusions made by the courts. the law and legal precedents in this case."29 The Court of Appeals, therefore, erred not only in
(Emphasis supplied) entertaining respondent’s petition for certiorari, it likewise erred in ruling that the trial court
committed grave abuse of discretion when it denied respondent’s motion to dismiss.
On whether or not respondent is estopped from cannot be allowed to belatedly adopt an inconsistent posture by attacking the jurisdiction of a court to
questioning the jurisdiction of the trial court which they submitted their cause voluntarily.35

At the outset, it must be here stated that, as the succeeding discussions will demonstrate, jurisdiction Here, what respondent was questioning in her motion to dismiss before the trial court was that court’s
over the person of Manuel should not be an issue in this case. A protracted discourse on jurisdiction jurisdiction over the person of defendant Manuel. Thus, the principle of estoppel by laches finds no
is, nevertheless, demanded by the fact that jurisdiction has been raised as an issue from the lower application in this case. Instead, the principles relating to jurisdiction over the person of the parties
court, to the Court of Appeals and, finally, before this Court. For the sake of clarity, and in order to are pertinent herein.
finally settle the controversy and fully dispose of all the issues in this case, it was deemed imperative
to resolve the issue of jurisdiction. The Rules of Court provide:

1. Aspects of Jurisdiction RULE 9


EFFECT OF FAILURE TO PLEAD
Petitioner calls attention to the fact that respondent’s motion to dismiss questioning the trial court’s
jurisdiction was filed more than six years after her amended answer was filed. According to Section 1. Defenses and objections not pleaded. – Defenses and objections not pleaded either in a
petitioner, respondent had several opportunities, at various stages of the proceedings, to assail the motion to dismiss or in the answer are deemed waived. However, when it appears from the pleadings
trial court’s jurisdiction but never did so for six straight years. Citing the doctrine laid down in the or the evidence on record that the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter, that there is
case of Tijam, et al. v. Sibonghanoy, et al.30 petitioner claimed that respondent’s failure to raise the another action pending between the same parties for the same cause, or that the action is barred by a
question of jurisdiction at an earlier stage bars her from later questioning it, especially since she prior judgment or by statute of limitations, the court shall dismiss the claim.
actively participated in the proceedings conducted by the trial court.
RULE 15
Petitioner’s argument is misplaced, in that, it failed to consider that the concept of jurisdiction has MOTIONS
several aspects, namely: (1) jurisdiction over the subject matter; (2) jurisdiction over the parties; (3)
jurisdiction over the issues of the case; and (4) in cases involving property, jurisdiction over the res or
the thing which is the subject of the litigation.31 Sec. 8. Omnibus motion. – Subject to the provisions of Section 1 of Rule 9, a motion attacking a
pleading, order, judgment, or proceeding shall include all objections then available, and all objections
not so included shall be deemed waived.
The aspect of jurisdiction which may be barred from being assailed as a result of estoppel by laches is
jurisdiction over the subject matter. Thus, in Tijam, the case relied upon by petitioner, the issue
involved was the authority of the then Court of First Instance to hear a case for the collection of a Based on the foregoing provisions, the "objection on jurisdictional grounds which is not waived even
sum of money in the amount of ₱1,908.00 which amount was, at that time, within the exclusive if not alleged in a motion to dismiss or the answer is lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter. x x x
original jurisdiction of the municipal courts. Lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter can always be raised anytime, even for the first time on
appeal, since jurisdictional issues cannot be waived x x x subject, however, to the principle of
estoppel by laches."36
In subsequent cases citing the ruling of the Court in Tijam, what was likewise at issue was the
jurisdiction of the trial court over the subject matter of the case. Accordingly, in Spouses Gonzaga v.
Court of Appeals,32 the issue for consideration was the authority of the regional trial court to hear and Since the defense of lack of jurisdiction over the person of a party to a case is not one of those
decide an action for reformation of contract and damages involving a subdivision lot, it being argued defenses which are not deemed waived under Section 1 of Rule 9, such defense must be invoked
therein that jurisdiction is vested in the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board pursuant to PD 957 when an answer or a motion to dismiss is filed in order to prevent a waiver of the defense.37 If the
(The Subdivision and Condominium Buyers Protective Decree). In Lee v. Presiding Judge, MTC, objection is not raised either in a motion to dismiss or in the answer, the objection to the jurisdiction
Legaspi City,33 petitioners argued that the respondent municipal trial court had no jurisdiction over over the person of the plaintiff or the defendant is deemed waived by virtue of the first sentence of
the complaint for ejectment because the issue of ownership was raised in the pleadings. Finally, in the above-quoted Section 1 of Rule 9 of the Rules of Court. 38
People v. Casuga,34 accused-appellant claimed that the crime of grave slander, of which she was
charged, falls within the concurrent jurisdiction of municipal courts or city courts and the then courts The Court of Appeals, therefore, erred when it made a sweeping pronouncement in its questioned
of first instance, and that the judgment of the court of first instance, to which she had appealed the decision, stating that "issue on jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the proceeding, even for the
municipal court's conviction, should be deemed null and void for want of jurisdiction as her appeal first time on appeal" and that, therefore, respondent timely raised the issue in her motion to dismiss
should have been filed with the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court. and is, consequently, not estopped from raising the question of jurisdiction. As the question of
jurisdiction involved here is that over the person of the defendant Manuel, the same is deemed
In all of these cases, the Supreme Court barred the attack on the jurisdiction of the respective courts waived if not raised in the answer or a motion to dismiss. In any case, respondent cannot claim the
concerned over the subject matter of the case based on estoppel by laches, declaring that parties defense since "lack of jurisdiction over the person, being subject to waiver, is a personal defense
which can only be asserted by the party who can thereby waive it by silence."39
2. Jurisdiction over the person of a defendant is acquired through a valid service of summons; trial Hence, the Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal by the trial court of the complaint against Sereno
court did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of Manuel Toledo only.

In the first place, jurisdiction over the person of Manuel was never acquired by the trial court. A Based on the foregoing pronouncements, there is no basis for dismissing the complaint against
defendant is informed of a case against him when he receives summons. "Summons is a writ by respondent herein. Thus, as already emphasized above, the trial court correctly denied her motion to
which the defendant is notified of the action brought against him. Service of such writ is the means dismiss.
by which the court acquires jurisdiction over his person."40
On whether or not the estate of Manuel
In the case at bar, the trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of Manuel since there
was no valid service of summons upon him, precisely because he was already dead even before the Toledo is an indispensable party
complaint against him and his wife was filed in the trial court. The issues presented in this case are
similar to those in the case of Sarsaba v. Vda. de Te.41
Rule 3, Section 7 of the 1997 Rules of Court states:
In Sarsaba, the NLRC rendered a decision declaring that Patricio Sereno was illegally dismissed from
employment and ordering the payment of his monetary claims. To satisfy the claim, a truck in the SEC. 7. Compulsory joinder of indispensable parties. – Parties-in-interest without whom no final
possession of Sereno’s employer was levied upon by a sheriff of the NLRC, accompanied by Sereno determination can be had of an action shall be joined either as plaintiffs or defendants.
and his lawyer, Rogelio Sarsaba, the petitioner in that case. A complaint for recovery of motor
vehicle and damages, with prayer for the delivery of the truck pendente lite was eventually filed An indispensable party is one who has such an interest in the controversy or subject matter of a case
against Sarsaba, Sereno, the NLRC sheriff and the NLRC by the registered owner of the truck. After that a final adjudication cannot be made in his or her absence, without injuring or affecting that
his motion to dismiss was denied by the trial court, petitioner Sarsaba filed his answer. Later on, interest. He or she is a party who has not only an interest in the subject matter of the controversy, but
however, he filed an omnibus motion to dismiss citing, as one of the grounds, lack of jurisdiction "an interest of such nature that a final decree cannot be made without affecting that interest or leaving
over one of the principal defendants, in view of the fact that Sereno was already dead when the the controversy in such a condition that its final determination may be wholly inconsistent with
complaint for recovery of possession was filed. equity and good conscience. It has also been considered that an indispensable party is a person in
whose absence there cannot be a determination between the parties already before the court which is
Although the factual milieu of the present case is not exactly similar to that of Sarsaba, one of the effective, complete or equitable." Further, an indispensable party is one who must be included in an
issues submitted for resolution in both cases is similar: whether or not a case, where one of the named action before it may properly proceed.44
defendants was already dead at the time of its filing, should be dismissed so that the claim may be
pursued instead in the proceedings for the settlement of the estate of the deceased defendant. The On the other hand, a "person is not an indispensable party if his interest in the controversy or subject
petitioner in the Sarsaba Case claimed, as did respondent herein, that since one of the defendants died matter is separable from the interest of the other parties, so that it will not necessarily be directly or
before summons was served on him, the trial court should have dismissed the complaint against all injuriously affected by a decree which does complete justice between them. Also, a person is not an
the defendants and the claim should be filed against the estate of the deceased defendant. The indispensable party if his presence would merely permit complete relief between him or her and those
petitioner in Sarsaba, therefore, prayed that the complaint be dismissed, not only against Sereno, but already parties to the action, or if he or she has no interest in the subject matter of the action." It is not
as to all the defendants, considering that the RTC did not acquire jurisdiction over the person of a sufficient reason to declare a person to be an indispensable party simply because his or her presence
Sereno.42 This is exactly the same prayer made by respondent herein in her motion to dismiss. will avoid multiple litigations.45

The Court, in the Sarsaba Case, resolved the issue in this wise: Applying the foregoing pronouncements to the case at bar, it is clear that the estate of Manuel is not
an indispensable party to the collection case, for the simple reason that the obligation of Manuel and
x x x We cannot countenance petitioner’s argument that the complaint against the other defendants his wife, respondent herein, is solidary.
should have been dismissed, considering that the RTC never acquired jurisdiction over the person of
Sereno. The court’s failure to acquire jurisdiction over one’s person is a defense which is personal to The contract between petitioner, on the one hand and respondent and respondent’s husband, on the
the person claiming it. Obviously, it is now impossible for Sereno to invoke the same in view of his other, states:
death. Neither can petitioner invoke such ground, on behalf of Sereno, so as to reap the benefit of
having the case dismissed against all of the defendants. Failure to serve summons on Sereno’s person FOR VALUE RECEIVED, I/We jointly and severally46 (in solemn) promise to pay BOSTON
will not be a cause for the dismissal of the complaint against the other defendants, considering that EQUITY RESOURCES, INC. x x x the sum of PESOS: [ONE MILLION FOUR HUNDRED
they have been served with copies of the summons and complaints and have long submitted their (₱1,400,000.00)] x x x.47
respective responsive pleadings. In fact, the other defendants in the complaint were given the chance
to raise all possible defenses and objections personal to them in their respective motions to dismiss
and their subsequent answers.43 (Emphasis supplied.)
The provisions and stipulations of the contract were then followed by the respective signatures of The foregoing ruling was reiterated and expounded in the later case of Philippine National Bank v.
respondent as "MAKER" and her husband as "CO-MAKER."48 Thus, pursuant to Article 1216 of the Asuncion51 where the Supreme Court pronounced:
Civil Code, petitioner may collect the entire amount of the obligation from respondent only. The
aforementioned provision states: "The creditor may proceed against any one of the solidary debtors or A cursory perusal of Section 6, Rule 86 of the Revised Rules of Court reveals that nothing therein
some or all of them simultaneously. The demand made against one of them shall not be an obstacle to prevents a creditor from proceeding against the surviving solidary debtors. Said provision merely sets
those which may subsequently be directed against the others, so long as the debt has not been fully up the procedure in enforcing collection in case a creditor chooses to pursue his claim against the
collected." estate of the deceased solidary debtor. The rule has been set forth that a creditor (in a solidary
obligation) has the option whether to file or not to file a claim against the estate of the solidary
In other words, the collection case can proceed and the demands of petitioner can be satisfied by debtor. x x x
respondent only, even without impleading the estate of Manuel. Consequently, the estate of Manuel is
not an indispensable party to petitioner’s complaint for sum of money. xxxx

However, the Court of Appeals, agreeing with the contention of respondent, held that the claim of It is crystal clear that Article 1216 of the New Civil Code is the applicable provision in this matter.
petitioner should have been filed against the estate of Manuel in accordance with Sections 5 and 6 of Said provision gives the creditor the right to "proceed against anyone of the solidary debtors or some
Rule 86 of the Rules of Court. The aforementioned provisions provide: or all of them simultaneously." The choice is undoubtedly left to the solidary creditor to determine
against whom he will enforce collection. In case of the death of one of the solidary debtors, he (the
SEC. 5. Claims which must be filed under the notice. If not filed, barred; exceptions. All claims for creditor) may, if he so chooses, proceed against the surviving solidary debtors without necessity of
money against the decedent, arising from contract, express or implied, whether the same be due, not filing a claim in the estate of the deceased debtors. It is not mandatory for him to have the case
due, or contingent, all claims for funeral expenses and judgment for money against the decedent, dismissed as against the surviving debtors and file its claim against the estate of the deceased solidary
must be filed within the time limited in the notice; otherwise, they are barred forever, except that they debtor, x x x. For to require the creditor to proceed against the estate, making it a condition precedent
may be set forth as counterclaims in any action that the executor or administrator may bring against for any collection action against the surviving debtors to prosper, would deprive him of his
the claimants. x x x. substantive rightsprovided by Article 1216 of the New Civil Code. (Emphasis supplied.)

SEC. 6. Solidary obligation of decedent. Where the obligation of the decedent is solidary with As correctly argued by petitioner, if Section 6, Rule 86 of the Revised Rules of Court were applied
another debtor, the claim shall be filed against the decedent as if he were the only debtor, without literally, Article 1216 of the New Civil Code would, in effect, be repealed since under the Rules of
prejudice to the right of the estate to recover contribution from the other debtor. x x x. Court, petitioner has no choice but to proceed against the estate of [the deceased debtor] only.
Obviously, this provision diminishes the [creditor’s] right under the New Civil Code to proceed
The Court of Appeals erred in its interpretation of the above-quoted provisions. against any one, some or all of the solidary debtors. Such a construction is not sanctioned by
principle, which is too well settled to require citation, that a substantive law cannot be amended by a
procedural rule. Otherwise stated, Section 6, Rule 86 of the Revised Rules of Court cannot be made
In construing Section 6, Rule 87 of the old Rules of Court, the precursor of Section 6, Rule 86 of the to prevail over Article 1216 of the New Civil Code, the former being merely procedural, while the
Revised Rules of Court, which latter provision has been retained in the present Rules of Court latter, substantive.
without any revisions, the Supreme Court, in the case of Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. v.
Villarama, et. al.,49 held:50
Based on the foregoing, the estate of Manuel is not an indispensable party and the case can proceed
as against respondent only. That petitioner opted to collect from respondent and not from the estate of
Construing Section 698 of the Code of Civil Procedure from whence [Section 6, Rule 87] was taken, Manuel is evidenced by its opposition to respondent’s motion to dismiss asserting that the case, as
this Court held that where two persons are bound in solidum for the same debt and one of them dies, against her, should be dismissed so that petitioner can proceed against the estate of Manuel.
the whole indebtedness can be proved against the estate of the latter, the decedent’s liability being
absolute and primary; x x x. It is evident from the foregoing that Section 6 of Rule 87 provides the
procedure should the creditor desire to go against the deceased debtor, but there is certainly nothing On whether or not the inclusion of Manuel as
in the said provision making compliance with such procedure a condition precedent before an party defendant is a misjoinder of party
ordinary action against the surviving solidary debtors, should the creditor choose to demand payment
from the latter, could be entertained to the extent that failure to observe the same would deprive the Section 11 of Rule 3 of the Rules of Court states that "neither misjoinder nor non-joinder of parties is
court jurisdiction to take cognizance of the action against the surviving debtors. Upon the other hand, ground for dismissal of an action. Parties may be dropped or added by order of the court on motion of
the Civil Code expressly allows the creditor to proceed against any one of the solidary debtors or any party or on its own initiative at any stage of the action and on such terms as are just. Any claim
some or all of them simultaneously. There is, therefore, nothing improper in the creditor’s filing of an against a misjoined party may be severed and proceeded with separately."
action against the surviving solidary debtors alone, instead of instituting a proceeding for the
settlement of the estate of the deceased debtor wherein his claim could be filed.
Based on the last sentence of the afore-quoted provision of law, a misjoined party must have the The original complaint of petitioner named the "estate of Carlos Ngo as represented by surviving
capacity to sue or be sued in the event that the claim by or against the misjoined party is pursued in a spouse Ms. Sulpicia Ventura" as the defendant.1âwphi1 Petitioner moved to dismiss the same on the
separate case. In this case, therefore, the inclusion of Manuel in the complaint cannot be considered a ground that the defendant as named in the complaint had no legal personality. We agree.
misjoinder, as in fact, the action would have proceeded against him had he been alive at the time the
collection case was filed by petitioner. This being the case, the remedy provided by Section 11 of x x x. Considering that capacity to be sued is a correlative of the capacity to sue, to the same extent, a
Rule 3 does not obtain here. The name of Manuel as party-defendant cannot simply be dropped from decedent does not have the capacity to be sued and may not be named a party defendant in a court
the case. Instead, the procedure taken by the Court in Sarsaba v. Vda. de Te, 52 whose facts, as action. (Emphases supplied.)
mentioned earlier, resemble those of this case, should be followed herein. There, the Supreme Court
agreed with the trial court when it resolved the issue of jurisdiction over the person of the deceased
Sereno in this wise: Indeed, where the defendant is neither a natural nor a juridical person or an entity authorized by law,
the complaint may be dismissed on the ground that the pleading asserting the claim states no cause of
action or for failure to state a cause of action pursuant to Section 1(g) of Rule 16 of the Rules of
As correctly pointed by defendants, the Honorable Court has not acquired jurisdiction over the person Court, because a complaint cannot possibly state a cause of action against one who cannot be a party
of Patricio Sereno since there was indeed no valid service of summons insofar as Patricio Sereno is to a civil action.55
concerned. Patricio Sereno died before the summons, together with a copy of the complaint and its
annexes, could be served upon him.
Since the proper course of action against the wrongful inclusion of Manuel as party-defendant is the
dismissal of the case as against him, thus did the trial court err when it ordered the substitution of
However, the failure to effect service of summons unto Patricio Sereno, one of the defendants herein, Manuel by his heirs. Substitution is proper only where the party to be substituted died during the
does not render the action DISMISSIBLE, considering that the three (3) other defendants, x x x, were pendency of the case, as expressly provided for by Section 16, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court, which
validly served with summons and the case with respect to the answering defendants may still proceed states:
independently. Be it recalled that the three (3) answering defendants have previously filed a Motion
to Dismiss the Complaint which was denied by the Court.
Death of party;duty of counsel. – Whenever a party to a pending action dies, and the claim is not
thereby extinguished, it shall be the duty of his counsel to inform the court within thirty (30) days
Hence, only the case against Patricio Sereno will be DISMISSED and the same may be filed as a after such death of the fact thereof, and to give the name and address of his legal representative or
claim against the estate of Patricio Sereno, but the case with respect to the three (3) other accused representatives. x x x
[sic] will proceed. (Emphasis supplied.)53
The heirs of the deceased may be allowed to be substituted for the deceased, without requiring the
As a result, the case, as against Manuel, must be dismissed. appointment of an executor or administrator x x x.

In addition, the dismissal of the case against Manuel is further warranted by Section 1 of Rule 3 of The court shall forthwith order said legal representative or representatives to appear and be
the Rules of Court, which states that: only natural or juridical persons, or entities authorized by law substituted within a period of thirty (30) days from notice. (Emphasis supplied.)
may be parties in a civil action." Applying this provision of law, the Court, in the case of Ventura v.
Militante,54 held:
Here, since Manuel was already dead at the time of the filing of the complaint, the court never
acquired jurisdiction over his person and, in effect, there was no party to be substituted.
Parties may be either plaintiffs or defendants. x x x. In order to maintain an action in a court of
justice, the plaintiff must have an actual legal existence, that is, he, she or it must be a person in law
and possessed of a legal entity as either a natural or an artificial person, and no suit can be lawfully WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The Decision dated 28 February 2006 and the Resolution
prosecuted save in the name of such a person. dated 1 August 2006 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 88586 are REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. The Orders of the Regional Trial Court dated 8 November 2004 and 22 December 2004,
respectively, in Civil Case No. 97-86672, are REINSTATED. The Regional Trial Court, Branch 24,
The rule is no different as regards party defendants. It is incumbent upon a plaintiff, when he Manila is hereby DIRECTED to proceed with the trial of Civil Case No. 97-86672 against respondent
institutes a judicial proceeding, to name the proper party defendant to his cause of action. In a suit or Lolita G. Toledo only, in accordance with the above pronouncements of the Court, and to decide the
proceeding in personam of an adversary character, the court can acquire no jurisdiction for the case with dispatch.
purpose of trial or judgment until a party defendant who actually or legally exists and is legally
capable of being sued, is brought before it. It has even been held that the question of the legal
personality of a party defendant is a question of substance going to the jurisdiction of the court and SO ORDERED.
not one of procedure.

G.R. No. 140746 March 16, 2005


PANTRANCO NORTH EXPRESS, INC., and ALEXANDER BUNCAN, Petitioner, (4) to pay the expenses of litigation and the cost of suit.
vs.
STANDARD INSURANCE COMPANY, INC., and MARTINA GICALE, Respondents. SO ORDERED."

DECISION On appeal, the Court of Appeals, in a Decision4 dated July 23, 1999, affirmed the trial court’s ruling,
holding that:
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
"The appellants argue that appellee Gicale’s claim of P13,415.00 and appellee insurance
Before us is a petition for review on certiorari assailing the Decision1 dated July 23 1999 and company’s claim of P8,000.00 individually fell under the exclusive original jurisdiction of
Resolution2 dated November 4, 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 38453, entitled the municipal trial court. This is not correct because under the Totality Rule provided for
"Standard Insurance Company, Inc., and Martina Gicale vs. PANTRANCO North Express, Inc., and under Sec. 19, Batas Pambansa Bilang 129, it is the sum of the two claims that determines
Alexander Buncan." the jurisdictional amount.

In the afternoon of October 28, 1984, Crispin Gicale was driving the passenger jeepney owned by his xxx
mother Martina Gicale, respondent herein. It was then raining. While driving north bound along the
National Highway in Talavera, Nueva Ecija, a passenger bus, owned by Pantranco North Express, In the case at bench, the total of the two claims is definitely more than P20,000.00 which at
Inc., petitioner, driven by Alexander Buncan, also a petitioner, was trailing behind. When the two the time of the incident in question was the jurisdictional amount of the Regional Trial
vehicles were negotiating a curve along the highway, the passenger bus overtook the jeepney. In so Court.
doing, the passenger bus hit the left rear side of the jeepney and sped away.
Appellants contend that there was a misjoinder of parties. Assuming that there was, under
Crispin reported the incident to the Talavera Police Station and respondent Standard Insurance Co., the Rules of Court (Sec. 11, Rule 7) as well as under the Rules of Civil Procedure (ditto),
Inc. (Standard), insurer of the jeepney. The total cost of the repair was P21,415.00, but respondent the same does not affect the jurisdiction of the court nor is it a ground to dismiss the
Standard paid only P8,000.00. Martina Gicale shouldered the balance of P13,415.00. complaint.

Thereafter, Standard and Martina, respondents, demanded reimbursement from petitioners Pantranco xxx
and its driver Alexander Buncan, but they refused. This prompted respondents to file with the
Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 94, Manila, a complaint for sum of money.
It does not need perspicacity in logic to see that appellees Gicale’s and insurance
company’s individual claims against appellees (sic) arose from the same vehicular accident
In their answer, both petitioners specifically denied the allegations in the complaint and averred that on October 28, 1984 involving appellant Pantranco’s bus and appellee Gicale’s jeepney.
it is the Metropolitan Trial Court, not the RTC, which has jurisdiction over the case. That being the case, there was a question of fact common to all the parties: Whose fault or
negligence caused the damage to the jeepney?
On June 5, 1992, the trial court rendered a Decision 3 in favor of respondents Standard and Martina,
thus: Appellants submit that they were denied their day in court because the case was deemed
submitted for decision "without even declaring defendants in default or to have waived the
"WHEREFORE, and in view of the foregoing considerations, judgment is hereby rendered presentation of evidence." This is incorrect. Of course, the court did not declare defendants
in favor of the plaintiffs, Standard Insurance Company and Martina Gicale, and against in default because that is done only when the defendant fails to tender an answer within the
defendants Pantranco Bus Company and Alexander Buncan, ordering the latter to pay as reglementary period. When the lower court ordered that the case is deemed submitted for
follows: decision that meant that the defendants were deemed to have waived their right to present
evidence. If they failed to adduce their evidence, they should blame nobody but themselves.
(1) to pay plaintiff Standard Insurance the amount of P8,000.00 with interest due thereon They failed to be present during the scheduled hearing for the reception of their evidence
from November 27, 1984 until fully paid; despite notice and without any motion or explanation. They did not even file any motion
for reconsideration of the order considering the case submitted for decision.
(2) to pay plaintiff Martina Gicale the amount of P13,415.00 with interest due thereon from
October 22, 1984 until fully paid; Finally, contrary to the assertion of the defendant-appellants, the evidence preponderantly
established their liability for quasi-delict under Article 2176 of the Civil Code."
(3) to pay the sum of P10,000.00 for attorney’s fees;
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied by the Appellate Court in a Resolution and (c) such joinder is not otherwise proscribed by the provisions of the Rules on jurisdiction and
dated November 4, 1999. venue.6

Hence, this petition for review on certiorari raising the following assignments of error: In this case, there is a single transaction common to all, that is, Pantranco’s bus hitting the rear side of
the jeepney. There is also a common question of fact, that is, whether petitioners are negligent. There
"I being a single transaction common to both respondents, consequently, they have the same cause of
action against petitioners.
WHETHER OR NOT THE TRIAL COURT HAS JURISDICTION OVER THE SUBJECT
OF THE ACTION CONSIDERING THAT RESPONDENTS’ RESPECTIVE CAUSE OF To determine identity of cause of action, it must be ascertained whether the same evidence which is
ACTION AGAINST PETITIONERS DID NOT ARISE OUT OF THE SAME necessary to sustain the second cause of action would have been sufficient to authorize a recovery in
TRANSACTION NOR ARE THERE QUESTIONS OF LAW AND FACTS COMMON the first.7 Here, had respondents filed separate suits against petitioners, the same evidence would have
TO BOTH PETITIONERS AND RESPONDENTS. been presented to sustain the same cause of action. Thus, the filing by both respondents of the
complaint with the court below is in order. Such joinder of parties avoids multiplicity of suit and
ensures the convenient, speedy and orderly administration of justice.
II
Corollarily, Section 5(d), Rule 2 of the same Rules provides:
WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONERS ARE LIABLE TO RESPONDENTS
CONSIDERING THAT BASED ON THE EVIDENCE ADDUCED AND LAW
APPLICABLE IN THE CASE AT BAR, RESPONDENTS HAVE NOT SHOWN ANY "Sec. 5. Joinder of causes of action. – A party may in one pleading assert, in the alternative
RIGHT TO THE RELIEF PRAYED FOR. or otherwise, as many causes of action as he may have against an opposing party, subject to
the following conditions:
III
xxx
WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONERS WERE DEPRIVED OF THEIR RIGHT TO DUE
PROCESS." (d) Where the claims in all the causes of action are principally for recovery of money the
aggregate amount claimed shall be the test of jurisdiction."
For their part, respondents contend that their individual claims arose out of the same vehicular
accident and involve a common question of fact and law. Hence, the RTC has jurisdiction over the The above provision presupposes that the different causes of action which are joined accrue in favor
case. of the same plaintiff/s and against the same defendant/s and that no misjoinder of parties is involved.8
The issue of whether respondents’ claims shall be lumped together is determined by paragraph (d) of
the above provision. This paragraph embodies the "totality rule" as exemplified by Section 33 (1) of
I B.P. Blg. 1299 which states, among others, that "where there are several claims or causes of action
between the same or different parties, embodied in the same complaint, the amount of the demand
Petitioners insist that the trial court has no jurisdiction over the case since the cause of action of each shall be the totality of the claims in all the causes of action, irrespective of whether the causes of
respondent did not arise from the same transaction and that there are no common questions of law action arose out of the same or different transactions."
and fact common to both parties. Section 6, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of Court, 5 provides:
As previously stated, respondents’ cause of action against petitioners arose out of the same
"Sec. 6. Permissive joinder of parties. – All persons in whom or against whom any right to transaction. Thus, the amount of the demand shall be the totality of the claims.
relief in respect to or arising out of the same transaction or series of transactions is alleged
to exist, whether jointly, severally, or in the alternative, may, except as otherwise provided Respondent Standard’s claim is P8,000.00, while that of respondent Martina Gicale is P13,415.00, or
in these Rules, join as plaintiffs or be joined as defendants in one complaint, where any a total of P21,415.00. Section 19 of B.P. Blg. 129 provides that the RTC has "exclusive original
question of law or fact common to all such plaintiffs or to all such defendants may arise in jurisdiction over all other cases, in which the demand, exclusive of interest and cost or the value of
the action; but the court may make such orders as may be just to prevent any plaintiff or the property in controversy, amounts to more than twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00)." Clearly, it is
defendant from being embarrassed or put to expense in connection with any proceedings in the RTC that has jurisdiction over the instant case. It bears emphasis that when the complaint was
which he may have no interest." 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.
Permissive joinder of parties requires that: (a) the right to relief arises out of the same transaction or
series of transactions; (b) there is a question of law or fact common to all the plaintiffs or defendants; II
The finding of the trial court, affirmed by the Appellate Court, that petitioners are negligent and thus F. S. Urot and G. A. Uriate for plaintiffs-appellees.
liable to respondents, is a factual finding which is binding upon us, a rule well-established in our Carlos J. Cuizon for defendants Gavino Sibonghanoy and Lucia Baguio.
jurisprudence. It has been repeatedly held that the trial court's factual findings, when affirmed by the Villaluz Law Office, Velasco Law Office, Pages and Soberano for defendant-appellant Manila Surety
Appellate Court, are conclusive and binding upon this Court, if they are not tainted with arbitrariness and Fidelity Company, Inc.
or oversight of some fact or circumstance of significance and influence. Petitioners have not
presented sufficient ground to warrant a deviation from this rule. 10 DIZON, J.:

III On July 19, 1948 — barely one month after the effectivity of Republic Act No. 296 known as the
Judiciary Act of 1948 — the spouses Serafin Tijam and Felicitas Tagalog commenced Civil Case No.
There is no merit in petitioners’ contention that they were denied due process. Records show that R-660 in the Court of First Instance of Cebu against the spouses Magdaleno Sibonghanoy and Lucia
during the hearing, petitioner Pantranco’s counsel filed two motions for resetting of trial which were Baguio to recover from them the sum of P1,908.00, with legal interest thereon from the date of the
granted by the trial court. Subsequently, said counsel filed a notice to withdraw. After respondents filing of the complaint until the whole obligation is paid, plus costs. As prayed for in the complaint, a
had presented their evidence, the trial court, upon petitioners’ motion, reset the hearing to another writ of attachment was issued by the court against defendants' properties, but the same was soon
date. On this date, Pantranco failed to appear. Thus, the trial court warned Pantranco that should it dissolved upon the filing of a counter-bond by defendants and the Manila Surety and Fidelity Co.,
fail to appear during the next hearing, the case will be submitted for resolution on the basis of the Inc. hereinafter referred to as the Surety, on the 31st of the same month.
evidence presented. Subsequently, Pantranco’s new counsel manifested that his client is willing to
settle the case amicably and moved for another postponement. The trial court granted the motion. On After being duly served with summons the defendants filed their answer in which, after making some
the date of the hearing, the new counsel manifested that Pantranco’s employees are on strike and admissions and denials of the material averments of the complaint, they interposed a counterclaim.
moved for another postponement. On the next hearing, said counsel still failed to appear. Hence, the This counterclaim was answered by the plaintiffs.
trial court considered the case submitted for decision.
After trial upon the issues thus joined, the Court rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and,
We have consistently held that the essence of due process is simply an opportunity to be heard, or an after the same had become final and executory, upon motion of the latter, the Court issued a writ of
opportunity to explain one’s side or an opportunity to seek for a reconsideration of the action or execution against the defendants. The writ having been returned unsatisfied, the plaintiffs moved for
ruling complained of.11 the issuance of a writ of execution against the Surety's bond (Rec. on Appeal, pp. 46-49), against
which the Surety filed a written opposition (Id. pp. 49) upon two grounds, namely, (1) Failure to
Petitioner Pantranco filed an answer and participated during the trial and presentation of respondents’ prosecute and (2) Absence of a demand upon the Surety for the payment of the amount due under the
evidence. It was apprised of the notices of hearing issued by the trial court. Indeed, it was afforded judgment. Upon these grounds the Surety prayed the Court not only to deny the motion for execution
fair and reasonable opportunity to explain its side of the controversy. Clearly, it was not denied of its against its counter-bond but also the following affirmative relief : "to relieve the herein bonding
right to due process. What is frowned upon is the absolute lack of notice and hearing which is not company of its liability, if any, under the bond in question" (Id. p. 54) The Court denied this motion
present here. on the ground solely that no previous demand had been made on the Surety for the satisfaction of the
judgment. Thereafter the necessary demand was made, and upon failure of the Surety to satisfy the
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. The assailed Decision dated July 23 1999 and Resolution judgment, the plaintiffs filed a second motion for execution against the counterbond. On the date set
dated November 4, 1999 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 38453 are hereby AFFIRMED. for the hearing thereon, the Court, upon motion of the Surety's counsel, granted the latter a period of
Costs against petitioners. five days within which to answer the motion. Upon its failure to file such answer, the Court granted
the motion for execution and the corresponding writ was issued.

SO ORDERED.
Subsequently, the Surety moved to quash the writ on the ground that the same was issued without the
required summary hearing provided for in Section 17 of Rule 59 of the Rules of Court. As the Court
denied the motion, the Surety appealed to the Court of Appeals from such order of denial and from
G.R. No. L-21450 April 15, 1968 the one denying its motion for reconsideration (Id. p. 97). Its record on appeal was then printed as
required by the Rules, and in due time it filed its brief raising therein no other question but the ones
covered by the following assignment of errors:
SERAFIN TIJAM, ET AL., plaintiffs-appellees,
vs.
MAGDALENO SIBONGHANOY alias GAVINO SIBONGHANOY and LUCIA BAGUIO, I. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in issuing its order dated November 2,
defendants, 1957, by holding the incident as submitted for resolution, without a summary
MANILA SURETY AND FIDELITY CO., INC. (CEBU BRANCH) bonding company and hearing and compliance with the other mandatory requirements provided for in
defendant-appellant. Section 17, Rule 59 of the Rules of Court.
II. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in ordering the issuance of execution Co., Inc., G.R. No. L-15092, September 29, 1962, wherein the Honorable
against the herein bonding company-appellant. Supreme Court frowned upon the 'undesirable practice' of appellants submitting
their case for decision and then accepting the judgment, if favorable, but
III. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in denying the motion to quash the writ attacking it for lack of jurisdiction when adverse.
of execution filed by the herein bonding company-appellant as well as its
subsequent motion for reconsideration, and/or in not quashing or setting aside the Considering, however, that the Supreme Court has the "exclusive" appellate
writ of execution. jurisdiction over "all cases in which the jurisdiction of any inferior court is in
issue" (See. 1, Par. 3[3], Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended), we have no choice
Not one of the assignment of errors — it is obvious — raises the question of lack of jurisdiction, but to certify, as we hereby do certify, this case to the Supreme
neither directly nor indirectly. Court.1äwphï1.ñët

Although the appellees failed to file their brief, the Court of Appeals, on December 11, 1962, decided ACCORDINGLY, pursuant to Section 31 of the Judiciary Act of 1948 as
the case affirming the orders appealed from. amended, let the record of this case be forwarded to the Supreme Court.

On January 8, 1963 — five days after the Surety received notice of the decision, it filed a motion It is an undisputed fact that the action commenced by appellees in the Court of First Instance of Cebu
asking for extension of time within which to file a motion for reconsideration. The Court of Appeals against the Sibonghanoy spouses was for the recovery of the sum of P1,908.00 only — an amount
granted the motion in its resolution of January 10 of the same year. Two days later the Surety filed a within the original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts in accordance with the provisions of the
pleading entitled MOTION TO DISMISS, alleging substantially that appellees action was filed in the Judiciary Act of 1948 which had taken effect about a month prior to the date when the action was
Court of First Instance of Cebu on July 19, 1948 for the recovery of the sum of P1,908.00 only; that a commenced. True also is the rule that jurisdiction over the subject matter is conferred upon the courts
month before that date Republic Act No. 296, otherwise known as the Judiciary Act of 1948, had exclusively by law, and as the lack of it affects the very authority of the court to take cognizance of
already become effective, Section 88 of which placed within the original exclusive jurisdiction of the case, the objection may be raised at any stage of the proceedings. However, considering the facts
inferior courts all civil actions where the value of the subject-matter or the amount of the demand and circumstances of the present case — which shall forthwith be set forth — We are of the opinion
does not exceed P2,000.00, exclusive of interest and costs; that the Court of First Instance therefore that the Surety is now barred by laches from invoking this plea at this late hour for the purpose of
had no jurisdiction to try and decide the case. Upon these premises the Surety's motion prayed the annuling everything done heretofore in the case with its active participation.
Court of Appeals to set aside its decision and to dismiss the case. By resolution of January 16, 1963
the Court of Appeals required the appellees to answer the motion to dismiss, but they failed to do so. As already stated, the action was commenced in the Court of First Instance of Cebu on July 19, 1948,
Whereupon, on May 20 of the same year, the Court resolved to set aside its decision and to certify the that is, almost fifteen years before the Surety filed its motion to dismiss on January 12, 1963 raising
case to Us. The pertinent portions of its resolution read as follows: the question of lack of jurisdiction for the first time.

It would indeed appear from the record that the action at bar, which is a suit for It must be remembered that although the action, originally, was exclusively against the Sibonghanoy
collection of money in the sum of exactly P1,908.00 exclusive of interest, was spouses the Surety became a quasi-party therein since July 31, 1948 when it filed a counter-bond for
originally instituted in the Court of First Instance of Cebu on July 19, 1948. But the dissolution of the writ of attachment issued by the court of origin (Record on Appeal, pp. 15-19).
about a month prior to the filing of the complaint, more specifically on June 17, Since then, it acquired certain rights and assumed specific obligations in connection with the pending
1948, the Judiciary Act of 1948 took effect, depriving the Court of First Instance case, in accordance with sections 12 and 17, Rule 57, Rules of Court (Bautista vs. Joaquin, 46 Phil.
of original jurisdiction over cases in which the demand, exclusive of interest, is 885; Kimpang & Co. vs. Javier, 65 Phil. 170).
not more than P2,000.00. (Secs. 44[c] and 86[b], R.A. No. 296.)
Upon the filing of the first motion for execution against the counter-bond the Surety not only filed a
We believe, therefore, that the point raised in appellant's motion is an important written opposition thereto praying for its denial but also asked for an additional affirmative relief —
one which merits serious consideration. As stated, the complaint was filed on that it be relieved of its liability under the counter-bond upon the grounds relied upon in support of its
July 19, 1948. This case therefore has been pending now for almost 15 years, and opposition — lack of jurisdiction of the court a quo not being one of them.
throughout the entire proceeding appellant never raised the question of
jurisdiction until after receipt of this Court's adverse decision. Then, at the hearing on the second motion for execution against the counter-bond, the Surety
appeared, through counsel, to ask for time within which to file an answer or opposition thereto. This
There are three cases decided by the Honorable Supreme Court which may be motion was granted, but instead of such answer or opposition, the Surety filed the motion to dismiss
worthy of consideration in connection with this case, namely: Tyson Tan, et al. mentioned heretofore.
vs. Filipinas Compañia de Seguros, et al., G.R. No. L-10096, March 23, 1956;
Pindangan Agricultural Co., Inc. vs. Jose P. Dans, etc., et al., G.R. No. L-14591,
September 26, 1962; and Alfredo Montelibano, et al. vs. Bacolod-Murcia Milling
A party may be estopped or barred from raising a question in different ways and for different reasons. Coming now to the merits of the appeal: after going over the entire record, We have become
Thus we speak of estoppel in pais, or estoppel by deed or by record, and of estoppel by laches. persuaded that We can do nothing better than to quote in toto, with approval, the decision rendered by
the Court of Appeals on December 11, 1962 as follows:
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 In Civil Case No. R-660 of the Court of First Instance of Cebu, which was a suit
omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to for collection of a sum of money, a writ of attachment was issued against
assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it. defendants' properties. The attachment, however, was subsequently discharged
under Section 12 of Rule 59 upon the filing by defendants of a bond subscribed
The doctrine of laches or of "stale demands" is based upon grounds of public policy which requires, by Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc.
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 After trial, judgment was rendered in favor of plaintiffs.
right or claim to be enforced or asserted.
The writ of execution against defendants having been returned totally unsatisfied,
It has been held that a party can not invoke the jurisdiction of a court to sure affirmative relief against plaintiffs moved, under Section 17 of Rule 59, for issuance of writ of execution
his opponent and, after obtaining or failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or question that same against Manila Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc. to enforce the obligation of the bond.
jurisdiction (Dean vs. Dean, 136 Or. 694, 86 A.L.R. 79). In the case just cited, by way of explaining But the motion was, upon the surety's opposition, denied on the ground that there
the rule, it was further said that the question whether the court had jurisdiction either of the subject- was "no showing that a demand had been made, by the plaintiffs to the bonding
matter of the action or of the parties was not important in such cases because the party is barred from company for payment of the amount due under the judgment" (Record on
such conduct not because the judgment or order of the court is valid and conclusive as an Appeal, p. 60).
adjudication, but for the reason that such a practice can not be tolerated — obviously for reasons of
public policy. Hence, plaintiffs made the necessary demand upon the surety for satisfaction of
the judgment, and upon the latter's failure to pay the amount due, plaintiffs again
Furthermore, it has also been held that after voluntarily submitting a cause and encountering an filed a motion dated October 31, 1957, for issuance of writ of execution against
adverse decision on the merits, it is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or power of the the surety, with notice of hearing on November 2, 1957. On October 31, 1957,
court (Pease vs. Rathbun-Jones etc., 243 U.S. 273, 61 L. Ed. 715, 37 S. Ct. 283; St. Louis etc. vs. the surety received copy of said motion and notice of hearing.
McBride, 141 U.S. 127, 35 L. Ed. 659). And in Littleton vs. Burgess, 16 Wyo. 58, the Court said that
it is not right for a party who has affirmed and invoked the jurisdiction of a court in a particular It appears that when the motion was called on November 2, 1957, the surety's
matter to secure an affirmative relief, to afterwards deny that same jurisdiction to escape a penalty. counsel asked that he be given time within which to answer the motion, and so an
order was issued in open court, as follows:1äwphï1.ñët
Upon this same principle is what We said in the three cases mentioned in the resolution of the Court
of Appeals of May 20, 1963 (supra) — to the effect that we frown upon the "undesirable practice" of As prayed for, Atty. Jose P. Soberano, Jr., counsel for the Manila
a party submitting his case for decision and then accepting the judgment, only if favorable, and Surety & Fidelity Co., Inc., Cebu Branch, is given until Wednesday,
attacking it for lack of jurisdiction, when adverse — as well as in Pindañgan etc. vs. Dans, et al., November 6, 1957, to file his answer to the motion for the issuance of a
G.R. L-14591, September 26, 1962; Montelibano, et al., vs. Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co., Inc., G.R. writ of execution dated October 30, 1957 of the plaintiffs, after which
L-15092; Young Men Labor Union etc. vs. The Court of Industrial Relation et al., G.R. L-20307, Feb. this incident shall be deemed submitted for resolution.
26, 1965, and Mejia vs. Lucas, 100 Phil. p. 277.
SO ORDERED.
The facts of this case show that from the time the Surety became a quasi-party on July 31, 1948, it
could have raised the question of the lack of jurisdiction 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 Given in open court, this 2nd day of November, 1957, at Cebu City,
then in force, was within the original exclusive jurisdiction of inferior courts. It failed to do so. Philippines.
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 (Sgd.) JOSE M. MENDOZA
adjudication on the merits. It was only after an adverse decision was rendered by the Court of Judge
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 (Record on Appeal, pp.
since it was commenced on July 19, 1948 and compel the judgment creditors to go up their Calvary 64-65, emphasis ours)
once more. The inequity and unfairness of this is not only patent but revolting.
Since the surety's counsel failed to file any answer or objection within the period answer or objection. The surety cannot now, therefore, complain that it was
given him, the court, on December 7, 1957, issued an order granting plaintiffs' deprived of its day in court.
motion for execution against the surety; and on December 12, 1957, the
corresponding writ of execution was issued. It is argued that the surety's counsel did not file an answer to the motion "for the
simple reason that all its defenses can be set up during the hearing of the motion
On December 24, 1957, the surety filed a motion to quash the writ of execution even if the same are not reduced to writing" (Appellant's brief, p. 4). There is
on the ground that the same was "issued without the requirements of Section 17, obviously no merit in this pretense because, as stated above, the record will show
Rule 59 of the Rules of Court having been complied with," more specifically, that that when the motion was called, what the surety's counsel did was to ask that he
the same was issued without the required "summary hearing". This motion was be allowed and given time to file an answer. Moreover, it was stated in the order
denied by order of February 10, 1958. given in open court upon request of the surety's counsel that after the four-day
period within which to file an answer, "the incident shall be deemed submitted
On February 25, 1958, the surety filed a motion for reconsideration of the above- for resolution"; and counsel apparently agreed, as the order was issued upon his
stated order of denial; which motion was likewise denied by order of March 26, instance and he interposed no objection thereto.
1958.
It is also urged that although according to Section 17 of Rule 59, supra, there is
From the above-stated orders of February 10, 1958 and March 26, 1958 — no need for a separate action, there must, however, be a separate judgment
denying the surety's motion to quash the writ of execution and motion for against the surety in order to hold it liable on the bond (Appellant's Brief, p. 15).
reconsideration, respectively — the surety has interposed the appeal on hand. Not so, in our opinion. A bond filed for discharge of attachment is, per Section 12
of Rule 59, "to secure the payment to the plaintiff of any judgment he may
recover in the action," and stands "in place of the property so released". Hence,
The surety insists that the lower court should have granted its motion to quash the after the judgment for the plaintiff has become executory and the execution is
writ of execution because the same was issued without the summary hearing "returned unsatisfied" (Sec. 17, Rule 59), as in this case, the liability of the bond
required by Section 17 of Rule 59, which reads; automatically attaches and, in failure of the surety to satisfy the judgment against
the defendant despite demand therefor, writ of execution may issue against the
"Sec. 17. When execution returned unsatisfied, recovery had upon surety to enforce the obligation of the bond.
bond. — If the execution be returned unsatisfied in whole or in part, the
surety or sureties on any bond given pursuant to the provisions of this UPON ALL THE FOREGOING, the orders appealed from are hereby affirmed, with costs
role to secure the payment of the judgment shall become finally against the appellant Manila Surety and Fidelity Company, Inc.
charged on such bond, and bound to pay to the plaintiff upon demand
the amount due under the judgment, which amount may be recovered
from such surety or sureties after notice and summary hearing in the
same action." (Emphasis ours) G.R. No. 147406 July 14, 2008

Summary hearing is "not intended to be carried on in the formal manner in which VENANCIO FIGUEROA y CERVANTES,1 Petitioner,
ordinary actions are prosecuted" (83 C.J.S. 792). It is, rather, a procedure by vs.
which a question is resolved "with dispatch, with the least possible delay, and in PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Respondent.
preference to ordinary legal and regular judicial proceedings" (Ibid, p. 790). What
is essential is that "the defendant is notified or summoned to appear and is given
an opportunity to hear what is urged upon him, and to interpose a defense, after DECISION
which follows an adjudication of the rights of the parties" (Ibid., pp. 793-794);
and as to the extent and latitude of the hearing, the same will naturally lie upon NACHURA, J.:
the discretion of the court, depending upon the attending circumstances and the
nature of the incident up for consideration. When is a litigant estopped by laches from assailing the jurisdiction of a tribunal? This is the
paramount issue raised in this petition for review of the February 28, 2001 Decision 2 of the Court of
In the case at bar, the surety had been notified of the plaintiffs' motion for Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CR No. 22697.
execution and of the date when the same would be submitted for consideration. In
fact, the surety's counsel was present in court when the motion was called, and it Pertinent are the following antecedent facts and proceedings:
was upon his request that the court a quo gave him a period of four days within
which to file an answer. Yet he allowed that period to lapse without filing an
On July 8, 1994, an information3 for reckless imprudence resulting in homicide was filed against the imprudence resulting in homicide with violation of the Automobile Law (now Land Transportation
petitioner before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bulacan, Branch 18. 4 The case was docketed as and Traffic Code) was filed, Section 32(2) of Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 129 11 had already been
Criminal Case No. 2235-M-94.5 Trial on the merits ensued and on August 19, 1998, the trial court amended by Republic Act No. 7691.12 The said provision thus reads:
convicted the petitioner as charged.6 In his appeal before the CA, the petitioner questioned, among
others, for the first time, the trial court’s jurisdiction.7 Sec. 32. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal Circuit Trial
Courts in Criminal Cases.—Except in cases falling within the exclusive original jurisdiction of
The appellate court, however, in the challenged decision, considered the petitioner to have actively Regional Trial Courts and the Sandiganbayan, the Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts,
participated in the trial and to have belatedly attacked the jurisdiction of the RTC; thus, he was and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
already estopped by laches from asserting the trial court’s lack of jurisdiction. Finding no other
ground to reverse the trial court’s decision, the CA affirmed the petitioner’s conviction but modified xxxx
the penalty imposed and the damages awarded.8
(2) Exclusive original jurisdiction over all offenses punishable with imprisonment not exceeding six
Dissatisfied, the petitioner filed the instant petition for review on certiorari raising the following (6) years irrespective of the amount of fine, and regardless of other imposable accessory or other
issues for our resolution: penalties, including the civil liability arising from such offenses or predicated thereon, irrespective of
kind, nature, value or amount thereof: Provided, however, That in offenses involving damage to
a. Does the fact that the petitioner failed to raise the issue of jurisdiction during the trial of property through criminal negligence, they shall have exclusive original jurisdiction thereof.
this case, which was initiated and filed by the public prosecutor before the wrong court,
constitute laches in relation to the doctrine laid down in Tijam v. Sibonghanoy, As the imposable penalty for the crime charged herein is prision correccional in its medium and
notwithstanding the fact that said issue was immediately raised in petitioner’s appeal to the maximum periods or imprisonment for 2 years, 4 months and 1 day to 6 years, 13 jurisdiction to hear
Honorable Court of Appeals? Conversely, does the active participation of the petitioner in and try the same is conferred on the Municipal Trial Courts (MTCs). Clearly, therefore, the RTC of
the trial of his case, which is initiated and filed not by him but by the public prosecutor, Bulacan does not have jurisdiction over Criminal Case No. 2235-M-94.
amount to estoppel?
While both the appellate court and the Solicitor General acknowledge this fact, they nevertheless are
b. Does the admission of the petitioner that it is difficult to immediately stop a bus while it of the position that the principle of estoppel by laches has already precluded the petitioner from
is running at 40 kilometers per hour for the purpose of avoiding a person who unexpectedly questioning the jurisdiction of the RTC—the trial went on for 4 years with the petitioner actively
crossed the road, constitute enough incriminating evidence to warrant his conviction for the participating therein and without him ever raising the jurisdictional infirmity. The petitioner, for his
crime charged? part, counters that the lack of jurisdiction of a court over the subject matter may be raised at any time
even for the first time on appeal. As undue delay is further absent herein, the principle of laches will
c. Is the Honorable Court of Appeals justified in considering the place of accident as falling not be applicable.
within Item 4 of Section 35 (b) of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, and
subsequently ruling that the speed limit thereto is only 20 kilometers per hour, when no To settle once and for all this problem of jurisdiction vis-à-vis estoppel by laches, which continuously
evidence whatsoever to that effect was ever presented by the prosecution during the trial of confounds the bench and the bar, we shall analyze the various Court decisions on the matter.
this case?
As early as 1901, this Court has declared that unless jurisdiction has been conferred by some
d. Is the Honorable Court of Appeals justified in convicting the petitioner for homicide legislative act, no court or tribunal can act on a matter submitted to it. 14 We went on to state in U.S. v.
through reckless imprudence (the legally correct designation is "reckless imprudence De La Santa15 that:
resulting to homicide") with violation of the Land Transportation and Traffic Code when
the prosecution did not prove this during the trial and, more importantly, the information
filed against the petitioner does not contain an allegation to that effect? It has been frequently held that a lack of jurisdiction over the subject-matter is fatal, and subject to
objection at any stage of the proceedings, either in the court below or on appeal (Ency. of Pl. & Pr.,
vol. 12, p. 189, and large array of cases there cited), and indeed, where the subject-matter is not
e. Does the uncontroverted testimony of the defense witness Leonardo Hernal that the within the jurisdiction, the court may dismiss the proceeding ex mero motu. (4 Ill., 133; 190 Ind., 79;
victim unexpectedly crossed the road resulting in him getting hit by the bus driven by the Chipman vs. Waterbury, 59 Conn., 496.)
petitioner not enough evidence to acquit him of the crime charged?9
Jurisdiction over the subject-matter in a judicial proceeding is conferred by the sovereign authority
Applied uniformly is the familiar rule that the jurisdiction of the court to hear and decide a case is which organizes the court; it is given only by law and in the manner prescribed by law and an
conferred by the law in force at the time of the institution of the action, unless such statute provides objection based on the lack of such jurisdiction can not be waived by the parties. x x x16
for a retroactive application thereof.10 In this case, at the time the criminal information for reckless
Later, in People v. Casiano,17 the Court explained: Then came our ruling in Tijam v. Sibonghanoy21 that a party may be barred by laches from invoking
lack of jurisdiction at a late hour for the purpose of annulling everything done in the case with the
4. The operation of the principle of estoppel on the question of jurisdiction seemingly depends upon active participation of said party invoking the plea. We expounded, thus:
whether the lower court actually had jurisdiction or not. If it had no jurisdiction, but the case was
tried and decided upon the theory that it had jurisdiction, the parties are not barred, on appeal, from A party may be estopped or barred from raising a question in different ways and for different reasons.
assailing such jurisdiction, for the same "must exist as a matter of law, and may not be conferred by Thus, we speak of estoppel in pais, of estoppel by deed or by record, and of estoppel by laches.
consent of the parties or by estoppel" (5 C.J.S., 861-863). However, if the lower court had
jurisdiction, and the case was heard and decided upon a given theory, such, for instance, as that the Laches, in a general sense, is failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time,
court had no jurisdiction, the party who induced it to adopt such theory will not be permitted, on to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier; it is negligence
appeal, to assume an inconsistent position—that the lower court had jurisdiction. Here, the principle or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled
of estoppel applies. The rule that jurisdiction is conferred by law, and does not depend upon the will to assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it.
of the parties, has no bearing thereon. Thus, Corpus Juris Secundum says:
The doctrine of laches or of "stale demands" is based upon grounds of public policy which requires,
Where accused has secured a decision that the indictment is void, or has been granted an instruction for the peace of society, the discouragement of stale claims and, unlike the statute of limitations, is
based on its defective character directing the jury to acquit, he is estopped, when subsequently not a mere question of time but is principally a question of the inequity or unfairness of permitting a
indicted, to assert that the former indictment was valid. In such case, there may be a new prosecution right or claim to be enforced or asserted.
whether the indictment in the former prosecution was good or bad. Similarly, where, after the jury
was impaneled and sworn, the court on accused's motion quashed the information on the erroneous
assumption that the court had no jurisdiction, accused cannot successfully plead former jeopardy to a It has been held that a party cannot invoke the jurisdiction of a court to secure affirmative relief
new information. x x x (22 C.J.S., sec. 252, pp. 388-389; italics ours.) against his opponent and, after obtaining or failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or question that
same jurisdiction (Dean vs. Dean, 136 Or. 694, 86 A.L.R. 79). In the case just cited, by way of
explaining the rule, it was further said that the question whether the court had jurisdiction either of
Where accused procured a prior conviction to be set aside on the ground that the court was without the subject matter of the action or of the parties was not important in such cases because the party is
jurisdiction, he is estopped subsequently to assert, in support of a defense of previous jeopardy, that barred from such conduct not because the judgment or order of the court is valid and conclusive as an
such court had jurisdiction." (22 C.J.S. p. 378.)18 adjudication, but for the reason that such a practice cannot be tolerated—obviously for reasons of
public policy.
But in Pindañgan Agricultural Co., Inc. v. Dans,19 the Court, in not sustaining the plea of lack of
jurisdiction by the plaintiff-appellee therein, made the following observations: Furthermore, it has also been held that after voluntarily submitting a cause and encountering an
adverse decision on the merits, it is too late for the loser to question the jurisdiction or power of the
It is surprising why it is only now, after the decision has been rendered, that the plaintiff-appellee court (Pease vs. Rathbun-Jones etc., 243 U.S. 273, 61 L. Ed. 715, 37 S.Ct. 283; St. Louis etc. vs.
presents the question of this Court’s jurisdiction over the case. Republic Act No. 2613 was enacted McBride, 141 U.S. 127, 35 L. Ed. 659). And in Littleton vs. Burgess, 16 Wyo. 58, the Court said that
on August 1, 1959. This case was argued on January 29, 1960. Notwithstanding this fact, the it is not right for a party who has affirmed and invoked the jurisdiction of a court in a particular
jurisdiction of this Court was never impugned until the adverse decision of this Court was handed matter to secure an affirmative relief, to afterwards deny that same jurisdiction to escape a penalty.
down. The conduct of counsel leads us to believe that they must have always been of the belief that
notwithstanding said enactment of Republic Act 2613 this Court has jurisdiction of the case, such Upon this same principle is what We said in the three cases mentioned in the resolution of the Court
conduct being born out of a conviction that the actual real value of the properties in question actually of Appeals of May 20, 1963 (supra)—to the effect that we frown upon the "undesirable practice" of a
exceeds the jurisdictional amount of this Court (over ₱200,000). Our minute resolution in G.R. No. party submitting his case for decision and then accepting the judgment, only if favorable, and
L-10096, Hyson Tan, et al. vs. Filipinas Compaña de Seguros, et al., of March 23, 1956, a parallel attacking it for lack of jurisdiction, when adverse—as well as in Pindañgan etc. vs. Dans et al., G.R.
case, is applicable to the conduct of plaintiff-appellee in this case, thus: L-14591, September 26, 1962; Montelibano et al. vs. Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co., Inc., G.R. L-
15092; Young Men Labor Union etc. vs. The Court of Industrial Relations et al., G.R. L-20307, Feb.
x x x that an appellant who files his brief and submits his case to the Court of Appeals for decision, 26, 1965, and Mejia vs. Lucas, 100 Phil. p. 277.
without questioning the latter’s jurisdiction until decision is rendered therein, should be considered as
having voluntarily waived so much of his claim as would exceed the jurisdiction of said Appellate The facts of this case show that from the time the Surety became a quasi-party on July 31, 1948, it
Court; for the reason that a contrary rule would encourage the undesirable practice of appellants could have raised the question of the lack of jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of Cebu to take
submitting their cases for decision to the Court of Appeals in expectation of favorable judgment, but cognizance of the present action by reason of the sum of money involved which, according to the law
with intent of attacking its jurisdiction should the decision be unfavorable: x x x20 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 motion for reconsideration of the decision of the lower court after it had received an adverse decision.
on its part, We would in effect be declaring as useless all the proceedings had in the present case As this Court held in Pantranco North Express, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals (G.R. No. 105180, July 5,
since it was commenced on July 19, 1948 and compel the judgment creditors to go up their Calvary 1993, 224 SCRA 477, 491), participation in all stages of the case before the trial court, that included
once more. The inequity and unfairness of this is not only patent but revolting. 22 invoking its authority in asking for affirmative relief, effectively barred petitioner by estoppel from
challenging the court’s jurisdiction. Notably, from the time it filed its answer to the second amended
For quite a time since we made this pronouncement in Sibonghanoy, courts and tribunals, in complaint on April 16, 1985, petitioner did not question the lower court’s jurisdiction. It was only on
resolving issues that involve the belated invocation of lack of jurisdiction, have applied the principle December 29, 1989 when it filed its motion for reconsideration of the lower court’s decision that
of estoppel by laches. Thus, in Calimlim v. Ramirez,23 we pointed out that Sibonghanoy was petitioner raised the question of the lower court’s lack of jurisdiction. Petitioner thus foreclosed its
developing into a general rule rather than the exception: right to raise the issue of jurisdiction by its own inaction. (italics ours)

A rule that had been settled by unquestioned acceptance and upheld in decisions so numerous to cite Similarly, in the subsequent case of Sta. Lucia Realty and Development, Inc. vs. Cabrigas, we ruled:
is that the jurisdiction of a court over the subject-matter of the action is a matter of law and may not
be conferred by consent or agreement of the parties. The lack of jurisdiction of a court may be raised In the case at bar, it was found by the trial court in its 30 September 1996 decision in LCR Case No.
at any stage of the proceedings, even on appeal. This doctrine has been qualified by recent Q-60161(93) that private respondents (who filed the petition for reconstitution of titles) failed to
pronouncements which stemmed principally from the ruling in the cited case of Sibonghanoy. It is to comply with both sections 12 and 13 of RA 26 and therefore, it had no jurisdiction over the subject
be regretted, however, that the holding in said case had been applied to situations which were matter of the case. However, private respondents never questioned the trial court’s jurisdiction over
obviously not contemplated therein. The exceptional circumstance involved in Sibonghanoy which its petition for reconstitution throughout the duration of LCR Case No. Q-60161(93). On the contrary,
justified the departure from the accepted concept of non-waivability of objection to jurisdiction has private respondents actively participated in the reconstitution proceedings by filing pleadings and
been ignored and, instead a blanket doctrine had been repeatedly upheld that rendered the supposed presenting its evidence. They invoked the trial court’s jurisdiction in order to obtain affirmative relief
ruling in Sibonghanoy not as the exception, but rather the general rule, virtually overthrowing – the reconstitution of their titles. Private respondents have thus foreclosed their right to raise the
altogether the time-honored principle that the issue of jurisdiction is not lost by waiver or by estoppel. issue of jurisdiction by their own actions.

In Sibonghanoy, the defense of lack of jurisdiction of the court that rendered the questioned ruling The Court has constantly upheld the doctrine that while jurisdiction may be assailed at any stage, a
was held to be barred by estoppel by laches. It was ruled that the lack of jurisdiction having been litigant’s participation in all stages of the case before the trial court, including the invocation of its
raised for the first time in a motion to dismiss filed almost fifteen (15) years after the questioned authority in asking for affirmative relief, bars such party from challenging the court’s jurisdiction
ruling had been rendered, such a plea may no longer be raised for being barred by laches. As defined (PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, 297 SCRA 402 [1998]). A party
in said case, laches is "failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do cannot invoke the jurisdiction of a court to secure affirmative relief against his opponent and after
that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier; it is negligence or obtaining or failing to obtain such relief, repudiate or question that same jurisdiction (Asset
omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to Privatization Trust vs. Court of Appeals, 300 SCRA 579 [1998]; Province of Bulacan vs. Court of
assert has abandoned it or declined to assert it.24 Appeals, 299 SCRA 442 [1998]). The Court frowns upon the undesirable practice of a party
participating in the proceedings and submitting his case for decision and then accepting judgment,
In Calimlim, despite the fact that the one who benefited from the plea of lack of jurisdiction was the only if favorable, and attacking it for lack of jurisdiction, when adverse (Producers Bank of the
one who invoked the court’s jurisdiction, and who later obtained an adverse judgment therein, we Philippines vs. NLRC, 298 SCRA 517 [1998], citing Ilocos Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. vs. NLRC,
refused to apply the ruling in Sibonghanoy. The Court accorded supremacy to the time-honored 241 SCRA 36 [1995]). (italics ours)26
principle that the issue of jurisdiction is not lost by waiver or by estoppel.
Noteworthy, however, is that, in the 2005 case of Metromedia Times Corporation v. Pastorin, 27 where
Yet, in subsequent cases decided after Calimlim, which by sheer volume are too plentiful to mention, the issue of lack of jurisdiction was raised only in the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC)
the Sibonghanoy doctrine, as foretold in Calimlim, became the rule rather than the exception. As on appeal, we stated, after examining the doctrines of jurisdiction vis-à-vis estoppel, that the ruling in
such, in Soliven v. Fastforms Philippines, Inc.,25 the Court ruled: Sibonghanoy stands as an exception, rather than the general rule. Metromedia, thus, was not estopped
from assailing the jurisdiction of the labor arbiter before the NLRC on appeal. 281avvphi1
While it is true that jurisdiction may be raised at any time, "this rule presupposes that estoppel has not
supervened." In the instant case, respondent actively participated in all stages of the proceedings Later, in Francel Realty Corporation v. Sycip,29 the Court clarified that:
before the trial court and invoked its authority by asking for an affirmative relief. Clearly, respondent
is estopped from challenging the trial court’s jurisdiction, especially when an adverse judgment has Petitioner argues that the CA’s affirmation of the trial court’s dismissal of its case was erroneous,
been rendered. In PNOC Shipping and Transport Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, we held: considering that a full-blown trial had already been conducted. In effect, it contends that lack of
jurisdiction could no longer be used as a ground for dismissal after trial had ensued and ended.
Moreover, we note that petitioner did not question at all the jurisdiction of the lower court x x x in its
answers to both the amended complaint and the second amended complaint. It did so only in its
The above argument is anchored on estoppel by laches, which has been used quite successfully in a time to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier; it is the
number of cases to thwart dismissals based on lack of jurisdiction. Tijam v. Sibonghanoy, in which negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the
this doctrine was espoused, held that a party may be barred from questioning a court’s jurisdiction party entitled to assert has abandoned it or declined to assert it. 32
after being invoked to secure affirmative relief against its opponent. In fine, laches prevents the issue
of lack of jurisdiction from being raised for the first time on appeal by a litigant whose purpose is to And in the more recent Regalado v. Go,33 the Court again emphasized that laches should be clearly
annul everything done in a trial in which it has actively participated. present for the Sibonghanoy doctrine to be applicable, thus:

Laches is defined as the "failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do Laches is defined as the "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 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 omission to assert a right within a reasonable length of time, warranting a presumption that the party
assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it." entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it."

The ruling in Sibonghanoy on the matter of jurisdiction is, however, the exception rather than the The ruling in People v. Regalario that was based on the landmark doctrine enunciated in Tijam v.
rule.1avvphi1 Estoppel by laches may be invoked to bar the issue of lack of jurisdiction only in cases Sibonghanoy on the matter of jurisdiction by estoppel is the exception rather than the rule. Estoppel
in which the factual milieu is analogous to that in the cited case. In such controversies, laches should by laches may be invoked to bar the issue of lack of jurisdiction only in cases in which the factual
be clearly present; that is, lack of jurisdiction must have been raised so belatedly as to warrant the milieu is analogous to that in the cited case. In such controversies, laches should have been clearly
presumption that the party entitled to assert it had abandoned or declined to assert it. That present; that is, lack of jurisdiction must have been raised so belatedly as to warrant the presumption
Sibonghanoy applies only to exceptional circumstances is clarified in Calimlim v. Ramirez, which we that the party entitled to assert it had abandoned or declined to assert it.
quote:
In Sibonghanoy, the defense of lack of jurisdiction was raised for the first time in a motion to dismiss
A rule that had been settled by unquestioned acceptance and upheld in decisions so numerous to cite filed by the Surety almost 15 years after the questioned ruling had been rendered. At several stages of
is that the jurisdiction of a court over the subject-matter of the action is a matter of law and may not the proceedings, in the court a quo as well as in the Court of Appeals, the Surety invoked the
be conferred by consent or agreement of the parties. The lack of jurisdiction of a court may be raised jurisdiction of the said courts to obtain affirmative relief and submitted its case for final adjudication
at any stage of the proceedings, even on appeal. This doctrine has been qualified by recent on the merits. It was only when the adverse decision was rendered by the Court of Appeals that it
pronouncements which stemmed principally from the ruling in the cited case of Sibonghanoy. It is to finally woke up to raise the question of jurisdiction.
be regretted, however, that the holding in said case had been applied to situations which were
obviously not contemplated therein. The exceptional circumstance involved in Sibonghanoy which
justified the departure from the accepted concept of non-waivability of objection to jurisdiction has Clearly, the factual settings attendant in Sibonghanoy are not present in the case at bar. Petitioner
been ignored and, instead a blanket doctrine had been repeatedly upheld that rendered the supposed Atty. Regalado, after the receipt of the Court of Appeals resolution finding her guilty of contempt,
ruling in Sibonghanoy not as the exception, but rather the general rule, virtually overthrowing promptly filed a Motion for Reconsideration assailing the said court’s jurisdiction based on
altogether the time-honored principle that the issue of jurisdiction is not lost by waiver or by estoppel. procedural infirmity in initiating the action. Her compliance with the appellate court’s directive to
show cause why she should not be cited for contempt and filing a single piece of pleading to that
effect could not be considered as an active participation in the judicial proceedings so as to take the
Indeed, the general rule remains: a court’s lack of jurisdiction may be raised at any stage of the case within the milieu of Sibonghanoy. Rather, it is the natural fear to disobey the mandate of the
proceedings, even on appeal. The reason is that jurisdiction is conferred by law, and lack of it affects court that could lead to dire consequences that impelled her to comply.34
the very authority of the court to take cognizance of and to render judgment on the action. Moreover,
jurisdiction is determined by the averments of the complaint, not by the defenses contained in the
answer.30 The Court, thus, wavered on when to apply the exceptional circumstance in Sibonghanoy and on
when to apply the general rule enunciated as early as in De La Santa and expounded at length in
Calimlim. The general rule should, however, be, as it has always been, that the issue of jurisdiction
Also, in Mangaliag v. Catubig-Pastoral,31 even if the pleader of lack of jurisdiction actively took part may be raised at any stage of the proceedings, even on appeal, and is not lost by waiver or by
in the trial proceedings by presenting a witness to seek exoneration, the Court, reiterating the doctrine estoppel. Estoppel by laches, to bar a litigant from asserting the court’s absence or lack of
in Calimlim, said: jurisdiction, only supervenes in exceptional cases similar to the factual milieu of Tijam v.
Sibonghanoy. Indeed, the fact that a person attempts to invoke unauthorized jurisdiction of a court
Private respondent argues that the defense of lack of jurisdiction may be waived by estoppel through does not estop him from thereafter challenging its jurisdiction over the subject matter, since such
active participation in the trial. Such, however, is not the general rule but an exception, best jurisdiction must arise by law and not by mere consent of the parties. This is especially true where the
characterized by the peculiar circumstances in Tijam vs. Sibonghanoy. In Sibonghanoy, the party person seeking to invoke unauthorized jurisdiction of the court does not thereby secure any advantage
invoking lack of jurisdiction did so only after fifteen years and at a stage when the proceedings had or the adverse party does not suffer any harm.35
already been elevated to the CA. Sibonghanoy is an exceptional case because of the presence of
laches, which was defined therein as failure or neglect for an unreasonable and unexplained length of
Applying the said doctrine to the instant case, the petitioner is in no way estopped by laches in G.R. No. L-34362 November 19, 1982
assailing the jurisdiction of the RTC, considering that he raised the lack thereof in his appeal before MODESTA CALIMLIM AND LAMBERTO MAGALI IN HIS CAPACITY AS
the appellate court. At that time, no considerable period had yet elapsed for laches to attach. True, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF DOMINGO MAGALI, petitioners,
delay alone, though unreasonable, will not sustain the defense of "estoppel by laches" unless it further vs.
appears that the party, knowing his rights, has not sought to enforce them until the condition of the HON. PEDRO A. RAMIREZ IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE COURT
party pleading laches has in good faith become so changed that he cannot be restored to his former OF FIRST INSTANCE OF PANGASINAN, BRANCH I, and FRANCISCO RAMOS,
state, if the rights be then enforced, due to loss of evidence, change of title, intervention of equities, respondents.
and other causes.36 In applying the principle of estoppel by laches in the exceptional case of
Sibonghanoy, the Court therein considered the patent and revolting inequity and unfairness of having Eugenio Ramos for petitioners.
the judgment creditors go up their Calvary once more after more or less 15 years.37 The same,
however, does not obtain in the instant case.
Rogelio P. Closa for respondents.
We note at this point that estoppel, being in the nature of a forfeiture, is not favored by law. It is to be
applied rarely—only from necessity, and only in extraordinary circumstances. The doctrine must be
applied with great care and the equity must be strong in its favor. 38 When misapplied, the doctrine of
estoppel may be a most effective weapon for the accomplishment of injustice. 39 Moreover, a VASQUEZ, J.:
judgment rendered without jurisdiction over the subject matter is void. 40 Hence, the Revised Rules of
Court provides for remedies in attacking judgments rendered by courts or tribunals that have no The dismissal of Civil Case No. SCC-180 filed by the herein petitioners in the respondent Court
jurisdiction over the concerned cases. No laches will even attach when the judgment is null and void against the private respondent is sought to be annulled and set aside by this Petition For Review On
for want of jurisdiction.41 As we have stated in Heirs of Julian Dela Cruz and Leonora Talaro v. Heirs Certiorari.
of Alberto Cruz,42

The antecedent material facts are not disputed. Sometime in 1961, a judgment for a sum of money
It is axiomatic that the jurisdiction of a tribunal, including a quasi-judicial officer or government was rendered in favor of Independent Mercantile Corporation against a certain Manuel Magali by the
agency, over the nature and subject matter of a petition or complaint is determined by the material Municipal Court of Manila in Civil Case No. 85136. After said judgment became final, a writ of
allegations therein and the character of the relief prayed for, irrespective of whether the petitioner or execution was issued on July 31, 1961. The Notice of Levy made on September 21, 1961 on a parcel
complainant is entitled to any or all such reliefs. Jurisdiction over the nature and subject matter of an of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. 9138 registered in the name of "Domingo Magali,
action is conferred by the Constitution and the law, and not by the consent or waiver of the parties married to Modesta Calimlim", specified that the said levy was only against "all rights, title, action,
where the court otherwise would have no jurisdiction over the nature or subject matter of the action. interest and participation of the defendant Manuel Magali over the parcel of land described in this
Nor can it be acquired through, or waived by, any act or omission of the parties. Moreover, estoppel title. " The Certificate of Sale executed by the Provincial Sheriff of Pangasinan on October 17, 1961
does not apply to confer jurisdiction to a tribunal that has none over the cause of action. x x x in favor of Independent Mercantile Corporation also stated that the sale referred only to the rights and
interest of Manuel Magali over the land described in TCT No. 9138. Manuel Magali is one of the
Indeed, the jurisdiction of the court or tribunal is not affected by the defenses or theories set up by the several children of Domingo Magali who had died in 1940 and herein petitioner Modesta Calimlim.
defendant or respondent in his answer or motion to dismiss. Jurisdiction should be determined by
considering not only the status or the relationship of the parties but also the nature of the issues or However, when the Sheriff issued the final Deed of Sale on January 25, 1963, it was erroneously
questions that is the subject of the controversy. x x x x The proceedings before a court or tribunal stated therein that the sale was with respect to "the parcel of land described in this title" (referring to
without jurisdiction, including its decision, are null and void, hence, susceptible to direct and TCT No. 9138) and not only over the rights and interest of Manuel Magali in the same. The
collateral attacks.43 execution of the said final Deed of Sale was annotated at the back of said title.

With the above considerations, we find it unnecessary to resolve the other issues raised in the On February 23, 1967, Independent Mercantile Corporation filed a petition in the respondent Court to
petition. compel Manuel Magali to surrender the owner's duplicate of TCT No. 9138 in order that the same
may be cancelled and a new one issued in the name of the said corporation. Not being the registered
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition for review on certiorari is GRANTED. Criminal owner and the title not being in his possession, Manuel Magali failed to comply with the order of the
Case No. 2235-M-94 is hereby DISMISSED without prejudice. Court directing him to surrender the said title. On June 20, 1967, Independent Mercantile Corporation
filed an ex-parte petition to declare TCT No. 9138 as cancelled and to issue a new title in its name.
SO ORDERED. The said petition was granted by the respondent Court and in its Order dated July 13, 1967, it directed
the issuance of a new certificate of title in the name of the Independent Mercantile Corporation and
the cancellation of TCT No. 9138. By virtue of said Order, the Register of Deeds of Pangasinan
issued a new title in the name of the corporation, Identified as TCT No. 68568.
On November 21, 1967, petitioner Modesta Calimlim, surviving spouse of Domingo Magali, upon Section 112 of Act 496 confers authority upon the land registration
learning that her husband's title over the parcel of land had been cancelled, filed a petition with the court to order the cancellation, alteration or amendment of a certificate
respondent Court, sitting as a cadastral court, praying for the cancellation of TCT No. 68568. An of title but withdraws from the Court the power to pass upon any
opposition to the said petition was filed by Independent Mercantile Corporation. After the parties question concerning ownership of the registered property, or any
submitted their respective Memoranda, the respondent Court issued an Order dated June 3, 1968 incident where the issues involved have become controversial.
dismissing the petition. (Rollo, pp. 31-38.)
It may hardly be questioned that the issues raised by the petitioners in their petition to cancel TCT
The herein petitioners did not appeal the dismissal of the petition they filed in LRC Record No. No. 68568 refer to the ownership or title over the property covered thereby. The said petition
39492 for the cancellation of TCT No. 68568. Instead, on January 11, 1971, they filed the complaint presented before the respondent Court in the exercise of its limited jurisdiction as a cadastral court,
in Civil Case No. SCC-180 praying for the cancellation of the conveyances and sales that had been the question of who should be considered the true and lawful owner of the parcel of land embraced in
made with respect to the property, covered by TCT No. 9138 previously registered in the name of said title. The petitioners alleged therein that they are the true owners of the property, and that TCT
Domingo Magali, married to Modesta Calimlim. Named as defendant in said civil case was herein No. 68568 which they sought to cancel was issued as a result of the errors which were not of their
private respondent Francisco Ramos who claimed to have bought the property from Independent own making. In short, the petition raised a highly controversial matter which is beyond the judicial
Mercantile Corporation on July 25, 1967. Private respondent Francisco Ramos, however, failed to competence of a cadastral court to pass upon or to adjudicate.
obtain a title over the property in his name in view of the existence of an adverse claim annotated on
the title thereof at the instance of the herein petitioners. It may neither be claimed that the parties have mutually agreed to submit the aforesaid issues for the
determination by the court, it being a fact that herein private respondent was not a party in the
Private respondent Francisco Ramos filed a Motion To Dismiss Civil Case No. SCC-180 on the petition in LRC Record No. 39492. Incidentally, although the said petition was filed by the herein
ground that the same is barred by prior judgement or by statute of limitations (Rollo. pp. 42-45). petitioners on November 21, 1967, the Opposition filed by Independent Mercantile Corporation to the
Resolving the said Motion, the respondent Court, in its Order dated April 21, 1971, dismissed Civil said petition made no mention of the alleged sale of the property in question in favor of private
Case No. SCC- 180 on the ground of estoppel by prior judgment. (Ibid., pp, 10-13.) A Motion For respondent Francisco Ramos on July 5, 1967. This circumstance places in grave doubt the sincerity of
Reconsideration filed by the petitioners was denied by the respondent Judge in his Order of said sale and the claim that the private respondent was an innocent purchaser for value of the property
September 2, 1971. (Ibid., pp. 13-15.) A second Motion For Reconsideration was similarly denied in in question.
the Order dated September 29, 197 1. (Rollo, pp. 16-17.) Hence, this Petition.
In the order of the respondent Judge dated September 29, 1971 denying the second motion for
We find merit in this appeal. reconsideration, he cited the case of Tijam vs. Sibonghanoy, 23 SCRA 29, to uphold the view that the
petitioners are deemed estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the respondent Court in having
It is error to consider the dismissal of the petition filed by the herein petitioner in LRC Record No. taken cognizance of the petition for cancellation of TCT No. 68568, they being the ones who invoked
39492 for the cancellation of TCT No. 68568 as a bar by prior judgment against the filing of Civil the jurisdiction of the said Court to grant the affirmative relief prayed for therein. We are of the
Case No. SCC-180. In order to avail of the defense of res judicata, it must be shown, among others, opinion that the ruling laid down in Sibonghanoy may not be applied herein. Neither its factual
that the judgment in the prior action must have been rendered by a court with the proper jurisdiction backdrop nor the philosophy of the doctrine therein expounded fits the case at bar.
to take cognizance of the proceeding in which the prior judgment or order was rendered. If there is
lack of jurisdiction over the subject-matter of the suit or of the parties, the judgment or order cannot A rule that had been settled by unquestioned acceptance and upheld in decisions so numerous to cite
operate as an adjudication of the controversy. (2 Moran Comments on the Rules of Court, 1970 is that the jurisdiction of a court over the subject-matter of the action is a matter of law and may not
Edition, p. 364.) This essential element of the defense of bar by prior judgment or res judicata does be conferred by consent or agreement of the parties. The lack of jurisdiction of a court may be raised
not exist in the case presently considered. at any stage of the proceedings, even on appeal. This doctrine has been qualified by recent
pronouncements which stemmed principally from the ruling in the cited case of Sibonghanoy. It is to
The petition filed by the herein petitioners in LRC Record No. 39492 was an apparent invocation of be regretted, however, that the holding in said case had been applied to situations which were
the authority of the respondent Court sitting as a land registration court, Although the said petition obviously not contemplated therein. The exceptional circumstance involved in Sibonghanoy which
did not so state, that reliance was apparently placed on Section 112 of the Land Registration Act. It justified the departure from the accepted concept of non-waivability of objection to jurisdiction has
has been settled by consistent rulings of this Court that a court of first instance, acting as a land been ignored and, instead a blanket doctrine had been repeatedly upheld that rendered the supposed
registration court, is a court of limited and special jurisdiction. As such, its proceedings are not ruling in Sibonghanoy not as the exception, but rather the general rule, virtually overthrowing
adequate for the litigation of issues pertaining to an ordinary civil action, such as, questions involving altogether the time-honored principle that the issue of jurisdiction is not lost by waiver or by estoppel.
ownership or title to real property. (Bareng vs. Shintoist Shrine and Japanese Charity Bureau, 83
SCRA 418; Manalo vs. Mariano, 69 SCRA 80; In re: Nicanor T Santos, 102 SCRA 747; Santos vs. In Sibonghanoy, the defense of lack of jurisdiction of the court that rendered the questioned ruling
Aquino, 101 SCRA 377.) In Hu chon Sunpongco vs. Heirs of Nicolas Ronquillo, L- 27040, December was held to be barred by estoppel by laches. It was ruled that the lack of jurisdiction having been
19, 1970, 36 SCRA 395, we have held that: raised for the first time in a motion to dismiss filed almost fifteen (15) years after the questioned
ruling had been rendered, such a plea may no longer be raised for being barred by laches. As defined
in said case, laches is "failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do The inequity of barring the petitioners from vindicating their right over their property in Civil Case
that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier; it is negligence or No. SCC-180 is rendered more acute in the face of the undisputed fact that the property in question
omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the party entitled to admittedly belonged to the petitioners, and that the title in the name of the private respondent was the
assert has abandoned it or declined to assert it." result of an error committed by the Provincial Sheriff in issuing the deed of sale in the execution
proceeding. The justness of the relief sought by herein petitioners may not be ignored or rendered
The petitioners in the instant case may not be faulted with laches. When they learned that the title to futile by reason of a doctrine which is of highly doubtful applicability herein.
the property owned by them had erroneously and illegally been cancelled and registered in the name
of another entity or person who had no right to the same, they filed a petition to cancel the latter's WHEREFORE, the Orders appealed from are hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Motion To
title. It is unfortunate that in pursuing said remedy, their counsel had to invoke the authority of the Dismiss filed by the private respondent in Civil Case No. SCC-180 shall be deemed denied and the
respondent Court as a cadastral court, instead of its capacity as a court of general jurisdiction. Their respondent Court is ordered to conduct further proceedings in the case. With costs against the private
petition to cancel the title in the name of Independent Mercantile Corporation was dismissed upon a respondent.
finding by the respondent Court that the same was "without merit." No explanation was given for
such dismissal nor why the petition lacked merit. There was no hearing, and the petition was resolved SO ORDERED.
solely on the basis of memoranda filed by the parties which do not appear of record. It is even a
possibility that such dismissal was in view of the realization of the respondent Court that, sitting as a
cadastral court, it lacked the authority to entertain the petition involving as it does a highly
controversial issue. Upon such petition being dismissed, the petitioners instituted Civil Case No.
G.R. No. 143951 October 25, 2005
SCC-180 on January 1, 1971, or only two and one-half years after the dismissal of their petition in
LRC Record No. 39492. Hence, we see no unreasonable delay in the assertion by the petitioners of
their right to claim the property which rightfully belongs to them. They can hardly be presumed to Norma Mangaliag and Narciso Solano, Petitioners,
have abandoned or waived such right by inaction within an unreasonable length of time or vs.
inexcusable negligence. In short, their filing of Civil Case No. SCC-180 which in itself is an implied Hon. Edelwina Catubig-Pastoral, Judge of the Regional Trial Court, 1st Judicial Region, San
non-acceptance of the validity of the proceedings had in LRC Record No. 39492 may not be deemed Carlos City, (Pangasinan), Branch 56 and Apolinario Serquina, Jr., Respondents.
barred by estoppel by laches.
DECISION
It is neither fair nor legal to bind a party by the result of a suit or proceeding which was taken
cognizance of in a court which lacks jurisdiction over the same irrespective of the attendant AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.:
circumstances. The equitable defense of estoppel requires knowledge or consciousness of the facts
upon which it is based. The same thing is true with estoppel by conduct which may be asserted only
Before us is a petition for certiorari, with a prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order,
when it is shown, among others, that the representation must have been made with knowledge of the
to set aside the Order dated April 17, 2000 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 56, San Carlos
facts and that the party to whom it was made is ignorant of the truth of the matter. (De Castro vs.
City in Civil Case No. SCC-2240, which denied petitioners’ motion to dismiss; and the Order dated
Gineta, 27 SCRA 623.) The filing of an action or suit in a court that does not possess jurisdiction to
June 13, 2000, which denied petitioners’ motion for reconsideration.
entertain the same may not be presumed to be deliberate and intended to secure a ruling which could
later be annulled if not favorable to the party who filed such suit or proceeding. Instituting such an
action is not a one-sided affair. It can just as well be prejudicial to the one who filed the action or suit The factual background of the case is as follows:
in the event that he obtains a favorable judgment therein which could also be attacked for having
been rendered without jurisdiction. The determination of the correct jurisdiction of a court is not a On May 10, 1999, private respondent Apolinario Serquina, Jr. filed before the RTC a complaint for
simple matter. It can raise highly debatable issues of such importance that the highest tribunal of the damages against petitioners Norma Mangaliag and Narciso Solano. The complaint alleges that: on
land is given the exclusive appellate jurisdiction to entertain the same. The point simply is that when January 21, 1999, from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m., private respondent, together with Marco de Leon, Abner
a party commits error in filing his suit or proceeding in a court that lacks jurisdiction to take Mandapat and Manuel de Guzman, was on board a tricycle driven by Jayson Laforte; while in Pagal,
cognizance of the same, such act may not at once be deemed sufficient basis of estoppel. It could San Carlos City, a dump truck owned by petitioner Mangaliag and driven by her employee, petitioner
have been the result of an honest mistake, or of divergent interpretations of doubtful legal provisions. Solano, coming from the opposite direction, tried to overtake and bypass a tricycle in front of it and
If any fault is to be imputed to a party taking such course of action, part of the blame should be thereby encroached the left lane and sideswiped the tricycle ridden by private respondent; due to the
placed on the court which shall entertain the suit, thereby lulling the parties into believing that they gross negligence, carelessness and imprudence of petitioner Solano in driving the truck, private
pursued their remedies in the correct forum. Under the rules, it is the duty of the court to dismiss an respondent and his co-passengers sustained serious injuries and permanent deformities; petitioner
action "whenever it appears that the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter." (Sec. 2, Rule 9, Mangaliag failed to exercise due diligence required by law in the selection and supervision of her
Rules of Court.) Should the court render a judgment without jurisdiction, such judgment may be employee; private respondent was hospitalized and spent ₱71,392.00 as medical expenses; private
impeached or annulled for lack of jurisdiction (Sec. 30, Rule 132, Ibid), within ten (10) years from respondent sustained a permanent facial deformity due to a fractured nose and suffers from severe
the finality of the same. (Art. 1144, par. 3, Civil Code.) depression as a result thereof, for which he should be compensated in the amount of ₱500,000.00 by
way of moral damages; as a further result of his hospitalization, private respondent lost income of Petitioners maintain that the court’s jurisdiction should be based exclusively on the amount of actual
₱25,000.00; private respondent engaged the services of counsel on a contingent basis equal to 25% of damages, excluding therefrom the amounts claimed as moral, exemplary, nominal damages and
the total award.1 attorney’s fee, etc. They submit that the specification in Administrative Circular No. 09-94 that "in
cases where the claim for damages is the main cause of action. . . the amount of such claim shall be
On July 21, 1999, petitioners filed their answer with counterclaim denying that private respondent considered in determining the jurisdiction of the court" signifies that the court’s jurisdiction must be
has a cause of action against them. They attributed fault or negligence in the vehicular accident on the tested solely by the amount of that damage which is principally and primarily demanded, and not the
tricycle driver, Jayson Laforte, who was allegedly driving without license. 2 totality of all the damages sought to be recovered.

Following pre-trial conference, trial on the merits ensued. When private respondent rested his case, Petitioners insist that private respondent’s claim for actual damages in the amount of ₱71,392.00 is
petitioner Solano testified in his defense. the principal and primary demand, the same being the direct result of the alleged negligence of
petitioners, while the moral damages for ₱500,000.00 and attorney’s fee, being the consequent effects
thereof, may prosper only upon a prior finding by the court of the existence of petitioners’ negligence
Subsequently, on March 8, 2000, petitioners, assisted by a new counsel, filed a motion to dismiss on that caused the actual damages. Considering that the amount of actual damages claimed by private
the ground of lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter of the claim, alleging that the Municipal respondent in Civil Case No. SCC-2240 does not exceed ₱200,000.00, which was then the
Trial Court (MTC) has jurisdiction over the case since the principal amount prayed for, in the amount jurisdictional amount of the MTC, the jurisdiction over the case clearly pertains to the MTC, and not
of ₱71,392.00, falls within its jurisdiction.3 Private respondent opposed petitioners’ motion to to the RTC. Therefore, the RTC should have dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction. Petitioners
dismiss.4 On March 24, 2000, petitioners filed a supplement in support of their motion to dismiss. 5 cite as relevant the case of Movers-Baseco Integrated Port Services, Inc. vs. Cyborg Leasing
Corporation12wherein the Court, in disposing of the jurisdictional issue, limited its consideration only
On April 17, 2000, the respondent RTC Judge, Edelwina Catubig-Pastoral, issued the first assailed to the actual or compensatory damages.
Order denying petitioners’ motion to dismiss,6 relying upon the mandate of Administrative Circular
No. 09-94, paragraph 2 of which reads: Furthermore, while admitting that the defense of lack of jurisdiction was only raised during the trial,
petitioners nevertheless contend that jurisdiction may be raised anytime, even after judgment, but
2. The exclusion of the term "damages of whatever kind in determining the jurisdictional amount before it is barred by laches or estoppel. They submit that they seasonably presented the objection to
under Section 19 (8) and Section 33 (1) of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended by R.A. No. 7691, applied to the RTC’s lack of jurisdiction, i.e., during the trial stage where no decision had as yet been rendered,
cases where the damages are merely incidental to or a consequence of the main cause of action. must less one unfavorable to them.
However, in cases where the claim for damages is the main cause of action, or one of the causes of
action, the amount of such claim shall be considered in determining the jurisdiction of the court. At any rate, they argue that when the jurisdictional flaw is evident from the record of the case, the
court may, even without the urgings of the parties, take judicial notice of such fact, and thereupon
The respondent RTC Judge also cited the 1999 case of Ong vs. Court of Appeals,7 where an action for dismiss the case motu proprio. Thus, even if lack of jurisdiction was not initially raised in a motion to
damages due to a vehicular accident, with prayer for actual damages of ₱10,000.00 and moral dismiss or in the answer, no waiver may be imputed to them.
damages of ₱1,000,000.00, was tried in a RTC.
Private respondent, on the other hand, submits that in an action for recovery of damages arising from
On May 19, 2000, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration 8 but it was denied by the respondent a tortious act, the claim of moral damages is not merely an incidental or consequential claim but must
RTC Judge in her second assailed Order, dated June 13, 2000. 9 be considered in the amount of demand which will determine the court’s jurisdiction. He argues that
the position taken by petitioners is a misreading of paragraph 2 of Administrative Circular No. 09-94.
Hence, the present petition for certiorari, with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining The clear and explicit language of said circular leaves no room for doubt; hence, needs no
order.10 interpretation.

On August 9, 2000, the Court resolved to issue the temporary restraining order prayed for by He further submits that petitioners’ reliance on Movers-Baseco Integrated Port Services, Inc. is
petitioners. Consequently, the respondent RTC Judge desisted from hearing further Civil Case No. misplaced since that case is for recovery of the value of vehicle and unpaid rentals on the lease of the
SCC-2240.11 same. He contends that Section 18, paragraph 8 of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended by
Republic Act No. 7691, upon which petitioners anchor their stand, refers to all the demands involving
collection of sums of money based on obligations arising from contract, express or implied, where the
Petitioners propound this issue for consideration: In an action for recovery of damages, does the claim for damages is just incidental thereto and it does not apply to actions for damages based on
amount of actual damages prayed for in the complaint provide the sole test for determining the obligations arising from quasi-delict where the claim for damages of whatever kind is the main
court’s jurisdiction, or is the total amount of all the damages claimed, regardless of kind and nature, action.
such as moral, exemplary, nominal damages, and attorney’s fees, etc., to be computed collectively
with the actual damages to determine what court – whether the MTC or the RTC – has jurisdiction
over the action?
Private respondent also contends that, being incapable of pecuniary computation, the amount of Before resolving this issue, the Court shall deal first on the question of estoppel posed by private
moral damages that he may be awarded depends on the sound discretion of the trial court, not respondent. Private respondent argues that the defense of lack of jurisdiction may be waived by
restrained by the limitation of the jurisdictional amount. Should the Court follow petitioners’ line of estoppel through active participation in the trial. Such, however, is not the general rule but an
reasoning, private respondent argues that it will result in an absurd situation where he can only be exception, best characterized by the peculiar circumstances in Tijam vs. Sibonghanoy.21 In
awarded moral damages of not more than ₱200,000.00 although he deserves more than this amount, Sibonghanoy, the party invoking lack of jurisdiction did so only after fifteen years and at a stage
taking into consideration his physical suffering, as well as social and financial standing, simply when the proceedings had already been elevated to the CA. Sibonghanoy is an exceptional case
because his claim for actual damages does not exceed ₱200,000.00 which amount falls under the because of the presence of laches, which was defined therein as failure or neglect for an unreasonable
jurisdiction of the MTC. and unexplained length of time to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have
been done earlier; it is the negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time,
Lastly, he asserts that it is too late in the day for petitioners to question the jurisdiction of the RTC warranting a presumption that the party entitled to assert has abandoned it or declined to assert it. 22
since they are estopped from invoking this ground. He contends that after actively taking part in the
trial proceedings and presenting a witness to seek exoneration, it would be unfair and legally As enunciated in Calimlim vs. Ramirez,23 this Court held:
improper for petitioners to seek the dismissal of the case.
A rule that had been settled by unquestioned acceptance and upheld in decisions so numerous to cite
At the outset, it is necessary to stress that generally a direct recourse to this Court is highly improper, is that the jurisdiction of a court over the subject matter of the action is a matter of law and may not
for it violates the established policy of strict observance of the judicial hierarchy of courts. Although be conferred by consent or agreement of the parties. The lack of jurisdiction of a court may be raised
this Court, the RTCs and the Court of Appeals (CA) have concurrent jurisdiction to issue writs of at any stage of the proceedings, even on appeal. This doctrine has been qualified by recent
certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus and injunction, such concurrence pronouncements which stemmed principally from the ruling in the cited case of Sibonghanoy. It is to
does not give the petitioner unrestricted freedom of choice of court forum. This Court is a court of be regretted, however, that the holding in said case had been applied to situations which were
last resort, and must so remain if it is to satisfactorily perform the functions assigned to it by the obviously not contemplated therein. The exceptional circumstances involved in Sibonghanoy which
Constitution and immemorial tradition.13 justified the departure from the accepted concept of non-waivability of objection to jurisdiction has
been ignored and, instead a blanket doctrine had been repeatedly upheld that rendered the supposed
Thus, this Court, as a rule, will not entertain direct resort to it unless the redress desired cannot be ruling in Sibonghanoy not as the exception, but rather the general rule, virtually overthrowing
obtained in the appropriate courts, and exceptional and compelling circumstances, such as cases of altogether the time honored principle that the issue of jurisdiction is not lost by waiver or by estoppel.
national interest and of serious implications, justify the availment of the extraordinary remedy of writ
of certiorari, calling for the exercise of its primary jurisdiction.14 Such exceptional and compelling ...
circumstances were present in the following cases: (a) Chavez vs. Romulo15on the citizens’ right to
bear arms; (b) Government of the United States of America vs. Purganan16 on bail in extradition It is neither fair nor legal to bind a party by the result of a suit or proceeding which was taken
proceedings; (c) Commission on Elections vs. Quijano-Padilla17on a government contract on the cognizance of in a court which lacks jurisdiction over the same irrespective of the attendant
modernization and computerization of the voters’ registration list; (d) Buklod ng Kawaning EIIB vs. circumstances. The equitable defense of estoppel requires knowledge or consciousness of the facts
Zamora[18] on the status and existence of a public office; and (e) Fortich vs. Corona19 on the so- upon which it is based. The same thing is true with estoppel by conduct which may be asserted only
called "Win-Win Resolution" of the Office of the President which modified the approval of the when it is shown, among others, that the representation must have been made with knowledge of the
conversion to agro-industrial area of a 144-hectare land. facts and that the party to whom it was made is ignorant of the truth of the matter (De Castro vs.
Gineta, 27 SCRA 623). The filing of an action or suit in a court that does not possess jurisdiction to
Be that as it may, the judicial hierarchy of courts is not an iron-clad rule. It generally applies to cases entertain the same may not be presumed to be deliberate and intended to secure a ruling which could
involving warring factual allegations. For this reason, litigants are required to repair to the trial courts later be annulled if not favorable to the party who filed such suit or proceeding. Instituting such an
at the first instance to determine the truth or falsity of these contending allegations on the basis of the action is not a one-sided affair. It can just as well be prejudicial to the one who file the action or suit
evidence of the parties. Cases which depend on disputed facts for decision cannot be brought in the event that he obtains a favorable judgment therein which could also be attacked for having
immediately before appellate courts as they are not triers of facts.20 Therefore, a strict application of been rendered without jurisdiction. The determination of the correct jurisdiction of a court is not a
the rule of hierarchy of courts is not necessary when the cases brought before the appellate courts do simple matter. It can raise highly debatable issues of such importance that the highest tribunal of the
not involve factual but legal questions. land is given the exclusive appellate jurisdiction to entertain the same. The point simply is that when
a party commits error in filing his suit or proceeding in a court that lacks jurisdiction to take
In the present case, petitioners submit a pure question of law involving the interpretation and cognizance of the same, such act may not at once be deemed sufficient basis of estoppel. It could
application of paragraph 2 of Administrative Circular No. 09-94. This legal question and in order to have been the result of an honest mistake or of divergent interpretations of doubtful legal provisions.
avoid further delay are compelling enough reasons to allow petitioners’ invocation of this Court’s If any fault is to be imputed to a party taking such course of action, part of the blame should be
jurisdiction in the first instance. placed on the court which shall entertain the suit, thereby lulling the parties into believing that they
pursued their remedies in the correct forum. Under the rules, it is the duty of the court to dismiss an
action "whenever it appears that court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter." (Section 2, Rule 9,
Rules of Court) Should the Court render a judgment without jurisdiction, such judgment may be
impeached or annulled for lack of jurisdiction (Sec. 30, Rule 132, Ibid), within ten (10) years from If the rule were otherwise, i.e., the court’s jurisdiction in a case of quasi-delict causing physical
the finality of the same (Art. 1144, par. 3, Civil Code).24 injuries would only be based on the claim for actual damages and the complaint is filed in the MTC,
it can only award moral damages in an amount within its jurisdictional limitations, a situation not
In the present case, no judgment has yet been rendered by the RTC. 25 As a matter of fact, as soon as intended by the framers of the law.
the petitioners discovered the alleged jurisdictional defect, they did not fail or neglect to file the
appropriate motion to dismiss. Hence, finding the pivotal element of laches to be absent, the It must be remembered that moral damages, though incapable of pecuniary estimation, are designed
Sibonghanoy doctrine does not control the present controversy. Instead, the general rule that the to compensate and alleviate in some way the physical suffering, mental anguish, fright, serious
question of jurisdiction of a court may be raised at any stage of the proceedings must apply. anxiety, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, moral shock, social humiliation, and similar injury
Therefore, petitioners are not estopped from questioning the jurisdiction of the RTC. unjustly caused a person.32 Moral damages are awarded to enable the injured party to obtain means,
diversions or amusements that will serve to alleviate the moral suffering he/she has undergone, by
In any event, the petition for certiorari is bereft of merit. reason of the defendant’s culpable action. Its award is aimed at restoration, as much as possible, of
the spiritual status quo ante; thus, it must be proportionate to the suffering inflicted. Since each case
must be governed by its own peculiar circumstances, there is no hard and fast rule in determining the
Section 1 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7691, which took effect on April 15, 1994, provides inter alia proper amount.33
that where the amount of the demand in civil cases exceeds ₱100,000.00, 26 exclusive of interest,
damages of whatever kind, attorney’s fees, litigation expenses, and costs, the exclusive jurisdiction
thereof is lodged with in the RTC. Under Section 3 of the same law, where the amount of the demand The petitioners’ reliance in the case of Movers-Baseco Integrated Port Services, Inc. vs. Cyborg
in the complaint does not exceed ₱100,000.00, exclusive of interest, damages of whatever kind, Leasing Corporation34 is misplaced. The claim for damages therein was based on a breach of a
attorney’s fees, litigation expenses, and costs, the exclusive jurisdiction over the same is vested in the contract of lease, not a quasi-delict causing physical injuries, as in this case. Besides, there was no
Metropolitan Trial Court, MTC and Municipal Circuit Trial Court. The jurisdictional amount was claim therein for moral damages. Furthermore, moral damages are generally not recoverable in
increased to ₱200,000.00,27 effective March 20, 1999, pursuant to Section 5 28 of R.A. No. 7691 and damage actions predicated on a breach of contract in view of the provisions of Article 222035 of the
Administrative Circular No. 21-99. Civil Code.

In Administrative Circular No. 09-94 dated March 14, 1994, the Court specified the guidelines in the In view of the foregoing, the Court is convinced that the respondent RTC Judge committed no grave
implementation of R.A. No. 7691. Paragraph 2 of the Circular provides: abuse of discretion in issuing the assailed Orders dated April 17, 2000 and June 13, 2000.

2. The exclusion of the term "damages of whatever kind in determining the jurisdictional amount WHEREFORE, the instant petition for certiorari is DISMISSED for lack of merit. The temporary
under Section 19 (8) and Section 33 (1) of B.P. Blg. 129, as amended by R.A. No. 7691, applied to restraining order issued by this Court on August 9, 2000 is LIFTED.
cases where the damages are merely incidental to or a consequence of the main cause of action.
However, in cases where the claim for damages is the main cause of action, or one of the causes The Regional Trial Court, Branch 56, San Carlos City is DIRECTED to continue with the trial
of action, the amount of such claim shall be considered in determining the jurisdiction of the proceedings in Civil Case No. SCC-2240 and resolve the case with dispatch.
court. (Emphasis supplied)
Costs against petitioners.
The well-entrenched principle is that the jurisdiction of the court over the subject matter of the action
is determined by the material allegations of the complaint and the law, irrespective of whether or not SO ORDERED.
the plaintiff is entitled to recover all or some of the claims or reliefs sought therein. 29 In the present
case, the allegations in the complaint plainly show that private respondent seeks to recover not only
his medical expenses, lost income but also damages for physical suffering and mental anguish due to
permanent facial deformity from injuries sustained in the vehicular accident. Viewed as an action for
G.R. No. 169700 July 30, 2009
quasi-delict, the present case falls squarely within the purview of Article 2219 (2), 30 which provides
for the payment of moral damages in cases of quasi-delict causing physical injuries.
APOLONIA BANAYAD FRIANELA, Petitioner,
vs.
Private respondent’s claim for moral damages of ₱500,000.00 cannot be considered as merely
SERVILLANO BANAYAD, JR., Respondent.
incidental to or a consequence of the claim for actual damages. It is a separate and distinct cause of
action or an independent actionable tort. It springs from the right of a person to the physical integrity
of his or her body, and if that integrity is violated, damages are due and assessable.31 Hence, the DECISION
demand for moral damages must be considered as a separate cause of action, independent of the
claim for actual damages and must be included in determining the jurisdictional amount, in clear NACHURA, J.:
consonance with paragraph 2 of Administrative Circular No. 09-94.
Before the court is a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court assailing the (4) In all matters of probate, both testate and intestate, where the gross value of the estate exceeds
June 17, 2005 Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 53929, and the August 17, twenty thousand pesos (₱20,000.00);
2005 Resolution2 denying the motion for partial reconsideration thereof.
xxxx
Narrated in brief are the antecedent facts and proceedings, to wit:
SECTION 33. Jurisdiction of Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts and Municipal
Following the death of her uncle, the testator Moises F. Banayad, petitioner, who was named as Circuit Trial Courts in civil cases. — Metropolitan Trial Courts, Municipal Trial Courts, and
devisee in the will, filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Pasay City, on June 3, 1991, Sp. Municipal Circuit Trial Courts shall exercise:
Proc. No. 3664-P3 for the allowance of the November 18, 1985 holographic will of the decedent.
Petitioner alleged that Moises died without issue and left to her the following properties, namely: (1) (1) Exclusive original jurisdiction over civil actions and probate proceedings, testate and intestate,
a parcel of land situated in Pasay City and described in Transfer Certificate of Title No. 9741; (2) including the grant of provisional remedies in proper cases, where the demand does not exceed
images of Oracion del Huerto and Pieta including the crown; and (3) all personal belongings.4 twenty thousand pesos exclusive of interest and costs but inclusive of damages of whatever kind, the
amount of which must be specifically alleged: Provided, That where there are several claims or
Respondent, a cousin of the petitioner, filed his opposition and counter-petitioned for the allowance causes of action between the same or different parties, embodied in the same complaint, the amount
of two other holographic wills of the decedent, one dated September 27, 1989 and another dated of the demand shall be the totality of the claims in all the causes of action irrespective of whether the
September 28, 1989.5 causes of action arose out of the same or different transactions; and

After trial on the merits, the RTC, on September 29, 1995, rendered its Decision 6 declaring the xxxx
September 27, 1989 holographic will as having revoked the November 18, 1985 will, allowing the
former, and appointing respondent as administrator of Moises’s estate.7 The applicable law, therefore, confers jurisdiction on the RTC or the MTCs over probate proceedings
depending on the gross value of the estate,16 which value must be alleged in the complaint or petition
On appeal, the CA, in the assailed June 17, 2005 Decision, 8 modified the decision of the trial court to be filed.1avvphi1 Significantly, in this case, the original petition docketed before the trial court
and ruled that the September 27, 1989 holographic will had only revoked the November 18, 1985 will contains only the following averments:
insofar as the testamentary disposition of Moises’s real property was concerned. 9
xxxx
With the denial of her motion for reconsideration in the further assailed August 17, 2005
Resolution,10 petitioner elevated the case before us via the instant petition.11 1. That Petitioner is of legal age, married, Filipino and residing at 2237 P. Burgos St.,
Pasay City who is named devisee in the Last Will and Testament of MOISES BANAYAD,
The Court notes that the trial court focused all of its attention on the merits of the case without first deceased who died in Pasay City General Hospital on March 27, 1991 xerox copy of his
determining whether it could have validly exercised jurisdiction to hear and decide Sp. Proc. No. death certificate is herewith attached as Annex "A" to form integral part hereof;
3664-P. On appeal, the appellate court also overlooked the issue on the jurisdictional competence of
the trial court over the said case. This Court, after a meticulous review of the records, finds that the 2. That the said Last Will and Testament is herewith (sic) attached as Annex "B" and made
RTC of Pasay City had no jurisdiction over the subject matter in Sp. Proc. No. 3664-P. an integral part of this Petition, the original thereof will be presented to this Honorable
Court at the time of probate;
The jurisdiction of the court to hear and decide a case is conferred by the law in force at the time of
the institution of the action unless such statute provides for a retroactive application thereof. 12 3. That the decedent is an inhabitant of the Philippines and residing at 2237 P. Burgos St.,
Jurisdiction is moreover determined by the allegations or averments in the complaint or petition.13 Pasay City at the time of his death;

In this case, at the time the petition for the allowance of Moises’s holographic will was instituted, the 4. That the properties left by the decedent consist of real and personal properties
then Sections 19 and 3314 of Batas Pambansa (B.P.) Blg. 12915 were in force, thus— particularly described herein below, which decedent all bequeathed to petitioner;

SECTION 19. Jurisdiction in civil cases. — Regional Trial Courts shall exercise exclusive original A. A parcel of land described under TCT No. 9741 xerox copy of which is
jurisdiction: herewith (sic) attached as Annex "C".

xxxx B. Imahen ng Oracion del Huerto at Pieta, kasama and korona.


C. All personal belongings. 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.
5. That the testator at the time of the execution of the said Will was of sound and disposing This counterclaim was answered by the plaintiffs.1avvphi1
mind.
After trial upon the issues thus joined, the Court rendered judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and,
WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed of the Honorable Court that: 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 (Rec. on Appeal pp. 46-49), against
a. Upon proper notice and hearing, the above mentioned Will be admitted to probate; which the Surety filed a written opposition (Id. pp. 49) 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
b. That letters testamentary or administration be issued to herein petitioner without bond; 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
Petitioner prays for such other reliefs just and equitable in (sic) the premises. company of its liability, if any, under the bond in question" (Id. p. 54) The Court denied this motion
on the ground solely that no previous demand had been made on the Surety for the satisfaction of the
judgment. Thereafter the necessary demand was made, and upon failure of the Surety to satisfy the
x x x x17 judgment, the plaintiffs filed a second motion for execution against the counter-bond. On the date set
for the hearing thereon, the Court, upon motion of the Surety's counsel, granted the latter a period of
Nowhere in the petition is there a statement of the gross value of Moises’s estate. Thus, from a five days within which to answer the motion. Upon its failure to file such answer, the Court granted
reading of the original petition filed, it cannot be determined which court has original and exclusive the motion for execution and the corresponding writ was issued.
jurisdiction over the proceedings.18 The RTC therefore committed gross error when it had
perfunctorily assumed jurisdiction despite the fact that the initiatory pleading filed before it did not Subsequently, the Surety moved to quash the writ on the ground that the same was issued without the
call for the exercise of its jurisdiction. The RTC should have, at the outset, dismissed the case for lack required summary hearing provided for in Section 17 of Rule 59 of the Rules of Court. As the Court
of jurisdiction. Be it noted that the dismissal on the said ground may be ordered motu proprio by the denied the motion, the Surety appealed to the Court of Appeals from such order of denial and from
courts.19 Further, the CA, on appeal, should have dismissed the case on the same ground. Settled is the one denying its motion for reconsideration (Id. p. 97). Its record on appeal was then printed as
the doctrine that the issue of jurisdiction may be raised by any of the parties or may be reckoned by required by the Rules, and in due time it filed its brief raising therein no other question but the ones
the court, at any stage of the proceedings, even on appeal, and is not lost by waiver or by estoppel. 20 covered by the following assignment of errors:

Despite the pendency of this case for around 18 years, the exception laid down in Tijam v. "I. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in issuing its order dated November 2, 1957, by
Sibonghanoy21 and clarified recently in Figueroa v. People22 cannot be applied. First, because, as a holding the incident as submitted for resolution, without a summary hearing and
general rule, the principle of estoppel by laches cannot lie against the government. 23 No injustice to compliance with the other mandatory requirements provided for in Section 17, Rule 59 of
the parties or to any third person will be wrought by the ruling that the trial court has no jurisdiction the Rules of Court.
over the instituted probate proceedings.
"II. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in ordering the issuance of execution against the
Second and most important, because in Tijam, the delayed invocation of lack of jurisdiction has been herein bonding company-appellant.
made during the execution stage of a final and executory ruling of a court. In Figueroa, the Court has
emphasized that estoppel by laches only supervenes in exceptional cases similar to the factual milieu
in Tijam. It is well to note the following factual setting of Tijam: "III. That the Honorable Court a quo erred in denying the motion to quash the writ of
execution filed by the herein bonding company- appellant as well as its subsequent motion
for reconsideration, and/or in not quashing or setting aside the writ of execution."
On July 19, 1948 — barely one month after the effectivity of Republic Act No. 296 known as the
Judiciary Act of 1948 — the spouses Serafin Tijam and Felicitas Tagalog commenced Civil Case No.
R-660 in the Court of First Instance of Cebu against the spouses Magdaleno Sibonghanoy and Lucia Not one of the assignment of errors — it is obvious raises the question of lack of jurisdiction, neither
Baguio to recover from them the sum of P1,908.00, with legal interest thereon from the date of the directly nor indirectly.
filing of the complaint until the whole obligation is paid, plus costs. As prayed for in the complaint, a
writ of attachment was issued by the court against defendants' properties, but the same was soon Although the appellees failed to file their brief, the Court of Appeals, on December 11, 1962, decided
dissolved upon the filing of a counter-bond by defendants and the Manila Surety and Fidelity Co., the case affirming the orders appealed from.
Inc. hereinafter referred to as the Surety, on the 31st of the same month.
On January 8, 1963 — five days after the Surety received notice of the decision, it filed a motion
asking for extension of time within which to file a motion for reconsideration. The Court of Appeals
granted the motion in its resolution of January 10 of the same year. Two days later the Surety filed a Branch 173 (RTC) in Civil Case No. 10-124040, denying private respondent Cash Asia Credit
pleading entitled MOTION TO DISMISS, alleging substantially that appellees' action was filed in the Corporation's (Cash Asia) motion to dismiss on the ground of improper venue.
Court of First Instance of Cebu on July 19, 1948 for the recovery of the sum of P1,908.00 only; that a
month before that date Republic Act No. 296, otherwise known as the Judiciary Act of 1948, had The Facts
already become effective, Section 88 of which placed within the original exclusive jurisdiction of
inferior courts all civil actions where the value of the subject-matter or the amount of the demand
does not exceed P2,000.00, exclusive of interest and costs; that the Court of First Instance therefore The instant case arose from a Complaint6 dated August 2, 2010 filed by Virgilio C. Briones (Briones)
had no jurisdiction to try and decide the case. Upon these premises the Surety's motion prayed the for Nullity of Mortgage Contract, Promissory Note, Loan Agreement, Foreclosure of Mortgage,
Court of Appeals to set aside its decision and to dismiss the case. By resolution of January 16, 1963 Cancellation of Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 290846, and Damages against Cash Asia
the Court of Appeals required the appellees to answer the motion to dismiss, but they failed to do so. before the RTC.7 In his complaint, Briones alleged that he is the owner of a property covered by TCT
Whereupon, on May 20 of the same year, the Court resolved to set aside its decision and to certify the No. 160689 (subject property), and that, on July 15, 2010, his sister informed him that his property
case to Us. had been foreclosed and a writ of possession had already been issued in favor of Cash Asia. 8 Upon
investigation, Briones discovered that: (a) on December 6, 2007, he purportedly executed a
promissory note,9 loan agreement,10 and deed of real estate mortgage11 covering the subject property
x x x x24 (subject contracts) in favor of Cash Asia in order to obtain a loan in the amount of ₱3,500,000.00
from the latter;12 and (b) since the said loan was left unpaid, Cash Asia proceeded to foreclose his
Clearly, then, in Tijam, the issue of lack of jurisdiction has only been raised during the execution property.13 In this relation, Briones claimed that he never contracted any loans from Cash Asia as he
stage, specifically when the matter of the trial court’s denial of the surety’s motion to quash the writ has been living and working in Vietnam since October 31, 2007. He further claimed that he only went
of execution has been brought to the appellate court for review. Here, the trial court’s assumption of back to the Philippines on December 28, 2007 until January 3, 2008 to spend the holidays with his
unauthorized jurisdiction over the probate proceedings has been discovered by the Court during the family, and that during his brief stay in the Philippines, nobody informed him of any loan agreement
appeal stage of the main case, not during the execution stage of a final and executory decision. Thus, entered into with Cash Asia. Essentially, Briones assailed the validity of the foregoing contracts
the exceptional rule laid down in Tijam cannot apply. claiming his signature to be forged.14

Since the RTC has no jurisdiction over the action, all the proceedings therein, including the decision For its part, Cash Asia filed a Motion to Dismiss15 dated August 25, 2010, praying for the outright
rendered, are null and void.25 With the above disquisition, the Court finds it unnecessary to discuss dismissal of Briones’s complaint on the ground of improper venue. 16 In this regard, Cash Asia
and resolve the other issues raised in the petition. pointed out the venue stipulation in the subject contracts stating that "all legal actions arising out of
this notice in connection with the Real Estate Mortgage subject hereof shall only be brought in or
IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, Sp. Proc. No. 3664-P before the Regional Trial Court of submitted tothe jurisdiction of the proper court of Makati City."17 In view thereof, it contended that
Pasay City is DISMISSED for lack of jurisdiction. all actions arising out of the subject contracts may only be exclusively brought in the courts of Makati
City, and as such, Briones’s complaint should be dismissed for having been filed in the City of
Manila.18
SO ORDERED.
In response, Briones filed an opposition,19 asserting, inter alia, that he should not be covered by the
venue stipulation in the subject contracts as he was never a party therein. He also reiterated that his
signatures on the said contracts were forgeries.20
G.R. No. 204444 January 14, 2015
The RTC Ruling
VIRGILIO C. BRIONES, Petitioner,
vs. In an Order21 dated September 20, 2010, the RTC denied Cash Asia’s motion to dismiss for lack of
COURT OF APPEALS and CASH ASIA CREDIT CORPORATION, Respondents. merit. In denying the motion, the RTC opined that the parties must be afforded the right to be heard
in view of the substance of Briones’s cause of action against Cash Asia as stated in the complaint.22
DECISION
Cash Asia moved for reconsideration23 which was, however, denied in an Order24 dated October 22,
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.: 2010. Aggrieved, it filed a petition for certiorari25 before the CA.

Assailed in this petition for certiorari1 are the Decision2 dated March 5, 2012 and the Resolution3 The CA Ruling
dated October 4, 2012 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 117474, which annulled the
Orders dated September 20, 20104 and October 22, 20105 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila,
In a Decision26 dated March 5, 2012, the CA annulled the RTC Orders, and accordingly, dismissed SEC. 3. Venue of actions against nonresidents. — If any of the defendants does not resideand is not
Briones’s complaint without prejudice to the filing of the same before the proper court in Makati found in the Philippines, and the action affects the personal status of the plaintiff, or any property of
City.27 It held that the RTC gravely abused its discretion in denying Cash Asia’s motion to dismiss, said defendant located in the Philippines,the action may be commenced and tried in the court of the
considering that the subject contracts clearly provide that actions arising therefrom should be place where the plaintiff resides, or where the property or any portion thereof is situated or found.
exclusively filed before the courts of Makati City only.28 As such, the CA concluded that Briones’s
complaint should have been dismissed outright on the ground of improper venue, 29 this, SEC. 4. When Rule not applicable. — This Rule shall not apply –
notwithstanding Briones’s claim of forgery.
(a) In those cases where a specific rule or law provides otherwise; or
Dissatisfied, Briones moved for reconsideration,30 which was, however, denied in a Resolution31
dated October 4, 2012, hence, this petition.
(b) Where the parties have validly agreed in writing before the filing of the action on the
exclusive venue thereof.
The Issue Before the Court
Based therefrom, the general rule is that the venue of real actions is the court which has jurisdiction
The primordial issue for the Court’s resolution is whether or not the CA gravely abused its discretion over the area wherein the real property involved, or a portion thereof, is situated; while the venue of
in ordering the outright dismissal of Briones’s complaint on the ground of improper venue. personal actions is the court which has jurisdiction where the plaintiff or the defendant resides, at the
election of the plaintiff. As an exception, jurisprudence in Legaspi v. Rep. of the Phils.33 instructs that
The Court’s Ruling the parties, thru a written instrument, may either introduce another venue where actions arising from
such instrument may be filed, or restrict the filing of said actions in a certain exclusive venue, viz.:
The petition is meritorious.
The parties, however, are not precluded from agreeing in writing on an exclusive venue, as qualified
At the outset, the Court stresses that "[t]o justify the grant of the extraordinary remedy of certiorari, by Section 4 of the same rule. Written stipulations as to venue may be restrictive in the sense that the
[the petitioner] must satisfactorily show that the court or quasi-judicial authority gravely abused the suit may be filed only in the place agreed upon, or merely permissive in that the parties may file their
discretion conferred upon it. Grave abuse of discretion connotes judgment exercised in a capricious suitnot only in the place agreed upon but also in the places fixed by law. As in any other agreement,
and whimsical manner that is tantamount to lack of jurisdiction. To be considered ‘grave,’ discretion what is essential is the ascertainment of the intention of the parties respecting the matter.
must be exercised in a despotic manner by reason of passion or personal hostility, and must be so
patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty As regards restrictive stipulations on venue, jurisprudence instructs that it must be shown thatsuch
enjoined by or to act at all in contemplation of law."32 Guided by the foregoing considerations, the stipulation is exclusive.1âwphi1 In the absence of qualifying or restrictive words, such as
Court finds that the CA gravely abused its discretion in ordering the outright dismissal of Briones’s "exclusively," "waiving for this purpose any other venue," "shall only" preceding the designation of
complaint against Cash Asia, without prejudice to its re-filing before the proper court in Makati City. venue, "to the exclusion of the other courts," or words of similar import, the stipulation should be
deemed as merely an agreement on an additional forum,not as limiting venue to the specified place. 34
Rule 4 of the Rules of Court governs the rules on venue of civil actions, to wit: (Emphases and underscoring supplied)

Rule 4 In this relation, case law likewise provides that in cases where the complaint assails only the terms,
VENUE OF ACTIONS conditions, and/or coverage of a written instrument and not its validity, the exclusive venue
stipulation contained therein shall still be binding on the parties, and thus, the complaint may be
properly dismissed on the ground of improper venue. 35 Conversely, therefore, a complaint directly
SECTION 1. Venue of real actions. — Actions affecting title to or possession of real property, or assailing the validity of the written instrument itself should not be bound by the exclusive venue
interest therein, shall be commenced and tried in the proper court which has jurisdiction over the area stipulation contained therein and should be filed in accordance with the general rules on venue. To be
wherein the real property involved, or a portion thereof, is situated. sure, it would be inherently consistent for a complaint of this nature to recognize the exclusive venue
stipulation when it, in fact, precisely assails the validity of the instrument in which such stipulation is
Forcible entry and detainer actions shall be commenced and tried in the municipal trial court of the contained.
municipality or city wherein the real property involved, or a portion thereof, is situated.
In this case, the venue stipulation found in the subject contracts is indeed restrictive in nature,
SEC. 2. Venue of personal actions. — All other actions may be commenced and tried where the considering that it effectively limits the venue of the actions arising therefrom to the courts of Makati
plaintiff or any of the principal plaintiffs resides, or where the defendant or any of the principal City. However, it must be emphasized that Briones' s complaint directly assails the validity of the
defendants resides, or in the case of a non-resident defendant where he may be found, at the election subject contracts, claiming forgery in their execution. Given this circumstance, Briones cannot be
of the plaintiff. expected to comply with the aforesaid venue stipulation, as his compliance therewith would mean an
implicit recognition of their validity. Hence, pursuant to the general rules on venue, Briones properly
filed his complaint before a court in the City of Manila where the subject property is located.

In conclusion, the CA patently erred and hence committed grave abuse of discretion in dismissing
Briones's complaint on the ground of improper venue.

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. Accordingly, the Decision dated March 5, 2012 and the
Resolution dated October 4, 2012 of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 117474 are hereby
ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. The Orders dated September 20, 2010 and October 22, 2010 of the
Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 173 in Civil Case No. 10-124040 are REINSTATED.

SO ORDERED.